View Full Version : The Spot-and-Shoot Game

Keith Millea
07-13-2010, 03:45 PM
Honor Shrugged>In war fighting,the concept of honor used to be a highly respected attribute.I have a great respect and honor for my fellow soldiers AND also for my so called enemy,the Viet Cong/NVA.It's like in a fierce bloody boxing match where both contenders give all they have to beat the crap out of each other,and when it's over the winners and losers will ultimately approach each other and embrace in a big hug or some such.That's respect and honor.There is increasingly in war fighting today the absence of this special emotion.Technology has reached the point where there is no place for honor or respect.It's only a game.No more big hugs.........

July 13, 2010
The Spot-and-Shoot Game

Remote-Controlled Killing

It is called Spot and Shoot. Operators sit in front of a TV monitor from which they can control the action with a PlayStation-style joystick.

The aim: to kill terrorists.

Played by: young women serving in the Israeli army.

Spot and Shoot, as it is called by the Israeli military, may look like a video game but the figures on the screen are real people -- Palestinians in Gaza -- who can be killed with the press of a button on the joystick.

The female soldiers, located far away in an operations room, are responsible for aiming and firing remote-controlled machine-guns mounted on watch-towers every few hundred metres along an electronic fence that surrounds Gaza.

The system is one of the latest “remote killing” devices developed by Israel’s Rafael armaments company, the former weapons research division of the Israeli army and now a separate governmental firm.

According to Giora Katz, Rafael’s vice-president, remote-controlled military hardware such as Spot and Shoot is the face of the future. He expects that within a decade at least a third of the machines used by the Israeli army to control land, air and sea will be unmanned.

The demand for such devices, the Israeli army admits, has been partly fuelled by a combination of declining recruitment levels and a population less ready to risk death in combat.

Oren Berebbi, head of its technology branch, recently told an American newspaper: “We’re trying to get to unmanned vehicles everywhere on the battlefield … We can do more and more missions without putting a soldier at risk.”

Rapid progress with the technology has raised alarm at the United Nations. Philip Alston, its special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, warned last month of the danger that a “PlayStation mentality to killing” could quickly emerge.

According to analysts, however, Israel is unlikely to turn its back on hardware that it has been at the forefront of developing – using the occupied Palestinian territories, and especially Gaza, as testing laboratories.

Remotely controlled weapons systems are in high demand from repressive regimes and the burgeoning homeland security industries around the globe.

“These systems are still in the early stages of development but there is a large and growing market for them,” said Shlomo Brom, a retired general and defence analyst at the Institute of National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

The Spot and Shoot system -- officially known as Sentry Tech -- has mostly attracted attention in Israel because it is operated by 19- and 20-year-old female soldiers, making it the Israeli army’s only weapons system operated exclusively by women.

Female soldiers are preferred to operate remote killing devices because of a shortage of male recruits to Israel’s combat units. Young women can carry out missions without breaking the social taboo of risking their lives, said Mr Brom.

The women are supposed to identify anyone suspicious approaching the fence around Gaza and, if authorised by an officer, execute them using their joysticks.

The Israeli army, which plans to introduce the technology along Israel’s other confrontation lines, refuses to say how many Palestinians have been killed by the remotely controlled machine-guns in Gaza. According to the Israeli media, however, it is believed to be several dozen.

The system was phased-in two years ago for surveillance, but operators were only able to open fire with it more recently. The army admitted using Sentry Tech in December to kill at least two Palestinians several hundred metres inside the fence.

The Haaretz newspaper, which was given rare access to a Sentry Tech control room, quoted one soldier, Bar Keren, 20, saying: “It’s very alluring to be the one to do this. But not everyone wants this job. It’s no simple matter to take up a joystick like that of a Sony PlayStation and kill, but ultimately it’s for defence.”

Audio sensors on the towers mean that the women hear the shot as it kills http://www.counterpunch.org/cookclash.jpeg (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0745327540/counterpunchmaga)the target. No woman, Haaretz reported, had failed the task of shooting what the army calls an “incriminated” Palestinian.

The Israeli military, which enforces a so-called “buffer zone” -- an unmarked no-man’s land -- inside the fence that reaches as deep as 300 metres into the tiny enclave, has been widely criticised for opening fire on civilians entering the closed zone.

