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River Cities Reader - Issue #756, July 8, 2010

River Cities Reader - Issue #756, July 8, 2010

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Published by: River Cities Reader on Jul 08, 2010
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     R     i    v    e    r     C     i     t     i    e    s     ’     R    e    a     d    e    r
   •     V    o     l .     1     7     N    o .     7     5     6   •     J    u     L     Y     8  -     2     1 ,     2     0     1     0     B    u    s     i    n    e    s    s   •     P    o     l     i    t     i    c    s   •     A    r    t    s   •     C    u     l    t    u    r    e   •     N    o    w      Y    o    u     K    n    o    w    •     R     i    v    e    r     C     i    t     i    e    s     R    e    a     d    e    r .    c    o    m
Drones Over America: Trann at Home
“A standing military orce, with an overgrownExecutive will not long be sae companions toliberty. Te means o deence against oreigndanger, have been always the instruments o tyranny at home.” – James Madison
he U.S. government has a history o commandeering military technology or use against Americans. We sawthis happen with tear gas, asers, andsound cannons, all o which were rst usedon the battleeld beore being deployedagainst civilians at home. Now the drones– pilotless, remote-controlled aircra thathave been used in Iraq and Aghanistan– are coming home to roost.Drones, a $2-billion cornerstone o theObama administration’s war eorts, haveincreasingly ound avor with both military and-law enorcement ocials. “Te more wehave used them,” stated Deense Secretary Robert Gates, “the more we have identiedtheir potential in a broader and broader seto circumstances.”Now the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) is acing mounting pressure romstate governments and localities to issuefying rights or a range o unmannedaerial vehicles (UAVs) to carry outcivilian and law-enorcement activities.As the Associated Press reports, “ornadoresearchers want to send them into stormsto gather data. Energy companies wantto use them to monitor pipelines. Statepolice hope to send them up to captureimages o speeding cars’ license plates.Local police envision using them to track feeing suspects.” Unortunately, to adrone, everyone is a suspect because dronetechnology makes no distinction betweenthe law-abiding individual and the suspect.Everyone gets monitored, photographed,tracked, and targeted.Te FAA, citing concerns over the needto regulate air trac and establish anti-collision rules or the aircras and theiroperators, has thus ar been reluctant togrant broad approval or the use o UAVs inAmerican airspace. However, unbeknownstto most Americans, remote-controlledaircra have been employed domestically oryears now. Tey were rst used as a national-security tool or patrolling America’s bordersand then as a means o monitoring citizens.For example, back in 2006, the Los AngelesCounty Sheri’s Department was testing outa SkySeer drone or use in police work. Witha 6.5-oot wingspan, the lightweight SkySeercan be olded up like a kite and stored in ashoulder pack. At 250 eet, it can barely beseen with the naked eye.As another news story that same yearreported: “One North Carolina county is using a UAV equipped with low-lightand inrared cameras to keep watch on itscitizens. Te aircra has been dispatched tomonitor gatherings o motorcycle riders atthe Gaston County airgrounds rom just aew hundred eet in the air – close enough toidentiy aces – and many more uses, such asthe aerial detection o marijuana elds, areplanned.” In 2007, insect-like drones wereseen hovering over political rallies in NewYork and Washington, seemingly spying onprotesters. An eyewitness reported that thedrones “looked kind o like dragonfies orlittle helicopters.”Drone technology has advanceddramatically in the ensuing years, withsurveillance drones getting smaller, moresophisticated, and more lethal with eachevolution. Modeling their prototype ora single-winged rotorcra on the mapleseed’s unique design, aerospace-engineeringstudents at the University o Maryland havecreated the world’s smallest controllablesurveillance drones, capable o hoveringto record conversations or movements o citizens.Tus ar, the domestic use o drones hasbeen primarily or surveillance purposesand, as ar as we know, has been limitedin scope. Eventually, however, policedepartments and intelligence agencieswill make drones a routine part o theiroperations. However, you can be sure they won’t limit themselves to just surveillance.Police today use whatever tools are at theirdisposal in order to anticipate and orestallcrime. Tis means employing technology to attain total control. echnology, whichunctions without discrimination becauseit exists without discrimination, tends to beapplied everywhere it can be applied. Tus,the logical aim o technologically equippedpolice who operate as technicians mustbe control, containment, and eventually restriction o reedom.In this way, under the guise o keepingAmericans sae and controlled, airbornedrones will have to be equipped with anassortment o lethal and nonlethal weaponsin order to eectuate control o citizenson the ground. Te arsenal o nonlethalweapons will likely include Long RangeAcoustic Devices (LRADs), which are usedto break up protests or riots by sending apiercing sound into crowds and can causeserious hearing damage; high-intensity 
by John W. Whitehead
Continued On Page 19
 B   u  s  i     e  s   s  • P   o l    i     t   i     c   s  • A  r   t    s  •  C   u l     t    u r   e • N   o w Y   o  u K   o w • R  i     e r   C  i     t   i     e  s  R   e  a  d   e r   . c   o m
R  i     e  r   C   i     t   i     e   s  ’    R   e   a  d    e  r  
• V   o l     .1  7  N   o  .7   5   6  •  J    u L   Y   8  2  1   ,2   0  1   0  

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