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Google Earth and "Collateral Damage"

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the bad-with-the-good dept.

Google 541

netbuzz writes "British news reports say insurgents are using Google Earth to pinpoint vulnerable targets within bases in Iraq. Could Google be doing more to prevent this? Should they be doing more? They certainly could explain more."

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google, jihad, victory (0, Flamebait)

(fagging beta) (983460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610360)

This is a victory for Mudslums everywhere.

We will drive the imperialist Americans back to their suburban homes.

Yes Let's shut down the internet (4, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610362)

and make the world "safe for democracy".

Re:Yes Let's shut down the internet (1, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610518)

You don't need to shut down the internet. All the is required might be a process were a court could review places like headquarters and determine the risk and of course bases in an area of conflict. Then asign a number of value to them and make a law that simply says if you off these locations and give the ploting information you need to do so in a maner consistant with these rules. Then the rules could cover what resolution the images can be, whether or not it needs to be blurred, how much blurring and so on. And there can even be a waiver process were you can give all details under some circumstances.

Then anyone within their jurisdiction who wishes to distribute these photos will not be likley to cause harm. But more importantly, those who still wish to distribute areal photo's of a base, including the layout, and actualy do so without getting the appropriate waviors, would likley be someoen working against you. Try them for spying or shoot them as an enemy. It doesn't matter. It isn't like the military cannot start shooting down aircraft flying over bases and taking pictures. Especialy in a war zone.

Let's shut down the government (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610520)

and make the world "safe for democracy".

Irony at its best? Since we're on Iraq read this: (3, Interesting)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610528)

I don't know how to put this for you, but I was reading a suggested article in a rag you boys here probably never read, "Soldier of Fortune". In it, several of our past and present US Army Snipers and Marine Corps Snipers are all yacking about how the officers and politicians are using them in movie style "overwatch" positions. Which as you, enlightened, slashdotters would understand is a "WASTE" of people with training in REAL sniping (long range enemy personnel removal) not defensive positions in visible places.

As one sniper put it, "we're being use as cardboard cutouts on rooftops, any insurgent, or housewife with a gun is going to count her lucky stars and take a potshot at the *grunt* patrolling with a bolt action scoped rifle, this isn't how snipers are to be used in war".

At one point they lost 2 snipers because they were made to patrol town, with "protection", which means that he was surrounded by "support" personnel (some dozen guys or so). The guy said it too. "Snipers don't have firepower, we're being used like in the movies, and that is not what snipers are for, we're slow, deliberate and precise. But we do not have *firepower*, no sir, we deliver precise, surgical kills against crucial targets. We're not being employed to the best of our abilities, we're being employed as if we were in some hollywood movie set."

Many of them are quitting everyday and going "professional" or "contractor". Everyone here blames them, I frankly, cannot. Where would you rather be, fighting for the government under their inept, incompetent and totally demented leadership, or fighting for yourself, and choosing your contracts/battles. You're still spilling blood for money, or, if civilian and pro war, you're a coward asking others to spill blood in your stead. At the very least, mercs have some liberty and choice, and they aren't wasted like our military types are.

My personal opinion is that they're being flung to the wind and allowed to be killed so they can make room for the mexican "army amnesty program" :)

So don't worry about google earth, its not the culprit, IDIOTS IN THE LEADERSHIP POSITIONS ARE THE CULPRIT! I hear it from less ignorant grunts and former marines all the time. They don't go back anymore, they quit and out they stay. One took my advice as did several buddies, and they've been looking at Blackwater USA. Personally, I don't care if they go there or not, but fighting for the government just is not SANE anymore, not as a profession. The commanding officers are largely movie watcher types, and the snipers are just the first to notice this (being as to how people of remarkable talent, such as snipers and sharpshooters are being wasted on patrol and overwatch duties).

Re:Irony at its best? Since we're on Iraq read thi (-1, Troll)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610602)

> Many of them are quitting everyday

How exactly do you 'quit' the USMC/Army? Are they even letting soldiers leave after their X years are up?

> if civilian and pro war, you're a coward asking others to spill blood in your stead

so civilians can't be pro-war?

Re:Irony at its best? Since we're on Iraq read thi (1, Interesting)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610792)

I say take out the vote as it is today. If you vote pro war in any issue, politician or not, you're INSTA DRAFTED.

I want to see how many "needless" or "unexplained/for someone's freedom" wars we would have then.

I'm not a leftist/socialist by any measure, but I find that drafts should be "voluntary" since a draft is slavery, and the worst form of it (its a socialist term for CONSCRIPTION!) so you should volunteer for it the moment you vote for any war or reduction in liberty. Or, if you don't support it (by not wanting to be the one to catch a bullet or trip wire bomb on the front lines) then don't join up by wanting war, and others to fight it.

This would be a most libertarian solution, since the only ones sent to the front lines in an invasion would be the idiots that voted for it. Be they NeoCon Dick Cheney, or anyone else.

Oh and a special treat would be to also autodraft the families of said politicians!

Aggression wars are aok... they should be committed ONLY by those who voted for them. The regular army should guard borders, and national guard should stay at home. They were meant to "protect from enemies foreign". And that is what they should do.

NOTE: Yes they do let you out, if your service is up. Many do not reenlist, but go merc. Good for them.

