Tag Archives: drones

Activist Group Black Fish Using Drones to Defend the Ocean from Driftnets

26 Aug

by Alex Chitty / Vice

The Black Fish’s founder Wietse van der Werf. Photo by Chris Grodotzki.

The Black Fish’s founder Wietse van der Werf. Photo by Chris Grodotzki.

On a warm night in July 2012, off the island of Ugljan in the Croatian Adriatic, two activists slipped into the water near a line of huge fish farms. Security boats patrolled the perimeter of the vast circular nets, as guards stationed on a nearby hill kept watch through the night. And for good reason: the thousands of bluefin tuna in the farms, destined for the tables of Japanese sushi restaurants, are worth millions. Individual fish routinely sell for more than $1,500 at wholesale markets in Tokyo and closer to home. The Croatian tuna had been caught as juveniles under a loophole in international law, and were being “fattened up” before heading to market.

Wearing tactical diving gear, the divers arrived at the first net, slicing three-quarters of its length and sending bluefin streaming out. The divers swam to another net, repeating the process, and then headed home. The security teams circling above were none the wiser until the following day. The activists, from a group known as the Black Fish, were long gone. The raid was similar to a previous attack in September 2010, when Black Fish divers freed dolphins from holding pens near Taiji, Japan.

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ConocoPhillips to Use Drones in Alaska

26 Aug

by Ryan Koronowski / Think Progress

Credit: (AP Photo/University of Alaska Geophysical Institute, David Giessel)

Credit: (AP Photo/University of Alaska Geophysical Institute, David Giessel)

The FAA issued an approval in July that paved the way for a “major energy company” to fly unmanned drones in U.S. airspace. Yesterday it became clear which corporation would be using drones to aid its Alaskan oil drilling efforts: ConocoPhillips.

This marks the first time a private company has received permission to fly “unmanned aircraft systems,” UAS — or drones — in America for non-experimental purposes.

“Until now, obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate — which specifically excludes commercial operations — was the only way the private sector could operate UAS in the nation’s airspace,” the FAA announced last month. FAA hailed the move as “a milestone that will lead to the first approved commercial UAS operations later this summer.”

“A major energy company plans to fly the ScanEagle off the Alaska coast in international waters starting in August.”

That “major energy company” is ConocoPhillips, as reported by Petroleum News.

AeroVironment, one of the two companies that manufacture the drones approved for use by ConocoPhillips, hailed the approval at the time: “This marks the first time the FAA has approved a hand-launched unmanned aircraft system for commercial missions.”

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The Boston Marathon Bombing, Chechnya and Ecocidal Tendencies

20 Apr

by Panagioti, Earth First! Newswire

Lake Kezenoy-am (Lake Goluboye, Russian: Кезенойам, Голубое; Chechen: Къоьзаной-Iaм) is a lake in Chechnya near border with Dagestan, Russia that goes through Andiyskiy Khrebet (Andian Ridge); later the border of Dagestan went into Chechnya taking half of the lake in to Dagestan. It is situated at an altitude of 1870 m above sea level and fills and area of 2.4 km². The maximum depth of the lake is 74 m. In winter the surface of the lake freezes and in summer the water temperature is around 5 °C. The lake water has a year-round supply of oxygen in which plankton survive. Salmo ezenami, a rare species of trout, are native only to the lake; however their population is threatened with extinction due to the introduction of European chubs (Squalius cephalus) which consume the fry of the Salmo

Tired of looking at the same blurry images of the Brothers Tsarnaev? Here’s Lake Kezenoy-am (Chechen: Къоьзаной-Iaм) in Chechnya near border with Dagestan, Russia that goes through Andiyskiy Khrebet (Andian Ridge). Salmo ezenami, a rare species of trout, are native only to the lake; however their population is threatened with extinction.

There a good chance that you are reading this now because of our initial post on the Boston Marathon bombing, “A Tale of Two Terrorisms,” going viral last week, catching the eye of a couple hundred thousand readers (the post was just one short story in an extensive series of articles on drones, repression and the techno-industrial empire). Within a few days it seemed everyone was disturbingly trying to boost their social media hits by referencing Boston, for example the Westboro Baptists claiming it was “God” who brought on the carnage because Massachusetts was the first state to pass same-sex marriage.

