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software engr, young at heart. coding from early age. "digital brain" but with lots of feelings too. writing here mainly to publicize a few key issues, let off some steam, & for the feedback. plz write me comments, very much appreciated!! even on old posts!! helps me gauge reader interest/ reaction & steer direction of new posts. oh, and IMs often make my day & I usually reply. and long IM conversations are my favorite.

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FEBRUARY 9, 2013 5:55PM

DEATH TO DRONES — Mission Creep to Execution Nirvana

Rate: 7 Flag

hi all. as I mentioned recently Ive collected bazillions of links on misc political topics over many months & was ready to post while open salon was down. one topic Ive covered in this blog since its inception is Drones. the complex and polarizing issue has really spiralled in a short amt of time. when the future of warfare is written, a large chapter will talk about drones.

this is a very fast moving field, I collect links obsessively-at-times and I can barely keep track. it would be cool if someone created a web site dedicated to the subject.

drones were started under bush and slowly perfected in a short amt of time. its a key case study in the concept of "mission creep". drones were initially used for surveillance and the military gave assurances that this would be their major purpose. but to the warmongering militarists of the country, drones were a wet dream. its a dark collusion of different interests.

they're a vivid, visceral manifestation and realization of the War machine in physical, material form. they were quickly tested based on the ability for "payloads". one of those neutral, sanitized term for BOMBS. bombs, bombs, bombs. you know, like in that song that mccain sang once about iran!

so, as a software engr who has dabbled in robotics over the years, Ive got strong mixed feelings on this. the concept of drones, believe it or not, actually originates with Tesla. he talked about using robotic or remote controlled systems for warfare. but it was a sort of Strangelovian dream. it was once thought that terrible weaponry might lead to peace.

oh yes, the wonders of technology! but it appears that technology is like a funhouse mirror at times, it only reveals our own distorted nature. peace through weaponry is a mad delusion. einstein the great pacifist pointed out emphatically

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. —Albert Einstein

but isnt that concept at the very heart or essence of the War on Terror?

 * * *

we know in our lives from the history of nuclear weaponry that terrible weaponry only leads to living nightmares. drones are the latest manifestation of this living nightmare, born in humanity's collective unconsciousness, now playing out before our (mostly sleepy) eyes. in the so called "theatre" of war. yes, what a drama!

so some dreams come true, and be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

we have the worlds most sophisticated aeronautic and robotic/control systems ever devised in human history, the pinpoint of a spear that literally involves *millions* of secret workers in government-- designed to vaporize human life like a video game. its the ultimate in Asymmetric Warfare. drones, not terrorists, are the true Asymmetric weaponry.

how can we consciously function when our government is based on a deadly, delusional contradiction?

so you know my point of view, and I dont want to dwell on it too much.

I collected these links mainly for the public, not so much for myself. every single hit on this web page is a small drop in the bucket. I cant boil the ocean, but I can walk along the beach and pick up stranded starfish, and throw them back in the water. every person who reads this post, and comes to new understanding and awareness, is like a point of light, or a neuron in the global brain. that global brain thinks, at times, dark, crazy, mad thoughts. it can be steered gradually toward enlightment, toward balance & harmony, toward peace.

maybe humans cannot always find their way to the truth, but google can find its way to this article, and lead the way to forerunners in compassion and reform.

* * *

it is difficult to time posts like this for me. I wanted to write this maybe last summer. I try to time my posts to current events. Ive been waiting for drones to become a large issue, and blow up in the face of the country, eg via some international incident. my main guess was that somebody politically elite would be blown up by a drone accidentally, or some other international incident. so far, that galvanizing moment has not come. however, at least there were major protests at the Brennan confirmation very recently. a rare moment in the years of public tolerance, indifference, and apathy.

however, there have been some blips in awareness over the last year. the election brought the issue to the forefront. it seemed that even the right wing might have been edgy about obama's use of drones. last summer the NYT did an outstanding article that raised a lot of awareness, showing how much effect the media can have on driving the discussion.

