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