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Tag Archives: Drones

Jon Boone | The Guardian

Anti-drone protest in Pakistan

The political party led by the former cricket star Imran Khan claims to have blown the cover of the CIA‘s most senior officer in Pakistan as part of an increasingly high-stakes campaign against US drone strikes.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party named a man it claimed was head of the CIA station in Islamabad in a letter to police demanding he be nominated as one of the people responsible for a drone strike on 21 November, which killed five militants including senior commanders of the Haqqani Network.

John Brennan, the CIA director, was also nominated as an “accused person” for murder and “waging war against Pakistan”.

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Joe Scarry | Scarry Thoughts

I’ve written about how the United States is embarking on a whole new chapter in its history of waging perpetual war -this time in Africa. So I wasn’t surprised to be reminded about some of the African countries that have seen U.S. drone use (Somalia, Libya, Mali, Sudan) at the drones conference this past weekend.

What I was surprised by is the central role of Germany in all this.

At the conference, filmmaker and journalist Elsa Rassbach from Drohnen-Kampagne: Keine Kampfrohnen (Drone Campaign Germany: NO COMBAT DRONES) brought us up to speed on key facts, including the following:

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Chris Cole | Drone Wars UK

It was a joy to meet many readers of this blog at Code Pink’s Drone Summit in Washington DC this weekend.  Over 400 drone campaigners and researchers gathered together to learn, strategize and build the movement to challenge the growing use of armed drone.  Cornell Westkicked off the summit with an uncompromising, angry and forward-looking keynote speech that set the tone for the weekend.

The first day focused on information sharing with the an excellent panel sessions on the legality of drone warfare featuring Pardiss Kebriaeli of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Marjorie Cohn (who wrote about the gathering on Huffington Post) and the wonderful Mary Ellen O’Connell. I spoke on a panel about proliferation issues along with Israeli researcher Dalit Baum of Who Profits?, German drone campaigner Elsa Rassbach and Noel Sharkey of ICRAC and the Killer Robots campaign.  Video of that session and others is available here

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New Jersey Herald

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) – A military drone has crashed into Lake Ontario during a New York Air National Guard training mission.

State military officials say the MQ-9 Reaper had taken off from Wheeler Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum and was operating in approved airspace over the eastern side of the lake when it was lost around 1 p.m. Tuesday. They say the aircraft was not armed and there were no injuries.

The drone is used by the Guard’s Syracuse-based 174th Attack Wing to train Air Force pilots who use it on surveillance and attack missions globally.

The U.S. Coast Guard helped Fort Drum crews search for the Reaper until wintry weather forced them to quit for the night.

The cause of the crash will be investigated.

Technical and pilot errors were blamed for a Reaper crash in Nevada last year.

Matt Bewig | AllGov

Weapons maker Northrop Grumman (2012 revenues: $25.218 billion) made it rain on Congress to the tune of $31 million in lobbying spending since the beginning of 2012, and in return Congress has passed legislation ordering the Air Force to purchase the arms maker’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, a high-altitude surveillance drone the military canceled nearly two years ago.

Originally pitched as a $35 million money-saver during the parsimonious Clinton years, Global Hawk costs rose over time by 284%, according to the Congressional Research Service, mostly because of the Air Force’s changing requirements, and each drone is now estimated to cost about $220 million.

Although serious doubts had arisen by early 2011, when the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation said that Global Hawk “was not operationally effective for conducting near-continuous, persistent ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] operations,” in June 2011 Air Force officials certified the project as “essential to national security” in order to ensure continued Congressional funding.

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Mosharraf Zaidi | The News

If the starting point for analysis in the post Hakeemullah Mehsud world is that he was assassinated by the US with malign intent, (and clearly there is plenty of political capital located within that umbrella) then the conversation to be had is about how to find a way to end the constant abuse of Pakistan by big, bad Uncle Sam.

It is hardly controversial for us to accept and embrace the fact that we cannot keep complaining about the alleged abuse we endure at the hands of America on the one hand, and constantly seek direct and indirect American fiscal generosity on the other. The fiscal contradiction, between the money we want to run Pakistan, and the money we have to ask others to provide to us to do so, is at the heart of the Pakistani republic’s deep and abiding dysfunction.

Let us put it a different way. No Pakistani could ever dream of any scenario better than one in which Pakistan enjoys and exercises full and unmitigated sovereignty. This requires crisp and utter clarity about things like drone strikes conducted by another country in Pakistani territory. If they take place without an explicit agreement authorising them, drone strikes are illegal – always have been, always will be.

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