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The Unmanned Air Force

American drones are everywhere –down and on display in Tehran, for sale to our allies, even doing law enforcement in the USA. We look at drone proliferation.

This photo released on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims to show US RQ-170 Sentinel drone which Tehran says its forces downed earlier this week, as the chief of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, right, listens to an unidentified colonel, in an undisclosed location, Iran. (AP)

This photo released on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims to show US RQ-170 Sentinel drone which Tehran says its forces downed earlier this week, as the chief of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, right, listens to an unidentified colonel, in an undisclosed location, Iran. (AP)

It’s no secret that the United States has put lethal high-tech drones to work from the skies of half a dozen countries around the world. That military drones have rapidly become central to everyday American military policy and operations. Steer them from Nevada. Look down almost anywhere. Pull the trigger.

But the drone picture is expanding. A top secret American stealth drone, down in Iran. On display. Maybe reversed engineered. American drones being sold hard to allies.Tiny drones. Drones going to work at home, in domestic U.S. law enforcement.

This hour On Point: drones everywhere.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Adam Entous, National security correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

P.W. Singer,  senior fellow and director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. He’s the author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.

David Axe, is a military correspondent living in Columbia, South Carolina. Since 2005 he has reported from the U.K., Iraq, Lebanon, Japan, East Timor, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad, Nicaragua, Kenya, Gabon and other countries.

Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. She is the co-author of the ACLU report “Protecting Privacy From Aerial Surveillance: Recommendations for Government Use of Drone Aircraft.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Christian Science Monitor “The Pentagon already includes unmanned drone attacks in its arsenal. Next up: housefly-sized surveillance craft, shape-changing ‘chemical robots,’ and tracking agents sprayed from the sky. What does it mean to have soldiers so far removed from the battlefield?”

New York Times “The C.I.A. drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born propagandist for Al Qaeda’s rising franchise in Yemen, was one more demonstration of what American officials describe as a cheap, safe and precise tool to eliminate enemies. It was also a sign that the decade-old American campaign against terrorism has reached a turning point.”

The Washington Post “Iran will hunt down more American spy drones if the U.S. continues to violate its air space, a senior Iranian military official warned Friday, the latest in triumphant rhetoric from Tehran over the capture of the unmanned aircraft two weeks ago.”

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  • Roy Mac

    What are the military–active duty–creds of these experts?

  • http://www.joshuahendricksonnovelist.blogspot.com/ Joshua Hendrickson

    Drones are amoral, ignoble, and cowardly.

    • Newton Whale

      As opposed to what, tanks? F-22′s?
      There is no morality or nobility in war.

      As Sherman wrote:

      “I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting — its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

      War should be avoided whenever possible. 
      When that is not possible, it should be ended swiftly.

      If drones can help avoid or end a war, that is a good thing.

      • Hidan

        The sad thing these drones are not helping toe avoid or end wars but to get into more, while claiming no U.S. citizens will get hurt from it is unties our politicians hands. Of course the killing of civilians by these drones is no biggie but as long as it’s not an American.

        Just imagine with they announce the drones will now be used for the War on Drugs, War on Crime, War on poverty, of course the elite of the U.S. will be shielded from its use.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Already are!

  • Anonymous

    One may argue that we are no more evolved as sentient beings than the Greeks and Romans. All sides rush to war claiming God is on their side. What differs is our technology. As senselessness as it is, war is sometimes unavoidable. Peeper bots and deathbots can do what human bearing vehicles cannot. No fighter can loiter undetected as long as some of these vehicles and thus by asking questions first and shooting later actually reduce the number of tragic deaths.
    My concern is what next? We cannot win a robotic war of attrition as China is winning the war of economics as our Corporation Leaders export our manufacturing jobs and politicians in Congress act as tools of power on both sides of the Pacific. I am not really concerned about being protected from hoards of ‘Terminators’. What will protect us from bots replacing us at work in every walk of life?

    • Newton Whale

      “What will protect us from bots replacing us at work in every walk of life?”
      Probably the fact that Imperial Walkers and Transformers are such big, clumsy, menacing-looking oafs.

      I mean, “Hi. I’m Optimus Prime and I’ll be your waiter today” would make most diners run for the door.

      • Anonymous

        :^))) Given time miniaturization, will allow marketeers to direct designers to dress them in fur and make them irresistably cute like my puppy… Then they’ll start self-replicating… THAT will spell the beginning of the end of mankind as hoards of robopuppies slowly lick us to into submission.

        • Terrybrewster

          Cute little puppy!

    • Jasoturner

      No one with an appreciation of evolution, or indeed, ancient texts, would ever assert we are move “evolved” than the Greeks or Romans or Egyptians.  But one with a preposterously inflated self-regard and lack of historical knowledge might do so.  This is not a slap at you, this is just an acknowledgement that you knew you could even make that point and some folks would go with it.

      That said, America is no longer about democratic ideals as much as it is about accumulation of wealth and power.  In that regard we are far LESS intellectually evolved than our ancient ancestors.  We are becoming little more than grasping employees of America, Inc.  And war toys are a great business opportunity.

      • Modavations

        The Greeks figured everything out.We’ve merely advanced the science>Rome knocked off Greece(Athens that is)

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Jane Mayer did an excellent piece on drones for The New Yorker in 2009 (pre her Koch brothers piece). Worth a read:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/26/091026fa_fact_mayer

  • Hidan

    What’s scary is the police are trying to use these against the American citizens(NPR did a infomercial for it). Next thing you know the police will start bombing suspected criminal and claiming the innocents killed as collateral damage.

