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Pakistan Used Google Earth For Military Targeting 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the bejewel-funded dept.
NeoBeans writes "According to this article in the New York Times about the recent 'improvements' in military strikes by the Pakistani military it is revealed that they have dropped Google Earth as part of their target planning for a more precise technology. From the article, '... the air force has shifted from using Google Earth to more sophisticated images from spy planes and other surveillance aircraft, and has increased its use of laser-guided bombs. And no, you can't really find Osama Bin Laden using Google Maps either."

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Pakistan Used Google Earth For Military Targeting

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  • by R4nm4-kun (1302737) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:23PM (#28883535)
    I guess this is one unsatisfied customer.
    • by GarryFre (886347)
      Might try street-view ... it's amazing!! I can well imagine it might vary according to where you live. What I would like to see is a deal where I could navigate down the street to where I need to look for. I use it mostly for finding addresses I need to drive to .. helps to know what a building looks like when you haven't been there before, and street-view sure works for that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ElectricRook (264648)

        The writers of the article made the fatal mistake of stating "you can't". Which combined with our proximity to an improbability field, means not only "you can", but that someone will. Or more likely, someone already has...

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Pakistan didnt like the "Do no evil" bit

    • by xTantrum (919048)
      if any one knows i really would like to be enlightened so... there are open source software that can't go to some countries because it would be considered amunitions. I don't understand why the u.s. government doesn't consider google earth to be that as well. its almost like giving an enemey country access to your spy satellites...almost. but close enough. anyone have any ideas?
    • Yeah, but think of the potential Google users not blammoed by Pakistan's bombs as a result.

      - RG>

  • everyone's doing it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:25PM (#28883559) Homepage
    When I was in Ramadi (mid 05 to mid 06), all the local insurgent groups and out-of-town AQI used google earth for rocket and mortar attacks. Crazy, when "poor man's sat imagery" is almost as good as the rich man's. Luckily, GE images are often out of date....and insurgents fire rockets with an Insha'Allah kind-of mentality.
    • Insha'Allah

      For those that don't know, that's the Islamic version of the anime Inuyasha about a young Muslim boy who dreams of becoming a full fledged djinn.

    • by mano.m (1587187)
      To be pedantic, 'Insha'Allah' only means 'God-willing' in Arabic. I'm not sure an Insha'Allah mentality would lend itself to actively fighting....
      • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

        Well, when they shoot... if it kills their enemy, it was because God willed it. 'Cause everything is in Allah's hands. So, to spend TOO much time aiming would be sinful: thinking that you could decide things that are in God's domain. Kind of like the Sin of Pride in the Judeo-Christian world (taking credit for things that God allowed to happen).

        So, quite literally, they aim in the right area and fire. It will hit...God Willing. This is a very common thing with MANY Islamic fighting forces, and I don't doubt

        • by mano.m (1587187)
          Cf. Athena guiding an arrow to graze Menelaus, and Apollo guiding one to Achilles' heel. 'God(s)-willing' seems to be the dominant strategy in the Trojan archery corps as well.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:33PM (#28883689) Journal

    Microsoft Encarta Atlas 97?

  • Pakistani citizen (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ryzvonusef (1151717)

    The problem is, unlike you lucky folks with you spy satellites, we have to rely on such open techs as Google Earth. If only you guys would share the info and the tech with us.

    Instead, your military insists it wants to hunt the terrorist itself in our territory, which seeing your track record, we simply cannot allow.

    And the terrorist roam free as a result, blowing bombs with impunity, at least once a week.

    • by swb311 (1165753)
      But how can we siphon money off contractors if you guys are doing all of the work?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ryzvonusef (1151717)
      Um, troll? I am being deadly serious here. Read the news please, our president recently attempted to (and failed) to get drone tech from you guys, but you wouldn't share. Come on, if you want to defeat them, then please help us, instead of ignoring us.
      • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:03PM (#28884129)

        Um, troll? I am being deadly serious here.
        Read the news please, our president recently attempted to (and failed) to get drone tech from you guys, but you wouldn't share. Come on, if you want to defeat them, then please help us, instead of ignoring us.

        Because everyone knows that what happened earlier was that all the technology given earlier was used more to rattle sabers with India instead of using them against the terrorists that your intelligence,military and government raised in the first place.

      • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:05PM (#28884157)

        I'm sorry, but giving advanced military technology to the Pakistani government while said government is bordering on unstable would be mind numbingly stupid. If the Pakistani government were to fail, there is no telling what kind of government will replace it. The US government isn't quite stupid enough to take that risk, maybe they've temporarily learned their lesson now that they have to worry about F14s in Iran and Stinger missiles in Afghanistan. No, that that level of military technology should be given only to our closest and most stable allies.

        • that that level of military technology should be given only to our closest and most stable allies.

          WITH a backdoor, thankyouverymuch.

    • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:55PM (#28884023)

      The problem is, unlike you lucky folks with you spy satellites, we have to rely on such open techs as Google Earth. If only you guys would share the info and the tech with us.

