Media Links: Kiwi killed in drone strike.

I did interviews on TV 3 and Radio NZ about the drone strike that killed a Kiwi dual citizen in Yemen last year. There are many questions raised by the incident, but time constraints precluded addressing all of them. The headline of the TV 3 interview is misleading of what I actually said. The RNZ interview is more straight forward and has a slightly different angle.

7 thoughts on “Media Links: Kiwi killed in drone strike.

  1. I do not know how you operate a drone to get the target, I mean how do you get a drone to take out one person in a car driving down the road. Is it driven by computer recordings where some one says yes that’s the car take it out. What about buildings. Do you say yes that’s where the terrorist is take it out. That seems to be an indiscriminate thing. But then again I think fucking Islam, lets take the whole thing out, we can’t afford to wait a thousand years for these people to get with it, and play chess with us..

  2. Paul:

    Tactical UAVs such as the infamous Predator and Reaper drones can loiter for more than 24 hours at 15,000 feet flying at speeds of less than 120 knots. They are manned by a pilot (who also pulls the trigger and on the military side is a qualified manned aircraft operator) and a sensors operator working in 12 shifts. The UAVs are mostly deployed as surveillance platforms, often working in tandem with human intelligence gatherers in the field.

    The high resolution cameras, infrared and motion sensors on the UAV allow the crew to identify facial features, license plates, sometimes even meals as well as movements of individuals. These are compared with other identifying criteria supplied by other intelligence sources, and if positively confirmed, after more observation to verify the authenticity of the target, a kill order is given. The UAV is armed with Hellfire Air to Surface missiles, deployed to the target’s vicinity (approximately 5-10 miles around his location) and the targeted assassination takes place.

    I cannot go into details here on the differences between the CIA and military UAV programs (suffice to say the military program displays more discipline given chain of command protocols). Nor can I elaborate on the psychological issues confronting UAV pilots involved in kill missions (since they often observe their targets for days on end, including in family settings, before they are isolated enough to be targeted for the kill. That has unsettled some pilots used to manned combat flight, where one does not become so familiar with the target). What I can say is that given the length of observation time on station and the coordination required to verify targets, the use of lethal drones is by no means random.

    That does not mean that mistakes have not been made (especially in the early days of UAV combat deployment), or that the CIA operators have not been trigger happy on occasion. But it does speak to the increasingly focused nature of armed drone operations, even if their legality remains subject to challenge by many observers.

    As for the rest of your rant–nah.

  3. Thanks Pablo for answer.
    In your radio interview, in which you outlined the position on this drone strike clearly, came the question .
    Is it legitimate, and reasonable, to take out people who have declared war on you, and,
    Specifically, take out these people on their own soil, in their homeland.
    In this case the Arabs were in homeland Yemen.
    To say no would mean that all the bombings and attacks on enemy soil throughout history have been illegitimate.
    That is, as soon as Napoleon crosses back off your border you can no longer attack him.

    When we think about bombing a City, World War 2 say, and compare that with the precision of the drone attacks,
    Well maybe the disquiet and loathing of this procedure is put into perspective.
    The New Zealander involved, as you put it ‘he went looking for a fight, [ joined a war ]
    and unfortunately he found one’

    The fearsome term ‘extra judicial killings’ surely means exactly what war is.

    I imagine these drone attacks are wickedly expensive.
    Lets say you take out bad dog Arab no 1, who was sworn to kill as many of your people as he could..
    He then gets replaced by bad dog Arab No 2, not as smart as No 1, but just as fanatical.

    Have we made progress.
    Maybe I am watching too much Al Jazeera

  4. Just further, the google site ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ has nearly 300 references. There is something there for everyone including a wealth of good uses; eg environmental.

    Reference 91, or google Jimmy Carter “Cruel and unusual record” , and this is where you can worry.
    Carter asks what human rights you had if you were blown apart by being physically near bad ass number one.
    Carter suggests that drone killings are inherently warlike activity, and that that promotes an opposing warlike activity in a widening range of people.

  5. Aljazeera video called ‘ Israel’s drone deals ‘
    A video about Israel’s influence in drone manufacture and military use.

    The direct URL is not working well.

    You can google Google
    ‘ Aljazeera people and Power,
    and then select ‘Israel drones’

    25 minutes. And at the bottom of the references to
    Repeat plays on Aljazeera Saturday and Sunday times art GMT so add twelve hours .

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