49 results back to index
airport security, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, continuation of politics by other means, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Turing test, unemployed young men, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks
But given the lack of transparency around U.S. drone strikes, it is impossible to say whether any given strike (or the totality of strikes) satisfies these legal and ethical principles.19 Are all U.S. drone strikes “necessary”? Could nonlethal means of combating terrorism—such as efforts to disrupt terrorist financing and communications—be sufficient to prevent future attacks? Might particular terror suspects be captured rather than killed? Do drone strikes inspire more terrorists than they kill? Also, to what degree does U.S. drone policy distinguish between terrorist threats of varying gravity? If drone strikes against a dozen targets prevented another attack on the scale of 9/11, few would dispute their appropriateness or legality—but we might judge differently a drone strike against someone unlikely to cause serious harm to the United States.
CIA personnel were the first American government agents to enter Afghanistan, paving the way for Army Special Forces; in some cases, CIA personnel fought (and died) alongside Afghan Northern Alliance soldiers.34 CIA personnel also participated actively in the Battle of Tora Bora and Operation Anaconda, and in the years that followed the CIA has substantially beefed up its paramilitary side, recruiting heavily within the military special operations community.35 Today, the CIA is widely reported to engage in raids against high-value terrorist targets, and is reportedly responsible for scores—possibly hundreds—of drone strikes.36 Officially, none of this is happening. Or, rather, although U.S. officials are happy enough to take credit for turning live terrorists into dead terrorists, the U.S. government officially insists, “Whether or not the CIA has the authority to be, or is in fact, directly involved in targeted lethal operations remains classified.” What’s more, asserts a 2012 Justice Department legal brief, “Notwithstanding widespread reports that drone strikes occur, the CIA has never confirmed or denied whether it has any involvement or intelligence interest in any of those drone strikes.”37 In response to Freedom of Information Act requests for records relating to drone strikes, the CIA itself has been unambiguously ambiguous. Writing to the ACLU, for instance, the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator offered only a stock response: “The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request.
., Guantánamo rulings of, 58–59, 60–61, 410 surveillance, 355, 364 new rules needed for, 355 post-9/11 increase in, 303–4, 414–15 SWAT teams, 298–99 Syria, 12, 157, 226, 227, 229, 280, 344, 349 bombing in, 291 chemical weapons in, 248, 283, 314–15 civil war in, 248 U.S. drone strikes in, 107 U.S. military intervention in, 251 Syrian civil war, 261 Taliban, 29, 33, 55, 56, 59, 60, 74, 75, 98, 99, 100, 121, 232, 277, 278, 279, 293, 329, 331 Tanzania, bombing of U.S. embassy in, 83, 223 targeted killings, 27, 103, 108, 115–16, 118, 119, 122–23, 124, 134, 196–97, 266, 273, 274, 276, 284, 286, 343, 363, 383, 409 new rules needed for, 354–55 secrecy surrounding, 355, 364 see also drone strikes technological change, history of, 264 10th Special Forces Group, 17 terrorists, terrorism, 12, 41, 295, 339 drone strikes on, see drone strikes unconventional tactics of, 120–21 Terry, James, 148 Thirty Years War, 229, 261 Thomas Aquinas, Saint, 185 Thonden, Yodon, 235 3–2 “Stryker” Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, 147 Through the Looking-Glass (Carroll), 287 Tilly, Charles, 217–18, 230 Tokyo, firebombing of, 138, 190, 365 Tokyo tribunals, 192, 193, 215 Too Fat to Fight, 321 Tora Bora, Battle of (2001), 119 torture, 193 Bush administration’s definition of, 58, 199–200, 201–3, 204 legal prohibition on, 200–201 Obama’s banning of, 34 U.S. use of, 33, 58, 60–61, 199–200, 320–21, 322, 363, 410 “Tragedy of the American Military, The” (Fallows), 15 Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), 150 Tripoli, 48, 49 Truman, Harry, 329 Tueller, Matthew, 154–55 Tunis, 48 Turing Test, 139 Turkey, 26 Turse, Nick, 147–48 Twitter, 349 Uganda, 27, 84, 85 author in, 235–36, 237–38, 241 Lord’s Resistance Army in, 176–81, 235–40, 241, 242 Ukraine, 280 high-tech warfare vs. low-tech in, 333 uncertainty, geopolitical: as increased by U.S. counterterrorism actions and legal arguments, 284–89 interconnectedness and, 261–67 rule of law as undermined by, 283 Uniform Code of Military Justice, 197–98, 202 Union Army, 185, 187 United Kingdom, 248 United Nations, 190, 232–33, 262, 365, 366 Dutch peacekeeping troops of, 215, 396 politics and, 192 Responsibility to Protect doctrine and, 247 United Nations Charter, 35, 190, 191–92, 231–32, 233, 250, 251, 290, 339, 342–44, 366 military intervention and, 194–95, 234–35, 243–44, 246, 248–49, 252, 286, 343–44 United Nations General Assembly, 247, 394, 407 United Nations Security Council, 194–95, 215 military intervention and, 234–35, 243–44, 246, 248–49, 252, 286 paralysis of, 291 veto powers in, 289 United States, 234 Barbary pirates and, 47–49 China’s relations with, 349 core values of, 63–64, 100, 101, 203, 295, 353–54 detention and interrogation policies of, 33, 54–61, 276, 284, 355, 363, 410 geopolitical power of, 266–67 hubris of, 97 idealism of, see idealism, American “imminent threat” as defined by, 286–87 increasingly unpredictable behavior of, 284 military of, see military, U.S.
Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill
active measures, air freight, anti-communist, blood diamonds, business climate, citizen journalism, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, drone strike, failed state, friendly fire, Google Hangouts, indoor plumbing, Islamic Golden Age, land reform, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, private military company, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, WikiLeaks
See National Security Service Nuhaas, Ibn, 137 Nur, Mohamed Ahmed, 494 Nur, Sheikh Aden Mohamed, 277 Obama, Barack, 169 and Afghanistan, 270, 284 and Afghanistan, surge in, 328–329 and Afghanistan strategy, 282 and African policy, 298 and al Qaeda, 248, 255–257, 294, 320–321 and al Shabab in Somalia, 271–272, 272–273 and AQAP bomb plot against US, 390 and assassination operations, 253 and assassination policy, 353–354 and Awlaki, Anwar, 237–238, 243, 354 and Awlaki, Anwar, hunt for, 401 and Awlaki, Anwar, killing of, 499–500, 501 and Awlaki, Anwar, strikes against, failure of, 314–316, 453–454 and Awlaki, Anwar as top terrorist, 269 and Awlaki, Nasser, letter from, 326–327 and bin Laden at Abbottabad compound, 435, 436, 437, 440, 441, 442–443, 444, 445, 446–447, 449, 450, 451–452 and bin Laden raid, protest over, 458 and Blackwater-CIA-JSOC covert action, in Pakistan, 252–253 and Bush, drone strike policies of, escalation and preservation of, 250, 251 and Bush-era counterterrorism policy, expansion of, 261, 516–517, 520 and Bush-era covert wars, expansion of, 248, 256, 259–260 and Bush-era detention policy, expansion of, 296 and Bush-era torture and detention programs, dismantling of, 248 cabinet selection of, 246 and Cheney, 247, 320 and CIA interrogation and torture/techniques, 245 and CIA-JSOC divide, 350–351 and clandestine action, 282–283 and counterinsurgency, in Afghanistan, 328–329 and counterterrorism policy, 246–247, 249–250, 295–297 and counterterrorism policy, expansion of, 261 and counterterrorism policy, reframing of, 297–298 and counterterrorism policy, SOFs role in, 355 and covert wars, US, 301–302 and Davis incident, 403, 404, 423, 424, 425 and drone program, 515–516 and first annual budget request, 298 foreign policy of, 244–247 and Global War on Terror, 468 and Guantánamo, and Yemeni prisoners, repatriation of, 323 and Guantánamo, and Yemeni prisoners, transfer of, 256, 257–258, 261 and Guantánamo prison break, 254 inauguration of (second term), 513 interrogation policy of, 261 and Israel, and right to defend against missile attacks, 519 and JSOC, 329 and JSOC, and clandestine action, 282 and JSOC, expansion of authority of, 297 and JSOC, in Somalia, 295–296 and JSOC, support for, 355 and JSOC, transformation of, 259 and JSOC-ization of US counterterrorism policy, 350–351 and JSOC operations, intensification of, 350 and JSOC/SOFs, admiration for, 276 and “just war” theory, 353 and kill/capture operations, 245–246 and Maersk Alabama, hijacking of, 274–276 and Majalah massacre, 308 and McCain, 245–246, 256 and McChrystal, resignation of, 349 and Musharraf, 245 Nobel Peace Prize speech of, 301–302 and piracy industry in Somalia, 482–483 Republicans’ attack on, 320–321 and Saleh, Ali Abdullah, 256, 257–258 and secret prisons/black sites, 294, 296, 473 and Shabwani incident, 357–358 and Shaye, 399 and Signature Strikes, 249, 352 and smart war, 515 and SOFs, increased presence of, 354–355 and Somalia, dual-track policy in, 474–475, 476, 477 and spy programs, in Pakistan, 250 and targeted killings/drone strikes, 295–296, 473 and targeted killings/drone strikes, and al Qaeda recruitment, 494 and targeted killings/drone strikes, expansion of, 513–514 and targeted killings/drone strikes, final authority over, 351–352 and targeted killings/drone strikes, in Pakistan, 248–250, 255, 352 and targeted killings/drone strikes, in Yemen, 78 and targeted killings/drone strikes, legality of, 517–518, 519–521 and US citizens, assassination strike against, 314–316, 325–326 and US citizens, assassination strike against, and Awlaki lawsuit against, 369–374, 392 and US embassy bombings, 236, 277 West Point speech of, 301 and Yemen, downplay of US role in, 321–322 and Yemen, expansion of SOFs in, 261–263 and Yemen, focus on, 269, 285–287 and Zinjibar siege, 464 Obama, Michelle, 513 Obama administration and Afghanistan war, 258 and al Qaeda, in Yemen, 268 and AQAP, 321 and clandestine action, 282–283 and detainee policy, legality of, 519 and detainee policy, violation of, 453 and Saleh regime, weakening of, 465 and SOFs, expansion of, 283–284 and Yemen, assistance to, 386 O’Connell, Thomas, 141 Office of Combating Terrorism, 117 Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, 170 Olson, Eric, 282, 442 Omar, Mullah Mohammed, 167, 174 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (aka Night Stalkers), 51, 443 O’Neill, John, 63 O’Neill, Paul, 13 Operating Base Alpha, 139 Operation Black Hawk, 120–121 Operation Cannonball, 176 Operation Desert Shield, 102 Operation Desert Storm, 102 Operation Eagle Claw, 49, 50, 103 Operation Enduring Freedom, 23, 104 Operation Gothic Serpent, 125 Operation Green Quest, 46, 70 Operation Honey Badger, 49 Operation Infinite Reach, 126 Operation Just Cause, 53 Operation Neptune Spear, 440, 441 Operation Red Dawn, 141 Operation Troy, 499 Oversight, 16–17, 23–24.