In separate incidents in April, a 21-year-old Palestinian demonstrator was shot dead and a Maltese solidarity activist wounded when they took part in protests to plant a Palestinian flag in the buffer zone. The Maltese woman, Bianca Zammit, was videoing as she was hit.

It is unclear whether Spot and Shoot has been used against such demonstrations.

The Israeli army claims Sentry Tech is “revolutionary”. And that will make its marketing potential all the greater as other armies seek out innovations in “remote killing” technology.

Rafael is reported to be developing a version of Sentry Tech that will fire long-range guided missiles.

Another piece of hardware recently developed for the Israeli army is the Guardium, an armoured robot-car that can patrol territory at up to 80km per hour, navigate through cities, launch “ambushes” and shoot at targets. It now patrols the Israeli borders with Gaza and Lebanon.

Its Israeli developers, G-Nius, have called it the world’s first “robot soldier”. It looks like a first-generation version of the imaginary “robot-armour” worn by soldiers in the popular recent sci-fi movie Avatar.

Rafael has produced the first unmanned naval patrol boat, the “Protector”, which has been sold to Singapore’s navy and is being heavily marketing in the US. A Rafael official, Patrick Bar-Avi, told the Israeli business daily Globes: “Navies worldwide are only now beginning to examine the possible uses of such vehicles, and the possibilities are endless.”

But Israel is most known for its role in developing “unmanned aerial vehicles” – or drones, as they have come to be known. Originally intended for spying, and first used by Israel over south Lebanon in the early 1980s, today they are increasingly being used for extrajudicial executions from thousands of feet in the sky.

In February Israel officially unveiled the 14 metre-long Heron TP drone, the largest ever. Capable of flying from Israel to Iran and carrying more than a ton of weapons, the Heron was tested by Israel in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in winter 2008, when some 1,400 Palestinians were killed.

More than 40 countries now operate drones, many of them made in Israel, although so far only the Israeli and US armies have deployed them as remote-controlled killing machines. Israeli drones are being widely used in Afghanistan.

Smaller drones have been sold to the German, Australian, Spanish, French, Russian, Indian and Canadian armies. Brazil is expected to use the drone to provide security for the 2014 World Cup championship, and the Panamanian and Salvadoran governments want them too, ostensibly to run counter-drug operations.

Despite its diplomatic crisis with Ankara, Israel was reported last month to have completed a deal selling a fleet of 10 Herons to the Turkish army for $185 million.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0745327540/counterpunchmaga) (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1848130317/counterpunchmaga)” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net (http://www.jkcook.net/).


Keith Millea
07-13-2010, 06:07 PM
And this is my message to the Israeli little girls who stroke their joysticks in hopes of an orgasmic sweet kill.Yes,maybe someday you too will grow up and face the realization that you actually have a conscience,and are willing to act and live from the depths of your own heart and soul-power.......Maybe

Published on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 by CommonDreams.org (http://www.commondreams.org/) Veterans On Cross Country Biking Pilgrimage to Protest the War in Afghanistan

by Nick Copeland

Long before General Stanley McChrystal’s embarrassing interview and resignation, all reports from Afghanistan warned of impending disaster. Our partner, President Hamid Karzai, is corrupt, clueless, and illegitimate. The "Iraq-proven" counterinsurgency plan, strongly endorsed by General Petraeus, has so far been a dismal failure in Afghanistan. US Marines are still unable to control Marjah, which was supposed to be the simple dress rehearsal for the attack on the Taliban stronghold, Kandahar. Reports of killed soldiers, and killed civilians, have become commonplace. Lost in all the fuss over McChrystal’s disrespect for the civilian leadership was his and his staff’s candid assessment that the war was essentially unwinnable. Despite all of these warnings, US policy remains unchanged. General Casey recently predicted that the US presence in Afghanistan would last a decade, or two.

