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Thread: Using drones: principles, tactics and results (amended title)

  1. #241
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Default

    Keep in mind the legal / law stuff is only about quite arbitrary rules once set and newly interpreted. It is NOT about what's right or wrong, or about what should be done and what shouldn't.

    Policymakers need to make up their minds about the assassination and accompanied negligent mass homicides and then they need to define what's not legal.
    Likewise, the citizens should make up their mind as well, as they're the source for the policymaking's legitimacy through elections. They need to hold the politicians' feet to the fire if they come to the conclusion that they don't want assassinations and negligent mass homicide be done in their name.


    This is only in the second order about effectiveness of the tactics and techniques employed. First, it's about ethics. The ends don't justify the means - that is as far as I know a consensus in Western civilisation.
    In case you disagree about the means and ends thing: Get ready for getting killed by your government in order to salvage your organs for several life-saving organ transplantations.

    ______
    You probably noted that my vocabulary differs from the official ones.
    targeted killing = assassination
    collateral damage = negligent homicide

    Face it; that's what it is. The whitewashed terminology is meant to deceive and manipulate.
    I understand the art of manipulating and deceiving through focus group-tested and optimised language is quite sophisticated in the U.S. (don't export it, please). One should be able to see through such manipulation, though.

  2. #242
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    Default Hello, Mr Growling Brown Bear,

    I'm gratified to see that we disgree on all material points.

    Regards,

    Mike

  3. #243
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    Default Concensus or Divergence ?

    Witness List

    Hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights On “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing”; Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226, 4:00 p.m.

    General James Cartwright, United States Marine Corp (Ret.), Washington, DC.

    Farea Al-Muslimi, Sana’a, Yemen

    Peter Bergen, Director, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation, Washington, DC.

    Rosa Brooks, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

    Colonel Martha McSally, United States Air Force (Ret.), Tucson, AZ

    Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA.

    You have a choice between the USG clip and the C-SPAN clip (both over 2 hours).

    Regards

    Mike

  4. #244
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    JMM,

    Twitter was abuzz with positive comments when Farea Al-Muslimi gave his evidence; his blog site is:http://yemeni-motanen.blogspot.com/
    davidbfpo

  5. #245
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    Default David, thank you for the link

    Neither al-Muslimi's testimony nor his two blog posts concerning drones were surprising to me - nor, should they be, to anyone else who has followed the Pew International polls of the Muslim countries since 2001. Of course, would the reaction be the same if the drones were really and truly Yemenese, without the US being in the picture at all ? Or, flown by Muslim nations, such as Saudi, Iran and Turkey. I suspect we'll see some evidence on that question in the not so distant future.

    One point emphasized in al-Muslimi's testimony was "why not just capture the man ?". That issue has been debated from at least the 1970s; specifically as to drones, but more generally as to the use of lethal force in tomorrow's warfare.

    The basic argument by the "capture" proponents is to create a mandatory spectrum of force escalation - e.g., capture without physical force, capture with physical force, light wounding, heavy wounding, killing:

    During wartime a critical legal question involves the scope of authority to choose whether to kill or capture enemy combatants. An important view, expressed by many contemporary experts, maintains that a combatant can be subject to lethal force wherever the person is found—unless and until the individual offers to surrender. I argue that, in certain well-specified and narrow circumstances, the use of force should instead be governed by a least-restrictive-means (LRM) analysis. That is, I contend that the modern law of armed conflict (LOAC) supports the following maxim: if enemy combatants can be put out of action by capturing them, they should not be injured; if they can be put out of action by injury, they should not be killed; and if they can be put out of action by light injury, grave injury should be avoided. Admittedly, there are all manner of caveats and conditions that will qualify the application of this maxim. However, the general formula—and its key components—should be understood to have a solid foundation in the structure, rules and practices of modern warfare.
    from Ryan Goodman on The Power to Kill or Capture Enemy Combatants.

    Lawfare links Goodman, and those arguing against his proposition, earlier this year, The Capture-or-Kill Debate #11: Goodman Responds to Ohlin.

    I found it interesting that al-Muslimi was on the cutting edge of "modern lawfare" (more so than the other panelists).

    Regards

    Mike

  6. #246
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default New Jihadi Magazine Wants Help Against Drones

    Link to an article from a new Jihad magazine requesting help against Drone attacks.

    http://preview.reutersnext.com/2013/...r-help-against

  7. #247
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    Default Ben Emmerson Interview

    Lawfare, Lawfare Podcast Episode #31: Special Edition: Ben Emmerson Discusses His Investigation (by Benjamin Wittes and Ritika Singh, May 14, 2013) (audio, just over 40 min.)