    “Officer Dan claimed when  he dropped the bomb on a suspected criminal and was unaware that children would be living in the apartment complex. The police commissioner held an press conference and has released an statement saying the officer was only doing his job and it’s sad the suspect was the wrong person and innocents have died.”

  • Hidan

    What’s beyond funny is the President actually ask Iran for the Drone back.

    “Excuse me Iran can we have the drone back we were spying on you with? Yeah we keep threatening to attack you, keep making up false claims and all to do so but please for the sake of being civil, mind returning to use the drone we used to violate your air space? We need it so we can kill some more of your civilians and scientist”

    • Hidan

      “Excuse me Iran can we have the drone back we were spying on you with?
      Yeah we keep threatening to attack you, keep making up false claims to do so. But please for the sake of being civil, mind returning to
      use the drone we used to violate your air space? We need it so we can
      kill some more of your civilians and scientist”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      When have we NOT asked for things, and people back? 
          Pres. Eisenhower asked for Gary Powers and the U-2 back.  We asked for the U.S.S. Pueblo back.   And Many others were asked for.  If our toy falls in your yard, we ask for it back!  Why not?

      • Hidan

        If  your toy that has been used to injury/kill/maim me why would I in my right mind give it back?

        This isn’t a baseball or some simple mistake.This is a item used to violate someone else(in this case a country)

        • Terry Tree Tree

          But.  But, it’s MY toy!  I WANT it back! 

              Hey, It has worked before!  Who knows?

      • Modavations

        But Mr Ayatollah,can’t we just get along!!!!

    • notafeminista

      We could just keep letting Iran do it themselves I suppose.

  • Steve

    In addition to International applications/questions, is anyone concerned about the domestic application of this kind of technology?

    For example, a small piece on the finacial news yesterday in Wisconsin noted that Oshkosh Truck is selling military type vehicles to stateside police departments.

    Can the law of a free people keep pace with the technological advancements designed to protect us?

  • Steve

    ….”and i saw a star fallen from heaven to earth.  To him was given a key to the bottomless pit.  And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace.  So the sun and the air were dakened because of  the smoke of the pit.  Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth.”

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Iran claims it took control of the drone.  Does anyone feel MORE secure with that assertion?
       Did anyone think that this couldn’t happen?  Anyone really believe it can’t happen again?
       How does that make you feel?  I’m still sorting that out for myself.

    • JUST CORY PLEASE!

      I didn’t think it could happen.  I didn’t think we were so incompetent.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Irony?  Did you think the U.S. was the only country with computer abilities? 

        • Modavations

          For the third time today I asked yiou to tell me what I lied about.

        • JUST CORY PLEASE!

          I’m not very tech savy.  I just thought we’d do better than letting the Iranians hack and steal our spy drone.  I was clearly wrong.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I’m sure there are a LOT of people that didn’t think ‘our’ corporations would sell such technology to questionable countries. 
                MOST of our computer parts come from China, Pakistan, India, Korea! 
                Computers control almost EVERYTHING we use!  Corporations have given China, India, etc…, the ability to control your car, laptop, factory equipment? 

    • Modavations

      Terence,I asked you a number of times yesterday to tell me what I lie about.You called me a liar 20 times yesterday.Let’s clear this up.Yesterday on Dave Letterman he did a skit on “reasons we’ll miss Kim(I’m so Ill)Jong.The answer was “ABSOLUTELY None”

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Where did I say ANYTHING nice about Kim Jong Il?

        • Modavations

          fOR The forth,WHERE DID I LIE TO YOU?.As for kissing Kim ( I’m So Ill Jongs) derriere go check your posts from yesterday.Many in the audience were throwing Tomatoes at you.It went something like “give jnr.a chance,he’s cool”.He’s not cool,he’s 28 and knows well, the hell on earth his family created

  • JUST CORY PLEASE!

    If your constant rationalization is that the ends justify the means, then you are a villain.  You have exchanged the white stetson for the black, and your adversaries can claim the same justification in their actions against you.

    Do we care about this anymore?  As a child, I believed America was the good guy in world politics.  Assasinating foreign nationals of nations we are not at war with, in nations we are also not at war with, IS WRONG.

    The winner of the cold war, and the last remaining “superpower”, has become a dark and sinister reflection of its once supposedly noble self.

    At least when Princep shot Franz Ferdinand, he was in Sarajevo…

    • Modavations

      As an Adult I still consider the US the civilizing force of the world ,along with our partners in Europe.

      • JUST CORY PLEASE!

        Despite of what I posted?  Don’t agree with what I posted?  Don’t believe what I posted?  Don’t care if we’re good or bad?

        I appreciate your response, but it could use a little fleshing out.

      • pacaruso

        I do not consider causing the deaths of over a million people and destroying a society on deliberately falsified information as beeing civilized.   What does being an adult have to do with it? 

        • Modavations

          Peace Corp,USAID!!!!!Rebuilding of Europe?Rebuilding of Japan,Korea,etc,.Why does everyone in the world want to send their kids to the US for college?What exactly do you mean by deliberately falsified info.Go read the story of a few days ago about the end of the Iraq war.Go to the begiining of the day and read Gregg’s post about what the Dems. had to say pre invasion

    • Jasoturner

      Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent, and our political class has squandered America’s greatness through their stupidity.  Lashing out militarily seems somewhat predictable.  Pathetic, but predictable.