Counterterrorism Policy,” Washington Post, October 24, 2012. Epilogue 513 “A decade of war”: Transcript, “Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama,” January 21, 2013. 513 US drone strike: Reuters, “U.S. Drone Strike Kills Four in Yemen: Sources,” January 21, 2013. 513 more people had been killed: According to available estimates, in 2012 drone strikes killed at least 246 people in Pakistan, and at least 185 people in Yemen. In Somalia, there were only two confirmed strikes—although operations in Somalia are especially likely to go underreported—killing at least a dozen people. See Chris Woods, Jack Serle, and Alice K. Ross, “Emerging from the Shadows: US Covert Drone Strikes in 2012,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, January 3, 2013. As of November 2012, there were 166 people in detention at Guantánamo Bay; see Associated Press, “Report Shows U.S.
The crashed drone was an omen of things to come. As al Qaeda regrouped in Yemen, it began to carry out a series of small-scale actions, primarily in Marib Province, the site of the 2002 US drone strike that killed Harithi, including suicide attacks against oil and gas facilities. In March 2007, they assassinated the chief criminal investigator in Marib, Ali Mahmud al Qasaylah, for his alleged role in the drone strike. In an audiotaped message, Wuhayshi’s deputy, Qasim al Rimi, announced that Wuhayshi was officially the new head of al Qaeda in Yemen. In the message, Rimi vowed the group would continue to take revenge on those responsible for the US drone strike. Two weeks after Rimi’s tape was released, suicide bombers attacked a convoy of Spanish tourists in Marib, killing eight of them, along with two Yemeni drivers. After eighteen months in prison, Awlaki reentered a world in which the US wars he had grown to militantly oppose had spread.
A Theory of the Drone by Gregoire Chamayou
Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 78. 8. Department of Defense, Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems, April 2012, www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/uas-future.pdf. 9. Chris Woods, “Drone Strikes Rise to One Every Four Days,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, July 18, 2011, www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/07/18/us-drone-strikes-rise-from-one-a-year-to-one-every-four-days. 10. “Obama 2013 Pakistan Drone Strikes,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, January 3, 2013, www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/01/03/obama-2013-pakistan-drone-strikes. 11. “Flight of the Drones: Why the Future of Air Power Belongs to Unmanned Systems,” The Economist, October 8, 2011. 12. Elisabeth Bumiller, “A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away,” New York Times, July 29, 2012.
—Daniel Reisner, former head of the Israeli Defense Forces Legal Department Within what legal framework do drone strikes take place today? Where the United States is concerned, it is impossible to say. Everything is blurred. The administration refuses to reply to the question, even in court.1 A speech given by Harold Koh, legal adviser to the State Department, in 2010 before the American Society of International Law is symptomatic of this calculated opacity. He performs a kind of belly dance, maintaining ambiguity, switching between a variety of registers, using them all at once or in turn but without ever deigning to choose between them, as if he were leaving the final decision until later. In any case, he claims, drone strikes are licit and are undertaken either “in an armed conflict or in legitimate self-defense.”2 But he does not explain exactly which of these the United States is engaged in, nor how the legal standards for the use of lethal force would differ depending on whether they were operating in the first or the second of those two situations.
Now, those two sets of rules are radically different.”3 This artistic blurring has puzzled many jurists.4 They tell politicians they must declare whether it is a matter of war or of legitimate self-defense; they must choose. However, the administration refuses to do that because the consequence of resolving ambiguities in the framework of reference would entail the prohibition of the present drone strikes or would drastically limit their lawfulness. The problem is that those drone strikes are hard to fit into established legal frameworks. For anyone seeking to justify them legally, there are only two possible options—either the law of armed conflicts or else that of law enforcement5 (which can loosely be defined as the law relating to the police, but which can be extended to include “military and security forces operating in contexts where violence exists but falls short of the threshold for armed conflict”).6 To seize upon a first approximation of the difference between those two models, we must consider what it is that distinguishes the prerogatives of a soldier on the battlefield from those of a police officer on patrol when it comes to the use of lethal force.
Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn
airport security, anti-communist, drone strike, Edward Snowden, friendly fire, Google Earth, license plate recognition, RAND corporation, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, too big to fail
The country’s foreign office called it: Manzoor Ali, “Pakistan Furious as U.S. Drone Strike Kills Civilians,” Express Tribune, March 18, 2011. “in a manner consistent…”: Sebastian Abbott, “New Light on Drone War’s Death Toll,” AP Impact, February 26, 2012. “These guys were terrorists”: Tom Wright and Rehmat Mehsud, “Pakistan Slams U.S. Drone Strike,” Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2011. A separate probe by the Associated Press: Abbott, op. cit. Although the positions held by the dead men were now of course vacant: Stanford and NYU Law Schools, op. cit., p. 60. When presented with the tool of a Hellfire-armed Predator: Steve Simon and Dan Benjamin, Age of Sacred Terror (New York: Random House, 2002), p. 345. Soon, visiting dignitaries: Mazzetti, op. cit., p. 6. In 2004, when the CIA sought Pakistani permission to launch drone strikes: Mazzetti, op. cit., p. 103ff.
So, when Sherabat climbed into a car with three of his followers on the morning of March 17 and set off for the jirga, he was under the scrutiny of at least two CIA drones. It would have been feasible to strike the car while en route, and indeed this was a routine drone strike tactic. Just six days earlier, for example, there had been two separate attacks on two cars, one of which had employed another favored CIA drone tactic, the “double tap,” in which a second missile is reserved for rescuers, and had killed eight people. But the targeters at Langley and the pilots in Nevada (CIA drones are flown by air force personnel at Creech Air Force Base) held off. They were awaiting a more lucrative target—the crowd of men converging on the bus depot to which the car was headed. After all, it was an established point of drone-strike doctrine that any “military aged male” (from thirteen up) in the company of terrorists could themselves be deemed a terrorist in the absence of explicit intelligence to the contrary.
“It was like inmate politics,” one official in close touch with the drone program commented to me, “gangs settling scores in the prison yard with knives.” The intense fusillade of drone-launched missiles continued, roughly 1 every 3 days in 2010 (117 overall), but drone strikes declined to half that rate in the following year. Confusingly, although the majority of strikes were now aimed at Pakistan’s allies, the so-called good Taliban at peace with Islamabad while at war in Afghanistan, ISI (Pakistani military intelligence) claimed to a Western journalist in the spring of 2010 that they were supplying the targeting information for all drone strikes. In this Machiavellian environment, ISI, intent on regaining the control of Afghanistan it had lost in 2001, was playing a devious game. “Hitting the Haqqanis and other groups that were allied with Pakistan helped ISI keep them under control,” a former adviser to the U.S. military commanders in Kabul pointed out to me.
Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War by James Risen
air freight, airport security, banking crisis, clean water, drone strike, Edward Snowden, greed is good, illegal immigration, income inequality, large denomination, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Stuxnet, too big to fail, WikiLeaks
Bush, in fact, Barack Obama has had a love affair with drones. By 2012, the CIA had conducted six times more drone strikes in Pakistan during the three years of the Obama administration than the agency had conducted under the entire eight years of George W. Bush, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a British journalism group that has reported extensively on American drone campaigns in Pakistan and other countries. By May 2013, there had been a total of 368 American drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, killing between 2,541 and 3,533 people, according to the journalism group. Those figures include between 411 and 884 civilians—with somewhere between 168 and 197 children among them. The vast majority of the drone strikes—316—have been conducted during the Obama administration. The Obama administration acknowledged in 2013 that four American citizens had also been killed in drone strikes overseas, including some who were not intended targets.
The Obama administration acknowledged in 2013 that four American citizens had also been killed in drone strikes overseas, including some who were not intended targets. That admission highlighted the fact that the government was choosing the targets of its drone strikes with secret standards of evidence. There was no legal due process provided to the intended targets, even for American citizens. As the drone strikes have intensified under Obama, international opinion has finally begun to turn against them. In late 2012, for example, a researcher affiliated with the United Nations launched an investigation of the civilian casualties caused by the American drones. “The exponential rise in the use of drone technology in a variety of military and nonmilitary contexts represents a real challenge to the framework of established international law,” said Ben Emmerson, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism.
On March 17, 2011, American drones fired at least two missiles into a gathering in Datta Khel that killed more than forty people. The U.S. government insisted that the drone strike killed a Taliban commander, but villagers later told investigators that the drones had attacked a meeting of local elders gathered to negotiate a dispute over a chromite mine. Many of those killed were men who were both local elders and heads of large families. Their deaths triggered yet another round of anti-American protests in Pakistan. Confusion and angry finger-pointing over the strike reverberated in the United States and Pakistan for a few days, but eventually quieted down. Meanwhile, the drone strikes continued unabated, killing suspected terrorists and civilians alike. The Pentagon and the CIA kept buying more drones, General Atomics kept building them, and Neal Blue kept making money.
Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers by Stephen Graham
1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Chelsea Manning, Commodity Super-Cycle, creative destruction, deindustrialization, digital map, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, energy security, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Google Earth, Gunnar Myrdal, high net worth, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, megastructure, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, Project Plowshare, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South China Sea, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche
There is no escape, nowhere is private.’29 Stanford’s Living Under Drones researchers, meanwhile, have shown that civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan are reluctant to help those hit by the first strikes because rescuers themselves have often been killed by follow-on drone strikes. Injured relatives in the rubble of the first strike have been known to tell their relatives not to help rescue them because of the frequency of these so-called ‘double-tap’ strikes. People also avoid gathering in groups in visible places. Many children are permanently kept indoors and often no longer go to school. Other children struggle with permanent disabilities caused by drone strikes; many amputees have to use poor-quality prosthetic limbs. One example is Sadaullah Wazir, a teenager and former student from the village of Machi Khel in Mir Ali, North Waziristan. He lost both of his legs and one of his eyes in a September 2009 drone strike on his grandfather’s home. ‘Before the drone strikes started, my life was very good’, he relates to the Stanford team, I used to go to school and I used to be quite busy with that, but after the drone strikes, I stopped going to school now … Two missiles [were] fired at our hujra [home] and three people died.
The image emphasises, above all, how the racist mechanisms through which imperial power constructs humans to be of differential value between a notional ‘us’ in the ‘homeland’ and a threatening and racialised enemy – a ‘them’ – have been switched through drone killing from a largely horizontal to a vertical frame (although one organised though satellites, communications systems and military technologies that are horizontally organised across continental scales).15 One example is Israel’s switch from a permanent military occupation of Gaza to a policy of dominating the area from above through drone surveillance and strikes. Although it is difficult to disentangle Israeli drone strikes from assaults by artillery, helicopters and warplanes, the Gazan human rights group al-Mezan calculates that drone strikes killed at least 760 Gazans between 2006 and 2012.16 During its 2012 ‘Pillar of Defence’ bombardment of Gaza, 36 of the 162 Palestinians killed died through drone strikes, and a further 100 were seriously injured. Of those 36 killed, two-thirds were civilians.17 In analysing such violence, architectural researcher Eyal Weizman invokes Edward Said’s influential critique of the tradition of Western ‘Orientalism’ – the construction of an imaginary, primitive and exotic Other in the Middle East and Asia to justify violent Western colonialism and militarised control.18 Weizman argues, however, that Israel’s approach to Gaza now involves a vertical – rather than a traditionally horizontal – form of Orientalism.
