Florida Releases Genetically Modified Mosquitoes in Hopes to Reduce Spread of Disease

A handbook is seen at Florida Keys Mosquito Control District headquarters, in Marathon, Florida, U.S. May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Bello REUTERS

(Reuters) – Genetically modified mosquitoes have been released for the first time in the United States, taking flight in the Florida Keys in a pilot program intended to reduce the spread of deadly diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and the Zika virus. 

After an odyssey spanning more than a decade to secure regulatory approval, British-based biotechnology firm Oxitec, along with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD)launched the project in hope of reducing the Aedes aegypti species that spread the diseases.

While Oxitec and local authorities have high hopes for the program, local residents and environmental groups worry that not enough is known about the long-term effects of the new technology. 

Nevertheless, the Environmental Protection Agency granted an experimental use permit (EUP) to Oxitec on May 1.

A half-dozen boxes containing the OX5034 mosquito created by Oxitec have been deployed in the Florida Keys, an archipelago stretching 120 miles (195 km) off the southern tip of the state.

    Only female Aedes aegypti bite and spread disease, so Oxitec has created males that pass on a gene that kills female offspring before they mature. Their male offspring then continue mating and passing on the altered gene.

    Meredith Fensom, Oxitec’s head of global public affairs, explained how the boxes work. 

    “Inside we have a small container, and this is what we put the mosquito eggs in. We also have a small container for food. We leave it open. And then we fill the box, less than halfway full, with water. We close the lid, and after a week or two, our non-biting male mosquitoes begin to emerge,” she said.

The company says similar projects have had over a 90 percent success rate in Brazil, Panama, the Cayman Islands and Malaysia.

Some 12,000 mosquitoes will be released in the initial stage, but later this year tens of millions of genetically modified Aedes aegypti will fan out across the region.

   The mosquitoes have also been designed to emit a fluorescent glow, so that when they are captured, they can be more easily identified and studied.

    “That’s how we monitor for the project before, during and after to understand the mosquito population,” said Fensom.

    The project got a boost in 2016, when it was approved in a referendum in the Keys, despite opposition from some residents.

    FKMCD Executive Director Andrea Leal says she understands community concerns but that traditional methods like fumigation from trucks and helicopters have become increasingly ineffective.

    “We are seeing resistance in some of our current control methods, which has made our job at Mosquito Control that much harder,” said Leal at FKMCD headquarters in Marathon, Florida.

“We’re looking to integrate whatever we can into our current control methods just to make sure that we can suppress that population below disease transmission thresholds.”

‘GOING TO RISK OUR COMMUNITY’

The authorities first turned to Oxitec after a dengue fever outbreak slammed Key West in 2009 and 2010, USA Today reported.

    But environmentalists like Barry Wray, who heads the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, are not persuaded by the long regulatory approval process.

He says it was haphazard and leaves too many questions unanswered. “You’re going to risk our community, you’re going to ask the people in our community to be sacrificial lambs, really.”

There also have been concerns that because the genetically altered females are originally exposed to the antibiotic tetracycline, it could indirectly increase the chances of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, USA Today reported.

But local residents like veterinary scientist Doug Mader says the science is sound.

    “There haven’t been any side effects to the environment or people reported. So to say that we can’t use GMOs is like saying: ‘Hey, let’s not vaccinate for COVID,'” said Mader.

    Leal says that while the Aedes aegypti are responsible for almost all mosquito-borne disease transmission, they make up only 4 percent of the total population.

    “We have over 45 species in the Florida Keys. This particular mosquito is an invasive mosquito, it’s not from here…So, it’s not part of our natural ecosystem,” she said.

If the Florida Keys project succeeds, Oxitec plans to submit the results to the EPA so that the program can be applied in other parts of the United States, the journal Nature reported.

A fatal dengue case in Florida illustrates the risk of importation and local spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Have dengue on your radar and know how to avoid it. Use EPA-registered insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites. Install window screens or use air conditioning. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3gaCbUE

Hartlepool are ‘explaining’ a monkey statue in case Blacks gets offended – no one has been yet, but you can’t be too careful, eh?

A statue of the Hartlepool monkey looks out onto the marina on the day of voting in the Hartlepool by-election, England September 30, 2004. © Reuters

A sign is to be erected over fears the town’s monkey statue could be offensive to foreigners in the wake of the BLM protests that swept the nation. This follows a tsunami of precisely no complaints. Zero. I mean, come on, really?

