Snowden for drones: The Intercept publishes an expose on US drone attacks, revealed by a new leaker

Something that robots don’t have either.


I note that, the intersection of “Kinetic Strikes” and “Detainees” is N/A. Good to see modern American corporate-speak employed in such an appropriate context.

I think this thread is about the Mafia.


Not to burst your bubble but there’s far higher definition imaging than that available and has been for a couple of decades. It’s not even classified anymore, which is itself scary since that means they have something much better now! I’m having a hard time finding references online though.

Since I do know it’s no longer classified I’ll describe it here briefly: different wavelengths are distorted in different ways by whatever medium they pass through, (the atmosphere in this case). If you take multiple high def pics of the same area simultaneously at very narrow ranges of frequencies you can do fancy math to “subtract” the atmospheric distortions and get perfect pictures every time, all the time. And while gigapixel imaging is all the rage these days you’d be surprised what can be accomplished with smaller imaging systems behind good lenses and finely machined mechanical scanning mechanisms. The only difference is gigapixel (GP) imaging does it all at once, but those GP imagers can also be placed behind nice lenses and mechanical scanning mechanisms.

In short, you may assume the only limiting factor to eyes in the sky that can sort your belly-button lint is they are bloody expensive and there’s not enough to see everywhere all the time (yet).

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That may be true for a small percentage, but they’re actually discovering that killing people induces PTSD no matter how removed you are from the scene. They literally don’t have enough capable drone pilots right now because they are burning out faster than they can be trained.


A guy who stayed here flew UAVs for the Air Force via a contractor. The AF has a big need for UAV pilots, but to fly military UAVs, you need real hours in the air.

His employer had him flying every day at a local airport, and they were paying for the plane, the fuel, and the instructors just to get him hours to stay qualified to fly UAVs.

He pointed out that he could re-up with the AF and get a $75k signing bonus, but the options he keeps open by flying for whoever he wants is worth being free of the AF.


I disagree, the United States has put each and every one of these murdering terrorists through the paces of our sacred Justice system. If you ask me, they all got what was coming to them (especially the dead and maimed children, they really deserved that).*
*proceeds to sing the national anthem while eating a double pounder, chugging a big gulp, setting off fireworks and explosives, shooting off AR-15’s, screaming homophobic/muslim/jewish/racist slurs, all while snorting cocaine</s


And the worst part about all of this shit is* And ya know what really rubs salt in the wound? Imagine what might have happened if the other guy had won the 2008 election…

*worst part about this is obviously the unfounded and yet cold and calculated killing of innocents, I’m annoyed at myself for even thinking otherwise.


Used to be innocent civilians and enemy soldiers. Then collateral damage and enemy combatants. Now the innocents are “enemies” so they have to call actual enemies “jackpots”. In another fifty years we’ll be talking about “low value jackpots” to mean dead children and “confirmed bonanzas” for actual combatants.

I’m inclined to agree with Americans who proudly declare that they don’t speak English.

Yeah, but the CIA Mafia or the US Law Enforcement Mafia? :wink:


I think you are possibly over estimating the degree of control POTUS or anyone has over the CIA. I am an adherent of the “Accidental Theory” of History and feel that schemes like this gain their own momentum; with no one wanting to look to closely at the method and outcome in case it blows up in their face. I feel it is more inertia and indifference that is killing these people.

@roomwithaview I guess the answer is either swap to autonimous killing machines… or stop blowing people up… I’m guessing the establishment view will tend towards the Terminator option.

@slybevel Do you have any idea why the USAF require drone pilots to have actual flying experience? Is it just a way of keeping the flight colleges open?


I have some idea, but I don’t know enough to flat out say why.

From what he said when he was here, the AF used to have essentially one flyer program and they all went and flew jets for the AF when they finished. But now the AF has split that program so that some graduates end flying real planes, and others end up flying Predators and Reapers and the like.

Flying is boring and he said it’s easier to wreck a UAV than it is a piloted plane just because you can feel what’s going on in the plane and respond to it naturally.


Do you know if the rest of the crew has to go through flight training as well? I’ve heard that a “full” drone crew is four people, and three is okay, but that they are actually running two-man crews a lot now due to the manpower issue. Given that flight training per se is pretty scalable that implies some other piece of the operation is outside the scope of that. The article I read didn’t say which of the seats they were bottle-necked on, though I assume it’s whomever has the trigger finger.

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When I heard there was a new “Top Gun” film on the way, I was hoping it was going to features a still young and fit looking Tom Cruise as “Maverick”, chief of the manned fighter training program, versus Val Kilmer as “Iceman”, heading up the remote piloted program. They would start out in competition until “terror strikes” and they all have to pull together.

“Revvin’ up your engine,
Listen to her howlin’ roar,
Metal under tension,
Beggin’ you to touch and go,
Highway to the Danger Zone,
Ride into the Danger Zone,
Sitting in a packing crate,
In a parking lot,
Drink soda and scarfing chips,
Popping out for a toilet break,
Highway to the Danger Zone,
Ride into the Danger Zone…”


Probably not so much of an issue here; UAVs are very cheap compared to conventional attack aircraft. The profit margins on a Predator are tiny compared to those on an F-35.

So they can sell more to the state… The point isn’t huge profit margins, it’s keeping the producers, which employ Americans, in business. It’s a domestic political issue as much as an economic one.


This might explain what I was getting at:

Yes, domestic politics (and corporate-driven corruption) motivates a lot of military spending, but the usual suspects are arguing for fewer drones, not more.

Thanks for the link! I see what you’re driving at, but the question is who is making the drones, in what part of the country, and their politicians will be pushing for them or at least for a continuation of our current activities.

Also, I’d also argue that support for the defense industry isn’t just about greed and warmongering, it’s also a jobs issue with the constiuency. The defense industry still pays well and those politicians who have these contractors in their backyards are going to do what they can to keep those jobs in their districts because so much of the rest of the manufacturing sector has dwindled and the service sector just can’t provide the same sorts of job security and pay that manufacturing did.

ETA - that McCaul guy sounds like a grade A douchenozzle.

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