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U.N. Drone Investigator Expects Dramatic Decrease in Activity

Ben Emmerson tells the Guardian drone use likely to be curbed in coming months as program shifts from CIA to US military

Ben Emmerson, UN Drone Investigator

The United Nations’ drone investigator says he expects a “significant reduction” in the controversial strikes by the US in the next 18 months.

After meeting the CIA


Classified documents show CIA didn’t always know who it was killing in drone strikes

drone camera

An NBC News review of classified CIA documents for a 14 month period beginning in September 2010 lists 114 drone strikes that killed as many as 613 people. However, in some of those strikes, the CIA did not know the identity of the victims. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.


New Pakistani Leader Vows End to U.S. Drone Attacks

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan’s parliament elected Nawaz Sharif as prime minister on Wednesday, marking a historic transfer of power in a country that has undergone three military coups.

Nawaz Sharif

Now Sharif faces the monumental task of leading the country of 180 million people out of its sea of problems, including widespread power outages and militant attacks.


U.S. Drone Operations Controlled from Germany

european drone prototype

US military sites in Germany are playing a key role in the use of American combat drones to target the killing of people in Africa. According to reports from the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and the ARD television programme “Panorama”, the Stuttgart-based supreme command of the United States Africa Command (US Africom) and the Air Operations


First Pakistan Drone Strike Since Election Kills Taliban No. 2

A U.S. drone strike killed the number two of the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan region on Wednesday, three security officials said, in what would be a major blow in the fight against militancy.

The drone strike killed seven people, Pakistani security officials said, including Taliban deputy commander Wali-ur-Rehman, in the first such


Police Drone Crashes Into Swat Team

police state

The Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office had a big day planned. After becoming the first department in the country with its own aerial drone ($300,000!), they were ready for a nice photo op. And then the drone crashed into a SWAT team.

The Examiner reports


Yi Long: Chinese Stealth Drone Preps for Testing

The Chinese military is making preparations for the inaugural flight test of its newly designed unmanned combat vehicle, bringing the Asian powerhouse into the stealth technology race, Chinese media report.

The “Yi Long” drone by China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) (AFP Photo)


China’s first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), known as the Lijian (‘sharp


China’s Emerging Drone Force

Determined to kill or capture a murderous Mekong River drug lord, China’s security forces considered a tactic they’d never tried before: calling a drone strike on his remote hideaway deep in the hills of Myanmar



CIA: Back Room Drone Strike Deals with Pakistan

X47B Drone

In a secret deal, Pakistan allowed American drone strikes on its soil on the condition that the unmanned aircraft would stay away from its nuclear facilities and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India, according to a media report.

Under secret negotiations between Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and America’s


Officials Trying to Shift Drone Command From CIA to Military

NEW YORK: The White House is working to shift control of the US Central Intelligence Agency’s lethal drone program to the military amid mounting criticism of the use of armed aerial vehicles for targeted killing of terrorism suspects, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down a


Drone Sees IED Planted, Nobody Issues Warning, Vehicle Demolished

access denied

Here in this video downloaded from depicts an insurgent planting an IED, then, after an unspecified amount of time we witness a military vehicle getting demolished by that same IED – so, apparently no warning was issued to protect anyone. The best we can hope for in this scenario is that this video was


Iran Fighter Confronts Another U.S. Drone over Arabian Gulf

predator over kandahar

An Iranian fighter jet again played chicken Tuesday with a U.S. drone flying over international waters in the Arabian Gulf near Iran.

This time an Iranian F-4 flew within 16 miles of an unarmed MQ-1 Predator before two U.S. military aircraft escorted the Predator and the F-4 darted away. The


U.S. court says CIA must end drone secrecy

A federal appeals court Friday reversed a lower court ruling that allowed the CIA to refuse to confirm whether it had information on the use of unmanned drones to kill suspected militants.

Agency had refused to confirm existence of drone records

A lower court federal judge had sided with the CIA and dismissed a


Drone Strike Data Erased by Air Force

As scrutiny and debate over the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the American military increased last month, the Air Force reversed a policy of sharing the number of airstrikes launched from RPAs in Afghanistan and quietly scrubbed those statistics from previous releases kept on their website.

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis


Drone Pilots: Stress Anxiety, Depression

drone pilots

In the first study of its kind, researchers with the Defense Department have found that pilots of drone aircraft experience mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft who are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The study affirms a growing body


Secrecy Behind the Drone Memos

european drone prototype

Sources say Obama won’t release them because of classified agreements with foreign governments.


Despite President Obama’s pledge in his State of the Union address to make the drone program “even more transparent to the American people and to the world,” his administration continues to resist efforts by Congress, even from fellow Democrats, to


Proposed Bill Would ban Weaponizing of Drones, Warrantless Use


The newly introduced Preserving American Privacy Act (PAPA) in the House is a bill designed to constrain the usage of invasive drone technology, and to prevent the weaponization of the tools, known officially as ‘unmanned aircraft systems.’

The full text of the proposed bill can be found here. Reps. Zoe Lofgren and


Iran Releases Video Extracted from Captured RQ-170 Drone

RQ-170 Sentinel

Iran’s state TV has broadcast footage allegedly extracted from the advanced CIA spy drone captured in 2011, the latest in a flurry of moves from Iranian authorities meant to underline the nation’s purported military and technological advances.

Iran has long claimed it managed to reverse-engineer the RQ-170 Sentinel, seized in December 2011 after it entered


Panetta: Never Ending Drone War Necessary

drone control station

According to United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the U.S. must indefinitely extend the drone war against al Qaeda in Pakistan and elsewhere in order to prevent a terror attack on U.S. soil.

drone control station

This comes with the continued expansion of the drone war in Africa, the More…

U.N. Starts U.S. Drone Program Investigation


The United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counter terrorism launched an investigation Thursday into the United States’ targeted killing program.

Ben Emmerson, from Britain, will lead the inquiry, which will focus on the civilian effect of the program as well, as the legal framework governing drone attacks.

Reuters explains:



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