Sharmini Peries speaks to Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report who recounts what was left out of a recent New York Times story on the U.S. role in Somalia, namely the more than two decades of American involvement there. (The Real News)
- In Somalia, U.S. Escalates a Shadow War
- The Drone Papers: Target Africa
- America’s Empire of African Bases
- The U.S. Military’s Battlefield of Tomorrow
- AFRICOM’s Gigantic “Small Footprint”
- America’s Shadow Wars in Africa
United States Africa Command, (U.S. AFRICOM) is reportedly giving arms and military equipment to former Somali warlord to fight against the Somalia-based Al Shabaab.
Col Barre Aden Shire known as (Barre Hiiraale) has paid a secret visit to U.S. AFRICOM military base in Kenya, where he met with top US military commanders.
Relaible sources say, that Senior AMISOM commanders are accompanying Barre Hiiraale on his unannounced visit to the U.S. AFRICOM base in Kenya.
During the door-closed meeting, both sides have discussed a range on issues, mainly the war on Al Shabaab militants in Lowe and Middle Jubba regions on southern Somalia.
Nobody Knows the Identity of the 150 People Killed by U.S. in Somalia, but Most Are Certain They Deserved It
The U.S. used drones and manned aircraft yesterday to drop bombs and missiles on Somalia, ending the lives of at least 150 people. As it virtually always does, the Obama administration instantly claimed that the people killed were “terrorists” and militants — members of the Somali group al Shabaab — but provided no evidence to support that assertion.
Nonetheless, most U.S. media reports contained nothing more than quotes from U.S. officials about what happened, conveyed uncritically and with no skepticism of their accuracy: The dead “fighters … were assembled for what American officials believe was a graduation ceremony and prelude to an imminent attack against American troops,” pronounced the New York Times. So, the official story goes, The Terrorists were that very moment “graduating” — receiving their Terrorist degrees — and about to attack U.S. troops when the U.S. killed them.
With that boilerplate set of claims in place, huge numbers of people today who have absolutely no idea who was killed are certain that they all deserved it. As my colleague Murtaza Hussain said of the 150 dead people: “We don’t know who they are, but luckily they were all bad.”
- Al-Shabaab Rejects US Claim of 150 Killed in Drone Strikes
- Al-Shabab dismisses ‘American propaganda’ casualties figure
- Pentagon: Drone Strike in Somalia Kills Over 150 Militants
- Australia navy seizes weapons cache on ‘Somali-bound’ boat
- The Stealth Expansion of a Secret U.S. Drone Base in Africa
- Nearly 90% Of People Killed In Recent Drone Strikes Were Not The Target
- Drone Strikes Reveal Uncomfortable Truth: U.S. Is Often Unsure About Who Will Die
- New study proves falsity of John Brennan’s drone claims
- “Militants”: Media propaganda
‘In a major exposé based on leaked government documents, The Intercept has published the most in-depth look at the U.S. drone assassination program to date. “The Drone Papers” exposes the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia, revealing a number of flaws and far more casualties than the intended targets. The documents were leaked to The Intercept by an unnamed U.S. intelligence source who says he wanted to alert Americans to wrongdoing.’ (Democracy Now!)
This morning [15 October], the reporting team at the Intercept published an impressive eight-part series on the policies and processes of U.S. drone strikes, called “The Drone Papers.” Some of the newly reported information is purportedly based upon “a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations … between 2011 and 2013.” Intercept journalist Jeremy Scahill writes that the slides “were provided by a source within the intelligence community.” (Full disclosure: I spoke with two reporters from the Interceptabout some of these documents in mid-July and have a partial quote in one of the pieces.)
With a helpful framing narrative and context, lots of big pictures and graphics, and many new insights, this reporting could awaken or reintroduce interested readers to how the U.S. national security apparatus has thought about and conducted counterterrorism operations since 9/11. The reporting is less one big “bombshell” and more of a synthesis of over a decade’s worth of reporting and analysis, bolstered by troubling new revelations about what has become routine.
