Tag Archives | Drones

Academic’s Research Shows NY Times, Wash. Post Don’t Do Follow-up Reporting to See if Civilians Killed in U.S. Drone Strikes

By now you know the drill: The CIA or U.S. military forces unleash a drone strike or other aerial bombardment in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia or any other country that the United States claims the right to attack.

drone strikes, drones,

A U.S. government spokesperson reports 5 or 7 or 17 or 25 or whatever number of “militants” killed — Taliban, or al Qaeda or ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State fighters — according to its fill-in-the-blanks press release. Wire services, mainstream newspapers, television newscasters dutifully report in brief fashion on another successful drone or missile strike, fulfilling minimal journalistic standards by attributing it to the Pentagon, or intelligence or U.S. government sources — sometimes even naming the spokesperson who issued the news release.

And then — usually nothing. Yes, sometimes someone with a little clout raises a stink — say the Afghan president, or some prominent local official who was an eyewitness to the attack, or Doctors without Borders after the U.S.

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The Obama Administration’s Assassination Complex

The Intercept reveals secret documents that detail inner workings of the Obama administration’s drone wars program:

From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.


Drones are a tool, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”

When the Obama administration has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an “imminent” threat is present and there is “near certainty” that the intended target will be eliminated.

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Obama Becomes The First Peace Prize Winner to Bomb Another Peace Prize Winner

A Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan was bombed over the weekend. This is a very rare instance of a Nobel Peace Prize winner bombing another Peace Prize Winner. In fact, it’s the first. Also – these doctors don’t just have ironic bombs to worry about, the TPP will make their jobs that much harder as well! Lee Camp explains.

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Chimpanzee Drone Take Down was Premeditated

I’m starting to think we should just run an “animals vs. drones” series.

Rachel Feltman via Washington Post:

In April, a chimp in The Netherlands took down a drone being used to film the Burgers’ Zoo.

Now researchers have published their analysis of the clip in the journal Primates, and they’re quite impressed.

In addition to showing a stellar example of tool use — which chimps are pretty great at — researchers now say the video shows that the chimp planned out its actions in advance.

Read more here.

h/t Death and Taxes.

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Scientist Created Drones That Fly Autonomously and Learn New Routes

Drone manufactured by Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd. Credit: Image courtesy of Investigación y Desarrollo

Drone manufactured by Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd.
Credit: Image courtesy of Investigación y Desarrollo

Skynet is born.

Investigación y Desarrollo via ScienceDaily:

Drones say goodbye to pilots. With the goal of achieving autonomous flight of these aerial vehicles, the researcher José Martínez Carranza from the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE) in Mexico, developed a vision and learning system to control and navigate them without relying on a GPS signal or trained personnel.

Mexican José Martínez, structured an innovative method to estimate the position and orientation of the vehicle, allowing it to recognize its environment, hence to replace the GPS location system for low-cost sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and camcorders.

The main idea was to avoid the use of GPS and opted for the use of video cameras on board of the vehicle for visual information and applying an algorithm to locate and orient the drone during its flight to use such information.

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Amazon cleared to put its delivery drones to the test


The Federal Aviation Administration has given Amazon permission to begin testing its drone delivery operations.

via Nick Lavars at Gizmag:

It’s been more than a year in the making, but it seems that the regulatory wheels are beginning to turn on Amazon’s bold plan for drone deliveries. The FAA has today granted the online retailer permission to start testing its unmanned aircraft as part of its Prime Air initiative. It does come with its share of caveats, however, so don’t expect a box set to be air-delivered to your doorstep anytime soon.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first unveiled plans to use drones to deliver small packages in late 2013, saying that “we hope the FAA’s rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015. We will be ready at that time.” But since then, Amazon has played the waiting game as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revamps its regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles.

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