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  #126  
Old 06-10-2013, 08:48 PM
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I read some of your foolish scree, then just skimmed the rest.
 
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

This is creating a new kind of combat stress that could easily produce large groups of soldiers with untreated mental illnesses. We've known for awhile now that combat doesn't do a mind good, and that it's not just the physical stresses one is put under but the mental ones as well. Compartmentalizing the war zone from everyday life helps to buffer soldiers from these effect, and instead there are large numbers of soldiers who shift between the war zone mentality and home at peace on a daily basis. I wouldn't be surprised if this strips mental gears and starts to blur the line of how one should act and when.
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  #127  
Old 09-24-2013, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

Quote:
A leading Yemeni human rights activist questioned by Gatwick airport anti-terror officers tells Channel 4 News he fears Britain is targeting people who oppose US drone wars.
Yemen drone campaigner detained at Gatwick - Channel 4 News
Quote:
Meanwhile in a separate case a Pakistani lawyer has been blocked from travelling to the US where he had planned to speak to congress about America's drone programme.

Shahzad Akbar wants to accompany family members of Waziristan drone victims who are taking their case to US lawmakers.

Mr Akbar said an immigration officer at the US embassy told him that she is satisfied he is not a flight risk but she "doesn't have powers to grant me visa due to my 'history' with US".

"I asked her what 'history' and she said 'you know that you have a history with the US'.

"She was referring to the fact that I sued the CIA for drone strikes in Pakistan and was the first one to challenge US drone strikes in courts.
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  #128  
Old 09-24-2013, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

BBC News - Empty F-16 jet tested by Boeing and US Air Force
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  #129  
Old 09-24-2013, 11:33 PM
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I read some of your foolish scree, then just skimmed the rest.
 
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

Maybe this will allow them to salvage the multi-billion dollar next gen fighter jet with all sorts of amazingly advanced weapon systems... which arbitrarily tries to kill its pilot by suffocation. It was finally grounded when they couldn't find pilots willing to allow their plane to suffocate them on a whim.

While the dronification of fighter jets sounds scary at first, it really wont change much as a lack of pilot isn't the reason older jets have been mothballed.
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  #130  
Old 09-25-2013, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

The F16 is a far more capable aircraft without a human pilot.
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  #131  
Old 09-26-2013, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

UK detention of Reprieve activist consistent with NSA's view of drone opponents as 'threats' and 'adversaries' | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | theguardian.com
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  #132  
Old 10-12-2013, 07:05 PM
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She is not afraid of anyone. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for suggesting that girls be allowed to go to school, visited President Obama Friday.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malala
I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.
You go, girl.

Read more here: Malala Yousafzai tells Obama drones are 'fueling terrorism' | Washington Watch | McClatchy DC
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  #133  
Old 10-16-2013, 02:34 PM
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  #134  
Old 10-17-2013, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program - The Washington Post
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  #135  
Old 12-02-2013, 08:40 PM
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The US has been working hard to guarantee a military footprint in Afghanistan after 2014; the most recent draft set up a plan to have limited (meaning a range of 8,000-15,000 soldiers, depending on the source) US forces in Afghanistan through 2024.

But it turns out a couple things are still derailing said agreement. Night-time raids into Afghan homes is a huge issue, as are continued drone strikes.
NYT, Nov 29, 2013:
Recent Drone Strikes Strain U.S. Ties With Afghanistan and Pakistan
Quote:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Two separate but similarly bitter disagreements over drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan have complicated relations between the United States and those two countries at a delicate moment, again highlighting the political complications from America’s persistent reliance on the lethal remote-controlled weapons.

In Afghanistan, the American military commander called President Hamid Karzai late Thursday to apologize for a drone strike that resulted in civilian casualties and that gave Mr. Karzai renewed reason to refuse to sign a long-term security agreement with the United States.
...>snip<...
The use of these weapons, which is deeply resented, highlights the political costs to the United States of the drone campaigns, even as its range of military options in the region has started to narrow with American combat troops leaving Afghanistan.