Google News (4, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610368)

This story reminds me of the reporter who was kidnapped in Iraq and convinced his captors that his articles were critical of the war. They Googled him and let him go.

Re:Google News (2, Insightful)

Kidbro (80868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610644)


Re:Google News (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610732)

Well, that's no surprise. All reporters in the liberal-controlled mainstream media are critical of the war. They're the reason Americans think the war is going "badly" even though we haven't lost a single engagement since the start, and we've lost less troops than in any war in history. Not to mention that it's a volunteer army and that Clinton bombed the fuck out of several places with nary a critical word from the New York Times or kooks like Cindy Sheehan.

Re:Google News (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610796)

we haven't lost a single engagement since the start

To this day, the U.S. military makes the same claims about Vietnam...

Two points (4, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610380)

1) The Telegraph leans to the right. This report may be nothing more than a shill to shut down Google Earth.

2) That said, it does seem reasonable that insurgents might be able to make use of Google Earth for some targeting information. Since the data is generally fairly stale, though, one wonders just how useful it would actually be.

Re:Two points (1)

malvidin (951569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610486)

When looking at the places in Iraq I have been, the images are a few years old. It does give reference points for other intelligence though. I don't know how it would help them much, with the accuracy I have seen the incoming rounds achieve.

Re:Two points (4, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610588)

Stale? look at an arial of your home town. Then look at the courthouse. Zoom out for around three to five miles (range of a morter) and look for areas of concealment, escape routes that either let you run like hell, or easily blend in with a bunch of other people, obscure line of sight directly to the court house, or obsticles that might make someone responding from that general direction slower then from another route.

Then jump in the car and drive to those locations and see how much they have changed in the last few years of being stale. I bet not much. BTW, how often does the courthouse change?

I guess most things would be static for several years past staleness of the photos. I'm not sure that military bases change the internal design much. I doubt they move the mess hall or sleeping tents around every 3 months. (they might, I don't know. But more importantly, hills hiding your point of attack from the view of guardsmen or some other obsticles like rivers with the only bridge 5 miles down stream and you have a good change of finding a place to launch an attack with somewhat acurate results and a decent change of getting away. I guess patrols with aircraft and a no-go zone could eliminate that for some locations.

Re:Two points (4, Insightful)

scum-e-bag (211846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610658)

Then jump in the car and drive to those locations and see how much they have changed in the last few years of being stale. I bet not much. BTW, how often does the courthouse change?
...and what stops someone from doing this in the first place? I mean really, some good old fashioned recon can get you the same info needed for an attack on a courthouse. Heck, even getting military base info such as where transports/tanks/etc are parked is easy enough with a little bit of work.

Grid references, so the enemy is using GPS guided missiles now?

This is nothing more than a google bash.

Re:Two points (1, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610774)

Your rigth, there isn't anything stoping someone from doing this now. Except maybe the probability of getting caught and having your entire plans foiled. This is especial true in a dessert. The point was that even though stale, not much of importance to your end goal should have changed.

Now, There are people (especialy at targets of concern) who's only job is to monitor people scoping out places. Remeber all those stories about people walking thier dogs down raods with power plants on them and getting hassled. God forbid you have a cell phone with a camera on it or that you might have taken a picture of the area. Now, you probably could find the layout of a military base, CIA headquarters, whatever. But you also are more likley to draw attention to yourself and when they find plans to make a rocket perpelled grenade or mortors on your computer, I doubt you'll be spending christman with mom. Same in a dessert. If you pacing the distance from the fence to make sure your in ranges without beeing close enough for snipers to shoot you or be easily targeted by something else, your likley to get caught. With an arial photo, I can find the distance between the fence and the mess hall. Look at how far the fence goes out, find some natural osbstruction so i have plenty of time to set up and aim, then launch a few and leave. Less chance of getting caught.

Grid references, so the enemy is using GPS guided missiles now?
Probably not. But we have GPS guided cannon shells and such. It might not be fathomable for them to use morters in this way. Especialy is Iran is backing them like everyoen thinks.

Re:Two points (2, Funny)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610790)

Then jump in the car and drive to those locations and see how much they have changed in the last few years of being stale. I bet not much. BTW, how often does the courthouse change?

I wonder if for the war effort, Google could be convinced to photoshop in a few bases and relocate a few by a couple blocks. A 4 mile away rocket attack may miss the compound entirely.

Re:Two points (5, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610652)

Depends on how you define 'useful'. Governments spent billions of dollars, risked many dozens if not millions (as in all of our) lives, to get information of lower quality than google earth in the 50s, 60's and 70's. Most military installations are built/used with this in mind now. Something you want other satellite holders to see you put out there, stuff you don't you spend oodles of time effort and money to hide, and anything you don't care about (like where the US army parks its old aircraft), you put wherever is convenient or cheap. In that regard I doubt the occupation forces in Iraq are so braindead as to have anything particularly useful of theirs show up on google earth now.

However, buildings don't move, and the insurgency in iraq, while predominatly made of Iraqi nationals, is most certainly far more mobile than any previous insurgency in recent memory. Simply put the iraqi's have cars. If you're an insurgent in one town, you can look at google earth, plot out where you want to go, set up, position, coordinate based on GPS locations etc.. with other people in another. I was thinking loosely about this problem where I live. I live in one city (~70K people), but really I don't know my way around any of the smaller towns that surround us, nor do I know my way around the biggest city near me (which is toronto nearly 150Km away). But, moving from place A to B is fairly easy, at least when I'm not crawling through the jungles of borneo or riding my camel through the middle of the desert. The resistance in Iraq can use GE just the same as any of us can use google earth to figure out where we're going.

