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Citizens strike back: Tiny, low-cost drones may one day assassinate corrupt politicians, corporate CEOs and street criminals

Assassination drones

(NaturalNews) This is an important analysis article on what I believe will be a coming wave of "Kamikaze assassination micro drones" which will soon be affordable enough for everyday citizens to deploy against selected targets. Why is this discussion important? Because these micro drones have the very real potential to re-shape the distribution of power across our planet... and they may pose a real danger to public safety and security across society.

(As you read this article, please bear in mind that I do not in any way condone the tactical applications described herein. This article is a WARNING, not an endorsement, of this very dangerous convergence of trending technologies which may threaten us all.)

Tiny assassination drones must be understood as a revolutionary new kind of weapon, and there is firm historical precedent for dramatic sociopolitical shifts rising out of such revolutions.

For example, the invention of the gunpowder-based rifle radically decentralized military power, making firepower affordable and available to the masses. This caused a global wave of popular revolutions that ultimately lead to modern-day representative government, where those in power were suddenly forced to listen to the needs of their armed citizens. (Before the invention of gunpowder, kings simply deployed heavily-armored knights against citizens, forcing the peons into obedience thanks to a vastly superior weapons and defense system that was completely out of reach of the masses.)

Today we have large-scale militarized "drones" -- unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV's -- enjoying widespread deployment by the Pentagon, which plans to spend $2.5 billion next year on these drones (1). These UAVs conduct mission reconnaissance, target acquisition and weapons delivery all on the same platform. For now, they represent a battlefield tactical edge for the United States of America, but that advantage is likely to be short-lived for reasons discussed here.

Drone miniaturization, facial recognition systems and kinetic kamikaze missions

From studying trends in drone development, both in terms of software and hardware, I am now predicting the development of facial-recognition "kamikaze micro drones" capable of carrying out targeted human assassination missions with remarkable precision and reliability. The four trends that will lead to this are:

1) Drone miniaturization: The development of mass-produced, affordable "micro drones" about the size of a common bird. These will likely be produced as hobby aircraft which will be easily modified to take on a more aggressive role.

2) Facial recognition systems: The miniaturization of facial recognition software / hardware systems which may be deployed on micro drones and powered by very small on-board power supplies.

3) Rapid advances in drone manufacturing efficiency, resulting in greater affordability of drone platforms by smaller and smaller groups, including corporations, smaller nations, universities, vigilantes and even activist groups.

4) Incremental improvements in the power density of on-board batteries, allowing greater flight time and more CPU-intensive on-board computations.

These four trends will ultimately result in the creation of "Kamikaze assassination micro drones" with the ability to search for, identify and terminate a specific human target. It is likely, in fact, that many governments of the world are already working on this technology.

This technology will reshape the meaning of "war" by allowing rogue nations like North Korea, for example, to simply ship tens of thousands of such drones into the USA via China, marked as "toys" on import manifests. Once in the USA, these micro assassination drones can be dropped from low-flying airplanes or released from vehicles in city parks to carry out their pre-programmed missions of targeted assassinations across U.S. cities.

Future Air Force battles may be carried out by palm-sized aircraft

The United States Air Force already appears to be developing such devices, by the way. As journalist Susanne Posel writes at OccupyCorporatism.com: (2)

Under the Air Vehicles Directorate branch of the US Air Force, research is being conducted to perfect remote-controlled micro air vehicles (MAVs) that are expected to "become a vital element in the ever-changing war-fighting environment and will help ensure success on the battlefield of the future."

See this promotional video about MAVs under development right now:

How Kamikaze micro drones will work

Kamikaze micro drones do not need to carry conventional weapons or explosives of any kind. Instead, they may simply carry an on-board serrated puncture weapon such as a crossbow hunting broad tip, affixed to the end of a shaft in a spear arrangement.

As shown in the image on the right, these devices are commonly available right now on Amazon.com, where they are called "Killzone broadheads" and boast the following marketing claims:

* The new Killzone Crossbow is a 2 blade rear-deploying broadhead that packs a devastating 2" cutting diameter
* 2" cutting diameter for devastating wound channels & excellent penetration
* Heavy-duty, Razor-sharp .039" blades

These crossbow hunting tips can also be purchased with cash at any sporting goods store.

Next, the Kamikaze drone's on-board operating system is loaded with the facial imagery of the intended target, then released in an area the target is known to frequent (such as near their home, a restaurant, or their place of employment).

The micro drone expends energy to fly to a "perch" location from which it can conduct covert facial recognition surveillance without being spotted and without expending the enormous amount of energy needed to hover in place. From this perch location, the drone will observe faces passing by, comparing them to its intended target.

Once the micro drone spots the intended target, it can either "dial home" and transmit a picture of the target to a remote operator for a human kill decision, or it can be programmed to make that decision autonomously based on a threshold of certainty in the facial recognition match.

