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11.01.13

Banning Military Use of GPL-Licensed and Other Freedom-Respecting Software

Posted in GPL at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brandon Bryant responsible for 1,626 assassinations without trial (many innocent civilians included)

Brandon Bryant

Summary: How we can deal with problems of controversial or even criminal aggression when that aggression depends on Free software

SEVERAL software licences get notably criticised for having terms in them that explicitly ban use which may aid war/murder people. Linux uses the GPL, which has no such terms. The same goes for GNU.

We are increasingly made aware — even by the corporate press — of a previously-secret war waged by Linux-powered CIA-operated drones. This is one of the most disgusting wars in the world. People are being labeled based on electronic communications and then hunted down (without trial, without second assessment) by flying machines that shoot Hellfire missiles at cellphones owned by those people (so-called ‘militants’, which basically means adult males or old adolescents), never mind who’s around them at the time (just call them “human shields” after they’re dead). Nothing has increased doubt and hatred towards the United States like these dirty drone wars, which are about eliminating people almost autonomously rather than address the key issues (which may be ideological and thus addressable in other means). In Techrights alone, hundreds of daily links were posted to deal with this subject without delving into it so deeply. Contrariwise, a lot of the corporate press has helped cover up the atrocities (calling all who are killed “militants”) and parroted the Pentagon’s talking points, barely ever speaking to the people who are most affected by these drone strikes. Even this week — never mind the past few years — CNN tactlessly labels one of the murderers “American drone warrior” [1], even though he says his trainers reinforced the idea that this job was just “video game” (with real living targets).

After the war crimes in Iraq and beyond (Cheney is still not being arrested, let alone trialled [2]) we should know better the correlation between law and life. It’s not just about Arabs; the US did similar things to south Americans (see [3,4] in the news) when they had turf wars against the Soviets.

Software licences are a form of law and life is impacted by it to a great extent. One can authorise murdering people — even US citizens — without a trial in the US. That’s because laws got rewritten. The government carries out the murders with approval that goes all the way to the top (the White House and the juridical cornerstones). Software licences can be used as a tool against brutes, or at least a deterrent. If Microsoft Windows crashes drones into the ground, as it did before the US Army switched them to Linux, then that’s a good thing. It probably saves innocent lives. Let the proprietary software EULAs do the killing; use Free software licences to limit the actions of the cowardly assassins who sit down in air-conditioned offices, with or without a joystick in their hand (running a lethal, weaponised Linux-powered toy via satellite). Don’t let any of them portray themselves as victims (e.g. of “trauma”). They should be brave enough to confront families whose loves ones (mostly innocent people) they were blowing to pertinent bodyparts because they were “following orders” from CIA/NSA (they were free to quit this ‘job’ all along, nobody pointed a drone to their heads).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Confessions of an American drone warrior

    The first time Brandon Bryant fired a Hellfire missile from his U.S. drone, it was a cold January day.

    “His right leg was severed,” Bryant told CNN’s Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour. “I watched him bleed out from his femoral artery.”

    “It was shocking,” he said. “It’s pixelated, and it doesn’t really look real. But it was real.”

    [...]
    1
    The “video game” aspect of his job was reinforced by his trainers, he said.

  2. Lawyers Advise Toronto Police Chief to Arrest Dick Cheney “as a Person Suspected of Authorizing and Abetting Torture”

    Richard Cheney, former Vice President of the United States of America is scheduled to speak in Toronto Ontario on 31 October 2013 at the Toronto Global Forum, hosted by the International Economic Forum of the Americas at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

  3. Obama’s Betrayal of Honduras

    Do the people of Honduras have the right to elect their own president and congress? That depends on whom you talk to. In 2009, the country’s left-of-center President Mel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup that was heavily supported (andaccording to Zelaya, organized) by the United States government. After six months and a lot of political repression, the coup government was re-established with an election that almost the entire hemisphere – except, you guessed it, the United States – rejected as illegitimate.

  4. Record number of nations oppose US embargo of Cuba in UN vote

    In an overwhelming UN vote, 188 countries have called on the US to lift its 53-year trade embargo on Cuba. Havana has slammed the financial sanctions as a flagrant violation of human rights and said they are tantamount to genocide.

    The recording-breaking opposition to the embargo saw Israel isolated as the only country to vote in support of the US. Palau, the island nation that got behind the US last year, abstained in the 22nd UN annual vote, along with Micronesia and Marshall Islands.

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