The uniqueness of “The Drone Papers” lies in the fact that there has been no comparable, comprehensive release of classified documents about U.S. capture or kill operations. Previous, equally invaluable, reporting has relied upon similar government documents but has not provided them in whole for public consumption.
The Intercept has got its hands on a cache of secret documents from a whistleblower which details the inner workings of America’s secretive assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. The information contained within the documents has been published in a series of articles by Jeremy Scahill, Josh Begley, Cora Currier, Ryan Gallagher and Nick Turse.
i. Key points:
- CIA and Pakistan Air Force drones hit Pakistan’s tribal areas
- US strikes continue in Yemen as the civil war rages
- Al Shabaab continue to kill peacekeepers and civilians in Somalia
- The three drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen in September means a total of 491 drone strikes there under President Obama
- US air power helps stem the Taliban tide in Afghanistan
- Medecins Sans Frontiers trauma centre in Kunduz hit in October air strike
- The Bureau publishes investigation into UK’s Watchkeeper programme as Cameron doubles RAF drone fleet
‘A top-secret U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Intercept confirms that the sprawling U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as the high-tech heart of America’s drone program. Ramstein is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest to communicate with their remote aircraft in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other targeted countries. The top-secret slide deck, dated July 2012, provides the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the technical architecture used to conduct strikes with Predator and Reaper drones.
Amid fierce European criticism of America’s targeted killing program, U.S. and German government officials have long downplayed Ramstein’s role in lethal U.S. drone operations and have issued carefully phrased evasions when confronted with direct questions about the base. But the slides show that the facilities at Ramstein perform an essential function in lethal drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.
The slides were provided by a source with knowledge of the U.S. government’s drone program who declined to be identified because of fears of retribution. According to the source, Ramstein’s importance to the U.S. drone war is difficult to overstate. “Ramstein carries the signal to tell the drone what to do and it returns the display of what the drone sees. Without Ramstein, drones could not function, at least not as they do now,” the source said.’
- Secret Details of Drone Strike Revealed As Unprecedented Case Goes to German Court
- Death by Drone: Civilian Harm Caused by U.S. Targeted Killings in Yemen
- Who is dying in Afghanistan’s 1,000-plus drone strikes?
- US Armed Forces Piloting Drones From Bases In Germany
- Intelsat Repositions Satellite to Serve Military Units in Asia & Mideast
‘In Kenya, officials say at least 147 people, mostly students, were killed when al-Shabab militants stormed a university in Garissa, making it the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy. Al-Shabab militants reportedly went through the university dorms, separating Muslims from Christians, and killing the Christians. The Kenyan government said at least 79 people were wounded in the assault. The siege lasted about 15 hours before security forces killed four militants. Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks inside Kenya following Kenya’s 2011 invasion of Somalia. We speak to Leslie Lefkow, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Behind Al Shabaab’s Growing Presence In Kenya: Interview with Leslie Lefkow
- Why is Al-Shabab attacking Kenya?
- Al-Shabab threatens more attacks in Kenya after Garissa
- Al-Shabaab Attacks Kenya University, Killing at Least 147
- Kenya university attack: ‘They were lined up and executed’
- HRW: Kenyan Peacemakers raped Somali women
- Kenya: Investigate Security Force Abuses Against Ethnic Somalis
‘ISIS and Al-Shabaab successfully recruited dozens of teens and young adults from Minnesota. Poppy Harlow finds out why and what’s being done to stop it.’ (CNN)
‘Let me introduce you to the world’s most powerful terrorist recruiting sergeant: a US federal agency called the office of the comptroller of the currency. Its decision to cause a humanitarian catastrophe in one of the poorest, most troubled places on Earth could resonate around the world for decades.
Last Friday, after the OCC had sent it a cease-and-desist order, the last bank in the United States still processing money transfers to Somalia closed its service. The agency, which reports to the US treasury, reasoned that some of this money might find its way into the hands of the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. It’s true that some of it might, just as some resources in any nation will find their way into the hands of criminals (ask HSBC). So why don’t we shut down the phone networks to hamper terrorism? Why don’t we ban agriculture in case fertiliser is used to make explosives? Why don’t we stop all the clocks to prevent armed gangs from planning their next atrocity?’