Is hanging a monkey because you thought he was a French sailor offensive to the French or offensive to monkeys?  

Because it certainly isn’t offensive to the people of Hartlepool who, legend has it, actually strung that primate up. Surely they’re the folk most likely to take offence on account of it, well, making them look like morons.

The legend of the monkey hanging is known to everyone in the northeast of England, it’s part of our culture. Our very DNA. 

Let me fill you in. During the Napoleonic Wars, a ship was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool and a monkey was washed ashore – very much alive and well. Clinging to a barrel or whatever. And, allegedly, dressed in a uniform. The reason for a ship having a monkey dressed as a French officer has never been adequately explained, a minor detail. Never mind that, who cares anyway. 

Now the good people of Hartlepool, they had never seen a monkey but they hadn’t seen an actual Frenchman either. But they had heard of a short-arsed French megalomaniac called Napoleon Bonaparte and his lust for power. They knew there was a war on. They knew the French spoke an alien language and planned an invasion. 

The monkey was a French spy! It must be, come on, what the hell else could it be? Err, not a very clever French spy though, seeing as he was dressed in a French sailor’s outfit. But never mind – let’s get him! 

There was actually a show trial but the monkey did not offer much of a defence,“Oooh, oooh. Eeeee eeee. Ooo ooo ooo.” (Translation: “I’m not French, you morons, I’m a monkey. Give me a quick sniff. I don’t smell of garlic!”) 

Sounds a bit French, no? And no Hartlepudlian spoke French. Nobody spoke monkey either, unfortunately for the monkey. Oh dear. They dragged that chimp – presumably it was a chimpanzee, it’s somehow a much better story if it was – and strung the poor thing up in the town square. 

This legend might even be true. I certainly hope so. And I have lots of friends from Hartlepool and they most certainly hope it’s true too. It’s part of their sense of identity and, I dare say, their collective and self-effacing sense of humour. 

And this bit is definitely true because I saw it on the telly: Hartlepool actually DID elect a monkey to be Mayor. You know the mascots that prance around the pitch at the start of a football match and at half time and all that? Low-flying Hartlepool United had one of those dressed, of course, as a monkey.

H’angus the Monkey was his name. Angus plus hang – get it? These fine folk thought a man in a monkey suit was an infinitely better choice than some dodgy Tory or Labour Party politician. H’Angus also promised free bananas for all school children. Always a winning policy.

And, anyway, H’Angus was hilarious. He would often lead the fans in song and was occasionally escorted from away team’s grounds by the police – for simulating sex with a female steward, and such like. Classic monkey, and Frenchman, behaviour – I would suggest. 

This local bloke, Stuart Drummond, then actually jumped into a real suit and took the job seriously, to the disappointment of many of my mates in Hartlepool. They didn’t want the organ grinder, they voted for the effing monkey! Still though, he was reelected – better him than some actual politician, they’re the real primates. 

Hartlepool also has a statue of this poor dead monkey, and has had it on the quayside for ages. Now, as I said, pretty much everyone in the northeast of England knows all this anyway. The same as everyone knows that someone from Middlesbrough is a ‘Smogmonster’ (or ‘Smoggy’ for short) – on account of the massive ICI chemical plant’s chimneys that dominated that nearby city. 

Yet statues have become political in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, being toppled in the river and defaced and all sorts of fun statements made by a marauding mob.  

So now the Hartlepool local council want to polish their woke credentials, like so many mediocre bureaucrats these days, and are planning to attach an explanatory plaque to this statue, because it could be “misused by those with differing agendas to portray Hartlepool as unfriendly towards foreigners”.

Oh God. Now, come on (or ha’way as we’re likely to say up that way). Really? Isn’t it more unfriendly to monkeys? The French hate us anyway.  

The local bureaucrats admit, though, that they have received a tidal wave of precisely NO complaints. Zero.

“We have not received any complaints about the statue, and in fact it helps raise around £2,000 a year for charity thanks to the coins deposited within it by visitors,” a Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman told Sky News. 

Bring back H’Angus, I say, they abolished the mayoral post a decade or so ago. But, Stuart, mate – stay in the monkey suit: you’d make far more sense than the dumb arse real politicians.

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Mutant human-animal hybrid sparks fears of ‘Frankenstein’ creatures

Researchers conducting human-animal hybrid experiments struck fear into federal lawmakers worried that nightmare scenarios of Frankenstein creatures have become reality.

