ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Armed Drones Should Be Outlawed

[SEE: It takes 28 civilian lives to kill a single terrorist leader ]

campaign to stop killer robots

Killer Robots: Why the world should ban autonomous weapons systems

Cyprus mail

NYT_12Nov2014 source

By Mary Wareham

Nations around the world agreed in November to continue deliberations on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” – that is, weapons systems that would be able to select their targets and use force without any further human intervention.

There are serious concerns that fully autonomous weapons systems – or “killer robots,” as they are also called – would not be able to distinguish between soldiers and civilians, or judge whether a military action is proportional.

Countries could choose to deploy these weapons more frequently and with less critical consideration if they do not have to worry about sacrificing troops. Proliferation of these weapons systems could spin out of control easily, both for military and police use.

At the prompting of nongovernmental organizations and United Nations experts, discussions began earlier this year to address the many technical, legal, military, ethical, and societal questions relating to the prospect of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

The debate should be expected to deepen and broaden as the talks continue. The hope is that they will lead rapidly to formal negotiations on a new treaty pre-emptively banning weapons systems that do not require meaningful human control over the key functions of targeting and firing.

Such weapons in their fully autonomous form do not exist yet, but several precursors that are in development in the United States, China, Israel, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and other nations with high-tech militaries demonstrate the trend toward ever-increasing autonomy on land, in the air, and on or under the water.

If the military robotic developments proceed unchecked, the concern is that machines, rather than humans, could ultimately make life-or-death decisions on the battlefield or in law enforcement.

By agreeing to keep talking, the 118 nations that are part of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), an existing international treaty, acknowledged the unease that the idea of such weapons causes for the public.

A new global coalition of nongovernmental organizations called the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots continues to pick up endorsements, with more than 275 scientists, 70 faith leaders, and 20 Nobel Peace laureates joining its ranks in calling for a pre-emptive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. In August, Canada’s Clearpath Robotics became the first private company to endorse the campaign and pledge not to knowingly develop and manufacture such weapons systems.

The UN expert on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, has called on all countries to adopt a moratorium on these weapons. Austria has urged nations engaged in the development of such weapons systems to freeze these programs, and has called on nations deliberating about starting such development to make a commitment not to do so.

Talking about the issue is good, but diplomacy is moving at a slow pace compared with the rapid technological developments. The commitment of the CCW talks – a week of talks over the course of an entire year – is unambitious. It is imperative for diplomatic talks to pick up the pace and create a new international treaty to ensure that humans retain control of targeting and attack decisions.

In the meantime, nations need to start establishing their own policies on these weapons, implementing bans or moratoriums at a national level.

The United States has developed a detailed policy on autonomous weapons that, for now, requires a human being to be “in the loop” when decisions are made about using lethal force, unless department officials waive the policy at a high level. While positive, the policy is not a comprehensive or permanent solution to the problems posed, and it may prove hard to sustain if other nations begin to deploy fully autonomous weapons systems.

One thing is clear: Doing nothing and letting ever-greater autonomy in warfare proceed unchecked is no longer an option.

unnamedMary Wareham is advocacy director of the Human Rights Watch Arms Division, where she leads HRW’s advocacy against particularly problematic weapons that pose a significant threat to civilians. She is also serving as the global coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

This article first appeared in http://www.themarknews.com

Bulgarian Islamic State “Witch Hunt” Pissing Innocent Muslims Off and Propagating Dangerous Ideas

[Here is a perfect example of how following the American “war on terror” formula, other misled nations are actually fomenting Islamist radicalism and helping to give it widespread media coverage.]

Bulgarian Authorities Popularizing Radical Islam – Expert

novinite_logo4_gray

photo_big_165045 [A TV and VCR with a drawing of an IS taped over top of the set’s controls?  Pretty damning stuff, huh?–ed.] 
Photo by BGNES

Everything around the anti-terrorist operation conducted in Bulgaria this week is helping radical Islam to rise to popularity, a former security official says.

Nikolay Radulov, a former Chief Secretary at the Interior Ministry, believes the operation shows lack of understanding of this phenomenon.

