Why is a secret unmanned surveillance drone program being gradually installed in the skies over areas in America? This development has definitely not been given the mainstream media coverage that it ought to have been. Yet, this has been going on for many years now. This frequent aerial surveillance might tremendously change the nature of public life in America. Their presence has been shown to psychologically terrorize populations in other nations since they bring explosive effects and can be heard but not seen.
Since they are currently becoming much cheaper, greater numbers of them can be utilized in a more effective manner than helicopters or satellites ever could. These are now literally able to observe as well as deal with anything being done in an expanded geographical area.
Privacy organizations led by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) have been devoting increasing efforts to publicizing their unique risks and pressing for statutory restrictions on their use. Unmanned aircraft with cameras raise the prospect of an invasive new method of the surveillance of American life. This is especially true given that these kind of devices can be used with literally no detection for increasing amounts of time.
There is a significant promise of wealth to be made from exploiting the domestic drone market. Government officials are already being lured financially to encourage their use. Numerous states are deliberating and some have approved legislation regulating the use of drones. The ACLU is continuously monitoring state activity and working hard to make sure that the right to privacy bills regarding drones become law.
Government Drone Secrecy
The CIA along with the military are performing an illegal “targeted killing” program. People far from any battlefield are determined to be enemies of the state and are killed without any charge or trial. Many of these people are innocent civilians. Outside of armed conflict zones, the use of lethal force is severely limited by international law. The targeted killing program operates through the CIA overseen by no one beyond the executive branch.
In the last few months, there have been calls for transparency from both Republican and Democratic members of Congress which has pressured the President and his new CIA director, John Brennan. The Congress wants them to deliver a fuller explanation of the objectives and operation of the drone program. Government officials are refusing to allow these details to be revealed to the public by claiming that they “can neither confirm nor deny” any claims.
The CIA was wrong to reject a Freedom of Information Act request for information on the CIA’s drone program. Finally, half way through March of 2013, with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU, the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that there could no longer be any secrecy relating to drones. Details about the program are still yet to be released.
Former White House Press Secretary under Obama, Robert Gibbs, has even recently disclosed the truth that he was ordered to act as if there was no such thing as an active US drone program. The Department of Defense and the CIA are still continuing to claim that they have no knowledge to contribute about the program.
Please just watch a short portion of his recent interview below.
Where Drones Are Now in America
The usage of drones by domestic US law enforcement organizations is growing rapidly, both in relation to the numbers and kinds of usage. The Federal Aviation Administration has currently issued 1,428 licenses to domestic drone operators since 2007. Law enforcement organizations in America already have used Predator drones over US soil for surveillance.
Drones fly well above a target and are difficult to see with the naked eye while they execute surveillance. Their usage disregards the Fourth Amendment. Surveillance by these drones constitutes an unreasonable search of a person and their property. Their use might eventually induce an increase in exploitation and improper use by people who operate them.
This past year Congress authorized the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open the nation’s airspace to widespread drone flights by 2015. The FAA anticipates that nearly 30,000 civilian drones could be flying in the sky by 2020. The usage of drones domestically violates the Posse Comitatus Act, which blocks the armed forces from exercising police powers inside the US.
Drones have already been used in the name of “border security”. They have already been used on the border between the US and Canada in the Pacific Northwest as well as in the southwest along the border with Mexico. There are a lot of large cities around these borders. A drone was even utilized in a sparsely populated section of North Dakota for surveillance objectives that resulted in arrests.
Map of Authorized Drone Locations (February 2013)
Drones Used As Weapons
It is well known that drones have been used to kill an estimated 4,700 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. In early March of 2013, Eric Holder argued that using lethal military force against an American would be legal and justified in an “extraordinary circumstance” comparable to the September 11 terrorist attacks!
The belief that weaponized drones won’t be used in America is both ignorant and unsound. The past history of law enforcement agencies has been to include the use of military practices and products into domestic law enforcement. Police departments have already been speaking openly about how their drones might be designed to include nonlethal weapons including rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.
AeroVironment Inc. is the nation’s top producer of smaller sized unmanned aircraft technologies used both for surveillance and attack objectives. Their domestic marketing efforts are escalating because they recognize that our country’s expenditures on foreign wars will decrease. They hail their new armed “Switchblade” drone as “the ultimate assassin bug”. It is designed to be controlled to crash into a precise target with a tiny warhead detonating on impact. Small drones are now also being developed by companies such as this that even look and function like a mosquito! (check out the video below)
The NSA (National Security Agency) already utilizes surveillance of electronic communications and is pushing toward being able to survey people physically. This is all being done in the name of the “War on Terrorism”. The list of potential terrorists now includes almost any category of people in this nation now (look it up!).
The American reaction to drones that are constantly hovering over their homes and their children’s schools remains to be seen. At some point, their presence will be so widespread and commonplace that it will be even more difficult to stop. The handful of genuinely positive uses from drones will be endlessly touted by mainstream media to distract attention away from the real dangers that they pose.
The ACLU has developed the following safeguards for domestic drone usage:
- Drones should only be deployed by law enforcement in criminal situations, with a warrant or in true emergency situations.
- Images that they obtain should only be retained for ongoing investigations and trials.
- Their usage policy should be clearly written and decided by the public’s representatives rather than by police departments.
- Their uses should be subject to open audits and proper oversight.
- They should not be equipped with lethal or even non-lethal weapons of any kind.
We all need to stand behind the ACLU and support these safeguards. If we don’t, then we can all expect to experience the same level of psychological terrorism that the common citizens of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia already have.
UPDATE: (4/19/2013) Idaho took the lead in protecting people from drone surveillance last week. Other states are considering taking a similar course of action.
UPDATE: (5/8/2013) AUGUSTA, Maine — In a narrow decision, lawmakers accepted an amendment to a bill offered by Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, that could allow police to use a drone without a search warrant.
UPDATE: (6/24/2013) Shocking News – Talk about surveillance!… Now your doctor will really be able to make sure that your children (or you yourself) are receiving and ingesting their medications! Isn’t technology GREAT?
UPDATE: (2/8/2014) New drone technology “equivalent to the capabilities of 100 Predator drones”
I wish you the best of “believing” in all of your future endeavors,
ROB – (admin)
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