- Money transfers cut off to Somalia
- Ending Somali-US money transfers will be devastating, Merchants Bank warned
- A once in a lifetime chance to protect remittance giving
- Somali remittances: Dahabshiil granted Barclays reprieve
- Somalis fear Barclays closure of remittance accounts will cut lifeline
- 10 Poorest Countries in The World (All in Africa)
- Somalia and UK banking
‘At least 2,464 people have now been killed by US drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones (Afghanistan and Iraq) since President Barack Obama’s inauguration six years ago, the Bureau’s latest monthly report reveals.
Of the total killed since Obama took his oath of office on January 20 2009, at least 314 have been civilians, while the number of confirmed strikes under his administration now stands at 456.
Research by the Bureau also shows there have now been nearly nine times more strikes under Obama in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than there were under his predecessor, George W Bush.
And the covert Obama strikes, the first of which hit Pakistan just three days after his inauguration, have killed almost six times more people and twice as many civilians than those ordered in the Bush years, the data shows.’
‘[…] From 2012 to 2013, the US Office of Naval Intelligence found a 25 percent jump in incidents, including vessels being fired upon, boarded and hijacked, in the Gulf of Guinea, a vast maritime zone that curves along the west coast of Africa from Gabon to Liberia. Kidnappings are up, too. Earlier this year, Stephen Starr, writing for the CTC Sentinel, the official publication of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, asserted that in 2014 the number of attacks would rise again.
Today what most Americans know about piracy likely centers on an attraction at Walt Disney World and the Johnny Depp movies it inspired. If the Gulf of Guinea rings any bells at all, it’s probably because of the Ebola outbreak in, and upcoming US military “surge” into, Liberia, the nation on the northern edge of that body of water. But for those in the know, the Gulf itself is an intractable hotspot on a vast continent filled with them and yet another area where US military efforts have fallen short.
A recent investigation by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that “piracy and maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea has escalated” and that “armed robbery at sea, oil theft, and kidnapping is a persistent problem that continues to contribute to instability” there. Not only that, but as Pottengal Mukundan, the director of the International Maritime Bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce, recently noted, piracy in the Gulf has taken on a particularly violent character.’
Editor’s Note: You can’t fight terror with terror. The more you terrorise people, especially innocent people, the more you run the risk of aiding terror groups recruitment process and ultimately creating revenge attacks. It’s quite simple but those in the U.S. military establishment are either too stupid to understand, or maybe they know exactly what they are doing? Terror begets terror which ends up creating a perpetual war. Perpetual war means constant flow of money and fear with which to control populations. Interventions Watch has produced a great report below on the unsuccessful terror war America has waged in Yemen and Somalia, a policy which is now going to be applied in Iraq and potentially Syria too.
‘On Wednesday 10th September, Barack Obama made a major foreign policy speech, in which he set out how the U.S. and anyone who cares to tag along plan to ‘degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy’.
As was widely expected, Obama announced that as part of this ‘strategy’, the U.S. will not ‘hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq’. And by ‘action’ he means, of course, bombing.
He compared the newly announced ‘strategy’ for destroying ISIS in Iraq and Syria to the strategy that has been pursued by the U.S. in recent years in Somalia and Yemen, saying that:
This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.
But I just want to take a quick look at how ‘successful’ that strategy has actually been.’
- Transcript: President Obama On How U.S. Will Address Islamic State
- Air strikes, drones and advisers: the new template for America’s counter-terror fight
- Drone Wars Yemen: Analysis
- GTD: Terror attacks carried out in Yemen
- Somalia: reported US covert actions 2001-2014
- GTD: Terror attacks carried out in Somalia
- Dirty Wars: Terror Begets Terror – Interview with Jeremy Scahill
- Glenn Greenwald: The ‘war on terror’ – by design – can never end
‘The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab confirmed on Saturday that its leader Ahmed Godane had been killed in a U.S. air strike this week and named a new leader, promising “great distress” to its enemies.
