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Old 16-04-2011, 09:44 PM   #1
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Default Why does the CIA have fully weaponised Pred drones

Why does the CIA have its own fleet of fully weaponised Predator drones? And why are they using them in Pakistan? Does the CIA have legal clearance from government to use the drones in a battlefield scenario?

Whats to stop the CIA from using these Predator drones on their own American counterparts in the US Army under the guise of "friendly fire" or false flag? Or even worse, the CIA using the predator drones on civillian targets with no accountability?

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Old 17-04-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
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http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...6fa_fact_mayer




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The U.S. government runs two drone programs. The military’s version, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets enemies of U.S. troops stationed there. As such, it is an extension of conventional warfare. The C.I.A.’s program is aimed at terror suspects around the world, including in countries where U.S. troops are not based. It was initiated by the Bush Administration and, according to Juan Zarate, a counterterrorism adviser in the Bush White House, Obama has left in place virtually all the key personnel. The program is classified as covert, and the intelligence agency declines to provide any information to the public about where it operates, how it selects targets, who is in charge, or how many people have been killed.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the defense contractor that manufactures the Predator and its more heavily armed sibling, the Reaper, can barely keep up with the government’s demand. The Air Force’s fleet has grown from some fifty drones in 2001 to nearly two hundred; the C.I.A. will not divulge how many drones it operates. The government plans to commission hundreds more, including new generations of tiny “nano” drones, which can fly after their prey like a killer bee through an open window.

It’s easy to understand the appeal of a “push-button” approach to fighting Al Qaeda, but the embrace of the Predator program has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force. And, because of the C.I.A. program’s secrecy, there is no visible system of accountability in place, despite the fact that the agency has killed many civilians inside a politically fragile, nuclear-armed country with which the U.S. is not at war. Should something go wrong in the C.I.A.’s program—last month, the Air Force lost control of a drone and had to shoot it down over Afghanistan—it’s unclear what the consequences would be.

Peter W. Singer, the author of “Wired for War,” a recent book about the robotics revolution in modern combat, argues that the drone technology is worryingly “seductive,” because it creates the perception that war can be “costless.” Cut off from the realities of the bombings in Pakistan, Americans have been insulated from the human toll, as well as from the political and the moral consequences. Nearly all the victims have remained faceless, and the damage caused by the bombings has remained unseen. In contrast to Gaza, where the targeted killing of Hamas fighters by the Israeli military has been extensively documented—making clear that the collateral damage, and the loss of civilian life, can be severe—Pakistan’s tribal areas have become largely forbidden territory for media organizations. As a result, no videos of a drone attack in progress have been released, and only a few photographs of the immediate aftermath of a Predator strike have been published.

The seeming unreality of the Predator enterprise is also felt by the pilots. Some of them reportedly wear flight suits when they operate a drone’s remote controls. When their shifts end, of course, these cubicle warriors can drive home to have dinner with their families. Critics have suggested that unmanned systems, by sparing these combatants from danger and sacrifice, are creating what Sir Brian Burridge, a former British Air Chief Marshal in Iraq, has called “a virtueless war,” requiring neither courage nor heroism. According to Singer, some Predator pilots suffer from combat stress that equals, or exceeds, that of pilots in the battlefield. This suggests that virtual killing, for all its sterile trappings, is a discomfiting form of warfare. Meanwhile, some social critics, such as Mary Dudziak, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, argue that the Predator strategy has a larger political cost. As she puts it, “Drones are a technological step that further isolates the American people from military action, undermining political checks on . . . endless war.”

Whats to stop the CIA from using drones on civilian populations? Or using them on their own colleagues in the military?
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Old 17-04-2011, 02:14 PM   #3
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Another reason IMO for the mothballing of the majority of the RAF (and USAF) fleet is that the UK/US government is going to buy those Reaper drones by the bucketload. A lot of British are going to have to get used to the sight and the idea of those Reaper drones constantly above them in everyday civilian life.

It will be quite possible for a government to retreat to an inaccessible deep underground military base and still maintain their political power and hierarchy using those Reaper drones alone, with little or no casualties to its infantry. Think about it. And the scary thing is, that if the military attempts to overthrow the rogue government, then these drones can easily be turned on their own troops. (a'la Order 66)

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Old 17-04-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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The law has never meant anything to intelligence services, they break the law all the time.
The military does the (mostly) legal stuff
the intelligence services do the black ops.
it's been going on since the 17th century.
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Old 17-04-2011, 03:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamayama View Post
Another reason IMO for the mothballing of the majority of the RAF (and USAF) fleet is that the UK/US government is going to buy those Reaper drones by the bucketload. A lot of British are going to have to get used to the sight and the idea of those Reaper drones constantly above them in everyday civilian life.

It will be quite possible for a government to retreat to an inaccessible deep underground military base and still maintain their political power and hierarchy using those Reaper drones alone, with little or no casualties to its infantry. Think about it. And the scary thing is, that if the military attempts to overthrow the rogue government, then these drones can easily be turned on their own troops. (a'la Order 66)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lIBD...eature=related
Although this is, I suppose, not beyond the realm of possibility, there is a core belief I have which is at the centre of my reasoning and thinking on any issue, and it was expressed very well by George Carlin.

"They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else".

