Tag Archives: military

Saudi Arabia joins the killer drone arms race

Saudi Arabia joins the killer drone arms race

The US is still responsible for the vast majority of drone strikes, but that may have more to do with politics than capability. A GAO report from 2012 found that more than 75 countries have some form of drone system. Most are unarmed but some, like the systems used in Australia, Japan, and Singapore, could be retrofitted for military purpose. More importantly, the US’ use of drones — more than 50 strikes in 2013 alone— seems to have whetted a global appetite for combat drones. ‘If you think of this as part of a broader trend of the proliferation of military robotics, then the idea that we were going to have a monopoly on this kind of technology was always a bit far-fetched,’ says University of Pennsylvania political scientist Michael Horowitz. ‘The American monopoly on drones is over and probably never really existed.'”

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CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

“Brandon Bryant, a former US Predator operator, told the film he decided to speak out after senior officials in the Obama administration gave a briefing last year in which they said they wanted to “transfer” control of the CIA’s secret drones programme to the military.

Bryant said this was disingenuous because it was widely known in military circles that the US air force was already involved.

‘There is a lie hidden within that truth. And the lie is that it’s always been the air force that has flown those missions. The CIA might be the customer but the air force has always flown it. A CIA label is just an excuse to not have to give up any information. That is all it has ever been.'”

 

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Killer robot flight: Video of UK’s autonomous drone released

Killer robot flight: Video of UK’s autonomous drone released

“’It would take the robot to be programmed, but once it was set free, it would proceed to make the targeting and kill decisions unless our campaign to stop the killer robots is able to make certain that human beings have to be involved meaningfully in the kill decision,’ she added, calling for a definition of who would bear responsibility in the event of any robotic machines running amok by accident, or by an attack from hackers.”

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The future of war: inside UK drone command

The future of war: inside UK drone command

“The UK’s use of drones is currently much more limited than in the United States. All of the UK’s drones are operated by the armed forces, and there is at the moment no British equivalent of the CIA’s drone programme which, according to the rights group Reprieve, has killed more than 4,700 people in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. These deaths, says Reprieve, amount to summary execution without trial.

Still, Reprieve says the UK shouldn’t be let off the hook. It’s a key ally of the US, and until recently the UK’s Reaper drone operations were controlled from Creech Airforce Base in Nevada. Roughly half of them still are. The close symbiosis between the two countries’ drone know-how sets off alarm bells for those who want more transparency and accountability on the technology’s use. “

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I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

“What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: ‘The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?’ I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.”

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“A lot of them kill their wives”: Journalist warns of “post deployment crime waves”

“A lot of them kill their wives”: Journalist warns of “post deployment crime waves”

“There’s another part of the book, the last chapter, that is about what happens when many of the soldiers come home and fall into, shall we say, risky and dangerous and often deadly behavior. Both a lot of family violence – a lot of them kill their wives or their girlfriends or their children. A lot of them, quite surprisingly to me, kill other soldiers. Many of them kill perfect strangers. And of course a great number of them kill themselves. And then there’s the drinking and drugging and all of that that goes on. And I think that the press has been remiss in putting that all together.”

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New recruiting tools for militants?

New recruiting tools for militants?

“Civilian governments also know that the US has historically not been shy of supporting military regimes in Pakistan as long as they serve its interests. This was evident in the US’ support for General Zia ul-Haq’s regime during the cold-war period, and for Musharraf’s regime in the post September 11 period.

Additionally, US aid historically goes up when Pakistan is under military rule rather than a democratic government. Keeping the US on its side is thus seen to be critical by the government to ensure their survival against a potential military coup. Thus, the two mainstream political parties, namely Pakistan Muslim League (PML, also known as Nawaz group) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), may raise a hue and cry about US policies, but they don’t push too far because of their domestic vulnerability. They know that an ever eager military is always waiting in the wings, for external encouragement, to get back into power.”

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California bans NDAA, indefinite detentions

California bans NDAA, indefinite detentions

“California Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed a bill in direct defiance of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act provision which legalizes the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The California law, which garnered strong support through the state legislature, bans any state cooperation with any federal attempts to indefinitely detain individuals.”

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