Following reports that the CIA used an unidentified Red Hot Chili Peppers track as part of a torture technique against a terrorism detainee, drummer Chad Smith and bassist Flea have responded, saying the band was unaware of such activities and do not approve the CIA’s use of their music.
According to Al Jazeera, a forthcoming Senate Intelligence Committee report not only provides confirmation that the CIA were secretly operating a black site prison out of Guantanamo Bay, but details how terror suspect Abu Zubaydah was tortured with a loud, endless loop of music by RHCP.
The report is not the first time it’s been alleged that popular music was employed during government torture techniques. In 2009, artists including Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Nine Inch Nails launched a campaign protesting the use of their music during torture at Guantanamo Bay.
Rage Against the Machine guitarist and political activist Tom Morello said at the time, “Guantanamo may be Dick Cheney’s idea of America, but it’s not mine. The fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me – we need to end torture and close Guantanamo now.”
When asked by TMZ if he was surprised that the CIA used RHCP’s music during torture, the drummer was visibly taken aback by the revelation and said that he had not heard about it. “Torture people?” he asked, shaking his head. “I’ve heard they’ve used more hard rock, like metal.” In fact, a 2004 Pentagon report stated one detainee spent hours forced to listen to Drowning Pool‘s Bodies.
When asked if he approved of the CIA’s actions, Smith responded, “Of course not, our music’s positive. It’s supposed to make people feel good…that’s very upsetting to me, I don’t like that at all. [It’s] bullsh-t.” Smith joked that “a song like Under the Bridge really loud on a loop is torturous.”
“Maybe some people think our music’s annoying, I don’t care,” he continued. Smith visibly struggled to muster a reaction to the unorthodox news, but said, “But it’s a poor use of… you shouldn’t do that. You shouldn’t be doing any of that sh-t. It’s horrible. I just ate, I don’t wanna like, throw up.”
Meanwhile, Chili Peppers founding member and bass player Flea has taken to his official Twitter channel to air his thoughts on the matter, writing, “It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear Rhcp music has been used by the CIA to torture human beings. Anything we can do to stop that we will.”
Watch: Chad Smith Reacts to CIA Using RHCP Songs For Torture
It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear Rhcp music has been used by the CIA to torture human beings. Anything we can do to stop that we will
— Flea (@flea333) April 12, 2014