South Korea blasts North with K-pop, propaganda after nuclear test

South Korea reactivates propaganda speakers
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South Korea reactivates propaganda speakers 01:28

Story highlights

  • South Korea is blasting music and propaganda at the North
  • The United States military did the same thing to capture Manuel Noriega
  • Guantanamo Bay detainees report they were subjected to music as torture

(CNN)North Korea set off a nuclear blast this week, it claimed, and now South Korea is blasting back.

The South isn't using bombs or bullets, though. It's using giant speakers to play propaganda and music across the most heavily militarized border in the world.
Someone in the South's psychological operations command seems to have a sense of humor, because this is what they're playing:
Some would say another K-pop artist and song should definitely be on Seoul's playlist:
South Korea resumed its cross-border DJing last year after 10 years of silence, but it's not the only country to use music for military purposes.
The United States famously blasted music at Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega when they were trying to get him to surrender to them in 1989.
He sought protection in the Vatican's diplomatic office when the United States invaded, and Southern Command psychological operations officers responded by blasting SouthCom radio at him.
The station took requests from troops, some of whom seemed to be amusing themselves: The requests included "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley, "Give It Up" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band, and this classic from Whitesnake:
It's harder to chuckle at the other famous example of the United States using music as a weapon of war. Detainees captured in the global "war on terror" reported having had rap, heavy metal and the theme song from the children's TV program "Barney" played at them in captivity.
Binyam Mohamed, who spent years in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay, said he was subjected to this Eminem hit for days on end:
R.E.M. and Pearl Jam led a campaign to demand the military stop using music to torture prisoners, and campaign groups asked the government to disclose what songs were being used. Loud music has not been used at Guantanamo since 2003.