      • Modavations

        This guy wanted to hang Bush and Cheney,without trial,2 days ago

        • pacaruso

          Great Idea Moda,  BUSH and CHENEY should go on TRIAL !!!!

          • Modavations

            Along with the other war mongers Hilary,Bill,Bob Kerry,J.Kerry,N.Pelosi and I can name many more.How bout the heads ol England(mr.Blair)or the Pres.of Austrailia,or,or.What I love about the utter hypocrite Jason, is he doesn’t even need the trial.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    My primary concern with the increasing use of and reliance upon drones and advanced integrated computer systems by the US government, whether it be domestic or military, is the potential susceptibility of such systems to an EMP or electromagnetic pulse. A potential aggressor could detonate a nuclear warhead in low orbit over an area of operations, releasing an EMP that would render useless any unprotected electronics in said are. How protected is the US drone and communications network from such attacks?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Iran has proven they can control a drone?  Do you not worry that someone else will control one, to attack our ‘friendly forces’?  Our allies?  Innocent Civilians?  Someone in our forces will use one this way and blame it on someone else getting control?   I see a LOT to worry about!

      • Isaac, in Groton CT

        Iran has claimed they can control a drone. That’s not nearly the same thing as proving they can control a drone.

        • JUST CORY PLEASE!

          except for that one they have in what looks like a highschool gymnasium, almost completely undamaged…

          • notafeminista

            Which seems appropriate given their President wears what appears to be a “Members Only” jacket most of the time…

          • isaac

            Not sure what damage we should have expected to see.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Good point, IF they didn’t have the drone?

          • Isaac

            That they recovered an undamaged drone doesn’t really tell you that they hijacked it.

      • Modavations

        Terence,I await examples of my prevarication.Twenty times yesterday, you called me a liar.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Did I?

          • Modavations

            Let’s clear it up right now.Of what did I lie

    • Modavations

      Extremely good.We’re attacked all day,every day.Notice the banks can still compute your balance,24 hrs per day,every day

  • Isaac, in Groton CT

    When war is made “cheap, safe and precise,” as the New York Times puts it, it’ll be a lot harder to resist.

    • JUST CORY PLEASE!

      And we haven’t been so hot at resisting war for the past 20 years anyway.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The ‘born-again’ ‘compassionate’ ‘conservative’ ‘Christian’ ethic?

      • notafeminista

        20 grasshopper?  Try 235 years.  And if you add up all of human history/existence….we are breathtakingly bad at resisting war.  Hardly an American trait and hardly a new one.

      • Modavations

        Cain and Abel had security teams.Europe had 50 yr.wars

    • Jasoturner

      I can assure you, military hardware makers will be sure that “cheap” is deleted from that list.

      Nuclear power was going to be “too cheap to meter”, too…

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Nuclear powered cars were going to end gas-guzzlers! 
           They had NO idea how to make safe shielding that would be that portable, but we were going to HAVE nuclear powered cars!

        • Modavations

          For the 5th time today,I ask,what did I lie about

      • TFRX

        I always thought “cheap” meant “fewer American lives at risk”.

        Of course, as an engineer, the old saw might be applied here. “Cheap, safe and precise: Choose any two.”

        • TFRX

          Ugh, edit fail: The interpretation of “cheap” which arms mfrs can sell politically in this country is “fewer American lives at risk”.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The ability to do destruction is FAR EASIER, than the ability to do construction!  Thugs brag about the control of life and death.  A toddler can pull a trigger and cause someone’s death.  How many thugs can actually SAVE a life?
        Name something that CANNOT be used for either GOOD or EVIL?

    • Jasoturner

      Ribeye steak can only be used for good.  Preferably with a side of steamed cauliflower w/ butter.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Think harder, engineer!

        • Jasoturner

          I admit it, this is more a philosophy than a fact…

      • notafeminista

        Maybe broccoli……

      • nj

        A frozen steak can be an effective self-defense tool.

    • Modavations

      For the 6th time,please tell me of my lying.You called me a liar multiple times yesterday.This is the last time I”ll ask you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jasoturner

        I think you are lying.  I think you will ask again…

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Did I?

  • pacaruso

    Hey Modavations,  Easy on the caffeine!!  Captain America is only a cartoon dude !!!  You can’t possibly defend all of America’s crimes.  We havent even touched upon slavery and native american genocide…

    • Modavations

      I’ve got one hand tied behind my back

    • Modavations

      Indians are tourists from Mongolia.They crossed the land bridge 19,000 years ago.The Republicans fought the Democrats to free the slaves.500,000 died

  • pacaruso

    Wait till the Chinese start mass producing these Sentinel stealth drones as fast as they do laptops.   They’ll be so many in the skies, they’ll be smashing into eachother, tall buildings, radio towers, passenger jets, etc.

    • Modavations

      If the Chinese launched a Nuke there’d be a 50% chance it would fall back on Beijing.

  • http://www.maryjones.us tlachtga

    Consider the growth of domestic drone use in combination with the new statistic that 1 in 3 Americans are arrested by age 23 (http://bit.ly/uB2YWY).

    We’re all suspects, baby.

  • TFRX

    Mitt Romney said “Send in the troops to Iran and pull our drone out”.

    Yeah, Mitt: You and what army? Go in front of a bunch of GIs and say that to their faces.

    Remember, Mitt is the “sane one”.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Mitt will LEAD the troops? 