Man-monkey hybrid sparks fears of ‘Frankenstein’ creatures. Picture: DailySquib

Earlier this year, researchers announced a blending of man and monkey.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, said in April that it participated with a China-led research team in an experiment by injecting human stem cells into monkey embryos.

They allowed the resulting creature to live and grow for 19 days before terminating it. The researchers responsible for the technology used in the experiment said their work aided the study of embryonic development.

Federal officials have placed a moratorium on U.S. funding of such research, but they are reviewing the restrictions and scientific developments as Congress debates a bill to spend nearly $200 billion of taxpayers’ money on research and development endeavors to counter China.

Sen. Mike Braun, Indiana Republican, said he is worried that such human-animal hybrid experiments will cross ethical boundaries and contravene the dignity and sanctity of human life.

I mean, any of us could speculate on kind of the Frankenstein concept, let’s put it that way, which that was being referred to as in terms of what this leads to,” Mr. Braun said.

And he added: “I don’t know. I think that I do believe that there’s a genuine interest in taking so much that we’ve learned through DNA analysis, understanding the genome of not only human beings but other animals, that there’s going to be that [temptation] contagion to go beyond maybe, just the altruistic effort of finding cures for very, very vexing ailments like ALS, like Alzheimer’s, like any of the diseases that are out there that are significant, that we’re not even to the point where we know exactly what causes it, let alone cures.

Like Mr. Braun, I am against chimeras that involve the blending of human embryos with animal wombs and animal embryos with human wombs. What about you?

Police: Asian Man Shoots 6 Yr Old Black Boy, Allegedly Claims Self Defense!

A 6-year-old Black boy from Michigan was shot by an Asian man, and now MTO News is hearing that the Asian man may be planning a claim of ‘self defense.’

According to police reports, the incident began when the first grader left his bike on his neighbor’s lawn in Ypsilanti, Michigan. 

6 year old Coby Daniel and his friends were outside on their bikes on Candlewood Lane in Ypsilanti when they stopped their bikes and left one of them in front of a neighbor’s home.

When Coby went back to get his bike, police say the Asian man came out with a sledgehammer in his hand and said something to the child. Coby allegedly made a comment back to his neighbor – and that set him off, MTO News learned.

Here’s a snippet from the local Detroit News report:

Coby’s father told police, the neighbor went back inside and allegedly shot a gun through the front window, hitting Coby in the arm.

“He tried hitting me with a sledgehammer but that’s not going to work because I’m too fast. (Then he) got a gun and BOOM shot me right here,” Coby told local police.

And the story gets even crazier. According to local reports, Ryan Le-Nguyen made comments at the scene that led many to suspect that the accused shooter plans on claiming self defense against the first grader.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff arrested the shooter following the incident, who is identified as Ryan Le-Nguyen. He was charged with assault with intent to murder, but was released on a $10k bond.

LA LA, A BLACK BURGER KING EMPLOYEE, HAD CUSTOMER SAY HER UNIFORM WAS ‘DISTRACTING’ HER HUSBAND

Photo Courtesy of TikTok

A Black Burger King employee took to TikTok to address a female customer who allegedly told her that her uniform was “too distracting” for her husband.

Lala or @rockefeller.o demonstrated her black Burger King attire on social media, The New York Post reported.

“I had a lady complain today because my work uniform was a ‘distraction’ to her husband.”

In response to the alleged customer, La La said: “I guess I’ll leave my ass at home next time?”

She ended the video with both middle fingers directed at the angry woman.

Her initial video went viral, and now she has amassed more than 4 million followers on TikTok.

La La’s popularity led her to make a follow-up video. This time, she addressed a comment calling her “an attention-seeking, home-wrecking [n-word].”

“My back hurts from carrying the weight of not caring because I did nothing wrong except wear my uniform and STILL sexually objectified and harassed,” she said.

There are few details concerning the situation aside from La La’s version of the incident.

As the essential worker put it, “Disclosing my work location is a huge breach in security and safety not only for myself, but also for my coworkers & managers.”

“I absolutely do NOT want to (possibly) put them in harms way or have them being harassed just because of a viral video,” she added.

According to the restaurant’s employee handbook, it states, “Keep in mind that anything that could be considered distracting or not in the best interest of Burger King will not be permitted.”

But does the policy apply to well-endowed sisters?