This perspective is combined, however, with an almost complete absence of knowledge about, and media coverage of, those on the ground unlucky enough to get in the way of the Hellfire missiles fired down upon them from the sky.26 In northern Pakistan the mysterious machines flying far above have entered local folklore: the term ‘I will drone you’ has even entered day-to-day conversation as a morbid joke.27 Research efforts are also starting to reveal the impacts of drone strikes on the people and communities below. Like the artists behind #NotABugSplat, Stanford University’s Living Under Drones project has recently challenged the dominant narratives surrounding drone strikes. The Stanford group document in detail the deep psychological trauma of whole communities living with the persistent threat of instant and unknowable death and destruction from usually invisible vehicles far above. Beyond the deaths and injuries they cause, the Stanford team argue, ‘US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians.’ Drones, they continue, hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning.
Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State by Dana Priest, William M. Arkin
airport security, business intelligence, dark matter, drone strike, friendly fire, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Julian Assange, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, WikiLeaks
In Yemen, Obama took advantage of the political void caused by the popular uprising against the regime in June 2011 by secretly ordering a dramatic increase in drone strikes against leaders of the terrorist group there, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Yemen strikes were considered bold by international legal norms not only because the United States was not at war with Yemen but because, in the absence of a Yemeni government, Obama did not seek its approval. The unilateral move symbolized just how comfortable the new president had become with remote-control warfare. Obama’s unprecedented use of drones began shortly after he took office, when he ordered an increase in lethal drone strikes in Pakistan. The strikes were facilitated by a coordination center set up near the border post not far from Peshawar, where Pakistanis sit alongside U.S. and British intelligence.
The CIA drone operations are handled out of the one north of Las Vegas, Nevada, too, from where the conventional military’s Predators and their newer, more lethal cousin, Reapers, are also flown. The Arizona, California, New York, North Dakota, and Texas Air National Guards now also take part from their home bases. Although those bases are close to civilian cities, too, no secret location speaks more powerfully to the evolution of Top Secret America than the one in Virginia where the managers of the drone strikes sit. Targeted killings—critics call them assassinations—have been conducted by the U.S. government for a decade, and drones have played a large part in the continuation and frequency of such activities. Armed Predators and Reapers have become the weapons of choice for killing individual terrorist leaders in foreign lands. The success of weapon-carrying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) created a demand within every branch of the military and the CIA for as many of them as their corporate inventor, California-based General Atomics, could produce.
In Yemen, where the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh had agreed to allow the CIA and JSOC to operate, authority was delegated to commanders in the region. In Pakistan, however, in August 2010, after a number of civilians had died in drone attacks and the public there began to grow more vocal in its opposition to them, CIA director Leon Panetta announced that he would personally approve every drone strike. The director’s input had not been required since the first year after 9/11. The CIA process for putting a person on the hit list begins at Langley headquarters. There, analysts and operatives in the Counterterrorism Center (CTC) pore over reports from informants and foreign intelligence services, as well as intercepts from the National Security Agency, whose interpreters and analysts have transformed voice files collected from sensors into English-language transcripts.
Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar
Consider the case of military drones, where a computer screen can register a bird’s-eye view of even the most remote village, with small figures scrambling to and fro. The human operating a drone has one of the most stressful office jobs imaginable. Deciding whether to pull the trigger on a drone strike is an extremely difficult call, based on imperfect information and often made under extreme time pressure. Every case is a life-or-death situation. Fire and you risk killing innocent civilians, but refrain and you might let a terrorist live to kill others. And even when the target is almost certainly the enemy, every drone strike has geopolitical ramifications, particularly when it encroaches on a foreign government’s sovereignty. There are many factors to consider before pulling that trigger, every one of them momentous, and the person making that decision may only have a split second to decide what to do.
After all, the events are unfolding on the screen in real time. In a 2013 speech, President Barack Obama laid out three rules for deciding whether to launch a drone strike against a specific target. The starting point was the national security, geopolitical, and civilian-safety objectives the president hoped to achieve. Three simple rules translated these broad goals into more concrete guidelines: Does the target pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people? Are there no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat? Is there near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured? Only if the answer to all three of these questions was yes would a drone strike be authorized. The American drone program is shrouded in secrecy, and it is unclear exactly how these simple rules have been used within the chain of decision making.
So only about 9 percent (9 out of 98) of women who test positive for breast cancer actually have it . . . a huge relief for those who test positive. [>] In a 2013 speech: “Out of the Shadows,” Economist, June 1, 2013, http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21578689-barack-obamas-rules-drones-could-shape-new-global-laws-war-out-shadows?frsc=dg|c. [>] In 2013, the year Obama: “Report: Sharp Decline in Confirmed Civilian Casualties by Drone Strikes,” Voice of America, January 21, 2014, http://www.voanews.com/content/report-sharp-decline-in-confirmed-civilian-casualties-by-drone-strikes/1834807.html. [>] The United States has enjoyed: Sarah Kreps and Micah Zenko, “The Next Drone Wars: Preparing for Proliferation,” Foreign Affairs 93 (2014). [>] In the late 1990s: Donald Sull, Fernando Martins, and Andre Delben Silva, “América Latina Logística” (Harvard Business School Case, Cambridge, MA, 2003); Sergio de Azevedo Marques, Privatização do Sistema Ferroviário Brasileiro (Sao Paulo: IPEA, 1996). [>] In the ensuing centuries: John F.
Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qa'ida Since 9/11: The Pursuit of Al Qa'ida Since 9/11 by Seth G. Jones
airport security, battle of ideas, defense in depth, drone strike, Google Earth, index card, Khyber Pass, medical residency, Murray Gell-Mann, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, trade route, WikiLeaks
In June 2011, al Qa’ida’s external operations chief, Ilyas Kashmiri, who had advised David Headley, was killed in a drone strike in South Waziristan. In August another drone strike killed Atiyah abd al-Rahman al-Libi, al Qa’ida’s general manager, who served as a conduit between al Qa’ida’s affiliated groups and its leadership. In September 2011 the United States killed Anwar al-Awlaki in northern Yemen. And later in 2011 a drone strike in Pakistan killed Jude Kenan Mohammad, an American who was part of the North Carolina jihad cell that planned attacks against the U.S. Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, but who had fled to Pakistan in late 2008.34 The third wave was over, thanks to several factors. First, the United States had developed a light-footprint approach, where it effectively targeted al Qa’ida leaders like Awlaki. In Pakistan the U.S. increased drone strikes that severely disrupted al Qa’ida’s command and control, hampered communications, decreased morale, limited freedom of movement, and delayed the planning cycle of terrorist operations.
“A lot, if not most, of the injuries resulting from the spy planes are a result of the negligence of the brothers who don’t want to change their lifestyle and abandon simple things that every sane person would try to avoid.”1 The pace of drone strikes had increased under CIA director Leon Panetta. With the support of the White House and Pentagon leadership, CIA officials believed that drone strikes were having a dramatic impact on al Qa’ida. As with most of America’s successful efforts against al Qa’ida since September 11, the drone campaign involved several U.S. intelligence agencies, which recruited human assets in villages, intercepted electronic communications, and analyzed satellite and other imagery. The difference now was that they had improved the ability to pull it all together quickly and fire a missile when an opportunity arose. But the drone strikes were controversial; one Western public opinion poll found that 76 percent of respondents in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas opposed the U.S. drones and only 22 percent supported them.2 Zawahiri probably realized that if central al Qa’ida operatives in Pakistan failed to improve their security and change their procedures, the organization would be eliminated.
As his nom de guerre indicated, he originally hailed from Somalia, and he had advanced in al Qa’ida’s propaganda outfit to head operational planning.14 He was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in December 2009. As a token of his dedication, Zazi gave Bangash a camera, a laptop, and cash for Somali.15 Zazi, Ahmedzay, and Medunjanin were then transported to an al Qa’ida training camp in South Waziristan. Unlike the expansive training camps in Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks, such as Derunta and al-Farouq, the al Qa’ida camps in Pakistan around this time tended to be small and were not well populated. They were also easier to abandon quickly if there was advance notice of a Pakistani raid or U.S. drone strike. After several days of weapons training, the three men left South Waziristan. For Zazi, the interaction with al Qa’ida operatives and visits to North and South Waziristan had a profound impact, bordering on a religious revelation.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computerized markets, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Philip Mirowski, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, Satyajit Das, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game
Aune, “20+ Places for Public Domain E-Books,” Mashable, November 12, 2007, http://mashable.com /2007/11/12/public-domain-ebook-sources/. 22. Christina Bonnington and Spencer Ackerman, “Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes,” Wired, August 30, 2012, http://www.wired .com /dangerroom /2012/08/drone-app/. 23. Ibid. 24. Nick Wingfield, “Apple Rejects App Tracking Drone Strikes,” New York Times Bits Blog, August 30, 2012, http:// bits.blogs.nytimes.com /2012/08 /30/apple-rejects-app-tracking-drone-strikes/. 25. When he fi nally began listing out every drone strike via Twitter, his tweets sparked sobering conversations about U.S. actions; clearly, there is an appreciative and constructive audience out there for Begley’s work. Michael Kelly, “The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported U.S. Drone Strike Has Revealed a Disturbing Trend,” Business Insider, December 12, 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com /us-drone -tweets-reveal-double -tap -plan-2012-12. 26.
Drone Strike Has Revealed a Disturbing Trend,” Business Insider, December 12, 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com /us-drone -tweets-reveal-double -tap -plan-2012-12. 26. Bonnington and Ackerman, “Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes.” 27. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, “After 5 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes,” Mashable, February 7, 2014, http://mashable .com /2014 /02/07/apple-app-tracks-drone-strikes/. 248 NOTES TO PAGES 63–64 28. Benjamin Poynter, in an interview with GameScenes (transcript posted Oct. 2012). Available at http://www.gamescenes.org/2012/10/interview.html. On persuasive gaming generally, see Ian Bogost, Persuasive Games (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007). 29. Yves Smith, “Wired’s Embarrassing Whitewash of Foxconn,” Naked Capitalism (blog), February 8, 2012, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com /2012/02 /wireds-embarrassing-whitewash-of-foxconn.html. 30.
But the content of Begley’s app was news stories, quoted and plotted on a map. 24 Apple has approved plenty of apps that describe and depict the destruction reported in the news, so that rationale is hard to swallow.25 Despite national publicity criticizing the decision, Apple held firm for two years.26 After five rejections, Begley finally got the app included in the store in 2014 by removing the word “drone” from its name and description, rechristening it Metadata+.27 Whether those interested in tracking drone strikes can fi nd his app without its using the term “drone” is anyone’s guess. In a Permanent Save State. Artist Benjamin Poynter submitted his In a Permanent Save State as a “persuasive gaming” app, a form of combined entertainment, provocation, and instruction.28 It offered an interactive narrative inspired by the suicides of workers at Apple supplier Foxconn’s plant, which had taken an enormous public relations toll on Apple the year before.29 Poynter intended Permanent Save State to highlight the dark contrast between Apple’s dream machines and nightmarish conditions in its supply chain.
