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Prohibiting autonomous weapons systems

They have been dubbed ‘killer robots’. Concerted international action is needed to prevent the emergence of weapons which could operate without meaningful human control.

Trident: weak defence

The Conservative-led government of austerity Britain is facing the sacrifice of its sacred cow of high military spending—to preserve the even more precious elephant in the room: the UK’s ‘independent’ nuclear weapon.

How Israeli high-tech firms are outfitting the US-Mexico border

American academic and corporate knowhow and Mexican low-wage manufacturing are to fuse with Israel’s border and homeland security companies.

Pakistan’s 21st amendment: national consensus or soft coup?

The attack on the school in Peshawar in December shocked the world. In Pakistan, the upshot is a growing military shadow once more looming over a fragile democracy.

A permanent infrastructure for permanent war

America's 35-year-long strategy of dotting the Middle East with military bases, large and small, is one of the greatest disasters in the already-sordid history of its foreign policy.  

Mexico: student disappearances focus anger at abuse and impunity

Students shot dead by police, others “disappeared”, mass graves located … the absence of the rule of law and trampling on human rights in Mexico is sparking widespread protest.

Can NATO be saved from strategic obscurity?

Despite a renewed sense of purpose with a change in leadership and the crisis in Ukraine, the alliance continues to court its own irrelevancy.  

Egypt: time to end the diplomatic farce

Many Egyptians are smarting from the betrayal of their revolution while the military-backed regime tightens its grip. The international community can no longer ignore this.

Why are police becoming more like soldiers?

Militarisation of the police is a developing phenomenon, spreading into nominally democratic societies as the bonds of popular consent to the status quo weaken.

From cops to counterinsurgents: the militarization of America's police

Welcome to a new era of American policing, where cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory.

Quiet legacies and long shadows: the Obama era of counterterrorism in the Sahel-Sahara

Despite the crumbling facade of its interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, America is  preparing for a new century of 'light footprint' warfare, using Africa as its laboratory. 

The Fourth Branch: the rise of the national security state

Though the US may be finally addressing some of the fictions propping up its security policies, the question remains: who rules Washington? 

Drones in Afghanistan—under the radar

Drones in Afghanistan have been responsible for countless civilian casualties. That’s the problem—they’re countless.

Arrested democracy: why Thailand needs a new social contract

The Thai military may think its May takeover has run smoothly but authoritarian dictates and an elite power monopoly will not keep the country together in the longer term.

An ambiguous role: NATO in the Arctic

Conditions in the Arctic in the 21st century come complete with territorial claims and lucrative opportunities. What role should NATO play in balancing the security implications for an increasingly accessed High North?

The national security blindspot in Colombia's FOI law

A new transparancy law guarantees Colombian citizens greater access to information on public spending, but corruption in the defence sector and links to organised crime still remain obscured, and matters of 'national security' are exempt altogether.  

NATO: slipping into confrontation

Russia's moves into Crimea have sparked almost reflexive predictions of a new cold war. But NATO members once again fail to understand its lessons, continuing to squander opportunities for arms control, cooperation and dialogue. 

Arbitrary detention, once again, in Thailand

If madness is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome, the authors of Thailand’s twelfth coup since the absolute monarchy have yet to learn from Einstein’s aphorism.

Boko Haram: completing the circle of liberal interventionism?

Clarion calls on social media for action in Africa have once again become an excuse to flex military muscle, as the rhetoric of 'humanitarian' interventions is increasingly outfitted with the tactics of the war on terror.

High speed silk roads: the birth of a Eurasian century

No amount of US "pivoting" can prevent the emergence of a multipolar, multi-powered world along a Eurasian axis that challenges western neoliberal hegemoy.  

The US military's new normal in Africa

Every new African nightmare turns out to be another opening for US military involvement.

The conflict horizon

The last two decades have seen a growing global appetite for peace but unless concerted, informed action is taken the next two could bring darker times

The creation of a border security state

Americans may increasingly wonder whether NSA agents are scouring their meta-data, reading their personal emails, and the like. On the US-Mexican border no imagination is necessary.

Policing academia: exporting 'expertise', importing marketisation

Manchester Metropolitan University is working with the Qatari government to train Qatari police officers. What does the export of policing 'expertise', such as within this lucrative business deal, reveal about the transformation of academia in the UK?

The heavy imprint of America's 'light footprint'

New documents reveal the blinding pace of US military operations in Africa as the Pentagon prepares for future wars. 

Invasion of the data snatchers

How Big Data and the Internet of Things means the surveillance of everything. There’s simply no way to forecast how these immense powers - disproportionately accumulating in the hands of corporations seeking financial advantage and governments craving ever more control - will be used.

Fish rot from the head

Torture is routine practice in South Africa's police stations and prisons. A lineage of impunity, traced from apartheid, has meant de facto immunity for perpetrators. With South Africa celebrating its 'Human Rights Day' this weekend, the shocking reality behind its prison walls must be a central focus.

Back to the future: America's new model for expeditionary warfare

In a world of supposed cutbacks, the US military continues to quietly move into Africa in a distinctly below-the-radar fashion. The Pentagon’s newest tactic: refight the colonial wars in partnership with the French.

Beyond Yasukuni: Japan's march towards militarism

From constitutional revisions to education reform, the Japanese government is intent on undoing the country's pacifist fundamentals. 

Britain’s strategic pause: lessons from an insecure and interventionist century

After 100 years of continuous war, can Britain learn the limits of military action to respond to shifting realities of insecurity? Continued investment in force projection and lack of commitment to genuine reflection on today's security challenges suggests it's not yet ready to let go of its militarist mindset.

White-washing the water cannon: salesmen, scientific experts and human rights abuses

Scrubbing away the white-wash of 'less lethal' riot control reveals a history littered with humanitarian disasters, weaponisation, inadequate testing, and corporate profiteering. What does a 'public consultation' on water cannon mean when this history is hidden?

The US and Colombia: building an exportable model of security

Through the laboratory of Plan Colombia, the US has developed its 'stabalization' model for counter insurgency operations. With a peace agreement with the FARC on the horizon, what is the future for Colombia's overinflated military? Español.

Saving privacy from deformed democracy

With focus on the government's grip over surveillance, the public debate over privacy has ignored citizen-led data initiatives to regain power in the digital age - and the war being waged against them. 

Understanding the Colombia connection

An exclusive clip from the The Colombia Connection, a documentary that explores the history and human costs of US intervention in Colombia and its nearly 50 year old conflict. Video

Sustainable security and the challenges of 2014

openSecurity's newest column explores the drivers of global insecurities and addresses their root causes. We look ahead to 2014 and the planet's unsustainable state. 

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