By Andrew Becker, Center for Investigative Reporting —
The U.S. Border Patrol has caught some border crossers in remote stretches of desert with a sophisticated sensor mounted on unmanned spy aircraft that can reveal every man, woman and child under its gaze from a height of about 25,000 feet.
Five alleged Pakistani militants connected to the Taliban warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur were killed in a drone strike Saturday as the United States pressured Pakistan to attack Taliban forces that may become the country’s crucial allies once foreign forces leave.
The worldwide uprisings of 2011 have seen ordinary people use surveillance and communication technology to protect themselves against oppressive governments. Now, New York City’s Occupiers are taking such tactics to the skies with the “occucopter,” a lightweight, camera-mounted helicopter that can be controlled with an iPhone.
The skies seem full of falling drones these days. The most publicized of them made headlines when Iran announced that its military had taken possession of an advanced American remotely piloted spy aircraft, thought to be an RQ-170 Sentinel.
Improvements in the technology behind the predator drone are advancing at a rate faster than a half-naked Arnold Schwarzenegger fleeing extra-terrestrial assassins in an alien jungle. Two new books bring us up to date. (more)
Pakistani lawyer and human rights champion Mirza Shahzad Akbar, who has aided the U.S. government in legal counterterrorism efforts, was banned from traveling to the States to speak at Columbia Law School after suing the CIA about drone strikes that have killed civilians in his country. (more)
Following Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s emergency departure for medical treatment last week, the U.S. government has taken advantage of the resulting power vacuum to resume covert fighter jet and drone attacks that have killed civilians and suspected terrorists alike. (more)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said it, and judging by this three-part series from CNN, the age of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is upon us. It’s warfare by joystick—and the Predator drone is only the beginning.