The elite, and their direct offshoots, want, and completely take for granted, a fantastic standard of living, that 99.9% of the world's population could only dream about. They want to maintain, and even improve this, not cower away in underground bunkers. This is an absolute last resort, as it would result in a considerable lowering of their standard of living, and make controlling the population considerably more difficult. It will never be at the forefront of their thinking or planning

All the propaganda and herding and controlling and attacks on us, are merely a means to an end, the end being for them to get more and more and more wealth, and more and more and more control, to the point where no nation or individual has any sovereignty; ie. any potential to rebel against them. They don't hate us, we're just a threat to them. The only reason there may be a depopulation agenda, is simply because it makes us easier to manage. But they don't want to make the world uninhabitable, or less inhabitable for themselves, or seriously reduce their own standard of living for a significant period of time. The opposite is the case.
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Old 17-04-2011, 07:17 PM   #6
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...kes-mod-ethics


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The growing use of unmanned aircraft in combat situations raises huge moral and legal issues, and threatens to make war more likely as armed robots take over from human beings, according to an internal study by the Ministry of Defence.

The report warns of the dangers of an "incremental and involuntary journey towards a Terminator-like reality", referring to James Cameron's 1984 movie, in which humans are hunted by robotic killing machines. It says the pace of technological development is accelerating at such a rate that Britain must quickly establish a policy on what will constitute "acceptable machine behaviour".

"It is essential that before unmanned systems become ubiquitous (if it is not already too late) … we ensure that, by removing some of the horror, or at least keeping it at a distance, we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely," warns the report, titled The UK Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems. MoD officials have never before grappled so frankly with the ethics of the use of drones. The report was ordered by Britain's defence chiefs, and coincides with continuing controversy about drones' use in Afghanistan, and growing Pakistani anger at CIA drone attacks against suspected insurgents on the Afghan borders.

It states that "the recent extensive use of unmanned aircraft over Pakistan and Yemen may already herald a new era". Referring to descriptions of "killer drones" in Afghanistan, it notes that "feelings are likely to run high as armed systems acquire more autonomy".

The insurgents "gain every time a mistake is made", enabling them to cast themselves "in the role of underdog and the west as a cowardly bully that is unwilling to risk his own troops, but is happy to kill remotely", the report adds.

Pakistan last week demanded that the US stop drone strikes and the CIA drastically cut its officers there. David Cameron said in December that British drones had killed 124 insurgents in Afghanistan since June 2008, hailing them as a "classic example of a modern weapon which is necessary for today's war". The drones, known as Reapers, have to date fired 167 missiles and bombs in Afghanistan.

The report was drawn up last month by the ministry's internal thinktank, the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), based in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, which is part of MoD central staff. The centre's reports are sent to the most senior officers in all three branches of the armed forces and influence policy and strategy.

The concept of "fighting from barracks" or the "remote warrior" raises such questions as whether a person operating the drones – sometimes from thousands of miles away and "walking the streets of his home town after a shift" – is a legitimate target as a combatant. "Do we fully understand the psychological effects on remote operators of conducting war at a distance?" ask the officials. There is one school of thought, they note, that suggests that for war to be moral, as opposed to just legal, "it must link the killing of enemies with an element of self-sacrifice, or at least risk to oneself".

"The role of the human in the loop has, before now, been a legal requirement which we now see being eroded," the MoD report warns. It asks: "What is the role of the human from a moral and ethical standpoint in automatic systems? … To a robotic system, a school bus and a tank are the same – merely algorithms in a programme … the robot has no sense of ends, ways and means, no need to know why it is engaging a target." Chris Cole, a campaigner who runs the Drone Wars UK website, which monitors the development of unmanned weapons systems, welcomed the MoD study while calling for a halt to the use of drones by British forces.

"There needs to be an open and public discussion about the implications of remote warfare, and it may be that a parliamentary select committee inquiry would be the appropriate forum to begin this discussion," he said. The report notes that the MoD "currently has no intention to develop systems that operate without human intervention in the weapon command and control chain".

However, the MoD, like the Pentagon, is keen to develop more and more sophisticated "automated" weapons, it admits.

The report also identifies advantages of an unmanned weapons system, such as preventing the potential loss of aircrew lives, which mean it "is thus in itself morally justified". It adds: "Robots cannot be emotive, cannot hate. A robot cannot be driven by anger to carry out illegal actions such as those at My Lai [the massacre by US troops of hundreds of unarmed civilians in South Vietnam in March 1968].

"In theory, therefore," says the MoD study, "autonomy should enable more ethical and legal warfare. However, we must be sure that clear accountability for robotic thought exists, and this raises a number of difficult debates. Is a programmer guilty of a war crime if a system error leads to an illegal act? Where is the intent required for an accident to become a crime?"

The technology

The US-manufactured General Atomics Reaper is currently the RAF's only armed unmanned aircraft. It can carry up to four Hellfire missiles, two 230kg (500lb) bombs, and 12 Paveway II guided bombs. It can fly for more than 18 hours, has a range of 3,600 miles, and can operate at up to 15,000 metres (50,000ft).

The Reaper is operated by RAF personnel based at Creech in Nevada. It is controlled via a satellite datalink. Earlier this year, David Cameron promised to increase the number of RAF Reapers in Afghanistan from four to nine, at an estimated cost of £135m.

The MoD is also funding the development by BAE Systems of a long-range unmanned aircraft, called Taranis, designed to fly at "jet speeds" between continents while controlled from anywhere in the world using satellite communications.

Richard Norton-Taylor


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/unmanned-drones

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Old 17-04-2011, 08:41 PM   #7
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/us/21intel.html


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WASHINGTON — From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees.

The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

The role of the company in the Predator program highlights the degree to which the C.I.A. now depends on outside contractors to perform some of the agency’s most important assignments. And it illustrates the resilience of Blackwater, now known as Xe (pronounced Zee) Services, though most people in and outside the company still refer to it as Blackwater. It has grown through government work, even as it attracted criticism and allegations of brutality in Iraq.