“Radical Islamists seek publicity, this is why they release photos, footage. From this point of view they have achieved their goal. For some reason the prosecution and DANS [State Agency for National Security] are helping them promote it,” Radulov told private national channel NOVA TV.

He asserted there were no “sleeping cells” of Islamic State (IS), since that would be a conspiring terror organization and would neither appear on the Internet nor promote itself on Facebook.

Services are trying to make themselves stand out at a time when the budget is being drafted, and also when “various people” are reportedly eyeing the position of DANS head Vladimir Pisanchev, Radulov claimed, adding this might be another explanation as to why the operation was conducted amid media fuss.

In his words, Imam Ahmed Musa Ahmed “gained much more popularity with this operation than the one he had had until now.”

With such activities the security forces run the risk of creating “martyrs”.

– See more at: http://www.novinite.com/articles/165045/Bulgarian+Authorities+Popularizing+Radical+Islam+-+Expert#sthash.sMAo1qPp.dpuf

The Afghan Night Raids Resume–Murder In the Night Again the Norm

 [SEE: Praise for killer exposes Americans as barbarians]

Afghanistan lifts night raid ban against Taliban

washington times

U.S. Special Operations forces engage in a joint operation with Afghan National Army soldiers targeting insurgents operating in Afghanistan's Farah province, Oct. 29, 2009. (Associated Press)
U.S. Special Operations forces engage in a joint operation with Afghan National Army soldiers targeting insurgents operating in Afghanistan’s Farah province, Oct. 29, 2009. (Associated Press)
– The Washington Times – Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A ban on night raids in Afghanistan has been lifted by Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, forbid Afghan National Army Special Forces units from conducting the raids in 2013.

Mr. Ghani’s decision will be welcome news to President Obama since the U.S. will continue to have troops present in the country in 2015.

Two Afghan army generals told The New York Times that they welcomed the new rules of engagement, the newspaper reported Sunday.

“We need strong backing of foreign forces during night raids, the helicopters and night vision goggles, GPS equipment, and better guidance,” Maj. Gen. Abdul Hameed, commander of the Afghan National Army’s 205th Corps in Kandahar, told The Times. “Now we have noticed free movement of the Taliban, they are moving around at night and passing messages and recruiting people for fighting, and the only solution to stop their movement is night raids.”

A Western military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the newspaper that Afghan forces would take the lead on any future night raids.

“Night operations are something the Afghans will be doing in a much more targeted way, the way they were trained to do but were held back under Karzai,” the official said, The Times reported. “We’re not going to be doing that, but there are going to be training missions with advisers along. They are not going to go on the target with the Afghans, but they may go along in some cases and stay back.”

American Hero-Worship of Alleged Bin Laden Killer Proof That We Are Barbarians

[It doesn’t matter whether this Seal braggart was confessing his exploits killing bin Laden or one of his stage doubles, he is still a barbarian killer.]

Praise for killer exposes Americans as barbarians

THE japan-times2
by Ted Rall

 

France is grappling with the damage to its reputation as the global capital of intellectualism after the nation’s minister of culture sheepishly confessed that she doesn’t read books. “Barbarism is here,” declared the writer Claude Askolovitch. “If one can be culture minister without reading, then we are mere technocrats and budgeters.”

Oui.

Evidament.

At least there are still some among the French who care about their nation’s image.

Here in the United States, the face of barbarism appeared in the banal form of Robert O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL who claimed on Fox News to have been the SEAL Team Six member who shot the fatal shots that killed Osama bin Laden.

O’Neil is very proud of himself. “Standing on two feet in front of me, with his hands on his wife’s shoulders behind her was the face that I’d seen thousands of times, UBL,” O’Neill told Fox. “Very quickly I recognized him and then it was just pop, pop pop.”

Military men, including some of O’Neill’s former comrades, criticized him for speaking publicly about a classified operation, going against SEAL tradition. Others questioned whether he really fired the fatal shots.

