Pirates in the horn of Africa are being blasted into submission by Britney Spears.
The Princess of Pop’s tunes Baby One More Time and Oops! I Did It Again are reportedly proving particularly effective in fending off Somali sea-faring bandits.
Merchant navy officer Rachel Owens told The Mirror: “Her songs have been chosen by the security team accompanying our tankers because they thought the pirates would hate them most.
“These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect.”
Somali pirates hijacked 46 ships in 2009 and 47 in 2010, the European Union Naval Force says. In 2011, pirates launched a record number of attacks – 176 – but commandeered only 25 ships, an indication that new on-board defences were working.
Of Spears's songs, Second Officer Owens added: “They’re so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns. As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney they move on as quickly as they can.”
It’s not the first time music has been used as a weapon.
In 2008, reports from British law group Reprieve claimed detainees at Guantanamo Bay had been forced to constantly listen to songs such as Metallica's Enter Sandman and Drowning Pool's Bodies.
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And last year, a documentary from Al Jazeera showed detainees may also have been subjected to musical torture of a softer variety.
Christopher Cerf, the award-winning composer of Sesame Street, was stunned to learn how his music was being exploited.
"My first reaction was this just can't possibly be true," he told Al Jazeera.
"...Of course I didn't really like the idea that I was helping break down prisoners, but it was much worse when I heard later that they were actually using the music in Guantanamo to actually do deep, long-term interrogations and obviously to inflict enough pain on prisoners so they would talk."
But wait, there’s more.
Back in 2003, the US reportedly used music from the very same educational children’s TV series to "break" Iraqi POWs.
The persuasive powers of Sesame Street, huh?