      • TFRX

        I don’t care if Mitt’s going to “lead them into battle” or if he’s just another Republican Chickenhawk who can bang the drum for war without being seen as deranged.

        I was using an adaptation of a common phrase to describe the ease with which Republicans speak of going to war for the riling up of their base, which (strangely enough) constitutes many of the people who do all the actual fighting and dying.

        This has something to do with the Chickenhawks on the right, I think, in playing down the human cost of war, even in a mediascape that is prone to discounting the loss of “other” civilians as opposed to American servicemen and servicewomen.

        After all the years in Iraq and Afghanistan, the casualness, the ease, that Mitt says “Hey! Let’s invade Iran!” is pathetic. He should be forced to say that in a Quonset hut someplace while serving turkey to the troops this weekend.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I was re-inforcing your ‘Chicken-Hawk’ reference.  Personally CHICKEN, but HAWKS for war that risks other peoples’ lives.  You noticed that ‘W’ didn’t send even one of his daughters into war, while comparing himself with FDR, who’s FIVE sons were in the millitary.  One was a Carlson’s Raider U.S. Marine, raiding behind the Japanese lines!

        • Jasoturner

          But you know Mitt’s kids will be leading the charge, right?

    • Imran Nasrullah

      It is always easy to talk tough and bellicose when it is not you that is going to war.  

  • pacaruso

    By now the Iranians have already have produced a 3d digital map of this stealth drone and have analized the components, and diagrammed of every computer chip, sensor and mechanism on this machine.   They are already negotiating with the Chinese and Russians.

    • Jasoturner

      This is a good point.  What foreign government wouldn’t pay to see cutting edge aerospace engineering work from the U.S.?  What we spent millions to engineer, they can digitize and recreate.

    • Modavations

      And you know that the Drone was not a plant loaded with bogus designs?

      • Jasoturner

        You mean, sort of a Trojan Horse?

        • Modavations

          It’s Macchievellian out there son.

  • dwf

    Is this technology was so important, why was it not furnished with self-destruct capability?

    • Jasoturner

      Trust us, nothing can go wrong.  We don’t need no stinkin’ contingency planning…

      • Kenkneram

        Your kidding. RIGHT?

        • Jasoturner

          I work in a hospital, man.  Contingency planning is a way of life…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=84000469 Rob Senn

    The conflation of surveillance with oppression is intellectually lazy.

    • Kenkneram

      Just ask Hitler!

      • Modavations

        Nazi-National Workers Socialist Party.Republicans-The party of Lincoln

  • Julia

    Skynet, anyone?

  • Watchme

    Anything done in public should not be a secret. No need to get all ‘sci-fi’ over this.

    • Kenkneram

      So if I have a privacy fence around my back yard and I want to walk around out there naked, then I have no right to “Expect” Privacy? Bull Shit!!  That is why I have the fence!

  • Sara in VT

    Who decides what is wrong?

  • Kenkneram

    Our freedoms and civel liberties are all  ready vanishing. I have watched as my local State police built a new building that civilians are not aloud into under any circomestance. It is a fortress. Now the Gov. is watching Americans with drones. Welcome to “NATZI AMERICA” We as a people realy have to take back our freedomes.

    • notafeminista

      And what is the purpose of the fortress building?

    • Modavations

      NAZI-National Workers Socialist Party

  • Webb Nichols

    It is Karmic. What goes around comes around. Armed drones eventually will be flying into targets of opportunity in the United states. Cause and effect. Government buildings. Locations of suspected criminals. Historic Sites. Icons of the culture. 

  • http://geniusforhumanity.blogspot.com/ Andrew

    I would rather die by a terrorist’s hand than to have my freedom taken by my own government. Or, to put it another way, “give me liberty or give me death.”

    • notafeminista

      Amen brother!  Shall we start with Social Security or with Medicare?

    • Anonymous

      You tell ‘em!! We all need to start driving on whatever part of the road we damn well please.  No government bureaucrat’s gonna tell me where to drive.  That’s what you’re talking about, right?

    • Modavations

      When Jean Shaheen won in NH.,she changed the liscence plates from “Live Free or Die”,to “Live Free or sprain an ankle”.Lefties!!!

  • Bill

    The technology is going to happen wheter we will it or not – and just like other new tech, we need to develop the common law to protect our liberties given the use of drones

  • notafeminista

    Adding to the robot conversation below…Optimus Prime may not be longer for the universe…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15930007

    Weird and cool at the same time!

  • Kenkneram

    This guy that just said that if you aren’t doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about is a fool. All the government has to do is make Speeking agenst the government a crime and we are all going to be opressed.  OHH wait that has already happened, thank you G.W Bush. Fachist!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=84000469 Rob Senn

    How can your guest compare a surveillance drone with a deadly weapon and maintain any credibility?

    • Kenkneram

      Because it WILL BE ARMED soon enugh. Someone will find an excuse. Jeese… Which branch of totolitarrian opression do you represent?

  • Anonymous

    Jesse and Ray, You can say “If you’re not doing anything wrong you don’t have anything to worry about.” but you’ld be wrong. Tell that to the thousands of documented innocent people being detained every year here in the United States. Thomas Jefferson was right.

  • Dh001g

    Far more people have been murdered by states throughout the last 100 years than by terrorists, criminals, or any other private actors. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Any one who says if we have nothing to hide we have nothing to fear is naive.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Like nuclear weapons and other WMD, drones are HERE!  They will NOT go away!  How they are used, depends on the user.  GOOD or EVIL! 
       A steak can be good food to some, deadly , if forced in, and used to choke someone to death!

