Posts tagged drone

Military error leads to bombing of a wedding in Yemen

shortformblog:

  • 15 people were killed while attending a wedding in Yemen on Thursday, after military officials apparently mistook the wedding party for an al-Qaeda convoy and reportedly used an unmanned drone to bomb the site. source

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Three things:

  1. First paper for publication review submitted. Back to the (non)blogging tomorrow.
  2. I <3 Goldenplatform. Thank you for existing.
  3. … a subtle mix of ‘i-told-you-so’ and -holy-shit-snacks- (see below AND CLICK THROUGH GOLDENPLATFORM)

goldenplatform:

BY JENNIFER LYNCH

This week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally released its first round of records in response to EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for information on the agency’s drone authorization program. The agency says the two lists it released…

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The original piece is worth a read.

Bullet-point summary (content exclusively by Jonathan Naughton, the Guardian):

  • Once upon a time, aerial warfare consisted of guys climbing into aircraft and flying bombing missions over enemy territory. Now many, if not most, of the lethal missions mounted by the USAF are carried out by unmanned drones flying high over Afghanistan and Pakistan and piloted by uniformed guys sitting in computerised consoles in New Mexico.
  • More interestingly, it turns out that the stress levels for these pilots are unexpectedly high. A Pentagon study has found, for example, that 29% of them suffer from “burnout”. A co-author of the study says that the air force tries to recruit people who are emotionally well-adjusted, “family people” with “good values”. But “when they have to kill someone, or where they are involved in missions and then they either kill them or watch them killed, it does cause them to rethink aspects of their life”.
  • So maybe Heidegger was wrong [when he argues ‘that technology is, in essence, a way of organising the world so that one doesn’t have to experience it’].
  • But there is one new form of warfare where Heidegger’s insight might turn out to be more relevant. It’s called cyberwarfare. The ability to destroy a country’s infrastructure – to bring down its electricity grid or disrupt water supplies by hacking into the computers that run these systems – offers a nation the prospect of waging war without incurring either physical or psychological risks for the aggressor’s citizens: casualty-free war, if you like…

Content analysis:

  1. As many in the comments section have pointed out, Naughton admits he didn’t really ‘get’ this hardcore philosophic work (nor has he the training to analyse), so continuing, prior to a re-read or clarification report, WAS A MASSIVE ERROR.
  2. The subhead and end commentary suggests that drones produce ‘casualty-free’ wars. You don’t need to be a Mr. Chomsky or Mr. Foucault to realise that NO WAR IS CASUALTY-FREE. Even if one side is casualty free - HISTORY MATTERS. If  infrastructure, stability, resources, systems, etc. are (remotely) destroyed, there will be fallout and likely redistributive violence (general reference: Charlie Wilson’s War, ie: Cold War and post-Cold War US ‘intervention’ in Afghanistan).
  3. The Western-centric idea of reducing casualty and psychological effects of war is just, well, lies. There is no war that will be free of adverse effects. The idea of reducing the adverse effects for the West completely negates the existence, the humanity, of the Rest (see Judith Bulter or Hannah Arendt on the concept of ‘the other’)
  4. HOW IS DISRUPTING THE ELECTRICITY GRID/WATER GRID CASUALTY-FREE?!

Guardian writers… stop having a laugh on Sundays. Academics are bored and don’t want to work.

well, when I am finished with
[the Guardian], you won’t be able to get a
contract for a prepaid mobile phone!
I will tear you down, brick by
perfidious brick!

'Torvald Utne', UN representative, Archer (2009).

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Part 2 of 2: Breaking down thepoliticalnotebook’s ‘This Week In War’

Part 2 is of course (if you follow me), from thepoliticalnotebook’s post on drones.

Here’s what interested me enough to break down the article:

Legislation: ‘H.R. 658, the “FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,” which authorizes budget resources for the Federal Aviation Administration through FY 2015 and encourages acceleration of the Next Generation Air Transportation System and air traffic control modernization.’ Signed by President Obama on, awww, Valentines’ Day, 14 February 2012.

