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Military-Industrial Complex Pushing Domestic Drones

November 28, 2012 by  

Military-Industrial Complex Pushing Domestic Drones

There has been a great deal of talk about the implications of government using unmanned aerial drones over domestic airspace; a flood of applications for civilian drone permits, however, is raising new concerns.

According to reports, the Federal Aviation Administration believes that as many as 30,000 unmanned drones could fill American airspace within the next two decades. The unmanned vehicles could be used for anything from monitoring pipelines and power lines to private property surveillance.

Commercialization of unmanned drones produced by military-industrial complex frontrunners Lockheed Martin, Northrop Group, Boeing and General Atomics has been pushed by Congressional caucuses, namely the House Unmanned Systems Caucus. Members of the caucuses have received a reported $8 million in drone-related campaign contributions for their work in furthering the cause.

But the idea of the unmanned vehicles flying overhead at behest of corporate and private interests has raised some major safety and privacy concerns.

“Based on current trends, technology development, law enforcement interest, political and industry pressure, and the lack of legal safeguards – it is clear that drones pose a looming threat to Americans’ privacy,” Jay Stanley, a political analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, told The San Francisco Chronicle in a recent interview.

The newspaper reported in the same story that the celebrity gossip website TMZ had even applied for a permit to fly a spy drone, though the FAA claimed it “does not have a permit” yet. TMZ later denied the accusation.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • akathesob

    About time to start pushing back.

    • Vigilant

      I would suggest to Mr. Rolley, or whoever chose that photo, that the SR-71 shown is not, nor ever was, an unmanned drone.

      • Vigilant

        …and it hasn’t been operational for over two decades.

      • roger

        I guess that photo was to “scare” us??? I found it quite funny to use that particular picture.

    • Robert Smith

      The SR-71 Blackbird isn’t a drone.

      Why is there a picture of one with the article?

      30,000 drones in 20 years… That’s four or five a day being put on line. Another context is that it would be one drone for just over 100,000 people. That’s about three for a city of 300,000 people. A couple for the policedepartment and one for the fire department. That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. A reliable view from the air is valuable and doesn’t put a pilot in danger.


      • Bruce

        how long until they arm the drones that fly over us with air to ground missiles and Gatling guns? And use them to reduce the case load of the courts by killing gang members “on site”????. And when will they fly over voting places?

    • ibcamn

      can you say 1984 or eon flux……crap just throw a dome over the united states of america and kill anyone who tries to leave or talk about the newly elected permanent presidant or try to rebel against the gov’t or if you speak ill of black people….oh.. wait,what was i talking about again?

      • akathesob

        Yes I do think we are there now. I am thinking someone up there in DC took Georges book 1984 a little to much to heart.

      • Toy

        You could throw in, “Animal Farm”. Have you ever read, “1984″?

  • Vicki

    “it is clear that drones pose a looming threat to Americans’ privacy,””

    No more than private planes do. And it is clear from the article that these drones are available for private citizens too.

    • Vigilant

      And, technically speaking, the “right to privacy” is found nowhere in the Constitution.

      • Robert Smith

        The fact is we have more privacy now than ever before. In small towns and neighborhoods everyone knew everyone’s stuff. For the most part nobody cared about the business of others except for entertainment value.

        Now we got snoops invading bedrooms telling consenting adults what the should or shouldn’t be doing.

        Until just over 150 years ago there were few anti-drug laws. Strange… Most of history was made with folks who had a buzz on because the water was so bad. George Washington had his own still and grew hemp.

        Why do some folks think it’s their business to mess in the lives of others?


      • Vicki

        Vigilant says:
        “And, technically speaking, the “right to privacy” is found nowhere in the Constitution.”

        Even with the perversion of meanings by the “progressives”, the right to privacy is still quite clearly in the Constitution. Amendment 4.

        “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

        TO be secure in your papers and effects means that YOU get to decide who gets to look at them and that YOU get to secure them from prying eyes. NO ONE, Not even government agents can look at them without the specified “due process”

      • Vigilant

        Vicki, please understand the difference between “reasonable” and “unreasonable.”

