One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:59 am

MONDAY, JUL 22, 2013 06:48 AM CDT
Leaked report shows high civilian death toll from CIA drone strikes
The report describes 147 civilian deaths, much high than the U.S. administration has admitted to
BY CHRIS WOODS

This article originally appeared at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
A secret document obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals for the first time the Pakistan government’s internal assessment of dozens of drone strikes, and shows scores of civilian casualties.

The United States has consistently claimed only a tiny number of non-combatants have been killed in drone attacks in Pakistan – despite research by the Bureau and others suggesting that over 400 civilians may have died in the nine-year campaign.

The internal document shows Pakistani officials too found that CIA drone strikes were killing a significant number of civilians – and have been aware of those deaths for many years.

Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children.

The confidential 12-page summary paper, titled Details of Attacks by Nato Forces/Predators in FATA was prepared by government officials in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Based on confidential reports from a network of government agents in the field, it outlines 75 separate CIA drone strikes between 2006 and late 2009 and provides details of casualties in many of the attacks. Five attacks alleged to be carried out by Nato or other unspecified forces are also listed.

The numbers recorded are much higher than those provided by the US administration, which continues to insist that no more than 50 to 60 ‘non-combatants’ have been killed by the CIA across the entire nine years of Pakistan bombings. New CIA director John Brennan has described claims to the contrary as ‘intentional misrepresentations‘.

The document shows that during the 2006-09 period covered, when Pakistan’s government and military were privately supporting the CIA’s campaign, officials had extensive internal knowledge of high civilian casualties.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Bureau the Pakistani government now opposed drone strikes: ‘Pakistan’s position on drone strikes has been stipulated on several occasions. The drone strikes violate our sovereignty and international law. These also entail human rights and humanitarian implications.’

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A former Political Agent for North Waziristan who was shown the leaked report by the Bureau says he does not believe the casualty figures to be exaggerated.

‘There was no benefit in officials “cooking the books” here, since this document was clearly never intended to be seen outside the civilian administration,’ said Rauf Khan Khattak, who also recently served in Pakistan’s caretaker government.

Three separate sources
The leaked document – which the Bureau obtained from three separate sources – is based on field reports by government officials rather than on media coverage. The Bureau understands that the document is continually updated as attacks occur – although the copy obtained ends with a strike on October 24 2009.

Prepared for the FATA Secretariat - the political administration of the tribal areas – the document was never intended for public release. Since no individual victims are named, the Bureau has assessed that it is safe to publish the paper in its entirety.

Read the full internal Pakistani document.

The document often includes fresh information on strikes, for example confirming the location and target of a September 2 2008 CIA attack, only previously alluded to in a US intelligence document.

The newly released paper gives a precise location and casualty count for that strike, noting:

Predator attack was made on the house of Bakhtawar Khan Daur, Mohammad Khel, Tehsil Datta Khel Miranshah. One injured.

According to former officials familiar with the process, the internal casualty data listed in the document would have been collated through an extended network of government contacts.

Each tribal area such as North Waziristan is administered by a Political Agent and his assistants. Beneath them are agents known as tehsildars and naibs who gather information when drone strikes occur – the names and identities of those killed, damage to property and so on. Additional information is also drawn from the khassadar - the local tribal police – and from paid informants in villages.

‘What you end up with in these reports is reasonably accurate, because it comes from on-the-ground sources cultivated over many years. And the political agent is only interested in properly understanding what actually happened,’ says former official Rauf Khan Khattak.

Both the US and Pakistani authorities have historically been wary of releasing casualty data for the ‘secret’ CIA campaign.

However in March, UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC – who is carrying out an investigation into drone strikes – said that Pakistani officials had now produced estimates of civilians killed in CIA drone attacks.

Emmerson stated that Islamabad ‘has been able to confirm that at least 400 civilians had been killed as a result of drone strikes, and that a further 200 individuals were regarded as probable non-combatants. Officials indicated that due to under-reporting and obstacles to effective investigation on the ground these figures were likely to be under-estimates of the number of civilian deaths.’

In contrast, leaked US intelligence documents recently obtained by news agency McClatchy show the CIA rarely admits to civilian deaths in Pakistan.

Yet the internal document obtained by the Bureau shows that for years Pakistani officials were noting privately what news media and researchers were already reporting publicly – that significant numbers of civilians were indeed being killed in CIA attacks.

In a US strike on the village of Damadola in January 2006, for example, officials noted: ’05 children 05 women and 6 mens [sic] all civilians’ died. Press reports at the time indicated that between 10 and 18 civilians had died.

On four other occasions, tribal officials privately reported civilian deaths where the media had reported none.
On June 14 2009, for example, FATA officials secretly noted that an attack on a vehicle which killed three people was on ‘a civilian pickup truck’. No Urdu or English-language media at the time reported any civilian deaths.