Once the kill decision has been made, the micro drone deploys its serrated spear and launches itself toward the target at high speed, aiming to thrust the spear into the neck of the subject. A two-inch-wide cutting pattern almost guarantees the blades will slice through an artery or possibly even sever the spinal column. Although the micro drone's mass seems quite small, the human neck is especially vulnerable and can be easily penetrated by a serrated short spear carried with the momentum of a small object flying at high speed.

Once the attack is complete, the drone is simply abandoned, having completed its job. It can be pre-programmed to wide its own memory, erasing any traces of its programming code or flight history.

What if anyone could kill almost anyone else for about five thousand dollars?

In time, such drones could be purchased or built for less than a thousand dollars each. With an estimated mission success rate of 20%, that means the out-of-pocket cost to successfully kill someone with one of these drones might only be $5,000.

Before I explain why this matters, let me be clear that I am wholly against the use of violence to achieve commercial or political gain, and in no way do I condone the use of Kamikaze drones as described here. In fact, this article should serve as a warning to what's coming in the hopes that we might achieve some globally-observed limits on drone deployment.

But until that happens, here's where this is headed: At $5,000 per assassination, there is a very long list of corporations, politicians, activists and individuals who would be willing to deploy these drones to assassinate all kinds of targets: members of Congress, corporate rivals, political enemies, competing drug dealers, ex-wives or ex-husbands... and the list goes on.

These kamikaze micro drones could even be used as weapons of war. Imagine Iran or North Korea, for example, deploying thousands of such devices around Washington D.C. with the sole purpose of killing as many U.S. Senators and members of Congress as possible. Tactically, that's a very low-cost war with a very high "return" in terms of "enemy casualties" from the point of view of the attacker.

But individuals and vigilantes could also use the technology for their own purposes at a local level. Ponder for a moment what happens when anyone with a mere $5,000 and a few photos of their intended target can simply release a small drone out of a backpack and set back while that micro drone locates and assassinates their intended target (using commonly available killing weapons, no less). The ease of operations is shockingly low, making such solutions readily available to anyone willing to surf the 'net and download the operating system that carries out such activities. (Source code will no doubt be posted on many hacktivism sites.)

It's not difficult to imagine local neighborhood watch groups pooling their funds and deploying drones to kill local drug dealers who terrorize the streets, for example. Even vigilantes who seek to protect their fellow citizens might see themselves as some sort of "drone superheroes" who deploy kamikaze drones to take out local crime bosses or dirty politicians who violate the law.

Everyday citizens would have the power to assassinate Presidents

What we are really looking at here -- and again I must repeat and urge that IN NO WAY DO I CONDONE OR ENCOURAGE SUCH ACTS OF VIOLENCE -- is the rise of a decentralized, affordable technology which could someday allow ordinary citizens to quite literally assassinate Presidents.

Which Presidents? Any that you can imagine, of course: Presidents of nations, Presidents of corporations, Presidents of universities and so on. It is very difficult to imagine how highly-visible people could be protected against such attacks based on present-day defensive tactics and weaponry. Handguns and rifles, for example, would be very hard-pressed to shoot down a fast-moving micro drone making a kamikaze attack.

The U.S. Secret Service, a group of incredibly well-trained and highly-dedicated individuals, probably has never faced a micro drone attack and very likely has no training for how to deal with such an attack. Clearly this is going to have to change in the very near future as such drones come within reach of everyday people. Every high-ranking member of every government around the world, in fact, is going to need to start thinking about how to be safe out in the open once these micro drones become a reality. (I have developed some detailed ideas on defensive tactics against such attempts, if anybody from the U.S. Secret Service is interested...)

The bottom line on this is that anyone who appears out in the open -- giving a speech, taking a walk in the park, or pursuing a campaign trail -- could be easily assassinated with one or more such Kamikaze micro drones. No one is immune from such attacks.

Another key "advantage" of this weapon system -- from the point of view of the attacker -- is that the attack is virtually untraceable. The person who launches the attack could be miles away by the time the drone actually strikes, and there's no trail of gun registrations, ammo purchases or explosives to track down. In fact, the drone could be programmed to wipe its own memory clean after the attack is carried out, erasing any on-board evidence of the executable code, target images or operating system. The only evidence left behind would be the hardware platform of the drone itself, which is likely to be based on a readily available "hobby" drone chassis that's impossible to link to any specific individual.

As you can see, this would create real nightmares for law enforcement investigators. And in a society that we all would like to see remain peaceful and safe, the idea that some individuals could operate deadly assassination drones with near-impunity should be downright alarming. Because many people would use this technology with some highly destructive intent.

A tremendous threat to law enforcement

As Natural News readers already know, I have worked closely alongside law enforcement in the past, engaging in fundraising, defensive martial arts training and more. One of my greatest fears with this kamikaze micro drone weapons platform is that it could easily be used by even a poorly-financed drug gang to eliminate local law enforcement personnel en masse, right before a major drug run activity takes place.