A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to comment for this article.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the agency hired Blackwater in 2004 as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top Qaeda operatives.

In interviews on Thursday, current and former government officials provided new details about Blackwater’s association with the assassination program, which began in 2004 not long after Porter J. Goss took over at the C.I.A. The officials said that the spy agency did not dispatch the Blackwater executives with a “license to kill.” Instead, it ordered the contractors to begin collecting information on the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s leaders, carry out surveillance and train for possible missions.

“The actual pulling of a trigger in some ways is the easiest part, and the part that requires the least expertise,” said one government official familiar with the canceled C.I.A. program. “It’s everything that leads up to it that’s the meat of the issue.”

Any operation to capture or kill militants would have had to have been approved by the C.I.A. director and presented to the White House before it was carried out, the officials said. The agency’s current director, Leon E. Panetta, canceled the program and notified Congress of its existence in an emergency meeting in June.

The extent of Blackwater’s business dealings with the C.I.A. has largely been hidden, but its public contract with the State Department to provide private security to American diplomats in Iraq has generated intense scrutiny and controversy.

The company lost the job in Iraq this year, after Blackwater guards were involved in shootings in 2007 that left 17 Iraqis dead. It still has other, less prominent State Department work.

Five former Blackwater guards have been indicted in federal court on charges related to the 2007 episode.

A spokeswoman for Xe did not respond to a request for comment.

For its intelligence work, the company’s sprawling headquarters in North Carolina has a special division, known as Blackwater Select. The company’s first major arrangement with the C.I.A. was signed in 2002, with a contract to provide security for the agency’s new station in Kabul, Afghanistan. Blackwater employees assigned to the Predator bases receive training at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to learn how to load Hellfire missiles and laser-guided smart bombs on the drones, according to current and former employees, who asked not to be identified for fear of upsetting the company.

The C.I.A. has for several years operated Predator drones out of a remote base in Shamsi, Pakistan, but has secretly added a second site at an air base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, several current and former government and company officials said. The existence of the Predator base in Jalalabad has not previously been reported.

Officials said the C.I.A. now conducted most of its Predator missile and bomb strikes on targets in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region from the Jalalabad base, with drones landing or taking off almost hourly. The base in Pakistan is still in use. But officials said that the United States decided to open the Afghanistan operation in part because of the possibility that the Pakistani government, facing growing anti-American sentiment at home, might force the C.I.A. to close the one in Pakistan.

Blackwater is not involved in selecting targets or actual strikes. The targets are selected by the C.I.A., and employees at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va., pull the trigger remotely. Only a handful of the agency’s employees actually work at the Predator bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the current and former employees said.

They said that Blackwater’s direct role in these operations had sometimes led to disputes with the C.I.A. Sometimes when a Predator misses a target, agency employees accuse Blackwater of poor bomb assembly, they said. In one instance last year recounted by the employees, a 500-pound bomb dropped off a Predator before it hit the target, leading to a frantic search for the unexploded bomb in the remote Afghan-Pakistani border region. It was eventually found about 100 yards from the original target.

The role of contractors in intelligence work expanded after the Sept. 11 attacks, as spy agencies were forced to fill gaps created when their work forces were reduced during the 1990s, after the end of the cold war.

More than a quarter of the intelligence community’s current work force is made up of contractors, carrying out missions like intelligence collection and analysis and, until recently, interrogation of terrorist suspects.

“There are skills we don’t have in government that we may have an immediate requirement for,” Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who ran the C.I.A. from 2006 until early this year, said during a panel discussion on Thursday on the privatization of intelligence.

General Hayden, who succeeded Mr. Goss at the agency, acknowledged that the C.I.A. program continued under his watch, though it was not a priority. He said the program was never prominent during his time at the C.I.A., which was one reason he did not believe that he had to notify Congress. He said it did not involve outside contractors by the time he came in.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who presides over the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the agency should have notified Congress in any event. “Every single intelligence operation and covert action must be briefed to the Congress,” she said. “If they are not, that is a violation of the law.”
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Old 19-04-2011, 11:00 AM   #8
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Its interesting that this hasnt been mentioned in the UK news;

http://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2010/11/...festing-yemen/


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The US has deployed Predator drones to hunt for al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen for the first time in years but has not fired missiles from the unmanned aircraft because it lacks solid intelligence on the insurgents’ whereabouts, senior US officials said. US officials said the Predators have been patrolling the skies over Yemen for several months in search of leaders and operatives of AQAP. After withstanding a flurry of attacks involving Yemeni forces and US cruise missiles earlier this year, AQAP’s leaders “went to ground,” a senior US official said. The deployment represents an attempt by the Obama administration to reinvigorate a campaign that has gone without a visible US strike for nearly six months. Officials praised Yemeni cooperation and said they have been given wide latitude. Pressed on whether the drones would be free to shoot, a second administration official said:

The only thing that does fall into the ‘no’ category right now is boots on the ground.

Yemeni officials said the US had not yet pushed for the use of Predator-fired missiles and indicated that they had deep reservations about weapons they said could prove counterproductive. A senior Yemeni official said:

Why gain enemies right now? USAians are not rejected in Yemen; the West is respected. Why waste all this for one or two strikes when you don’t know who you’re striking?

