At Least "Maven" Sounds Better Than "Skynet"

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Today: ICC eyes Afghanistan; Niger strategy mad libs; bombs over Mogadishu; you say Skynet like it's
 

5 NatSec Things

November 5 - Issue #10 - View online
Your Daily Look at War from the Cheap Seats

Today: ICC eyes Afghanistan; Niger strategy mad libs; bombs over Mogadishu; you say Skynet like it’s a bad thing; Kabul blocks WhatsApp.

The Hague may have some questions for all sides in Afghanistan
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s ready to ask the ICC for a war crimes investigation into all actors in the latest Afghan war. Since, among other things, Bensouda’s sure that US forces used torture to get info from detainees. The ICC’s judges still have to sign off on this, and since the US doesn’t recognize the court’s authority, any investigations results? Not all that clear. Which won’t keep Fumblethumbs the Orange from tweeting about it. 
Niger: US on course to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
Everything I know about conflicts in Africa I learned from Tears of the Sun, The Constant Gardener, and that one song by Toto. So I’m no judge of expertise. Except that the authors of this piece seem to have done their homework. It’s a long(ish) read, but worthwhile on US options in Niger, because if the Americans aren’t careful, they’re going to a) empower the wrong local actors, b) exacerbate regional tensions, so c) do what they do every other time they intervene in a foreign country. 
Because every good war movie needs a reboot, hey-o Somalia!
Remember Blackhawk Down, before Eric Bana was the Hulk and he played a mildly credible SOF dude who cared about the right things? Remember how befuddled US forces seemed throughout the film at all levels of leadership when things didn’t go like they’d planned in the streets of Mogadishu? Well, it’s 2017, so of course now there’s militants in Somalia, and of course the Americans are bombing their way to…more militants.
We'll call it "Maven," because "Skynet's" taken
No matter how shiny your drone is, some poor schmuck in a trailer in Creech has to go through all that video and figure out what’s actionable. Air Force Lt. Gen Jack Shanahan wants to change that by welcoming our robot overlords. His Project Maven does the interpretation work for the humans, since what we need is drones that: fly themselves, interpret what they see, and make targeting decisions. Good plan. Pro tip: now’s a good time to make friends with anyone named Sarah or John Connor.
Afghanistan blocks WhatsApp, Telegram and starts Pony Express
I don’t know much about Telegram, and am a recent convert to WhatsApp, but Kabul’s explanation for why it was asking internet providers to block these messaging apps is laughable. The Afghan government is known for being less-than-understanding when it comes to free speech, and while one explanation for the blockage is to keep insurgents from using the systems, it feels more like shutting off messaging apps the government can’t monitor. And this from the Taliban spox is just gold:
The movement’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, wrote to reporters this week giving his Viber number “in case WhatsApp is not working”.
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