The Why: ‘Congress is demanding drones in the air over the United States – without considering the civil liberties issues. Within the span of three days last week, the House and then the Senate passed a law – H.R. 658 – requiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to speed up, within 90 days, its current licensing process for government use of drones domestically and to open the national airspace to drone aircraft for commercial and private use by October 2015. While the law requires the FAA to develop guidance on drone safety, the law says absolutely nothing about the privacy or transparency implications of filling the sky with flying robots.’

The Issues:(Source: all quotes below pulled from ‘on drones’ link above)

  • 'The FAA has issued more than 300 temporary licenses - mostly to law enforcement agencies and research institutions.’
  • 'The agreements must allow law enforcement and other public safety agencies to operate drones under certain restrictions (i.e., within the line of sight of the operator, under 400ft., during daylight conditions).’
  • 'The Secretary must determine if certain types of drones (government and non-government) can operate in the national airspace before completion of the comprehensive plan, rulemakings, or guidance required… The Secretary must base this determination on whether the drone can perform without hazard to the public or national security.’
  • The Secretary must issue guidance regarding the operation of government drones. The guidance must include ways to expedite the issuance of FAA authorizations to use drones.
  • The Secretary must develop a “comprehensive plan” to integrate non-government drones into the national airspace system by Sep. 30, 2015. The plan is required to contain several elements, including recommendations on acceptable standards for operation, certification, and licensing of non-government drones. The recommendations in this plan will influence subsequent rulemakings.
  • 'Feb. 14, 2013: Deadline for the comprehensive plan'
  • 'Sep. 30, 2015: Integration of non-government drones'
  • 'Dec. 14, 2015: Final rule to implement the comprehensive plan'

Here is some TERRIBLE guidance for use of non-government drone use (from previous post).

And finally, here is some advice from the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVSA), ‘a trade group that represents the drone industry to the UK government,’ (Source: the Guardian) on how to get civilian populations to accept drones in their daily lives…

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

*excuse me*

…the thing is, there’s nothing a citizen can do. Private contractors/corporations have been successfully marketing drones to all levels of government.  These things have been in flight for several months. They lobby; they’ve got money; they’ve got the ear… as you and me go… we’re pretty much powerless to voice our concern and dissent against the domestic use of drones. 

In case you didn’t know… other than the whole privacy issue… here’s why drones are bad for your psyche.

That’s about all the linkingiest rantingiest I’ve got in me.

Who needs a drink?

&#8230; right, I&#8217;m critical of everything. But I&#8217;m ESPECIALLY critical of this.
are you? or do I need to lay some analytical smack-down!?
socialdemocracy:

The Use of Drones for Nonviolent Civil Resistance
12. Skywriting and earthwriting: while drones are typically used for sur-veillance, they could be used for skywriting (or sky-graffiti). They could also be used to take pictures or videos of earthwriting.
18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors: just like the above, drones could also be used to fly small flags and banners, which could further spread the message of the movement. This could be safer than other methods.
31. “Haunting” officials: drones could be used to try and follow specific officials or groups of officials, especially as they are moving through the city center. They could also be used to follow military vehicles. These drones could also take pictures of said officials and military equipment, which could be used to further haunt said officials.
32. Taunting officials: in this case, drones could be used to buzz officials up close and personal. Of course, this would make it easier for the drone to get shot down. Perhaps if protestors used a fleet of DIY drones, there would be strength in numbers, creating an annoying wasp effect. For those drones that can carry some payload, leaflet could be dropped from said drones. If the pilots are particularly adept, they could also drop paint or even, well, urine.
161. Nonviolent harassment: basically same as points 31 &amp; 32. Perhaps drones could be used to harass officials trying to give speeches. If some DIY drones are capable of carrying small but particularly loud speakers, they could be used to play music, or play back political speeches in which officials were clearly lying.
169. Nonviolent air raids: the tactics described above qualify as nonviolent air raids. Perhaps a drone could carry some firecrackers and buzz an airbase. Of course, this would likely provoke return fire with live ammunition.
184. Defiance of blockades: buzzing of blockades would demonstrate that while they can block people and cars, they care not impermeable. Those drones capable of carrying payloads could also be used to transport small packages across blockades.
194. Disclosing identities of secret agents: this is certainly more challenging and would require additional reconnaissance and intelligence information. But suspected secret agents could potentially be followed via small, DIY drones, particularly the hexacopter variety.