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tasteless Facebook post: British Broadcasting Corporation (4 Jun 2014), “Man jailed for offensive Ann Maguire Facebook post,” BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27696446. US military targets drone strikes: Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald (10 Feb 2014), “The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program,” Intercept, https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/10/the-nsas-secret-role. Cori Crider (4 Mar 2014), “Killing in the name of algorithms,” Al Jazeera, http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/3/drones-big-data-waronterrorobama.html. The second is “signature strikes”: John Kaag and Sarah Kreps (2014), Drone Warfare, Wiley, chap. 12, http://books.google.com/books?id=I8oOBAAAQBAJ. half of all kills were signature strikes: Richard Engel and Robert Windrem (5 Jun 2013), “CIA didn’t always know who it was killing in drone strikes, classified documents show,” NBC News, http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/05/18781930-cia-didnt-always-know-who-it-was-killing-in-drone-strikes-classified-documents-show.
The NSA collects cell phone location data from a variety of sources: the cell towers that phones connect to, the location of Wi-Fi networks that phones log on to, and GPS location data from Internet apps. Two of the NSA’s internal databases, code-named HAPPYFOOT and FASCIA, contain comprehensive location information of devices worldwide. The NSA uses the databases to track people’s movements, identify people who associate with people of interest, and target drone strikes. The NSA can allegedly track cell phones even when they are turned off. I’ve just been talking about location information from one source—your cell phone— but the issue is far larger than this. The computers you interact with are constantly producing intimate personal data about you. It includes what you read, watch, and listen to. It includes whom you talk to and what you say. Ultimately, it covers what you’re thinking about, at least to the extent that your thoughts lead you to the Internet and search engines.
Police arrested him for the crime; his defense was that it was a parody and that no actual alcohol was consumed on the video. It’s worse in the UK. There, people have been jailed because of a racist tweet or a tasteless Facebook post. And it’s even more extreme in other countries, of course, where people are routinely arrested and tortured for things they’ve written online. Most alarming of all, the US military targets drone strikes partly based on their targets’ data. There are two types of drone targeting. The first is “targeted killing,” where a known individual is located by means of electronic or other surveillance. The second is “signature strikes,” where unidentified individuals are targeted on the basis of their behavior and personal characteristics: their apparent ages and genders, their location, what they appear to be doing.
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Things became so bad that the Pakistani military and government ended up having to give the United States military intelligence and coordinates allowing the United States to conduct drone strikes against Pakistani Taliban targets in the North-West Frontier. At the same time, when the strikes became apparent, Islamabad had to pretend to condemn them and describe them as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty due to the hundreds of civilian deaths attributed to mistakes by the United States. The drones were mostly flown out of a base in Afghanistan, but some are thought to have been launched from a secret base inside Pakistan. Wherever they came from, there were a lot of them. Drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan massively increased during the Obama presidency from the numbers fired during George Bush’s tenure. By the spring of 2015 things had got even tougher.
But it also means the United States needs to keep good relations with whichever country it receives permission from to house the regional drone HQ. This is a reminder of the conceptual map of US power required to fully understand geopolitics today. For example, the signal sent from Nevada may need to travel through an underwater cable to Germany and then be sent up to a satellite belonging to a third country that sells bandwidth to the Pentagon. Drone strikes are also subject to rules of engagement, but have been used to devastating effect against individual targets. They made a huge contribution to the situation the Islamic State found itself in during the summer of 2015, when it had lost several thousand square miles of territory in Iraq even though it still controlled large swaths of the Sunni-dominated regions of the country. Sunni Islamist fighters from across the globe, drawn like moths to the light of a billion pixels, have taken advantage of the three-way split between the Kurds, Sunni, and Shia in Iraq.
Pakistan cooperated, and that was that. Except—they hadn’t fully cooperated, and that wasn’t that. Islamabad was forced to act, and did; but not everyone in the Pakistani system was on board. The government banned several militant groups and tried to rein in religious groups it deemed extremist. By 2004 it was involved militarily against groups in the North-West Frontier and privately accepted the American policy of drone strikes on its territory while publicly decrying them. These were tough decisions. The Pakistan military and the ISI had to turn on the very Taliban leaders they had trained and formed friendships with in the 1990s. The Taliban groups reacted with fury, seizing complete control of several regions in the tribal areas. Musharraf was the target of three failed assassination attempts, his would-be successor, Benazir Bhutto, was murdered, and amid the chaos of bombing campaigns and military offensives, up to fifty thousand Pakistani civilians have been killed.
The 99.998271% by Simon Wood
Imagine the following scenario - your 11-year-old daughter stays overnight at her friend’s house, which happens to be in a small apartment block. Consider also that, unknown to you, the CIA has identified it as a target. A predator drone delivers destruction and one more terrorist is history. Unfortunately, so is your daughter. And her friend. And her friend’s family. The media will report the news the next day in the following way - “A medium-level terrorist target was killed last night in a predator drone strike. Seven other casualties were reported.” And that is that. How would you react? This might (currently) be only a hypothetical nightmare for anyone living in a develope country, but for the people living in villages in northwest Pakistan, it is a reality. Believe it or not, those ‘strange’ people living there are actually real people with families, friends, feelings, senses of humor, and hopes for the future just like anyone else.
The intended target of the strike escaped unhurt, although he was later killed in another strike. Like Westerners, these foreigners also become rather upset and angry when someone drops a huge bomb on their children, even to the extent that they may swear revenge (or the preferred media word, jihad) against the perpetrator of the action. Anyone swearing revenge against the United States will by definition be designated a terrorist, a new target for the next drone strike. And so the cycle continues. Forever. Philip Alston, the UN investigator on extra-judicial killings, has said that these actions may constitute illegal assassinations and violate international law. The strategic usefulness of these strikes or otherwise is beside the point, as is whether one agrees or disagrees with the use of such a weapon. The essential point is that this program, which may well violate international law, and has killed thousands of civilians, is being run in near complete secrecy and completely beyond the control of the American people.
No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
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Above all, Trump extended the equation of wealth with magical powers to members of his own dynastic family, bestowing on son-in-law Jared Kushner (a real estate developer born a multimillionaire) a portfolio so overstuffed with weighty responsibilities it rapidly became a media joke. Tallying up the duties so far—brokering Middle East peace, planning the Mar-a-Lago summit with China, monitoring US activities in Iraq, ordering drone strikes on Yemen, making government run more like a business—New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wondered, “Why don’t we just stitch him a red cape, put him in spandex, affix a stylized ‘S’ to his chest and be done with it? SuperJared has taken flight.” It would be reassuring if we could pin this billionaire-as-savior complex on Trump’s Twitter-addled brain, or on his advisers at the Heritage Foundation, with their Ayn Randian worship of “free enterprise” and men who build tall things.
The Shock of War The most lethal way that governments overreact to terrorist attacks is by exploiting the atmosphere of fear to embark on a full-blown foreign war. It doesn’t necessarily matter if the target has no connection to the original terror attacks. Iraq wasn’t responsible for 9/11, and it was invaded anyway. Trump’s likeliest targets are mostly in the Middle East, and they include (but are by no means limited to) the following: Syria; Yemen, where Trump has already increased the number of drone strikes; Iraq, where deadly strikes with high civilian casualties are also on the rise; and, most perilously, Iran. And then, of course, there’s North Korea. Already, after visiting the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea, Secretary of State Tillerson declared “all options are on the table,” pointedly refusing to rule out a preemptive military strike in response to the North Korean regime’s missile testing.
Drought was not the only factor in bringing tensions to a head, but many analysts, including former secretary of state John Kerry, are convinced it was a key contributor. In fact, if we chart the locations of the most intense conflict spots in the world right now—from the bloodiest battlefields in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq—what becomes clear is that these also happen to be some of the hottest and driest places on earth. The Israeli architect Eyal Weizman has mapped the targets of Western drone strikes and found an “astounding coincidence.” The strikes are intensely concentrated in regions with an average of just 200 millimeters (7.8 inches) of rainfall per year—so little that even slight climate disruption can push them into drought. In other words, we are bombing the driest places on the planet, which also happen to be the most destabilized. A frank explanation for this was provided in a US military report published by the Center for Naval Analyses a decade ago: “The Middle East has always been associated with two natural resources, oil (because of its abundance) and water (because of its scarcity).”
affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game, éminence grise
Worth, “Sergeant Tells of Plot to Kill Iraqi Detainees,” New York Times, July 28, 2006; “US Won’t Let Men Flee Fallujah,” Associated Press, November 13, 2004. 65Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” New York Times, May 29, 2012. See also Chris Woods, “Analysis: Obama Embraced Redefinition of ‘Civilian’ in Drone Wars,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, May 29, 2012, at thebureauinvestigates.com; and Glenn Greenwald, “‘Militants’: Media Propaganda,” Salon, May 29, 2012, at salon.com. 66Spencer Ackerman, “41 Men Targeted but 1,147 People Killed: US Drone Strikes—The Facts on the Ground,” Guardian, November 24, 2014; “US Drone Strikes Kill 28 Unknown People for Every Intended Target, New Reprieve Report Reveals,” Reprieve press release, November 24, 2014. 67Madelyn Hsiao-Rei Hicks, Hamit Dardagan, Gabriela Guerrero Serdán, Peter M. Bagnall, John A. Sloboda, and Michael Spagat, “The Weapons That Kill Civilians—Deaths of Children and Noncombatants in Iraq, 2003–2008,” New England Journal of Medicine 360: 1,585–1,588 (April 16, 2009). 68Quoted in Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Understanding Al Qaeda: The Transformation of War (London/Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2007), p. 43. 69https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Classified_U.S_report_into_the_Fallujah _assult; https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Complex_Environments:_Battle_of_Fallujah_I,_April_2004. 70Global Policy Forum, “War and Occupation in Iraq,” June 2007, at globalpolicy.org. 71Martin Shaw, The New Western Way of War (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005). 72For example, the prison’s oldest detainee, Mohammed Sadiq, was eighty-nine when detained.
Saleh offered the United States an “open door,” the cables show, while he and his subordinates joked in meetings with General David Petraeus that he had lied to the public by claiming that the strikes were exclusively the work of the Yemeni government. In reality, the popular opposition to Saleh’s regime, which it described as “terrorist,” was broad and diverse, and partly based on tribal opposition to the centralized nature of his rule, while US strikes routinely caused harm way beyond their al-Qaeda target. And as the Yemeni struggle against the regime intensified, so did the drone strikes. For example, in June 2011 alone, a major upsurge in the rate of air strikes in the province of Abyan killed over 130 people and created 40,000 refugees.46 Among Washington’s other repressive responses to the Arab Spring was the support it gave to Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Bahrain to suppress democratic dissidents. While public statements from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama called for “restraint” as the Bahraini ruling monarchy initiated the bloodshed, private briefings suggested that they were more concerned with stability than democracy.
