• Document: DRONE, of Precision Killing
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DRONE, INC. Marketing the Illusion of Precision Killing a CorpWatch publication This report was written by Pratap Chatterjee and Christian Stork. Research by Pratap Chatterjee, Christian Stork and Christopher Thompson. Editor: Terry Allen. Layout and graphics by Design Action Collective. Printing by Community Printers, Santa Cruz. Animation by Ruben DeLuna. This report was funded by a grant from Open Society Foundations with additional support from Edna Wardlaw Charitable Trust, Lawson Valentine foundation and the Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund. Thanks especially to the clients and staff of the Whistleblower and Source Protection Program at ExposeFacts (Diani Barreto, Jesselyn Radack and Kathleen McClellan), Reprieve (Cori Crider and Jennifer Gibson), ICWatch and the National Security Archive (Tom Blanton and Nate Jones), and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Crofton Black) for research support. Thanks also to Srdjan Cvijic, Lisa Magarrell and Angelea Selleck of Open Society Foundations, Mirza Shahzad Akbar of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, Chris Soghoian at the American Civil Liberties Union, Andreas Schueller of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Philip Garnett at the University of York, Ali Arab at Georgetown University, and Lillian Smith for feedback and support. In memoriam: Christopher Thompson (1969-2016) This report is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 international license. Please attribute CorpWatch when re-using any materials from this report. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests that CorpWatch endorses you or your use. FRONT COVER: TOP PHOTO: Newspaper collage by Brave New Films. JOYSTICK: Pilot at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. CREDIT: Christian Clausen, U.S. Air Force. Drone, Inc. Table of Contents Preface: Question the Numbers 4 The Dawn of the Networked Drone 5 HARDWARE: Watching from Above 8 A. Full Motion Video 9 B. Thermal & Infra Red Imaging 15 C. Synthetic Aperture Radar 18 D. Phone Tracking 21 E: Relaying The Data 25 SOFTWARE: Identifying Targets 27 Algorithms 101 27 F. Ground Moving Target Indicator 30 G. Geolocation 32 H. Cross Sensor Cueing 38 I. Social Network Analysis 42 J. Distributed Common Ground System 51 THE CONTRACTORS 58 K. Embedded in the Kill Chain 59 L. No Bid Deals & Revolving Doors 67 CONCLUSION: The Failure of Remote Control War 72 NEXT STEPS 80 DOT&E 81 Whistleblowers 85 Endnotes 88 Drone, Inc. PREFACE Question the Numbers Less than a fortnight after Donald Trump took office as president, the U.S. launched a major helicopter raid in Yemen, followed by a barrage of 70 drone-led air strikes over the course of five weeks.1 In the first three months of 2017, such drone conducted via drone cameras identified not attacks killed as many as 70 people, including even one civilian casualty.6 an estimated dozen children and a three- That’s not all. “These ‘high value targets’ month-old baby.2 appear to be doing the impossible—dying not The numbers are not different from previous once, not twice, but as many as six times,” said years; nor are they less precise. Such numbers Jennifer Gibson, staff attorney at Reprieve, a suggest that intelligence failures intrinsic to the U.K. human rights organization.7 drone war have routinely resulted in a serious How can there be such wide discrepancies toll of civilian casualties. between the official count and those of inde- DRONE, Inc.: Marketing the Illusion of Precision pendent observers and insiders? The Obama Killing is the story of the unmanned aerial surveil- administration’s July report contains a clue:8 lance platforms used to plan many capture/kill Government post-strike reviews involve the military operations today. They employ hardware collection and analysis of multiple sources of such as cameras and phone trackers, software for intelligence before, during, and after a strike, identifying targets; and contract

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