Drones, The Cost Effective Killer

This report backs up what Naomi Klein wrote, that the Israeli weapons industry benefits from using attacks on Palestine as a testing ground for new technology. Which becomes another incentive against peace.

Palestinians say they know when an Israeli drone is in the air: Cell phones stop working, TV reception falters and they can hear a distant buzzing. They also know what’s likely to come next — a devastating explosion on the ground.

“Our experience is that the drone missile is successful in hitting its targets, and it’s deadly,” said Dr. Mahmoud Assali, a Palestinian physician who works in the emergency room of a northern Gaza Strip hospital that has often treated Palestinian gunmen hit by Israeli drones.

“The drone has a zone of around 15 meters (50 feet) where it decimates everything. It targets people and leaves them in pieces,” Assali said.

Israel is at the forefront of the drone technology that is increasingly being used in hotspots around the world. The unmanned craft provide a deadly and cost-effective alternative for armies to target enemies

A militant from the southern Gaza Strip who belongs to the Islamic Jihad group said drones were mostly used to target individuals, and not structures. He said they often hovered at much higher altitudes than manned aircraft and their missiles were frequently more destructive, leaving deep gashes where they landed.

The militant said the drones usually targeted slow-moving targets, like people walking, or cars slowing down to avoid potholes in a road.

“It looks like it makes small circles in the sky, but before it’s about to fire a missile, it slows down,” the militant said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared being identified by Israel. “It’s not like any other plane. You don’t see the missile leaving, it’s very quiet.”

Israel has long been considered the world leader in drone technology and proudly exhibits its products at international air shows. But it maintains its drones are for surveillance purposes, and refuses to confirm using them in airstrikes.

Doron Suslik, a top official at the Israel Aerospace Industries, which manufactures drones, said the company has customers from all over the world, including Switzerland, France and India, with annual sales of $500 million to $600 million.

He refused to divulge the drone’s military capabilities, citing his clients’ desire for confidentiality. Government and army officials also refused to comment on the drone’s firing capabilities.

The use of drones is shrouded in secrecy, and Israeli defense officials refuse to comment publicly on whether they are being used in airstrikes in Gaza. However, Israeli officers in private conversations have confirmed use of the weapons.

Friday Nooz Dumped!

Knowing the IAEA report would be an overwhelminlgy positive one on Iran’s nuclear program the US threw a spanner in the works, at the last minute (last Friday) they dumped a load of ‘intelligence’ from a laptop they claim contains plans of Iranian weapon programs. However the provenance of this laptop is a bit…how shall we say…yellow cakey? So the IAEA report includes some mention of these accusations which the Iranians have for now angrily dismissed. This has now been used to help the six sanctions crazed western powers to bolster their plans for a package of measures to be announced next week. See how that works?

The empire’s occupation forces in Iraq breathed a sigh of relief- Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Mahdi army militia to extend its cease-fire for another six months. While the damage form a previous war is still being denied in the imperial courtroom-

A federal appeals court upheld on Friday the dismissal of a civil lawsuit against major U.S. chemical companies brought by Vietnamese plaintiffs over the use of the defoliant “agent orange” during the Vietnam War. The ruling, handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, concluded the plaintiffs could not pursue their claims against Dow Chemical Co, Monsanto Co and nearly 30 other companies. The lawsuit contended agent orange caused ailments, including birth defects and cancer.

Uzbekistan is a country our government tries to deport people to saying it is a safe place, it now claims to have abolished the death penalty-

SURAT IKRAMOV– In the past, death penalty verdicts were handed down on the basis of two articles in the criminal code — murder with intent, article 97, and terrorism, article 155. Between 2002 and 2007, we have monitored trails on both these counts. We have demonstrated that in almost half the cases the charges were fabricated and the defendants subjected to torture. Guilt was not proven in the trails.

But despite this, the courts sentenced innocent people to death under pressure from the executive branch of power. At the same time, the real criminals were allowed to go free. So, with the abolition of the death penalty those illegally sentenced to death could gradually have the chance of being exonerated — that is if the real killers or terrorists are actually arrested. 

Once again the free market fails and begs the government to help protect their profits-

The government has said it will review the future of broadband internet in the UK amid calls that it should help firms pay for installing new infrastructure.

And will MI5 own up to it’s dirty war in Ireland? Whadya reckon?

MI5 operated in Northern Ireland throughout the Troubles – running large numbers of agents and informers.There have been allegations that it was involved in collusion with republican and loyalist paramilitaries. Lord Eames and Mr Bradley want all groups involved in the Troubles to tell the truth about their role. They met the Director General of MI5 in London on Friday afternoon to discuss how much it is prepared to reveal.

And the dirty drone war in Pakistan-

In the weeks before the election Monday, a series of meetings among President George W. Bush’s national security advisers resulted in a significant relaxation of the rules under which U.S. forces could aim attacks at suspected Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the areas near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. The change, described by senior U.S. and Pakistani officials who would not speak for attribution because the program is classified, allows American military commanders greater leeway to choose from what one official who participated in the debate called “a Chinese menu” of attack options.