When the US launched its assault on Fallujah in November 2004, it encouraged Iraqi civilians to flee before the bombing began—but prohibited all males estimated to be in this age range from escaping. Newsweek reported in 2006 that it had become common for US troops to treat all “military-age men” in Iraq as enemies. Later it emerged that soldiers charged with committing war crimes in Baghdad alleged that they had been given orders to “kill all military-age men.”64 More recently, the Obama administration used this category adroitly to misrepresent its drone strikes as attacks largely on “militants.” In an extraordinary, lengthy article in the New York Times, based on interviews with dozens of Obama’s advisers, it was revealed that Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky
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On April 23, Yemeni activist and journalist Farea Al-Muslimi, who had studied at an American high school, testified before a U.S. Senate committee that right after the marathon bombings, a drone strike in his home village in Yemen killed its target. The strike terrorized the villagers, turning them into enemies of the United States—something that years of jihadi propaganda had failed to accomplish. His neighbors had admired the United States, Al-Muslimi told the committee, but “now, however, when they think of America, they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads. What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant.” Rack up another triumph for President Obama’s global assassination program, which creates hatred of the United States and threats to its citizens more rapidly than it kills people who are suspected of posing a possible danger to us someday.
The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen
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His high profile was largely a result of his own self-promotion—he used viral videos and social networks to disseminate his charismatic sermons internationally. As the first major terrorist YouTube sensation, Awlaki’s influence is undeniable—several successful and would-be terrorists cited him as an inspiration—and his prominence earned him a spot on the U.S. government’s list of high-value targets. He was killed by a drone strike in September 2011. Awlaki’s social media mastery impressed the billionaire investor and reformist Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud, who sees this as part of a broad trend across the region. “Even the most anti-Western religious figures in Saudi Arabia are now almost all using technology,” he told us, adding that “a number of them are even using mobile devices and increasingly social networks to issue fatwas”—Islamic edicts.
Military policies too will change in response to the threat cyber terrorists pose. Today, most of the terrorists the military chases down are in failed states or ungoverned regions. In the future, these physical safe havens will also be connected, allowing terrorists to engage in nefarious virtual acts without any fear of law enforcement. When intelligence reveals known cyber terrorists planning something dangerous, extreme measures like drone strikes will come under consideration. Western governments will try to attract skilled hackers to their side as well. In fact, hackers and government agencies in the United States work together already, at least in matters of cybersecurity. For years, agencies like the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) have recruited talented individuals at venues like the computer-security conference series Black Hat and the hacker convention Def Con.
Even when it was revealed that the American Sentinel drone had violated Iranian airspace, the reaction in Tehran was boasting and display, not retaliation. The public will react favorably to the reduced lethality of drone warfare, and that will forestall outright war in the future. We already have a few years of drone-related news cycles in America from which to learn. Just months before the 2012 presidential election, government leaks resulted in detailed articles about President Obama’s secret drone operations. Judging by the reaction to drone strikes in both official combat theaters and unofficial ones like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, lethal missions conducted by drones are far more palatable to the American public than those carried out by troops, generating fewer questions and less outrage. Some of the people who advocate a reduced American footprint overseas even support the expansion of the drone program as a legitimate way to accomplish it.
3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise
They had taken what the sentence was about and incorporated it into their general understanding of the world, or what psychologists would call their schemas. This phenomenon is familiar to everyone who reads the daily newspaper. On Monday you read a story about drone strikes in the Waziristan area of Pakistan and how the local Pashtun population reacts angrily. A few days later, you won’t recall the specifics. But you will probably have incorporated the knowledge into one of your schemas for understanding the world: “Drone strikes are seriously angering many Pakistanis.” If you’re in a bar a few weeks later arguing about this subject, you’ll lunge for a search engine or Wikipedia to remind you of the specifics—the precise evidence that supports what you generally know. In some ways, machines make for better transactive memory buddies than humans.
In some ways, machines make for better transactive memory buddies than humans. They know more, but they’re not awkward about pushing it in our faces. When you search the Web, you get your answer—but you also get much more. Consider this: If I’m trying to remember what part of Pakistan has experienced many U.S. drone strikes and I ask a colleague who follows foreign affairs, he’ll tell me “Waziristan.” But when I queried this once on the Internet, I got the Wikipedia page on “Drone attacks in Pakistan.” A chart caught my eye showing the astonishing increase of drone attacks (from 1 a year to 122 a year); then I glanced down to read a précis of studies on how Waziristan residents feel about being bombed. (One report suggested they weren’t as opposed as I’d expected, because many hated the Taliban, too.) Obviously, I was procrastinating.
The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr
Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche
Missile and bomb strikes by unmanned drone aircraft, such as the Predator and the Reaper, are already commonplace, and they’ve been the subject of heated debates. Both sides make good arguments. Proponents note that drones keep soldiers and airmen out of harm’s way and, through the precision of their attacks, reduce the casualties and damage that accompany traditional combat and bombardment. Opponents see the strikes as state-sponsored assassinations. They point out that the explosions frequently kill or wound, not to mention terrify, civilians. Drone strikes, though, aren’t automated; they’re remote-controlled. The planes may fly themselves and perform surveillance functions on their own, but decisions to fire their weapons are made by soldiers sitting at computers and monitoring live video feeds, operating under strict orders from their superiors. As currently deployed, missile-carrying drones aren’t all that different from cruise missiles and other weapons.
., 197–98 cloud computing, 195, 202, 209 cognition, cognitive skills, 11–12, 56–58, 71–74, 81, 120, 121, 148–51, 165 of doctors, 105 embodied, 149–51, 213 cognitive map, 129–30, 135 cognitive psychologists, 72–76, 81, 129–30 Colgan Air, 45 communication, 36, 163, 198 doctor-patient, 103–6 Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels), 225 computer-aided design (CAD), 138–42, 144, 145, 167, 219, 229–30 computer games, 75, 177–80, 219 computer programmers, 161, 162, 168 computers, 1, 2, 17, 33, 37, 38, 40, 159 architecture and design and, 138–47 automation and, 36, 43, 50–58, 62, 66–67, 69, 90, 91, 202–3 aviation and, 43, 46, 50–52, 54, 55, 57, 62, 153, 168, 170, 172–73 avocations and, 12 benefits of transferring work to, 17–18 boundary between humans and, 10–12 brain compared with, 119, 151 capabilities of, 8–9 in cars, 7, 8–9 costs of transferring work to, 18, 28, 30, 66–67 dependency on, 12–13 effects on workload of, 90, 91 ergonomics and, 164–68 expectation of aid of, 193–95 health care and, 93–106 human compared with, 153 as media devices, 219 memory experiment and, 79 mental processes and, 74 monitoring of, 17 oracle machine, 119–20 satellite-linked, 125–37 speed of, 118–22, 139, 156, 164, 173, 219 vocations and, 12 wearable, 12, 201 white-collar, 93–106 computer scientists, 156 computer simulation models, 93, 97 concentration, 200 Concours de la Sécurité en Aéroplane, 46 consciousness, 83, 119n, 121, 148–49, 150, 187 Continental Connection, 43–45, 54, 154 corporate auditors, 115 Cowen, Tyler, 31 craft workers, 23, 106, 109 Crawford, Kate, 122–23 Crawford, Matthew, 147–48 creativity, 10, 12, 14, 143, 144, 167, 206, 229 Cross, Nigel, 143–44 Csikszentmihalyi, Mihalyi, 14–16, 18, 85, 228–29 Cukier, Kenneth, 122 culture, 124, 131, 196, 198, 217, 220, 226 Curtiss C-2 biplane, 46–47 cutting grass, 215–16 Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (Wiener), 38–39 cyborgs, 2 dancing mice, 87–92 Dancing Mouse, The (Yerkes), 85–86 DARPA (Department of Defense laboratory), 165 Dassault, 140 data, 113, 114, 117, 119–22, 136, 167, 248n data fundamentalism, 122–23 data processing, 17, 195 decision aids, automated, 113–15, 166 drawbacks to, 77 decision making, 160, 166, 168 decision trees, 113–14 declarative knowledge, 9, 10–11, 83 Deep Blue, 12 degeneration effect, 65–85 automation complacency and bias and, 67–72 Whitehead’s views and, 65–67 dementia, 135–37 dependency, 130, 133, 136, 146, 203, 225 depression, 220 Descartes, René, 148, 216 design, designers, 137–47 computer-aided (CAD), 138–42, 144, 145, 167, 219, 229–30 human- vs. technology-centered automation and, 158–62, 164–65, 167–70, 172 parametric, 140–41 system, 155–57 video games as model for, 178–82 Designerly Ways of Knowing (Cross), 143–44 desire, 15, 17, 20, 83, 161, 206–7, 210 to understand the world, 123–24 deskilling, 55, 100, 106–12, 115 Dewey, John, 148, 149, 220 diabetes, 245n–46n diagnostic testing, 70–71, 99, 102 DiFazio, William, 27–28 Digital Apollo (Mindell), 60, 61 disease, 70–71, 113, 135–37, 245n–46n dislocation, 133 Do, Ellen Yi-Luen, 167 Doctor Algorithm, 154, 155 doctors, 12, 32, 70, 93–106, 114–15, 120, 123, 147, 155, 166, 173, 219 evidence-based medicine (EBM) and, 114, 123 patient’s relationship with, 103–6 primary-care, 100–104, 154 document discovery, 116 Dodson, John Dillingham, 88–89 Dorsey, Jack, 203 Dorsey, Julie, 167–68 Dostrovsky, Jonathan, 133 dot-com bubble, 117, 194, 195 drawing and sketching, 142–47 Dreyfus, Hubert, 82 driving, see cars and driving drone strikes, 188 drugs, prescription, 220–21 Drum, Kevin, 225 Dyer-Witheford, Nick, 24 Dyson, Freeman, 175 Dyson, George, 20, 113 Eagle, Alan, 176 Ebbatson, Matthew, 55–56, 58 ebook, 29 economic growth, 22, 27, 30 economic stability, 20 Economist, 225 economists, 9, 18, 22, 29, 30, 32–33, 109 economy, economics, 20, 25–33, 117 e-discovery, 116 education, 113, 120, 153 efficiency, 8, 17, 26, 58, 61, 114, 132, 139, 159, 173, 174, 176, 219 EMR and, 101, 102 factories and, 106–8 electric grid, 195–96 electronic medical records (EMR), 93–106, 114, 123, 245n–46n embodied cognition, 149–51, 213 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 16, 232 End of Work, The (Rifkin), 28 engagement, 14, 165 Engels, Friedrich, 225 Engineering a Safer World (Leveson), 155–56 engineers, 34, 36–37, 46, 49, 50, 54, 59, 69, 119, 120, 139, 157–60, 162, 164, 168, 174, 175, 194, 196 Enlightenment, 159–60 entorhinal cortex, 134, 135 equilibrium, of aircraft, 61–62 ergonomics (human-factors engineering), 54, 158–60, 164–68 Ericsson, K.
Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason
Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, women in the workforce
Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy, between old forms of society moulded around capitalism and new forms of society that prefigure what comes next. In the face of this change, the power elite of modern capitalism has a lot at stake. While writing this book, my day job as a news reporter has taken me into three iconic conflicts that show how ruthlessly the elite will react. In Gaza, in August 2014, I spent ten days in a community being systematically destroyed by drone strikes, shelling and sniper fire. Fifteen hundred civilians were killed, one third of them children. In February 2015, I saw the US Congress give twenty-five standing ovations to the man who ordered the attacks. In Scotland, in September 2014, I found myself in the middle of a sudden and totally unpredicted radical mass movement in favour of independence from Britain. Presented with the opportunity to break with a neoliberal state and start afresh, millions of young people said ‘Yes’.
From Imperial France in 1871 right through to the fall of Vietnam and the collapse of communism, the first lesson of statecraft for those born before 1980 was: bad stuff happens; events can overwhelm you. By the year 2000 it felt different. It might not have been the ‘end of history’, but to the generation that built the neoliberal order it seemed as though history had at the very least become controllable. Every financial crisis could be met with monetary expansion, every terror threat obliterated with a drone strike. The labour movement as an independent variable in politics had been suppressed. The psychological byproduct in the minds of the policy elite was the idea that there are no impossible situations; there are always choices, even if some of them turn out to be tough ones. There is always a solution, and it is usually the market. But these external shocks should be the alarm call. Climate change does not present us with a choice of market or non-market routes to meeting carbon targets.
In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth G. Jones
business climate, clean water, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, failed state, friendly fire, invisible hand, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, open borders, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, zero-sum game
Instead of continuing a faltering counterinsurgency campaign, they believe the United States should withdraw most of its forces and shift to a counterterrorism strategy that targets al Qa’ida terrorists with Special Operations Forces and drones. Steven Simon, for example, who served as senior director for transnational threats on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council, said that “Washington should concentrate on its already effective policy of eliminating al Qa’ida’s leadership with drone strikes” rather than target the Taliban, since “the moment to rescue the mission…has passed.”4 Simon continued that the core al Qa’ida threat to America resides in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.5 University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, a West Point graduate, similarly wrote that the U.S. government should “accept defeat” and “withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.”6 In September 2009, U.S. State Department employee Matthew Hoh, a former U.S.
Jalaluddin’s son Sirajuddin, who was given the title “khalifa” as the leader of the Haqqani network, developed a close relationship with al Qa’ida leaders in Pakistan, who helped him orchestrate a range of audacious terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.11 One of the most spectacular was the September 17, 2009, attack in Kabul, for which some al Qa’ida operatives from Peshawar helped build the IED that killed six Italian soldiers.12 Second, proponents of a withdrawal overstate the effectiveness of drone strikes using MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers. Drones can have a short-term impact, as they did in the 2008 and 2009 attacks on al Qa’ida operatives such as Abu Khabab al-Masri, a chemical and biological expert; Khalid Habib al-Masri, a commander in Afghanistan; and Abu Jihad al-Masri, an external operations planner. But drones don’t offer a long-term solution. One U.S. intelligence official told me, “They are lethal in targeting foreign fighters.
Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey
accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, drone strike, end world poverty, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population
Clearly, any such social order could only exist on the basis of fascistic mind control and the continuous exercise of daily police surveillance and violence accompanied by periodic militarised repressions. Anyone who does not see elements of such a dystopian world already in place around us is deceiving herself or himself most cruelly. The issue is not, therefore, that capital cannot survive its contradictions but that the cost of it so doing becomes unacceptable to the mass of the population. The hope is that long before dystopian trends turn from a trickle of drone strikes here and occasional uses of poison gas against their own people by crazed rulers there, of murderous and incoherent policies towards all forms of opposition in one place to environmental collapses and mass starvation elsewhere, into a veritable flood of catastrophic unequally armed struggles everywhere that pit the rich against the poor and the privileged capitalists and their craven acolytes against the rest … the hope is that social and political movements will arise and shout, ‘Ja!
Nature, as we have seen, is treated ‘in an instrumental way’ and this does ‘violence’ to ‘Nature and to our own and other people’s bodies. The culture of everyday life is – with all the disturbing ambiguity this antinomic creation contains – a culture of violence, or, in its most extreme form, a systematic, thought-out, sublimated, aggravated culture of barbarism.’4 This is most obvious, of course, when we think of drone strikes and gas chambers. But Gorz’s point is that it is this that also deeply penetrates to the very core of daily life by way of the instruments we daily use to live that life, including all those we handle in our work. There is, evidently, a deep longing in popular culture to somehow humanise the impacts of this barren culture of technology. We see that in the way that the replicants in Blade Runner acquire feelings, how Sonmi-451 learns an expressive language in Cloud Atlas, how the robots in Wall-E learn to care and shed a tear while human beings, bloated with compensatory consumer goods, passively float alone, each on their separate magic carpet, above the ruinous world the robots are seeking to order below; and even, more negatively, how HAL the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey goes rogue.
How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
affirmative action, carbon footprint, Columbine, dark matter, desegregation, drone strike, housing crisis, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, supply-chain management, the scientific method, transatlantic slave trade
Undoubtedly, incidents of a racial nature will occur on your watch, and you will be tempted and expected to comment on them. Avoid this instinct. Remain silent on the most intense racial issues. Occasionally you can comment but do so in a more symbolic fashion, perhaps by inviting the aggrieved parties to your home for a beverage, awkward conversation, and photo ops. Be perfect Black people in general are under the microscope. Black people who have the power to launch drone strikes in foreign lands are under even more scrutiny. Millions are looking for an excuse to oust you, and making mistakes, no matter how small, gives them ammunition. So do yourself a favor. Use spell-check, floss regularly, know the answers to every problem in the universe, and be perfect. Simple. Initiate the plan for reparations, white slavery, and radical social and economic transformation For some segment of White America, you will never be American.
Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate personhood, David Brooks, discovery of DNA, double helix, drone strike, failed state, Howard Zinn, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, land reform, Martin Wolf, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Powell Memorandum, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, single-payer health, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tobin tax, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
Noam Chomsky, “The Torture Memos and Historical Amnesia,” Nation, 1 June 2009, no. 40, p. 179. 33. Anatol Lieven, “Afghanistan: The Best Way to Peace,” New York Review of Books, 9 February 2012. 34. Jane Perlez, “Pakistanis Continue to Reject U.S. Partnership,” New York Times, 30 September 2009. See also Pew Global Attitudes Project, “Public Opinion in Pakistan: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips: America’s Image Remains Poor,” 29 July 2010. 35. Scott Shane, “Drone Strike Kills Qaeda Operative in Pakistan, U.S. Says,” New York Times, 19 January 2012. 36. “US Embassy Cables: ‘Reviewing Our Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategy,’” Guardian (London), 30 November 2010. 6. Mental Slavery 1. Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Redemption Song,” Uprising (Tuff Gong/Island, 1980). 2. Matthew Creamer, “Obama Wins!…Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year,” Advertising Age, 17 October 2008. 3.
affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, national security letter, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, web application, WikiLeaks
And when you meet him, Greenwald is mild, easy to get along with, chatty and kind. Professionally, though, Greenwald is a different creature: adversarial, remorseless, sardonic and forensic. He is a relentless pricker of what he regards as official US hypocrisy. Greenwald has been a waspish critic of the George W Bush administration, and of Obama. He is scathing of Washington’s record. Citizens’ rights, drone strikes, foreign wars, the US’s disastrous engagement with the Muslim world, Guantanamo Bay, America’s ‘global torture regime’ – all have been subjects for Greenwald’s Swiftian pen. In long, sometimes torrential posts, he has chronicled the US government’s alleged crimes around the world. Greenwald’s outspoken views on privacy make him arguably America’s best-known critic of government surveillance.
Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell
Air France Flight 447, autonomous vehicles, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chris Urmson, digital map, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fudge factor, index card, John Markoff, Mars Rover, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, trade route, US Airways Flight 1549, William Langewiesche, zero-sum game
The big news was a request by the president of the association to the press and public to change the terms of the debate. “I don’t use the word ‘drone,’” said AUVSI president Michael Toscano. “There’s a Hollywood expectation of what a drone is. Most of it is military; most of it is very fearful, hostile.” He was responding to an immediate political threat: outside the convention hall protesters objected to U.S. “drone” strikes and to the prospect of domestic drones snooping on private lives. “The key word is the word ‘system.’ That’s the word we hope the public will understand,” Toscano said. “There is a human being in the system. The human being is what makes the system. When you say the word ‘drone,’ you don’t think of a human being in control.” Toscano was clearly trying to buff up the public image of his industry, which is concerned that public fears of surveillance are holding back the deployment of technologies in U.S. airspace.
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
4chan, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, Clive Stafford Smith, cognitive dissonance, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, Menlo Park, PageRank, Ralph Nader, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, urban planning, WikiLeaks
‘Not a kangaroo court,‘ someone replied quite tersely. ‘Twitter still can’t impose real sentences. Just commentary. Only unlike you, Jon, we aren’t paid for it.’ Was he right? It felt like a question that really needed to be answered because it didn’t seem to be crossing any of our minds to wonder whether whichever person we had just shamed was OK or in ruins. I suppose that when shamings are delivered like remotely administered drone strikes nobody needs to think about how ferocious our collective power might be. The snowflake never needs to feel responsible for the avalanche. * Lehrer’s intention in submitting himself to a public grilling was to show the world that he’s ready to return to journalism, that we can trust him because he knows now not to trust himself. All he proved is that he’s not wired like the rest of us. If he can figure out why that is, that would be a neuroscience story worth publishing
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, commoditize, desegregation, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, Kickstarter, means of production, Skype, women in the workforce
* * * Language is a powerful thing, and it changes the way we view ourselves, and other people, in delightful and horrifying ways. Anyone with any knowledge of the military, or who pays attention to how the media talks about war, has likely caught on to this. We don’t kill “people.” We kill “targets.” (Or japs or gooks or ragheads.) We don’t kill “fifteen-year-old boys” but “enemy combatants.” (Yes, every boy fifteen and over killed in drone strikes now is automatically listed as an enemy combatant. Not a boy. Not a child.) And when we talk about “people” we don’t really mean “men and women.” We mean “people and female people.” We talk about “American Novelists” and “American Women Novelists.”1 We talk about “Teenage Coders” and “Lady Teenage Coders.”2 And when we talk about war, we talk about soldiers and female soldiers. Because this is the way we talk, when we talk about history and use the word “soldiers” it immediately erases any women doing the fighting.
