http://www.worldmeets.us/images/hermes.9000.operators_pic.jpg

Welcome to the 21st century: Men operate Israeli-built unmanned aerial

vehicle Hermes 900. Rebuffed by the U.S.- at least for now – Colombian

authorities have reportedly turned to an Israeli firm to supply them with

the devices, which raise a multitude of questions involving civil liberties,

human rights and international law.

 

 

Colombia Government Must Come Clean on Battle Drones (El Tiempo, Colombia)

 

“Before they overwhelm us with killer aircraft, should we not be demanding some clarity? Who will pilot the combat ‘drones?’ Colombians in uniform? Foreign consultants? Who will they be? Where will they be? Will they do this from within our national territory? Or from some foreign refuge, like CIA headquarters in Langley (Virginia)? To whom will they answer if they commit a crime?”

 

By Laura Gil

 

Translated By Douglas Myles Rasmussen

 

May 1, 2012

 

Colombia - El Tiempo - Original Article (Spanish)

Before they were used for surveillance; now they roam for combat. Illusions are all well and good, if they permit us to believe that this war can be won. But what price does this chimera impose on us?

 

“Drones” - unmanned aerial vehicles - already fly over the skies of Colombia. In March of 2009, FARC rebels announced that they had downed one of the devices. Later, Hugo Chávez protested the overflight of a “drone” that had penetrated Venezuelan airspace from Colombia.

 

http://www.worldmeets.us/images/Cano-Limon-Covenas.pipeline_pic.jpg

The-then Defense Minister Gabriel Silva had no problem trivializing the incident, saying that surely it must have been “Santa’s sleigh.” Colombia, he added, does not have that capability. Nothing could be further from the truth. Public opinion found out, soon enough, that “drones” were being used to patrol the Cańo-Limón-Coveńas oil pipeline [graphic, right]. But not much else came to light

 

Last March, a cable from U.S. Ambassador William Wood, revealed by WikiLeaks, confirmed that in 2006, the government of the United States used ScanEagle “drones” to locate U.S. hostages. Since that time they have also been used to gather information in real time from the FARC and drug traffickers. The use of surveillance “drones,” both civilian and military, is common.

 

In the U.S., everyone from municipal police forces to universities are considering their use. And what about the use of “drone” aircraft by the military? Even the United Nations hopes to integrate them into its peace-keeping missions. But taking the step from surveillance “drones” to combat “drones” is no small matter. That is what the Colombian government wants to do.

 

This topic is being aired in the U.S. political debate. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has asked the White House to send combat “drones” to Colombia. Leon Panetta, the secretary of defense, isn’t sure he wants to share this technology. Congress has also imposed restrictions on it.

 

http://www.worldmeets.us/images/Hermes900.micro_pic.jpgThe truth is that Colombia hasn’t been standing by with its arms crossed. It has already turned its gaze toward Israel. Israeli firm Elbint has announced the sale of a $50 million armed Hermes 900 to a Latin American nation [photo, left]. Although Bogotá hasn’t confirmed the transaction, international defense circles take it for granted that this sale went to Colombia. Or perhaps the strengthening of military relations with Israel doesn’t go through normal business channels?

Posted by Worldmeets.US

 

Before they overwhelm us with killer aircraft, should we not be demanding some clarity? According to an investigation by the Brookings Institution, for every militant eliminated in Pakistan by a “drone,” about 10 civilians are killed. Even so, on Monday the White House defended their use. The Obama Administration refuses to answer the questions posed by Philip Alston, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions. It goes without saying that the use of combat “drones” should follow the same laws of war imposed by international human rights law. 

 

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS:
La Jornada, Mexico: Senators and U.S. Drones: What Else are They Hiding?
The Nation, Pakistan: Obama Admits the Obvious: Murderous Drone Attacks
FARS, Iran: Revolutionary Guards Proudly Display Downed American Drone
FARS, Iran: Iran Reveals Captured U.S. Drone Data to ‘Discourage’ Pentagon
The Nation, Pakistan: Downing American Drones: Iran Shows Pakistan the Way
Daily Jang, Pakistan: U.S.-Pakistan Ties Demand Deal on the Use of Drones
The Nation, Pakistan: Time for Pakistan to Down America's 'Bionic Dragons'
The Nation, Pakistan: U.S. Drone Attacks Part of 'Anti-Pakistan Scheme'

 

 

Who will pilot the combat “drones?” Colombians in uniform? Foreign consultants? Who will they be? Where will they be? Will they do this from within our national territory? Or from some foreign refuge, like CIA headquarters in Langley (Virginia)? To whom will they answer if they commit a crime? Colombian authorities haven’t even confirmed if the surveillance “drones” are operated by Colombian personnel.

 

The defense company Vanguard has announced on its Web site its next job opening: “Position number VTG-1206 - Unmanned Aerial Service Operator (UAS Operator) - Colombia.” There are reasons for concern.

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[Posted by Worldmeets.US May 8, 11:55pm]

 

 

 







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