None of this comes as a surprise to Jacob George, a US Army Sergeant who served three tours in Operation Enduring Freedom with the Army Special Operations Command. Jacob, 28, was in Afghanistan since the war began until 2004, helping run counterinsurgency operations. He could tell you a thousand stories. After years of quiet reflection, he felt compelled to break his silence and clear his conscience, not just to friends and family, but to the entire nation. Last April, Jacob dropped out of the University of Arkansas, quit his job with the University Parking Enforcement Office, and began biking around the country until the wars end. This began the first direct action protest of the Afghanistan war by an Afghanistan war veteran. That was May 1st. Jacob has been on the road ever since and shows no sign of letting up.

Jacob has not ridden alone, nor is he the only veteran. He was accompanied to Houston by his brother, Jordan George, 19, of the Arkansas National Guard. Jordan is AWOL and is refusing deployment to Afghanistan. Spencer Hindmarsh, 28, a US Air Force veteran from the Afghan war and a law student at the University of Arkansas, has now joined the ride. Several individuals have provided solidarity accompaniment, and others are encouraged to join. Jacob and Spencer attended the Iraq Veterans Against the War conference in Austin last weekend, and will be in town for the coming weeks reaching out to members of the activist community before continuing their ride.

A Ride Till the End (http://www.operationawareness.org/) aims to raise awareness about the disastrous effects of the war on veterans, Afghani civilians, and US citizens. They believe that the real costs of war for these groups have been purposefully rendered invisible. They see the war in Afghanistan as unnecessary, unwinnable and senseless, and a death sentence for thousands of US soldiers and for tens of thousands of Afghani civilians who are caught in the crossfire. They believe that the Taliban poses no threat to the US, provided that the US leaves Afghanistan. Jacob regrets that the US occupation has turned the oppressive Taliban into legitimate freedom fighters for many Afghanis.

They also think that the war makes US citizens vulnerable to domestic terrorism against which there is no real defense. As basic as these ideas might seem to those following the war, it takes a great deal of courage and resolve to dedicate your life to challenging society to act to end what we know is wrong.

A Ride Till the End (http://www.operationawareness.org/) is one part performance art, one part bike rally, and one part concert tour. Jacob plays banjo, and has written a book of poetry and several songs to spread his message. He says that this is the first time since joining the Army that he felt like he had a voice. The immediate goal is to animate an almost non-existent anti-war movement in the US. Their larger goal is to provoke a more profound cultural shift. They believe that war—at least the imperial wars for oil and influence we are currently fighting—is deeply wrong. Jacob sees warmongering as a criminal act. Their voice is small, but sincere, their methods humble, but effective.

The ride was inspired by the Ride to the Wall—a Vietnam veterans’ annual motorcycle ride to the Vietnam Memorial in DC. Although Jacob loves biking, the ride is a ritual sacrifice, a kind of pilgrimage. Riding day in and day out takes a physical toll. Since May, Jacob has dropped 20 pounds from his 5’4’’ frame, and his face and tattooed back and arms are as tan as leather. The riders live meagerly, sleeping in tents and subsisting off of the kindness of people they meet serendipitously along their route.

The riders need donations of money, food and lodging. But they are mostly interested in finding people willing to listen to their stories and to join them in the struggle for peace. Almost every day they encounter people, including soldiers, veterans and families members of veterans, who thank them for their efforts.

Unlike most pilgrimages, this one ends at a moral, not a geographical, destination. Some people, maybe even most, might think this is crazy. Pessimists might see this as a bike ride for forever, and for nothing. But to that, the riders respond: "If you think that riding bikes is unsustainable, what about perpetual warfare?" By taking a stand, a Ride Till the End (http://www.operationawareness.org/) highlights the sheer insanity and cruelty of world that we take for granted, and embodies the courage needed to create a culture of peace.
Nick Copeland is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas.
Nick.copel@gmail.com (Nick.copel@gmail.com)

For more information, or to make a donation, visit: operationawareness.org (http://operationawareness.org/) You can also check out "A RIDE TILL THE END" on Facebook. A video of the brothers George is available online at: http://mobilebroadcastnews.com/MBN/blog/Veteran-Brothers-Ride-Till-End (http://mobilebroadcastnews.com/MBN/blog/Veteran-Brothers-Ride-Till-End). Email: a.ride.till.the.end@gmail.com (a.ride.till.the.end@gmail.com)