Instead, Yemen has asked the administration to speed up shipment of promised helicopters and other equipment for its own use. A US defense official said plans were being made to nearly double military aid, to $250m in 2011. Officials said that cooperation with Yemeni Pres Saleh has intensified in the aftermath of the parcel bomb plot. Officials said Saleh had been pushed in extensive talks last week to expand Yemen’s own effort and allow increased US action. Officials described a major buildup of intelligence and lethal assets already underway, including the arrival of additional CIA teams and up to 100 Special Operations force trainers, and the deployment of surveillance and electronic eavesdropping systems operated by spy services including the NSA. US officials said the drones that have been deployed to Yemen are operated by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). By contrast, drones used in Pakistan are operated by the CIA. The Predators in Yemen are flown from a base outside the country that US officials declined to identify. The most likely options include US military installations in Djibouti and Qatar.

The lack of intelligence in Yemen helps to explain why US counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan and Yemen have been on different courses. The pace of drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt has escalated sharply over the past several months. CIA-operated drones launched 38 attacks in Pakistan during September and October, plus four so far this month. CIA strikes there are aimed not only at top al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan but also at Taliban groups. Officials said US spy agencies have had nearly a decade to assemble a detailed picture of al-Qaeda and other militant groups in Pakistan, studying aerial images, monitoring cellphone calls and recruiting informants who help direct where drones hover and strike. In contrast, the official described the intelligence buildup in Yemen as “evolutionary.” The stakes were illustrated in May, when a US cruise missile strike against an alleged al-Qaeda gathering killed a deputy provincial governor. Shrapnel from cluster munitions carrying US markings were later found at the scene, prompting protests from the Yemeni government. US officials expressed skepticism that the deputy governor was in fact meeting with al-Qaeda operatives in an effort to convince them to disarm, as Yemeni officials claimed.

Current and former US intelligence officials said the drones will be of limited use in identifying al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen without the aid of signal intercepts or human sources on the ground. While declining to say whether the JSOC drones in Yemen are armed, officials said they would not hesitate to carry out a strike if solid intelligence were acquired. One US official indicated that the US reliance on cruise missiles last spring did not reflect a preference of those weapons over Predators but the fact that drones were not in position at the time. The only known drone strike to have occurred in Yemen came in 2002, when the CIA fired on a vehicle carrying Abu Ali al-Harithi, accused of organizing the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. The attack also killed a US citizen, Kamal Derwish, who the CIA knew was in the car. The absence of drones from the region in the years that followed reflected intense demand for Predators and other unmanned aircraft in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Old 21-04-2011, 06:45 AM   #9
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we're getting into genuine mad scientist territory now with the plan to create Drones that anticipate pilots actions. To read their minds.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011...eading-drones/


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Scientifically speaking, it’s only a matter of time before drones become self-aware and kill us all. Now the Air Force is hastening that day of reckoning.

Buried within a seemingly innocuous list of recent Air Force contract awards to small businesses are details of plans for robot planes that not only think, but anticipate the moves of human pilots. And you thought it was just the Navy that was bringing us to the brink of the drone apocalypse.

It all starts with a solution for a legitimate problem. It’s dangerous to fly and land drones at busy terminals. Manned airplanes can collide with drones, which may not be able to make quick course adjustments based on information from air traffic control as swiftly as a human pilot can. And getting air traffic control involved in the drones cuts against the desire for truly autonomous aircraft. What to do?

The answer: Design an algorithm that reads people’s minds. Or the next best thing — anticipates a pilot’s reaction to a drone flying too close.

Enter Soar Technology, a Michigan company that proposes to create something it calls “Explanation, Schemas, and Prediction for Recognition of Intent in the Terminal Area of Operations,” or ESPRIT. It’ll create a “Schema Engine” that uses “memory management, pattern matching, and goal-based reasoning” to infer the intentions of nearby aircraft.

Not presuming that every flight will go according to plan, the Schema Engine’s “cognitive explanation mechanism” will help the drone figure out if a pilot is flying erratically or out of control. The Air Force signed a contract Dec. 23 with Soar, whose representatives were not reachable for comment.

And Soar’s not the only one. California-based Stottler Henke Associates argues that one algorithm won’t get the job done. Its rival proposal, the Intelligent Pilot Intent Analysis System would “represent and execute expert pilot-reasoning processes to infer other pilots’ intents in the same way human pilots currently do.” The firm doesn’t say how its system will work, and it’s yet to return an inquiry seeking explanation. A different company, Barron Associates, wants to use sensors as well as algorithms to avoid collision.

And Stottler Henke is explicitly thinking about how to weaponize its mind-reading program. “Many of the pilot-intent-analysis techniques described are also applicable for determining illegal intent and are therefore directly applicable to finding terrorists and smugglers,” it told the Air Force. Boom: deal inked on Jan. 7.

Someone’s got to say it. Predicting a pilot’s intent might prevent collisions. But it can also neutralize a human counterattack. Or it can allow the drones’ armed cousins to mimic Israel in the Six Day War and blow up the manned aircraft on the tarmac. Coincidentally, according to the retcon in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, April 19, 2011 — today — is the day that Skynet goes online. Think about it.

The Air Force theorist Col. John Boyd created the concept of an “OODA Loop,” for “Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action” to guide pilots’ operations. Never would he have thought one of his loops would be designed into the artificial brain of an airborne robot.
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Old 22-04-2011, 05:53 AM   #10
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And theres more.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...target-misrata


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The White House has approved the use of missile-armed Predator drones to help Nato target Colonel Gaddafi's forces in Libya.

Coalition commanders have been privately urging the Americans to provide the specialist unmanned aircraft, which have become a favoured – if controversial – weapon in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Their ability to hone in on targets using powerful night-vision cameras is considered to be one way of helping rebels in the besieged city of Misrata, where a humanitarian crisis has unfolded in the last week.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said Barack Obama had approved the use of the Predators which are armed with Hellfire missiles, marking a marked growth in the US contribution to the Nato effort.