Most controversially, tribal officials reported back to Islamabad in October 2006 that 81 civilians, all but one of whom were described as children, were killed in a single drone strike on a religious school in Bajaur Agency.

According to officials, the casualties were ’80 children 01 men all civilian’. It was widely reported at the time that scores of children had died: Pakistani newspaper The News published the names and ages of 69 children, under the UN definition of a child as being under 18 years old. The discrepancy appears to be because the FATA Secretariat has also classified older students killed as children.

As with all early CIA drone strikes, Pakistan’s military had initially claimed it was responsible for the 2006 Bajaur strike. As word of civilian deaths began to emerge, the army reversed its position and denied carrying out the attack, although it has consistently claimed that only militants died that day.

In June 2012, Pakistan’s former President General Pervez Musharraf told journalist Jemima Khan: ‘In the media, they said it was all children. They were absolutely wrong. There may have been some collateral damage of some children but they were not children at all, they were all militants doing training inside.’

Jemima Khan is associate editor of British magazine the New Statesman and also the former wife of Pakistani politician Imran Khan – who campaigns vociferously against US drone strikes.

‘Can you imagine the uproar that would be caused anywhere else in the world if 94 children were reported murdered in just three years?’ Ms Khan told the Bureau.

Ms Khan said that she was angered to learn that senior military and government officials were denying the deaths of children at Bajaur, even as they privately knew otherwise.

‘This leaked document proves what many have suspected all along – that US and Pakistani politicians have been lying to us,’ she said.

Former officials agree that the leaked document is most likely accurate: ‘You can’t distort that kind of information. If children hadn’t been killed, we’d have had people coming to us from all over Bajaur who would have told us so,’ former FATA agent Rauf Khan Khattak insists.

Unnamed dead
The secret government papers are revealing, but they also have some puzzling omissions.

None of those killed are named in the document – either civilians or alleged or known militants. Even where prominent militant commanders were killed – such as Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP), who died in August 2009 – no reference is made to the target.

Reports of civilian deaths also disappear entirely for most of 2009, after President Obama took office.

In part this is because officials occasionally note that ‘details of casualties are yet to be ascertained.’ But many credible reports of civilian deaths are simply missing.

The Bureau’s own research shows that civilian deaths have been credibly reported in at least 17 of the 53 CIA drone strikes in Obama’s first year in office.

Yet FATA officials report civilian deaths in only three incidents in 2009.

On January 23 that year, for example, the secret file notes only that five people died in a strike in South Waziristan – with no indication of civilian deaths.

However, a letter from the South Waziristan Political Agency – obtained in 2010 by the Center for Civilians in Conflict (right) – clearly notes four civilian deaths in that attack. President Obama is also reported to have been informed of civilian deaths in this and another strike on the same day.

For the years 2006 to 2008, the internal document far more closely matches media reports of civilian deaths. Yet measured against the public record, it is unclear why references to civilian deaths in the report disappear almost entirely after Obama’s election.

‘No such documents’
Ambassador Rustan Shah Mohmand, who was a senior administrator in the tribal areas for 25 years between 1973 and 1998, cautions that the released file might not be the fullest data available.

Noting that Pakistan’s military is responsible for security in FATA, he told the Bureau: ‘Tribal documents might present a broad picture. But any accuracy is dependent on what data the military chooses to release to or withhold from the political agents. In the last eight years, for example, no precise casualty figures have ever been submitted to Pakistan’s parliament.’

Rumours have been circulating for many months of internal Pakistani documents detailing drone strike casualties. The Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court, Dost Muhammad Khan, began demanding in mid 2012 that the FATA Secretariat release all casualty data it held.

Khan presided over a successful civil case against the CIA brought by the Foundation for Fundamental Rights. FATA officials at first claimed that no such internal documents existed, though in August 2012 an official presented the court with limited details of CIA strikes up to 2008.

In his final judgment Chief Justice Khan, citing ‘Political Authorities’ in FATA, said that 896 civilians had been killed by the CIA between 2007 and 2012 in North Waziristan, with a further 533 civilian deaths in South Waziristan.

Those figures indicate that FATA officials may now be claiming a far higher civilian death toll than that reported by the leaked document - although the source for those claims is not clear.

‘How come the same civil servants are feeding one kind of data to the Peshawar High Court and another kind of data to the FATA secretariat?’ asked Shahzad Akbar, the Pakistani barrister behind the successful Peshawar case. ‘Are they fudging the numbers based on who was on the receiving end?’

