Watch This LEGO Drone Soar Across the Sky We've seen people do some pretty creative things with Legos, but programmer and Lego enthusiast Ed Scott may have just taken the cake with this Lego quadcopter drone. While it's certainly no Predator, the Lego drone is well-equipped: Four motors give it lift and thrust, autopilot helps keep it flying right and two cameras provide still and live-streaming video capability. It would be perfect for spying on roommates or coworkers — if it weren't bright yellow and red, at least. Scott programmed the drone's software, but he credits his kids with doing most of the Lego work. "Most people go to their favorite hobby store to get parts for their UAV," Scott told drone enthusiast site SUASnews. Would you fly a Lego drone? Image courtesy of SUASnews
US drone strikes listed and detailed in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen Spies in the sky. Click image to embiggen Are drone attacks becoming the face of modern warfare? The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has collected the comprehensive database of reported drone attacks. It shows hundreds of attacks: up to 337 in Pakistan, largely along the tribal areas of Waziristan, especially in the northern part - something which becomes very obvious in the chart below. Plus there are another 35-45 recorded in Yemen and up to nine in Somalia. The data also records the number of deaths, which could be up to 3,247 across the three countries, including up to 852 civilians. Drone strikes interactive map. It comes as the MoD decides to start developing a new generation of armed drones for use in strikes across the world. For the first time, the TBIJ have released its full data as a spreadsheet, for you to download via the Datablog. Download the data • DATA: download the full spreadsheet NEW! • Facts are Sacred: the power of data (on Kindle) More open data World government data
Does Obama have the Authority? Inauguration Festivities With Ceremonial Drone Flyover WASHINGTON—Taking the oath of office for his second term today, President Barack Obama joined thousands of supporters in the nation’s capital for traditional inauguration festivities that included a prayer invocation, a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, and a ceremonial flyover of three combat drones. “When Obama was being sworn in on the Capitol steps, we could hear the drones screeching by overhead and everyone got really excited,” spectator Andrew Meyers, 34, said as he eagerly trained his eyes on the unmanned aerial vehicles that have taken out several hundred innocent civilians during presidentially authorized strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. “They go by super fast, but luckily there are Jumbotrons all over the National Mall, so nobody missed out. Wait, they’re coming back!” At press time, sources confirmed that inaugural celebrants were enjoying the Jumbotron’s live closed-circuit feed of the still-open prison facility at Guantánamo Bay.
Targeted killing, wikipedia Targeted killing is the premeditated killing of an individual by a state organization or institution outside a judicial procedure or a battlefield. Targeted killings were employed extensively by death squads in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Haiti within the context of civil unrest and war during the 1980s and 1990s. Targeted killings have also been used in Somalia, Rwanda, and in the Balkans during the Yugoslav Wars. Currently the US government practices targeted killings semi-publicly, as with the killing of Osama Bin-Laden and Al-Awlaki. Targeted killings have also been used by narcotics traffickers. Early History In Central and South America The United States Department of State's Human Rights Report in 1994 decried such killings, noting that in Haiti, "right-wing thugs, closely allied with the military, assassinated the legitimately appointed justice minister and conducted many other targeted killings By drug cartels In Somalia and Rwanda Background
Holder on Drone Usage hide captionAttorney General Eric Holder discusses the controversial U.S. drone program during a speech at Northwestern Law School in Chicago on Monday. John Gress/Getty Images Attorney General Eric Holder discusses the controversial U.S. drone program during a speech at Northwestern Law School in Chicago on Monday. It's one of the most serious actions the U.S. government could ever take: targeting one of its own citizens with lethal force. Since last year, U.S. drones have killed three Americans overseas. Since President Obama took office, he's deployed drones against terrorism suspects in an unprecedented way. "The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war — even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen," Holder said Monday. Why The Critics Object That bothers Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union. SITE Intelligence Group/AP When U.S. Trusting The Administration
‘Rise of the Drones’ Is Mostly a PBS Infomercial for the Military Defense Industry Screen shot from preview of Nova’s “Rise of the Drones” The widely-acclaimed PBS program, NOVA, premiered a documentary on unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. The documentary, “Rise of the Drones,” was produced to explore how the technology is revolutionizing warfare and creating the next generation of cutting-edge surveillance. It was created to provide a glimpse at how the technology has advanced and how innovations might progress in the future. Before the documentary began, PBS noted the program had received funding from the David H. Lockheed Martin is one of the nation’s biggest military defense contractors and is developing drones (in secret). Editorial Control Test: Has the underwriter exercised editorial control? Having Lockheed Martin provide any amount of money to a program that touts the amazing potential of innovations in drone technology appears to be a violation of both the “perception” and “commercialism” tests.
