Drone over the White House…this time unarmed (image, loves Robots)
We hear daily about the damage caused by US armed military drones however in 2013, I warned how personal drones were likely to be adapted in the future and turned into dangerous weapons, see link,
“Drones, I predict personal drones will be used for targeted killing, what goes around, comes around”
The “drone in the White House grounds” incident has acted as a wake-up call to some Americans that are only now realizing that drones can go both ways. The incident was played down (at least in public) by the White House spokesperson. The New York Times referred to an “inebriated off-duty employee” who “lost control of the drone as he operated it from an apartment just blocks from the White House.” However this clearly raised some concerns as to how the 2 foot by 2 foot quadcopter could breach security, what if this drone had been modified to carry explosives?
Obama told CNN, “these technologies that we’re developing have the capacity to empower individuals in ways that we couldn’t even imagine 10-15 years ago.” He now recognizes there is a need to develop a framework, guidelines and restrictions that “ensures that we get the good and minimize the bad” from drones.
Muslims in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen are targeted day after day by the US suffering the “bad” maimed and incinerated. There is a certain irony that Obama has instructed security agencies to make sure that drones “aren’t dangerous and that they’re not violating people’s privacy” in the US even as he is destroying the lives of others. Today six more persons were killed and two injured in a US drone strike in the Shawal area of North Waziristan Agency. In Yemen this week, 12 year old boy, Mohamed Tuaiman was killed along with 2 adult males, he had already lost family members in an earlier drone attack.
If the US is so convinced of the accuracy of their drone programme, why don’t they release the name of each individual killed or injured? Obama who promotes the US of armed drones outside the US, very clearly wishes to protect American citizens. He has never once targeted a “suspected terrorist” on US soil by armed drone as he knows only too well casualties in his own backyard could cause a violent backlash,
Interestingly, as Tech Crunch reports today, drone-maker DJI are already planning to put safety measures in place that will aim to prevent targeting of buildings such as the White House and stop cross border drug runs. It appears that drone firms will work to programme in geographical restrictions (virtual barriers) which will act as “no-fly zones” including airports and one that will extend “25 kilometers from downtown DC in all directions and effectively blocking either take-off or even flying entry by a drone.”
Perhaps the tables will soon turn. Its no secret that Taliban and Al Qaeda have for some time been actively seeking those with the technical skills to defeat, hack or develop and adapt drones to customize for their own use. Azan magazine stated some time back that,
“any opinions, thoughts, idea and practical implementations to defeat this drone technology must be communicated to us as early as possible because these would aid greatly…against the crusader-zionist enemy.”
As this August 2014 report from Peter Bergen stated, Islamic State also appear to have drones,
However much western countries try to protect their citizens from drone attacks, it is only a matter of time before terrorists fight back using technology to their advantage. Soon, westerners will not only experience the positive aspects of drones but will very likely have to learn to live with the “bad” side too. Perhaps then they will begin to understand the suffering they have caused to others!
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.