About This Blog
I decided to start my own blog in January 2012 to provide a home for my musings and writings. I’m a lazy blogger though so check out my Archive of Writings instead. The thoughts are mine and mine alone. Write me if you want to make me or any readers smarter. Check out asides and comments @warkin on Twitter.
- RT @ianmastersmedia: NOW on backgroundbriefing.org | Roger Morris - Why the Mueller Report Will Only Scratch the Surface | @warkin - Why t… 6 hours ago
- Those who have written me re: Vault 7 & #Wikileaks: The "case" of Joshua Shulte has not yet been heard in the court… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 week ago
- An excerpt from by blog post on #Wikileaks and the #Assangearrest williamaarkin.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/beh… https://t.co/MBQXkRxx0X 1 week ago
- I've decided to publish my #Assange piece myself, with some (long) expanation. It's about how Assange's arrest sho… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 week ago
- So the @thedailybeast has also passed on my #Assange piece. "We don’t have the bandwidth tonight to sort through y… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 week ago
This month’s issue of Harper’s Magazine features an exclusive excerpt from my book, Unmanned: Drones, Data, and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare, from Little, Brown and Company, out next month. A brief intro from the essay has been included below; for the full version, visit Harper’s website.
LOITERING WITH INTENT
By William M. Arkin
If you have spent any time thinking about the exponential increase in the use of unmanned vehicles over the past decade, you have probably thought about the Predator drone. Every second of every day, about fifty Predators are airborne. Each weighs more than a ton and has wings that extend the length of four automobiles. They fly at altitudes of 15,000 to 25,000 feet and can stay aloft for more than forty hours. They conduct deadly missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, fly quietly over Yemen and Syria, assist law enforcement in Africa and Latin America, patrol borders, monitor oceans, and do civilian and scientific work of all kinds.
Government propaganda, the news media, and Hollywood movies characterize drones almost exclusively as high-flying hunterkillers and all-seeing information machines. In fact, more than 90 percent of the world’s drones are small, short-range, and unarmed. Only about 5 percent of the drones operated by the U.S. government are as large as manned airplanes. Predators, which garner so much of the public’s attention, make up an even smaller subset—there are just a few hundred worldwide. Most U.S. military drones belong to a single type—a 4.2-pound spy machine called the Raven. These and other human-portable devices are all but standard government issue for soldiers these days, like binoculars or radios. They are remarkable, to be sure, but they are remarkable mostly in the way of smartphones: omnipresent, ultraconvenient, annoying, distancing, and subtly threatening to privacy and security. There’s no doubt that they exert an influence on our society, even if the ultimate nature of that influence is unclear.
The civilian market for unmanned vehicles has expanded to serve scientific, industrial, consumer, educational, and entertainment purposes. Drones play an increasing role in industries as diverse as real estate and journalism, weather forecasting and agriculture. They identify forest fires and pipeline leaks, relay radio signals, and assist in archaeological and environmental research. They have also, of course, become popular with local, state, and federal law enforcement. Border agencies and police departments, emulating their military counterparts, have acquired unmanned vehicles not just for bomb disposal and other dangerous missions but also for intelligence collection and surveillance. Advances in information technology, nanotechnology, and even genetics, together with the continued miniaturization of nearly everything, are propelling an astonishing acceleration of drone capabilities. The future promises personal drones of amazing sophistication that weigh just a gram.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @GawkerPhasezero to reveal secrets large and small, as well as speculate on rumors that have echoed from the depths.
Here is a round-up of the intel we’ve published over the last week:
19 May, 2015
#PZintel: 37 Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) tethered aerostat surveillance balloons now over AF & Iraq
18 May, 2015
#PZintel: New NORTHCOM CONPLAN 3475 dealing with Regional War on Terrorism (RWOT) focuses on counter-narcoterrorism
Last week saw the launch of Phase Zero’s new Twitter-based, short-burst reporting about things of interest in the world of spying and killing. Using the hashtag #PZintel, @GawkerPhaseZero will be using the condensed platform to continue revealing secrets large and small, as well as speculate on rumors that have echoed from the depths.
Here is a round-up of the intel we’ve published so far:
11 May, 2015 #PZintel: New anti-money launder & CT-finance program aimed at Iranian-owned, Dubai-based Money Service Businesses (MSBs) dealing with #WMD
11 May, 2015 #PZintel: Admin has approved new counter-network threat finance action plan, including Pentagon and civil agencies. Where does $$ come from?
8 May, 2015 #PZintel Cyber Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace manual directs Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) who conduct cyber intelligence
8 May, 2015 #PZintel: RC-135 Rivert Joint, Combat Sent and Cobra Ball #NSA aircraft and systems have cost #3.2B since 1981 and still flying #RAF too
8 May, 2015 #PZintel: #FBI Special Flight Ops Unit flies #Gulfstream V’s on recon, #VIP and courier missions #gettingslizzard
7 May, 2015 #PZintel: FBI aviation flies 30+ recon arcft that have been involved in DC Sniper, #OKC, and police corruption cases.
6 May, 2015 #PZintel: Before #JadeHelm, Abraxas mngd $80M prgm teaching SOF personnel in SW US to conduct clandestine collection
6 May, 2015 #PZintel: Not just #FBI planes over Baltimore- #NationalGuard Joint Incident Awareness and Assessment (IAA) Team (JIT) brokered other recon
5 May, 2015 #PZintel: Super-secret #JSOC activates Task Force 9 to replace Task Force 27 as #counterterror force in the field. More info, anyone?
5 May, 2015 #PZintel: #Predator and #Reaper #drones currently flying 11,000 combat air patrols annually, 30 a day worldwide
4 May, 2015 #PZintel: The real #NCIS has a $450 million budget, 2300 personnel, over 194 offices, agents in over 40 countries.
4 May 2015: TIL #PACOM monitors 600+ infrared events/year, assessing #Chinese #Russian #DPRK launches to determine immediate threats- 2 a day! #pzintel
The following posts appeared on Phase Zero last week:
The following posts appeared on Phase Zero last week:
Drones Author Discusses Imprecision, Legal Blindess, and the CIA : An Interview with Andrew Cockburn