WE MUST NEVER FORGET!

REPOST:
“Soooo you mean to tell me that someone down your ancestry line survived being chained to other human bodies for several months in the bottom of a disease-infested ship during the Middle Passage, lost their language, customs and traditions, picked up the English language as best they could while working free of charge from sunup to sundown as they watched babies sold from out of their arms and women raped by ruthless slave owners.

Took names with no last names, no birth certificates, no heritage of any kind, braved the Underground Railroad, survived the Civil War to enter into sharecropping… Learned to read and write out of sheer will and determination, faced the burning crosses of the KKK, everted their eyes at the black bodies swinging from ropes hung on trees… Fought in World Wars as soldiers to return to America as boys, marched in Birmingham, hosed in Selma, jailed in Wilmington, assassinated in Memphis, segregated in the South, ghettoed in the North, ignored in history books, stereotyped in Hollywood… and in spite of it all someone in your family line endured every era to make sure you would get here and you receive one rejection, face one obstacle, lose one friend, get overlooked, and you want to quit? How dare you entertain the very thought of quitting. People, you will never know survived from generation to generation so you could succeed. Don’t you dare let them down!

Give this to your young people who don’t know their history and want to get weak!

It is NOT in our DNA to quit!”

BOMBSHELL: U.S. Military Arrests Dr. Deborah Birx

The United States military has arrested Dr. Deborah Birx, also known as “the scarf lady,” after authenticating reports that she and her partner in crime, the still at-large Dr. Anthony Fauci, had conspired with the CDC to intentionally deceive the American public into believing that face masks were an effective method to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

As reported in February, Birx’s name was placed on a sealed indictment after President Donald J. Trump obtained a lengthy email chain between her and Deep State Dr. Anthony Fauci. In it, Birx and Fauci discussed whether face masks mitigated the spread of Covid-19, and they admitted to one another that masks were completely ineffective at preventing Covid-19 from entering the human respiratory system. To the contrary, they acknowledged that protracted “masking” had serious side effects on human physiology, especially among the children, the elderly, and immunocompromised people.

Nonetheless, Birx wrote in an email to Fauci that “regardless of POTUS’s stance, we must continue to encourage and enforce masking because it will give people a sense of calm and make them feel safe.”

That illusion of safety was a major contributing factor in the deaths of 15,000 Americans, according to a military study that evaluated all alleged Covid-19 fatalities in the United States.

For example, a masked 13-year-old boy suddenly dropped dead while playing football in 90-degree heat in Reno, Nevada. It turned out he was asthmatic but had never received a clinical diagnosis. His mother, a mask advocate, had heard Dr. Birx say on television that outdoor activities did not preclude wearing a mask when social distancing was impossible. Since football is a contact sport, she feared her child might contract Covid-19 from another non-masked child, and thus demanded her son mask up anytime he was around other children. Her irrational fear, coupled with Birx’s hysteria, resulted in the boy’s death. Incidentally, the CDC claimed he died of Covid-19, even though the boy had never received a test.

Another example: A 26-year-old Long Island woman died after a short battle with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as MRSA, a type of flesh-eating bacteria that is highly resistant to most antibiotics. She developed the illness, which attacked her face, days after her employer, citing CDC guidelines, imposed a mask mandate. The bacteria literally ate her face, leaving her unrecognizable. She expired three days later, and the CDC listed her cause of death as Covid-19.

Those are only 2 of 15,000 evaluated cases.

A confidential source involved in Donald J. Trump’s Deep State War said: “Along with Fauci, who will soon be apprehended too, the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps is holding Birx responsible for all the fatalities. It’s mass medical malpractice and mass murder. They acted on the indictment Wednesday morning.”

On 26 May, plain-clothed JAG investigators arrived at the multigenerational Pennsylvania home where Birx resides with her husband and the family of their eldest daughter. JAG, our source said, informed Birx she was being placed under arrest by order of the United States military and in accordance with Section 252 of the U.S. Insurrection Act of 1807. Birx reportedly appeared confused, and her husband, a lawyer, protested the “unlawful intrusion” of their home, saying that neither JAG nor Donald Trump had authority over the citizenry.

Birx was handcuffed and escorted from the home, and her family was issued a gag order forbidding them from discussing Birx’s arrest with the media. Violating the order, JAG told them, would carry a stiff penalty, including prison.