[…] In a statement, al Shabaab reaffirmed its affiliation to al Qaeda, and named its new leader as Sheikh Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah, warning its enemies to “expect only that which will cause you great distress”. Little is known of al Shabaab’s new leader, but a local elder who asked not be named said he had joined al Shabaab in 2006 and, like Godane, hailed from the Dir clan.’
‘African Union (AU) troops raped women and girls seeking medical aid or water from their bases in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, a rights group says. The troops had “misused” their power over women fleeing violence and poverty, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. One Muslim girl, aged 15, reportedly had her headscarf ripped off before being raped.
The AU, which has some 22,000 troops fighting militant Islamists in Somalia, says it will investigate the claims. In 2012, the UN recorded 1,700 rapes in camps for displaced people in Somalia. Many were thought to have been carried out by members of the Somali security forces.’
‘A hail of U.S. missiles aimed at the leader of Somalia’s al Shabaab militants may have left a gaping hole in the group’s leadership, potentially the biggest challenge to its unity since it emerged as a fighting force eight years ago.
[…] “If … he is in fact dead, it is a game changer in many ways for al Shabaab,” said Abdi Aynte, director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. “What is likely to happen is a struggle for power,” he said. Fragmentation was also possible in the absence of a leader with Godane’s experience and ruthless approach to dissent.’
Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed that the late Monday attack was aimed at the group’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also referred to as Abu-Zubayr, and that the ordnance definitely hit a meeting of Shebab chiefs.
But he said it was unclear if Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives, had been killed.’
- Somalia tries to verify if top militant killed
- First US drone strike in seven months hits Somalia
- Attack on Somali Islamist leader seen triggering power struggle
- Somalia offers amnesty to al-Shabaab amid reports of leader’s death
- Somali Leaders Welcome US Drone Strike Against Al-Shabab
- US Kills Several in Strike on Somalia: Unknown if Target Was Hit
‘The government has been asked to investigate whether BT is aiding drone strikes with a specially built military internet cable connecting US air force facilities in Northamptonshire to a base for unmanned craft in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.
Evidence is mounting that the $23m (£13m) fibre-optic circuit built by BT in 2012 was installed to facilitate air strikes in Yemen and Somalia by US air force drones, according to a complaint filed by the human rights group Reprieve.
‘Drone blowback is real. Over the past five years, terrorists have attempted serious attacks on American soil that were motivated in part by U.S. drone strikes abroad. We know this because the apprehended terrorists have been loud and clear about their motives. As Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad, whose car bomb failed to explode in Times Square in May 2010, said at his arraignment:
Until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands … we will be attacking U.S. The drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t see children … They kill women, children — they kill everybody.
A foiled plot to blow up the New York subway, led by Afghan-born, Queens-raised Najibullah Zazi, also speaks to the growing anger over drone warfare. According to courtroom testimony from the would-be perpetrators, they conceived their effort as revenge for the drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan, where U.S. strikes have killed some 2,800 people. Just how many of those killed were Al-Qaeda fighters and how many civilians is not precisely known. But the connection between drones abroad and danger at home is not hypothetical: It’s a demonstrable fact. And yet our national security experts tend to treat these attempted terrorist attacks as if they were of no relevance to Washington’s increasing use of lethal unmanned aircraft.’
- Drones Risk Putting US on ‘Slippery Slope’ to Perpetual War
- The Drone Program Could Be Putting the Whole World at Risk
- The era of American drone supremacy is fading
- Six-month update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia
- Can the President Strike an American Anywhere in the World?: Drone Memo Raises Troubling Questions
- So That’s Why They Kept the Drone Kill Memo Secret
‘U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab, U.S. officials said. The comments are the first detailed public acknowledgement of a U.S. military presence in Somalia dating back since the U.S. administration of George W. Bush and add to other signs of a deepening U.S. commitment to Somalia’s government, which the Obama administration recognized last year.