The American military already has greatly restricted raids on Afghan homes, amid demands from Mr. Karzai for a complete ban on such operations. The raids, normally carried out by Special Operations forces to apprehend insurgent leaders, are the last routine combat missions of the United States in Afghanistan.

Afghan anger over one such raid last week led Mr. Karzai to insist on a ban, and he has said he will not sign the long-term security agreement with the United States until such operations are definitively over.
This is absolutely part of political negotiations and an agreement of some sort is still likely to be signed. Additional complications from the Afghan side include that the Taliban are actually not going to go away, and the Afghan government is still interested in brokering some sort of peace deal. The US appears to see its role solely as the stick- i.e. continued pressure through raids, drone strikes, and general warfare- in those negotiations; unfortunately they appear to be the stick to much of the populace as well, when they routinely kill civilians with drones.

Over in Yemen, there has been a rise in protesting against drones using art, and poetry:



Time.com, November 30, 2013:
Quote:
An American drone hovers along a main thoroughfare in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Not a real drone, but rather a 7 foot-long rendition of an unmanned aircraft spray-painted near the top of a whitewashed city wall. Below it, a stenciled-on child is writing: “Why did you kill my family?” in blood-red English and Arabic script.

Painted by Yemeni artist Murad Subay, the Banksy-esque mural sits beside three others also admonishing the United States’ use of drones in Yemen to track and kill terrorism suspects. This drone art is part of Subay’s latest campaign, “12 Hours”, which aims to raise awareness about twelve problems facing Yemen, including weapons proliferation, sectarianism, kidnapping and poverty. Drones are the fifth and arguably most striking “hour” yet completed.
The link in the text above is to an Instagram of the mural described, via the Russian Times.
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  #136  
Old 12-03-2013, 08:59 PM
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My brother got invited to a wedding in Pakistan. It's a client of his company. Apparently he was the one executive smart enough to point out that if they made their employees go and they were killed by drones, the company could get sued. So they explicitly stated that it was not a required function and attendance was voluntary and somehow, no one wanted to attend anymore. Fancy that.
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  #137  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:45 PM
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Chris Woods, The Guardian:
Quote:
A regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA's drone strike programme in Pakistan, according to a new documentary to be released on Tuesday.

The film – which has been three years in the making – identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which operates from a secure compound in a corner of Creech air force base, 45 miles from Las Vegas in the Mojave desert.

Several former drone operators have claimed that the unit's conventional air force personnel – rather than civilian contractors – have been flying the CIA's heavily armed Predator missions in Pakistan, a 10-year campaign which according to some estimates has killed more than 2,400 people.
...>snip<...
Shamsi [Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project] said the revelations, if true, raised "a host of additional pressing questions about the legal framework under which the targeted killing programme is carried out and the basis for the secrecy that continues to shroud it."

She added: "It will come as a surprise to most Americans if the CIA is directing the military to carry out warlike activities. The agency should be collecting and analysing foreign intelligence, not presiding over a massive killing apparatus.

"We don't know precisely what rules the CIA is operating under, but what we do know makes clear that it's not abiding by the laws that strictly limit extrajudicial killing both in and out of traditional battlefields. Now we have to ask whether the regular military is violating those laws as well, under the secrecy that the CIA wields as sword and shield over its killing activities.

"Congressional hearings in the last year have made it embarrassingly clear that Congress has not exercised much oversight over the lethal programme."

In theory, the revelation could expose serving air force personnel to legal challenges based on their direct involvement in a programme that a UN special rapporteur and numerous other judicial experts are concerned may be wholly or partly in violation of international law.
Hard to believe, I know- that the CIA and the Obama Administration has been lying about the military's role in drone strikes.
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  #138  
Old 06-27-2014, 11:41 AM
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The Guardian, June 23, 2014:
Quote:
Lawyers for the Obama administration, arguing for their ability to kill an American citizen without trial in Yemen, contended that the protection of US citizenship was effectively removed by a key congressional act that blessed a global war against al-Qaida.

Known as the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), the broad and controversial 2001 law played a major role in the legal decision to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, the former al-Qaida propagandist and US citizen, in 2011, according to a redacted memorandum made public on Monday.

