Warfare continues to become more professional and dehumanized every day.

The purpose of Extraordinary Edition is being revisited for winter, headed into 2013. U.S. foreign policy, Central Asia and the Middle East remain key focal points. Economics and culture on your front doorstep are coming into focus here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A brief history of the unmanned aerial vehicle

An illuminating article appears on the Nebraskans for Peace web site about drone warfare and the history of UAV's.

StratCom: The Fulcrum for Drone Warfare by Loring Wirbel, Citizens for Peace in Space Colorado Springs, Colorado

Excerpt— "In the early years of the ‘War on Terror,’ missions involving Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) could be divided into those sponsored directly by regional combat commands in the Pentagon, and the more covert missions planned and executed by the CIA—both of which were supported by space and intelligence assets. The Pentagon-conducted missions tended to adhere to stricter rules of military engagement, which meant that if a drone directly targeted an individual al-Qaida suspect, chances were good that the mission was clandestine and run by the CIA.

In recent months, however, a third level of management has emerged, raising even greater questions of responsibility and accountability. According to journalist Jeremy Scahill and several other sources, the Pentagon’s secretive 'Joint Special Operations Command' (JSOC) manages unacknowledged armed UAV missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. These missions are run directly by Blackwater/Xe and several of its subsidiaries. Yet, because the ultimate authority for the missions goes back to JSOC, Strategic Command in Omaha (particularly its ‘Global Strike’ component) plays a more direct role in these even more deeply covert UAV strikes, than it does in CIA missions.

Demonstrators who went to the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia January 16 to protest the Agency’s drone attacks provided a rare and needed public face to these UAV missions which have become so commonplace in the past several years. Yet the protests only scratch the surface. The passing of armed-UAV authority among official combat commands, quasi-official CIA bases, and deniable JSOC/Blackwater missions allows the Pentagon to play a shell game that keeps activists from understanding who does what. And the central player shuffling the shells is Strategic Command."

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