India: Maoists to protest Obama visit

Mohua Chatterjee,TNN | Jan 13, 2015

NEW DELHI: At a time when the government is busy with security preparations for US President Barack Obama’s arrival to be the chief guest at the 65th Republic Day celebrations on January 26 here, the Maoists have called out to people to “condemn and boycott” the visit.

“In protest of calling him to be the chief guest at the at the Republic Day celebrations, we call upon people to observe 26th January as a day of protest and to boycott all the meetings,” a written statement issued by the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist), dated January 5, said.

US Eyes Important Drone Deal With India for Barack Obama Trip

PM Modi with US President Barack Obama at the White House in September 2014.

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Growing Opposition to “Remote-Control” Stalking and Murder

Atlantans Protest International Drone Conference

By: GLORIA TATUM, Atlanta Progressive News, 6-11-2013

(APN) ATLANTA — Late last month, from Tuesday, May 28, to Friday, May 31, 2013, a group of Atlanta activists protested the 2013 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as drones, which held their convention at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Buckhead.  

The convention brought together representatives from academia, industry, federal and state agencies, the private sector, and engineers who are working to expand the use of drones in the US and internationally.

Keynote lectures at the conference included “The Beauty of Simple Adaptive Control – Stability and Performance,” “Unmanned Rotorcraft Systems and Applications,” “The Status of Closing the Research Gaps for a Certifiable Sense & Avoid System,” “Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the Natonal Airspace System: Past Present and Future,” “Future Air Force Vision for Remotely Piloted Aircraft,” and “The Flying Robot Revolution is Underway – How do we Keep it Safe?”

The speaker for the lecture listed last above is Dr. Eric Johnson, Lockheed Martin Professor of Avionics Integration, School of Aerospace Engineering.

Many organizations and individuals came together to speak out against the use of drones by the US government for spying, surveillance, lethal attacks, and targeted assassination. Continue reading

The Boston Marathon Bombing, Drones and the Meaning of Cowardice

America the Blind
by BARRY LANDO, in CounterPunch, April 16, 2013

Paris — As I write this, we still don’t know who was responsible for the horrific bombing attack in Boston. Perhaps it will turn out to be the work of home grown rightwing nuts; perhaps it’s the act of foreign terrorists. But, whatever the source, what strikes me is the number of times the barbaric assault is being denounced as “cowardly”

As in Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s warning that “This cowardly act will not be taken in stride.”

Indeed, “Cowardly” is the epithet being used by political figures across the United States; it was used by an editorial writer in Kansas City Star and a spokesman for the United Maryland Muslim Council in Baltimore.

“Cowardly” is the term being used in messages of support from abroad, from the Prime Minister of India to the Prime Minister of Italy.

After all, what could be more cowardly than for some unknown, unseen, unannounced  killer to blow apart and maim innocent men women and children, without any risk to himself.

But, if that be the definition of cowardice, what could be more cowardly, than the now cliché image of the button-down CIA officer agent driving to work in Las Vegas to assume his shift at the controls of a drone circling high over some dusty village on the other side of the world?

How different are the images produced by such attacks—shattered bodies, dismembered limbs, severed arteries, frantic aid givers and terrified survivors—how different from the moving images of the tragedy in Boston now being broadcast and rebroadcast on TV stations around the globe? Continue reading

Liberal Anti-Drone-Policy activists ask legal accountability — but Obama and Congress could not care less

Rights Groups, in Letter to Obama, Question Legality and Secrecy of Drone Killings

[Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency — A drone model burned Friday at a protest in Sana, Yemen. Most American drone attacks have been in Yemen and Pakistan.]
By , New York Times, April 12, 2013

In a letter sent to President Obama this week, the nation’s leading human rights organizations questioned the legal basis for targeted killing and called for an end to the secrecy surrounding the use of drones.