Gates told a Pentagon news conference that the Predator was an example of the unique US military capabilities that the president is willing to contribute while other countries enforce a no-fly zone.

General James Cartwright said that the first Predator mission in Libya had been scheduled for Thursday night but was abandoned because of poor weather. The US military plans to maintain two patrols of armed Predators above Libya at any given time, permitting better surveillance – and targeting – of Gaddafi's forces as they dig into positions next to civilian areas, Cartwright told the same briefing.

The drones are based in the region but typically flown via remote control by pilots in the US. The drones for Libya had not been withdrawn from Afghanistan, Gates and Cartwright said.

Khaled Kayim, Libya's deputy foreign minister, said the deployment of the drones would result in the deaths of more civilians. He described the move as "undemocratic and illegitimate and I hope they will reverse their decision".

Liam Fox, the British defence secretary, and Sir David Richards, the chief of the defence staff, are due in Washington next week to discuss the situation in Libya.

The use of Predators is one of the topics to be discussed at the Pentagon talks next Tuesday, as well as other specialist equipment that might be provided by the US.

David Cameron has again insisted that Nato had no intention of deploying ground troops, but that did not mollify Russia. It condemned the sending of military advisers to Libya by the UK and France, saying it exceeded the mandate of UN security council resolution 1973. "We are not happy about the latest events in Libya, which are pulling the international community into a conflict on the ground," said the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov."This may have unpredictable consequences," he added.

But senior Whitehall officials believe the use of drones, also known as UAVs, would not be beyond the remit, or the spirit, of the UN resolution which gave the coalition a mandate to protect civilians. "A UAV with sufficiently high-resolution sensors, were it armed, could fire that weapon in line of sight and still meet the tight rules of engagement," a Whitehall source said.

"We have been asking if we can get the US to provide that capability for us. It exists – the question is can we get it to be deployed? UAVs would give you speed of response where you see the regime transgressing the UN resolution," the source said. The US is understood to have the UAVs in the region already.

Gates said Obama continues to be opposed to sending US ground forces into Libya and there were no plans to send US trainers to augment Nato forces already working with rebel forces. "There's no wiggle room in that," Gates said.


The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, urged Gaddafi to "stop killing people", and estimated that 500,000 Libyans had fled the country. The MoD also sought to counter criticism Nato is not doing enough for Misrata, saying the RAF had hit 58 targets around the city in the past three weeks, including 37 main battle tanks. But officials concede the difficulties of targeting within the city are considerable.

Earlier this week Nato's commander, Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, described the situation within Misrata as being akin to "a knife fight in a phone booth". He said Gaddafi forces were hiding on the rooftops of mosques, hospitals and schools, and that they were shielding themselves behind women and children.

The military difficulties were underlined when further details emerged of the death of British photographer Tim Hetherington, who was killed on Wednesday in a mortar attack along with a colleague, Chris Hondras. An Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Hetherington, 41, wrote in his last Twitter post on Tuesday: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Gaddafi forces. No sign of Nato." Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter said Hetherington was "about as perfect a model of a war photographer as you're going to find these days".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13166441
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:41 AM   #11
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Heres a good comment piece from The Guardian showing up the paradox of a "clean" political assassination;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...tack-bin-laden


Quote:
Whatever the legality of Osama bin Laden's apparent execution, he was certainly a murderer, probably a war criminal, and his demise flowed, albeit bloodily, from a carefully planned and targeted attack – the greatest care being taken to avoid the horror of innocent casualties.

President Obama himself, it is said, vetoed a bombing raid: the risk that innocents would die in full view of the watching world was too much to contemplate. Predator drones, launched by technicians in California, were too crude a weapon because hearts and minds, the president well understood, matter almost as much as bombs.

So it's a shame that these presidential scruples don't always translate to other areas of attack in that struggling part of the world. Western television viewers may not always be watching, but in Karachi and Lahore they are glued to their screens. In the four years between 2004 and 2007, there were just nine US drone strikes in north-west Pakistan, with around 25 deaths a year; in 2010, there were 118, with estimates of up to 1,000 people killed. But how many of these dead were innocent?

When President George W Bush announced his experimental policy of neoconservative kidnap in Guantánamo Bay, he reassured an anxious world that the 779 prisoners being held there – many seized from Pakistan's Afghan border areas – were the "worst of the worst" and deserved no legal rights. Nine years later, just over 600 of those men have been released, each one of them found to pose "no threat to the United States or to its coalition partners".

It seems that tossing a dime would be a better way of identifying a "high value terrorist" than relying on US military intelligence. Guantánamo proves the tragic inability of the US military to differentiate between an enemy and an incidental bystander, and if you live in north west Pakistan, that matters very much. History reflects an unfortunate precedent: when he was asked, during the Albigensian crusade in the 13th century, how to distinguish Cathar heretics from ordinary, decent believers, the pope's emissary is said to have replied: "Kill them all. God will know his own."

Leaving omniscience tactfully to one side, we can all understand the US point of view, that drone attacks reduce the human cost of military action to the nation that sends them humming out over the horizon and into other people's houses. Americans may care little for the expense of their technology; but they do, reasonably enough, care a great deal about the deaths of their servicemen. Naturally, this means that Washington is more likely to take violent action where no American lives are at stake.

So while no sane person would wish any harm on American soldiers, an obvious danger of drone warfare is that it encourages reckless military activity, risking a high likelihood of innocent civilian death – with the hapless victims, including the very young, remaining faceless with no meaning at all to the military planners pressing their buttons several thousand miles away.