… right, I’m critical of everything. But I’m ESPECIALLY critical of this.

are you? or do I need to lay some analytical smack-down!?

socialdemocracy:

The Use of Drones for Nonviolent Civil Resistance

12. Skywriting and earthwriting: while drones are typically used for sur-veillance, they could be used for skywriting (or sky-graffiti). They could also be used to take pictures or videos of earthwriting.

18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors: just like the above, drones could also be used to fly small flags and banners, which could further spread the message of the movement. This could be safer than other methods.

31. “Haunting” officials: drones could be used to try and follow specific officials or groups of officials, especially as they are moving through the city center. They could also be used to follow military vehicles. These drones could also take pictures of said officials and military equipment, which could be used to further haunt said officials.

32. Taunting officials: in this case, drones could be used to buzz officials up close and personal. Of course, this would make it easier for the drone to get shot down. Perhaps if protestors used a fleet of DIY drones, there would be strength in numbers, creating an annoying wasp effect. For those drones that can carry some payload, leaflet could be dropped from said drones. If the pilots are particularly adept, they could also drop paint or even, well, urine.

161. Nonviolent harassment: basically same as points 31 & 32. Perhaps drones could be used to harass officials trying to give speeches. If some DIY drones are capable of carrying small but particularly loud speakers, they could be used to play music, or play back political speeches in which officials were clearly lying.

169. Nonviolent air raids: the tactics described above qualify as nonviolent air raids. Perhaps a drone could carry some firecrackers and buzz an airbase. Of course, this would likely provoke return fire with live ammunition.

184. Defiance of blockades: buzzing of blockades would demonstrate that while they can block people and cars, they care not impermeable. Those drones capable of carrying payloads could also be used to transport small packages across blockades.

194. Disclosing identities of secret agents: this is certainly more challenging and would require additional reconnaissance and intelligence information. But suspected secret agents could potentially be followed via small, DIY drones, particularly the hexacopter variety.

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“If it is used selectively,” it can help both the U.S. and Pakistan by taking out “key leadership” of al-Qaeda and other groups such as Tehrik-i-Taliban of Pakistan, which poses a greater threat to Pakistan than it does to the U.S., said Jones, a former representative of the U.S. Special Operations Command at the Pentagon.

Pakistan has told the White House it no longer will permit U.S. drones to use its airspace to attack militants and collect intelligence on al-Qaeda and other groups, according to officials involved in the talks.” from Bloomberg.

…the problem is, they AREN’T and HAVEN’T BEEN used selectively, and this is why there is controversy.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand that a drone is very hard to stop. It flies low and it isn’t stopped by all of the infrastructure we have in place to make sure people don’t go to the places they’re not supposed to go to. Fences and walls and gates and barriers, it simply goes over those things. … As these drones get cheaper, more prevalent, easier to get, attract less attention, it raises the risks that they will fall into the wrong hands and be used inappropriately.

In February, President Obama signed an aviation bill requiring the FAA to make plans to integrate drones into American airspace. Brookings Institution senior fellow John Villasenor explains what these drones will be able to see — and how our privacy and national security may be affected. (via nprfreshair)

le sigh. …”As these drones get cheaper, more prevalent, easier to get, attract less attention, it raises the risks that they will fall into the wrong hands and be used inappropriately.”

1) I will not stop opposing drones/drone technology simply because their use is more widespread. we must continue to attract attention to the immoral, illogical use of drones/drone technology.

2) any use is inappropriate. the us government hands are absolutely the wrong hands.

