Weekend Roundup 3/17

March 17th

News Trending Now

The Department of Defense has stopped reporting the number of drone strikes due to the “‘disproportionate focus’” on lethal operations carried out by unmanned aircraft (3% of all sorties).

 

According to the LA Times, the CIA has started collecting intelligence on Syrian extremist militants for possible targeting scenarios. “CIA targeting officers normally assemble bits of intelligence — including agent reports, cellphone intercepts, video footage, public records, tips from foreign spy services — to create folders known as “targeting packages,” for a variety of reasons.”

 

An appeals court has ordered the CIA to disclose information on drone strikes, reversing an earlier decision in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The decision can be found here.

 

The UN special rapporteur for drones has been speaking out against the use of the machines over Pakistan. The full statement here. Ben Emmerson: “‘I’m not aware of any state in the world that currently shares the United States’ expansive legal perspective that it is engaged in a global war…’”

 

Drones will provide some of the security for the upcoming G8 conference in Northern Ireland.
“Each police helicopter costs about £7m to buy and the annual cost of running three is a further £5m. By contrast, the drones cost about £1m and have lower operating costs.”

 

In previous roundups we have covered the immunity of DoD drone programs from the sequester budget slashes. Defense News reports that the Air Force is considering an extended-range Reaper drone for post-Afghanistan operations.

 

The drone industry could create 100,000 jobs by 2025. The largest demand for unmanned aircraft is likely to come from farmers for “‘precision agriculture,’” allowing them to use fewer pesticides.

 

According to The Guardian, drones featured prominently in Arizona’s annual Border Security Expo.

 

An Iranian fighter jet pursued a US drone over the Arabian Gulf until warned off by an American escort plane. Peter W. Singer wonders in a Tweet: “Are the fighter pilots now escorting our #drones over the Persian Gulf excited by the potential action or saddened by the deep irony?”

 

Commentary and Analysis
Ryan Calo adequately sums up the legal difficulties of regulating domestic drone usage.

The New York Times has an in-depth story on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. Selected Wisdom Blog comments.

 

The Huffington Post does a roundup of the companies who sell drones in all shapes and sizes.

 

Greg McNeal writes about “the politics of accountability for targeted killings.”

 

In an editorial on Al-Jazeera, Jonathan Hafetz writes about citizenship and targeted killings.

 

Steve Vladeck questions the validity of the concerns raised by Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster last week.

 

For those wishing to follow up on the question of the ‘duty to capture,’ as discussed in last week’s lecture, you can find the online debate here.

 

Know Your Drone
Robobees: robotic bees aimed at pollinating flowers as real bee populations decline.

The Atlantic features a video of a claw equipped drone designed for snatching up objects at high speeds.

Festo, a German engineering company, offers a robotic bird drone that mimics the movements of an actual bird.

The Switchblade: a tiny ‘suicidal drone/missile’ used by US Forces in Afghanistan.

And a Dutch artist turns his dead cat into a drone.

Image courtesy of Wired.com

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