Westlife and heavy metal music were used around the clock in the torture of Suleiman Abdullah in Afghanistan, according to a leading civil liberties group.
In a report called Out of the Darkness, the American Civil Liberties Union describes how music was used on repeat to try and break down Abdullah. Westlife’s 2000 single ‘My Love’, taken from the album ‘Coast To Coast’, is singled out. The metal tracks are never individually identified.
“His interrogators would intersperse a syrupy song called “My Love” with heavy metal, played on repeat at ear-splitting volume,” the report states. “They told Suleiman, a newly wed fisherman from Tanzania, that they were playing the love song especially for him. Suleiman had married his wife Magida only two weeks before the CIA and Kenyan agents abducted him in Somalia, where he had settled while fishing and trading around the Swahili Coast. He would never see Magida again.”
“The music pounded constantly as part of a scheme to assault prisoners’ senses. It stopped only when a CD skipped or needed changing. When that happened, prisoners would call to one another in a desperate attempt to find out who was being held alongside them. A putrid smell that reminded Suleiman of rotting seaweed permeated the prison. His cell was pitch black; he couldn’t see a thing. The US government refers to the prison as ‘COBALT.’ Suleiman calls it ‘The Darkness.'”
The Irish boy band aren’t the first major act to be associated with torture. Back in 2005, a Human Rights Watch report claimed that tracks by Eminem and Dr Drewere used, while, last year, Red Hot Chili Peppers were identified as having been used in Guantánamo Bay.
The Chili Peppers were upset by the association, with drummer Chad Smith telling TMZ:
“I’ve heard that they use more… like, hard rock, metal… Our music’s positive man, it’s supposed to make people feel good and that’s… it’s very upsetting to me, I don’t like that at all. It’s bullshit.”
“Maybe some people think our music’s annoying, I don’t care, but you know… [they] shouldn’t do that. They shouldn’t be doing any of that shit.”
Westlife’s ‘My Love’ can be heard via YouTube, below: