Weekend Roundup 7/29

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News Trending Now

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a leaked document detailing Pakistan’s own estimates of civilian casualties caused by CIA drone strikes in the period from January 2006 to October 2009, before the steep escalation of U.S. drone operations in the area.

In a written response to Sen. Rand Paul, the FBI acknowledged using drones ten times within the borders of the United States since 2006 in “very limited circumstances” for aerial surveillance. (The Hill)

The FAA has announced the first two drones to receive certification for commercial use. They are Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200— gasoline powered and weighing 44lb— and AeroVironment’s PUMA— battery powered and weighing just over 13lb. (Huffington Post)

Japan’s Ministry of Defense has recommended the purchase of drones as part of a larger project to upgrade its military systems. The recommendations come as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to steer away from Japan’s strict constitutional restrictions on offensive military action. (Washington Post)

Sam Dotson, the police chief in St. Louis, MO is wasting no time in getting drones over his city. Dotson told Fox News that they would be used for “monitoring public space, things like the upcoming Fair St. Louis, baseball games for terrorist, suspicious activity.” (RT)

Australia is to replace manned border patrol aircraft with a fleet of surveillance drones. “We will be able to survey more of the maritime environment than ever before,” explained Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown. (ABC)

A resolution posed by Rep. Adam Schiff in the U.S. House of Representatives to end the 2001 Congressional Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) by 2014 was voted down on Wednesday, 185 to 236. (Huffington Post)

The Washington Post reported that the need to find targets in the War on Terror, including the intelligence required to sustain U.S. drone operations, contributed to the massive growth of the NSA since 2001.


Commentary, Analysis and Art

A new international study by the Pew Research Center reveals a startling gender disparity in the public’s support for armed drone operations. While women are generally found to oppose military programs at a higher rate than their male counterparts, the difference in support for drone strikes between men and women is “unusually large,” according to Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. (The Atlantic)

The Lawfare Blog released a study by Rikita Singh that compares the different methods of counting civilian casualties in drone strikes and attempts to account for the discrepancies between four major reports on the subject. “Discrepancies like this,” she points out, “allow those who participate in this debate to see in the data what they want to see.”

Cora Currier, writing for ProPublica, describes how the Department of Defense prefers not to name enemy fighters of organizations, preferring to classify the information. Jack Goldsmith at Lawfare Blog responded, “An an issue as fundamental as the identity of the enemy in war, the bar for secrecy should be very high, and DOD should have a more convincing explanation than the one it provided to Currier.”

A DJI Phantom drone captured stunning footage of Niagara Falls.

The Brookings Institution released a paper this week entitled “Tools and Tradeoffs: Confronting U.S. Citizen Terrorist Suspects Abroad” that considers the case of the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and his son in 2011.

Derek Gregory has started a series of blog posts aimed at summarizing for English speakers Grégoire Chamayou‘sThéorie du drone (2013). Part one considers the Genealogies of the Droneand part two is about the “theoretical principles of man-hunting.”

Hina Shamsi, the Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, tells The Guardian that American drone strikes are “increasingly risky to the U.S. itself.”


Know Your Drone

The Peace Drone delivers doses of Oxycontin instead of Hellfire missiles. “Imagine how highly addicted enemy combatants will gather around it, like kids around the ice cream truck,” said Axel Brechensbuaer, the creator of the Peace Drone. (Wired)

Chinese authorities shoot down world’s first ‘cake drone.’ Yes, we know; just click the link. (Telegraph)

The French military is testing new maritime drones in the Mediterranean. (Raw Story)

DARPA is working on a submarine that can launch drones. (Gizmodo)

At the Center for the Study of the Drone

Dan Gettinger attended a recent teleconference about military drones and the law at the American Bar Association. He explains the key issues at hand, and the questions that need to be addressed looking forward.

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(Photo: The Peace Drone Credit: Axel Brechensbuaer)

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