The “statement of shared concern” said the administration should “publicly disclose key targeted killing standards and criteria; ensure that U.S. lethal force operations abroad comply with international law; enable meaningful Congressional oversight and judicial review; and ensure effective investigations, tracking and response to civilian harm.”

The nine-page letter, signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Foundations and several other groups, is the most significant critique to date by advocacy groups of what has become the centerpiece of the United States’ counterterrorism efforts.

While not directly calling the strikes illegal under international law, the letter lists what it calls troubling reports of the criteria used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command to select targets and assess results. The reported policies raise “serious questions about whether the U.S. is operating in accordance with international law,” the letter says. It is also signed by the Center for Civilians in Conflict and units of the New York University and Columbia Law Schools. Continue reading

India: Desperate state seeks spy drones and mind-reading robots to quash the rebellious people

Drone robots to add more teeth to anti-Maoist operations

The Times of India, February 4, 2013

KHARAGPUR: After drone missiles of the US military, drone robots will come to the help of Indian security forces in anti-insurgency operations. The robots are being developed at a research institution in Delhi’s Karol Bagh, which has already developed another land surveillance robot and a mind sensing robot that can read the human mind.

Once ready, the drone robot can be used as an effective surveillance tool by the armed and security forces engaged in anti-Maoist operations. The robot can spy over a battle zone while flying over it. Enemy positions, camps and even soldiers or rebels hiding behind bushes within a 50 km radius can be captured on its camera which even has night vision. “Information sent by the robot can help the security forces plan their operations with greater precision,” said Diwakar Vaish, head of robotics and research at the Delhi-based A-Set Institute of Training and Research, that is working on the project.

Work on developing the robot is at an advanced stage at the A-Set Institute. The drone apart, Vaish from the 20-year-old institute demonstrated several other robots at the three-day KSHIT technology fest that began at IIT-Kharagpur (IIT-Kgp) on Friday. Continue reading

Democracy Now: John Brennan, CIA nominee, gets soft questions from Senators about torture and drones

Published on Feb 8, 2013

DemocracyNow.org – President Obama’s nominee to run the CIA, John Brennan, forcefully defended Obama’s counterterrorism policies, including the increase use of armed drones and the targeted killings of American citizens during his confirmation hearing Thursday. “None of the central questions that should have been asked of John Brennan were asked in an effective way,” says Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming book “Dirty Wars.” “In the cases where people like Sen. Angus King or Sen. Ron Wyden would ask a real question, for instance, about whether or not the CIA has the right to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. The questions were very good — Brennan would then offer up a non-answer. Then there would be almost a no follow-up.” Scahill went on to say, “[Brennan has] served for more than four years as the assassination czar, and it basically looked like they’re discussing purchasing a used car on Capitol hill. And it was total kabuki oversight. And that’s a devastating commentary on where things stand.

5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Drone Strikes

by Mehdi Hasan, The Huffington Post,  October 30, 2012
Yesterday, I was a panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Morning Live show on which, for once, I was able to debate the morality of the Obama administration’s CIA drone programme in Pakistan. There has been little discussion of the specific details of the programme in the mainstream media, on either side of the pond, and the recent US presidential debate on foreign policy saw moderator Bob Schieffer ask Mitt Romney (and not Barack Obama) a single, loaded and unfocused question on the issue.
Now, in the wake of a Pakistani man taking the British government to court over its alleged involvement in the killing of his father in a US drone strike in Waziristan, British media organisations are starting to pay attention.
But here are five things they – politicians, journalists, security ‘experts’, etc – don’t tell you about drone strikes – four out of five of which I managed to squeeze into yesterday’s discussion on the BBC (and which resulted in fellow panellist and former home secretary David Blunkett, to his credit, suggesting he may have to rethink his support for drones):
1) Despite their supposed ‘accuracy’ and ‘precision’, a study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism says CIA drones have been responsible for between 474 and 881 civilian deaths in Pakistan since mid-2004 – including 176 Pakistani children, who were just as innocent as Malala Yousafzai. Continue reading