top of page

Music As A Weapon Against Homelessness

Earlier today is was reported that officials in West Palm Beach are hoping that playing the children’s songs ‘Baby Shark’ and ‘Raining Tacos’ on a loop will discourage people from sleeping outside the Waterfront Lake Pavilion, a city-owned rental banquet facility.

Yesterday, in another, separate incident, @InvisiblePeople shared on Twitter news of a retailer piping classical music outside of their store to drive away panhandlers.

And in the last year, news surfaced of the town of Bournemouth, England using music as one tactic designed to drive out homeless people living in a parking garage. The town wanted to “clean up the streets” before the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan. One of those targeted by the town’s actions died soon after.

Only weeks ago, reported on times ‘When Sound Was Weaponized”. They wrote ...

"All’s fair in love and war. In times of conflict, people will use any tool at their disposal as a weapon against adversaries, and sound is no exception. Whether it’s nausea-inducing ultrasonic signals or ear-splitting Guns N’ Roses, acoustic weapons have a deep and fascinating history.

Here are several examples from

The Overthrow Of Manuel Noriega - Initially, Noriega had been a close ally of the US; under Nixon, he helped arrange the release of two American freighters from Cuba. However, relationships gradually soured, and in 1989, amid claims of drug trafficking and a corrupt presidential election, the US staged an invasion of Panama. Noriega sought refuge in the Vatican embassy in Panama City. US troops soon had the embassy surrounded, and on Christmas Day 1989, they began a campaign of psychological warfare to force Noriega out of power. The US Army blared out an endless playlist of rock and heavy metal bands on loudspeakers at the building. Several of the tracks were specifically chosen to humiliate the dictator and his crumbled regime, such as The Clash’s “I Fought The Law” and the Van Halen song “Panama.”

After three days of relentless exposure, the music was turned off, and on January 3, 1990, Noriega surrendered. Havana Syndrome - From the minute Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries drove General Fulgencio Batista out of Cuba, the United States has used any means available to them in their attempts to overthrow the socialist government.

While the Bay of Pigs invasion fell flat, the ongoing US-imposed embargo has severely limited the island’s access to trade and tourism—costing the Cuban economy a reported $130 billion.

Other attacks on the Cuban government have seemed more like something out of a James Bond movie. During the 1960s, the CIA’s failed plans to assassinate Castro included poisoning his ice cream, drugging his cigars with hallucinogens, and the infamous attempt to conceal a hypodermic needle inside a pen. However, in recent years, it seems that US government personnel in Havana have also come under attack. As the relationship between the US and Cuba grows increasingly taut, accusations have flown over strange incidents of potential sonic warfare: Havana Syndrome. (Staff at the Canadian Embassy in Cuba have reported similar incidents.)

From late 2016 to August 2017, staff at the US Embassy in Havana suffered a number of neurological health issues after hearing a high-pitched whining noise in their homes and hotels. Twenty-four diplomats reported feelings of nausea, dizziness, and headaches, with many experiencing long-term symptoms like cognitive dysfunction and sleep impairment. It was initially reported by the US that the illnesses were induced by a sophisticated acoustic attack. After all, it was highly suspicious that a varied group of people with no history of head trauma would all experience similar symptoms around the same time. Further evidence appeared to verify this explanation after US personnel released a recording of buzzing drone noise to the Associated Press. Government officials told reporters that they were investigating the possibility that a third country was behind the attacks, perhaps in an attempt to widen the divide between the US and Cuba. The Mosquito Alarm - The Mosquito Alarm is a highly controversial device, designed to disperse groups of teenagers from public areas. The alarm, which was first sold commercially in Britain over a decade ago, emits an irritating high-pitched tone that is supposedly only audible to people younger than 25. In less than ten minutes, the grating whine is said to be able to move loiterers on from car parks or outside shops.

Thousands have been sold in the UK to date, with police forces and city councils among the purchasers. Only a few cities like Edinburgh and Kent have actually taken to prohibiting the Mosquito. In spite of many objections, it seems the anti-teenage buzz will continue. Deterring Pirates - Acoustic weapons are a popular choice for ships arming themselves against a pirate invasion, and on some occasions, they’ve been brilliantly effective.

When the cruise liner Seabourn Spirit was attacked by pirates near the coast of Somalia in November 2005, the security team managed to stave off their armed assailants with a sonic cannon and a high-pressure water hose. Under fire from grenades and rocket launchers, security officer Michael Groves deployed a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to safeguard the boat’s 300-plus passengers.

Groves and his colleague Som Bahadur Gurung, who was injured in the skirmish, were subsequently awarded honors by the Queen for their bravery. Nazi Propaganda Music - During the 1930s, music was utilized by the Nazi Party as a way to stoke nationalist sentiment and instil people with what they saw as traditional German values. On top of this, it was a valuable tool for attracting new supporters. Songs concerning Hitler and the Third Reich were regularly performed at rallies during World War II; the anti-Soviet propaganda piece “Horst-Wessel-Lied” was a particularly popular choice. The Hitler Youth even established their own prodigious music program. The Nazi’s regime of cultural propaganda was wildly successful in keeping spirits high and widening the support for their far-right politics. Wildlife Preservation - Humans aren’t the only species to be targeted and manipulated by sonic weapons. Across the globe, sound cannons are blasting out harsh tones in order to deter local animals and prevent wildlife-related damage. Some can even be programmed to mimic the call of a predator. Wind farms, oil platforms, and vineyards are among some of the businesses known to use acoustic systems to protect their assets from attack. For example, over the better part of the last decade, LRAD units have played an integral role in reducing the number of bird strikes on the Guglielmo Marconi Airport in Bologna, Italy. CIA Torture - In 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee published an extensive report disclosing a number of disturbing facts about CIA torture techniques. Among the controversial revelations was the use of “sound disorientation techniques” at the COBALT facility, similar to those reported at Guantanamo Bay in 2008. The report describes how prisoners were prevented from falling asleep by repeatedly playing loud music for extended periods of time. This psychological attack disorientates and intimidates detainees, with the aim of eventually “breaking” them into submission.

Read the full article from




Our Weather-Ready Care Kits

include items vital to surviving the extreme weather of every season.

From cold & damp to hot & humid.


Your monthly donation

means year-long support

for elder homeless men.


bottom of page