US counter-terrorism officials declined to comment on the specifics of the leaked document, though referred the Bureau to recent comments by both President Obama and CIA Director Brennan stating that the US goes to great lengths to limit civilian deaths in covert drone strikes.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby elfismiles » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:56 pm

Scott Horton is interviewing Chris right now on this ... docs say 1 in 5 drone casualties are civilian - but numbers don't jive with other data.

seemslikeadream » 22 Jul 2013 13:59 wrote:
MONDAY, JUL 22, 2013 06:48 AM CDT
Leaked report shows high civilian death toll from CIA drone strikes
The report describes 147 civilian deaths, much high than the U.S. administration has admitted to
BY CHRIS WOODS
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:36 pm

Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:51 pm

Breaking: NSA Collecting All the Information Needed to Kill You
bysdelearFollow

From the Washington Post:

On the line with the SEAL was the drone operator and a “collector,” an NSA employee at the agency’s gigantic base at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga. The collector was controlling electronic surveillance equipment in the airspace over the part of Afghanistan where the CIA had zeroed in on one particular person. The SEAL pleaded with the collector to locate the cellphone in Afghanistan that matched the phone number that the SEAL had just given him, according to someone with knowledge of the incident who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The collector had never before done such a thing. Before even intercepting a cellphone conversation, he was accustomed to first confirming that the user was the person he had been directed to spy on. The conversation would then be translated, analyzed, distilled and, weeks later, if deemed to be interesting, sent around the U.S. intelligence community and the White House.

On that day, though, the minutes mattered.

“We just want you to find the phone!” the SEAL urged. No one cared about the conversation it might be transmitting.

The CIA wanted the phone as a targeting beacon to kill its owner.

By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off. JSOC troops called this “The Find,” and it gave them thousands of new targets, including members of a burgeoning al-Qaeda-sponsored insurgency in Iraq, according to members of the unit.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
So the NSA and CIA have been targeting drone strikes at cellphones without first taking the time to be clear who is carrying the phone and what they might be doing. That's how you end up blowing up weddings, political meetings, and groups of teenagers hanging out at a cafe.

Equally disturbing the NSA is collecting and storing information on every American with a cell phone that would allow them to quickly carry out their assassination via drone. (I should also add that if you have a 4G enabled tablet, it would seem the government can follow it even when turned off). Among the things the government absolutely should not be doing is secretly tracking citizens in a way that would allow for their extrajudicial killing.

It is time we renewed the ban on the US government performing assassinations. Once that capability has been created it is far to easy to abuse.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby elfismiles » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:11 am

Roger Waters’s pig drone featuring a Star of David.

elfismiles » 25 Jul 2013 15:09 wrote:
Pig Balloon at Roger Waters Concert Features Star of David; Wiesenthal Center Calls Him ‘Open Hater of Jews’ (VIDEO)
Image
Roger Waters’s pig drone featuring a Star of David. Photo: Screenshot.
http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/07/24/ma ... vid-video/

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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:15 am

oh dear
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:20 am

Napoleon's Baubles: Drone Strikes Now Come With Your Own Souvenir Flag
by Abby Zimet

Image
Despite U.S. claims that civilian deaths from drone strikes are “exceedingly rare,” leaked Pakistani data reveal a high civilian death toll - one in five victims, with over 12% children. But to make us all feel better, the Air Force has begun a commemorative flag-flying program offering a Stars and Stripes that flew tucked into the drone’s fuselage as an exclusive souvenir, complete with personalized certificate and details on the mission, to visitors or "lucky recipients." People are said to love them. John Prine is right on as always.

Napoleon Bonaparte: “It is with such baubles that men are led.”


Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby elfismiles » Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:59 pm

elfismiles » 11 Jul 2013 02:36 wrote:SkyNet Lives
Postby elfismiles » 15 Mar 2012
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=34262

Image


elfismiles » 12 Jul 2013 16:08 wrote:Meet DARPA's Humanoid Robot That Could Someday Save You From A Crumbling Building (Video)
http://www.fastcompany.com/3014203/fast ... g-building


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkBnFPBV3f0




2084: Big robot is watching you
Report on the future of robots for policing, surveillance and security

