Skinny Puppy Bills Pentagon for Using Its Music at Gitmo

Skinny Puppy sent the Pentagon an invoice for $666,000.

ByABC News
February 5, 2014, 5:50 PM
Skinny Puppy performing live onstage.
Skinny Puppy performing live onstage.
Marc Broussely/Redferns/Getty Images

Feb. 6, 2014— -- A hard rock band has billed the U.S. government for "musical services" after discovering their songs were used during interrogations of accused terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Cevin Key, keyboard player for the Canadian rockers known as Skinny Puppy, told ABC News he was shocked and angry to hear from a fan and former Gitmo prison guard that their music had been used as a form of torture at the military base in Cuba.

"I was told that people were forced to listen to music at an intolerable level," said Key. "This one particular interrogator would put one of our songs on repeat for 6-10 hours at a time. After six hours [the prisoners] was belittled, kicked, punched and so on. I just can't imagine music being used that way."

While the band chose a "random evil figure" of $666,000 as compensation for the unauthorized use of "original music for U.S. interrogation purposes," they don't expect the government to provide a timely response to their demands.

"We're not looking to get monetarily reimbursed," Key said. "If we received anything from the government we'd probably donate it back to survivors of PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]."

A military spokesman told ABC News the Department of Defense has not received an invoice and is committed to the humane treatment of detainees.

"I'm not even sure how, functionally, such a process of billing based on a hunch might work," Lt. Col. J. Todd Breasseale said in an email statement. "The Army Field Manual does not authorize or condone the use of sleep manipulation or sensory deprivation." The statement did not confirm or deny playing Skinny Puppy songs.

Key said the band, whose music is lumped into the electro-industrial genre and has been compared with Nine Inch Nails, had been made aware that four different songs of theirs had been used on at least four occasions to "inflict damage" on suspected terrorists in the prison.

Former Guantanamo guard Terry Holdbrooks, a Skinny Puppy fan and outspoken critic of the government's treatment of prisoners, told the band that their music was used in Gitmo interrogations. He had previously authored a book about his time at the prison and given a statement to the Guantanamo Testimonials Project run by The UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas.

The government has previously claimed music was used at Guantanamo, but not as a form of torture.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby told reporters last year "Music is used both in a positive way and as a disincentive. We don't torture."

"I don't know what the playlist is. It's done in a measured way, in keeping with our obligation and commitment to treating detainees humanely," Kirby said.

Key admitted the Skinny Puppy's music "could be a nightmare for someone," depending on "how liberal your musical tastes are," but said the whole theme and concept of their new album "The Weapon" is to bring awareness about musical torture.