By now, I’d guess that you already know more about the alleged young Chechen bombers, the brothers Tsarnaev, than you know about most of your own next door neighbors. But how much have you learned about the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and what some call “one of the bloodiest occupations of the 21st century”?

The mountains in the area Sharoi, Chechnya.

The mountains in the area Sharoi, Chechnya.

Yesterday, an EF! Newswire author hinted at the history: While the US stood as allies behind the Russian Federation’s chauvinism in Chechnya, the landscape was rendered, according to an aid to [Boris] Yeltsin, an “environmental wasteland.” Oil spills, radioactive pollution, and chemical spills resulted from the massive bombardment of Chechnya. Half of Chechnya today is officially considered a “zone of ecological disaster” by the Russian Federation. Continue reading

Climate Justice, Global Capitalism and Lingering Troubles of Colonialism

6 Apr

or, A Giant Poisonous Penis Stuck Off the Coast of Ireland

by Panagioti / EF! Newswire

“Bod nimhneach an ghaill dhaill” 

Yesterday began the weekend of events surrounding the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair in Ireland. I wasn’t planning to write an article about it—actually, I was just trying to coordinate getting a box of Earth First! Journals over there, and find some one to sit next to our table for the day.

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A clever double-entendre which will make more sense by the end of this article.

As you may have guessed, it turned out to not be that simple. While I found some folks to hang out at the EF! Journal table, I also found out a few other things which caught my attention, namely that the next G8 meeting and the annual June action camp against Shell’s infamous gas pipeline are being planned over there in tandem, which sent me down a winding path of research and reflection.

Our neighbors across the Atlantic might still have a couple months of being cold and wet, but it’s looking like it things could really heat up in Ireland this Summer…

With the G8 planning to meet in County Fermanagh and the Rossport Solidarity Camp planning to celebrate 13 years of fighting “the pipe” in County Mayo, it seems that eco-resistance and anti-capitalist movements could get a much needed boost there in Éire, oh yeah, and in Northern Ireland too. Continue reading

Wild & Weird: The Navy’s New Jellyfish Spy Drone

4 Apr

cryo_jellyfish-580x326

by the Center or Biological Diversity

Next time your crazy uncle comes back from his seaside vacation ranting about being tracked by a six-foot jellyfish with a camera for an eye and a bundle of wires and electrodes wrapped under its bell, don’t be so quick to chalk it up to sunbaked paranoia.

A partnership between the U.S. Navy and Virginia Tech College of Engineering has, in fact, developed such a creature: a military robot jellyfish drone. So far only a prototype, this sci-fi replica of one of the earth’s oldest brainless animals has its own 600-gallon swimming pool. The Navy hopes that one day, a fleet of these cyber-gelatinoids will help keep American’s safe — at least until the enemies of freedom dispatch their own legions of pygmy seahorse attack drones. Continue reading

‘Nintendo Medal’ for Military Drone Pilots

6 Mar

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

Department of Defense

Department of Defense

The U.S. has a growing corps of cyber-warriors and drone pilots who target human populations with bomb strapped drones. Now  the Pentagon is commending their all-too-real virtual combat with a new medal.

Last month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the military’s first new combat medal in nearly a century. The Distinguished Warfare Medal is bestowed to  individuals in recognition of “extraordinary contributions” to combat operations conducted from afar.

In the military hierarchy of honor, the new ‘lethal gamer’ medal is the eighth highest award behind the Medal of Honor.

Some are calling it the “Chair-borne Medal,” “the Nintendo Medal,” “the Purple Buttocks,” and the “Distant Warfare Medal,” demeaning the computer-based iWarriors because they are not exposed to imminent mortal danger like traditional combat soldiers. A growing alliance of veterans groups and politicians are lobbying the Pentagon and President Obama to downgrade the award, which is ahead of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in terms of distinction.

Regardless of the kerfuffle over the proper accolades for the military’s deadly computer nerd-core, little argument has been put forward questioning the ethics of bestowing an honorary trinket on a group of techno-assassins that spy on and bomb suspected terrorists, American citizens, wedding parties and children from the comfort of a computer screen.

Read more on techno-monstrosities in McSpadden’s “The Early History of the Robot Wars” Part 1 and Part 2