Birds are going blind in the D.C. region, and wildlife experts don’t know why

There is no knowing – at least not yet – whether what is grounding the young birds is contagious to humans, being caused by humans or simply happening in an area heavily populated by humans.

Alexandra Dimsdale found this young, blind grackle stumbling outside her Washington, D.C., home. She took it to a wildlife rehabilitator but learned it couldn’t be saved. Alexandra Dimsdale via The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — In the video, the young grackle takes a few wobbly steps along a sidewalk, pauses and then wobbles some more.

The bird’s eyes appear completely closed.

When Alexandra Dimsdale found the stumbling creature on the ground outside her D.C. home on Saturday morning, she wasn’t sure whether it was a crow or some other type of black bird. All she knew for certain was that it needed help.

She took the video right after she called local animal control officials for advice and right before she covered her hands in plastic grocery bags, scooped the bird into an empty diaper box and took it to City Wildlife, a rehabilitation center.

There, she learned that the bird was a fledgling grackle and that it probably had some sort of neurological illness that had left it blind.

“We can’t do anything for it, but we can put it out of its misery,” Dimsdale said a staff member told her.

What that staff member said next left her concerned for more than that young grackle: They had seen other birds with the same symptoms.

Dimsdale had started that day stepping outside her home and ended up walking into a mystery. Wildlife experts say that an unusual number of blind birds have been found dead or dying in the Washington region lately, and they don’t know why.

On Tuesday, the animal control team at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington released a public service announcement about the increase in calls they have received since May 18 about sick and injured young birds. Most of the calls have involved grackles and blue jays.

“Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy juvenile birds, causing blindness and the birds to land and stay on the ground,” the announcement says. “Animal Control is now seeing additional species of birds affected. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues at this time.”

The announcement says that the Arlington team is working with a biologist from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to coordinate testing of some of the dead birds. It also asked that people who find any on their property to dispose of them promptly, while taking precautions to avoid direct contact, and report ones that are discovered on public property.

“We are deeply saddened by the recent issue in our beloved and treasured migratory bird population,” Jennifer Toussaint, the chief of animal control, told me when I asked her about the issue. “We are hopeful to have more information soon and promise to keep the public up to date on what we become aware of.”

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that our existence is more closely tied to the existence of wild animals than we realize. A zoonotic virus forced us to pull away from relatives and co-workers and friends. It caused us to lose jobs and businesses and loved ones.

There is no knowing – at least not yet – whether what is grounding the young birds is contagious to humans, being caused by humans or simply happening in an area heavily populated by humans. What is clear is that many humans are taking notice.

“Dead birds?!” reads a post on the Nextdoor social network site. “Has anyone had a sudden increase of dead birds in their yard? We found one dying in our backyard a week ago, one dead in our front yard this week and our neighbors have also reported dead birds over the last week or so.”

What follows are more than 145 comments, all from people in the Washington region. Many contain descriptions of disturbing avian encounters that have happened in recent weeks.

• “Just found a poor bird in front yard. … Still alive, but not doing well. Head is extremely swollen and eyes are bulging. Possibly a young Mockingbird.”

• “A blue jay died in our yard a few weeks ago. It was acting strangely, like it couldn’t move its feet. It’s mate was trying to help – it was sad. My husband tried to pick it up with gloves, and it just suddenly died. We thought it had been poisoned because it had no wounds & seemed dazed and stiff.”

• “I have one sick grackle in my yard now, walking around slowly and seems to be blind in one eye.”

Dimsdale also shared her experience on that site, and since then, her husband has found even more birds on the ground. Knowing that so many are dying this way, she says, has “surprised and alarmed” her.

“When something is happening on a large scale in nature, it’s frightening to think about,” she says. “I’m worried this is the canary in the coal mine.”

On Tuesday, I spoke with Megan Kirchgessner of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources over email about the issue. She said the department has received numerous reports of birds showing ocular problems and exhibiting signs of weakness and possible neurological issues. The majority of reports have come from Arlington, but some have also been received from Maryland and as far as Winchester, Va., about 75 miles west.

“The volume of reports and clinical signs are not suggestive of something that we have seen routinely in this area, so we may be dealing with an emerging or novel issue,” she said.

Online, some people had theorized that residents who were spraying cicadas with pesticides may be causing the problem.

I asked Kirchgessner if that was a possibility. She said that “pesticide use is on the differential list” but that testing is needed to know whether the cause is bacterial, viral or exposure to a toxin. A shipment of blue birds had just arrived that day for testing.