The deployments, consisting of up to 120 troops on the ground, go beyond the Pentagon’s January announcement that it had sent a handful of advisors in October. That was seen at the time as the first assignment of U.S. troops to Somalia since 1993 when two U.S. helicopters were shot down and 18 American troops killed in the “Black Hawk Down” disaster. The plans to further expand U.S. military assistance coincide with increasing efforts by the Somali government and African Union peacekeepers to counter a bloody seven-year insurgent campaign by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab to impose strict Islamic law inside Somalia.’
- The consequences of the U.S. war on terrorism in Africa
- DoD quietly expanding AFRICOM missions
- 20 years after ‘Black Hawk Down,’ US military advisers back in Somalia
- US military steps up operations in the Horn of Africa
- From 2013: Obama approves US military assistance to Somalia
- Pivot to Africa: AFRICOM’s Gigantic “Small Footprint”
‘The number of people living as refugees from war or persecution exceeded 50 million in 2013, for the first time since World War Two, the UN says. The overall figure of 51.2 million is six million higher than the year before,a report by the UN refugee agency says. Antonio Guterres, head of the UNHCR, told the BBC the rise was a “dramatic challenge” for aid organisations.
Conflicts in Syria, central Africa and South Sudan fuelled the sharp increase. “Conflicts are multiplying, more and more,” Mr Guterres said. “And at the same time old conflicts seem never to die.” Of particular concern are the estimated 6.3 million people who have been refugees for years, sometimes even decades.’
…The U.S. has denied that it has anything to do with the death squads, claiming it has trained Kenyan security to operate in line with human rights. But those claims are dubious. America’s involvement with Kenya’s anti-terror forces is deep. Since 2003, the U.S. has given Kenya $50 million to fight terrorism; the country is one of the five recipients of U.S. anti-terror financing. And the U.S. and the U.K. provide training for Kenya’s fight against al-Shabaab.
The claims of no U.S. involvement are all the more dubious since the U.S. has partnered with Somali militias to hunt down al-Shabaab members, and because of the extensive record of U.S. support for death squads in other countries. Whether in the context of the Cold War or the war on terror, America’s support for death squads has allowed the U.S. to stand back while proxy forces achieve its goals by engaging in the most unsavory of activities: extrajudicial assassinations.
Here are five other countries where the U.S. has supported death squads…
Are drone strikes creating more enemies for America than they are killing extremists? That’s the question at the heart of new bipartisan legislation aimed at requiring the executive branch to issue an annual report detailing the combatant and civilian death toll from missile strikes by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, a frequent critic of “war on terrorism” policies, introduced the “Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act.” The goal? Find out who is dying in drone strikes.
…The measure calls for an annual report on the number of combatants and civilians killed or injured in strikes by remotely piloted aircraft. It also aims to require that the administration define what it considers “combatants” and “civilians.” And it seeks a full accounting of casualties over the past five years… The bill would exclude strikes in “theaters of conflict” — which really just means Afghanistan, Schiff said. That’s because singling out drone strikes, as opposed to bombings, raids and firefights, is of “less significance in a war zone than in a third country,” he explained.
- House Bill Seeks Data on Who US Drone Strikes Kill
- Micah Zenko: Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies
- U.N. rights forum calls for use of armed drones to comply with law
- UN report calls for independent investigations of drone attacks
- VICE on HBO: Children of the Drones
- Collapse of available bases could push the U.S. to revamp its failed counterterrorism strategy
- UN Report Identifies 30 Drone Strikes That Require ‘Public Explanation’
- Obama’s Broken Promise to Shift Drone War to Defense Department
- Obama’s itchy trigger finger on drone strikes: what happened to due process?
- Robert Fisk: Why is the World Turning a Blind Eye to US Drone Strikes?
