Tag Archives | Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Robert Greenwald on How America Embraced Drone Warfare

Activist documentarian Robert Greenwald can be relied on to address the most topical issues of the moment, ranging from Wal-Mart’s dubious employment practices to corporate war profiteering in Iraq, exposing the Koch Brothers or showing what happens to whistleblowers.

Unmanned

His latest film is Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars. Jesse Hicks interviews Greenwald for The Verge:

What drew you to this topic in the first place? Did your perspective change as you worked on the documentary?

I was drawn to it because I’ve done a series of films and investigations around the war issues. I did the first film around the Iraq war and the reasons we were given for it; I did another film called Iraq for Sale about war profiteering; I went to Afghanistan and did a film challenging the military policy there. I see the idea of the bipartisan militarization of policy — the bipartisan belief that we will be safer by invading or occupying or droning — as one that is highly questionable.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The White House Offers Rare Defense of Drone Attacks

John BrennanJosn Gerstein writes on the Politico:

President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser offered a rare public defense Sunday of the use of armed drones to target terrorism suspects – a technique widely discussed by national security experts outside government and by human rights activists, but almost always treated as secret by U.S. officials.

“Drones, the remotely piloted vehicles, [are] a tremendously capable tool to use against the terrorist abroad. It has capability to monitor their activities. It provides a good insight to our intelligence analysts and operators in terms of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It has the capability of carrying out strikes as well,” Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said on “Fox News Sunday.”

In response to a question about a recent decision by Obama to give the Central Intelligence Agency and the military broader authority to carry out drone strikes in Yemen, Brennan emphasized that such strikes are always done with approval of the countries where they take place, though he stopped short of saying that local authorities had advance notice of each specific strike.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

U.S. Drones Killed 2,800 Civilians in Pakistan in 7 Years

Drone FiringVia Press TV:

A Pakistani human rights lawyer says over 2,800 of the 3,000 people killed over the past seven years in non-UN-sanctioned US assassination drone strikes in Pakistan were civilians, Press TV reports. Shahzad Akbar, the director of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, told Press TV on Saturday that only 170 of the people killed in the aerial attacks on the northwestern tribal belt of Pakistan have been identified as militants.

That means that “over 2,800 people were civilians, whose identities are not known, and they have just been killed on suspicion of being militants,” he added. US President Barack Obama publicly confirmed for the first time in late January that drone aircraft have struck targets inside Pakistan. Obama said “a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA”, the acronym for Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Pakistan contends that the drone strikes are counterproductive. “We are of the firm view that these are unlawful, counterproductive and hence unacceptable,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said on January 31.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Anonymous Releases Defense Contractor’s Drone Data

Vanguard Defense IndustriesAlastair Stevenson reports in the International Business Times:

The hacker collective Anonymous has released a fresh batch of data taken from Vanguard Defense Industries, a Pentagon and FBI contractor.

The data release was revealed via a post on tor2web.org and later publicised on the group’s AnonymousIRC Twitter account. In it the group claimed to have released “1GB of private emails and documents belonging to Vanguard Defense Industries (VDI).”

Anonymous later said the e-mails belong to the contractor’s senior vice president, Richard T. Garcia, and contained information regarding “internal meeting notes and contracts, schematics, non-disclosure agreements, personal information about other VDI employees, and several dozen ‘counter-terrorism’ documents classified as ‘law enforcement sensitive’ and ‘for official use only.’”

A key bit of information highlighted in its release pertained to Vanguard Defense Industries’ ShadowHawk drones, which are used by military, law enforcement and private companies across the world and are loaded with grenade launchers and shotguns. Despite highlighting the ShadowHawk unmanned aerial vehicle, the group offered no clear reason for the attack on Vanguard Defense Industries besides its association with military and law enforcement agencies.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

FAA Under Pressure to Open U.S. Skies to Unmanned Spyplanes

Drones Over America

Photo: Ross D. Franklin

Joan Lowy writes on the AP via Yahoo News:

Unmanned aircraft have proved their usefulness and reliability in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the pressure’s on to allow them in the skies over the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been asked to issue flying rights for a range of pilotless planes to carry out civilian and law-enforcement functions but has been hesitant to act.

Officials are worried that they might plow into airliners, cargo planes and corporate jets that zoom around at high altitudes, or helicopters and hot air balloons that fly as low as a few hundred feet off the ground.

On top of that, these pilotless aircraft come in a variety of sizes. Some are as big as a small airliner, others the size of a backpack. The tiniest are small enough to fly through a house window.

The obvious risks have not deterred the civilian demand for pilotless planes.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

CCTV Drones: Policing By Remote Control

The secret development of CCTV UAVs or drones represents yet another example of Administrative Lawlessness now evident the world over as civil liberties are squandered.

All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
this our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

- Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue

A recent Guardian newspaper article (‘CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones’, 23rd January 2010[1]) reveals plans to use surveillance drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to spy on UK citizens. The project, called the South Coast Partnership, sees arms manufacturer BAE Systems teaming up with a “consortium of government agencies led by Kent police”.

The Guardian report states that:

Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­”routine” monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.

The Home Office’s ‘Science and Innovation Strategy 2009–12′ [2], published last year, confirms that the UK government has been exploring the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as a policing “tool”…

Continue Reading