Air Force Drones Trail Civilian Auto Traffic in New Mexico
2012-07-13 0:00

By Steve Clemons | TheAtlantic.com




The USAF is reportedly targeting and trailing civilian auto traffic on New Mexico’s highways. Harmless or just another example of the blurred lines between the international and domestic application of U.S. military technology?



They are most likely not "armed drones," but news has surfaced that the US Air Force is training drone pilots to trail civilian auto traffic on New Mexico’s highways.

In a ’lifestyles-of-video-game-war’ piece by Mark Mazzetti that appears in The New York Times Magazine this Sunday, Mazzetti writes:

When I visited the base [Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.] earlier this year with a small group of reporters, we were taken into a command post where a large flat-screen television was broadcasting a video feed from a drone flying overhead. It took a few seconds to figure out exactly what we were looking at. A white S.U.V. traveling along a highway adjacent to the base came into the cross hairs in the center of the screen and was tracked as it headed south along the desert road. When the S.U.V. drove out of the picture, the drone began following another car.

"Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?" a reporter asked. One Air Force officer responded that this was only a training mission, and then the group was quickly hustled out of the room.


Some may shrug and say that the undisclosed high-altitude tracking of US vehicles for training purposes is harmless, but the line between civilian privacy and an increasingly Orwellian capacity of the U.S. federal government to track its own citizens is blurred just a bit more by this practice.

There are already serious concerns about U.S. military drones -- designed for warfare abroad -- being re-purposed for civilian purposes.

The blog Loss of Privacy reports that unarmed drones at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. are being used for civilian surveillance. And according to the same report former California Congresswoman and now Wilson Center for International Scholars President Jane Harman helped lead efforts to block expansion of drone hardware and related intelligence to the US domestic theater:

In 2008 and 2010, Harman helped beat back efforts by Homeland Security officials to use imagery from military satellites to help domestic terrorism investigations. Congress blocked the proposal on grounds it would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from taking a police role on U.S. soil.


The problem with an ever powerful national government with more and more tools to control and track its citizenry is that these powers, legal and technical, are often abused and used in ways not originally intended.

Tools developed for the so-called war on terror are now used to spy on Americans -- and not enough, Dana Priest and Shane Harris excepted, are blowing the whistle on this creeping intelligence capacity that is now using Americans as unwitting guinea pigs before the video-trained pilots go track and destroy similar SUVs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere.

This should not be happening. There should be controls on what the U.S. Air Force can target. The Department of Defense has no shortage of vehicles, enormous swaths of federal land for their own staff to traverse.

If Air Force video pilots need to train by tracking something from the air, they should target soldiers in their ranks.


Article from: theatlantic.com






The Wonderful World of Drones





Related Articles
Missiles, bombs, drones & battleships: London ready for Terror?
This is a Drones’ Drones’ Drones’ Drones’ World
Military Drone Shaped Like ’UFO’
’Siri, Kill That Guy’: Drones Might Get Voice Controls
How Obama Changed Definition of ‘Civilian’ in Secret Drone Wars
Obama’s Drones Threaten World Civilization
Drones roam Skies of US Cities (Video)
Chomsky: Bush kidnapped & tortured, Obama murders
Loss of Privacy (site)


Latest News from our Front Page

60 Years of Research Links Gluten Grains to Schizophrenia
2015-03-31 1:05
Does the consumption of gluten-containing grains contribute to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia? Believe it or not, this question has been asked for well over 60 years by researchers who stumbled upon evidence that the removal of gluten from the diet results in improved symptoms, or conversely, that gluten grain consumption leads to higher prevalence of both neurological and psychiatric problems. Reports ...
A Sour Deception: Citric Acid Comes From GMO Black Mold, Not Fruit
2015-03-30 23:32
Just what is your food made of, anyway? Try industrial synthesis, genetically modified mold secretions, hydrochloric acid, mercury-contaminated caustic soda, ferrocyanide… and, of course, lots of GMO corn. If common ingredients like “citric acid” and “ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)” sound normal and familiar enough that you practically conjure up an image of the flourishing orchard they were grown in – then ...
Thousands of migrants dumped on Britain as French wriggle out of border promise
2015-03-30 19:56
Thousands of migrants could be dumped on Britain’s doorstep if France tears up a historic border agreement, it was claimed last night. Officials have vowed to do “everything in their power” to wriggle out of a treaty moving the UK border to Calais. The besieged town’s mayor Natacha Bouchart is prepared to spark a major diplomatic row by opening the frontier ...
Richard III laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral
2015-03-30 18:36
King Richard III was today laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral - more than 500 years after his death in battle. The monarch, who reigned from 1483 to 1485, was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch read a poem by Carol Ann Duffy during the service. Also in attendance was Robert Lindsay, who played Richard III in a version ...
Sweden - A new paradise for Romani beggars
2015-03-30 17:33
Thanks to the European Union and freedom of movement that follows with membership Sweden has been flooded with gypsies from Eastern Europe. Most member states have cracked down hard on the phenomenon of organized begging with legislation and forceful evictions so the Romani (colloquially known as Gypsies) who are engaged in this venture have moved their business to the country where ...
More News »