zero dB - stop music torture

on 16 March 2010

Reprieve’s innovative 'silent protest' zero dB aims to stop music torture by encouraging widespread condemnation of its use within the US secret prison network.

 zero dB is now supported by Elbow, Massive Attack, Dizzee Rascal and The Doves and MySpace. Sign our petition of silent protests here.

Ear splitting music played for days on end: this is modern torture. While leaving no marks on the body the devastation wrecked on the mind can last a lifetime, with many of its victims suffering mental breakdowns.

The use of music torture by the US has been widespread. President Obama has taken important steps towards closing Guantanamo and CIA ‘black sites’, and has made strong statements of his intention not to use torture.

However the vast majority of the US’s 20,000 prisoners are still being held in military prisons, which were not mentioned in any of his executive orders. Furthermore he has yet to explicitly outlaw music torture

Musicians are using this campaign to register their outrage at the misuse of their work and, together with the Musician’s Union and all member organisations of UK Music, are urging fans and the public to sign up.

In a striking ‘petition of silent protests’, zero dB supporters are each filmed standing in silence; each clip is added to a long and powerful video petition. The petition can be seen and joined at

Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve, said

Torture should have been left in the Middle Ages; yet it rears its head in new forms. Music torture tears people apart mentally - as much as any razorblade. I encourage everyone to join our silent protest against the use of music torture.”

Guitarist Tom Morello, whose music with the band Rage Against the Machine has been linked to torture tactics at the prison, said:

“Guantánamo is known around the world as one of the places where human beings have been tortured – from water boarding, to stripping, hooding and forcing detainees into humiliating sexual acts - playing music for 72 hours in a row at volumes just below that to shatter the eardrums. Guantánamo may be Dick Cheney’s idea of America, but it’s not mine. The fact that music I helped create was used as a tactic against humanity sickens me – we need to end torture and close Guantánamo now."

R.E.M said:

“We signed onto the campaign in complete support of President Obama and the military leaders who have called for an end to torture and to close Guantánamo. As long as Guantánamo stays open, America’s legacy around the world will continue to be the torture that went on there. We have spent the past 30 years supporting causes related to peace and justice – to now learn that some of our friends’ music may have been used as part of the torture tactics without their consent or knowledge, is horrific. It’s anti-American, period.”

For more information please contact Alex Grace on 02074271082 or


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