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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Attack of the Drones - USA

Published on Apr 23, 2012 by journeymanpictures - Iran claims to have reverse engineered US drone

They can move together in swarms, build towers, dance, throw and catch, assess targets and soon will even make their own decisions. Both in war and at home, drones are developing fast and gaining control.

The screens at a US air force base lock onto a civilian car driving along a road in New Mexico. "We don't simulate or actually engage them, it is just training to follow a moving target." The question, "with their permission?" is met with an embarrassed pause and the faltering reply, "we're just following them with a camera". Rapidly becoming acceptable practice, increasingly police are also using drones to survey civilian areas for criminals. The US air force are now training more 'desk pilots' than traditional pilots, raising concerns that war is becoming "just a big computer game", allowing pilots to kill a few Taliban fighters and then go home for dinner. Nathan Wessler, a civil rights lawyer, strongly argues that the US using drones to kill targets in countries like Yemen despite not being in a state of war with them could lead to serious repercussions. "It is really a dangerous precedent. The technology of drones is not that complicated and there are dozens of nations developing it." And these robots are advancing. Future drones will be able to independently find targets and decide to attack. As Iran lays its hands on a US spy drone, which experts in this report argue they are "perfectly capable of copying", has an uncontrolled new arms race already begun?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Singling Us Out: NYPD's Spying on Muslim Americans Creates Fear and Distrust.

By Elizabeth Dann, a third-year law student and the Outreach Chair for NYU Law School's Muslim Law Students Association
Elizabeth Dann
The NYPD's spying on American Muslims has sent waves of shock and fear throughout our community. I and other community members feel betrayed by our own police force, and the fact that it's the police singling out Muslims for unfair treatment makes us all deeply concerned that other parts of society see us as suspect, too, even though we've done nothing wrong.
I am a convert to Islam. When the stories of the NYPD's surveillance activities broke and described the NYPD's targeting of converts for its spying operations, I confided my fear to my husband that other Muslims might think I was a police informant, and that I might be a target of surveillance because I am a convert. These are profoundly disturbing and alienating feelings to have.
As an Irish American, and someone whose ancestors came to the United States before the Revolutionary War, I am particularly angry with and disappointed in Commissioner Ray Kelly. Has Commissioner Kelly forgotten the prejudice and bigotry that Irish Americans and Catholics have suffered in this country? Why is he subjecting other immigrants and religious minorities to that kind of racial and religious profiling and stigma?