Today, the United States and its allies have received a military wakeup call and warning in the Middle East as epochal as the Conquest of Poland was in 1939.
Today Saudi Arabia finally lost the war on Yemen. It has no defenses against new weapons the Houthis in Yemen acquired. These weapons threaten the Saudis economic lifelines.
Phi Beta Iota: The West assumes impunity from interruption and is not ready for asymetric rear area attacks. An electromagnetic pulse gun in a helicopter would have been able to fry these drones on the spot. In a worst case a machine gunner, shooting downwards. No one wants to think about this stuff….too inconvenient.
DEFENDING U.S. FORCES AGAINST ENEMY DRONES
Enemy use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is a growing threat to U.S. forces because of their low cost, versatility, and ease of use, according to a recent U.S. Army doctrinal publication. “The UAS is the most challenging and prevalent threat platform to combined arms forces and therefore, a logical choice for enemy use.” See Techniques for Combined Arms for Air Defense, Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-01.8, July 29, 2016.
As is the case with U.S.-operated drones, enemy UAS can be used to perform a range of functions from battlefield surveillance and targeting to precision strike, the Army document said. “The enemy will use UAS to fulfill multiple attack roles.” The drone may deliver a weapon or be used as a weapon itself. “As an indirect attack platform, the UAS has the ability to carry the improvised explosive device or become the improvised explosive device.” “Perhaps the most dangerous COA [course of action]… is the Swarm” in which “clusters of UAS” are used by an adversary simultaneously for surveillance, indirect attack and direct attack. What to do about this? The answer is not fully articulated in the Army manual.
Official US defence and NATO documents confirm that autonomous weapon systems will kill targets, including civilians, based on tweets, blogs and Instagram
Four former service members – including three sensor operators – issue plea to rethink current airstrike strategy that has ‘fueled feelings of hatred’ toward US
Guardian, 18 November 2015
Phi Beta Iota: Closing down or transferring the drone program should have been John Brennan’s first order of business when he assumed his position as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. That he did not do so is his epitaph.
In the last week, much has been made of the leaked DoD briefing entitled ISR Support to Small Footprint (CT) Operations – Somalia and Yemen, dated February 2013. To date, all the reports I have read, save one, focus on the “critical shortfalls” of drone warfare revealed in these slides — see, for example The Intercept, which broke the story on October 15 and placed the slides on the net, and this report in Common Dreams, and anti-war progressive outlet. Both of these reports and the briefing slides contain a lot of useful information are well worth careful reading. But there is more.
I joined the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) well over 3 years ago with a very specific mission and mandate: to develop and deploy next generation humanitarian technologies. So I built the Institute’s Social Innovation Program from the ground up and recruited the majority of the full-time experts (scientists, engineers, research assistants, interns & project manager) who have become integral to the Program’s success.
Recent scientific research has shown that aerial imagery captured during a single 20-minute UAV flight can take more than half-a-day to analyze. We flew several dozen flights during the World Bank’s humanitarian UAV mission in response to Cyclone Pam earlier this year. The imagery we captured would’ve taken a single expert analyst a minimum 20 full-time workdays to make sense of. In other words, aerial imagery is already a Big Data problem. So my team and I are using human computing (crowdsourcing), machine computing (artificial intelligence) and computer vision to make sense of this new Big Data source.
Phi Beta Iota: Worth a full read. We are reminded of DARPA’s STRONG ANGEL and note with interest that the Internet being down in Nepal makes a lot of the UAV collection irrelevant — sort of like NSA’s global collection that is not processed and 99% of “big data” not being processed (per Mary Meeker). The lack of bandwidth, lack of processing, and lack of open source sense-making tools continue “The Big Disconnect.”
A group of military veterans is taking aim at U.S. drone strikes overseas with graphic TV ads directly asking Air Force pilots to stop flying the unmanned aircraft, calling the operations immoral and illegal.
This book shows us once again why Patrick Meier is a thought leader in leveraging emerging technologies for social impact. His book captures the enormous possibilities and avoidable pitfalls of big data, social media and artificial intelligence in crisis contexts. Digital humanitarians can be powerful agents for social change but ground-truthing what we see and hear digitally is more important than ever.
—Aleem Walji, Chief Innovation Advisor, Leadership, Learning, and Innovation, World Bank Group
Phi Beta Iota: The book title and description from the publisher are misleading. This is not a book about Big Data. It is a book about distributed human networks using open source information technologies to achieve situational awareness with a speed and precision that the entire US secret intelligence community (which costs $100 billion a year) cannot match.
Jailed 9/11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui accuses two of Saudi’s most senior royals – including a former ambassador to US – of ‘paying for Osama bin Laden’s terror plot’ in extraordinary claim from prison
Phi Beta Iota: Bin Laden is not believed by honest experts to have had anything to do with 9/11, which was a very well-funded state terrorism plot that probably had the full complicity of Dick Cheney. The 9/11 Commission, like the Warren Commission, was an official cover-up.
The Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are co-organizing the first ever “Experts Meeting on Humanitarian UAVs” next month at UN Headquarters in New York. This full-day strategy meeting, which is co-sponsored by the ICT for Peace Foundation (ICT4Peace) and QCRI, will bring together leading UAV experts (including several members of the UAV Network’s Advisory Board, such as DJI) with seasoned humanitarian professionals from OCHA, WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDAC, IOM, American Red Cross, European Commission and several other groups that are also starting to use civilian UAVs or have a strong interest in leveraging this technology.
The first version of the Humanitarian UAV Network’s Crisis Map of UAV/aerial videos is now live on the Network’s website. The crowdsourced map features dozens of aerial videos of recent disasters. Like social media, this new medium—user-generated (aerial) content—can be used by humanitarian organizations to complement their damage assessments and thus improve situational awareness.
The purpose of this Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) map is not only to provide humanitarian organizations and disaster-affected communities with an online repository of aerial information on disaster damage to augment their situational awareness; this crisis map also serves to raise awareness on how to safely & responsibly use small UAVs for rapid damage assessments. This explains why users who upload new content to the map must confirm that they have read the UAViator‘s Code of Conduct. They also have to confirm that the videos conform to the Network’s mission and that they do not violate privacy or copyrights. In sum, the map seeks to crowdsource both aerial footage and critical thinking for the responsible use of UAVs in humanitarian settings.