But no one went after him for being, you know — a first-degree murderer. (Since four other people were killed in the raid, it’s probably closer to the truth to say mass murderer.)

What happened to America? We used to have morals. We celebrated Rosa Parks. Assassins were scum.

As recently as the 1980s, a right-wing president, Reagan, signed an executive order banning political assassinations. Which is exactly what the bin Laden rubout was.

There was never any intention to try to capture bin Laden alive. To the contrary — an eyewitness, bin Laden’s daughter, says the al-Qaida leader was captured alive, then blown away, mafia-style. The man — in this crime, which is what it was, we have to call him the victim — was certainly unarmed. We’ll never know for sure, since no medical examiner got a peek at the victim’s body before it was dumped into the ocean.

The assassination of bin Laden diminished what little was left of America’s moral authority. Calling it “justice” was a mockery of law and due process. It also denied his victims their right to see the facts about his alleged — since he was never tried, we have to say alleged — crimes revealed in open court.

As Geoffrey Robertson wrote at the time: “The U.S. is celebrating summary execution, rationalized on the basis that this is one terrorist for whom trial would be unnecessary, difficult, and dangerous. It overlooks the downsides: that killing bin Laden has made him a martyr, more dangerous in that posthumous role than in hiding, and that both his legend and the conspiracy theories about 9/11 will live on undisputed by the evidence that would have been called to convict him at his trial.”

The operation was, without question, illegal. If the U.S. were a nation of equal justice under the law, everyone involved, from O’Neill to the president, would face murder charges.

I don’t care how you feel about bin Laden. Assassinating him was disgusting, might-makes-right bullshit.

If anyone in the media agrees with me, however, I can’t find them.

“If [O’Neill] killed bin Laden, then he deserves the recognition that comes with it. … I say, ‘Well done, O’Neill, tell it like it is and let them howl. They’ll criticize you no matter what. Hooyah,’ ” wrote an editorial writer in the otherwise charming town of Saint George, Utah. Time magazine called the shooting of an unarmed suspect (while invading a foreign country, by the way) an “action that warrants … acclaim.”

Don’t forget the hit film “Zero Dark Thirty,” which portrayed the bin Laden murder — as well as the torture that preceded it — as heroic.

What happened to us?

Top Nazis, responsible for a lot more deaths than 9/11, were put on trial at Nuremberg. Just two decades ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that a state-sponsored assassin would garner praise for his role in a “wet op” (as long as he really did it).

Or that a president would brag about ordering it. (“Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,” Vice President Biden crowed.)

Or that said president would enjoy a bump in his polls as a result (as opposed to a knock on the door from the FBI).

ISIS? Mere pikers.

Barbarism, c’est nous.

Cartoonist and writer Ted Rall is author of “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan.” © 2014 Ted Rall

American Afghan Drug War TOTAL SUCCESS In Weaponizing Addiction and Infection

soldiers_drugs

[SEE:  Afghanistan opium harvest at record high as Nato withdraws ; Afghan opium inflames US-Russia tensions after failed drug war ]

 

tracks

HIV infections double in Russia, ex-Soviet states

MEDICAL XPRESS

HIV infections have doubled in ten years in Russia and former Soviet states, due mainly to unprotected sex and injecting drugs, a report said Thursday.

More than 105,000 new infections were recorded in Russia and former Soviet countries in eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2013, up from just under 50,000 in 2004, said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization.

The number of those who go on to develop AIDS has also tripled in the region, the report said, while the number of deaths from the disease continue to fall in other parts of Europe.

“In Eastern Europe, where 77 percent of all new infections were reported, two thirds of cases among injecting drug users were detected late. This means they are more likely to transmit HIV, their treatment is more expensive, and they are more likely to die,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

The majority of new HIV cases are among people 30 to 39 years old, with Russia and Ukraine reporting the highest number of new infections.

Infection rates also quadrupled in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The WHO says there were some 35 million people around the world living with HIV by the end of 2013, with some 2.1 million new infections during the course of that year.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with almost 70 percent of new infections.

