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Tag: Pentagon
A human will always decide when a robot kills you (December 13 2012) A human will always decide when a robot kills you (December 13 2012)

Spencer Ackerman the American national security reporter and blogger has published an article on Wired titled ‘Pentagon: A Human Will Always Decide When a Robot Kills You’. In the article Ackerman states “The Pentagon wants to make perfectly clear that every time one of its flying robots releases its lethal payload, it’s the result of a decision made by an accountable human being in a lawful chain of command. Human rights groups and nervous citizens fear that technological advances in autonomy will slowly lead to the day when robots make that critical decision for themselves. But according to a new policy directive issued by a top Pentagon official, there shall be no SkyNet, thank you very much. …the Pentagon wants to make sure that there isn’t a circumstance when one of the military’s many Predators, Reapers, drone-like missiles or other deadly robots effectively automatizes the decision to harm a human being. The hardware and software controlling a deadly robot needs to come equipped with “safeties, anti-tamper mechanisms, and information assurance.” The design has got to have proper “human-machine interfaces and controls.” And, above all, it has to operate “consistent with commander and operator intentions and, if unable to do so, terminate engagements or seek additional human operator input before continuing the engagement.” If not, the Pentagon isn’t going to buy it or use it. …Human Rights Watch…among the most influential non-governmental institutions in the world, issued a report warning that new developments in drone autonomy represented the demise of established “legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians.” Its solution: “prohibit the “development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.”


Inspired by Wired image source Wikipedia

Pentagon’s “New Spice Route” in Africa (August 3 2012) Pentagon’s “New Spice Route” in Africa (August 3 2012)

Nick Turse the American journalist, historian and author has published an article on Toms Dispatch titled ‘Obama’s Scramble for Africa’ where he discusses ‘Secret Wars, Secret Bases, and the Pentagon’s “New Spice Route” in Africa’. In the article Turse states “They call it the New Spice Route, an homage to the medieval trade network that connected Europe, Africa, and Asia, even if today’s “spice road” has nothing to do with cinnamon, cloves, or silks.  Instead, it’s a superpower’s superhighway, on which trucks and ships shuttle fuel, food, and military equipment through a growing maritime and ground transportation infrastructure to a network of supply depots, tiny camps, and airfields meant to service a fast-growing U.S. military presence in Africa. Few in the U.S. know about this superhighway, or about the dozens of training missions and joint military exercises being carried out in nations that most Americans couldn’t locate on a map. …operations in Africa have accelerated far beyond the more limited interventions of the Bush years: last year’s war in Libya; a regional drone campaign with missions run out of airports and bases in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Seychelles… The U.S. also has had troops deployed in Mali, despite having officially suspended military relations with that country following a coup. …engaged in a twenty-first century scramble for Africa, the possibility of successive waves of overlapping blowback grows exponentially.  Mali may only be the beginning and there’s no telling how any of it will end.  In the meantime, keep your eye on Africa.  The U.S. military is going to make news there for years to come.”


Inspired by TomDispatch image source Radcliffe

The Lily-Pad Strategy (July 31 2012) The Lily-Pad Strategy (July 31 2012)

David Vine the American Assistant professor of anthropology and currently completing a book about the more than 1,000 U.S. military bases located outside the United States, has published an article on TomDispatch titled ‘The Lily-Pad Strategy’ on how the Pentagon is quietly transforming its overseas base empire and creating a dangerous new way of war. In the article Vine states “You might think that the U.S. military is in the process of shrinking, rather than expanding, its little noticed but enormous collection of bases abroad. …Washington still easily maintains the largest collection of foreign bases in world history: more than 1,000 military installations outside the 50 states …In total, the U.S. military has some form of troop presence in approximately 150 foreign countries, not to mention 11 aircraft carrier task forces — essentially floating bases — and a significant, and growing, military presence in space. The United States currently spends an estimated $250 billion annually maintaining bases and troops overseas. …Despite the rhetoric of consolidation and closure that went with this plan, in the post-9/11 era the Pentagon has actually been expanding its base infrastructure dramatically …While relying on smaller bases may sound smarter and more cost effective than maintaining huge bases that have often caused anger in places like Okinawa and South Korea, lily pads threaten U.S. and global security in several ways …bases have a way of growing and reproducing uncontrollably. Indeed, bases tend to beget bases, creating “base races” with other nations, heightening military tensions, and discouraging diplomatic solutions to conflicts.”


Inspired by TomDispatch image source Zocalopublicsquare

Brazil the next cop on the beat in Africa (June 25th 2012) Brazil the next cop on the beat in Africa (June 25th 2012)

Nikolas Kozloff the American writer and Latin American historian has published an article titled ‘Is Brazil the next cop on the beat in Africa? The Pentagon seems to hope so’ in which he argues that ‘any action Brazil takes in Africa should be based on peaceful cooperation and not military escalation’. Kozloff’s article on Aljazeera states “Facing budgetary constrictions and overstretched resources, the Pentagon knows that it cannot effectively patrol the entire globe on its own. …in Rio, Panetta [Pentagon] emphasized Brazil’s long held ties to Africa. Historically, Brazil was the largest destination of the Atlantic Slave Trade, and today a sizable portion of the country’s population is of African descent. …WikiLeaks cables suggest that some within the Brazilian political elite want to redirect Brazilian foreign policy toward Africa …Nevertheless, given all of the controversy about the US role in Africa, Brazil should firmly reject Panetta’s calls for closer military collaboration in the region. This doesn’t mean that Brazil should outright withdraw from Africa, and if anything the WikiLeaks documents serve to highlight the many shortcomings of the South American giant’s foreign policy on the continent. Hopefully, Brazil will become more engaged in Africa in the long-term, not less.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Twitter

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