Noel Sharkey, University of Sheffield

Introduction

There are considerable and swelling numbers of police robots performing manydifferent roles throughout the world in countries such as China, Russia, USA, UK,Israel, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Africa and South Korea. They perform tasksranging from assisting in hostage release to providing protection for tourists. Someare armed with lethal weapons and several have non-lethal weapons like Tasers, water cannon, pepper spays and nets. Many are used for surveillance. Some haveautonomous or semi-autonomous function while others are under tight human control.There are more and more reports on a daily basis of the police use of robots and newrobots being added to the repertoire all the time. The biggest current users are the USSWAT teams and the most dangerous are the South Korean border guards.Why are robots so useful to the police? They perform the dangerous, dull anddirty work that humans do not want to undertake. They keep the police out of harm’sway in an increasingly dangerous world of armed criminals, gangs and terror organisations. The more they are used the more their uses and functions will evolve.Many military applications are being developed that will be returned to civilian policing. At present the costs are high but they are falling and will fall dramatically asmanufacture increases over the next 10 years. It is undeniable that robots are a safeway to reduce future crime.However, the price for our protection may be too great. The progressive growthof robot policing poses some serious technological dystopian threats to our society.There is a trade off between crime prevention and our privacy, our civil liberties and
our basic human rights. All of these will be eroded by the development of new robottechnologies for monitoring, checking, tagging and following us.Projecting from current trends in the convergence of existing technologies possible reality for 2084 is that there will be many different types of robots workingin directly connected unison, sharing information and images using swarmintelligence techniques. Everything from tough tracked robots with non-lethalweapons to snake like robots and even pipe crawling robots will operate together toleave no hiding places. Robots will have access to totally integrated databases of allinformation about citizens including bank accounts, tax, motoring, shopping, criminalrecords and movements. AI programmes will compile “suspect lists”. A suspect’smovements for particular dates will be checked on the network of surveillancefootage.There will also be inorganic “squidgy” humanoids designed to be the publicface of police robotics and to engender trust with the population. Work of this natureis well underway in Japan. They will converse with the public to gather information,assess potentially dangerous situations and question suspects. They will dispersecrowds and restrain drunks and ‘see’ with a network of surveillance cameras andunmanned micro aerial vehicles able to track and monitor people throughout thefuture city. They will be our traffic wardens and will police the roads in automateddriverless cars. They will maintain a link with humans who will have the finalcommand decisions – there won’t be robot detectives but robots will keep the human police away from threats.The upside will be that policing work will become less dangerous; there will beno point in knifing a robot or shooting one – they can be easily repaired or replacedand it will be very difficult to escape from them. There may be no hiding place in thecity of the future. ‘Plods’ on the beat will become a thing of the past. A live policeofficer will have several robots on hand. There will be no shortage of police coverageto snuff out gang culture and repair “broken Britain”. Playgrounds will be safe andyoung women will be able to walk the streets at night safely.One of the most useful projected developments over the next 20 years will bethe detection of weapons such as knives, guns and explosives at a distance. There isclearly a lot of military and counter-terrorist interest in this development andconsequently a lot of commercial interest. Once reliable detection systems come online, there will be no stopping the use of police robots. These could save many livesand make police work much safer.There is no need to worry about these robot being ‘super-intelligent overlordstaking over the planet and killing or enslaving all humans’. While this is a familiar story that has popped up repeatedly since the 1920s, it is mere fantasy and will nothappen. Despite over 50 years of research on Artificial Intelligence, and Moore’slaw, there is not a glimmer anything approaching real organic intelligence let alonesuper-intelligence. There is absolutely no evidence of machines becoming any moreintelligent than they were 30 years ago. They will not be what we would call “brightor brainy” and they will not have personal motivation. Instead, it is humans equippedwith such powerful technology that we have to fear. As long as authorities are benign,caring and don’t make mistakes, such powerful policing could be of great benefit tomankind. But, as we all know, absolute power corrupts. Those in control of themachines will control society.The biggest downside will be a loss of privacy and some basic human rights.The whole predicted development in this report is based on a gradual creep of newlegislation. This could come about in a number of ways such as: high media profile2
cases like the “Jamie Bulger case” which legitimised surveillance cameras in the public mind in the UK; new counter-terrorism laws which we have already seenabused for snooping on trivial offences like lying about catchment areas of schoolsand not picking up dog poo or litter; national emergencies like the perceived knifecrime epidemic, increased attacks on police using new weapons or to counter hi-techcriminals who will also have access to advanced technology.Apart from the intrusion of providing ever more detailed mobile surveillance.the future robots will be equipped with biometric tools for recognising faces,fingerprints, retinas and eventually they will be able to conduct on-the-spot DNAtesting. Advances in medical robots will allow detailed short distance monitoring of physiological signs such as heart rate, respiration, temperature and perspiration thatwill be used to allege possible guilt, wrongdoing and lying. If permitted by law,robots will also be able to stop suspects for on-the-spot tests and checks. Drugs will be detected at a distance using molecular sensors making sniffer dogs redundant. Therobots will be able to conduct drink driving tests and detain individuals for delivery toa police station, although it is most likely that such decisions will have a human in theloop.Another big problem to be faced with the robotisation of the police is that thereach of the law will be overly long and there will be no leeway. Detention will bemuch easier with electronic tagging orders that can be enforced by always presentrobots with monitoring sensors. The tag will be able to communicate directly with arobot that will never tire of such dull work. It is often said that there is no point settingup laws that cannot be enforced but in the possible 2084 scenario, very many moreenforcement opportunities will be possible..2.


http://www.scribd.com/doc/139971746/Noe ... port-Final
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:25 pm

FBI Reports Using Drones 10 Times On U.S. Soil

CATHERINE THOMPSON 1:37 PM EDT, FRIDAY JULY 26, 2013


The FBI said in a letter made public this week that it has used drones on U.S. soil for surveillance in 10 cases since 2006.

The letter, which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) released Thursday after receiving it from the agency, said the FBI has used unmanned aerial vehicles in eight criminal cases and two national security cases since 2006. The drones were unarmed, the July 19 letter said, and none was used "to conduct 'bulk' surveillance or to conduct general surveillance not related to an investigation or assessment."