3) there are just so many things wrong with this… its Monday, and at 4:30 pm, I’ve already been walked on/used too much to add more content/commentary

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now THIS is diplomacy.
newsflick:

Iran promises to return US drone - as a pink toy

It may not have been quite what Barack Obama meant when he called on Iran to return a US drone that crashed in the Islamic Republic.
Rather than giving back the multi-million dollar piece of spyware, which has been gleefully paraded for the world’s cameras, an Iranian toy maker has promised to send the White House a pink plastic toy replica of the downed drone.
The Ayeh Art group has been doing a brisk trade in models of the RQ-170, producing around 2,000 a day, and in an inspired moment of self-publicity has promised to reserve one for President Obama.
“He said he wanted it back, and we will send him one,” said Reza Kioumars, the company’s head of cultural production. (source)

This did make me giggle a little.

now THIS is diplomacy.

newsflick:

Iran promises to return US drone - as a pink toy

It may not have been quite what Barack Obama meant when he called on Iran to return a US drone that crashed in the Islamic Republic.

Rather than giving back the multi-million dollar piece of spyware, which has been gleefully paraded for the world’s cameras, an Iranian toy maker has promised to send the White House a pink plastic toy replica of the downed drone.

The Ayeh Art group has been doing a brisk trade in models of the RQ-170, producing around 2,000 a day, and in an inspired moment of self-publicity has promised to reserve one for President Obama.

“He said he wanted it back, and we will send him one,” said Reza Kioumars, the company’s head of cultural production. (source)

This did make me giggle a little.

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Our sky is our sky, not the U.S.A.’s sky.
A month after the last American troops left Iraq, the State Department is operating a small fleet of surveillance drones here to help protect the United States Embassy and consulates, as well as American personnel. Some senior Iraqi officials, including the acting minister of interior, Adnan al-Asadi, expressed outrage at the program, saying the unarmed aircraft are an affront to Iraqi sovereignty. (More at NYT)

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yes. yes. yes. exactly. (Natenstein) &#8230; HEAVILY ARMED!!!
latimes:

New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who’s accountable? The Navy is testing an autonomous plane that will land on an aircraft carrier. The prospect of heavily armed aircraft screaming through the skies without direct human control is unnerving to many.
Photo:  The X-47B drone. Credit: Chad Slattery, Northrop Grumman

yes. yes. yes. exactly. (Natenstein) … HEAVILY ARMED!!!

latimes:

New drone has no pilot anywhere, so who’s accountable? The Navy is testing an autonomous plane that will land on an aircraft carrier. The prospect of heavily armed aircraft screaming through the skies without direct human control is unnerving to many.

Photo: The X-47B drone. Credit: Chad Slattery, Northrop Grumman

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

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2 minutes. must watch. please join me in condemning any use of drones in any nation for any purpose.

brushedteeth:

US drones ‘causing mental trauma’ in Pakistan

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He said the family regarded him as having been “executed” without having committed any crime. “We now wish to be left alone and grieve for our son.”

Two young British men have been killed in US drone strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal belt, according to reports from the country. The pair, both Muslims from London, are reported to have been killed in separate drone strikes two weeks apart in South Waziristan.

Text and Source: the Guardian

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Of course, nobody inside the U.S. Government is objecting on the ground that it is wrong to blow people up without having any knowledge of who they are and without any evidence they have done anything wrong. Rather, the internal dissent is grounded in the concern that these drone attacks undermine U.S. objectives by increasing anti-American sentiment in the region (there’s that primitive, inscrutable Muslim culture rearing its head again: they strangely seem to get very angry when foreign governments send sky robots over their countries and blow up their neighbors, teenagers and children). But whatever else is true, huge numbers of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — defend Obama’s massive escalation of drone attacks on the ground that he’s killing Terrorists even though they — and, according to the Wall Street Journal, Obama himself — usually don’t even know whose lives they’re snuffing out. Remember, though: we have to kill The Muslim Terrorists because they have no regard for human life.

Glenn Greenwald, “The Drone Mentality” (via andrewfm)

HA! that right there is why i wouldn’t vote for him again.

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