    • notafeminista

      Clearly we need stricter steak control laws.

    • Modavations

      Are you perhaps refering to a steak through the heart?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        No, I can spell stake, as in wooden stake.  I was referring to the ribeye mentioned earlier, with broccoli, or not.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          My apology, Jason said cauliflower.

        • Modavations

          You really are  humorless

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You left off the “J”

  • Joan

    It is time to get rid of the CIA and FBI…

    It is time to get rid of the CIA and FBI and all their disgusting and illegal actions in the name of national security and inter-
    national security…Their actions are such an infringement on t
    he American Bill of Rights and international Human Rights.

    This has all gotten out of hand and it makes a mockery out of 
    our democracy and it needs to be reined by “we the people…” 

    As JFK once said America cannot be the world policeman…..

    indeed the military industrial complex have so over extended 
    the American peoples’ budget with 664 billion going to Defen-
    se alone while municipal workers such as policemen & firemen
    and teachers and other workers…..

    Let’s put a stop to it all and push to shut down the CIA & FBI
    now…

     

  • Looking Ahead

    Re – “don’t have to worry if you’re not doing anything wrong” … we all assume everyone defines the word ‘wrong’ the same way we do – the way we’d like the word defined.

    Imagine a fear-fueled neo-McCarthyism in Washington with access to domestic drone surveillance technology, or a rabid homophobic regime.  You don’t know who will be ‘on the button’ in the next 5-10-15 years.

    • notafeminista

      Or imagine fear-fueled neo-atheism with access to any type of surveillance technology or maybe a rabid demonization of so-called climate change deniers.

      …oh wait.  We already have that.  My bad.

      • Anonymous

        I would take this as some sort of sarcasm if I wasn’t familiar with your comments from this site. Thank God nobody really lives in your paranoid-fueled, make-believe creation. 

        • notafeminista

          Oh darn, there I go refusing to toe the party line again….(wringing hands)

          • Anonymous

            To the contrary, you’re following it to a “t”. 

          • notafeminista

            If I am alone in my paranoid fueled universe as you say (or whatever) then there is no party line to follow. 

          • Modavations

            You are a one man/woman army

        • Modavations

          I do,as does over 50% the population.I think 20% claim to be liberal.

          • Anonymous

            Over 50% of the population is so delusional as to think they’re being spied on by fear-fueled neo-atheists. . . etc?   Now THAT’S delusional.

          • Modavations

            What,pretell is a neo-atheist.I grabbed my dictionary of Leftist Gobble-de-gook”and there’s no mention

          • Anonymous

            Ask your pal notafeminista, who used the term.  The you might try applying logic to determine what you are defending.  They put ‘em all in a line so it’s not too hard to follow.

  • JSmith193

    In case you missed a good movie, “J Edgar,” directed by Clint Eastwood.

    Several times there is an exchange between Hoover & his top aide, Clyde Tolson… “Is that legal John…?”

    • Kenkneram

      Remember Palpitine and the trade federation. “I will MAKE it Legal!”

  • SteveV

    I can’t imagine why anyone would want follow me around with a drone. Talk about boring. Now multiply my example by millions of citizens and you get the idea. How could the government possibly fund the resources for this? And why? Sounds to me like some people are becoming paranoid.

    • Laradcham

      what about the people who go onto google live and look at different areas around the world.  Also, if you take a digital picture it has embedded your gps location during the shot, which means one can find your home if you took a picture in your home.  I am concerned about PREDATORS getting a hold of this kind of technology and surveilling my child!

      • Kenkneram

        I don’t want them looking at me AT ALL!

        • notafeminista

          Well then quit walkin around your backyard nekkid!

    • Kenkneram

      Look ay cold war soviat doctrin. Those bastards preserved the “SCENT” of every citizen in moscow. “Just in case.” The point isn’t whether or not they want to it is that they can and WILL if we the people alow it.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      1300 ‘Security Contractors’, with 85,000 ‘employees’ have to have something to do!  Since ‘Contractors’ cleared ‘Contractors’ employees, you trust them implicitly?

      • Kenkneram

        lol

    • JT

      Very easy.  They have unlimited spending.

    • Jasoturner

      Read “The Puzzle Palace”.   And our signals intelligence and our ability to filter data steams has grown exponentially more powerful since then – or so I assume.

      Amazing how prescient George Orwell was.

    • JSmith193

      You need to read up on what J Edgar Hoover & “HIS” FBI did in the 1920s & the 1950s under the banners of “Red Scare” & “McCarthyism”. 

      They don’t have to go after everybody, just enough to scare you into ratting on your neighbor.

  • Jeremybates1

    AR. Drone $299 takes it away now.

    http://www.brookstone.com/ar-drone-quadricopter

  • Cynthia

    Great topic. Drones might be a new technology, but aerial surveillance of civilians here at home isn’t. From my house in rural southern New Mexico, I’ve experienced the drug war’s “black helicopters” hovering 30 or 40 feet above us looking for marijuana – quite intrusive and intimidating. A border patrol surveillance blimp became a regular feature in our southern sky about 20 years ago.

  • pacaruso

    Why not a self destruct option ???
     