    A couple of key snips:

    There is a really wide spectrum of informed, intelligent and reasonable opinion on what the basic framework issues are. And I’ve taken part now in too many high-level seminars with people who are all genuine experts in their fields addressing a problem which has multi dimensions and within each dimension multiple facets, in which it is it almost impossible to find a common agreement on the core principles. . . . There are fundamental differences on first principles, but there are also fundamental differences on all of the refinements within those principles. I am unable amongst informed opinion at present to discern a critical mass of concurrent opinion, which to me in itself is a conclusion—and is also a conclusion which points towards the need for some fairly urgent discussions in the face of a technology that is ... technology that is proliferating . . . at a remarkable speed.
    ...
    I think it’s absolutely fair for me to acknowledge that . . . I did start from a position in common with other international lawyers from my side of the world, which found the new paradigm [the U.S. view] difficult to accept and follow. But I have to say that like all good conversations, the moment one begins to talk to others and see things from a different point of view, what has become clearer and clearer to me is that we get nowhere by the continuance and maintenance of entrenched positions and that, crucially, we need to listen to one another’s point of view and see what is the way forward.
    Mr. Emmerson's last public statement as UNSR, Statement of the Special Rapporteur following meetings in Pakistan - UN Counter-Terrorism Expert meets victims of drone strikes in Waziristan and receives clear statement from the Government of Pakistan that it considers US drone strikes to be counter-productive, contrary to international law, and a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity (March 14, 2013), was more hardcore Emmerson.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 05-15-2013 at 05:01 PM.

  8. #248
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Drones are useful, but not the solution or the problem
    The headline of a short article on 'The Hill' and the author? Harold Brown, ex-Sec. of Defence.

    Link:http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-bl...or-the-problem
    davidbfpo

  9. #249
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    Default Ben Emmerson & Peter Bergen

    From New America Foundation, Drone Wars: Counterterrorism and Human Rights (May 14, 2013) (video, just over 1-1/2 hours).

    Participants

    Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, United Nations Commission on Human Rights

    Peter Bergen, Director, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation

    Regards

    Mike

  10. #250
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default

    Content became a separate thread as a RFI and author updated.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-22-2013 at 09:13 AM. Reason: As text

  11. #251
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    Default Good a place as any

    As Emmerson points out, drones ain't about to go away. See, from National Defense: Worldwide, Drones Are in High Demand (May 2013, by Dan Parsons), as illustrated by this Brazilian example:



    Brazil is not an established drone player - yet:

    World of Drones.jpg

    but, it certainly looks like a strong comer. See, Merco Press, Brazil and Israeli companies join to develop unmanned aircraft for border control - Brazilian defence contractor Avibras will join plane maker Embraer SA and the local unit of Israeli Defence Company Elbit Systems in developing unmanned aircraft in Brazil, the companies said on Tuesday (February 6, 2013).

    Will drones be effective in a "rain forest" ? That is beyond my expertise; so, I leave it to someone else to pick up that part of the thread. If they are effective for recon, intel, etc., in the "rain forest"; one wonders how long it will take for them to be weaponized. Crossbow, fusil, etc.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-22-2013 at 09:15 AM. Reason: Copied to RFI thread on drones in he jungle.

  12. #252
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Domino's Pizaa Drone

    Video of Domino's experimental Pizza Delivery Drone....What is that famous expression........May you live in interesting times.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDXuGQRpvs4

  13. #253
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Germany's drones that don't fly: $647m

    A tale of incompetence, fraught relations across the Atlantic and millions wasted. Hardly the image we have of German omni-competence:http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-902132.html
    davidbfpo

  14. #254
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A tale of incompetence, fraught relations across the Atlantic and millions wasted. Hardly the image we have of German omni-competence:http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-902132.html
    Why don't you read good blogs?

    2013/05/13
    Euro Hawk is a no-go for the Bundeswehr

  15. #255
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Video of Domino's experimental Pizza Delivery Drone....What is that famous expression........May you live in interesting times.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDXuGQRpvs4
    I'm actually a bit surprised by the range and altitude obtained by those first-person view (FPV) drones.

    V Bixler to 3019m! Amazing view!

    Quadcopter freestyle is also worth a watch IMHO.

    Drones won't go away, indeed. In general I see a couple of strong trends supporting the drone market:

    1) Rapid technological progress on many levels, from miniaturisation of key components to better software devolopment. The FPV goggles are just one example of it. Like in other areas the specific development profits from bigger trends, in this case virtual reality visors for gaming.