the NYT article seemed almost to be an "official leak". obama is caught at the heart of this contradiction in our country. he has powerful instincts for transparency, but it gets distorted in a strange way in meeting the us Warmachine. he seems to believe that he can codify an "official playbook" for drone strikes and by getting personally involved, the accountability of the project is increased. it is made systematic and sanitized. he believes he has made a genuine contribution. well congratualations on that my friend!

but [newsflash] ... I hate to be the bearer of bad news on this ... please dont shoot the messenger ...

there is no humane way to kill people.

think about that concept. repeat that mantra. its not part of being a liberal, its not part of being compassionate. its part of being human.

obama seems not to be caught in this moral dimension of his "procedures". he is infected by the military delusion and contradiction of sanitized killing, that it is an effective instrument of foreign policy, that somehow every "insurgent" killed brings the US govt closer to its foreign objectives.

even dissidents in the military are starting to point out that reality is not matching the theory.

* * *

the theory is Strangelovian at heart, at heart a depraved delusion. we are caught between a rock and a hard place, described quite vividly by that dispassionate guru-hero of WWII, Churchill

"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." —Winston Churchill

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." —Winston Churchill

the question is, how long will we continue to stumble over the truth, and when will the hurrying off-elsewhere cease and  all the other possibilities be exhausted? we do not seem yet on the verge of this.

the brainwashed, deluded govt insiders would tell me after reading this that this is a simplistic analysis of world forces and dynamics, that in reality, "its complicated". sort of like facebook relationships. if drones had a page on facebook, they would have many, many Friends. friends in the defense companies, friends in government, friends in foreign governments. a dark alliance of sinister interests converging on frankenstein technology.

so drones were an issue in the election to a minor degree. it never made it much into television debates, but it sprang up in the media to some degree. a small glimmer of light in the darkness. next, we have the latest Brennan confirmation proceedings for the CIA position.

Brennan is being portrayed as the master of drones, and a guy you can trust, who expertly balances humanity with precision killing, who kills in a law-respecting manner.

hmmmm, would that be sort of like a human guillotine or gas chamber?

the guillotine was invented in the french revolution by a doctor who wanted to see a more humane method of executions, after noticing how human executioners often made errors in making a clean cut on the chopping block.

oh yes indeed, isnt techology all about "correcting errors"? there must be a more sanitary, better way. it seems after the long sweep of history, we Americans have finally arrived at it. it might be called, the Nirvana of Execution.

* * *

the military is now making vague promises that drones will never be Fully Autonomous [in selecting or firing on targets, or whatever] as that technology is just now on the horizon. yeah right. we have already crossed so many boundaries, its hard to keep track any more, it makes me dizzy. its like tofflers Future Shock compressed over the space of just a few years. or is that the point? just the future cannot be forecasted exactly, but for a somewhat plausible and likely picture, all we have to do is remember two words....

Mission Creep.

I must say, on reading & organizing this material, I now find it staggering all in one place and one view. theres been a massive explosion in the use of drones, it seems some critical threshold, some critical mass has been exceeded. it seems to have developed a new momentum, and hit and extraordinary tipping point. we seem to have literally entered a Point of No Return.

there are excellent front-page level articles in NYT, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Mother Jones, the Nation. this is not a left or a right issue. it is an American issue. it made huge headlines last summer as Obama's very direct role was revealed, and congress reacted angrily. it seems to have reached a whole new level and scale of reality. drones are being used increasingly in the US with 63 bases identified.

for the first time drones tracked and killed an american citizen, Awlacki, and his 16 yr old son.

there is ominous, alarming spread of the technology internationally and domestically.

I fear for the future of drones, and the future of this country which is now highly intertwined with this invention that only seems to become more diabolical with each passing year, month, day.