    Wake up people !!   If the Iranians can break a code to land a stealth drone,  they can certainly trigger the self destruct mechanisms before they even leave Bagram.  Very
     
    Paolo, Italy

  • Mark

    Drones in the domestic airspace presume that we’ll be looking at all of that “visible crime” on the streets. So we can imagine the drones helping to “round up the usual suspects” in the poor and dangerous neighborhoods. But what about all of those places where the crime is not visible, the white collar crime, where billions of dollars can be stolen invisibly? And in a related way, couldn’t this be used for corporate espionage, something that has nothing to do with “keeping us safe?” The history of technology bears the consistent lesson, Frankenstein-like: technology is invented for one purpose and then used for something quite different.

    • notafeminista

      No you just need a different type of technology for the white collar crime.  It’s out there and it’s in use. 

  • Akfaka

    Coming soon to a eBay near you! 

  • Okitaris

    Western ideology is based on the idea that man is bad and must be made good.   So we have law enforcement with that mind set and an economy that sees those who have little money as bad and need to be watched.   This is seen in the African American community especially in New York where the blacks are constantly frisked and jailed for minor crimes.  The spying drone is just an extension of this ridiculous ideology brought to us by Calvanism adopted by Protantism.   Our problem is American exceptionalism that we believe what every we do is good as long as it isn’t  against the law.  But what is policing about – protecting the wealthy (ruling class) from the poor (working class).  

    • Kenkneram

      What is LEGAL is not always right, and what is RIGHT is not always legal!

  • Laradcham

    Great topic!  The laws need to catch up with technology so that technology does not win out over our freedoms. 

  • Anonymous

    The American people are stampeding destroying their freedom for a perceived threat that might not be real.

    • Kenkneram

      Not the people. The corrept government that lies to the people to get in office and then betraies us all.

  • JT

    Couple drones with facebook’s database of pictures and the the advanced facial detection systems that are readily avaliable and they can easily track everyone.  Sad to see this country quickly turn into a police state.

    • Kenkneram

      IT ALREADY IS ONE!!!  WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! Regan was the first wake up for me, but not the first, and Bush just drove in all but the last 2-3 nals.

      • Anonymous

        You Reagen, as in Ronald Wilson Reagan.

  • Andrew Prestson – Danvers, MA

    In the lat 1990′s I lived in NYC and the police put up cameras in Washington Square in the village.  Their argument was that it was for the protection of the people.  It changed the atmosphere completely.  Artistic freedom of expression was squashed.  The police started using it to stop people from biking there (selective use).  They even set up a police trailer there! If we allow these drones to be used for permanent survielence we would get the same results!  “Aboslute power curupts absolutely”  Eventualy the drones will be used with the justification “because we can.”  We need to stop the this now.

  • Anonymous

    Our leaders are violating their oaths to protect the Constitution under the guise of protecting us. Look at the damage drug laws make to privacy. The war on a word is finishing off what’s left. Sloppy lawmaking created a illegal war that has snowballed is now a war on the American People.

  • Claude

    I will keep my freedom, thank you!
    Your caller stated that the government should do whatever is possible to protect us. Even with drones they can’t be everywhere to “protect” us. Remember this “when seconds count the police are only minutes away”. I am not willing to give up my freedom fo the government to “protect” me and my family.

    We are responsible for ourselves to be aware of our surroundings and to protect ourselves and our loved ones. I for one will do that.

  • Jasoturner

    The view from here is, if a nuke ever goes off in Iran or Pakistan or India or Israel, Americans will run all over themselves to abdicate their freedom and ask the government to protect them at any and all costs.  We will become a military-police state by choice, and we will only elect presidents who maintain and strengthen the power and the capabilities of the state.  Seriously, does anyone doubt this after the stampede to invade Iraq that was driven by fear and war mongering?

    Now, the probability is that some where, some how, a nuke will be detonated eventually (intentionally or by accident is irrelevant.)  So I would say the outlook for freedom in the American sense of the word is not good.  The politics are going to get awfully ugly, too.

  • Imran Nasrullah

    I cannot help but feel that we are moving down the road of Terminator 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7nq-r7QWW0 .  We are depersonalizing war at the hands of machines, we are moving to a highly networked based military, and AI is getting more “lifel-like” (I believe we have already passed the Turing Test with IBM’s Watson computer).  Taken all together we are moving in the direction of Terminator – all we need to wait for is for computers to become self-aware. See Boston Dynamics Big Dog video 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww - very eery. I don’t see many talking about the ethics of all this.

    • Modavations

      There was a Star Trek adventure where the rulers fought and each side had to send a predetermined # of citizens to gas chamber centers.That was 30 years ago.Of course,way back when the Phalanx was cutting edge

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Almost SIXTY years ago, nuclear weapons became ‘cutting edge’.  Mustard Gas was used against my Grandfather in WWI!   Biological weapons were used durring the ‘Dark Ages’. 

        • Modavations

          The medieval equivalent of the Drone was the Catapult.The Roman equivalent of the drone was the Phalanx.In twenty years the equivalent will be the satellite based laser.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You weren’t referring to the Phalanx Gattling Gun?  That was part of the cutting edge about 35 years ago.

    • http://twitter.com/Dave_Eger Dave Eger

      Some people watch dystopian sci-fi movies and take them as a warning. Others (who tend to be a bit shortsighted) think “what a good idea!” 

      Wasn’t there a report on how the pilots flying the drones are still getting PTSD? Silly weak pilots and their feelings. This is why the robots just have to make the kill decision themselves, so that nothing will be able to stop them…

  • Anonymous

    Life is unpredictable. You have more chances of being hit by lighting than being killed or wounded in a terrorist attack.
    Fear is a great weapon of despots.