FBI Response To Sen. Rand Paul
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
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Don’t forget that.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:13 pm

Life as a US drone operator: 'It's like playing a video game for four years'
Artist Omer Fast looks at the military staff who fly drones from Nevada in a film commissioned by the Imperial War Museum

Mark Brown, arts correspondent
The Guardian, Sunday 28 July 2013 09.25 EDT
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A still from Omer Fast's film 5000 Feet is the Best, about US drone operators. Photograph: Courtesy of the artist
"It is a lot like playing a video game," a former Predator drone operator matter-of-factly admits to the artist Omer Fast. "But playing the same video game four years straight on the same level." His bombs kill real people though and, he admits, often not the people he is aiming at.

The remarkable insight into the working life of one of the most modern of military operatives is provided in a 30-minute film that will be shown at the Imperial War Museum in London from Monday, the first in a new programme of exhibitions under the title IWM Contemporary.

The project is something of a departure for the museum in one way, although it has been commissioning and showing artists since the first world war. "The idea behind this strand is to present a consistent offer so people do identify us with contemporary art because it sometimes does get a bit lost," said Sara Bevan, a curator in the art department. It will also allow the gallery to perhaps be more provocative and more reactive to contemporary events.

The work by Fast, an Israel-born artist who lives and works in Berlin, is called 5,000 Feet is the Best, which takes its name from the optimum flight altitude of a Predator drone.

Drones are pilotless aircraft operated remotely. According to data published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism last December, there have been almost 1,200 drone strikes on suspected terrorists by US and British forces in the past five years on targets in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and, by the CIA, in Pakistan.

Estimates as to how many have died vary, although a Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, said in February: "We've killed 4,700. Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we're at war, and we've taken out some very senior members of al-Qaida."

The subject engenders fierce debate and the artist attempts to capture its complexities.

What Fast's film does brilliantly is evoke the weirdness of people in Nevada endlessly trawling foreign countries for "bad guys", whom they then get permission to fire on.

Fast interviews a former US air force drone operator who admits to making mistakes. "You see a lot of death," he says before pondering why he carries on – perhaps because if it was not him then it might be some "new kid doing it badly".

Bevan said Fast's film was "a visually stunning piece of work", which she got more out of every time she watched it, as she hopes visitors will, too.

Fast advertised online for drone operators, although the ad was subsequently shut down by the FBI and rather fewer operators came forward.

One was willing. Some of his testimony in the film is the real man, blurred. Elsewhere, an actor plays the operator talking to a journalist in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Bevan said one reason the Fast piece was chosen as the first commission was because drone warfare is such a "pressing, current issue". The plan is to have three shows a year with two documentary photographers scheduled next.

"Contemporary art is a really good way of dealing with lots of issues around contemporary conflict, such as issues to do with conflict not being confined to geographical boundaries," she said. "Art can deal better with the more intangible issues."

The opening of IWM Contemporary coincides with the partial reopening of the museum itself, which has been shut for six months for major internal works including the building of new first world war galleries.

Although the main display spaces and atrium remain closed, the art galleries will reopen on Monday along with a Horrible Histories show on spies, A Family in Wartime display, the Holocaust exhibition, and Lord Ashcroft's Victoria Cross gallery. The IWM is scheduled to open fully in summer 2014, coinciding with the centenary events marking the outbreak of the first world war.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:44 pm

Bureau investigation finds fresh evidence of CIA drone strikes on rescuers
August 1st, 2013 | by Chris Woods | Published in All Stories, Covert Drone War, Drone strikes in Pakistan

Are double-tap strikes being sanctioned to kill high value targets such as Yahya al-Libi?

Additional reporting by Mushtaq Yusufzai

A field investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in Pakistan’s tribal areas appears to confirm that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last year briefly revived the controversial tactic of deliberately targeting rescuers at the scene of a previous drone strike. The tactic has previously been labelled a possible war crime by two UN investigators.

The Bureau’s new study focused mainly on strikes around a single village in North Waziristan – attacks that were aimed at one of al Qaeda’s few remaining senior figures, Yahya al-Libi. He was finally killed by a CIA drone strike on June 4 2012.

The Bureau’s field researcher found five double-tap strikes took place in mid-2012, one of which also struck a mosque
Congressional aides have previously been reported as describing to the Los Angeles Times reviewing a CIA video showing Yahya al-Libi alone being killed. But the Bureau’s field research appears to confirm what others reported at the time – that al-Libi’s death was part of a sequence of strikes on the same location that killed up to 16 people.

If correct, that would indicate that Congressional aides were not shown crucial additional video material.

The CIA has robustly rejected the charge. Spokesman Edward Price told the Bureau: ‘The CIA takes its commitment to Congressional oversight with the utmost seriousness. The Agency provides accurate and timely information consistent with our obligation to the oversight Committees. Any accusation alleging otherwise is baseless.’

