Air Force Drones Trail Civilian Auto Traffic in New Mexico
2012 07 13

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

If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would Anyone Notice?
2014 10 01
The subject enters a room in which a 12-year-old boy is seated. A 20-minute conversation ensues. The subject quizzes the boy about current events and other topics to get a sense of his intelligence and personality. But the boy is not what he appears to be. Unbeknownst to the subject, the boy is wearing a radio receiver in his ear, and ...
Obama has had accurate intelligence about ISIS since BEFORE the 2012 election, says administration insider
2014 10 01
‘President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings have provided him with specific information since before he won re-election in 2012 about the growing threat of the terror group now known alternatively as ISIS and ISIL, an administration insider told MailOnline on Monday. ‘Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate ...
Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?
2014 10 01
Former GP Sue Mildred suffered from crippling depression and anxiety for 20 years. On two occasions it was so severe that she ended up in hospital, and for 15 years she was unable to work. Sue, 51, has tried antidepressants, talking therapies and, out of desperation, even ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), where an electric current is passed through the brain. This did ...
Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Scottish Independence: Protesters demand revote
2014 09 30
Pro-independence campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament for the second day in a row, this time to demand a revote of the September 18 referendum. While yesterday’s “Rally For A Revote” saw the return of Saltires and Yes banners to Holyrood, it did not match the turnout for the “Voice Of The People” rally held on Saturday, when up 3000 people ...
More News »