        It should be obvious to the English speaker that the amendment does not rule out “all” searches, nor does it rule out “reasonable” searches, i.e., those conducted by the thousands every year under legitimate warrant.

        To repeat, Constitutional scholars, including Supreme Court justices, never recognized any such “right” until an activist SCOTUS decision in 1965. It was the main thrust of Roe v. Wade, and has been used in other ways to circumvent the Constitution.

        Think hard about what you’ve said. If the “right to privacy” is inviolable, then the pedophile can lure any child into a private room with impunity. Every anarchist, communist or sundry terrorist could stockpile weapons and plans for our destruction without worrying about detection. Every criminal court decision would have to be sealed, and the Library of Congress would have to close. Newspapers would go out of business (especially the tabloids).

        You would be entitled to your own private classroom, cafeteria and subway car. Every security camera would have to be dismantled (not a bad idea, actually)..

        No, even in the anarchical world you so often espouse, the “right to privacy” is a chimera. It didn’t exist until 1965 and Constitutionally, it has never existed.

      • vicki

        I can’t help that you do not understand that being secure in your person, papers and effects absent a PROPER warrant IS privacy than I can not help you farther.

      • Vigilant

        “I can’t help that you do not understand that being secure in your person, papers and effects absent a PROPER warrant IS privacy than [sic] I can not help you farther.”

        I’m not the one who needs help, nor do I appreciate the condescending manner in which you phrased it. I neither said nor implied the words you have just put in my mouth.

        In English, it’s called the particular and the general. The PARTICULAR case we were talking about is the limited right of privacy in the securing of your person, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure.

        The GENERAL case we were talking about is the activist judicial establishment of some all-encompassing “right to privacy,” of which I gave examples. THAT “right” does not exist.

      • Vicki

        “The GENERAL case we were talking about is the activist judicial establishment of some all-encompassing “right to privacy,” of which I gave examples. THAT “right” does not exist.”

        Then we are in agreement that the right to privacy DOES exist and IS in the Constitution.
        The form in the constitution is very clear and is all encompassing (person, papers, effects) of the only things it should be. Your examples were all red herrings and were thus ignored.

        Now if we had been discussing judicial activism instead of the existence of privacy in the constitution then I might have agreed with you.

        It is worth noting that there is a 9th amendment. If you were to insist that the 4th amendment is not about the right to privacy then try looking in there. MANY rights hide there.

        The Constitution is a list of LIMITS on GOVERNMENT not a list of rights of people.

    • Robert Smith

      “No more than private planes do. ”

      Used to fly bay patrol with the CAP over the Chesipeak. Folks would be surprised to know how many clothing optional colonies there are in the neighborhood and how many folks go topless on boats once they get away from shore. If one thinks about it for a moment and looks around a bus stop… How many of them would you want to see nude? It isn’t an invasion of privacy when what is seen is something one doesn’t want to see.


      • gerry

        yes, i agree! but someone could blackmail you?

      • Robert Smith

        Hi gerry,

        Blackmale occurs only if I care.

        And, who cares if I go to a clothing optional retreat? Besides the fact that I’ve decided to do my part to beautify America and keep my cloths on who really cares? Better put: Who should care? It ain’t none of their business.

        Really… If one busybody want’s to tell another busybody about my business there isn’t really any concern on my part.


    • Cliffystones

      Actually “they pose” a great replacement for clay pigeons! :)

      • gerry

        yes, or dog fights!

    • gerry

      Only there made to pry into your privacy!

  • Jamie

    New civilian Jobs and Careers soon forming in Drone Maint and up keep .all techs needed. as well as pilots and other needed back up supply and services. just make the best of a bad thing. if you cant lead , look for lose? wires

    • NativeBlood

      Radar jammers were big in the 80′s…what new equipment should we expect from the electronics industry for counter-drone technologies?

  • Gypsy him

    How long till democrats make drone ownership a civil right issue for those on the dole, armed drones for drug cartels and gangs, and the air is so full of political party drones that real aircraft are unsafe to fly. Just waiting for first Supreme Court case for 4th amendment violation for illegal search by drones flying over private property. Oh boy how fun!!!!!!!!!!

