Jul 20 2010
Spot and Shoot may look like a video game but the figures on the screen are real people who can be killed with the press of a button on the joystick.
(Can we get some of these for our southern border?)
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.
The Spot and Shoot system – officially known as Sentry Tech – has mostly attracted attention 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. Audio sensors on the towers mean that the women hear the shot as it kills the target. No woman, Haaretz reported, had failed the task of shooting what the army calls an “incriminated” Palestinian.
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.
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 (Rapid progress is only a problem for the UN when it’s Israel’s progress) . Philip Alston, its special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, warned last month of the danger that a “PlayStation mentality to killing” could quickly emerge. SABBAH