As part of their insanely reflexive opposition to everything said or done by President Donald Trump — specifically with regard to his administration’s enforcement of immigration laws — the left has begun to call for the abolition and disbandment of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Leftist activists calling themselves “Occupy ICE” have put that call into action on the streets of Portland, Oregon, with an ongoing effort to besiege and block off the ICE facility in that city, an effort that has been sustained for several weeks now as the protesters have made camp outside the building.
Federal agents have tangled with the protesters on a few occasions, usually to break up formed lines intended to prevent agents and vehicles from coming and going, which has resulted in arrests and injuries.
But now it appears that ICE has adopted a different tactic to annoy and potentially even disperse the camped protesters — blasting them with tortuous music for hours on end in a bid to drive them mad.
Local alternative media outlet Willamette Week noted that ICE seemingly borrowed a page from the incredibly popular zombie apocalypse TV series “The Walking Dead” and adopted a tactic that had been used by a bad guy character named Negan, head of a group named the “Saviors” that was in conflict with the central group of survivors the series is focused on.
In one episode during the last season, Negan captured and imprisoned the popular character Daryl and forced him to listen repeatedly to a sickeningly over-the-top happy song titled “Easy Street” — by the Collapsible Hearts Club — in a bid to break his will and compel his submission, according to Uproxx.
“It seems to play for a couple minutes and is a continuous loop. It’s been playing for 10+ hours now,” a spokesperson for the Occupy group told Willamette Week via email.
The annoyingly happy music on repeat, in conjunction with triple-digit temperatures, most likely had a deleterious effect on the minds of the encamped protesters, which was pretty much the intent.
In addition, the ICE facility has trained massive generator-powered floodlights on the protesters’ encampment to keep it bathed in bright light all through the night, no doubt preventing some protesters from getting decent, if any at all, sleep in the evenings.
Previously, the federal agents who reside in the ICE facility had similarly blasted Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” at the protesters, though the young protesters had dismissed that effort and song as little more than “threatening dad rock” that had little effect on them.
As odd as the tactic may seem to some, the repeated playing of a particular song has for some time been deemed a “publicly palatable” form of torture — or enhanced interrogation techniques, if you will — that has been used to great effect against confirmed and suspected terrorists detained for questioning, according to a 2014 article by Mic.
Indeed, popular songs played repetitively as a form of torture include Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady,” David Gray’s “Babylon,” the Bee Gee’s “Saturday Night Fever,” Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People,” and a host of other songs ranging from peppy pop music to aggressive heavy metal.
Some of the more hilarious musical selections used to torture terrorists included the “Meow Mix” song from the cat food commercial and the kid-friendly “I Love You” theme song from the “Barney and Friends” TV show.
A spokesperson for ICE declined to respond with a comment to Willamette Week’s inquiry, and it remains unclear at this time if ICE will continue to use music as a weapon against the protesters and how effective that tactic will ultimately prove to be over time.
One thing that is clear is that ICE is not content to allow the protesters to continue their “occupation” outside the Portland facility in perpetuity without some form of pushback, and the protesters would be wise to hightail it out of there before ICE turns their “Easy Street” into an increasingly difficult, painful and mentally exhausting road for them to travel going forward.