Last week the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will aim to constrain the flow of conventional weapons to states and organizations that threaten peace and security or engage in gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Several members of the International Committee for Robot Arms [...]
In a detailed scientific article just published online, physicist and peace researcher Jürgen Altmann (TU Dortmund, Germany) explains that armed uninhabited vehicles (on land, on/under water, in the air) do not exist in a legal vacuum. For example, they must not be equipped with biological or chemical weapons. In Europe most land and air [...]
The New York Times has entered the discussion about the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Columnist Bill Keller has produced a well balanced article that looks at the pros and cons of a ban. For the ban, he notes that The arguments against developing fully autonomous weapons, as they are called, range from moral (“they [...]
CNN yesterday reported a confrontation between an Iranian F-4 fighter jet and a predator drone. But given the November 2012 incident between Iranian fighter jets and a predator, the drones are now routinely accompanied by US military planes. The Iranian F-4 turned away after a verbal warning was issued by one of two US fighter [...]
Before he retired from his job as US Secretary of defence, Leon Panetta announced a new ‘distinguished warfare medal to be given to drone pilots who sit thousand miles away from the action. This upset many service people and their families because it has a higher ranking than the ‘bronze star’. The bronze star has [...]
An article in yesterdays Globe and Mail (Canada) emphasized the psychological impact of drone strikes combined with noisy surveillance. Something that is often overlooked is the impact on civilians of the constant buzzing of drones overhead. They may be mainly used for surveillance but even the occasional strike means that no one knows if the [...]
In this month’s ‘The Engineer’, a magazine for engineers, I published an article calling upon engineers to help with a ban on autonomous lethal weapons. They titled my article “say no to killer robots” which was more direct than my own title of “stop autonomous killing machines now”. “This is a call to engineers to [...]
If the US president can order the assassination of Americans overseas, what are the limits to his power?
An article published in the New York Times (March 9 2013) gives great insight into the targeting of US citizens abroad. For the first time we get details of intelligence gathering and the enormous resources that the CIA used to track down and kill US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The article talks about one bungled attempt [...]
The Mail on Sunday has found two job adverts from the US Air Force asking for a communication systems administrator analyst and a systems administrator with operational experience with Predator Drones. Nothing odd about this until you find out that they are to work at RAF Waddington in the UK – ouch! The adverts say [...]
When drone extremist John Brennan’s appointment to Chief of the CIA was delayed by 13 hours by filibuster, Senator Paul Rand, accolades came from an unexpected source. As pointed out by the New York Times, ‘In Washington, Code Pink, a leftist group of antiwar activists, showed up with flowers and chocolates at Mr. Paul’s Senate [...]
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