Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oct 30 16:49

Drones set to share sky with domestic air traffic

Tests have been carried out to see whether military drones can mix safely in the air with passenger planes.
The tests involved a Predator B drone fitted with radio location systems found on domestic aircraft that help them spot and avoid other planes.
The tests will help to pave the way for greater use of drones in America's domestic airspace.
The flight tests took place off the coast of Florida in early August, but details have only just been released.
The Predator B used in the tests is a modified version of the Guardian drone typically used by the US navy. While such robot planes have been widely used in war zones and on military operations, their use over native soil has been restricted.
Webmaster's Commentary: 
This is NOT about air "security" or surveillance.
And what these armed drones have been doing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen, will be coming to the airspace over the US in the not too distant future.
I can almost guarantee you one thing: what has happened in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen will not stay in Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan, and Yemen.
here are two types of lethal drones primarily now used by the US: the MQ-1B Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper.[10] The Predator MQ-1B, first flown in 1994,[11] was designed “to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information combined with a kill capability.”[12] Equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, the Predator MQ-1B was the world’s first-ever weaponized unmanned aircraft system.[13] As P.W. Singer writes in Wired for War, “[a]t twenty-seven feet in length, [the Predator] is just a bit smaller than a Cessna. . . . made of composite materials instead of metals, the Predator weighs just 1,130 pounds. Perhaps its best quality is that it can spend some twenty-four hours in the air, flying at heights of up to twenty-six thousand feet.”[14] The MQ-9 Reaper “is larger and more powerful than the MQ-1 Predator and is designed to prosecute time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, and destroy or disable those targets.”[15] The technical precision of these weapons has been disputed, including by companies that developed software used in targeting.[16] One factor that reduces targeting precision is ‘latency,’ the delay between movement on the ground and the arrival of the video image via satellite to the drone pilot. As the New York Times reported in July 2012, “Last year senior operatives with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula told a Yemeni reporter that if they hear an American drone overhead, they move around as much as possible.”[17] Even when they are precise, however, casualties and damage are not necessarily confined to the specific individual, vehicle, or structure targeted. The blast radius from a Hellfire missile can extend anywhere from 15-20 meters;[18] shrapnel may also be projected significant distances from the blast.
In light of the fact that through the passage of the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, and the signing of the NDAA, the United States of America has become a post-Constitutional republic, where none of the guarantees and rights which used to be afforded American citizens under the Constitution and Bill of Rights apply.
Several months after President Obama ordered Anwar Awlaki killed by the CIA, the Obama DOJ — specifically lawyers within its Office of Legal Counsel — produced a memorandum legally authorizing this action. Despite multiple requests, the Obama administration refuses to release that memo to the public. Several DOJ officials, hiding behind anonymity, have apparently refused to leak the memo, but have now selectively described parts of it to The New York Times‘ Charlie Savage – presumably the parts they wanted him to know about — and he then reported on what they said (offering some important counter-points along the way). As Savage put it: The secret document provided the justification for acting [against Awlaki] despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, according to people familiar with the analysis.
So if President Obama believes that he has the right to extrajudicially assassinate any US national on foreign soil, by logical extension, that means he believes he also has the right to extrajudicially assassinate any American here on American soil.
In our latest episode of "Let's Militarize The Police And Treat Civilians As The Enemy," we now want the same scattershot drone technology to be used right here in the good old U.S. of A.! What could possibly go wrong? I know: We'll pass a law saying that anyone shot by drones was a "militant" and that will fix everything! Oy: American police officers may soon be able to use unmanned aircraft not only for surveillance, but also for offensive action. The drones may be equipped to fire rubber rounds and tear gas. “Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out, and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily news app as he outlined the possible development. The US military and CIA have used drones armed with lethal weapons to target militants overseas for years. The prospect of having “lite” versions of those remotely controlled killer-machines circling over America gave some second thoughts to rights groups
The only question is, when the US government makes the decision to arm drones and deploy them domestically, not if; this technology is here, proven in battle (including creating scores of innocent victims), and were I betting woman, would bet on the deployment of these drones coming sooner rather than later.

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