Yet, these victims, young and old, have great significance in Pakistan, and their collateral destruction will surely have unintended consequences, coming back to haunt us soon enough.

It may be quite true, as the research suggests, that as many as 33 important militant leaders have been killed by American drones over the past seven years, and the value of this is not to be lightly dismissed. But it is equally true that the same research shows what we might have already guessed: several hundred innocent people of all ages have also died most violently in their wake.

Yet hypocrisy is a dangerous quality, particularly in a superpower. So in the shadow of Bin Laden's death, the question for the west may be whether it is time at last for a different kind of campaign: one based less upon the skilful delivery of random and sudden death, and a little more focused on the democratic values on which we lecture our enemies.

Otherwise, it seems safe to assume that these horribly unjust killings, limb blasted from damaged limb, and delivered so pitilessly, will set off a rancid hatred, lasting for long, bitter generations. Once again, a strategy designed to make us all safer seems likely to risk, in the long run, a tragically contrary effect.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:02 AM   #12
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They used to call them doodlebugs...

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Old 06-05-2011, 09:06 AM   #13
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Would any soldier wear their "Most Enemy Deaths From The Furthest Distance Possible" medal with pride?
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:16 AM   #14
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Porridge thanks for that timely reminder. Its surprising how many innovations from the Nazi machine are now common place for the modern military.

Anyway here is an interesting comment in the Guardian piece that is probably from a military man with operating experience of the Drones;


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I think it was more a tactical decision; the MQ9 Reaper has a payload of 1,500 pounds on each of its two inboard weapons stations. Bin Laden's concrete structure was large, did it have underground cellers. It might have been hardened?
The Paveway IV has a 500 lb warhead. They could have employed a the BLU-118B thermobaric warhead. But where would this leave public opinion?

Given that the Americans would have been observing the building for up to 5 years and Bin Laden didnt leave he was not as easy a target as one might think. In a vehicle he was vulnerable to the UAV Optimized Hellfire AGM-114 P+ a 48 kg warhead but many terrorists have escaped the small blast radius of the Hellfire. Also there is evidence that terrorists have learned to recognise the sound of the incoming munition and escape it.

So the only real option was overkill to be sure with a large munition from a high flying jet. which would require up to sixty other aircraft to defeat Pakistani air defence and radar. Or a cruise missile.

With the DEVGRU raid there was a chance of capturing Osama if it presented itself but also the 'mother lode' of intelligence that they might be able to discover in the form of hardrives and associates found with Osama. Which they did.

This is probably more worrying for Pakistan than the breach of sovereignty. Will the intelligence point conclusively to ISI involvement?

The Predator and Reaper irritate commanders because it relies on a video link and can only loiter for 9 hours. There is much talk in the USAF about the gap in their capability with the demise of the Airborne Forward Air controller to call in accurate strikes, react at the scene and loiter for hours. The Americans invented and perfected this during the Vietnam war.

DEVGRU commando's have the mark 1 eyeball advantage. This would be a very attractive option to the planners.

I think that the Predator and Reaper demonstrate the discriminate nature of American Warfighting. They have to follow targets, film them and build evidence. There is no other Nation in the world that affords its targets such treatment.

How many Predator drones have been called off at the last moment because fears for the safety of civilians. That is an interesting question.
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:59 AM   #15
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The justification for Predator drones is morally flawed by their very nature.

When you've got some dude controlling them with a controller that resembles an xbox controller and the whole mission unfolding like a video game, it takes away all empathy and compassion from the person making the strike because their just following orders and they don't see the consequences of their actions in the real world.

I have no doubt that the US military have been scouting recruits at video game conventions or even watching online gameplay for talented players. They are literally the new generation of fighter pilots and it'll only be another 10 years before all military hardware is manoeuvred in this way.

While on the one hand it will eventually serve to spare the lives of American ground troops because they won't need them anymore, it will also mean morality, empathy and compassion being removed from the military and it's enemy seeing no mercy from the machine attacking it.

Predator drones are just the first example of whats to come and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the video game industry had been funded by the military with this ambition in mind. When kids sign-up to the army in the future, they'll just be given a laptop with pre-installed missions to complete. (max 20 years from now)
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:03 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rreeve View Post
The justification for Predator drones is morally flawed by their very nature.

When you've got some dude controlling them with a controller that resembles an xbox controller and the whole mission unfolding like a video game, it takes away all empathy and compassion from the person making the strike because their just following orders and they don't see the consequences of their actions in the real world.

I have no doubt that the US military have been scouting recruits at video game conventions or even watching online gameplay for talented players. They are literally the new generation of fighter pilots and it'll only be another 10 years before all military hardware is manoeuvred in this way.

While on the one hand it will eventually serve to spare the lives of American ground troops because they won't need them anymore, it will also mean morality, empathy and compassion being removed from the military and it's enemy seeing no mercy from the machine attacking it.

Predator drones are just the first example of whats to come and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the video game industry had been funded by the military with this ambition in mind. When kids sign-up to the army in the future, they'll just be given a laptop with pre-installed missions to complete. (max 20 years from now)
Also when they get drones on the ground, the less bodybags turning up on their doorstep, ie tangible evidence of war, the easier it will be to wage war covertly and cover up mass murder.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:59 PM   #17
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And theres more.