Jim Monsma is the executive director of City Wildlife, where Dimsdale took the grackle. He has 25 years of experience in the animal protection field in the Washington area – and he’s concerned about what’s happening to the birds.

“It’s terribly scary,” he says. “It’s horrifying particularly because we don’t know what this is. … We don’t know how to treat it. We don’t know how to save these birds.”

The rehabilitation center has collected more than 40 samples, and sent three of them to be tested for West Nile virus. The results came back negative.

Monsma says the center’s staff members take care of orphaned and injured animals. They don’t run a medical lab and they aren’t epidemiologists.

That leaves them in the same position as others in the region: waiting for answers.

Prison guards ‘didn’t notice’ that Satanist tortured, beheaded cellmate

Jaime Osuna is seen during his sentencing for murder in Bakersfield, Calif., in May 2017. The Bakersfield Californian via AP

California prison guards “didn’t notice” that a self-described Satanist decapitated and dissected the body of his cellmate, a state investigation found.

Why the officers at Corcoran State Prison didn’t discover the grisly scene until the following morning is not detailed in the reports, the Los Angeles Times reported. A lawsuit filed by the dead inmate’s family claims the cell bars were covered with a sheet and accuses the guards of not checking the cell.

The mutilated corpse of Luis Romero, 44, was discovered the morning of March 9, 2019, in the cell he shared with Jaime Osuna, 31.

Osuna was serving a life sentence for torturing and killing a woman at a motel in 2011 and had a history of attacking fellow inmates. He had never had a cellmate before.

He allegedly used a homemade knife to cut out one of Romero’s eyes, chop off a finger, remove part of his ribs and slice out part of a lung. He ultimately cut off his head. He also posed the body, slicing Romero’s face open on either side of his mouth to resemble an extended smile, according to an autopsy.

Guards found the mutilated corpse of Luis Romero on March 9, 2019.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP

When the guards finally found the dreadful scene, Osuna was wearing a necklace made of Romero’s body parts.

A state investigation found that the guards reported both men alive the night before. The state probe doesn’t say why the cell was not checked at any point during the night. It said the two officers falsely reported seeing Romero alive and that two other offices did not report that their colleagues had failed to properly conduct inmate counts the night of the horrific scene.

The report also criticizes the prison department’s internal affairs investigation, noting that some officers lied and key witnesses were not interviewed. And the question of whether the two killers should have been put together was never probed.

Osuna has been transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison’s psychiatric inpatient program. He has been diagnosed with unspecified schizophrenia spectrum, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, according to the newspaper.

Officers at Corcoran State Prison didn’t discover the grisly scene until the following morning.
Robert Galbraith/REUTERS

A judge has ruled that Osuna is not competent to stand trial for Romero’s death.

Killer drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told to

The drones were operating in a “highly effective” autonomous mode that required no human controller and the report notes.

Arnold Schwarzenegger could’ve seen this one coming.

After a United Nations commission to block killer robots was shut down in 2018, a new report from the international body now says the Terminator-like drones are now here.

Last year “an autonomous weaponized drone hunted down a human target last year” and attacked them without being specifically ordered to, according to a report from the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya, published in March 2021 that was published in the New Scientistmagazine and the Star.

The March 2020 attack was in Libya and perpetrated by a Kargu-2 quadcopter drone produced by Turkish military tech company STM “during a conflict between Libyan government forces and a breakaway military faction led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army,” the Star reports, adding: “The Kargu-2 is fitted with an explosive charge and the drone can be directed at a target in a kamikaze attack, detonating on impact.”

The drones were operating in a “highly effective” autonomous mode that required no human controller and the report notes:

“The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true ‘fire, forget and find’ capability” – suggesting the drones attacked on their own.

Zak Kallenborn, at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism in Maryland, said this could be the first time that drones have autonomously attacked humans and raised the alarm.

“How brittle is the object recognition system?” Kallenborn asked in the report. “… how often does it misidentify targets?”

Jack Watling at UK defense think tank Royal United Services Institute, told New Scientist: “This does not show that autonomous weapons would be impossible to regulate,” he says. “But it does show that the discussion continues to be urgent and important. The technology isn’t going to wait for us.”

In August of last year, Human Rights Watch warned of the need for legislation against “killer robots” while NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has called for a global ban on them – something the US and Russia are against.