On Friday, the UK Telegraph reported that odd posters began appearing in London bus stops that at first glance appear to be what it called “unusually-worded recruitment advertisements for the Royal Navy…” The posters read, “become a suicide bomber” and features three sailors in uniform with a red cross-hair superimposed on them. According to the Telegraph, the posters also “feature the naval force’s branding, and the text directs people to the website royalnavy.org.uk for information about joining the crew of a nuclear submarine.”
“The crew of our nuclear submarines are on a suicide mission,” the posters read. “To launch their missiles means death is certain, not just for them, but for the millions of innocent people those bombs will obliterate, and for the rest of us too.”
It turns out the posters, which at first glance could also be mistaken for jihadist recruitment posters, since suicide bombing is a favorite tactic among terrorists, are a spoof intended to criticize the Royal Navy.
According to the Telegraph:
The spoof posters, installed by a ‘subverting organisation’ known as Special Patrol Group, were designed by British artist Darren Cullen, who’s work has previously featured at Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition and at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
They were conceived as a protest against Britain’s nuclear weapons programme, Cullen telling the Telegraph: “The inspiration for the project came from finding out that the crew of a nuclear submarine would not survive the deployment of Trident.
“I’d never heard this discussed before. When we think about Trident we don’t tend to imagine the crew out on a suicide mission.
“It struck me as another example of the ethical double standard we have in the West when it comes to which types of violence we condemn.
“We see terrorist suicide bombers as depraved, which they undoubtedly are, but we don’t see our own depravity in building and operating nuclear suicide bombs that have the potential to murder millions and end human civilisation in the space of an afternoon.”
— Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives (@darren_cullen) February 2, 2017
Some on social media, however, weren’t impressed.
'Become a suicide bomber' posters appear across London.
— Navy Lookout (@NavyLookout) February 4, 2017
“‘Become a suicide bomber’ in bold and red crosshairs on military personal (sic). What kind of message does that send 2 a passer-by?” another Twitter user reportedly said.
But William McNeilly, a former Royal Navy weapons engineer-turned-whistleblower, approved of the posters.
“It is well known on board nuclear submarines that the Trident submarine on patrol will be the prime target in a nuclear war …They are ready and prepared to be suicide bombers,” he told RT.
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