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At the Center for the Study of the Drone
The administration of George W. Bush was widely criticized for its use of torture and extraordinary rendition in its War on Terror. How, then, do former Bush administration officials feel about President Obama’s use of drones for targeted killing? Zachary Israel rounds up the Bush officials who have spoken or written on the issue.
On March 12, a suspected U.S. drone strike killed Moajab bin Aziz, a local commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. According to Long War Journal, a missile struck the vehicle carrying bin Aziz and his bodyguards in the al-Jawf province in northern Yemen, a known AQAP stronghold.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has approved the purchase of an undisclosed number of American-made military Triton high-altitude surveillance drones. The Tritons will likely replace Australia’s P-3 Orion manned surveillance aircraft. (Stars and Stripes)
Protesters from several anti-war advocacy groups joined in a demonstration against drones at the Iowa Air National Guard base in Des Moines. Following a 2012 deal in the U.S. Senate, the Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing will soon begin maintaining a fleet of unmanned aircraft. “It brings war directly, physically to Des Moines,” Gilbert Landolt, president of the Des Moines Veterans for Peace, told the Des Moines Register.
U.S. officials said that there was “zero truth” to Russia’s claims that it had intercepted a U.S. MQ-5B surveillance drone over Crimea. According to a story that appeared in Voice of Russia, an “American scout-attack drone” belonging to a U.S. Army infantry regiment that is stationed in Germany was forced to land following a Russian electronic attack on its systems. (NBC News)
Commentary, Analysis and Art
At Smithsonian Magazine, Kate Siber examines the use of drones to fight poaching.
Intelligence Squared hosted a debate on whether the President has the constitutional authority to target Americans. The participants included Alan Dershowitz, Michael Lewis, Noah Feldman and Hina Shamsi.
At Foreign Policy, Sarah Kreps and Micah Zenko argue that sensationalist reporting on drones by the news media greatly exaggerates the scale of global drone proliferation.
In response, an author known as Aelkus at the Rethinking Security blog criticizes Zenko for reversing his earlier claims of the dangers posed by the proliferation of unmanned aircraft.
Writing for Israel Defence, Tal Inbar argues that Iran’s domestic military drone program is becoming more advanced, posing an increased threat to Middle East security.
Two lawyers, Wiley Rein and Gregory P. Cirillo, claim to have found a loophole in the FAA’s regulations that prohibit the commercial use of drones. Rein and Cirillo argue that in order to circumvent regulations, government agencies and local governments should maintain “public” drones that can be leased for private commercial use. (Lexology)
At Motherboard, Shawn Musgrave reports that the F.B.I. may have inadvertently acknowledged that it was operating three unmanned aircraft in 2010.
At 60 Minutes, Morley Safer considers the privacy concerns that accompany domestic commercial drones.
At the Wall Street Journal, Jack Nicas writes that, while the Federal Aviation Administration struggles to develop a framework for domestic unmanned aerial vehicles, farmers and filmmakers around the world are already using drones regularly.
A man flying a quadcopter drone captured footage of the aftermath of a gas explosion in Harlem, New York, in which at least seven people have died. (NY Daily News)
Meanwhile, paparazzi site 247Paps.TV used a drone to capture footage of Selena Gomez in New York City during a photoshoot. In an introduction to the footage, a 247Paps.TV employee identifying himself as Cesar incorrectly claimed that this was the first time in history that paparazzi had used a drone.
Know Your Drone
Newly released budget documents show that the Pentagon is looking to dramatically increase its spending on underwater drones. (USA Today)
Wired takes a look at the Fotokite, a small quadcopter drone attached to a retractable dog leash. The Fotokite, which was designed by Sergei Lupshin, a researcher at the University of Zurich, is programmed to follow the person holding the leash and is designed primarily for aerial photography.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing soft-skinned robot fish. The underwater drones, which are made of silicon, closely mimic the motion of real fish to move around in the water. (Los Angeles Times)
Australian officials are considering the feasibility of using drones in the next feral pig cull. According to National Parks minister Steve Dickson, the drones would drop poisoned pig food near groups of feral pigs, which the drones would detect using thermal imaging. The Australian government spends over $4 million culling pigs each season. (Brisbane Times)
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