With respect to the article specifically. The parking lots of Iraq's military installations, now in use by the British, probably haven't moved too far, nor have the suitable places for housing since those photos were taken. Given how long the occupation has been going on, those bases haven't moved and I somehow doubt the british army has been able to magically conjure up new places within the bases to put their tents, and even if google pictures are a year or two old those things are likely not all that much different.

With Google Earth a resistance fighter can see their way around rooftops, so long as the buildings are still standing, target things that don't move, or things that are consistently moved to and from the same place (like vehicles), and generally get a feel for what the terrain they are going to operate in looks like, and the layout. The fact that google earth might be somewhat out of date is less of a problem, if your information is wrong, you get killed, but it was better than nothing. Whereas the US/UK/FR/PRC/RUS would demand up the day satellite info to ensure maximum survivability of their soldiers, resistance movements tend to be more willing to make sacrificies.

In a broader sense, I think militaries and goverments will have to adapt their organization around satellite imagery. Right now they're all used to thinking only other people with spy satellites can see these things. Sure everyone has maps, but maps are no where near as useful as a satellite photo, even a crappy one. This probably means a lot more things in semi portable or easy to construct bunkers like they use for jet fighters.

Re:Two points (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610746)

Huh? What would leaning to the right have to do with shutting down Google Earth?

Finally (5, Insightful)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610382)

I wondered when someone was finally going to try to blame Google for blowing buildings up. With GPS as accurate as it is, and satallite imagery easily accessable, I don't think Google is what we need to deal with. We need to deal with the guys with the bombs.

Re:Finally (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610442)

We need to deal with the guys with the bombs.

You mean the psychopaths comfortably sitting in their fighter planes killing whole families because some of their neighbours said they were "insurgents"? Yes, please deal with them - put them in jail or give them therapy. Just keep them away from (any) society.

Re:Finally (1)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610484)

Someone has an opinion they're scared to let out hah.

The psychopath is YOU.... here's why. (-1, Troll)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610726)

You sit at home and ASK for permits to protest, you 'badass liberal' you!

Yes, you cajole and scream as 'Anonymous Coward' but haven't the stones to stand behind your comment.

If, tomorrow, your loving Barbara Boxer or Chuck Schumer, or Hilary Clinton(ista) decided to ban guns or ammo in the USA, you'd gladly jump all over those "evil gun owners".

That is what saddens me, you're all a bunch of emasculated cowards. No balls, none whatsoever. There would be no war if the American People still had BALLS and BRAINS!

When a people separates its fighting men and its thinking men, it will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools! ~Thucydides

Re:Finally (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610670)

There will always be "guys with bombs".

We need to deal with the ideology that makes them set those bombs on innocent people. With a bottle and some heavy booze you can make a most effective bomb, so you can't effectively disarm people.

You have to go with the "Bombs don't kill people, people kill people" here. What makes Iraqi's set these bombs on innocents ?

Re:Finally (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610678)

"I wondered when someone was finally going to try to blame Google for blowing buildings up."

It's called a "Google bomb".

Re:Finally (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610760)

Who's "blaming" Google Earth? Are they supposed to not report it because we like Google?

Well, change your routines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610398)

If the army cannot see the general benefit of changing their security positions, guard towers and barracks every few months, then google maps isn't changing much

Re:Well, change your routines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610686)

I don't change positions when I'm fucking kathleen fent. It's strictly doggystyle -- woof!

What more could they explain? (4, Insightful)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610402)

"They certainly could explain more."

And say what, exactly? Terrorists also use cars, do we ask carmakers to explain? Google earth is just a very nice fancy map, do we ask cartographers to explain?

What a pointless article.

Re:What more could they explain? (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610522)

We should ask cellphone makers exactly why their devices can be used to make IEDs.

Re:What more could they explain? (0, Flamebait)

byteframe (924916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610722)

Pointless? American technology is giving enemies of American easy means to strike at our servicemen (and women). It's pretty predictable that a fat nerd at *home* mashing his keyboard for hours on end will defend Google.

That whole 'carmakers' thing is crap. Cars which can, indeed, run over people and be turned into bombs, cost money, and in the hands of the insurgents are just as much a war expense as ammunition. Google Earth however is MORE than a fancy map, it's a freely available, self updating representation of the entire earth's surface. To say that it should be allowed to be turned into war intelligence against our own military is treasonous bunk.

Assuming the article is unbiased. If this information is true, I saw we black out those area's of the map.

Re:What more could they explain? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610782)

it's a freely available, self updating representation of the entire earth's surface

Just how often do you think the pictures are updated at Google's end? It's every couple of years at best - this isn't Snow Crash, and Google Earth is not a real-time representation.

Re:What more could they explain? (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610786)

it's a freely available, self updating representation of the entire earth's surface.

The Google Maps satellite photo of my house hasn't changed in the two-and-a-half years I've been using Google Maps. While I'm sure there's some useful information to be had, you're probably not going to find current troop positions and encampments, or have them updated enough to be useful. And Google Maps is hardly the only source of satellite photo data on the web.

