For over a decade, the United States has maintained a 'Kill List' of individuals it deems a threat. With the stroke of a pen, President Obama has repeatedly acted as judge, jury and executioner for thousands of individuals. So controversial, the process for deciding the Kill List has reportedly been dubbed "Terror Tuesdays" by White House aides.
Yesterday, the U.K. government joined the U.S. in its own form of Terror Tuesday. The prime minister calmly stood before parliament and declared that he and the secretary of defence had ordered the killing of a British citizen. Refusing to release the legal justification, he didn't stop with just this killing. He and various members of his cabinet then declared that the U.K. was considering further targets as far afield as Libya and that they wouldn't hesitate to launch more attacks.
The public was given no evidence, legal or otherwise, to justify the killing. Instead, the prime minister simply asked the public to trust him. The killing was legal and the individuals posed a direct threat to the UK, we're told.
'Trust us' is not how democracies work, however. In Britain at least, the government has a duty to be transparent about its actions, so that the public can rightfully judge the lawfulness and morality of actions taken in their name.
The British public now deserves some answers, starting with why David Cameron thinks his decision was legal. There is no reason to refuse to reveal the legal details of the policy, as Cameron is doing, and every imperative for the government to come clean about its plans for further targeted killings.
The prime minister also needs to start defining the terms he's using. In the War on Terror, definitions are important—and famously malleable. The U.S., for instance, has defined "imminent threats" to be anything but "imminent." In fact, under the U.S. definition of self-defence, the U.S. needs neither "clear evidence" nor for the attack to be in the "immediate future". So, in effect, imminence is anything but. Is this how David Cameron also now defines self-defence? (...)
Single, unwanted, unloved eccentric, crusty ol' fart with cats
Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA Gender:
Sep 6, 2015 - 8:33am
I wonder what the charges would be if you blasted one of these out the airspace over your house(besides any firearm discharge charges).
A wrist rocket and a large ball bearing would do the trick with no firearm charges. Break enough blades and it won't fly to well.
The rules may very from place to place but if its on your property and flying at look into your windows height I imagine no charges unless its a cop with a warrant flying it, I would hope (but not expect) the drones owner to be charged instead.
The Obama administration is again allowing the CIA to use drone strikes to secretly kill people that the spy agency does not know the identities of in multiple countries - despite repeatedstatements to the contrary.
That’s what we learned this week, when Nasir al-Wuhayshi, an alleged leader of al-Qaida, died in a strike in Yemen. While this time the CIA seems to have guessed right, apparently the drone operators didn’t even know at the time who they were aiming at - only that they thought the target was possibly a terrorist hideout. It’s what’s known as a “signature” strike, where the CIA is not clear who its drone strikes are killing, only that the targets seem like they are terrorists from the sky.
The joke was that when the CIA sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp, said one senior official. Men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers – but they might also be farmers, skeptics argued.
It was so controversial that, in 2013, President Obama announced new “rules” for drone strikes that tightened requirements for when the CIA or any government agency could attempt to kill someone and were, in theory, meant to be the end of signature strikes. One of the rules was that a drone target had to be an “imminent threat” to the US and there had to be a near certainty that civilians would not be killed. (One would assume it’s close to impossible to call someone an “imminent threat” when you don’t even know who that person is.) (...)
This is a joint investigation with the German news magazine Der Spiegel.
A TOP-SECRET U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Intercept confirms that the sprawling U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as the high-tech heart of America’s drone program. Ramstein is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest to communicate with their remote aircraft in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other targeted countries. The top-secret slide deck, dated July 2012, provides the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the technical architecture used to conduct strikes with Predator and Reaper drones.
Amid fierce European criticism of America’s targeted killing program, U.S. and German government officials have long downplayed Ramstein’s role in lethal U.S. drone operations and have issued carefully phrased evasions when confronted with direct questions about the base. But the slides show that the facilities at Ramstein perform an essential function in lethal drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa. (...)
DJI previously stated to The Verge that it programmed its drones to stop flying when they reached a certain distance from airports. Using the GPS, DJI can track a drone's position at all time and establish which zones are off limits. But this would mark the first time DJI is preventing flight over a metro area.
"DJI will release a mandatory firmware update for the Phantom 2, Phantom 2 Vision, and Phantom 2 Vision+ to help users comply with the FAA’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) 0/8326, which restricts unmanned flight around the Washington, DC metropolitan area," the company wrote in a press release this morning. "The updated firmware (V3.10) will be released in coming days and adds a No-Fly Zone centered on downtown Washington, DC and extends for a 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) radius in all directions. Phantom pilots in this area will not be able to take off from or fly into this airspace."
DJI also said "the restriction is part of a planned extension of DJI’s No Fly Zone system that prohibits flight near airports and other locations where flight is restricted by local authorities. These extended no fly zones will include over 10,000 airports registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and will expand no fly zones to ensure they cover the runways at major international airports."
The drone industry is actually in agreement with Obama that more regulation is needed. Congress is on board as well, as evidenced during a recent hearing. The real hurdle has been the FAA, which has moved slowly to establish new rules. The agency has been mandated by Congress to provide an update by this year, but has so far given no indication of when it might arrive.
I'm totally loving my cheap ($40) little drone. Reading recommendations it's good to get an inexpensive one first since you'll certainly end up crashing it - and then you can think about more expensive ones later.
But, man, it's cool. I sent it straight up into the air, over the tops of my redwoods, and birds started attacking it. I got vertiginous and powered it down. Now I'm practicing gliding it a foot or so off the floor and zooming through obstacles.
Two thumbs up.
Here's someone's video:
Or you can just burn the $40 and fly it over my house.
Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent news organisation based at City University, London, has found that only 12% of victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan could be identified as militants.
In a report, released by the organisation on Thursday, researchers also found that fewer than 4% of those killed have been identified as members of al Qaeda.