The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, business climate, circulation of elites, clean water, David Graeber, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, East Village, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Google Glasses, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, income inequality, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, security theater, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Great Moderation, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Vilfredo Pareto, working-age population, World Values Survey
It doesn’t feel like this is an especially pressing issue requiring resolution today, and so we pile up more and more issues of this kind, namely ones not requiring resolution just right now. The end result is likely to be that we lose our capacity to resolve them at all, whether today, tomorrow, or any other time in the future. Since Libya, we’ve seen a similar logic play itself out in Syria and Iraq: again, some U.S. military involvement on uncertain terms and with uncertain explicit authorization from Congress. Across the broader world, how many drone strikes in Pakistan or Yemen does the American government have to run before it might be the case that, at least by the standards of an earlier America, a congressional vote would be required for an explicit declaration of war? My guess is we’ll never find out. It’s not that we’re too divided, as in some cases of government gridlock; rather it’s that we, taken collectively, just don’t seem to care enough to force a definite resolution.
The Wars of Afghanistan by Peter Tomsen
airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, drone strike, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Plutocrats, plutocrats, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
He had been Musharraf’s ISI chief from 2005 to 2007, in charge of the reorganization of the Taliban and the first major Taliban offensives back into Afghanistan from Pakistani territory beginning in 2005. Jones and Panetta showed Kayani and his ISI Director, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, photographs and other evidence on Shahzad, the son of a retired general in the Pakistani Air Force. The documents linked Shahzad to the Pakistani Taliban.33 They failed to budge Kiyani much beyond permitting more drone strikes against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan.34 Nor did their appeals reduce Taliban attacks against the Afghan government and coalition troops inside Afghanistan. America’s Grand Delusion was apparent during Secretary of State Clinton’s July 18–19, 2010, visit to Islamabad for a round of U.S.-Pakistani strategic talks. The American side’s negotiating brief was long on “give” and short on “take.”
On the positive side, Obama has targeted the beginning of American withdrawal, thus giving the Afghan government and people an incentive to take over ownership of Afghanistan’s future. The U.S.-led coalition is growing the size of Afghan forces so they can take over security responsibilities. More rhetorical pressure has been put on Islamabad. The administration has significantly increased the number of drone strikes against Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in the central zone of the Frontier with good results. More attention has been paid to limiting civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and there has been a major increase in economic assistance and a greater civilian presence. The operation to kill bin Laden in Pakistan was a spectacular success. The negative side of the equation is much heavier, however.
Noncombat Afghan engineering, logistics, communications, transportation, and intelligence units have been deemphasized in the buildup of the ANSF combat arms. They will be critical to ensuring ANSF success after the transfer of combat responsibility is completed. U.S. and coalition specialists in these categories should remain in-country, partnered with Afghan units, to support ANSF and American combat forces while the latter depart Afghanistan. Continue the drone strikes against al-Qaeda and other terrorist training bases on the lawless Frontier. These bases are training terrorists to attack the United States and other countries. The drone operations have been highly effective in degrading al-Qaeda’s leadership and that of its allies and their capabilities to attack the United States and its friends and allies. They must continue. Steps must be taken to negate or minimize civilian casualties.
The End of Secrecy: The Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks by The "Guardian", David Leigh, Luke Harding
4chan, banking crisis, centre right, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Climategate, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, Downton Abbey, drone strike, eurozone crisis, friendly fire, global village, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Mohammed Bouazizi, offshore financial centre, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Levy, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
Michel’s agency also set up a meeting with Paul Greengrass, acclaimed director of The Bourne Ultimatum, with a view to him turning Assange’s life-story into a secret-agent escapade. The book, WikiLeaks Versus the World: My Story, was scheduled for release in April 2011 – an ambitious deadline. Another piece of good news was the diminishing prospect that Assange would personally become the victim of some kind of vengeful US drone-strike. The US department of justice had issued secret subpoenas on 14 December for the Twitter accounts of Manning, Assange and his friends. This led to unwelcome publicity when Twitter robustly went to court and got the subpoena unsealed. Icelandic MP and WikiLeaks supporter Birgitta Jónsdóttir made a political fuss. “It sort of feels to me as if they’ve become quite desperate,” Jónsdóttir said. The investigation was fruitless, she added, since “none of us would ever use Twitter messaging to say anything sensitive”.
After Zionism: One State for Israel and Palestine by Antony Loewenstein, Ahmed Moor
Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, drone strike, facts on the ground, ghettoisation, land reform, Naomi Klein, one-state solution, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, young professional
Activists on the Palestinian issue have long proclaimed: “We are all Palestinians!” By this, we mean that we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Increasingly, however, as Israel’s occupation becomes globalised, the people of the earth – favela dwellers, Occupy Wall Street protesters, those that resist the exploitation of their labour and resources, women and child workers in the global factory, victims of remote-controlled drone strikes by missiles fired from Las Vegas – are literally becoming Palestinians. Don’t think what happened to the people of Gaza remains with them alone. Whether through armies, security agencies or your local police, the road from Gaza leads directly to your door. Without deflecting attention from the actual conflict “on the ground” in Palestine and the struggle for Palestinian rights, a lot is riding on the just resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict: the prospect of regional and world peace, to be sure, but beyond that the possibility of replacing the militarism and exploitation on which the world system is presently based with a more human reality of human rights, inclusiveness, economic justice and peace.
3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day
But 1.0 is probably the last version we’ll see because we won’t live to create 2.0. Like natural selection, we choose solutions that work first, not best. Stuxnet is an example of that. So are autonomous killing drones. With DARPA funds, scientists at Georgia Tech Research Institute have developed software that allows unmanned vehicles to identify enemies through visual recognition software and other means, then launch a lethal drone strike against them. All without a human in the loop. One piece I read about it includes this well-intentioned sop: “Authorizing a machine to make lethal combat decisions is contingent upon political and military leaders resolving legal and ethical questions.” I’m reminded of the old saw, “When was a weapon ever invented that wasn’t used?” A quick Google search revealed a scary list of weaponized robots all set up for autonomous killing and wounding (one made by iRobot wields a Taser), just waiting for the go-ahead.
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!
One could defend differential treatment of the probability estimates of the basketball advisers and the terrorism advisers on the grounds that sports is repetitive whereas the search for bin Laden was a one-off thing. Obama may have justifiably more confidence that the basketball judgments were driven by hard data on past performance whereas the terrorism judgments appear to have been plucked from thin air. The following sorts of evidence could resolve this issue: (1) Is Obama as precise in talking about clearly repetitive events in national security (e.g., drone strikes) as he is about sports? (2) Would policy makers in general give up their “prejudice” against probability judgments in less repeatable domains if they knew these judgments are just as reliable as those in more repeatable domains? Unfortunately, testing the latter hypothesis will be impossible as long as policy makers see no value in collecting probability judgments of seemingly unique events, less still in assessing their accuracy. 4.
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
automated trading system, bash_history, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, collateralized debt obligation, computerized markets, drone strike, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, Flash crash, High speed trading, latency arbitrage, pattern recognition, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, the new new thing, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Vanguard fund
“Either we are a resounding success or we are a complete flop. We’re done in six to twelve months. In twelve months I know whether I need to look for a job.” Brad thought that their bid to create an example of a fair financial market—and maybe change Wall Street’s culture—could take longer and prove messier. He expected their first year to feel more like nineteenth-century trench warfare than a twenty-first-century drone strike. “We’re just collecting data,” he said. “You cannot make a case without data. And you don’t have data unless you have trades.” Even Brad agreed: “It’s over when we run out of money.” On the first day, they traded 568,524 shares. Most of the volume came from regional brokerage firms and Wall Street brokers that had no dark pools—the Royal Bank of Canada and Sanford Bernstein. Their first week, they traded a bit over 12 million shares.
affirmative action, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, friendly fire, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, pirate software, Richard Thaler, school choice, the scientific method, theory of mind
But if the enemy fights out of empathy for their own group members and a cause that is greater than any one of them, then “shock and awe” may inspire them as much as it terrifies them. That seemed to be precisely what happened after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. “The concept of ‘shock and awe,’ ” said retired Pakistani general Talat Masood, “could drive moderate and uncommitted civilians toward anti-Americanism.” One of the most popular songs in Pakistan in 2007, in a region being hit by ten drone strikes per week, included the lines “America’s heartless terrorism,/Killing people like insects,/But honor does not fear power.”28 Shock and awe seems like a poor strategy for fighting warriors who love their cause as much as we love ours. The American military followed up with efforts to “win the hearts and minds” of Afghans and Iraqis, but the reality of parochial altruism means that this strategy came too late.
The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, packet switching, Paul Graham, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Vernor Vinge, zero day
The context matters as much as the solution because, even if you think you’ve solved a specific problem, that context endures. If the statesman’s task of finding peace is like trying to balance teacups one upon the other, Chinese want to know: Is it windy? Where were the teacups made? Just how will they fit together? Westerners tended to focus on piling the cups. The problem at hand was always defined in the most direct possible way: Remove Saddam. Drone-strike the terrorists. Stop the financial crisis. The plan was: Just balance the teacups. It was the rare Western statesman who saw that the table on which the cups sat was missing a leg, or who felt an oncoming breeze kicking up. Some said the Chinese instinct to study the environment first had its roots deep in Chinese culture. The society had always been agricultural, so the weather had to be understood.
Pirates and Emperors, Old and New by Chomsky, Noam
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, Fall of the Berlin Wall, land reform, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, union organizing, urban planning
He explained to them that “We are going to have to stand and say, ‘Might doesn’t make right.’ There are 3 billion people in the world and we have only 200 million of them. We are outnumbered 15 to 1. If might did make right they would sweep over the United States and take what we have. We have what they want.” So we must “defend freedom” by destroying Vietnam, to defend ourselves from their onslaught against us.4 The reasoning is hardly different when President Obama launches drone strikes to murder people suspected of perhaps planning to harm us some day. The principle is also lucidly expressed in scholarship. In his inquiry into the historical roots of George W. Bush’s “preemptive war” against Iraq (nothing was “preempted,” but put that aside), the noted Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis traces “Bush’s framework for fighting terrorism [to] the lofty, idealistic tradition” established by his hero John Quincy Adams, the grand strategist who was the intellectual author of Manifest Destiny.
#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media by Cass R. Sunstein
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, Donald Trump, drone strike, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, friendly fire, global village, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, prediction markets, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds
Siyed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had exchanged private messages about jihad and martyrdom, and after the attack Malik posted a note on Facebook on behalf of herself and her husband pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a leader of ISIL.16 Though rare, “lone-wolf” terrorist attacks do occur, and online platforms help to radicalize people, including potential and actual attackers.17 One study finds that after 9/11, online social networks played a primary role in radicalization.18 It concludes that at the root of this change is technology. With the rise of Internet chat rooms, conspiracy websites, Facebook and Twitter, online activists can connect scattered people who are worried about everything from drone strikes to a one-world government and the pending imposition of martial law in the United States and tell them that they do not worry in isolation. Moreover, radicalization is often caused by an affinity with online sympathizers.19 ISIL has also sought to recruit people to travel to its self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq. As of September 2015, roughly 250 Americans traveled or attempted to travel to Syria, with about 150 succeeding in doing so.20 The average was about 10 Americans per month between 2014 and mid-2015 (according to FBI director James Comey, that figure declined sharply to about 1 person per month as of May 2016).21 While the numbers are not large, a feature that ties these people together is that they are active in online jihadist circles, and are prolific posters on social media.22 Consider a journalistic account of how ISIL targeted a lonely twenty-three-year-old American woman on Twitter, e-mail, and Skype.23 ISIL recruiters sought to isolate her from other viewpoints online and in her community, politely answering her questions while slowly indoctrinating her and pushing her toward more extreme perspectives.
Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson
air freight, airport security, crowdsourcing, digital map, drone strike, Google Earth, industrial robot, informal economy, large denomination, megacity, new economy, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, ransomware, side project, Skype, slashdot, South China Sea, the built environment, the scientific method, young professional
Olivia did not have to read any ecstatic memos from London to know that she had found a gold mine. What feedback she did get from London suggested that the value of the information they were getting was so high that they now wished that Abdallah Jones would pursue a very lengthy career of blowing things up, or preparing to, in Xiamen, just so that they could go on milking him. Reading the foreign newspapers, Olivia saw occasional reports of Predator drone strikes in Waziristan and could not help getting the impression that the stuff she was sending back to London was directly correlated with some of those. She was running one of the most high-value installations in the global war on terror. And she was the only person who could run it. The operation was a colossal success—much more important than whatever now-forgotten job they’d originally wanted her to do.
But they hadn’t been able to construct a sensible narrative as to why Jones, given his own personal business jet, would choose to land it there. Nothing against Canada, of course, which all agreed was a perfectly lovely country, but there simply wasn’t anything in it that would make for a sufficiently juicy target to make the journey worth it for a man like Jones. If Canada had been selling arms to Israel and pounding Pakistan with drone strikes, Jones would take delight in knocking over the CN Tower or car-bombing a hockey game, but as matters stood he would have to get into the United States or else make a laughingstock of himself. Getting across that border at a legitimate crossing would, of course, be out of the question. He would have to sneak across somewhere. And so if he were barreling south in a business jet, flying below the radar or else shadowing a passenger plane, pulling up short and setting it down north of the border would be nonsensical.
Begging their owners to let me see footage.” “Have fun with that.” “What’s on your agenda, Seamus?” “Figure out what to do with this traveling circus.” RELUCTANT AS SHE was to give the jihadists credit for anything, Zula had to admit that they showed commendable restraint when it came to talking on the radio. Perhaps it was a Darwinian selection thing. All the jihadists who failed to observe radio silence had been vaporized by drone strikes. There was no walkie-talkie or phone chatter from the time Jones left the camp with his three comrades until two and a half hours later, when Ershut and Jahandar trudged up the hill, looking winded but satisfied. In the meantime, the other members of the expedition—everyone except for Zakir and Sayed—breakfasted, prayed, and packed. The latter activity seemed to consume a great deal of emotional energy.
Ayatollah Khomeini, Brian Krebs, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Doomsday Clock, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Earth, information retrieval, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day
The documents describe NSA elite hacker forces at Fort Meade and at regional centers in Georgia, Texas, Colorado, and Hawaii, who provide US Cyber Command with the attack tools and techniques it needs for counterterrorism operations. But the government cyberwarriors have also worked with the FBI and CIA on digital spy operations, including assisting the CIA in tracking targets for its drone assassination campaign. To track Hassan Ghul, an associate of Osama bin Laden who was killed in a drone strike in 2012, the NSA deployed “an arsenal of cyber-espionage tools” to seize control of laptops, siphon audio files, and track radio transmissions—all to determine where Ghul might “bed down” at night, according to Snowden documents obtained by the Washington Post.30 And since 2001, the NSA has also penetrated a vast array of systems used by al-Qaeda associates in Yemen, Africa, and elsewhere to collect intelligence it can’t otherwise obtain through bulk-data collection programs from internet companies like Google and Yahoo or from taps of undersea cables and internet nodes.
Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer, Allan Friedman
4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business continuity plan, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fault tolerance, global supply chain, Google Earth, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, packet switching, Peace of Westphalia, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game
But terrorists have also spread their peculiar type of knowledge, or what security experts call “TTPs” (short for tactics, techniques, and procedures), in ways not possible before. The recipes for explosives are readily available on the Internet, as are terrorist-provided designs for IEDs for use across conflict zones from Iraq to Afghanistan. This diffusion of terror teachings has been hugely important as these groups have found fewer and fewer training spaces free from global drone strikes. The transfer of knowledge is not just about the “how” of a terror attack, but also the “who” and the “where” on the targeting side. Groups use cyberspace as a low-cost, low-risk venue to gather intelligence in ways they could only dream about a generation ago. For example, no terrorist group has the financial resources to afford a spy satellite to scope out targets with pinpoint precision, let alone the capability to build and launch one into space.
Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez
Airbnb, airport security, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, drone strike, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, source of truth, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, urban renewal, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, éminence grise
Nobody thinks AT&T should be shut down when criminals use the phone system to commit a crime, or the US Postal Service regulated when a terrorist sends a bomb through the mail. But the average Facebook user considers the service to be some sort of frivolous toy, rather than a social utility on par with running water, and therefore thinks we can just shut it down if it seems to harbor any hint of criminality. Like the CIA not exactly advertising the drone strike that vaporized a vehicle in some godforsaken land and prevented the next terrorist tragedy from happening, Facebook keeps quiet all it does for users to protect them from humanity’s worst. Whine if you must about the odd erroneously flagged post, but spare a thought for the Facebook security team, those dedicated geeks in the watchtower. They’ve likely put away as many (if not more) bad guys than your local law enforcement agency, and they keep their vigilant guard with nary a thanks from users.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, drone strike, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game
asked the mischievous researchers. ‘Nothing, just a flash of light,’ said the left hemisphere, and the patient immediately giggled again, covering her mouth with her hand. ‘Why are you laughing then?’ they insisted. The bewildered left-hemisphere interpreter – struggling for some rational explanation – replied that one of the machines in the room looked very funny.13 It’s as if the CIA conducts a drone strike in Pakistan, unbeknown to the US State Department. When a journalist grills State Department officials about it, they make up some plausible explanation. In reality, the spin doctors don’t have a clue why the strike was ordered, so they just invent something. A similar mechanism is employed by all human beings, not just by split-brain patients. Again and again my own private CIA does things without the approval or knowledge of my State Department, and then my State Department cooks up a story that presents me in the best possible light.
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman
23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar
We’re really struggling against just a really massive surveillance-military-prison-industrial complex. The ACLU looks really good, but we punch above our weight. We’re a relatively small organization. There aren’t really very many organizations doing the work we do, as far as cutting across the digital and [physical world] boundaries.” Indeed, the ACLU’s slate is a full one, tackling cases and policies related to anything from mass incarceration to drone strikes, the drug war to immigration, LGBT rights to CIA torture. Despite any limitations it might have in terms of funding or number of personnel, the ACLU is well served by this expansive portfolio, particularly when its representatives, such as Crockford, acknowledge that many of these issues remain interconnected. For example, addressing government surveillance inevitably involves considering issues of corporate surveillance and data collection, the so-called war on terror, and civil liberties.
Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, domain-specific language, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, hive mind, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Bouazizi, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Vernor Vinge, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, X Prize, Zimmermann PGP
Now they’ve found themselves on opposing sides, vying for the fate of the world’s information. And it’s Mudge’s move. The Collateral Murder video was only the overture to Assange’s magnum opus of leaks. Just days after Jacob Appelbaum’s call-to-arms speech at the HOPE conference, the first wave hit: seventy-six thousand documents from the Afghan War, detailing every significant action over nine years of skirmishes and pitched battles, every casualty and drone strike gone awry. The Pentagon wasn’t surprised by the blowout leak—it had already read the chat logs of its prime suspect and thrown him in a military stockade. But there was little else the most powerful military in the world could do in its escalating battle with WikiLeaks other than issue rhetoric. Admiral Mike Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized WikiLeaks’ release and lack of discretion in failing to redact names of informants, with Mullen stating in a press conference that the group “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier.”
Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield
3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce
As for the commonplace assertion that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear, consider the sentiment often attributed to Richelieu, and salient whatever its actual provenance: “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them with which to hang him.” This has never been truer than it is in our age of metadata, when analysis of large bodies of data may turn up correlations we weren’t ourselves aware of, when drone strikes and acts of extraordinary rendition have been authorized for the most glancing and seemingly coincidental constellations of fact. So, yes: the internet of things is a sprawling and complex domain of possibility, and it would be foolish to avoid investigating it energetically and in good faith. But we would be wise to approach that investigation with an unusually strong leavening of skepticism, and in particular to resist its attempts to gather data regarding ourselves, our whereabouts, our activities and our affiliations, whatever the blandishments of ease, convenience or self-mastery on offer.
Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World by Jamie Bartlett
Andrew Keen, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, brain emulation, centre right, clean water, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, failed state, gig economy, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, life extension, Occupy movement, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rosa Parks, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism
He started reading up about Islamic State online, and—the authorities now suspect—got involved with extreme Islamists who ran a stall in Birmingham city centre. He started becoming more religiously observant, and sometimes more confrontational. ‘Something had been ignited in him,’ his mother said later. Six months after leaving the United Kingdom, Rasheed was killed near Sinjar by shrapnel from a coalition drone strike.1 Rasheed was one of an estimated 800 UK nationals—and thousands of other Muslims living in Western democracies—who have been lured to Iraq or Syria by a very simple but powerful narrative: that the West hates you, and as a Muslim you have a religious duty to come to Syria and join Islamic State. His story is repeated by thousands of other young Muslims living in Western democracies. Around 6,000 have travelled from Europe, with most coming from Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day
., “Transcontinental Robot-Assisted Remote Telesurgery: Feasibility and Potential Applications,” Annals of Surgery 235, no. 4 (2002): 300–301. 10 Though the gains: For a definitive view into the world of military robotics, see Peter W. Singer’s seminal Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (New York: Penguin Books, 2009). 11 In 2003: Mitch Joel, “The Booming Business of Drones,” Harvard Business Review, Jan. 4, 2013. 12 Today the United States: Michael C. Horowitz, “The Looming Robotics Gap,” Foreign Policy, May 5, 2014. 13 These machines are well armed: Craig Whitlock, “Drone Strikes Killing More Civilians Than U.S. Admits,” Washington Post, Oct. 22, 2013. 14 In 2011, it was estimated: David Axe, “One in 50 Troops in Afghanistan Is a Robot,” Wired, Feb. 7, 2011; Sharon Gaudin, “U.S. Military May Have 10 Robots per Soldier by 2023,” Computerworld, Nov. 14, 2013. 15 The company has also created: Mark Prigg, “Google-Owned ‘Big Dog’ Robot in First Live Trial with Marines,” Mail Online, July 14, 2014. 16 Other UGVs: “Cheetah Robot ‘Runs Faster Than Usain Bolt,’ ” BBC News, Sept. 6, 2012; “March of the Robots,” Economist, June 2, 2012. 17 Remote pilots sitting: “Rise of the Drones,” NOVA, PBS, Jan. 23, 2013. 18 UAVs have become central: Teal Group, “Teal Group Predicts Worldwide UAV Market Will Total $89 Billion,” June 17, 2013; Michael C.