Leading think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies says that drones and the range of their capabilities will increase
July 29, 2013
The casualties come after two missiles hit a convoy of people in the Shawal area of North Waziristan Sunday evening.
Local security officials say several people were also severely injured in the fatal attack, which sent shock waves across the troubled region.
The latest attack come as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has recently blasted US assassination drone strikes in his country, describing them as a violation of international law and the UN charter.
Islamabad has repeatedly condemned the attacks, saying they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Washington claims that the airstrikes target militants, but reports on the ground show that civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.
US President Barack Obama recently defended the use of the controversial drones as “self-defense.”
The aerial attacks, initiated by former US president George W. Bush, have been escalated under President Obama government.
The United Nations and several human rights organizations have already identified the US as the world’s number one user of “targeted killings” largely due to its drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The United Nations says the US-operated drone strikes in Pakistan pose a growing challenge to the international rule of law.
Philip Alston, UN special envoy on extrajudicial killings, said in a report in late October 2010 that the attacks were undermining the rules designed to protect the right of life.
Alston went on to say that he fears the drone killings by the US Central Intelligence Agency could develop a “play station” mentality.
Contracts show units to be used to enforce regulations
The deployment of federal drones in and around U.S. shores represents one of the Obama administration’s next steps in the nation’s expanded use of unmanned aircraft systems for surveillance purposes.
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, or ONMS, recently acquired Puma UAS – a type of drone that the U.S. Navy also uses – for operations off the coast of Los Angeles.
ONMS now is enlisting contractor support in expanding UAS use in California, Hawaii, Florida, and Washington state. Vendors experienced in working with law enforcement and military personnel are needed for this endeavor, according to a solicitation that WND located through routine database research.
The Puma drones – which are small enough to launch by hand – will be used by ONMS to enforce federal regulations, the document says.
At a time when revelations about how the U.S. government collects information about its citizens are coming fast and furious, the director of the FBI dropped another bombshell.
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary committee on Wednesday, Director Robert Mueller admitted that the FBI has used unmanned aerial drones to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens domestically, albeit in a limited scope.
Domestic Drone Countermeasures, Oregon Company, To Sell Defense Systems Direct To Consumers
Worried about the government’s increased use of drones to spy on citizens? Well, for the price of a new car you may be able to block unmanned vehicles from snooping.
Oregon-based company Domestic Drone Countermeasures announced last month that it would sell customized anti-drone defense systems to anyone interested in a little extra privacy. Drones will be an increasingly significant issue for people and companies seeking to limit aerial images of themselves or their property, company president Amy Ciesielka told The Huffington Post.
Domestic Drone Countermeasures’ anti-drone system would not disable drone technology nor jam the machines, Ciesielka said, but would neutralize the ability of a small air-bound drone to capture sound and images through its on-board cameras, video recorders and microphones. The anti-drone service uses patent-protected technology, and all the components already exist; Domestic Drone Countermeasures is simply joining them together into a single product for consumers, she said.
Ciesielka declined to name a price for the drone defense system, only saying it would “cost as much as car, maybe an Audi.”
The use of drones by municipal governments is expected to increase in the coming years. In February, Seattle police abandoned a plan to use surveillance drones to assist in criminal investigations after public outcry over privacy rights. Other law enforcement agencies have acquired surveillance drones, including those in Miami and Houston, according to a NBC report.
Consumers can already purchase small drones — which resemble radio-controlled helicopter toys and outfitted with cameras — for as little as $300 online. And more drones are coming. Last month, Congress passed a funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration that will allow for the use of a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles by both the government and corporate entities by September 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Domestic Drone Countermeasures is a spin-off of Aplus Mobile, which makes and sells defense-level computer hardware systems. According to the company’s website, any buyer of the anti-drone system must sign a non-disclosure agreement and must be an American citizen.
UAV mimics how an eagle grabs its prey
Paul Joseph Watson
A new flying drone developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania could one day be used to snatch humans off the street.
Justin Thomas and his colleagues at the GRASP Lab have produced an “avian-inspired” claw drone that mimics the way an eagle uses its talons to grab a fish out of the ocean.
A video clip of the drone shows the UAV swooping down at high speed to snatch an object using its 3D printed mechanical claw. By mimicking how a bald eagle sweeps its legs and claws backwards to aerodynamically close in on its prey without the need to slow down, the drone is able to grasp a stationary object with precise efficiency.
Drexel University’s Christopher Korpela is simultaneously developing flight stability software for drones with arms that would enable the UAV’s to carry a weighty object without them falling out of the air. The eventual purpose of the drones would be focused around “interacting with people or the environment,” although that is still a long way off according to Korpela.
Technology journalist Adario Strange envisages a future scenario where a larger version of the eagle claw drone could be used by law enforcement or military to pluck humans off the ground.
“The optimistic view of this development offers a vision of an emergency situation in which a drone could rapidly fly in and save a person from a perilous situation, but it’s also fairly easy to imagine law enforcement and the military using this development to grab human targets in coming years,” writes Strange, reporting for DVice.com.
“We may be about to see a return to the days when unseen hunters lurking in the sky could easily snatch a human right off the street,” he adds, referring to the pterosaur, a flying reptile that existed 65 million years ago.
Although this incarnation of the eagle claw drone is far too small to snatch and grab a human, the potential that larger models could be deployed for that very purpose in future is sure to make many nervous.
As we reported yesterday, military insiders like Lt. Col. Douglas Pryer are warning that drone technology will soon metastasize into armies of remorseless killer robots which will be used to stalk and incapacitate human targets.
Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, has also repeatedly warned that the robots currently being developed under the auspices of DARPA will eventually be used to kill.
“Of course if it’s used for combat, it would be killing civilians as well as it’s not going to be able to discriminate between civilians and soldiers,” said Sharkey.
An Iranian fighter jet tried to intercept a U.S. Predator drone over the Gulf but backed off.
An Iranian fighter jet tried to intercept a U.S. Predator drone over the Gulf but backed off after encountering two American military aircraft, the Pentagon said Thursday, according to AFP.
No shots were fired in the confrontation Wednesday, officials said, but the United States renewed a vow that it would protect its forces in the region.
The Pentagon initially said one of the U.S. aircraft discharged a flare as a warning to the Iranian plane but officials later said no flare was let off.
The incident, which the Pentagon said took place over “international waters,” highlighted the tensions between the two arch-foes and the risks of an accidental clash escalating into a serious crisis.
At one point the Iranian F-4, an old U.S.-built warplane dating from the Vietnam War era, was within 16 miles of the unmanned Predator drone, spokesman George Little said, according to the AFP report.
The unarmed Predator, the workhorse of America’s fleet of robotic planes, was carrying out “a routine classified surveillance flight” over the Gulf when it was approached by the Iranian warplane, he said in a statement.
In November, an Iranian fighter jet fired at a Predator plane, provoking a strongly-worded protest from the United States.
As after the November incident, the Pentagon warned it would keep up surveillance flights over what it deems international waters and to safeguard U.S. forces in the region.
Little said that “we reserve the right to protect our military assets as well as our forces and will continue to do so going forward.”
Iran later accused the United States of carrying out “illegal and provocative acts” in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, including repeated violations of Iranian airspace.
In December 2011, the Iranians captured a sophisticated Sentinel spy drone after it crashed on Iranian territory, in an embarrassment for Washington.
The United States expanded its military presence around the Gulf over the past year, deploying minesweepers and F-22 fighters to the area.
This came after Iran threatened to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for tough international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.