"We believe that the AUMF's authority to use lethal force abroad also may apply in appropriate circumstances to a United States citizen who is part of the forces of an enemy authorization within the scope of the force authorization," reads the Justice Department memorandum, written for attorney general Eric Holder on 16 July 2010 and ostensibly intended strictly for Awlaki's case.

Among those circumstances: "Where high-level government officials have determined that a capture operation is infeasible and that the targeted person is part of a dangerous enemy force and is engaged in activities that pose a continued and imminent threat to US persons or interests."

The 2nd US circuit court of appeals in Manhattan released the memo on Monday in response to a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times.
...>snip<...
While Obama administration officials have for years insisted that Awlaki was an operational leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which in 2009 and 2010 attempted unsuccessfully to detonate bombs inside the US, they have also fought lawsuits seeking to reveal their case against Awlaki.
...>snip<...
...its suppression challenge took various forms and arguments over the years, despite repeated official confirmations about the drone strikes, including from the president; despite the confirmed killing of four Americans, three of whom are claimed to have been killed accidentally, including Awlaki's 16-year-old son; and despite the 2013 leak of a memo summarizing the Justice Department's arguments about so-called "targeted killing" for Congress.

The redacted version of the memo released Monday does not reveal much of the factual basis for the government's claims that Awlaki represented an imminent threat to the United States.

In the disclosed portions, Barron's memo does not explicitly vouch for the government's case against Awlaki, referring instead to "the facts represented to us". It refers instead to Awlaki as a "leader" who was "continuously planning attacks" against the US, without providing an evidentiary basis for claims central to the extraordinary circumvention of normal due process procedures. Nor do the public sections explain why capturing Awlaki was not feasible, nor why the Justice Department believes it need not have provided Awlaki with judicial process.
I continue to look forward to the eventual release of the evidence upon which the US based this extrajudicial killing. Though of course the US kills hundreds of people with drone strikes and without any judicial input.

In a tangentially related matter, I do enjoy the wariness with which the US tentatively supports Iran's use of drones currently in Iraq. If you click on the link, see if you can spot how many ways the underlying assumption of the article is that the US has every right to make decisions about the "stability of the region" and oversee any decisions Iran might make- about the civil war next door.

Imagine an article where Iran was warily approving the US' decisions regarding relations or civil strife in Mexico, for example, and cautioning the US to keep in mind the "stability of the region"; let alone a world where Middle East nations flew armed drones over the US, Canada, and Mexico, surveilling the general population and killing "militants" to help "stabilize" our respective nations.
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  #139  
Old 06-28-2014, 03:46 AM
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Why didn't the government try Awlaki for treason, in abstentia, and then strip him of his citizenship? Then they could have executed him as an enemy combatant without having to rationalize the decision to kill an American citizen.

I really don't understand why they don't check with me before they make decisions like that. A phone call is all it would take. I'm pretty sure they have my number.
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  #140  
Old 06-28-2014, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

As well as the numbers of anybody you've ever called for the last 12 years.
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  #141  
Old 06-28-2014, 04:00 AM
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I read some of your foolish scree, then just skimmed the rest.
 
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

Cause even basic things like kangaroo due process doesn't matter to the current system that basically thinks things like the constitution are liberal hippy bullshit.
While things are starting to get curtailed I've actually been expecting an on American soil drone strike (perhaps not the states, maybe a territory just to allow for some ambiguity.)
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  #142  
Old 04-26-2015, 06:45 AM
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Oops:
Quote:
The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity.
Greenwald asks at The Intercept when the US might be planning to apologize for the hundreds of non-westerner civilian men, women, and children casualties, let alone acknowledge them as human beings; the answer of course being likely not ever.
Spencer Ackerman via The Guardian discusses the "signature strikes" drone program under which the building with western hostages was targeted at length, with the key point being:
Quote:
Of all the reactions to the deaths of two hostages from a missile fired from a US drone, Congressman Adam Schiff provided the deepest insight into the logic underpinning the endless, secret US campaign of global killing.