Treason (-1, Flamebait)

RiotXIX (230569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610404)

If the US Govt. attempt to legally accuse Google of treason, I hope it goes to court and Google push for some court proof that this is a real National war against the country.

Re:Treason (3, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610466)

Why would Google be charged for treason? Courts have even been saying that it's not gun producer's fault when they're gun's are used in a crime. It's not Google's fault what people use their app for. If you wanna keep going, it's Microsoft's or a Linux distro fault because it runs Google Earth.

And yet we have gun control. (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610628)

You'll be seeing Google Control maybe?

No google box can hold more than 10 characters? A google entry may not have a pistol stock, or selective fire modes, flash hiders or high caliber ammunition or a muffler (sound suppressor) or it is an Assault Google.

Oh yeah, rock and roll, DO IT COURTS!! Burn google, for being a Machine Google. Now we won't just have senseless gun control, we'll have GOOGLE CONTROL!

Re:Treason (1)

RiotXIX (230569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610750)

I agree with you, and I would think a charge of treason would be unreasonable. But it would not suprise me that some military hot-head in this 'time of war' would attempt to shut down a service which offered by a US company that specifically aids and provides information to people in an enemy country during war (if it were World War II, you think a US/UK map manufacturer wouldn't get in trouble for selling maps of the country & it's bases to Germany)?

I don't agree with it, but perhaps if someone in the Government did have the gall to accuse Google of such a thing (which I see as conceivable given that they attacked a country because a small number hijacked a plane - and then suggested the whole country had made a 'declaration of war'), then it would serve to highlight how feeble the grounds for this 'war' actually are. Perhaps the Supreme Court might actually come to the conclusion that no official declaration of war was ever issued. It would be good to have some official body actually say it, rather than have this unreliable inflammatory drivel spouted by politicians for CNN in the record books.

Oh ya (4, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610406)

Because Google is the only way to view satellite images. Shutting down Google Earth would totally solve everything! The US is ultimately responsible for concealing its assets from satellite photography. Same goes for every other country on Earth. Someone out there is always watching. PS: Must be a slow news day...

Re:Oh ya (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610600)

Settle down snoopy. This is the UK complaining not the US. But it is simular to the same argument made over the austrailian nuclear power plant (or was it a damn?) a few years back. It isn't anything new.

*Insurgents* (3, Insightful)

Skiron (735617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610416)

If the UK was invaded by a foreign power, and the people fought back, we would be called 'the resistance', or 'freedom fighters' or what not - so why do Bliar and Bush and co. call the Iraqi people that fight back 'insurgents' ??

Re:*Insurgents* (0, Flamebait)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610428)

I believe the difference lies in suicide bombings, and killing anyone and everyone indescriminately.

Re:*Insurgents* (3, Insightful)

DaggertipX (547165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610514)

I hate to nitpick, but I fail to see how "indiscriminately" is the same as retaliating against what they see as(and arguably are*) foreign, hostile, and invading forces.

*Feel free to insert your own opinion here. Personally, I think if a force invaded my country to replace my way of life, I might feel the need to fight back.

Re:*Insurgents* (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610608)

Seems these days that they're killing us because we're getting in the way of them more efficiently killing each other. The bloodshed was pretty much bound to happen if the Shiite revolt of '92 had succeeded, so it's not really our doing, though the way we handled the security situation after invading (basically not securing the city at all) certainly made the outcome as protracted and bloody as it could possibly have been.


Re:*Insurgents* (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610624)

> I hate to nitpick, but I fail to see how "indiscriminately" is the same as retaliating against what they see as(and arguably are*) foreign, hostile, and invading forces.

If they were actually fighting against the hated foreign invaders, you'd think they'd be a lot more careful about who they bomb. There's a lot of civilian casualties that the US isn't causing.

Re:*Insurgents* (1)

DaggertipX (547165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610694)

I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, but I tend to blame the low tech and hazardous medium of the attack for the extraneous casualties and not so much that they don't have a set target in mind. Considering that they are giving their lives to the attack, I tend to think it's not done completely haphazard.

Still, I am thankful that they don't have more "efficient" weapons. I just wish the inefficient ones weren't so messy.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't be having this conversation, and innocent people wouldn't be dying at all.

Re:*Insurgents* (4, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610698)

You will fail to see lots of things. This is unfortunate for us all. I will attempt to explain it for you.

A good portion of the insurgents are not iraqi people. Notice i didn't say all. Blowing up the people you fighting for doesn't neccesarily make on thier side. The Iraqi citizens have also been given an out err a peacfull way of getting us out.

We have set up a government, elected by thier own people, charted a constitution by thier own people with the public voting and participating in the process. We have said publicly that we are leaving as soon as the new Iraq can defend itself reasonable and provide for the security of thier own people. We have ensured that there is a proccess for people to make changes to both the government and the laws. There is the out.

Now, here is why they are insurgents. We achived our goal of outing the dictator and gave Iraq back to it's people. The resistance don't want it. They refuse to stop fighting and allow us to leave. They refuse to take control of the government by the proccess put in place that represent the majority of the population. They blow up people who are doing nothing more then providing food and shelter for thier family (not even helping the "invaders") then they blow up a second device in an attempt ti kill anyone giving medical help to these inocent civilians that became wounded. They just want to kill people and blame it elswhere.

