Quoted in Time

I’m quoted in Time about two new reports out by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch about the U.S. drone program. While the reports provide devastating details and draw attention to the debate, stories of innocent people hurt in drone strikes “don’t add substantively to knowledge of the drone program nor do they alter the ...

Could Drones be Good for Peace?

Over at Medium, I wonder if drones, when used outside of targeted killing programs, might actually be good for peace. The example I chose is the showdown between Japan and China in the Senkaku Islands. Though relatively expensive to develop and operate, drones allow for a much longer flight time over sensitive areas, and the ...

The Edward Snowden Snow Job

Over at Beacon (subscribe here!) I lay out the long history of Edward Snowden and his closest allies lying about his history, motivations, behavior, and intentions. An excerpt: It is difficult to square the known details of Snowden’s circumstances in Russia with the statements made by interested outsiders on his behalf. Snowden has contributed to ...

Quote of the Day

77. If used in strict compliance with the principles of international humanitarian law, remotely piloted aircraft are capable of reducing the risk of civilian casualties in armed conflict by significantly improving the situational awareness of military commanders. – From the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ben ...

An Expansion of the Science Fictions of Dronephobia

Over at Beacon, I discussed why so many opponents to drones segue into science fiction to make their case — a habit that is actually poisonous to reasoned debate about kinetic policies and how they can be reformed to better safeguard civilian lives. When they were first invented war planes were terrifying, not just in the sense ...

Quote of the Day

“The alternative to journalists making those decisions is, okay we’ll hand it all over to secret courts, and secret committees, and no one will ever know about these balances that are being struck. And the intelligence committee in the UK, I think, its members have been handpicked by the Prime Minister, and you have to ...

Interview: Obama’s New Foreign Policy

Interview: Obama's New Foreign Policy
For Radio 4′s The World Tonight, err, last night, I talked with Ritula Shah about Obama’s new direction in counter terrorism. Audio link is here.

The Coming Lethal Autonomous Future

Though I’ve spoken of their potential upsides, there are still a lot of challenges to overcome before any lethal autonomous robot is ever deployed. For Defense One, I explore some of them: Drones have been hackable for years. In 2009, defense officials told reporters that Iranian-backed militias used $26 of off-the-shelf software to intercept the ...

Capturing Terrorists is Hard

Over at Beacon (subscribe here!), I explain why capturing terrorists is so difficult. The politics of capturing terrorists can be challenging for two reasons: the governments in question may not agree on custody of the prisoner, and in many cases the local government is extremely sensitive to any action involving U.S. boots on the ground. ...

Revenge of Meatspace

Over at War is Boring, I wrote about the arrest of Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht. On Wednesday, the FBI announced a fascinating arrest: they had nabbed Dread Pirate Roberts, or DPR, the founder of Silk Road, a black-market Website famous for selling narcotics over the Web. In the indictment, the Bureau listed activities worthy ...