A small air force of such drones -- say, 100 drones at just $1,000 each -- could swarm a small town and kill any member of law enforcement spotted in public. That's a mere $100,000 investment for a drug gang that might be making a multi-million-dollar smuggling run through a small urban chokepoint.

Similarly, an activist group committed to acts of violence could quite literally launch a war on the CEOs or employees of any targeted corporation. If some group didn't like an oil company, or a factory farming operations, or even a weapons manufacturer, it would quite easily purchase and launch a swarm of micro-drones to kill employees as they walk through the company's parking lot each day, for example. It doesn't take very many casualties of key corporate scientists to derail R&D programs.

In all, the potential for a "micro drone Wild West" is very real and very concerning. And here's why it could be even more wild than you might imagine...

Mass chaos because there's no personal risk

The availability of low cost but highly effective kamikaze micro drones could unleash real chaos across society for a reason you may not have anticipated: the attackers do not put themselves at risk.

Allow me to explain: In a town where everybody carries a loaded gun, you have the widespread available of weapons, but each person puts their own life at risk by deploying any such weapon. That's why an armed society "is a polite society," as they say. Guns are everywhere, but nobody wants to die in a gunfight, so the guns stay in their holsters. In summary, you can't deploy the weapon without the risk of getting killed in the process.

But kamikaze micro drones take the risk of personal harm out of the equation. The weapon is no longer attached to the person. They are physically far apart. Now you have cheap killing machines with zero personal risk of harm on the part of the attacker. If the drone gets destroyed, they've only lost whatever money it costs to replace it. Even if the drone gets captured, it's not easy to link back to the attacker, so personal risk is minimized.

So with micro drones, we have a society where everybody can have a deadly assassination weapon without the risk that would traditionally accompany an attempted assassination. In effect, we now have "anonymous assassination weapons," and as we've seen in online gaming, the results of anonymous actions are often disastrous: when their own real life isn't at stake, people will behave in erratic, power-hungry ways that would never be pursued if their own lives were at risk. And because the micro drone does the killing for them, "killers" no longer have to do any killing themselves. They don't even need to know how to use a knife, or a gun or explosives. All they need is to buy a micro drone, download the kamikaze software, load up a couple of pictures of their target, and let it loose on the sidewalk.

That makes killing frighteningly easy, affordable and accessible to the masses. For obvious reasons, this is not something we would ever want to see in a civilized society.

Drone anarchy?

In the minds of some people, this might in some ways be argued as a good thing. In a world where power is increasingly centralized in the hands of the few, the ability to easily acquire and deploy affordable, targeted killing machines might be called by some a "leveling of the playing field of power."

Yet I would urge a careful review of all the implications of such technology before reaching any firm conclusions. The widespread availability of anonymous, autonomous killing machines should be treated with extreme caution. Because in a world where autonomous killing machines are readily available and affordable, those who already sit in positions of centralized power would also have access to these machines in very large numbers.

Anyone the authorities wanted to eliminate could simply have their face images fed into a network of micro drones deployed across any given city. A few hours later, they're all dead, and the city didn't even have to involve human police officers or court judges. The drone killings of citizens might even be sanctioned by the courts as a sort of "affordable justice" in a society increasingly burdened by runaway debt and bankruptcies.

Remember: President Obama has already built the "legal" framework for the drone killings of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. Now it's only a question of the technology catching up with the lawlessness that has already been embraced by the government itself (where due process is now considered ancient history).

When considering the implications of these drones, it's important to look at all the various parties that might be tempted to use them (and for what purpose). It's not difficult to imagine all the following groups wanting to deploy assassination drones: corporations, vigilantes, drug gangs, the military, the CIA, local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, terrorist groups, nation state enemies of America, anarchists and possibly even entertainment junkies who would stage drone killings just to post the "drone snuff films" on the 'net.

How to hide from drones

All this means more and more people will someday need to hide their faces if they wish to venture out into the open world. This may soon include important political figures, celebrities, corporate leaders and almost anyone with a publicly-recognizable face.

A number of strategies are already being explored for this purpose. For example, artist Adam Harvey is currently working on the CV Dazzle project which explores face paint camouflage patterns that confuse facial recognition systems:

Here's another face camouflage strategy that uses hair design and makeup to deter facial recognition systems:

See more patterns at CVdazzle.com.

Another inventor has also developed a printable face mask that he calls a Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic.

His company is Urme Surveillance, and he also has an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the project.

As the Urme Surveillance website explains, "Our world is becoming increasingly surveilled. For example, Chicago has over 25,000 cameras networked to a single facial recognition hub. We don't believe you should be tracked just because you want to walk outside and you shouldn't have to hide either. Instead, use one of our products to present an alternative identity when in public."

With the rise of kamikaze micro drones, protecting your identity in public may be more than a privacy tactic... it may mean the difference between living and dying.

Sources for this article include:
(1) http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/20...
(2) http://www.occupycorporatism.com/us-air-forc...

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