“To demand a higher standard of proof than they had here could be the end of these types of counter-terrorism operations,” said Schiff, a California Democrat and one of the most senior legislators overseeing those operations.
In a related sudden giving-a-shit-about-drones moment in the US media, William Saletan makes an argument at Slate about how drones are getting a bad rap because compared to air strikes and all other prior warfare, they are more accurate with fewer civilian casualties.
The argument is imprecise at best and misleading generally.

Firstly, it is based on what few records can be gleaned on the drone strike killings, which the government and military half the time claims it does not track. It is proven that the government and military routinely cover up or lie about drone strikes and casualty figures to the press; and the government counts every male of military age (18-54) killed by drone strikes as an enemy combatant, vastly skewing the numbers and putting the burden of disproving the claim on journalists.
Even so, Mr. Saletan does his best to compare figures from a number of non-governmental sources. So let's assume for the sake of argument that even with poor data, his argument is correct.

Mr. Saletan makes the argument that to return to previous methods would then cost even more civilian lives, and this is where I think the framing is poor: the assumption is that the US is performing extrajudicial killings in nations we are not at war with and that's just what it takes; if not with drones then with older forms of warfare. I think this fails utterly to address the underlying issue that maybe- just maybe- the US should not be undertaking extrajudicial killings or have created a state of permanent shadow war. For reasons both ethical, legal, and realistic: war crimes and global warfare do not increase the safety of the US and rather assist in fueling radicalization and militancy toward the US.

Perhaps Mr. Saletan is focusing on this one small part of drone warfare. But I think it is an error to ignore the rest of the picture. This includes the reasoning behind drones and distance killings: it keeps US soldiers out of direct risk (at the time), and killings with robots can be referred to as "surgical strikes", and "pinpoint accuracy" and the deaths are impersonal and therefore ignored almost entirely by the citizens of the US, unless of course a westerner dies; westerners count as humans.

Indeed, the future for drones is bright: many nations are developing and using military drones now, for domestic and foreign warfare. They aren't going away. But that hardly means that they should be celebrated, let alone defended in their criminal uses.

Not to get too far afield here, but I also have reservations on Mr. Saletan's judgement when he says things like this in the same article on drones:
Quote:
Last summer, Israel took extraordinary measures to avoid killing innocent people in Gaza. But the results were still horrific. According to a postwar investigation by the Associated Press, Israel’s 247 airstrikes on residential buildings killed 844 people.
That's nearly the polar opposite of extraordinary measures to avoid killing innocents.
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  #143  
Old 04-27-2015, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chunksmediocrites View Post
Quote:
Last summer, Israel took extraordinary measures to avoid killing innocent people in Gaza. But the results were still horrific. According to a postwar investigation by the Associated Press, Israel’s 247 airstrikes on residential buildings killed 844 people.
That's nearly the polar opposite of extraordinary measures to avoid killing innocents.
Unless you assume that the Palestinians all must be guilty of something merely by existing and those Jews who are sympathetic to the Palestinians are tainted by association. That idea is not too far from the mainstream media's standard discourse on Israel/Palestine. One gets the impression that "collateral damage" could only occur if a drone strike went astray and hit the Likud Party headquarters.

Besides, there are always excuses for targeting residential areas, the chief of which is that the Palestinian militants are using the civilians as "human shields". But since we're talking about a resistance movement, all of its members are going to be drawn from within the civilian population. It's like saying that because we have a militia movement in this country that we're entitled to start leveling majority-white suburbs with drone strikes.

Last edited by Nullifidian; 04-27-2015 at 08:43 PM.
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  #144  
Old 10-16-2015, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Sky Robots killing bad guys for freedom!!!

The Intercept has published a massive expose on the United States drone program. Mother Jones has a summary of many of the key points, including:
Quote:
  • The US government kills a lot of people who aren't military targets.
  • Obama had to sign off on each target, but he didn't know when or where the military might strike.
  • In some places, a lack of surveillance drones and other equipment makes the intel used to kill people less reliable.
  • But the alternative may not be much better.
The whole thing is worth reading.
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