Noise in Emena 78db – “Torture: upwards of 79db”

sound-meterRecently the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) came to Emena and measured the sound levels coming from the loudspeakers of the Victory Information Centre. The measurements were taken at our home early in the morning.

The KMA officers said they normally allow 20 decibels for the ambient noise. The reading on the KMA noise meter registered 78db in total, that is to say the 20db ambient noise plus the noise from the information centre. On the day mentioned, the information centre’s volume was lower than normal, perhaps due to earlier rain.

The noise from the information centre invades our home for approximately seven and a half hours per day, seven days a week, every month of the year, year in and year out.

If one considers the following statement under the heading of “HOW SOUND TORTURE WORKS” from then it sounds like we are being tortured in Emena by noise, and so probably are an enormous number of other people around Ghana being tortured by loudspeakers and other noise in their area. In Emena it sure feels like we are being tortured and put in harm’s way. states: “HOW SOUND TORTURE WORKS” – “Certain interrogation reports highlight the use of loud music reaching upward of 79 decibels for weeks and even months”.

Even though the noise of individual loudspeakers in Ghana may be, at times, within permissible limits, which they probably aren’t, their noise, added to that of others would certainly elevate noise pollution far, far above safe healthy limits

At Emena, music and other sounds from the Information Centre, not of our choosing and totally against our will, invade our home by force incessantly between 5AM and 8.30AM or later then again between 5.00PM and 8.30PM, each and every day. continues: “Although it may illicit the desired psychological effect of weakening the mental state of detainees, vice president of the Psy Ops Veterans Association Rick Hoffman said the interrogation technique has no long-term effect on the prisoner. Still, soldiers who are required to undergo sound torture for 45 minutes as a part of training would rather not do it again”:

Well at Emena, we suffer unnecessary and intentional loud noise for seven and a half hours each and every day of the year, except when the electricity is down.

“No matter how loud the music is or what its lyrics are about, the result is the same: the incessant use of music to cause discomfort among prisoners. Music used to break down the resistance of an enemy during interrogation is described as “futility music.” Professor Suzanne Cusick from NYU studied the effect of music torture in her 2009 paper, “You are in a place that is out of the world. . .’: Music in the Detention Camps of the ‘Global War on Terror.'” “She describes futility music as a technique used to persuade a detainee that resistance to interrogation is futile”.
There’s more about music as torture from:

“…………..many people think that torture by music is little more than a rather irritating enforced encounter with someone else’s iPod. Binyam Mohamed, the British resident who is still held in Guantánamo Bay, knows a bit about such torture. The CIA rendered him to Morocco, where his torturers repeatedly took a razor blade to his penis throughout an 18-month ordeal”.

“When I later sat across from him in the cell, he described how psyops methods were worse than this. He could anticipate physical pain, he said, and know that it would eventually end. But the experience of slipping into madness as a result of torture by music was something quite different”.

“Imagine you are given a choice,” he said. “Lose your sight or lose your mind.” While having your eyes gouged out would be horrendous, there is little doubt which you would choose”.

Indeed my family and I feel like prisoners of a noise dictatorship. The noise is aggressively and cruelly forced into our home, lives, minds and bodies before and after dawn and in the evening for seven and a half hours each and every day. We feel as though we are constantly under attack and being psychologically tortured and physically harmed.

The comments of do not however cover the harm that noise can cause to human health. The World Health Organisation clearly states that “Noise Can Kill” and the Environmental Protection Agency says it is a “Silent Killer”. There is much evidence for the harm noise can cause, including birth defects, learning, reading and other cognitive difficulties, heart attacks and more!

Under the heading of “HISTORY OF SOUND TORTURE” states: Sound torture is nothing new. In fact, using sound to psychologically attack an enemy has roots in the ancient Aztec culture. The Aztec “Death Whistle” served a variety of purposes from human sacrifice rituals to warfare. During a siege on enemy territory, the Aztecs warriors would sound the “Death Whistle” in an effort to cause their enemies psychological discomfort before the impending battle. The skull-shaped tool produces a terrifying screech that has to be heard to be believed:
The U.S. has also employed sound torture outside of the Iraqi War. In December 1989, Panama’s military dictator Manual Noriega took refuge in the Vatican Embassy a few days after President George Bush launched Operation Just Cause, an invasion of Panama aimed toward overthrowing Noriega. The U.S. military broadcasted a playlist that included Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, and Van Halen’s “Panama” over a military radio station.
While General James D. Thurman said music acted as a “sound barrier” that would prevent journalists from listening in on negotiations with Noriega supporters, none could dismiss the psychological pressure it put on both the Vatican Embassy and Noriega. Noriega surrendered to the U.S. military on Jan. 3, 1990, after 10 days of listening to the hard rock playlist.

Between Feb. 28 and April 19, 1993, federal and state military and law enforcement in Texas executed what is now known as the Waco siege. The siege took place at the Mount Carmel Center that housed the Branch Davidians, a religious group led by David Koresh. Over the course of seven weeks, the FBI used an unconventional playlist that included Tibetan chants, Christmas carols, and Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” to weaken the will of besieged Koresh followers. In the end, a fire allegedly started by sect members killed 76 people, including Koresh.

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