A resistance wouldn't do someting like this. the french resistance didn't go around blowing up wine shops with no german soldiers around and yell, "that will teach them germans!". They didn't goto weddings and blow up the reception knowing no one there has done anything besides get married. They didn't blow up churches just because they were a different religion then thiers (albiet a small difference). A resitance attacks military targets. Targets that have value to the oposing force. A resistance comunicates troop movement and level to others and aids those attempting to help the resitance.

What we have is a blood thirsty group of people who entire goal is to strike terror into the citizens by any means neccesary. They are killing because of some religous zealotry and a terrorist agenda. they are common criminals and nothing more. You don't kill inocent people to scare them. Thats what every evil powerr has done in war and they were labeled evil and it was deemed wrong. There is no valor in killing for fun or because you can and that what these insurgents are doing.

Re:*Insurgents* (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610800)

We have set up a government, elected by thier own people...

Yes only after being approved by our people. You don't think we would let just anybody win, do you? Their election was a thinly disguised fraud.

Now, here is why they are insurgents. We achived our goal of outing the dictator and gave Iraq back to it's people.

??? You actually believe that? The only "goal" we have demonstrated is that of perpetual war. Probably to keep the (American) economy going.

Maybe I'm taking you too seriously.

Re:*Insurgents* (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610846)

Drop the one liners and stop trying to be a good liberal for a minute. Look at what has happened. Bush has always said we are leaving once Iraq is stable and can stand on it's own. And as for being approved by our people? I remeber rumsfield being upset that some people not exactly friendly to freedom was elected to the iraqi government.

Maybe the provisional government was selected and approved. This one we got now (the third or forth mutation of it) isn't neccesarily the same thing.

And if perpetualy war is on your mind, It is because you need it to apear that way. It hasn't gone exactly well but it is going and we have done what we wanted so far. If the insurgents would slack off for a while, we would probably just leave and let them democraticly elect another saddam. (he was elected too)_

Re:*Insurgents* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610808)

The humans on New Caprica had suicide bombers, and we still root for them.

Re:*Insurgents* (2, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610460)

Probably because there are several different groups that are fighting/targeting different other groups, and some of these groups are killing Iraqis more than they're attacking U.S. troops. Doesn't help that many of those aren't Iraqis either.

Re:*Insurgents* (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610470)

Propaganda has always been a part of war.
Look up some depictions of the Japanese in America in ww2.
Or even better, the german "Hun" in England in ww1.

Re:*Insurgents* (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610482)

If the UK was invaded by a foreign power, and the people fought back, we would be called 'the resistance', or 'freedom fighters' or what not - so why do Bliar and Bush and co. call the Iraqi people that fight back 'insurgents' ??

If US invaded UK (or the other way around), you could be sure that UK freedom fighters would be called insurgents too ;-)

Re:*Insurgents* (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610580)

Because they represent diverse interests with varied objectives it's tough to come up with a collective term that's fair. What's the term for all users of violent means who aren't the United States, agents of the United States, or United States approved Iraqi government organized/sanctioned entities? I can see why a term like 'insurgents' has its appeal. It's not ideal, but it is general and less loaded than calling them all 'terrorists'.

Re:*Insurgents* (5, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610584)

The other difference is that, at least in theory, a 'resistance' would refer to a group trying to drive the invaders out, as is the case with the European resistances in WWII.

However in Iraq, the US and UK would like nothing better than to leave, but feel a responsibility to insure stability after the mess we caused (in one set of rhetoric), or to secure freedom for the people (in another set of rhetoric.) The insurgent forces are not fighting to remove a foreign dictatorship, or if they think they are they're doing a really bad job of it. What they're doing, at least as best as I can tell, is to insure that the new government is their groups government, or, at risk of sounding self important, to stick it to US because they don't like us and our policies on Israel and other various issues.

Obviously it's a much more complex issue, we are trying to impose our own idea of order, and put up people in power that we can at least stand. However, it seems to me, though I'm biased, that the basic differences are there and important.

Re:*Insurgents* (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610708)

Well, they are trying to prevent the formation of a government and state that would be inimical to their interests as they see them, as well as erode the will of occupation, which is supporting that government.

A lot of occupying forces would "like nothing better than to leave" - I'm sure that's how the USSR felt about Afghanistan - but that doesn't make them any less a force of occupation.

Re:*Insurgents* (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610620)

Actualy the invaders would be more likely to label you Terrorists.

Acording to an Insurgent is "a person who rises in forcible opposition to lawful authority, esp. a person who engages in armed resistance to a government or to the execution of its laws; rebel.", If Blair, bush and co. called them "resistance fighters" or "Freedom fighters" it would be an acknowledgment that the people had something legitement to resist, ie. an invasion by a forieng power with the intent of overthrowing the existing goverment and taking over the country for their own profit. So by calling the fighters "insurgents" they try and make it sound like they (the invaders) have a legal right to be in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One last item for thought, the current conflict in Iraq is not officialy a "War" since the Congress has never issued the declaration. And no, a US president CAN NOT issue a declaration of war on their own, the Constitution of the USA is quite clear on that matter, only Gongress has that authority, and they can't give it to anyone else either. Of course bush has been ignoring the Constition whenever it is in conflict with what he and his croonies want to do.

Re:*Insurgents* (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610706)

Bad analagy. How about if China invaded the UK. Then a bunch of Germans and Frenchies snuck across the chunnel and started bombing/killing UK civilians. That's a more appropriate situation.

