SAINT PETER— New findings from a declassified CIA report indicate that Gustavus’ Alma Mater was part of a coordinated program of torture at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba. The report reveals that detainees, often dangerous criminals and suspected terrorists, were routinely subjected to the song being played on a continuous loop in a room that was spacious, well-lit, and through which blew a soft ocean breeze. “Words cannot begin to describe the sheer horror I felt during these sessions,” said an anonymous detainee who was released in late 2012. “My life was flashing in front of my eyes. Time was fluid; I had no conception of reality. The next thing I remember I was laying on the floor eight hours later.”
Human rights organizations have openly criticized the use of the school anthem as an enhanced interrogation method, citing it as a clear breach of the Third Geneva Convention, which dictates international standards on the treatment of prisoners of war. Article 17 of the Convention states, “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, nor any heinous or befouling work of music, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind or to drive them to the brink of complete insanity.”
Amnesty International has halted its previous campaigns to end the waterboarding, sensory deprivation, and religious oppression in Guantanamo Bay, and chose to solely focus on ending the military’s sickening practice of playing the Alma Mater. Amnesty spokesperson Hugo Blaine reported, “I don’t care whether these men are terrorists or mass murders, no human being should have to listen to the Alma Mater’s sickening harmonies, painful choice of key signature, and completely irrelevant chromaticism.”
Amnesty International and other organizations have organized activists and opponents to the military’s policy. Pickets outside the U.S. Capitol and White House have been organized. In addition to signs, protesters brought loud speakers to blast the song and draw national attention to the human rights violations occurring at the hands of the Alma Mater.
At press time, picketers as well as passerby within hearing range were seen experiencing debilitating emotional trauma. Protests were temporarily halted.