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Drones, Now Recording A Rooftop Near You–Or Worse


I wrote a piece in Turnstyle News about the growing domestic use of drones. It’s the second in a series of two articles I wrote about drones.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, MQ-9 Predator B. Drone used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Imagine hearing a buzzing sound over your head in the sky everyday. It’s not a bug. Nor is it an airplane. It’s an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as a drone. There is no pilot inside the vehicle; it’s being controlled by remote control in a secret location a few dozen or hundreds of miles away from you. The drone flies over you, tracking your movements every day. Everywhere you go — to work, to school, to visit friends, or even to a protest or party — the drone buzzes over your head and watches what you do.

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Drone Technology Eases the Slide Into War


I wrote a piece in Turnstyle News about drone warfare. It’s the first in a series of two articles I wrote about drones.

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MQ-9 Reaper drone flying over Afghanistan in 2007. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

From the National Public Radio (NPR) to the New York Times, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, have been receiving a lot of press coverage. These high-tech, unmanned aircraft are changing the way the United States, and other countries, go to war. While drones are mostly used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes, they are increasingly being used for military strikes. Most of the drone strikes occur in Pakistan but are increasing in Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. Under the Bush administration, the U.S. launched 52 drone strikes in Pakistan. The Obama administration has dramatically increased that number to nearly 280 so far, along with dozens more in Yemen and Somalia. As a writer and peace activist, I am concerned that this technology will make it far too easy for nations to go to war, hence why I’m writing about it. The international community needs to mitigate the insidious implications of drone warfare. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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“Death Note” and Obama’s Kill List


Cover of “Death Note”. Source: Wikipedia

On May 29, 2012, the New York Times published a long report (based on interviews with three dozen current and former Obama administration advisers) revealing how President Obama personally authorizes every drone strike against individuals suspected of being terrorists. Every Tuesday, the President, with two dozen counterterrorism officials, pore over mug shots and biographies of each suspect. The goal of these meetings is to determine which of these suspects is enough of a national security threat to warrant kill or capture — of which, the New York Times puts it, “the capture part has become largely theoretical”. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think of the popular Japanese manga “Death Note” (which also became an anime series, a live-action film, and was banned in China). “Death Note” is a perfect allegory for the insidious moral implications of Obama’s targeted killing policy. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Trayvon Martin’s death and the need for alternatives to policing


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Kenneth Harding, Jr., the long list of African-American males killed by racist police officers or vigilantes goes on. On the evening of February 26, 2012, that list got longer. In Sanford, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African-American male, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a half-Latino/half-white self-appointed neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense. He was recently arrested, charged with second-degree murder, and the case is still in court.

Like so many cases of state or vigilante violence against people of color, this is an example of systemic racism. Systemic racism — a system of power and inequality in which one racial group subjugates another racial group. This is why there are massive levels of inequalities (in housing, employment, education, etc.) between whites Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Liberal support for war and human rights abuses


Guantanamo X-Ray prison at dusk, January 2002 (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll reveals something quite depressing. The poll shows that a majority of Americans, including many Democrats, support President Obama’s counterterrorism policies of keeping Guantanamo Bay prison open and drone strikes against suspected terrorists abroad. These are policies that Obama and many liberals criticized Bush for doing. But now that Obama is carrying them out, there’s ample support these policies.

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