Musical Military Weapons | Boraaa: Musical Military Weapons

Musical Military Weapons


It was reported earlier last week that South Korea used K-pop and very loud speakers against their northern neighbours as a means of torture. North Korea was victim to some pretty loud bangers from bands such as G-Dragon and Girls’ Generation, as South Korea attempted to unsettle their enemy. However, this is not the first time in history that music has been used as a weapon (it’s been traced back to WWII, where they sonic weaponry was used.) Pop music has had a long reputation as ‘work of the devil,’ think Robert Johnson or heavy metal music, and in recent history, military forces have played with the idea of blasting music to bludgeon the enemy’s mental strength. Here, I’ve listed just a few examples where ‘pop artists’ have been used as a weapon.

Skinny Puppy - Guantanamo Bay
The Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy sued the American government for the ironical sum of $666,000 after discovering that their music was used by the controversial U.S military prison in Cuba to torture their detainees. Cevin Key (keyboardist) stated, ‘We sent them an invoice for our musical services considering they had gone ahead and used our music without our knowledge and use it as an actual weapon against somebody.’ The band found out purely because a Guantanamo guard, a Skinny Puppy fan, alerted them about this.

David Grey - Abu Ghraib
For the majority of people I know at least, hearing the ballad ‘Babylon’ by David Grey is unpleasant, but in 2008, Haj Ali reported that when he was held in the Iraqi prison he was ‘stripped, handcuffed and forced to listen to a looped sample of ‘Babylon’ at a volume so high he feared that his head would burst.’ Gray was obviously adamant that this was not because of his music.

Rick Astley - The Vatican Embassy, Panama
This incident is thought by many to be the first ever ‘Rickroll!’ During the invasion of Panama in 1989, General Noriega sought sanctuary in the Vatican Embassy. The navy SEALs played the waiting game and Rickrolled Noriega (who hated popular music) with ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ He lasted ten days before he surrendered, which subsequently resulted in him spending fifteen years in American prisons. There are other reports that Van Halen was also used.

Britney Spears - Somali Pirates
Somali Pirates are known for being fearless, heavily-armed, kidnap-centric bunch as they have hijacked a number of boats over the last decade. Want to know one way to make sure that your boat is immune from Somali Pirates?! Play Britney Spears. Rachel Owens, a merchant naval officer, claimed that her security team chose her songs as the pirates hate western culture and music, making Britney’s hits perfect. I personally don’t understand, I could listen to Britney all day long!

Coil - Mike Tyson v Mike Spinks
So, technically this one is not military and is not a battleground, but instead a boxing ring - still classes as a fight. Heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson, at this particular time one of the scariest men in the world, used a track by the London industrial band Coil as his entrance music in order to intimidate his opponent, Mike Spinks. The commentator announces ‘This heavy metal sound that you hear is Mike Tyson about to make his way in. The sound is deadening here in the arena. It’s interesting to note that Mike Tyson selected just noise for his pre-match music. Every so often you hear the clanking of chains. Everything that Tyson does is intimidating.’ Tyson knocked Spinks out after 91 seconds.

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