- “The CIA Which Should Be A Foreign Intelligence Agency Has Turned Into Paramilitary Killing Organization”
- Michael Ratner: US Drones Reaping Death by Sim Card
- Norman Solomon: If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination
- Medea Benjamin: The Dangerous Seduction of Drones
- Tweaking the Constitution to Make Extrajudicial Killing Easier
- Alberto Gonzales Calls for Limits on Drone Strikes
- Mike Rogers: Drone limits put Americans at risk
- 6 Unanswered Questions About Obama’s Drone War
Two years ago Mohamed Aden was a shoe shiner in Mogadishu, walking the streets of the Somali capital in search of clients even as his friends attended school. Now the 12-year-old boy sits proudly among classmates. For Aden, a poor boy whose family lives in a derelict building in a Mogadishu slum, the transition from streets to classroom might never have happened without a new government-run program called Go2School that seeks to give a free elementary school education to at least 1 million children.
Many in Somalia are happy with the new program, but the country’s al-Qaida-linked militant group this week warned that schools are legitimate targets for attack. Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, a senior al-Shabab official, told reporters on Tuesday that the education program seeks to secularize Somali children. Despite a long history of such anti-education threats, the donor-funded program has proved popular with parents as well as children who otherwise would have no opportunity to get even the most basic education in a country with one of the worst literacy rates in the world.
The U.S. military secretly deployed a small number of trainers and advisers to Somalia in October, the first time regular troops have been stationed in the war-ravaged country since 1993, when two helicopters were shot down and 18 Americans killed in the “Black Hawk Down” disaster.
A cell of U.S. military personnel has been in the Somali capital of Mogadishu to advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia, an Islamist group whose leaders have professed loyalty to al-Qaeda, according to three U.S. military officials.
The previously undisclosed deployment — of fewer than two dozen troops — reverses two decades of U.S. policy that effectively prohibited military “boots on the ground” in Somalia. Even as Somali pirates and terrorists emerged as the top security threat in the region, successive presidential administrations and the Pentagon shied away from sending troops there for fear of a repeat of the Black Hawk Down debacle.
In recent years, the Obama administration has slowly and cautiously become more directly involved in Somalia.
A United Nations official says plans are being made to restart major offensives in parts of Somalia held by the militant group al-Shabab.
Special Representative Nicholas Kay also told the Security Council by videoconference Tuesday that it’s important that the long-chaotic East African country hold democratic elections in 2016 as part of building strong state institutions.
Somalia is shakily emerging from more than two decades of conflict, and parts of the country are still in the hands of the al-Shabab.
Kay reminded the Security Council that he had warned the council in September that if Somalia remained a home to terrorists, the effects would be felt “from Bamako to Bangui.”
Later that month, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on an upscale Kenyan mall.
A new study reveals how Somali piracy is financed
PIRACY remains a concern for ships passing the Horn of Africa, even though the number of incidents has plummeted since 2011, when armed protection was beefed up on board many large vessels. The topic grips the public imagination. Witness the success of “Captain Phillips”, a film in which a vessel captained by the actor Tom Hanks is hijacked by Somalis. Yet the pirate economy is poorly understood. A report*, to be released on November 4th by Interpol and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, a UN and World Bank project, sheds new light.
The authors interviewed current and former pirates, their financial backers, government officials, middlemen and others. They estimate that between $339m and $413m was paid in ransoms off the Somali coast between 2005 and 2012. The average haul was $2.7m. Ordinary pirates usually get $30,000-75,000 each, with a bonus of up to $10,000 for the first man to board a ship and for those bringing their own weapon or ladder.
Her hits are blasted out to deter kidnap attacks, merchant navy officer Rachel Owens revealed.
Spears’s chart-toppers Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time have proved to be the most effective at keeping the bandits at bay.
Second Officer Owens, who works on supertankers off the east coast of Africa, said: ‘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.’
[…] ‘It’s so effective the ship’s security rarely needs to resort to firing guns,’ said the 34-year-old, from Gartmore, near Aberfoyle, Stirling.
‘As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can.’
Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry, said: ‘Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music.’
He added: I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.’