Center for the Study of the Drone on Tue, 29 Oct 2013 15:50:15 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> [drone_roundup] Weekly Roundup

At the Center for the Study of the Drone

In the span of just over a week, two U.N. Special Rapporteurs, Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch all released separate reports on
military drone operations. Arthur Holland Michel compiled a one-stop
summary<>of the
reports to help make sense of how they are similar and how they are

Julie Carpenter captured the public imagination earlier this month when she
released a study that showed that soldiers often develop strong emotional
ties with the robots that they operate. In an in-depth
Dr. Carpenter discusses Pygmalion, humanoids, and explains why we shouldn't
worry about the prospect of robot-human love.


In a plenary meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, Special Rapporteurs Ben
Emmerson and Christof Heyns presented their reports on drones to a host of
are largely critical of U.S. drone operations. In response to
criticism from a number of states, including China and Brazil, the U.S.
called its drone operations “necessary, legal and just.” (The Guardian)

According to U.S. government memos obtained by the Washington Post, the
government of Pakistan has been endorsing CIA drone strikes
years. “Markings on the documents indicate that many of them were prepared
by the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center specifically to be shared with
Pakistan’s government,” reported Greg Miller and Bob Woodward.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch simultaneously released
reports on U.S. drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. The authors of the
reports contend that U.S. operations in both countries have likely violated
international humanitarian
stress that it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions, given that
the U.S. has not disclosed detailed information about these operations.
(New York Times)

In a meeting with Obama in Washington D.C., Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif urged the U.S.
president<>to halt
CIA drone strikes. (BBC News)

Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates remarked in a speech that even
drone warfare "is inevitably tragic, inefficient and
Gates criticized the tendency of U.S. defense experts to see war as
“bloodless, painless, and odorless” as a video game.  (Washington Post)

A spokesperson for the China’s Ministry of Defense told reporters that
China would consider it an act of war
Japan shot down any Chinese drones. (Times of India)

According to The Guardian, Iran gave Russia
copy of a U.S. ScanEagle drone that it claims was captured by Iranian
forces over one year ago. The gift was intended to serve as proof of Iran’s
success in reverse-engineering the small surveillance drone.

Firefighters battling a bushfire in Australia reported that an unauthorized
unmanned aerial vehicle that was flown over the
forced the Rural Fire Service to ground their fleet of firefighting
aircraft due to the risk of a mid-air collision (Sky News). The Australian
Civil Aviation Safety Authority threatened to fine anyone
unauthorized drones over the bush fires in Lithgow, New South Wales. (ABC


Five members of an anti-drone activist group were acquitted of disorderly
a protest at the Syracuse Hancock Air Base. The protesters blocked
the entrance to the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard, a Reaper
drone hub where technicians operate drones flown in Afghanistan. (The

Commentary, Analysis and Art

Kenneth Anderson and Benjamin Wittes describe a number of
the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports. “Neither
of these reports even purports to examine a representative sample of drone
strikes. Rather, the two groups went looking for drones strikes that had
killed civilians—and they found some,” write Anderson and Wittes in New

Lawfare Blog’s Rikita Singh appraises the recent human rights
drone strikes and the work by several other organizations to count
civilian casualties.

In a GQ profile by Matt
drone pilot Brandon Bryant recalls his experience operating
weaponized drones in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2007 to 2011. Bryant, who
claims to have killed over 1,600 people, and who suffers from PTSD,
describes the the tedious, surreal and deeply unsettling experience of
remote warfare. “Sitting in the darkness of the control station,” writes
Power, “Bryant watched people on the other side of the world go about their
daily lives, completely unaware of his all-seeing presence wheeling in the
sky above.”

At the New York Times, Declan Walsh considers
position of the Pakistani government in light of recent revelations
regarding their role in CIA drone strikes.

The Guardian reviews<>artist
Richard Goodwin’s Drone
Dorje + The Drone Stripped Bare of all its Brides, currently showing at the
Australian Galleries in Sydney.

Wounds of Waziristan<>,
a documentary by journalist and filmmaker Madiha Tahrir, examines the
psychological effects of drone warfare on civilians in Pakistan’s Federally
Administered Tribal Areas. The film is currently available for free on

Jon Stewart apologizes <> to the world for
U.S. drone use and global surveillance.

Know Your Drone

Aerovel has developed a drone that can autonomously take off from and land
on an unmanned skiff<>.

Defense contractor MBDA claims that it has developed a hyper-accurate
missile that will help to drastically reduce the number of civilian deaths
by drone strikes. The Brimstone, as the missile is called, has a much
smaller blast radius than the Hellfire, which is the current de-facto
missile for drone strikes. (Breaking Defense)

A Brazilian researcher is developing electrically conductive
make-up<>that can be
used, among other applications, for controlling drones.

China has reportedly made plans to establish an industrial
developing and producing drone technology. (IHS Jane’s)

The U.S. military has awarded the Norwegian company Prox Dynamics a $2.5
million deal contract to develop their Black Hornet
The Black Hornet is a palm-sized helicopter that will be used for
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. (Military & Aerospace)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact: