The family-friendly "Sesame Street" has been used as torture on Guantanamo prisoners, Al Jazeera has claimed. It's not the first time the popular show has been used to break prisoners; in 2003 a report surfaced saying that the soundtrack from the show was used on Iraqi prisoners.
The claims being made by Al Jazeera are featured in "Songs of War," a documentary featuring "Sesame Street" composer Christopher Cerf. He set out to discover why and how his music was used.
"This is fascinating to me both because of the horror of music being perverted to serve evil purposes if you like, but I'm also interested in how that's done. What is it about music that would make it work for that purpose?"
One former prisoner told Al Jazeera, "The music was so loud, and it was probably some of the worst torture that they faced."
"Prisoners were forced to put on headphones. They were attached to chairs, headphones were attached to their heads, and they were left alone just with the music for very long periods of time. Sometimes hours, even days on end, listening to repeated, loud music," explained human rights researcher Thomas Keenan.
"Sesame Street" composer Cerf, who has won several awards for his writing, had a hard time believing that his music was being used in such a way. "My first reaction was this just can't possibly be true," he told Al Jazeera.
"Of course, I didn't really like the idea that I was helping break down prisoners, but it was much worse when I heard later that they were actually using the music in Guantanamo to actually do deep, long-term interrogations and obviously to inflict enough pain on prisoners so they would talk," Cerf explained.
"It is music's capacity to take over your mind and invade your inner experience that makes it so terrifying as a potential weapon," reasoned Keenan.
Watch a clip from "Songs of War" HERE: