Tag Archive: Drones


Commentary From John Whitehead At The Rutherford Institute

 

 

 

 

 

” By John W. Whitehead 
June 16, 2014

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison

“ Here [in New Mexico], we are moving more toward a national police force. Homeland Security is involved with a lot of little things around town. Somebody in Washington needs to call a timeout.”—Dan Klein, retired Albuquerque Police Department sergeant.

  If the United States is a police state, then the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its national police force, with all the brutality, ineptitude and corruption such a role implies. In fact, although the DHS’ governmental bureaucracy may at times appear to be inept and bungling, it is ruthlessly efficient when it comes to building what the Founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.

The third largest federal agency behind the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the DHS—with its 240,000 full-time workers, $61 billion budget and sub-agencies that include the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—has been aptly dubbed a “runaway train.”

  In the 12 years since it was established to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.

  A better plan would be to abolish the DHS altogether. In making the case for shutting down the de facto national police agency, analyst Charles Kenny offers the following six reasons: one, the agency lacks leadership; two, terrorism is far less of a threat than it is made out to be; three, the FBI has actually stopped more alleged terrorist attacks than DHS; four, the agency wastes exorbitant amounts of money with little to show for it; five, “An overweight DHS gets a free pass to infringe civil liberties without a shred of economic justification”; and six, the agency is just plain bloated.

  To Kenny’s list, I will add the following: The menace of a national police force, a.k.a. a standing army, vested with so much power cannot be overstated, nor can its danger be ignored. Indeed, as the following list shows, just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to police agencies in the form of grants.

  Militarizing police and SWAT teams. The DHS routinely hands out six-figure grants to enable local municipalities to purchase military-style vehicles, as well as a veritable war chest of weaponry, ranging from tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, assault weapons and combat uniforms. This rise in military equipment purchases funded by the DHS has, according to analysts Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, “paralleled an apparent increase in local SWAT teams.” The end result? An explosive growth in the use of SWAT teams for otherwise routine police matters, an increased tendency on the part of police to shoot first and ask questions later, and an overall mindset within police forces that they are at war—and the citizenry are the enemy combatants.”

     Below are a list of other ways in which the State is busy eroding our Constitutional rights , all explored in greater depth at the Rutherford Institute .

” Spying on activists, dissidents and veterans. 

Stockpiling ammunition. 

Distributing license plate readers. 

Contracting to build detention camps. 

Tracking cell-phones with Stingray devices. 

Carrying out military drills and lockdowns in American cities. 

Using the TSA as an advance guard. 

Conducting virtual strip searches with full-body scanners. 

Carrying out soft target checkpoints. 

Directing government workers to spy on Americans.  

Conducting widespread spying networks using fusion centers. 

Carrying out Constitution-free border control searches. 

Funding city-wide surveillance cameras. 

Utilizing drones and other spybots. 

  It’s not difficult to see why the DHS has been described as a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast.” If it is a beast, however, it is a beast that is accelerating our nation’s transformation into a police state through its establishment of a standing army, a.k.a. national police force.

  This, too, is nothing new. Historically, as I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the establishment of a national police force has served as a fundamental and final building block for every totalitarian regime that has ever wreaked havoc on humanity, from Hitler’s all-too-real Nazi Germany to George Orwell’s fictional Oceania. Whether fictional or historical, however, the calling cards of these national police agencies remain the same: brutality, inhumanity, corruption, intolerance, rigidity, and bureaucracy—in other words, evil. “

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Daily Video 3.13.14

Proposed Bill Would Curb Militarization Of US Police

 

 

 

Published on Mar 12, 2014

” The Pentagon’s 1033 program, which “provides or transfers surplus Department of Defense military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies without charge,” needs a major overhaul to prevent the further militarization of American police departments, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) argues in a new USA Today op-ed. The program currently allows small-town police departments, like that in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., to receive Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles (or MRAPs), assault weapons, drones and other military-grade equipment – that they may never use – for free, instead of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for them. And then those small towns can turn around and sell that equipment online. RT’s Gayane Chichakyan discusses the militarization of US police with Michael Shank from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, who co-wrote the Johnson op-ed.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIA Warily Watches For Threats To U.S. Now That 87 Nations Possess Drones

 

 

 

The age of the drone is here, and U.S. intelligence agencies are warily monitoring their proliferation around the globe.

China uses them to spy on Japan near disputed islands in AsiaTurkey uses them to eyeball Kurdish activity in northern IraqBolivia uses them to spot coca fields in the Andes. Iran reportedly has given them to Syria to monitor opposition rebels.

The U.S., Britain and Israel are the only nations to have fired missiles from remote-controlled drones, but the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles has become so prevalent that U.S. intelligence sources and private analysts say it is merely a matter of time before other countries use the technology.

People in Washington like to talk about this as if the supposed American monopoly on drones might end one day. Well, the monopoly ended years ago,” said Peter W. Singer, who heads the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution.

What’s worse, clandestine strikes carried out by Washington in far-flung corners of the world have set a precedent that could be ugly.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PETA Launches Their ‘Air Angel,’ A Drone Meant To Hunt Hunters

 

 

 

 

” Recently, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said they were acquiring drones, and now that the animal rights group has released their final product, they believe it will aid in raising awareness about the cruelty of hunting, though they may not legally be permitted to use them, Mashable reported.

According to Petacatalog.com, the “Air Angel” drone is a four-motored quadracopter capable of hovering high above the tree line while beaming captured video directly to a cell phone. Its purpose is to use the footage to alert game wardens of hunters engaging in illegal activity such as “drinking while in possession of a firearm, injuring animals and failing to pursue them, and illegally using spotlights, feed lures, and other nasty but common hunting tricks.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Video 11.1.13

Blood On Obama’s Hands? Left Blames Obama For Drone Deaths

 

 

Published on Oct 31, 2013

” Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) accused President Obama of killing civilians in drone attacks. Is this a fair line of attack? Should the press join Grayson in accusing Obama of having blood on his hands? Hear what Trifecta thinks.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Obama Hypocrite Of Century': Full Interview With Controversial Irish MP Clare Daly

 

 

  This is an interview with Ms Daly from July . Watch it , but do yourself a favor and watch her speech at the bottom first . It is a truly inspiring piece of oratory and the world could do well with more people of Ms Daly’s courage that dare to speak the truth .

 

 

   And here is the speech that she gave in the Irish parliament during which she dared to speak what very few have had the integrity to do . We certainly have little in common with Ms Daly politically , yet we must acknowledge courage and truth wherever they may appear .

 

 

 

   Ms Daly spares no one in her diatribe … Michelle , Barack , politicians and the fawning press all fall within her sights and all limp away in tatters by her efforts . This is what that tired cliche “speaking truth to power” was intended to refer to .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China Pushes For Drones

 

 

 

” For almost two years, hackers based in Shanghai went after one foreign defense contractor after another, at least 20 in all. Their target, according to an American cybersecurity company that monitored the attacks, was the technology behind the United States’ clear lead in military drones.

I believe this is the largest campaign we’ve seen that has been focused on drone technology,” said Darien Kindlund, manager of threat intelligence at the company, FireEye, based in California. “It seems to align pretty well with the focus of the Chinese government to build up their own drone technology capabilities.”

The hacking operation, conducted by a group called “Comment Crew,” was one of the most recent signs of the ambitions of China’s drone development program. The government and military are striving to put China at the forefront of drone manufacturing, for their own use and for export, and have made an all-out push to gather domestic and international technology to support the program.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. military drone surveillance is expanding to hot spots beyond declared combat zones

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” The steel-gray U.S. Air Force Predator drone plunged from the sky, shattering on mountainous terrain near the Iraq-Turkey border. For Kurdish guerrillas hiding nearby, it was an unexpected gift from the propaganda gods.

  Fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, filmed the charred wreckage on Sept. 18 and posted a video on YouTube. A narrator bragged unconvincingly that the group had shot down the drone. But for anyone who might doubt that the flying robot was really American, the video zoomed in on mangled parts stamped in English and bearing the label of the manufacturer, San Diego-based General Atomics.”








One-Time ‘Superstar’ Obama Returns To Berlin As A Mere President

 

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” President Barack Obama may still have the kind of popularity ratings that any politician would envy, but some Germans say the president’s ‘superstar’ status has been slightly tarnished.

His arrival last night in Berlin on a 24-hour trip culminates in a speech at the city’s iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Last time he was in Berlin, in 2008 as a presidential candidate, expectations were high.

But Obama is now well into his second term and German critics claim he has failed to deliver.

Most recently, an issue to rile a country which holds individual privacy dear is the PRISM programme scandal which has revealed that Obama has expanded Bush-era surveillance of phone calls and emails. Chancellor Angela Merkel had promised to raise the subject when they meet for private talks.

At a news conference after the meeting Obama said he was confident that the US has struck an appropriate balance between intelligence gathering and civil liberties.

Obama’s escalation of drone warfare has also provoked protests in Berlin.”

 

 

Five years one and the bloom is finally off the rose … sort of .

 

 

 

 

 

Obama’s War On The Constitution

 

 

 

” A physician’s expertise makes him capable of inflicting great harm, noted Plato a couple thousand years ago, and no one is better positioned to steal than a guard. So perhaps we should not be surprised that the most conspicuous foe of liberty and the Bill of Rights turns out to be a former professor of constitutional law.

As a general rule, politicians tend to whipsaw between two poles. Conservatives try to increase economic liberty but show less regard for civil liberties. Liberals care deeply about civil liberties while trying to restrict the economic kind.

But the Obama administration is remarkable for its degree of disdain for both. 

From a civil-liberties perspective, Obama has carried forward nearly every one of the war-on-terror powers that led liberals to denounce George W. Bush as a goose-stepping fascist, and in fact has made many of them worse. When he retires from public life, perhaps he will return to teaching the Constitution. That should be much easier work – given how little of it there will be left.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What If A Republican President Did These 9 Things?

 

 

 

nixon2

 

What if…

” Richard Nixon didn’t just have an enemies list but a personal “kill list” and claimed the right to kill Americans without trial, even though he promised not to do so?”

 

 

Read The Rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Anger At Eric Holder Grows, So Does His Value As Obama’s Lightning Rod

 

 

” Despite its exalted status as the nation’s “top cop,” the job is best understood as a dumping ground for intermittently competent bulldogs who take out the president’s trash and act as his public-relations human shield.

As Michael A. Walsh notes in the New York Post, Holder is directly involved in essentially every aspect of President Obama’s second-term scandalpalooza. Not only did he sign off on the search warrant for Fox News’s James Rosen’s personal emails, he is at the center of questions over the state’s broad surveillance of the AP, an operation that has raised hackles across the political spectrum regarding First Amendment issues and civil-liberties concerns. (Holder did himself no favors by recusing himself from the AP case in vague and uncertain terms). Walsh notes that “even the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups for special scrutiny—[finds its] nexus at the top of the Justice Department.”

Such conservative ire is nothing new. Less than a year ago, congressional Republicans—along with 17 Democrats—voted to hold Holder in contempt for failing to deliver documents and testimony related to the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking operation directed from an Arizona office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which answers to the attorney general. Although timed to the confirmation vote of CIA director John Brennan, Sen. Rand Paul’s epic filibuster in March was specifically targeted at Holder’s refusal to give a simple answer to questions about the use of domestic drones. Now the House Judiciary Committee is reportedly looking to investigate whether Holder perjured himself before Congress in relation to the press probes.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘STAND DOWN': U.S. HAD TWO DRONES, AC-130 GUNSHIP, AND TARGETS PAINTED IN BENGHAZI

 

 

 

 

” Reports indicate two drones and an AC-130 gunship were in the area when Benghazi was attacked, yet their resources were not used.

This runs completely against the current explanation coming out of the White House, which is that Obama did everything he could once he learned of the attack. 

There are three huge problems with the excuses Obama and Panetta are making.

1. It is now known that the U.S. had two drones in the area — both of which were filming the attacks, sending back feeds in real time, and at least one of the drone may have been armed.  

2. Reports also indicate a Specter gunship, probably an AC-130, was in the area for backup. The gunship could have swooped in and not only leveled the playing field in the match between 50 attackers vs a handful of security personnel, it could have thrown the attack decisively in favor of the security personnel. 

3. The security personnel in Benghazi had painted a laser mark on the attackers outside the consulate. This mark would have made possible a response by the drones or the AC-130 routine had they been allowed to zero in on it. The member of the security team who was on the roof of the consulate, spraying machine gun fire down on the attackers, continually asked for backup from the AC-130. It never came.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noonan: Obama Already Close To Lame Duck Status

 

 

 

 

” President Barack Obama is on the way to becoming a lame duck president, says Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan in an editorial.

He’s not there yet as anything can happen in his remaining 44 months in office to make him relevant, but he’s getting close, she says.

“He’s not a lame duck, he’s just lame,” the former Ronald Reagan speechwriter writes.

Noonan cites a litany of setbacks that have dogged Obama:

• “He couldn’t get a win on gun control with 90 percent public support;”
• “When he speaks on immigration reform you get the sense he’s setting it back;”
• “He’s floundering on Syria;”
• “The looming crisis on implementation of Obamacare has begun to fill the news. Even his allies are using the term ‘train wreck.’ Obamacare is not only the most slovenly written major law in modern American history, it is full of sneaked-in surprises people are just discovering;” 
• His “sequester strategy — scare the American public into supporting me — flopped;”
• “Benghazi and what appear to be its cover-ups drag on and will not go away;”
• “The economy is stuck in low-growth, employment in no-growth.”

“The president seems incapable of changing anything, even in a crisis. He’s been scored as passive and petulant, but it’s the kind of passivity people fall into when nothing works.” “

 

 

   Recognizing the truth now , five years too late , in no way restores your lost credibility Ms Noonan . Once a fool , always a fool .

 

 

 

 

 

World’s Smallest Fly-Inspired RoboBee Makes First Controlled Flight

 

 

“A team of engineers from Harvard University have built the world’s smallest aerial drones that are half the size of a paper clip and weigh less than a tenth of a gram after a decade of hard work.

Inspired by the biology of a fly, the world’s first smallest controllable, flying, insect-sized robot known as ‘RoboBee’ was designed using a technique known as ‘smart composite microstructure’ (SCM). It consists of a submillimeter scale anatomy and two wafer-thin wings that have the capacity to flap 129 times per second.

This fascinating device was built by a mechanical engineer Robert Wood from Harvard University, together with Harvard grad student Kevin Ma.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Drone Strike Reality Check

 

 

 

 

 

” Ben Swann, in a special edition of Reality Check, gives us a full overview of drones, drone strikes and the Obama administration’s “kill list” and assassinations.”

 

 

  This post from the Freedom Outpost is a link-filled encyclopedia on Obama’s Drones . Explore the videos and links if you want to know what is going on in the world of targeted assassination .

 

 

Obama’s Middle East Policy In Tatters

 

 

 

 

 

 

” President Obama’s first journey to Israel as president comes amid earth-shattering change in Middle East, much of it for the worse. The Arab Spring, which once raised hopes of freedom and dignity, has diverged onto the dark path of Islamist authoritarian rule. In Syria, tens of thousands of people have died in a bitter civil war that might have recently seen its first use of chemical weapons. And Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons capability, heedless of international condemnation. Obama’s effort to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis is in tatters.

That’s why the White House has been lowering expectations for Obama’s trip to Israel all this week. He will announce no new peace plan, grand design or major foreign policy initiative. His advisers are calling the trip a “listening tour.” That is what you call a state visit when you have little to say.

According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term. Approval of Obama’s policies declined even further, from 34% to 15%. And support for the United States in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan is lower today than it was in 2008 in the closing year of George W. Bush’s administration. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beavis And Butt-Head Meet The Predator Drone

Mark Steyn: An Unstable Truce With The Axis Of Crazy

 

 

” Meanwhile, back at the GOP, Sen. Rand Paul is no Dick Cheney, either: At CPAC this week, the narrow bounds of his smash-hit filibuster – questioning drone assassinations of Americans in America – broadened somewhat, not just to questioning drone assassinations of Americans anywhere, nor to questioning drone assassinations of anyone, nor even to questioning the “war on terror” or war in general, but to questioning the very assumptions of American global order, starting with our bankrolling of Mohamed Morsi in Cairo. The Egyptians send mobs to torch the U.S. embassy, the Saudis wage ideological warfare against Western civilization, the Turks call Israel a “crime against humanity” and threaten a cultural and demographic takeover of Europe, the Pakistanis are ramping up nuke production to sell to any loon in town – and those are just our “allies.” With friends like these, who needs foreign policy? There are fewer and fewer takers for the burdens of global superpower, and whoever wins the nomination in 2016 will be considerably less Cheney and more Randy.

 

As the CPAC crowd suggested, there are takers on the right for the Rand Paul position. There are many on the left for Obama’s drone-alone definition of great power. But there are ever fewer takers for a money-no-object global hegemon that spends 46 percent of the world’s military budget and can’t impress its will on a bunch of inbred goatherds. A broker America needs to learn to do more with less, and to rediscover the cold calculation of national interest rather than waging war as the world’s largest NGO. In dismissing Rand Paul as a “wacko bird,” John McCain and Lindsay Graham assume that the too-big-to-fail status quo is forever. It’s not; it’s already over.”

 

 

 

 

 

As Drone Monopoly Frays, Obama Seeks Global Rules

 

 

” President Barack Obama, who vastly expanded U.S. drone strikes against terrorism suspects overseas under the cloak of secrecy, is now openly seeking to influence global guidelines for their use as China and other countries pursue their own drone programs.

The United States was the first to use unmanned aircraft fitted with missiles to kill militant suspects in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

But other countries are catching up. China’s interest in unmanned aerial vehicles was displayed in November at an air show . According to state-run newspaper Global Times, China had considered conducting its first drone strike to kill a suspect in the 2011 murder of 13 Chinese sailors, but authorities decided they wanted the man alive so they could put him on trial.

“People say what’s going to happen when the Chinese and the Russians get this technology? The president is well aware of those concerns and wants to set the standard for the international community on these tools,” said Tommy Vietor, until earlier this month a White House spokesman.”

 

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Rand Paul: Wins Day One of CPAC, Helping Rethink The War On Terror

 

 

” Rand Paul, post-filibuster, strides mightily atop the world of young-skewing conservative activism yesterday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“That filibuster was the best move by a politician I’ve ever seen,” a high school senior from Virginia with a swept bowl-cut (who has seen a lot of moves in his time) exclaimed when asked about his sticker.

When Paul himself took the stage inside, the audience roared in approbation and many stood for the duration of the speech to physically show their support. Paul played the hits right off the back, opening with a joke about his now iconic filibuster. “I was told I get 10 measly minutes, but I came prepared with 13 hours’ worth of material!” he said while holding up a stack of black binders. “Don’t drone me, bro!” a young man yelled approvingly from the crowd.

Paul offered a plea for a revamp. “The Republican Party has to change,” Paul said. It especially needs to appeal to young people by expanding its conception of limited government beyond taxes and regulation to things like drug policy, technology, and civil liberties, he explained, because the “Facebook generation” is the “core of the ‘leave me alone’ coalition.” “

 

 

 

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