    • notafeminista

      “The oceans are rising!  The oceans are rising!” 

      …how very right you are.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        That will cure a lot of humanity’s woes!  While trying to get to higher ground, people will be nice, and help the weak to safety? 
            While huddling together from the Super-Storms, we will become more civil toward our few fellow survivors?

    • Zing

      Women over 30 (or is it 40…anyway) have more chance of being killed in a terrorist attack than ever being married.

      • Modavations

        My rabid friend.You’re funny.Go get em

      • TFRX

        What’s “pithy” when “totally untrue”? Is there a word for that?

  • Modavations

    You know why the Left is held in ridicule by most of the world?Because the Party of Big Government is now worried by Big Brother

    • notafeminista

      *snort*

      • Modavations

        What does “snort” mean?

        • Anonymous

          I think it’s a print reference to a buffoonish sort of laugh.  Kind of like hardyharrharr, which is my reaction to a lot of comments I read here.

        • notafeminista

          As in your comment made me snort…”like” wasn’t sufficient in this case. 

        • nj

          Could be the sound a sane, rational person makes when they read nonsense, but in this case, that doesn’t apply.
           

          • notafeminista

            Just can’t stand it can you..

    • Anonymous

      “J”, right?  You can’t possibly be serious, unless seriously clueless.

      • Modavations

        The party that wants to tell it’s citizentry what Light Bulbs to use.”J” hardly

        • Anonymous

          I heard “they” even want to dictate the type of electrical current you use to power those bulbs too.  Oh the humanity. . .   

          • Anonymous

            Quit changing the subject; electricity is not the issue, light bulbs are.  Specifically, the natural superiority of incandescents to anything else on the planet, in the past or future.

            The Light Bulb Party has no beef with the power companies or the agencies that regulate them; in fact, we’re slavishly grateful to any private or public entity helps us juice our filaments.  That’s why Modavations and I have made clean, renewable energy a central plank in the LBP platform.  After all, we all want to be sure that future generations have access to the hot, decadent bulbs that get us so, so hyped.

          • Modavations

            Does anyone speak “Jive”

        • Anonymous

          Oooooh yeah, that’s some LBP ess for the sinister hater jimino.  Oooooooh, tell him son.

          • Modavations

            Right on schedule.The Welfare crowd rises at the crack of noon.I’ll eat my hat if this isn’t a white college kid

          • Anonymous

            Pssh, my man, I’ve been working night and day, getting the word out about light bulbs, while you’ve been jibbering about some bull ish.

            I believe you and I were given the same list of LBP talking points, and here I find you straying.  First warning – stick to the bulbs, or you may lose your seat on the steering commitee.

  • AC

    sorry i missed this show – not sure how i feel about this subject, other than less taxes & more jobs lost, as these will replace police officers.
    which is a shame…..

  • notafeminista

    It occurred to me as we’re sitting here discussing the unseemliness of the unmanned drone and vilifying the politics and the presidents and so forth….NPR/WBUR can (and has) shut down any one of us for behavior they find to be outside their parameters with no notice and no cause.

    Thoughts?

    • Jasoturner

      Given the inanity of some of the comments on this board, it’s hard to imagine what breach could get one banned.  Aside from lack of civility.  I don’t think there is banning based on topics discussed.

      • Modavations

        Subjective opinion

        • Jasoturner

          Yes, opinions are subjective.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I have been banned from commenting twice, with NO explaination, nor being abusive, threatening, nor the extremes of some that were NOT.

  • Anonymous

    We should be as, and perhaps even more, concerned about those with the financial means (the wealthy and employers) buying drone/spygear to spy on fellow “citizens” (employees, “friends”, spouses, political enemies) to keep us “in check” (i.e., subervient to their whims, wishes and demands), as we are “the government”, though in many case ‘political appointees’ and their employees are subservient to the same (wealthy/corporate) “lords.”   Without legal checks (laws and regulations) to keep these ‘patrons’ from exercising overcontrolling behavior, which in many cases they will exercise in spite of the laws, there will be no safe haven and no real freedom.

    • notafeminista

      Good point, so we can continue to let child molesters and drug addicts drive school buses. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        How did you get here from that comment??

      • Anonymous

        Your choice, not mine. A Government By The People, ruled by laws, can do background checks (just like the FBI does now), as opposed to the Sociopathic 1% that drove the world’s economy into a ditch.

  • Modavations

    There is a Gallup poll out that says Americans are far more worried about Big Govt., then big business.

    • OnPointFan

      But they are one and the same. That is the biggest problem.

      • Modavations

        Let me attempt this again.They were asked what is most to fear,Big Govt,or Big Business.They said Big Government.That would be the type of govt.that tells the citizentry what light bulbs they may use

        • Anonymous

          Poppycock. It’s not big government it’s bad government that’s the problem. Government that is influenced by money from big pharma, insurance corporations, wall street, agribusiness, and last but not least the industrial military complex.

          • Modavations

            I told you what the Gallup poll said.You’re sweating son

          • TFRX

            “Son”?

            When you address people as “son” all I can imagine is the voice of Foghorn Leghorn.

            So if you want to remind us all about an ignorant blowhard in love with the sound of his own voice and given to repeating the same snippets of inanity, no matter the situation, in what passes for “conversation”, be my guest.

          • Modavations

            Wasn’t the Leghorn riff used yesterday????