Keith Harmon snow was interviewed about a push to get drone into Africa and the scary idea that they already have drones that can do operations in outer space and operations underwater;

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.p...t=va&aid=24590


Quote:
Transcript:

Predator Drone firing a Hellfire missile. Ann Garrison: General Atomics’ Predator Drones were designed to be unmanned surveillance aircraft, but, beginning in 2000, Bill Clinton and then George Bush, had the Predators outfitted to drop Hellfire missiles, as they have in at least five countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and now Libya.

In 2008, General Atomics began producing the much larger Reaper Drones, which carry up to 2 tons worth of bombs, 10 times more than the Predators, cruise at higher altitudes and three times the speed, and, have more surveillance capability thanks to advances in computers.

In December 2010, the military tech section of San Francisco’s techno lifestyle magazine, WIRED, reported that the U.S. Air Force was phasing out the Predators in favor of the Reapers, and accepting the last of its order of 268 Predators in the early months of this year, 2011.

Then, on February 10, 2011, WIRED published “PENTAGON: Drones Can Stop the Next Darfur,” an editorial advocating the use of Predator Drones to stop genocide, like that in Darfur and Rwanda.

The editorial was then echoed or republished by a list of organizations including Invisible Children, Operation Broken Silence, Run for Congo Women, and the ENOUGH Project at the Center for American Progress. Here to talk about this today is Keith Harmon Snow, independent journalist, human rights investigator, war correspondent, and, electrical engineer, with many years experience reporting on Africa.

Ann Garrison: Keith, welcome, and, do you think Predator Drones can stop genocide in Africa?

Keith Harmon Snow: Thanks, Ann. This “Predator Drones to stop genocide” narrative is a psychological operation. First, there’s the false narrative about genocide — who is committing it, and who isn’t. And second there’s the false narrative about the United States, Israel, and its allies being the “peacekeeping” policeman who, out of our moral necessity, we cannot allow “genocide” or quote “war crimes” on “our watch.” Well, in Rwanda, Uganda, Congo and Sudan, the U.S. and its allies are the occupiers. We’re involved Keith Harmon Snowin covert wars, we’re responsible for creating genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in these places. These drones will contribute to war crimes committed with the backing of ordinary American citizens. Of course, they will be used, for example, to protect oil installations, to protect AFRICOM bases, to protect Coca Cola and Ben & Jerry’s gum arabic plantations in Darfur, and they’ll be used to support covert military operations that are happening everywhere.

Ann Garrison: Afrobeat listeners, and anyone who’s read the last 17 years of UN reports on mass atrocities in Rwanda and Congo—and I know that may not be that many people, but anyone who has read these reports—has an idea of what’s wrong with the Rwandan government’s official account of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, which is being put forth as an excuse for U.S. use of drones over Africa. Could you talk about the prevailing story of genocide in Darfur, which is the other excuse put forth in the WIRED editorial?

Keith Harmon Snow: So, Ann, what you’re talking about is this “political economy of genocide” — where the term “genocide” is used as a tool for conquest. The false “genocide in Rwanda” narrative has been used to punish the victims and exonerate the killers, and the killers are in power today, and they’re widely celebrated as quote “survivors of genocide.” In South Sudan and Darfur, the US/UK/Canada/NATO and Israel and other allies have been involved in genocide and war crimes — and we use the standard definitions of these terms — and this is since at least 1990. We backed the invasion of Rwanda from 1990 to 1994, and we won. And we backed the Sudan People’s Liberation Army’s covert war in South Sudan, and we won. And we back the “rebels” in Darfur today, and this remains highly contested and up for grabs. What we really want in Sudan, in Darfur, is regime change in Khartoum, and to control the resources in Darfur, and that would be oil, uranium, copper, and the gum arabic plantations, to mention a few.

Ann Garrison: We both know that drones are already engaged in surveillance, above the African continent, and that they’ve dropped bombs in Yemen and now in Libya. What more do you think they’re likely to do because of this latest lobbying, or, one might say, General Atomics’ marketing campaign launched in WIRED Magazine?

Keith Harmon Snow: Well, remember that what we’re seeing in WIRED is this cusp of this development and there’s 20 years of research and development that we haven’t seen anything about, that’s more sophisticated, so what they’re trying to do is reconfigure and use up the old drones, and we have no idea what some of these technologies are capable of. But they’re being deployed in the sizes of little drones the size of hummingbirds, and gigantic drones that carry these huge military payloads. They’re being deployed under the sea in Unmanned Undersea Vehicles. And in outer space, in Unmanned Aerospace Vehicles. And the whole technology is C4ISTR — and that is military jargon for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. And they’re being used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Niger — off California, and on the Mexican border today. So the “drones to stop genocide” campaign is the latest advance of this western corporate fascism.

Who makes these things? Our mothers and fathers, the people we know who work at universities and research outfits, corporations employing millions of Americans. And the killing of innocent people in other places is happening out of sight and out of mind. And we can all say, “my hands and my conscience are clean.” And we can all say, “I did my part to prevent genocide.” Never Again, and all that nonsense, you know.

Ann Garrison: Yeah. . .OK. . . WIRED Magazine is essentially a PR agency for venture capitalists packaged as a hip, trendy techno lifestyle publication. The campaign to re-purpose the Predator Drones to, quote, “stop genocide” appeared as the U.S. Air Force was phasing them out and making the Reaper Drones its lead combat aircraft. So, from out here, the home of WIRED Magazine, this looks like venture capital defining military strategy even though WIRED presented it as the Pentagon’s latest, greatest idea—it’s humanitarian idea. General Atomics, which manufactures both the Predator and the Reaper, was the leading funder of Congressional trips from 2000 to 2005, according to the San Diego Tribune, and most of those trips were organized to promote the Predators. So, is military industrial profit the leading motive behind this Predator Drones to stop genocide campaign?