Tactic revived
The Bureau first broke the story of the CIA’s deliberate targeting of rescuers in a February 2012 investigation for the Sunday Times. It found evidence of 11 attacks on rescuers - so-called ‘double-tap’ strikes – in Pakistan’s tribal areas between 2009 and 2011, along with a drone strike deliberately targeting a funeral, causing mass casualties.

Reports of these controversial tactics ended by July 2011. But credible news reports emerged a year later indicating that double-tap strikes had been revived.

International media including the BBC, CNN and news agency AFP variously reported that rescuers had been targeted on five occasions between May 24 and July 23 2012, with a mosque and prayers for the dead also reportedly bombed.

The Bureau commissioned a report into the alleged attacks from Mushtaq Yusufzai, a respected journalist based in Peshawar, who reports regularly for NBC and for local paper The News.

Over a period of months, Yusufzai – who has extensive government, Taliban and civilian contacts throughout Waziristan – built up a detailed understanding of the attacks through his sources.

Related article – Interview: ‘Ask the wrong people about drone deaths and you can be killed’

His findings indicate that five double-tap strikes did indeed take place again in mid-2012, one of which also struck a mosque. In total 53 people were killed in these attacks with 57 injured, the report suggests.

Yusufzai could find no evidence to support media claims that rescuers had been targeted on two further occasions.

No confirmed civilian deaths were reported by local communities in any of the strikes. A woman and three children were reportedly injured in one of the attacks. Yusufzai says: ‘It is possible some civilians were killed, but we don’t know’.

However a parallel investigation by legal charity Reprieve reports that eight civilians died in a double-tap strike on July 6 2012 (see below), with the possibility of further civilian deaths in a July 23 attack.

Islamabad-based lawyer Shahzad Akbar says Reprieve’s findings are based on interviews with villagers from affected areas.

‘On both occasions [in July] our independent investigation showed a high number of civilians who were rescuers were killed in the strikes,’ says Akbar.

While some 2012 double-tap strikes appear to have been aimed at al Qaeda’s Yahya al-Libi, Reprieve believes both July attacks were focused on killing another senior militant, Sadiq Noor.

Noor is deputy to militant leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur. Both men are long-time targets for the CIA because of their support for the Taliban’s Afghan insurgency. Noor had falsely been reported killed on at least two previous occasions. It is not known whether he survived either of the strikes.


Summary of the Bureau’s new findings
The Bureau’s field research finds that – as widely reported at the time – on May 24 2012 a CIA-controlled armed drone hit a mosque in the village of Hasukhel in North Waziristan, killing some worshippers. Six further people were killed in a second drone strike shortly afterwards as they took part in rescue work, according to Yusufzai’s sources.
On June 3 2012, two Taliban commanders and their men were targeted as they visited the village of Gangi Khel in South Waziristan to attend funeral prayers for a relative killed in an earlier drone strike. Despite reports that the two commanders were killed, the Bureau’s research finds both men survived and there were no fatalities.

An attack on June 4 2012 ultimately killed al Qaeda second-in-command Yahya al-Libi. Despite US claims that al-Libi alone died, Bureau research appears to corroborate multiple accounts indicating that at least 16 people, all alleged militants, died in a series of missile strikes. This reportedly included the deliberate targeting of rescuers. Congressional oversight committee staffers reportedly told the LA Times they had seen video showing only al-Libi’s death. They may have been unaware of additional strikes. The CIA told the Bureau it ‘provides accurate and timely information consistent with our obligation to the oversight Committees. Any accusation alleging otherwise is baseless.’

Related article – Get the Data: The return of double-tap drone strikes

On July 6 2012, a group of alleged militants were targeted and killed as they ate dinner with local tribesmen. Another nearby mixed group who were praying were not attacked. After waiting 30 minutes rescue work began. CIA drones then returned, killing 12 others including three brothers. Legal charity Reprieve reports eyewitnesses as identifying eight civilians killed in the attack, who it names as Salay Khan; Mir Jahan Gul; Allah Mir Khan; Noor Bhadshah Khan; Mir Gull Jan; Batkai Jan; Gallop Haji Jan and Gull Saeed Khan.

An initial attack on a house in Dre Nishtar in the Shawal valley on July 23 2012 killed five alleged militants. Local villagers refused to assist in aid work because they feared a fresh attack. Alleged militants involved in the rescue were then targeted in a second strike, with a further seven killed and eight injured. Reprieve believes civilians may also have died in this attack, and is continuing to investigate.

No evidence could be found for a claimed attack on rescuers on May 28 2012. Instead, Yusufzai’s sources said two separate linked strikes took place. An initial 4am attack failed to destroy a truck. The vehicle was pursued and destroyed 10 minutes later as it passed through Hasukhel village, killing seven alleged militants. Four civilians including three children were also injured when a nearby house was damaged.