Instead of having to confirm the identity of a suspected militant leader before attacking, this shift allows American operators to strike convoys that bear the characteristics of Qaeda or Taliban leaders on the run, for instance, so long as the risk of civilian casualties is judged to be low.

Yeah that’s right, if they look a bit…terroristy, flying robots of death away! But after the elections Bush minions are pre-empting the new rulers by saying they are worried they might curtail this aerial automata slaughter, hint hint, don’t you fucking dare.

Eritrea is making preparations for a US approved Ethiopian attack by kicking out UN forces enforcing a dodgy US brokered border agreement-

The [UN] mission started work in 2000 after a two-year border war between the Horn of Africa neighbors that killed an estimated 70,000 people. It has been stationed in a 15.5-mile (25-km) buffer zone inside Eritrea. But Asmara turned against the mission because of U.N. inability to enforce rulings by an independent boundary commission awarding chunks of Ethiopian-held territory, including the town of Badme, to Eritrea.

And apparently the police state has decided they can bug MP’s conversations, oh yes, say hello to the telescreen Winston-

The report says the recording was not covered by the Wilson doctrine, which forbids the security services bugging MPs. Rose reaches this conclusion by deciding that only bugging requiring the approval of the home secretary is covered by the doctrine, while the recording in Khan’s case only needed to be authorised by a senior police officer.

Get that? Because a cop did it the Wilson doctrine doesn’t apply now, if MP’s don’t come down on this like a ton of bricks, we are in deep trouble.

The Presidential soap opera continues and as this points out, McCain betraying himself and backing torture, not so big a story as the good old politician shags lobbying bint standby. Also this disturbing nugget-

Security details at Barack Obama’s rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena. The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

The question as yet unanswered is was this form the campaign, in which case no big conspiracy, or was it something else? Can the demonstrably institutionally racist & politically compromised secret service be trusted.

And the British war crime kept covered up is now getting some media presence-

British troops may have executed up to 20 captives in southern Iraq in 2004, human rights lawyers claimed today. A dossier of evidence from men taken captive after a gun battle near the Iraqi town of Majat-al-Kabir in May 2004 also suggested soldiers tortured and mutilated captives. Lawyers for five Iraqis today issued detailed witness statements, photographs of corpses and death certificates of the men who died. The allegations first emerged within weeks of the incident and have since been investigated by the Royal Military Police.

Only took lot’s of hard legal work and almost four years.

Minijust Buggery

Apparently the media prefer Gitmo show trials and Archbishop bashing to y’know Big Brother ‘n’ shit, well the real Big Brother not the sadistic ‘reality’ teevee gameshow. Did you know Scottish lawyers treat this as routine?

LEADING Scottish criminal lawyers believe their conversations are routinely bugged by the security services and some have resorted to interviewing clients in streets and parks to avoid eavesdroppers, it emerged last night. Lawyers admit they have no hard evidence for their claims but simply assume MI5 is listening in to their conversations with terror suspects and other major criminals. Such is their level of cynicism about state surveillance, lawyers have told Scotland on Sunday there is no point complaining because the security services will simply find another way to spy on them.

This article from the Times suggests a conflict, the courts consider legally privileged discussion off limits, the government and the police think otherwise-

This weekend there were further claims that hundreds of lawyers had been bugged during visits to see their clients in British prisons. If it could be proved legally privileged conversations had been taped, then defence lawyers might move for cases to be retried.

While the extent of the surveillance might be surprising, it was not illegal. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, senior police officers can authorise such bugging without a warrant from a government minister.

It also says this-

THE public are led to believe that surveillance and bugging are strictly controlled in Britain. Warrants must be obtained, permission given by ministers and safeguards met. A number of important-sounding watchdogs, such as the surveillance commissioner, report annually that the rules are being properly met and all is well.

The truth is that the law and standards for different types of surveillance vary enormously.

To bug your home telephone or e-mail in the UK, spies need a warrant authorised by a secretary of state, usually at the Home Office. About 1,800 such warrants are issued each year.

Many other methods of spying are permitted with far lower safeguards. Your car can be bugged on the authorisation of a senior officer in the security services or the police. Covert surveillance in a public place can be conducted just on the say-so of a senior officer. Informants can also be recruited on the authorisation of a senior officer.

There is more, it finishes with a roundup of UK surveillance where it says “the many forms of surveillance that make Britain ‘similar to Russia” (trust a Murdoch rag to get in a dig at the Soviets, decades out of date though it is!). I think maybe we are more like…well it looks like we might be world leaders in this. No one is like this, the technology makes this evolving authoritarian culture unique. Is this the British net curtain twitching tendency writ large into a totalitarian surveillance state? And there’s no denying Nulabour’s clear enthusiasm for this Panopticonism. Paddles, lack thereof, canoe, shit creek. Hello! George Orwell, he was British, we should be up on this shit. And what the fuck else is going on we don’t know about? They can shove their ID card up their fucking arse, this has to be stopped. Bring it Paddy my boy-