    • Vigilant

      It probably won’t fly (pun intended). We’ve been under scrutiny by satellites for decades, but I’ve yet to hear of a SCOTUS case, 4th Amendment or otherwise.

      • Ron Jones

        If they can watch us live from satellites then what is the need for drones watching us. we cant even keep manned planes from crashing into homes. How will they keep unmanned drones from doing the same

      • NativeBlood

        Any drone crashes on or near my property, I’ll have it stripped clean before the law gets there.

    • gerry

      yes,that is were,legal dog fighting to protect your civil liberties, would come into play!

    • Chester

      Hate to tell you this, but if you can afford to buy a used car from JoeBob’s buy here pay here lot, you CAN own your own radio controlled drone. YOU might choose to call it an R/C model plane, but it has the same possibilities as most of the commercial drones. It can be equipped with digital camera and radio transmitter, letting you look in on anyone you think worth looking at. If you really want to do someone in, buy a jet propelled model and load it up with a few pounds of plastic and either an impact detonator, a radio controlled detonator, or both, and have fun. Total investment, if you have the skills to fly the thing, about five thousand dollars for the plane, and whatever you feel necessary for the rest.

  • omegadispatch

    Seems to me that drones would be a perfect tool for illegal drug runners. Just saying …

    • Robert Smith

      They are already using them and ultralights to pierce our borders.


  • gerry

    Not that anyone would ever be aware of, Like or great president elect,would be proud of! leave no personal liberties behind. we the people are now terrorist if we don’t agree with his agenda!

  • dcjDavis

    Private citizens can have them? Great!!! We’ll keep our eyes on the Washington bunch.

  • roger

    SCOTUS cases involving the 4th amendment………..

  • Dan Mancuso

    I’m curious, is there anyone out there who has some ballistics info on what it would take a civillian to down one of these birds? You know, like calibre, bullet wieght and contruction, best rifle model, leading distance, shot placement on the drone and most importanly safety, as in not inflicting a bullet wound due to a miss and casualties due to a hit and crash. Not that I’m contemplating this – I’m not that good a shot – I stick to ungulates standing still and not fowl on the wing.

  • Centurion

    You can buy a decent remotely controlled aerial vehicle from Brookstone and send live images to your iPhone. They have limitations in range, power and image clarity, but you can spy on your neighbors with visible light and thermal imaging cameras. They sell them in airports and malls across the country.

    There are many real and appropriate uses for these things. As a Chief Fire Officer, I applied for a demonstration project with one manufacturer. Our intent was to do several things: 1) give a Fire incident commander a “God’s Eye View” of a fire scene to improve situational awareness and scene safety at structural and wildfire scenes, 2) allow us to use an ROV to search for persons or rafts in distress in the ocean, inland waters and on beaches (we are a tourist community and frequently spend many thousands of dollars using a medical helicopter and the Coast Guard for these calls- sometimes several days a week), 3) conduct damage assessment and locate survivors following hurricanes and other storms, 4) monitor the weekly traffic turnover when 300,000 people leave our island by 2 bridges and another 300,000 arrive on the same day (this would aid our responses to accidents and help us avoid getting fire trucks caught in traffic jams).

    They have other legitimate uses such as initial scouting of a HazMat scene without having to put anyone at risk until information about the situation has been gathered.

    While this technology can certainly be abused, just like every technology, and while I am suspicious of governmental desire to spy on the citizens, not every use is nefarious.

    • Robert Smith

      From Centurion: “I am suspicious of governmental desire to spy on the citizens, not every use is nefarious.”


      Another issue is that the cops use FLIR ( to detect grow rooms for pot.

      They also go to electric companies looking for an unusualy high electric usage (for lights and AC).

      LEDs and some careful shielding can minimize the problem, but do the police have the rright to look into your home and paw through records by remote control?


  • roger

    just another example…………

    Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91 (1964)
    “We may assume that the officers acted in good faith. But good faith on the part of the arresting officers is not enough. If subjective good faith alone were the test, the protections of the Fourth Amendment would evaporate, and the people would be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, only in the discretion of the police.”

  • wsk

    Drones.. Why are you showing a photo of a SR-71?


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