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February 12 2014


Drones And The Kill List Now

The White House debates a drone attack against a U.S. citizen and terror suspect in Pakistan. We’ll look at Washington’s kill list and American drone policy.

Pakistani protesters burn a representation of the U.S. flag to condemn American drone strikes on militants' hideouts in Pakistani tribal areas, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 in Multan, Pakistan. The U.S. is now said to be considering legal options for using an unmanned drone to kill an American citizen in Pakistan. (AP)

Pakistani protesters burn a representation of the U.S. flag to condemn American drone strikes on militants’ hideouts in Pakistani tribal areas, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 in Multan, Pakistan. The U.S. is now said to be considering legal options for using an unmanned drone to kill an American citizen in Pakistan. (AP)


Greg Miller, intelligence reporter for the Washington Post. (@gregpmiller)

Spencer Ackerman, national security editor for the Guardian U.S. (@attackerman)

Micah Zenko, Douglas Dillon Fellow in the Center for Preventative Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. Author of “Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies” and “Between Threats and War: U.S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War World.” (@MicahZenko)

Philip Mudd, director of global risk at SouthernSun Asset Management. Former deputy director of the counter-terrorism center at the C.I.A.  Former senior intelligence adviser and deputy director of the F.B.I.’s National Security branch.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: U.S. weighs lethal strike against American citizen — “The Obama administration is weighing whether to approve a lethal strike against a U.S. citizen who is accused of being part of the al-Qaeda terrorist network overseas and involved in ongoing plotting against American targets, U.S. officials said.”

Council On Foreign Relations: Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies – “Like any tool, drones are only as useful as the information guiding them, and for this they are heavily reliant on local military and intelligence cooperation. More important, significant questions exist about who constitutes a legitimate target and under what circumstances it is acceptable to strike. ”

The Intercept: The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program — “According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”

January 17 2014


AirplaneGeeks 282 - Airplane Geeks, not Drone-o-Phobes

Max, Rob, and David talk about why we’ve seen so many airline orders, why pilots land at the wrong airport, and why is it taking so long for the FAA to allow drones in the national airspace. Plus, listener recordings and emails. http://www.airplanegeeks.com/2014/01/15/airplanegeeks-282-airplane-geeks-not-drone-o-phobes/
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November 20 2013


Muck Rock: The Drone Census

Who runs that eye in the sky? MuckRock projects editor Shawn Musgrave joins the podcast to talk about the surprising uses drones are being put to close to home, and how the MuckRock Drone Census is helping watch the watchers.

October 23 2013


Getting Out Of Afghanistan

Afghanistan and Pakistan are still brewing up big challenges for the United States. Taliban talks, drone wars, how to stay in, how to get out.


Ben Pauker, managing editor of Foreign Policy Magazine. (@BenPauker)

Stephen Biddle, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University.

Sean Carberry, Kabul correspondent for NPR. (@Frankentele)

From Tom’s Reading List

Foreign Affairs: Ending the War in Afghanistan — “Should current trends continue, U.S. combat troops are likely to leave behind a grinding stalemate between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The Afghan National Security Forces can probably sustain this deadlock, but only as long as the U.S. Congress pays the multibillion-dollar annual bills needed to keep them fighting. The war will thus become a contest in stamina between Congress and the Taliban.”

The Atlantic: Why Is It So Hard To Negotiate With The Taliban? – “At the beginning, talks were just seen as a way to peel off local and regional commanders and local insurgents from the broader movement, and it slowly worked its way up the chain from reintegration to reconciliation. But it did so unevenly and it was never properly explained how these negotiations at the lower level would play out at the higher level. We didn’t know whether the purpose of talks was to split the Taliban movement between the hawks and the doves or to try to maintain a coherent movement under [Taliban spiritual leader] Mullah Mohammad Omar and talk directly to the top.”

The Guardian: US drone strikes could be classed as war crimes, says Amnesty International – “Getting to the bottom of individual strikes is exceptionally difficult in the restive areas bordering Afghanistan, where thousands of militants have settled. People are often terrified of speaking out, fearing retribution from both militants and the state, which is widely suspected of colluding with the CIA-led campaign.”

October 03 2013


Day of the Drones - Books and Authors - Browse - Big Ideas - ABC TV

This panel examines the moral legitimacy of using drones as killing machines as well as for the surveillance of private citizens. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2013/09/30/3856807.htm

October 02 2013


How We Kill in War

What is permissible and what is ethical behaviour in war? The American military's use of drones brings with it uncomfortable moral questions. Journalist Naheed Mustafa visits Pakistan and explores the dilemmas posed by drone warfare. http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/podcasts/

September 18 2013


The U.S. drone program is fatally flawed

Mooi programma, debat Oxford style. Zelfs al heb je al een standpunt, altijd aardig om het debat te horen. "Remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, have been the centerpiece of America’s counterterrorism toolkit since the start of the Obama presidency, and the benefits have been clear. Their use has significantly weakened al Qaeda and the Taliban while keeping American troops out of harm’s way. But critics of drone strikes argue that the short-term gains do not outweigh the long-term consequences—among them, radicalization of a public outraged over civilian deaths. Is our drone program hurting, or helping, in the fight against terrorism?"

September 08 2013


Podcast: What We Know (And Don’t Know) About the Drone War

For this week’s podcast, Cora Currier and Steve Engelberg discuss the Obama administration’s controversial use of drones and how much of the program remains shrouded in secrecy.

May 10 2013


Former Air Force Pilot Has Cautionary Tales About Drones : NPR

Congressional hearings are beginning to shine a light on the drone program that for the past 12 years has been cloaked in secrecy. NPR's Kelly McEvers talked to a former Air Force pilot who operated drones for several years. http://www.npr.org/2013/05/10/182800293/former-air-force-pilot-shines-light-on-drone-program
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