Why Is Britain Intentionally Using Weapons of Mass Destruction?

by Kevin Jon Heller

I refer, of course, to the British Navy’s use of the music of Britney Spears to scare off Somali pirates:

In an excellent case of “here’s a sentence you won’t read every day”, Britney Spears has emerged as an unlikely figurehead in the fight against Somali pirates.

According to reports, Britney’s hits, including Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time, are being employed by British naval officers in an attempt to scare off pirates along the east coast of Africa. Perhaps nothing else – not guns, not harpoons – is quite as intimidating as the sound of Ms Spears singing “Ooh baby baby!”

Merchant naval officer Rachel Owens explained the tactics to Metro: “Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most. These guys can’t stand western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect. As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can.”

This is an unconscionable tactic, one that does not befit a country that considers itself civilized. Need I remind the British Navy that torture is illegal under both international and UK law?

The British Navy should also be aware that international law does not completely forbid belligerent reprisals. If the Somali pirates begin to fight back by blaring One Direction at oncoming British ships, the Navy will have no one but themselves to blame.

Hat-Tip: the BBC’s Kate Vandy.

http://opiniojuris.org/2013/10/29/britain-intentionally-using-weapons-mass-destruction/

5 Responses

  1. I hear from reliable sources that the pirates would prefer being attacked with the Miley Cyrus Twerking Video.

  2. I assume Ken is joking when he suggests that scaring off some pirates with Britney’s hits amounts to torture!

  3. Once again Prof Heller injects his own, dubious, musical tastes into international law. In fact, there is a rich legacy of this type of tactic in a conflict/complex policing setting: http://nofearofthefuture.blogspot.com/2006/12/noriega-playlist.html
    This is in fact a laudable approach: it is targeted, it is proportional, and it is effective. 
     
    Now, if militaries resort to Oingo Boingo, there would be room for criticism.
     

  4. I see a future War college paper on ‘Effects Based Pop-Music Operations’.
    (today’s jokes are tomorrow’s realities)

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