    2) Increasingly better understanding and integration from the demand side, all the various costumers. The last ten years have certainly greatly enhanced the overall drone knowledge and organisations have and will find new and smarter ways to use them. This feeds like point 1 into point 3.

    3) The industrial base is far stronger and wider then ever before and the markets have become increasingly competitive. The amount of know-how and the pace of development have certainly increased vastly.


    Other important points have already been raised in the thread. I would just end this short comment with a nod to the satellites in space. While there will always be tasks that only humans right up there can do, increasingly smaller satellites can do other jobs much more efficiently.
    Last edited by Firn; 06-05-2013 at 09:21 PM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  16. #256
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Just a short comment about the EuroHawk...

    That bit is just pure gold, if true.

    The contracts with the Americans were filled with oddities. For instance, Northrop Grumman was not required to disclose all blueprints for the drone, even though this is necessary to obtain flight certification from German aviation authorities.

    In addition, German drone pilots were not given the right to fly the Euro Hawk. Instead, the German Defense Ministry had to ask Northrop Grumman for permission to fly the drone. Only when a pilot sat down at the computer in California could the drone take off in Germany. This is still the case today and, as a result, the German pilots trained specifically to fly the Euro Hawk sit around doing nothing. To keep their pilot's licenses from expiring, they fly training flights on Lufthansa training jets -- at the government's expense.
    I'm surprised that anybody would accept such contracts. Northrop likely had a lot of internal red flags but was rightly quite happy that other side rather foolishly accepted. Still it is overall not good news for them, as their reputations as a reliable and trustworthy partner in the drone business was certainly not enhanced.

    From a German point of view it surprises me a bit that after relative small drones they went very high-end, which makes point 2 not quite relevant. More internal knowhow would have certainly helped them. Bloody expensive stuff in either case, if the numbers are true:

    In 2011, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) expressed interest in acquiring at least four RQ-4B and support equipment to increase intelligence capabilities following the exchange of the Wartime Operational Control from the U.S. to the Republic of Korea. Government officials debated on the topic of the Global Hawks and its own domestic UAV programs.[78] In September 2011, the US and South Korea discussed aircraft deployments near its border with North Korea to view North Korea and the North Korea–China border.[79] In January 2012, DAPA announced that it would not proceed with a purchase due to a price rise from US$442M to US$899M, and that other platforms such as the Global Observer or the Phantom Eye were being investigated.[80] However, in December 2012, South Korea notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale of 4 RQ-4 Block 30 (I) Global Hawk UAVs with the Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.[81]
    (From Wikipedia)
    Last edited by Firn; 06-05-2013 at 09:44 PM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  17. #257
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The United States’ War on Yemen: Drone Attacks

    Added here, with a slightly different explanation on the current Yemen thread.

    The link is to a previously unheard of Swiss / Yemeni NGO report for the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights & CT - on drones in the Yemen. It is unusual in gathering eyewitness testimony and providing local contexts, worth reading IMHO:http://en.alkarama.org/documents/ALK...3_Final_EN.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-01-2013 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Copied to here and edited here
    davidbfpo

  18. #258
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The drone option: recipe for endless war?

    A long, partly read review of 'The CIA, a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth' by Mark Mazzetti, in the London Review of Books, by an American lawyer, Stephen Holmes:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n14/stephen...n-it-for-obama

    He ends with:
    Once Obama concluded that this war will never end, he presumably drew the sensible inference that traditional law-of-war detention is wholly inapplicable to the unconventional conflict in which the US is now engaged. That is when he made his fateful choice: the moment when he turned to the only form of incapacitation appropriate to a war without end. In so doing, he has bequeathed to us not a war that will be easier to contain, but one that is borderless and self-sustaining and that shows not a single discernible sign of burning itself out.
    Link to Amazon, which has 113 reviews:http://www.amazon.com/Way-Knife-Secr...=mark+mazzetti
    davidbfpo

  19. #259
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default It's raining drones

    A spectacular info graphic on the drone attacks on Pakistan. Not too sure how the breakdown of 3149 casualties works (since 2004): children, civilian, other combatants and targets (just 48 HVT). Found today, but it was released in March 2013 and reviewed here:http://www.economist.com/blogs/graph...-drone-strikes

    Link to graphic:http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-16-2013 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Merged into main thread
    davidbfpo

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    Default Cross-reference

    See this post for much more on the "validity" of persons killed divided into categories, such as "civilians".

    My conclusion is that the "civilian" category is determined by the politics and policies desired by the definer.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-16-2013 at 05:28 PM. Reason: Merged into main thread

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