Zionist Right-Wing Plans To Avoid 3rd Intifada With Pay-Offs

Israel FM supports paying Arabs to leave

aljazeera

Avigdor Lieberman says he favours providing economic incentives for Arab-Israelis to leave the country.

Israeli Arabs say a bill to declare Israel the homeland of Jewish people only further alienates them [Reuters]

Israel’s foreign minister says he supports paying Arab citizens to leave the country.

In a manifesto of his right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, Avigdor Lieberman said he favoured ceding Arab majority areas in northern Israel to a future Palestinian state and providing economic incentives for Arab-Israelis – about 20 percent of Israel’s population – to encourage them to emigrate.

The manifesto, published on Friday, did not set out positions on the most difficult issues in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, including the status of Jerusalem and Israel’s borders.

But it does acknowledge the necessity of territorial compromise in reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians, and also with moderate Arab countries.

Once a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Lieberman is now seen as harbouring prime ministerial ambitions himself.

His offer to pay Israeli Arabs to leave comes as Netanyahu pushes forward with a contentious parliamentary bill to formalise Israel’s status as a Jewish state – a measure that many Arab-Israelis say will institutionalise their status as second class citizens.

The bill, which Netanyahu says is necessary to safeguard Israel’s future, is opposed by a wide range of Israeli political figures, including the largely ceremonial president, but is strongly supported by right wing members of his ruling coalition, including Lieberman.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces fired tear gas at several dozen rock-throwing demonstrators at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem following weekly prayers Friday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

The Alleged Austin Midnight Shooter Is Identified

Austin shooting suspect identified

wfaa8

Larry McQuilliams

AUSTIN — The man who died after shooting at least 100 rounds at several downtown buildings early Friday morning, including the Austin Police Department’s headquarters, has been identified.

WFAA’s sister station KVUE says the suspect is Larry Steven McQuilliams, 49.

Police say it all started when reports of shots being fired came in around 2:22 a.m.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said McQuilliams fired at the Mexican Consulate, the United States Federal Courthouse and APD’s headquarters within a 10-minute period.

McQuilliams also tried to burn down the consulate, but the fire was quickly extinguished. A guard house at the courthouse was pierced by several bullet holes, and APD’s headquarters is “extensively damaged,” according to Chief Acevedo.

USA Today says the situation appears to be a politically-motivated attack that is anti-government and linked to immigration.

Chief Acevedo said around 2:33 a.m., a sergeant managing two horses in APD’s mounted patrol saw McQuilliams and returned fire.

McQuilliams then fell to the ground, and officers noticed he was wearing “some sort of vest.” They also found “suspicious cylinders” inside his van. A bomb squad responded to the scene, and APD headquarters was evacuated.

“Anytime you have cylinders like this with someone attacking government buildings, you have to think of explosive devices,” Acevedo said.

He added that it’s unclear if McQuilliams died due to shots fired from the officer, or if the man took his own life. No one else was injured.

Man opens fire on Austin buildings.

McQuilliams’ white van was still on the street outside police headquarters several hours after the shooting with all of its doors, the trunk and hood open while investigators looked it over.

Acevedo said McQuilliams is an Austin resident and has a criminal history. Officers are also investigating his residence.

Sources told WFAA’s sister station KVUE that the officer involved is Sgt. Adam Johnson, a 15-year veteran of the department. He will be placed on administrative leave with pay in compliance with APD protocol.

Interstate 35 was closed as officers investigated, but reopened just after 6:30 a.m.

Some of the targeted buildings are near the popular 6th Street entertainment district, where bars close at 2 a.m. — about the same time the shootings began. Chief Acevedo noted that thousands of people are typically on the street at that time.

“Many, many rounds were fired in downtown Austin,” Acevedo said. “With all the people on the streets, we’re very fortunate. I give thanks that no one but the suspect is injured or deceased.”

Governor Rick Perry’s mansion is just a few blocks away from the police station. It is unknown at this time whether he was home during the rampage.

Stephanie Beard shared this raw video of the shooting with News 8:

Austin shooting Stephanie Beard

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