Keith Harmon Snow: Well, Ann, most people who talk about genocide in mainstream culture have no idea what they’re talking about, because most of the discourse is coming out of places like WIRED and the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker Magazine and even the Nation Magazine — and we’re talking about, like you say, private profit in parallel with “full spectrum military dominance,” meaning Empire.

Hollywood plays a huge role in this, working with the Pentagon, including George Clooney and Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck, and going back to the Star Wars films, where Luke Skywalker indoctrinated the public mind with all of these technologies that we’re seeing operating today and that was in the 1980s.

The “drones to stop genocide” idea comes out of the liberal extremist establishment, the Center for American Progress and ENOUGH and STAND, Invisible Children, and Raise Hope for Congo and Save Darfur — and these all depend on the new “social networking media” like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Buzz, the Omidyar network, to advance mass murder under the disguise of humanitarianism and philanthropy. Of course, behind all of these are non-profit organizations, and think tanks and foundations. So just follow the money and it leads straight to genocide and war crimes supported by ordinary Americans.

Ann Garrison: Keith Harmon Snow, thanks for speaking to AfrobeatRadio. The U.S. Air Force now uses more drones than any other combat aircraft and has more drone pilots than cockpit pilots in training, so I’m sure we’ll be speaking to you about this again.

Keith Harmon Snow: Thanks so much, Ann. Take care.

Ann Garrison: You too. For Pacifica, and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:46 PM   #18
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...s=rss_homepage

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SANAA, Yemen — The U.S. military used a drone to strike Thursday at an al-Qaeda target in Yemen, the first such U.S. attack using unmanned aircraft in that country since 2002, according to U.S. and Yemeni officials.

Two al-Qaeda operatives were killed in the attack in the remote, mountainous Yemeni governorate of Shabwa early Thursday, a Yemeni security official said.

Drones operated by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command were redeployed in Yemen last year as part of a secret U.S. effort to reinvigorate
the hunt for al-Qaeda operatives in the country.

Previous strikes in Yemen over the past 18 months involved cruise missiles fired from naval craft off Yemen’s coast.

Thursday’s attack was “the first drone strike,” a U.S. official said. The aircraft have patrolled portions of Yemen for much of the past year, the official said, but had not launched any missiles because of a lack of sufficient targeting information.

U.S. officials said the strike was not related to intelligence gathered since Sunday’s raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

U.S. officials have previously said that the CIA and U.S. military have struggled to gather meaningful intelligence on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen-based offshoot is known. The group has taken advantage of Yemen’s rugged terrain, as well as ties to its prominent tribes, to go deep underground after a series of high-profile strikes by the United States in late 2009 and early 2010.

The redeployment of the drones coincided with a significant expansion of the CIA’s presence in the country, but U.S. officials have said it could take years to build up informant networks and acquire actionable intelligence on the whereabouts of Anwar al-Aulaqi and other al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula figures.

The information about the strike came from Col. Hamid Saleh, security director of the Mayfaa district in the Shabwa governorate. He said the men were killed when a missile struck their car.

A Yemeni government spokesman, although not confirming that the missile was fired by a U.S. drone, identified the dead men as brothers Musaed Mubarak Aldaghery and Abdullah Mubarak Aldaghery.

The two men were active in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, officials said. Even before the killing this week of Osama bin Laden, U.S. government officials had warned that the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen had emerged as a more active and dangerous foe than the core group of al-Qaeda led by its central command in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Security authorities were tracking them down for some time,” the Yemeni spokesman said of the Aldaghery brothers. “They are known operational al-Qaeda fighters.”

Yemen has been racked for months with anti-government demonstrations calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to relinquish power. U.S. officials have said the political upheaval was interfering with efforts by the United States and Yemen to cooperate on counterterrorism operations.

Christopher Boucek, a Yemen expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Saleh has become more concerned with his political survival than fighting al-Qaeda.

“From the start, the Saleh government has been repositioning counterterrorism assets to protect the regime,” he said. “And the longer this political drama goes on in Yemen, the worse things get on the ground . . . so the Americans will step in if they have to.”

Among those killed in the previous drone strike in 2002 was a U.S. citizen suspected of ties to al-Qaeda. The CIA halted its drone campaign in Yemen after that incident.

Recent attacks in central Marib have caused widespread power outages and fuel shortages in the capital, Sanaa, further fueling anti-government sentiment and unrest. In the past week, power stations in Marib have been attacked seven times.

“We demand that [the Yemeni government] give us the truth about these drone strikes. Otherwise, disastrous things will happen to either Americans or Yemenis,” Ibrahim al-Shabawi, the brother of a tribal leader slain in an earlier U.S. attack, said in a recent interview.


Boone is a special correspondent. Miller reported from Washington. Staff writer Craig Whitlock in Washington contributed to this report.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:50 PM   #19
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the CIA is the private army/assasinators of the NWO rothchilds/London/banking elite

they need all the best weapons

I thought this would be obvious...

Unless you think the CIA are the good guys who protect us from terrorism... sheeple thinking in the age of dumbocracy... long live obamanation
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:02 AM   #20
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the veiw from a drone is just the same as a jet fighter when taken from the point of veiw of the pilot .

i dont beleive army will recruit from video gamers as this is just more selling like saying formula one drivers play the playstation all day it sells many games.

also i think the earth is being orbited by all sorts of things we know very little about but call them aliens .

the reason we know nothing about it is that international agreements between large nations or superpowers are there to ensure against spying.
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