No problem, move the troops! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610418)

I don't see any reason to ask Google to do something, now it turns that terrorists are more smarter than US troops. The easiest solution for any army or country in conflict is just to avoid places that are easy to spot by public imagery.

A logical solution... (4, Insightful)

Venik (915777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610426)

A logical solution would be not to have any vulnerable targets, especially "within bases". Here's an idea: guard your bases better. I mean, what if one day you'll have to fight an enemy that has their own aerial and space recon and doesn't have to rely on Google? So blaming Google is a ridiculous excuse for the incompetence of the military commanders entrusted with the safety of these bases.

Re:A logical solution... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610562)

Good point. Concrete is cheap, but we still house troops in tents and unarmored trailers.
I'd be potting ordinary ISO containers in concrete (you get a nice bunker with a builtin anti-spall liner) if I were tasked with base defense, but the US isn't much on bunkers.

While we are at it (0, Flamebait)

AlanS2002 (580378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610432)

We should cut out everyones eyes in Iraq, because the insurgents there use their eyes to target western forces. We should also cut of their hands, because the insurgents there use their hands to hold the weapons used on western forces.

Catch and release. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610492)

Many people seem to want those in GitMo to be release. It's always been my thought, following historic precident, to cut off the thumbs of the enemy. They won't be able to hold a weapon (sword, or now adays a gun) and be easily be spotted.

This procedure can be done in a painless way and would not significantly impact the lives of the 'innocent'. Perhaps make it a volunteer program.

Re:Catch and release. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610572)

Riiiiight. Everyone in Gitmo's a terrorist. Sure.

Re:Catch and release. (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610598)

Right, because the only thing anyone needs their thumbs for is to hold a gun. This is a terrible idea.

No use censoring this kind of data... (3, Insightful)

Pavan_Gupta (624567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610444)

I had wondered what should be done about this when I first happened across the article on Digg and I honestly believed that that it would make sense for Google to censor sensitive regions of the world. They could do what they did for the D.C. area and beige-out some of the imagery to protect sensitive images of the country. But then the big ugly can of worms is opened as to what's sensitive to who, etc.

And honestly, all this image censorship seems like a waste of time, because this kind of information could be discovered in such a large number of ways. Imagine just floating a balloon in the air with a camera atached and some GPS equipment? I guess the US could shoot every flying object out of the sky and then censor Google, but it's probably a lame solution... it's analogous (in my mind) to application security through obscurity.

I'd imagine the betters solution for the US is to 1) place their own tents over vulnerable points (if they like the security through obscurity solution) and to 2) cut back on those points of vulnerability. What the heck did we do during the cold war -- satellite weren't only a US technology....

Why no blackout? (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610450)

Shocked they haven't forced a blackout of critical areas. I'd almost call this more of a failure of the US government not Google. They can't be expected to know where critical areas are.

Re:Why no blackout? (1)

DaggertipX (547165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610570)

A few points - 1. Are we sure a publicly available imagery program is their only source of info, and 2. While it may help hide some details, won't we be showing what areas we consider important by blacking them out. That just tells them where to hit us that would REALLY hurt us.
My opinion, maybe we should alter our deployments and base structures more often if we are concerned with this type of attack. This has the side benefit of showing us even more clearly where they get all of their information, as we can study where they attack - and what information is available that would lead them to attack there. I feel that we are being shortsighted in thinking they are only getting this info from google.

As a disclaimer : I'm not a military general, so as fun as theory and strategy can be to think about, I am talking out of my ass. All of my relevant experience comes from RTS games.

Re:Why no blackout? (2, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610638)

Exactly. I'm sure Google would be glad to help out with the War On Terrism and black out/blur any particular rectangles of the globe the US Gov't wants if it asked nicely.

No sarcasm, btw. I'm sure they would. I mean, as long as we're talking about sensitive locations in Iraq, not just "We don't want anyone looking at potential targets in Poughkeepsie, so just blur out all of the eastern seaboard."

Google's Duty... (5, Insightful)

akohler (997911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610456)

is to ensure that terrorists, insurgents, and other undesireables, shall not have access to information that is freely and publicly available through other channels anyway.

Perhaps they should recruit all of the ISPs in the developed world to aid them in carrying out this grave responsibility. If will all just signed affidavits of government loyalty and agreed to undergo extensive background checking prior to using the Internet or any Net enabled tools, the problem would be solved.

In all seriousness, when did Google become charged with being the Internet Police? Isn't combating "terrorism" someone else's job, already?

Big deal! (1)

Arborigine (1034550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610472)

I can see a stealth fighter on the pad in Area 51, but I doubt anyone can get near it. The craters to the southwest are interesting. Google Earth could be used to set traps as well. Looky here Habib, unguarded C-4! So where exactly is the playboy mansion's sundeck?

um, data access service? (1)

willgilbert (948806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610474)

google is a service that provides easy access to data. meaning, the data already exists, so oh well, it is not their problem, the more public information, the better.

I call BS (4, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610476)

The article states "We believe they use Google Earth to identify the most vulnerable areas such as tents."

The satellite photos Google uses are updated every few years at best. If the UK forces had left their tents in the same place for years, it's not Google they should have been worried about, it's their commanders. But I somehow doubt those tents were left intact for such a long time, so the Telegraph is dishing out a pile of BS here.