Obama's itchy trigger finger on drone strikes: what happened to due process? | Peter Van Buren Terrorism (ter-ror-ism; see also terror) n. 1. When a foreign organization kills an American for political reasons. Justice (jus-tice) n. 1. When the United States Government uses a drone to kill an American for political reasons. How’s that morning coffee treating you? Nice and warming? While you’re savoring your cup o’ joe, imagine the president of the United States hunched over his own coffee, considering the murder of another American citizen. Through what seems to have been an Obama administration leak to the Associated Press, we recently learned that the president and his top officials believe a US citizen – name unknown to us out here – probably somewhere in the tribal backlands of Pakistan, is reputedly planning attacks against Americans abroad. Supposedly, the one thing that’s held up sending in the drones is the administration’s desire to make sure the kill is “legal”. Last May, Obama gave a speech on the subject. Short-Term Questions The answer is: we don’t know.
US: End CIA Drone Attacks (Washington, DC) – The US government should transfer Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) command of aerial drone strikes to the armed forces and clarify its legal rationale for targeted killings, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to President Barack Obama and in a questions and answers document. A dramatic increase in the use of CIA drone strikes underscores the need for the US to demonstrate that the CIA adheres to international legal requirements for accountability, Human Rights Watch said. “CIA drone strikes have become an almost daily occurrence around the world, but little is known about who is killed and under what circumstances,” said James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch. “So long as the US resists public accountability for CIA drone strikes, the agency should not be conducting targeted killings.” About 40 other countries currently possess basic drone technology, and the number is expected to expand significantly in coming years.
'Dronestagram' filters satellite photos of US drone strikes for your social feeds Dronestagram is the latest project from renowned "new aesthetic" pioneer James Bridle, an Instagram feed which posts satellite images corresponding to US drone strikes in the Middle-East and Asia. Much like Josh Begley's Drones+, the Apple-banned smartphone app which sends alerts whenever drone strikes are reported, Bridle says Dronestagram is a way of "making these locations just a little bit more visible, a little closer. A little more real." Famous for the blog which coined "the new aesthetic," a term which describes new ways of seeing reality that have come about as a result of ubiquitous computer networks, Bridle's Instagram feed finds and filters images of drone strike locations using satellite data from Google Maps, adding contextual information from a variety of news sources, including the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. "These technologies are not just for "organising" information, they are also for revealing it."
Anwar al-Awlaki, wikipedia U.S. officials say that as imam at a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia (2001–02), which had 3,000 members, al-Awlaki spoke with and preached to three of the 9/11 hijackers, who were al-Qaeda members. In 2001, he presided at the funeral of the mother of Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who later e-mailed him extensively in 2008–09 before the Fort Hood shootings. During al-Awlaki's later radical period after 2006–07, when he went into hiding, he was associated with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who attempted the 2009 Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner. Al-Awlaki was allegedly involved in planning the latter's attack. The Yemeni government began trying him in absentia in November 2010, for plotting to kill foreigners and being a member of al-Qaeda. A Yemeni judge ordered that he be captured "dead or alive. In April 2010, U.S. Early life In 1991, al-Awlaki returned to the U.S. state of Colorado to attend college. Islamic education
A Dangerous Model As leaders from around the world gather this month for the Munich Security Conference, they should think about 10-year-old Dawlah Nasser Saleh of Yemen. Dawlah and her parents were among 12 civilians killed in a botched airstrike on Sept. 2 last year near their village in al-Bayda, a remote Yemeni province. An explosive intended for an alleged al Qaeda member struck the villagers’ van, setting it afire and flinging bodies from the vehicle. But there were no militants in the van, just farmers and their children. Farmers who saw the strike told Human Rights Watch that two aerial drones and two warplanes were flying overhead and that one of the planes carried out the deadly strike. But the only admission of responsibility for the killings came from anonymous US officials, who told The Washington Post that the US military carried out the attack with a drone or fixed-wing aircraft. On the face of it, targeted killings are an appealing counterterrorism technique.