Similarly, the Bureau can find no evidence to support a claimed double-tap attack on June 14 2012 in Miranshah. Instead, one individual died on the building’s roof, in what Yusufzai’s sources describe as a highly precise attack causing minimal structural damage.

Related article – CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals
Special rules?
The rescuer strikes examined by Yusufzai all appear to have been aimed at very senior militants – so-called High Value Targets. Under international humanitarian law, the greater the threat a target represents, and the more imminent that threat is deemed to be, the greater the leeway for targeting. The Bureau’s findings suggest that strikes on rescuers are still permitted in certain circumstances, such as in the pursuit of a high value target such as Yahya al-Libi.

The Bureau’s original investigation into the deliberate targeting of rescuers found that a significant number of civilians had been reported killed, alongside Taliban rescuers.

It was the presence of civilians amid groups of rescuers which meant the US may have committed war crimes, according to the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. Christof Heyns noted in June 2012:

If civilian ‘rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime.
Heyns’ colleague Ben Emmerson QC, UN special rapporteur on torture, also told reporters in October 2012: ‘The Bureau has alleged that since President Obama took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. Christof Heyns… has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view.’

The Bureau understands that Emmerson’s ongoing UN investigation into drone strikes is likely to engage with the issue of targeting first responders.

Bureau field researcher Mushtaq Yusufzai notes that civilians now rarely appear to take part in rescue operations, and are often prevented from doing so by militants. They also fear further CIA attacks, he says.

As Bureau field researcher Mushtaq Yusufzai notes, civilians now rarely appear to take part in rescue operations’
Sarah Knuckey is an international lawyer at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, based at New York University’s School of Law. An adviser to UN rapporteur Christof Heyns, Knuckey also co-authored the 2012 report Living Under Drones, which gathered substantial testimony in Pakistan about strikes on rescuers.

‘The threat of the “double tap” reportedly deters not only the spontaneous humanitarian instinct of neighbours and bystanders in the immediate vicinity of strikes, but also professional humanitarian workers providing emergency medical relief to the wounded,’ the report noted.

Commenting on the Bureau’s latest findings, Knuckey says civilians cannot be targeted under the laws of war.

But she adds: ‘Secondary strikes are not necessarily unlawful. If, for example, secondary strikes are carried out on additional military targets who come to the area of a first strike, the strikes might comply with the laws of war. And the Bureau’s findings of no evidence of civilian harm from the 2012 strikes they investigated suggest that proper precautions in attack may have been taken for those strikes.

‘The key question around the legality of secondary strikes is: On what basis is the US making the assessment that the ‘rescuers’ are legitimate military targets? Is the US assuming that anyone coming to a second strike is also a militant, or does it have – for each rescuer – intelligence on that person’s militant status? If secondary strikes take place within 10-20 minutes of a first strike, is that sufficient time to determine militancy?’


‘Our own independent investigation showed a high number of civilian rescuers were killed’ says Reprieve’s Shahzad Akbar (Photo: Chris Woods)
Stark contrast
The US has not generally responded to the issue of double-tap strikes. But three months after the 2012 attacks, a senior diplomat denied that civilian rescuers were ever ‘deliberately’ targeted by the CIA.

A group of US peace activists visiting Pakistan in October 2012 were told by acting US ambassador Richard E Hoagland: ’For at least the last several years that I have been here in Pakistan and more intimately associated with the knowledge of this [drone campaign], there was never any deliberate strikes against civilian rescuers.’

The US Senate and House intelligence committees are charged with overseeing the CIA’s drone targeted killing project. But there is an unexplained disparity between an account of what committee members were shown by the CIA on a particular strike, and what other sources report.

Is the US assuming that anyone coming to a second strike is also a militant, or does it have – for each rescuer – intelligence on that person’s militant status?’
Sarah Knuckey, New York University
Yahya al-Libi, al Qaeda’s second-in-command, was killed by the CIA on June 4 2012 in a strike on the village of Hassokhel in North Waziristan.

Almost all media reports at the time placed the death toll at 15-18. Sources including the Washington Post said rescuers were targeted and killed at the scene.

But the US has consistently denied this. ‘American officials said that Mr Libi was the only person who died in the attack, although others were present in the compound,’ the New York Times noted.

In July 2012, the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the workings of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. According to reporter Ken Dilanian, staffers from both committees visit CIA headquarters once a month, where they watch video and review other evidence relating to drone strikes.

‘The BBC and other news organisations quoted local officials saying that 15 “suspected militants” were killed in the June 4 Pakistan strike that killed al Libi,’ Dilanian reports. ‘But the [CIA] video shows that he alone was killed, congressional aides say.’

Related article – Is Congressional oversight tough enough on drones?

The Bureau’s findings are in stark contrast, appearing to confirm original news reports that rescuers were indeed targeted at the time and that many more died.

According to Yusufzai’s sources, an initial 4am attack on a small house in the village of Hassokhel killed five. A dozen people ‘including Arabs, Turkmen and local tribesmen’ then started rescue work.