Time for physiological warfare (3, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610478)

Time to set up ranks of inflatable tanks, buildings, and such and move them every week. By the time they pinpoint the tanks, they will find nothing.

Here is an article on the art of deception. I would love them to waste ammo and troups attacking the empty tents in the compound where all those inflatable tanks are. []

Apply the business model... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610490)

Google should required terrorists to identify themselves as such, provide a legimate street address and a valid credit card to purchase the info. That will provide the government with information as they audit such transactions and Google will have a revenue stream to show to the shareholders. It's a win-win situation unless the military arrives after the bomb goes off. But that's not Google's problem.

Why is this story being reported? (1)

DeadPrez (129998) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610496)

I'm sure our brilliant intelligence services worked a deal out with Google to put out false information in these maps to confuse, befuddle and ultimately exploit the enemy, right? You blew our cover!

Also, you can't disprove this.

What if... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610498)

I wish we had Professor Farnsworth's "what if" machine. If we did, I would use it to give "these people" everything they want: government controlled internet, a video camera with speaker and mic on every block, no crypo among citizens, etc. and see what would happen. Because at this point I see little difference between the "insurgents" and these people in that both seem to believe that they are doing the right thing, and both are ignoring a lot of logic. I have the feeling that if either extreme were to "win" conclusively, the end would be the same: a very restricted society.

Nintendo and iRobot are next! (5, Funny)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610508)

Just wait until they discover they can control their Roomba with a Wiimote. Goodbye suicide bombings, hello Roomba bombings! Down with Nintendo, down with iRobot!

I guess maybe I'm a little naive or something (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610530)

But last time I checked, Google was not the ONLY place to get satellite imagery, its just a public one. Can't we track the IP addresses from Iraq that are accessing Google images? I would hope that a military force as formidable as the US armed forces would have a way to hide targets, and protect them. I didn't read the article, but from what I can tell otherwise, those same targets are subject to Iraqi people reporting them to 'insurgents' as well. There are probably a dozen ways to find targets inside US bases. Shutting down Google in any way will not prevent them from being visible targets to the 'insurgents'.

This story seems a lame attempt to drum up business for the warmongers? I thought the real problem was IEDs?

On a side note, do they have that much Internet access in Iraq? or is it maybe some other country that is doing this? Not really sure on that one.

so thats WHY USA been losing the war in Iraq (1)

Petkov (1011081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610532)

this explains everything! I like how USA calls itself "the only remaining superpower" while its military isn't even able to occupy a third-world-country like Iraq. But now everything becomes clear to me. Bad insurgents, bad bad insurgents!! How dare they use all the available tools just like the US military does!!

maps (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610542)

In other news, scientists have found convincing evidence that geographical and geopolitical maps can be used by terrorists to pinpoint vulnerable locations and possible targets and to coordinate terrorist troop movements. They propose the BAM [Banish All Maps] Act in order to prevent terrorists' orientation.

duh (3, Insightful)

oman_ (147713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610550)

The military should be using Google Earth to find weak points in their bases so they can FIX THEM.

You think if google earth didn't exist people wouldn't get this information? Well when they do you're going to be fscked and unprepared... It's like a real world analog for security through obscurity.

If this is so effective.... (1)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610560)

Maybe the army should use Google Earth to pinpoint vulnerable targets within their bases... and make them, oh I don't know, not vulnerable. Or better yet walk around you bases and figure out whats vulnerable in real time! I mean if Google Earth has data thats more than a year old and terrorists have used it to pinpoint vulnerable targets then doesn't that mean that the targets have been vulnerable for more than a year.

google just hasn't caught on.... (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610574)

... that people will pay money to have the lens cap on over certain areas. Some satellite imagers do that... "we publish the pictures unless you pay us not to..."

The first casualty of war.... (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610582)

Who here belives Google Earth displays or even has access to anything other than what they are permitted to by the military? So why is an intelligence officer moaning about something he knows won't change?

If the "bad guys" belive the maps are up to date then they are the maps they will use. I think this is an attempt by the "good guys" to direct enemy mortar fire into an empty padock. Now since the proffesional bad guys aren't stupid, any doubt about the currency of the images reduces Google Earth to the informational status of an old street map.

this just in... (1)

HaveBlue34 (142274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610590)

...terrorists use maps to plan attacks. More at 11.

Easy solution (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610606)

make lots of decoys. Hey it works with ducks.

Is the solution not obvious? (2, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610616)

Step 1: If practical, all US military bases in Iraq suddenly get very fuzzy on Google Earth. Or better yet, they get photoshopped to try and screw the insurgients into planning their attack with the wrong data.

Step 2: If step 1 is not practical, just fuzz out all of Iraq. I believe they do something similiar with Israel and GPS and space photos - GPS is less accurate and public images are no better than 2M resolution, IIRC.

[The part referenced by my subject line ends here]

Step 3: Just admit that Iraq is the next Vietnam, and save a bunch of lives on both sides by leaving ASAP. The the hated government [] we're propping up is as useless and corrupt [] as the South Vietnamese government was. As in Vietnam, we've got a determined insurgiency that's being supported by outside forces (We're looking at YOU, Iran and Syria). As if to rub salt in the wound, this time they (Iran & Syria) finance their support using our own oil money. Once again, the enemy is proving that all our technology is fracking useless against them. Once again, we're spending outselves into a fiscal black hole.

