Theory of the drone 3: Killing grounds

Excellent post on Drones together with some discussion of Joseph Pugliese’s outstanding new book.

geographical imaginations

This is the third in a series of posts on Grégoire Chamayou‘s Théorie du drone, in which I provide a detailed summary of his argument, links to some of his key sources, and reflections drawn from my soon-to-be-completed The everywhere war (and I promise to return to it as soon as I’ve finished this marathon).

5: Pattern of life analysis

Chamayou begins with the so-called ‘Terror Tuesdays‘ when President Obama regularly approves the ‘kill list’ (or disposition matrix) that authorises ‘personality strikes’ against named individuals: ‘the drones take care of the rest’.


But Chamayou immediately acknowledges that most strikes are ‘signature strikes‘ against individuals whose names are unknown but for whom a ‘pattern of life analysis‘ has supposedly detected persistent anomalies in normal rhythms of activity, which are read as signs (‘signatures’) of imminent threat.  I’ve described this as a militarized rhthmanalysis…

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Posted in Afghanistan, Drones, Postcolonalism, Terrorism, US Foreign Policy, Warfare, Weapons | 1 Comment

Obama’s Willing Executioners of the Fourth Amendment by Norman Solomon —

Obama’s Willing Executioners of the Fourth Amendment by Norman Solomon —

Posted in American Politics, Surveillance, US Foreign Policy, War on Terror | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Theory of the drone 1: Genealogies

Nice to see the critical engagement and analysis of drones steadily become richer. Here’s another via geographical imaginations

geographical imaginations

Grégoire ChamayouThis is the first of a series of posts as I work my way through Grégoire Chamayou‘s Théorie du drone (2013), which has finally arrived on my desk.  I’ve loosely summarised the project and its relation to Chamayou’s previous work before, and in these notes I’ll combine a summary of his argument with some extended readings and excerpts from his sources and some comments of my own.  I hope readers will find these useful; they are an aide-memoire for me, and a way of working out some of my own ideas too, but do let me know if all this is helpful (especially for those with no French).

I’m pleased to say that he draws on several of my essays about drone warfare, including ‘From a view to a kill’, ‘Lines of descent’, and even ‘The everywhere war’ (all available under the DOWNLOADS tab), so I won’t re-trace…

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Return from Magyarország!

Return from Magyarország!

Returned home from a fantastic trip with family and friends in Hungary, mostly along lovely Lake Balaton. Great wine, great food, great folks.
Being off the grid for a while was much needed, but now it’s time to play catch up with emails, blogs, tweets, etc. Recharged and Ready!

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Jeremy Crampton – The Costs of Security

Engaging and timely discussion by Jeremy Crampton on security, surveillance and the state.

Posted in Critical Security Studies, Sovereignty, State, Surveillance | Leave a comment


Surviving Congress 2013

I survived Congress and the CPSA meeting at UVic last week. Just returned on Monday night (in time for Convocation on Tuesday!). It’s always nice to return to my alma mater, visiting the campus and seeing many of the folks who sparked many of my continuing intellectual interests that were spawned in classrooms and over pints at UVic. As is always the case, it was also great to see many close friends who traveled to Congress and visit with my Mom in her new place on the harbour. Many great evenings.

Serving as Programme co-chair (with Scott Watson) for the International Relations section of CPSA meant I couldn’t treat the conference with the usual “targeted strike” approach that I take to conferences. Instead, I was running the hallways, in and out of panels for the duration of the conference. With the exception of the unfortunately large number of late cancellations – most problematic when said individuals had multiple responsibilities or required some panels to “evaporate” – the experience was fruitful, and there were definitely some highlights, as well as much of the usual conference nonsense.

As usual, there were many over-dressed and sometimes under-prepared graduate students. A good place to start is reading this excellent post from Duck of Minerva, which although it’s focused on attendance at the ISA, many rules apply to most major conferences. Remember, we’re not Bankers, so why dress like one? However, like Bankers, before entering a board meeting (or presentation), do your homework! If you didn’t manage to send your paper on time, don’t sweat it too much – it happens or has happened to all of us. But BE HONEST and own up to the fact that you didn’t finish, and don’t force your discussant to indicate this deficiency. Polemics based on Daytime Television viewing habits also seem out of place – although that might depend on the particular panel 😉

Big shout out to Lois Harder and Davina Bhandar for their experimental/innovative “micro lectures” panel on “Thinking With(out) Borders.” Every presenter was exceptional, and this panel was an amazing success. From discussions with other participants and audience members, the feeling of stimulation and intellectual invigoration seemed commonplace. These feelings are not the necessary outcome of every participant and audience member at a major conference panel. Thank you and well done Lois and Davina!

Off to the PSS-ISA Joint International Conference at Corvinus University in Budapest Hungary at the end of the month, to present a paper with my friend and colleague Samer Abboud, who is currently a fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. After the conference, together with family I’ll be taking a couple weeks off in the vineyards along Lake Balaton in Hungary.

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From Game of Thrones to Game of Drones. More great critical engagement with Drones.

geographical imaginations

The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College has just posted video of a performance work “Drones.” developed by undergraduates at the College in March this year.  The Center was established in 2012 by Arthur Holland Michel, Daniel Gettinger, and a group of faculty members including Thomas Keenan, Gregory Moynahan, Roger Berkowitz, Maria Cecire, Peter Rosenblum, and Keith O’Hara:

The Center for the Study of the Drone is an interdisciplinary research and art community working to understand unmanned and autonomous vehicles. By bringing together research from diverse academic and artistic perspectives which have, up until now, remained fairly silent on the issue, we aim to encourage new creative thinking and, ultimately, inform the public debate. We want to encourage dialogue between the tech world and the non-tech world, and explore new vocabularies. This is an online space for people to follow the latest news, encounter disparate views, access…

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