The Sideshow

‘Sesame Street’ songs allegedly used in Guantanamo Bay interrogations

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

A new documentary alleges that detainees at Guantanamo Bay were "tortured" by being forced to listen to songs from Sesame Street for days on end.

The Al Jazeera film, "Songs of War," features Christopher Cerf, who has worked as a composer on Sesame Street for more than four decades.

"My first reaction was this just can't possibly be true," the Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer 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."

The documentary's claims are backed up by a 2008 Associated Press report, which found that several songs, including the Sesame Street theme song, were used as part of the detainee interrogation process at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo in 2003. Military officials at Guantanamo did not directly confirm or deny the report, only saying that they were not "currently" in use. Heavy metal or rap artists such as Metallica and Eminem composed most of the songs reportedly used in the interrogations. Though some other selections included Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." and "I Love You," from the "Barney and Friends" children's show.

As CBS Miami's Antonio Mora notes in the above video, "Five minutes of listening to 'Elmo's Song' would break my will."

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