News in brief

UK Reaper kills

British drones are more likely to target individuals than infrastructure, according to Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK.

British Reaper drones launched two-thirds of the 110 UK strikes on Islamic State fighters in the open in the last two years. The UK’s other strike aircraft, the Tornado and the Typhoon, were generally used to launch attacks on buildings of various kinds.

Just over half of all UK Reaper attacks (51 percent) were targeted at individuals on the ground compared to only 10 percent of Tornado and Typhoon strikes.

Altogether, Reapers launched 29 percent of the UK’s strikes in the last two years.
www.dronewars.net

Stopped!

A major arms fair has been cancelled in New Zealand.

It was announced on 30 September that the annual Defence, Industry, and National Security Forum would not be held in 2019.

24 protesters were arrested for blockading the last two ‘defence forums’.

Auckland Peace Action said: ‘The nonviolent direct action tactics we have used have been effective at shutting this thing down for the past four years. Now the NZ Defence Industry Association has realised the futility of continuing to host this weapons show against the massive wave of public opposition and disgust at their business of war.’

No to autonomy

In September, it was revealed that the US air force (USAF) had awarded a contract to a US weapons company to develop an artificial intelligence and machine-learning surveillance system for a killer drone.

The Agile Condor system is supposed to independently (‘autonomously’) identify pre-defined targets of interest and then send information back to a human decision-maker before any action is taken.

Peter Burt of Drone Wars UK says the intended change to the Reaper killer drone represents ‘a significant step towards the development of an autonomous weapon system’ which will make life-and-death decisions by itself.
www.dronewars.net

Anti-militarist Pride?

On 23 October, the organisers of the Pride in London parade launched a wide-ranging consultation on the future of the LGBT+ event.

One issue in the online Pride survey was whether the parade should accept the participation of LGBT+ networks from ‘arms manufacturers’, ‘fossil fuel companies’ and ‘companies who profit from ecocide’.

Earlier, Pride had agreed to Extinction Rebellion’s demands that it become carbon-neutral in 2020.