I am one of the greatest adherents and proponents of scifi and technological advance, and it its a massive tragedy of humanity to witness the incredible sophistication of research and development channeled into drones. what if this energy was used for good rather than nefarious purposes? we face issues like climate change, and energy depletion. but it seems the worlds greatest minds are working and focused on even better & more efficient ways to vaporize designated-terrorists.

maybe someday this will be recognized as a crime of humanity on the level of the historic ones we study in textbooks. but apparently, not anytime soon.

"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will." —Dick Cheney, Sept 16, 2001

its just it seems that more and more the Dark Side is becoming ever close to a Death Star.

* * *

now, this will be overwhelming to you too I realize. so maybe just bookmark this post and come back. or pass on the link to a friend, or post it somewhere else. if you're interested, try starting with one of the overview articles. maybe you can just scan the link titles, or maybe just in a single section. to help organize it as usual, Ive put it into sections. [please dont ask me how long all this took!]. heres a quick survey of the sections.

  • overviews by some of the foremost experts, analysts, reporters, journalists, and writers on the subject, some who have spent years on the subject.
  • pakistan, frayed diplomacy, protests. of course the main use of drones is in pakistan it appears, and our diplomatic relations with that country were stretched to the breaking point and even led to a temporary cessation, but it proved to be only a brief hiatus. its caused demonstrations and near civil unrest in the country, protests by officials in high levels of government. our policy has been revealed as increasingly indiscriminate and targeting large groups.
  • international spread. increasingly drones are being showed at sales shows for other countries to buy them, and the Warmachine corporations are eager to rake in new revenue streams. its said that the foreign use is declining in focus in some articles, but that smells like near propaganda to me. it is possible it is not as much of a growth area. and what happens when hostile countries get their hands on this technology? it seems only a blink of the eye away. new use/spread of drones in somalia, libya, yemen & elsewhere (even against phillipines guerillas).
  • domestic spread/surveillance. there is an amazing speed of developments here. the FAA is involved in regulations, and initially it was thought to be strict and highly regulated, but it appears that drones are already being flown routinely in the US in major areas and there are 63 bases in the US. they're mainly being used for surveillance, but its happened without much public notice or legislative debate.
  • obamas direct role. revealed for the first time by the NYT article that came out last summer and a new book. previously obama was not known to play such a direct role as selecting and approving targets, almost weekly. the NYT article was eye opening and alarming in many ways. it became something of an election issue and a near-front-page issue. it seems both the left and the right wings have a lot of shock at this new information. here, strangely, obamas instinct for transparency and accountability has manifested in a dystopian vision and which has caused much blowback/backlash so far. at this point it hasnt led to a crisis in the presidency, but it feels like it could be just on the edge of that possibility.
  • reports, coverup, and propaganda. the govts statements about how often civilians are killed are misleading, inaccurate, or just plain propaganda. there is little independent reporting on the subject, although finally some independent groups are doing analysis and reports, and there are some drone-related lawsuits to try to get information and details or reel in the government.
  • resistance and blowback aka "karma". this section is about worldwide resistance and anger, such as over children victims of drones, calls for arrest of CIA legal chief, etcetera. Pakistan outright ordered the CIA to halt drone strikes, and it sparked a large protest. its described blandly and innocously in one article as a "feud". also, some public protests such as comments on an Amazon page for a toy drone. international human rights groups are protesting.
  • pilots. new detailed information on the psychological toll on pilots, and that theres a huge demand for new pilots. hey, in a down economy, you could strike a new "dark" bargain.
  • increase/budget. the use of drones is increasing, budgets are increasing, huge expansion of the CIA paramilitary element. this aint your father's CIA. its a major element of Pentagon spending, its a major element of its strategy. but also leading to massive waste as eg $3B in drones were thrown away. and thats just the case we heard about.
  • hacking & viruses. it was discovered a virus infected one of the operational control centers in the Air Force by Wired magazine, and the Air Force initially denied the infection but later confirmed it. also its been found that drones can be hacked into in some demonstrations, and Iran downed a drone, possibly by hacking ito it.
  • advances & future. as I mentioned, there is increasing possibility of autonomous drones on the horizon that make targeting decisions on their own. the US Military has given some weak assurances by most-unnamed officials that this will never happen, but one is reminded of vague assurances years ago that their main use was surveillance. the technology is getting cheaper and proliferating. an evil Moores law, anyone?
  • awlacki & americans. some few articles on how awlacki, an american citizen, and his son, were assassinated.
  • policy "debate". there is supposedly some strong debate and pushback in congress over the use of drones, obamas kill list, etcetera. one wonders how much of this is genuine outrage or a sort of political ploy by congress only to react to the degree that the american public reacts to the increasingly startling news.
  • editorial/commentary. here is where it might be even more depressing than previous content to read, but in many ways, is the most important. what does all this say about us as americans? what is the end result of all this? what direction are we going? who are we becoming? is it ethical, moral, sensible, reasonable, rational? more maybe, something else?