And once again, we're discovering that our government lied to start this war (nit: Yeah, the Gulf of Tonkin incident was just the excuse to escalate), and frankly has been systematically lying ever since. Greeted as liberators - insurgiency in it's death throes - Don't need more troops - Pay for itself in oil exports - We don't torture - Undercounting civilian deaths - Yada yada yada. We even get our own version of Vietnamization ("We stand down as they stand up"), and we all know how well that went last time. Then again, Iraqi-ization is going nowhere because the Iraqi army will never, ever stand up (i.e. don't want to anger the insurgients that will control Iraq when we leave).

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. So the question is... How long until we leave with our tail between our legs this time? And after Bush is impeached (?), will Cheney pardon him?

Re:Is the solution not obvious? (1)

Pooua (265915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610688)

"after Bush is impeached (?), will Cheney pardon him?"

No one pardoned Johnson, and he was the guy who got us deeply into Vietnam. Nixon got us out of Vietnam, and his pardon was for actions that had nothing to do with Vietnam.

Re:Is the solution not obvious? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610794)

Bush won't be impeached. Noone really want cheney in the number one spot. Just won't happen.

You believe everything you here from terrorists? (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610632)

More likely some (terrorist/insurgent/freedom fighter/pissed off local Iraqi dude) wanted to get a promotion, so he told his boss he was using the enemy's tools against him and that was how he got the great shot with his crappy mortar.

"Hey boss, I accessed a state of the art targeting system owned by the enemy to destroy the great Satan!"

"Good work, you'll get a promotion now, and no less than...4 people right under you."

Mean while the other terrorists he works with keep missing their targets and are pissed because they know this guy just got off a lucky shot. As if that wasn't bad enough, they've got a consultant from the regional Mosque doing metrics on efficiency of the local union mortar guys and will probably get laid off soon for lack of performance.

I've seen a thousand times before...

Disappointed journalist? (3, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610640)

I'm not sure, but this just sounds like a grumpy journalist to me...

Google is obviously in talks with the involved parties here.
"We have opened channels with the military in Iraq but we are not prepared to discuss what we have discussed with them," a spokesperson told the newspaper. "But we do listen and we are sensitive to requests."

It's just that they don't want to go public with all the details.

That honestly sounds good enough to me. The important part is that they're aware of the problem, not that they inform grumpy Google journalists of every little thing they're discussing internally. I think they don't deserve the negative spin on this in that article.

Google buys pictures, you can too (4, Insightful)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610666)

It's such a shame there are so many idiots and that a good percentage of them work in the media. Google doesn't have a fleet of satellites buzzing overhead watching our every move. They buy existing satellite and aerial imagery from commercial sources. These sources are US and non-US based. Google made deals on bulk purchases of the *existing* data and make it cheaper, but they didn't create it.

Also, the same clueless people assume this is all satellite imagery. The "good stuff" is actually lower level aerial photos shot from airplanes. Yep, someone flew right over the tops of those places and were paid to do so.
So, like most of the other "secrets" Google is blamed for revealing these pictures were already out there and available.

Hmm, I wonder if anyone in charge of security for those bases ever looked on Google Earth to see just what was visible? If investigators found printouts that showed vulnerable locations then those same vulnerabilities would have been visible to the security people. By seeing what was freely available to the outside world they could have taken precautions to reduce the risk.

Unless the attacks came just hours after new imagery was posted on Google Earth, then the security people screwed up royally.

I wonder if... (2, Funny)

The Crooked Elf (1042996) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610668)

...the insurgents refer to their attacks as Google Bombings.

Tools are neither good nor evil (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610672)

The people who use them are.

If everything that could possibly be used to cause bodily harm got banned, there'd hardly be anything left. This is why banning gels and liquids on airplanes is so rediculously stupid (not to mention an overreaction to a scientifically infeasable plot).

changing face of war (1)

SUROK (815273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610704)

this is just the changing face of war, deal with it.

Oh my God (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610712)

This is horrible... this is the worst thing since the communists starting using our city maps to locate our government buildings. I say we put a ban on all maps for good. God bless the United States!

Thanks for proving my theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17610716)

that no one on Slashdot is capable of a non-retarded comment about *anything* regarding the Iraq War.

Questionable Story (3, Insightful)

Pooua (265915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610736)

I saw this story about 2 days ago. It wasn't very impressive to me at the time, and still isn't. For one thing, all we know of the insurgent's use of Google Earth is that a suspected terrorist shelter had printouts and coordinates written on it. Someone assumes this means terrorists are using Google Earth to plan attacks. Maybe so, but what are they going to do? Plot in the coordinates in a cruise missile? What piece of equipment do terrorists have that use coordinates? So, the terrorists' mortor fire is becoming more accurate; after 4 years of shelling the same targets, wouldn't one expect as much? And, yes, the maps on Google Earth are a few years old. Many of the buildings where I live, even entire apartment complexes, were not built yet in the Google Earth photos.

Maps, whether Google Earth's or not, are useful for planning attacks in other ways. Maps can communicate where to meet, where to plant bombs, where convoys will travel, etc. But, Google probably does not have the only maps of Iraq that Iraqis can get. What are we supposed to do? Ban all maps from civilians?


AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17610758)

Terrorists use maps to navigate! Could map-makers be doing more to prevent this?
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