But as they were removing bodies, the CIA’s drones reportedly struck again – killing 10 more, including Yahya al-Libi, ‘who was observing the rescue operation when he too came under missile attack,’ the source said.

Neither the House nor Senate intelligence committees were prepared to comment on the disparity between these reports.

The Bureau approached the CIA for comment on the latest sequence of rescuer strikes. While declining to comment on most questions, spokesman Edward Price robustly denied the suggestion that the oversight committees may have been misled.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
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Don’t forget that.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby Luther Blissett » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:57 pm

How To Kill A Drone: Since Drones Can Kill Americans, Americans Can Kill Drones, Here’s How


http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/20 ... 56926.html
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby Luther Blissett » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:16 pm

Luther Blissett » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:57 am wrote:
How To Kill A Drone: Since Drones Can Kill Americans, Americans Can Kill Drones, Here’s How


http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/20 ... 56926.html


A Colorado Town Is Holding a Special Vote on Whether to Shoot Down Drones

By Ben Richmond

A small town in Colorado is going to have a town-wide vote on whether to issue hunting licenses for drones—with $100 rewards for shooting down drones and bringing in "identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle whose markings and configuration are consistent with those used on any similar craft known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government."

Deer Trail, Colo. has about 580 residents and is just larger than a square mile. It calls itself “home of the first rodeo” and is located in the scrubby cow country plains less than 60 miles east of Denver.

Philip Steel is the man behind the ordinance. He wore a black hat and a long black coat when he spoke with Amanda Kost at Denver’s ABC affiliate. Although he has never seen a drone above the town, he wants to pass this “very symbolic” legislation. “I don’t want to live in surveillance society. I don't feel like being in a virtual prison," Steel told the AP. "This is a pre-emptive strike."

The Deer Trail town council split the vote on the ordinance 3-3 Tuesday, so the town is going to have a special vote in November if it can afford to do so.

The FAA spoke up against residents pointing their guns skyward. According to the AP, a statement issued in July said that shooting down a drone could cause it to crash into something on the ground or something else in the air. And firing on “an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”

For Steel, the ordinance "declares sovereignty of the airspace” over the town, but just over the town, as the licenses to fire on drones is only good within Deer Trail’s square mile municipal boundaries. The Supreme Court declared in 1946 that one’s control of the air above their property ends between 80 and 500 feet, but the legality of the ordinance doesn’t seem to worry Steel.

The residents of Deer Trail don’t seem to be taking this proposed ordinance very seriously. "If they were to read it for the title alone and not for the novelty and what it really is, it sounds scary, and it sounds super vigilante and frightening," Kim Oldfield, Deer Trail town clerk, told ABC. "The real idea behind it is it’s a potential fun moneymaker, and it could be really cool for our community and we’ve needed something to bring us together, and this could be it."

Drone licenses could raise the town’s profile, as well as revenue. "Even if a tiny percentage of people get online (for a) drone license, that's cool. That's a lot of money to a small town like us," said David Boyd, a resident who votes on the town board. "Could be known for it as well, which probably might be a mixed blessing, but what the heck?"

Steel himself brought up the possible revenue boost. “They'll sell like hot cakes,” said Steel. "It could be a huge moneymaker for the town."

It’s odd to hear someone use possible tax revenue as an incentive to destroy federal property, but such is life in 2013.
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Re: One Drone Thread to Rule them ALL

Postby elfismiles » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:22 am

Drone industry gives journalists not-so-subtle hint — don't use the word 'drones'
Washington Times ‎

"Drone" is a dirty word at this week's drone industry convention in Washington.
<snip>

Inside the media room at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the WiFi password is the not-so-subtle phrase “DontSayDrones.”.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/201 ... rd-drones/
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Federation of American Scientists | drones

Postby Allegro » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:49 pm

Just because I post this information doesn’t mean I endorse the learning tool described herein. Quite the opposite, as you might know. Links in original; personally significant keywords have been underscored.

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WIKI excerpt | Games and Simulations

    FAS [Federation of American Scientists] is working to help create learning tools that help bring about major gains in learning and training. The most recent FAS project is Immune Attack, a fully 3-D game in which high school students discover the inner workings of the body’s circulatory and immune systems, as they pilot a tiny drone through the bloodstream to fight microscopic invaders.

    Immune Attack[20] is funded by the National Science Foundation and jointly developed by the Federation of American Scientists, the University of Southern California, Brown University, and Escape Hatch Entertainment. It teaches immunology in a fun and engaging way that is different from the traditional classroom setting, making use of the “challenge and rewardparadigm found in most video games.

    Immune Attack is a supplemental teaching tool, designed to be used in addition to middle school and high school biology textbooks. Immune Attack introduces molecular biology and cellular biology in detail that is usually reserved for college students. However, it uses the familiar and motivational video game format to introduce the strange and new world of cells and molecules.[21]
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