pakistan, frayed diplomacy, protests international spread domestic spread/surveillance obama's direct role reports, coverup & propaganda resistance & blowback... aka "karma" pilot(s) increase/budget hacking & viruses advances & future awlacki & americans policy "debate" editorial/commentary

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Of course I book marked this. I find you simply indispensable when I have to research something vz. I also loved the quotes from Churchill. Okay now for my take on drones. Anyone who has even half a brain knows what 9/11 was all about by now but as you noted drones are mostly being used in Pakistan. I’ll be the last person to argue that the Pashtun must be checked but I find killing and murdering that tribe of eternal and valiant warriors with robots to be about the lowest and the most cowardly act of “war”ever perpetrated in the annuls of human history. The Egyptians believed in a God of War they called him Horus, the Greeks called him Aires, the Romans Mars. Yahweh began his career as a God of war. Just about every culture that’s ever existed believed in a God of war. Even now those who have not polluted their minds with Victorian science, which is nothing more than soul numbing propaganda in the service of empire, know there is a God of war. Anyone who has ever seen any real action knows that these things exist. Homage is paid to this in Apocalypse Now in the character of Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore where the narrator tells us you just knew nothing was ever going to touch him. The founding father of this once great nation; George Washington, fought the revolutionary war with the same conviction. He showed the British sharp shooters only his contempt. How ironic that a nation founded by a great man like that, a nation that beat back the war machines of the British Empire, the Germans twice, and the Japanese, has overnight become a nation of cowards under the tutelage of a main stream media as corrupt as any mafia that ever existed. We have become a nation of Uncle Festers led by a gold toothed pimp. “I’ll shoot him in the back.” Just fifty years ago America laughed at the absurdity of that statement now they endorse it. As a man who sold his soul once said.

“They want to put guns in the sky

Someone out there ain't gonna like it

But it could be good

make us love each other

Have to realize

I own the future

Guns in the sky, guns in the sky

Guns in the sky, guns in the sky”

Hey paybacks a bitch! Ask Michael Hutchence.
[r] this is important work that you do. one of moyers' guests this week pointed out that soon 50 countries will have drones up and running and asks how America will feel when those countries start tracking their assassination-targets to American soil.

I remember I was doing an early blog about drones and trying to find out what it does to a human body when the drone missile hits it. of so many websites I could not find out details, only legal bantering back and forth on their legitimacy in crossing borders of supposedly sovereign nations.

There was one discussion I found once and did not mark it down before I tried to re-find it for the drone blog, and it said that it is like having a horrifying heat suck all the air out of one's lungs. That's mainly what I remember. Red mist is left I recalled elsewhere. Red mist. Think of that. No evidence, Mr. President, or not much of the being you destroyed especially if it was innocent and civilian and of a tender year even.

Robert Fisk wrote blogs about what it was like to live in Pakistan with these supernatural-seeming entities buzzing constantly in the air above one (fodder for PTSD, the complex hostage kind) to occasionally zoom down and inflict violent and torturous death to loved ones and ones' neighbors.

