Monday, April 18, 2011

Freedom to Have Domestic Drones

WaPo reported:

By 2013, the FAA expects to have formulated new rules that would allow police across the country to routinely fly lightweight, unarmed drones up to 400 feet above the ground - high enough for them to be largely invisible eyes in the sky.

Such technology could allow police to record the activities of the public below with high-resolution, infrared and thermal-imaging cameras.

Senator Chuck Schumer wants unmanned Air Force drones unleashed in upstate New York.  An Air Force representative said:

It is unlikely the drone ever will carry an armament load locally, but training missions will require crews to spot buildings and vehicles from afar. Department of Defense regulations prohibit the plane to be used for domestic surveillance, so any sighting of objects will be random.
Drones will be used for "disaster relief and homeland defense."  How long before the predicable mission creep or one off incident?

When a U.S. Navy UAV helicopter disregarded its directions and errantly flew toward the U.S. capital it may have confirmed the concerns of many pilots, but it immediately engaged military officials who had pressing decisions to make. The 2 August (2010) incident put a runaway MQ-8B Fire Scout over populated areas near busy airspace. The head of the U.S. Northern Command and NORAD, Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, was watching “very closely” as the aircraft “headed right for the heart of the national capital region.” Commanders considered their options. “Do you let it run out of gas and hopefully crash in a farmer’s field or do you actually take action to shoot it down?”
 As the one off already occurred, how long before creepy mission gets mission creep?  When will America conduct its first domestic summary execution?  What will the -A-ir Force payout to the victim's surviving relatives?

Update 4-21-11   U.S. armed drones are headed to Libya.  Summary execution is a key element of Western freedom.

Update 5-7-11:   The U.S. performed a summary execution of terrorist Osama bin Laden.  MIT Professor Noam Chomsky weighed in on the act.  Chomsky failed to mention the various stories offered by the White House regarding the raid.  That seems to be another act, fictional drama for the masses.

Update  9-6-11:  NPR did a story on drone attacks in Pakistan.  "Started under the Bush administration, the strikes into Pakistan have increased fivefold under President Obama. Last year, there were 118."  Since 2004 there have been 270.  Obama loves summary execution