From: Russia Insider
Google Admits Working for Pentagon’s Drone Murder Program
Just an innocent private IT company? Yeah right, it’s part of the military-industrial complex, profiting from empire’s endless wars and up to its elbows in blood
Andre Damon Mar 9, 2018
In another milestone in the growing integration between the military-intelligence complex and Silicon Valley, Google’s parent company Alphabet has confirmed that it has provided software to identify targets used in the illegal US government drone murder program.
Since initiating its drone assassination program in 2009, the United States claims to have killed close to 3,000 “combatants” in drone strikes. Internal military documents show that for every one person targeted by a drone strike, nine bystanders are killed, meaning that the true toll of the US military’s airborne terrorism campaign in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq potentially rises to the tens of thousands.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “A program of targeted killing far from any battlefield, without charge or trial, violates the constitutional guarantee of due process. It also violates international law, under which lethal force may be used outside armed conflict zones only as a last resort.”
Google’s complicity with the drone murder program implicates the company in the criminal activities of the US military, sparking outrage among employees after executives admitted the collaboration in an internal memo last week, according to a report by Gizmodo.
Sensitive to both the potential legal ramifications of its actions and to the hostility to America’s criminal wars both inside and outside the company, Google stressed in a statement that its collaboration “is for non-offensive uses only,” saying “the technology flags images for human review.”
But this absurd and unserious pretense, aimed to provide talking points to an uncritical, state-controlled media, is the equivalent of a Mafia getaway driver claiming he is not an accomplice to murder because he did not pull the trigger.
The US government has claimed the right to use drones to assassinate American citizens anywhere in the world, including within the borders of the United States. In 2011, the Obama administration assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, with a Predator drone strike in Yemen, then murdered his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, in another drone strike two weeks later.
Google’s partnership in such nefarious operations threatens it not only with legal sanction around the world, but also with serious commercial repercussions. The company’s decision to proceed despite these dangers points to the increasingly vital role of military contracts in the business operations of the major technology giants.
The Defense Department spent at least $7.4 billion on artificial intelligence programs last year, and is expected to spend even more this year, with much of that amount flowing to corporations like Alphabet (Google), Amazon, and Nvidia, whose artificial intelligence capacities reportedly outstrip those of in-house Pentagon programs.
Over the past year, Google, Facebook and Twitter have all announced measures to censor the information their services present to users, promoting “authoritative” and “trusted” news outlets over “alternative” viewpoints, which include news outlets that expose and denounce US war crimes. Facebook, which of all the technology companies has been the most unabashed in its determination to censor its platform, has explicitly said it expects user engagement to drop as a result of its demotion of “viral” videos and promotion of “trusted” news sources, such as the New York Times. …
A 2016 meeting between Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter about the Defense Innovation Advisory Board for the DoD
Google Is Helping the Pentagon Build AI for Drones
Google has partnered with the United States Department of Defense to help the agency develop artificial intelligence for analyzing drone footage, a move that set off a firestorm among employees of the technology giant when they learned of Google’s involvement. …
Project Maven, a fast-moving Pentagon project also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team (AWCFT), was established in April 2017. Maven’s stated mission is to “accelerate DoD’s integration of big data and machine learning.” In total, the Defense Department spent $7.4 billion on artificial intelligence-related areas in 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The project’s first assignment was to help the Pentagon efficiently process the deluge of video footage collected daily by its aerial drones—an amount of footage so vast that human analysts can’t keep up, according to Greg Allen, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who co-authored a lengthy July 2017 report on the military’s use of artificial intelligence. Although the Defense Department has poured resources into the development of advanced sensor technology to gather information during drone flights, it has lagged in creating analysis tools to comb through the data. …
At the Defense One Tech Summit in Washington, Maven chief Marine Corps Col. Drew Cukor said a symbiotic relationship between humans and computers was crucial to help weapon systems detect objects.
Speaking to a crowd of military and industry technology experts, many from Silicon Valley, Cukor professed the US to be in the midst of AI arms race. “Many of you will have noted that Eric Schmidt is calling Google an AI company now, not a data company,” he said, although Cukor did not specifically cite Google as a Maven partner.