Drone roundup – February 21- 28, 2020
This twice weekly roundup, curated by ReThink Media, looks at how the media is talking about drone warfare (and related topics) and what stories are being told.
With little transparency from the US government on this topic, this roundup aims to be as comprehensive as possible, identifying breaking news, trends, developing stories, or interesting narratives. Rethink Media also use media coverage to compile a snapshot of US strikes each week. The short version can be read here.
Airwars has created an immersive, multimedia website that incorporates mapping, geolocation, interactive timelines, and a searchable database for every known U.S. air and ground action in Somalia since 2007. According to investigative journalist Nick Turse, “The result is nothing less than a redefinition of the scope and contours of America’s long-running, undeclared war in the Horn of Africa.” This comes amidst new allegations that the US killed a civilian telecom worker in Somalia, not a militant.
Speaking of Africa, the Pentagon and the State Department are sending mixed messages about reducing America’s presence in the region. Relatedly, Nick Turse did a fact check on AFRICOM Commander’s Stephen Townsend line about how “light” America’s footprint is over there (Hint: Not light at all)
The Pentagon adopted new ethical guidelines this week for the use of artificial intelligence. According to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s Monday memo, the Pentagon pledges that its AI efforts will be: 1) Responsible, 2) Equitable, 3) Traceable, 4) Reliable and 5) Governable.
Things in Syria continue to get worse as Syrian and Russian airstrikes target civilians fleeing Idlib. These airstrikes have hit ten schools, including two nurseries, and the Idlib Central Hospital. On top of that, last night a Syrian airstrike killed thirty-three Turkish soldiers.
Recommended Reading: Former Syria correspondent Kareem Shaheen’s heartbreaking piece on how the world has forsaken Syria, Ars Technica’s look at how artists are using games to capture the horror of drone warfare, and Sahr Muhammedally and Marc Garlasco‘s plan for how to reduce civilian harm in Afghanistan.