[spectre] A drone of drones

Michael Benson michael.benson@pristop.si
Fri, 23 Nov 2001 14:36:25 +0100

> greetings and sincere notes of gratitide to michael 

Thanks Honor... I got back late last night, through the dense fog of
Ljubljana in winter, which is laced with coal smoke, and was going to answer
immediately but then got all engrossed in the ominous futuristic weirdness
of reading the following in the New York Times. It's about remote controlled
US spy-planes called Predators, which are now armed with missiles: 

Just last week, a Predator operated by the Central Intelligence
Agency was used to coordinate the surgical strike in which one of
Osama bin Laden's closest lieutenants was killed, administration
officials said.

The drone pinpointed the house where a group of senior Al Qaeda
officials, including Muhammad Atef, had gathered and relayed live
video pictures of the scene to C.I.A. and military officials (...)
As people fled the building, the Predator opened fire on them with
Hellfire missiles. Finally, it circled the area, assessing the damage.

                     *   *   *

...So increasingly we have this eerie science-fiction spectre (sorry) of
this godlike omnipotence -- not just American power projected from the
Olympian skies, which is an old story, but now even the pilots have been
removed from the scene, and we have circling robot drones armed to the teeth
and staring down from on high with high-res optical systems. It's a jump, in
the space of a few months, from one form of chilling apparent insanity
(loaded and fuelled passenger jets steered directly into skyscrapers) to
another (remote drones controlled from distant safe locations by anonymous
CIA operatives and fully capable of serving as assassination devices). 

Apart from all the other questions this raises, does anyone seriously doubt
that this kind of technology won't find its way eventually into the hands of
urban police forces? The LAPD comes to mind. We're entering Robo-cop
territory here...

All the best, MB