      Instead, your military insists it wants to hunt the terrorist itself in our territory, which seeing your track record, we simply cannot allow.

      And the terrorist roam free as a result, blowing bombs with impunity, at least once a week.

      Looks like a self made problem. The Pakistani military, intelligence and government sponsored terrorism and trained and armed them to create big trouble in Afghanistan and India. It succeeded. Now when the chickens come home to roost, you're blaming others. The US gives billions in military and other aid to Pakistan, every year anyway. Stop whining, the terrorist problem you're facing now(and you and your country no doubt cheered in glee when India or Kashmir was/is attacked by pakistani made terrorists) is entirely of your making. As you sow so shall you reap.

      signature: muslims!=terrorists

      That might be true, but there seems to be something about the culture which seems to raise terrorists very easily compared to other cultures. Is it because the culture prohibits all contact with members of other sex except in marriage, resulting in testosterone fueled violence or is it the strict adherence to some questionable material in the holy book? I don't know, but all I know is, the tendency and problem does exist and you can't brush it under the carpet with inane platitudes like the one in your sig.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Stop whining, the terrorist problem you're facing now(and you and your country no doubt cheered in glee when India or Kashmir was/is attacked by pakistani made terrorists) is entirely of your making. As you sow so shall you reap. Along the same lines, can't the same argument be made that the terrorist threat that the west is facing is the same enemy that the west created and nurtured to take on the USSR. The enemy that metastasized into a demon that is now giving everyone nightmares? How much blame can we
      • Re:Pakistani citizen (Score:5, Informative)

        by kalirion (728907) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:32PM (#28884631)

        The Pakistani military, intelligence and government sponsored terrorism and trained and armed them to create big trouble in Afghanistan and India. It succeeded. Now when the chickens come home to roost, you're blaming others.

        So what you're saying is that Pakistan is following our example?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What you said is right but you cant neglect CIA-Osama relations, creating of military movements in Afghanistan by CIA using Pakistan as proxy ...... US played equal evil if not more than Pakistan

      • Is it because the culture prohibits all contact with members of other sex except in marriage, resulting in testosterone fueled violence or is it the strict adherence to some questionable material in the holy book?

        Doubt it. I didn't get laid as a high schooler, yet I managed to channel my angst into electronica and FPS* instead of blowing up stuff or religion or some messed up combination thereof.

        (* yes, it was a positive feedback loop, thanks for not pointing that out at the time...)

      • Re:Pakistani citizen (Score:5, Informative)

        by vertinox (846076) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:05PM (#28885153)

        That might be true, but there seems to be something about the culture which seems to raise terrorists very easily compared to other cultures. Is it because the culture prohibits all contact with members of other sex except in marriage, resulting in testosterone fueled violence or is it the strict adherence to some questionable material in the holy book? I don't know, but all I know is, the tendency and problem does exist and you can't brush it under the carpet with inane platitudes like the one in your sig.

        I thought it had something to do with extreme poverty, corrupt governments, and lack of education that created such a mindset.

        Yes, some of the 9/11 bombers were well to do and educated but their support base over all would be less inclined for such activities is they weren't rotting in hellholes.

      • Re:Pakistani citizen (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ryzvonusef (1151717) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:12PM (#28885285) Journal

        1-Um, you are the ones who gave us the money to create the god-damned idiots in the first place, and they were created to bug the soviets as you well know, not the Afghanis and the Indians... and now when we are asking your help to get rid of them, you are ignoring us, come on, don't you want these guys gone or not? they attacked you because you stopped the gravy-train, and now they are attacking us because we did too.

        2-We do get get aid, but we don't get "billions". Trust me, the finance minister is crying our budget is shot because we didn't even get the last-dole out of the international aid or whatever.

        3-Also, its not the money problem only, we want the tech to find the the bad guys in the first place.The bottom line is, the bad guys are out there (literally in my case) and since you guys are so pressurizing us to get rid of them, then help us. The recent govt. seems to be genuinely interested in getting rid of the menace.

        4-No we don't cheer in glee, because we have more attacks then them. We get even more paranoid.

        • by atamido (1020905)

          I feel for you, I really do. But these points are worth looking at.

          1. If you pay someone $500 to cut off their arm, is it your fault if they do? In the end it makes you quite the bastard, and you'd hardly be blameless for the difficulties they encounter with one arm, but in the end it was their decision to accept the money and cut off the arm.

          2. You get aid. Do you know when the last time was that someone gave my country aide? I'm not feeling any empathy about this. Still, I wouldn't trust your financ

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by mano.m (1587187)
          I agree, the Taliban wasn't created to bug India. That would be the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
      • by Scrameustache (459504) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:27PM (#28885569) Homepage Journal

        there seems to be something about the culture which seems to raise terrorists very easily compared to other cultures. Is it because the culture prohibits all contact with members of other sex except in marriage

        No, it's because that culture uses that tactic against your culture's use of massive armies with sophisticated, laser-guided, satellite-targeted weapons.
        If your culture was Sinhalese it would seem to you that there is something about the Tamils that makes them terrorists more than others.