We are in a spiritual dark age. We are a country run by sociopaths. As for the zombies who pass as American citizens who cheer on the war criminals and apologize for them and ignore their destruction of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, I am more and more horrified by their complacency.

best, libby
ps I will explore your links to try to find more details about the physical punishment of a drone missile on the human body! libby
hi libby, thx for the feedback, as far as I know its basically an explosion.
but coincidentally did just see this description on dailybeast about 1sthand acct, some soldiers watching a terrorist die on DroneTV channel after hit. warning-- graphic writing
the article talks about a soldier worrying that drones are like a hammer that makes everything look like a "terrorist" nail. wow, creepy, thats an old analogy that goes way back in software engineering (although maybe it predates computers)....
hi JH Im a big INXS fan. I rented that video of them at wembley stadium and watched it a bunch of times on my new hidef TV & stereo years ago. it was way cool. one of my favorite songs, "suicide blonde'. esp for the "killer" harmonica. I heard that song about "guns in the sky" & think he may have been a bit prophetic. but of course all rock stars are to some degree depending on their level of debauchery, the more, the more accurate, wink
as for your idea about the idea of war as an honorable activity. I have mixed feelings on this. I read a book about the shuar indians of ecuador by john perkins, it might have been "the world is as you dream it" or something like that ... they have a similar belief including avenging ones family, and increasing ones manhood by killing enemies.. but remember, these are nearly primitive savages in some ways....
This looks to me like a true labor of love. This is an indispensable resource you have created. Have you sent it to the White House?
hi Dr.SJB thx for dropping by.
a labor of love, and a labor of fear.
as far as getting it to the attn of the white house, looks like a high schooler beat me too it.
High school student sends Obama letter over drone assassinations
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce the next step forward ...

The cat is out of the bag now. This is a good thing. But how it came out is a bad thing. It has not been proven but the strikes that the drones have already taken I know for a fact there was about a 90% collateral damage. Now think about the fact that Iran has one now. On top of that since the cats out of the bag, realize that now they are using them to look at every citizen in the US, so you are now under surveillance when you are playing with your kids in the backyard, they are taking notice of your patterns, where you you go, what you eat, where you get your gas, ect. Here is a video about the captured drone before it disappears. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtEd-zPSFBM
oh yes, skynet v1.0, and the matrix keeps us from SEEing it.... and yeah its just a matter of time before enemies start dinking around with drones. heck, some low budget lightweight explosives mounted on a model airplane seem highly plausible as showing up somewhere in the near future....
You are a krazy lil ole hobbit vzn. The domestic political fact is that a MAJORITY of the US public supports the present anti-terrorist policies, including the drone strikes. Read my most recent post on the subject bird brain...wink
The development and spread of drones is a bad idea.

The technology can't be controlled by the US after it is unleashed.

We won't be able to defend against something this cheap, deadly, and technologically trivial.
None of you peeple can think straight. Even if the US did NOT develop drones other countries would, since the micro-electronic and computing technology required is maturing all the time, so what the US does or doesn't do isn't determinative. So the US might as well take advantage of its technological lead. Period.

Secondly, there are many deterrents the US has to other country's inappropriate use of drones. Certainly any drone attack on US soil by a second or third rate power would be met with a total US retaliatory response, thereby dissuading any future potential users of drones, or at least destroying their infrastructure. If this just creates more terrorists then at some point the US will use more killing power against them. What else is possible?
Poll: Drone Strikes on American Terror Suspects No Longer Popular

"According to the poll, 48 percent of Americans think it is illegal to 'target US citizens living in other countries with drones,' while 24 percent think it is legal"
YY, long time no see, I see youve been busy while you were "away".
as for the polls, where do you get your news anyway? FauxNews?
speaking of that check out this site:
box the fox drone god game
thx LLNYC for that link =)