        Now stop trying to make yourself feel better by calling The Other a bunch of sexist terrorists.

      • by FailedTheTuringTest (937776) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:56PM (#28886971)

        That might be true, but there seems to be something about the culture which seems to raise terrorists very easily compared to other cultures.

        Different times make different terrorists. Today, when you think "terrorist", you think "Muslim". But from the 1970s to the 1990s, "terrorist" meant the IRA, who were of course Catholic Christians. In the 1950s and 1960s, the main terrorist group in the USA was the Ku Klux Klan, or to a lesser degree in terms of body count the Black Panthers. In each case, I suspect people at the time said the same thing you wrote above: "there seems to be something about the culture which seems to raise terrorists very easily compared to other cultures."

      • You've fallen into the availability heuristic, where you associate Islam with terrorists because you don't hear about the non-terrorist Muslims. South America and parts of Europe are crammed with terrorism, but nobody blames Christianity. Maybe culture is a cause, but not the religion, since most Muslims live in non-terrorism areas.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Mr. Slippery (47854)

        That might be true, but there seems to be something about the culture which seems to raise terrorists very easily compared to other cultures.

        Religion and culture have little to do with it -- it's all about semantics. So long as state actions are labeled "war" rather than "terrorism", then those parts of the planet that got hosed by colonialism and the Cold War to the point of leaving behind unstable nation-states are going to produce "terrorists" rather than "soldiers".

        If we were honest and labeled all

    • Maybe the West would be less reluctant to share sensitive military technology if your track record didn't include sharing nuclear weapons technology [wikipedia.org] with the Stalinst freak-show that calls itself the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

      Your ISI [wikipedia.org] leaves a lot to be desired, too.

      • Yeah, we all know the ISI lags behind the CIA. How many governments has the CIA overthrown versus how many the ISI did? How many drugs has the CIA been involved in selling compared to the ISI? Who backed the fighters in Afghanistan in the 80's first, the ISI or the CIA?

        • Damn, I forgot. All the troubles in the world today are the fault of us arrogant Americans.

          Where do I report for reeducation camp, comrade?

    • The problem is, unlike you lucky folks with you spy satellites, we have to rely on such open techs as Google Earth. If only you guys would share the info and the tech with us.

      They share with google, google shares with you... it's trickle-down intelligence.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I find Google Earth to be completely adequate for all my weapons targeting needs.

    Without leveraging free/open-source technologies I would barely be able to field my own personal military force in any case.

  • by hombrejava (875247) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:50PM (#28883955)
    Satellites are becoming smaller and cheaper because of advances in miniature high-performance computers, solar panels, batteries, and increased launch capabilities due to standardization. CubeSats [calpoly.edu] are one example. People can put small, but high-resolution cameras into space, and if you can launch 100 pico-satellites with cameras then your going to get near real-time imagery of many places on the earth. Its only a matter of time until even the poorest third-world country gets its own fleet of spy satellites.
    • by jerep (794296)

      Think of the hubble telescope, I have a hard time trying to believe the military doesn't already have a few more of them pointing at us.

    • by Bios_Hakr (68586)

      Why bother? For the price of a single space shot, you can launch hundreds of UAVs. I simple UAV can consist of a Senior Telemaster + GPS + netbook; maybe $3000. Add another $100 for imaging and another $1000 for training. For $5k, you have a functional surveillance UAV that can't be predicted. They can fly high enough to be virtually undetectable. And you can have dozens of them flying patterns over a given area.

      Hell, you can even put a kilo of explosives on-board. If you see a target of opportunity,

  • If we can't find Bin Laden using Google Earth, then perhaps we can use it to find Lance Davis, the main project administrator for CentOS ? Ooops, wrong article...
  • I watched an interview, on the Rachel Maddow show I think, with a guy who claimed that he could use social engineering and Google Maps to deduce a few locations where he could be. I think this is him [wikipedia.org].
  • It would seem to me that the U.S. government has already done a lot of the work for them. Check out Washington DC on google maps and you will see several areas that are cut out of the map. I would assume that means that the government does not want those to be seen because they are "interesting" and would be a potential target for an enemy.

    ok, that was tongue in cheek, they are obvious things like the capitol building and the white house. It's not really a secret where they are. (please don't send th
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Yes, everyone knows where they are, but now you dont know whats on the roof. Counter snipers? SAMs?

      • by cowscows (103644)

        Ah, if that's what was up there, you'd want people to see it so that it would deter them from trying an attack. More likely that they're trying to hide the fact that the white house roof is covered with propane tanks, crates full of dynamite, and extra-flammable american flags.

  • I found Osama using goole earth, although the image was 3 months old, so having sent anyone there would have been useless anyways. It is nice to see your self park a car in your driveway though, 2 months after you have gotten rid of it... : )

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