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You repeat incessantly!

          • Modavations

            I remember and it’s premeditated

          • TFRX

            Yes. When you stop resembling him I may stop posting it.

          • Gregg

            Big government is bad government.

          • Modavations

            Poppy cock,young man,is a trademarked, Modavations literary device.As it’s Christmas,feel free

          • Terry Tree Tree

            What a crock!

  • Dainbug

    Its not FEAR of what the Military/Government does with this technology, it the FEAR of Americans to that feel we need these things. Why are we afraid, lets address the cause.

  • Modavations

    Brother Hundie,
               I have my dictionary of Leftist “Gobble de Gook”(Ebonics Edition).Let em rip.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed OnPointFan, I can’t say this too many times… So many Congressmen have become proxies of power-obsessed individuals who use their positions in Corporations to advance their personal interests over those of the country that our very freedom is in jeopardy.
     
    The founding fathers, whom Republicans love to invoke as they cry deregulation, warned that unchecked influence was one of the single greatest threats to our freedom! And so it has come to pass that through systematic deregulation, wealth and power are more concentrated than ever; freed through the ruling that Corporations are people, they are free to influence elections nearly unchecked; through deregulation of the news markets, the corporate arm of fourth estate feeds the populace milk toast news making them angry at the government. What ever happened to outrage? What ever happened to shame? 
     
    Where is the public outrage at Congress’s systematic enrichment through insider trading which they legalized for themselves?
    We should be angry at ourselves for not marching on Washington!
     
    To not be concerned about robots being controlled by these very interests is to bury one’s head in the sand.

  • Anonymous

    Morally, I find the culture of spying represented by the drones to be offensive and awful.  I’m reminded of the lurking, unmanned helicopters in the movie “1984.” Realistically, the technology that makes the drones effective is pervasive, easy, cheap, and has no international boundaries.  This is about as close as we can get to the “The Matrix” without actually going to sleep while the machines take over.  Jerry in Juneau, Alaska

  • Ftkcpa

    You have to touch on the issue of Stress. As fate would have it Drone pilots go through the WORST stress. The soldier in the field gets to adapt to the bad environment, but the Drone Pilot goes home and eats dinner with his family. This lack of adaptation causes damage worse than the battlefield. 

    • Zing

      You’re kidding….

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  • Pilgrim1635

    This is another stupid case of “If we CAN do it, then we MUST do it.” Since we have no firm moral standards, we’re constantly at the mercy of commerce. Let’s look forward to the likely unexpected consequences: Once these things become miniaturized and mass-produced, they will inevitably fall into private hands, and become a common source of joy for Peeping Toms and anyone else who gets his jollies from secret surveillance of other people.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Perverted priests,, too!

      • Modavations

        What percent of pervert priests are Democrats as opposed to Republican.You never seem to answer,so here’s my take.100% Democrat,just a subset of the social worker

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Answered before!  Pervert is Pervert!  Politics is different!   Just a subset of the social worker?  Drivvel?
              Catholic church is a government unto itself.  One that condones child-molesting and child-abuse, from nearly ALL the evidence!
              Your ‘take’, is another manifestation of your delusions?

  • Tcolbrese

    Heard on air “what is freedom?”
    My comment, is what freedom would be lost through surveillence? Freedom is not equivalent to privacy. You should be able to engage in every activity you do now when under the surveillence of drones, with the exception of those activities that break the law. I think its egotistical to assume that your behavior would be worthy of interest by law enforcement, again unless you are engaging in criminal behavior, so the interuption to your life by surveillence would be negligible

    • Terry Tree Tree

      With Patriot Act, Defense Authorization for millitary to arrest and indefinitely detain Citizens, the Homeland Security Act, and others, how can you really know what is against the law.  Most states have laws still on the books that an automobile SHALL be preceeded at all times by a person with a lantern.   Have you been keeping that law in the states that have it?

  • Modavations

    Speaking of Big Brother and Big Govt..Last fall the Democrats did a remake of the LA Unified School district.They purged burgers,hot dogs,chocolate milk,you know all the stuff we grew up on.Ever since there’s been a revolt,even a black market for Junk Food.Well,LA just threw up there hands.Gone are Black Bean Burgers,fresh pears,tostada tacos,etc,.As of yesterday the hot dog,et al has returned.The party of big govt.says stay out of my bedroom.I say get your hands off my light bulbs and leave the kids food alone.

    • nj

      Off topic. Disruptive. Flagged.

  • Modavations

    The Democrats wail about the Bush tax cuts.We must let them sunset.We must let the taxes rise.33% of the Bush Tax cuts went to the poorest 33% of American workers,6% went to the rich and 51% to the middle class.Now the Democrats are in high dudgeon.You must pass the social security payroll holiday.You must,you must.That tax pays for social security.When you open the “lock box”only moths fly out

    • Zing

      Of course…remember AlGore and his lock box?  Turned out there was no therapy masseuse inside.  

      • nj

        Off topic. Disruptive. Flagged.

        • Zing

          Flag you, minicop

    • nj

      Off topic. Disruptive. Flagged.

      • Modavations

        The book burner has arrived.

  • brennan7228359

    I personally [and morally] feel safe! when I know someone could… be watching locAlly. Actual cops are often fueled not by sweet dounuts, butt- by red-meat, and who^then can safely watch and Pragmatically tweet?
    “Surf-cams” specifically Tethered-ballon cameras could provide insightfull biological and environmental data.
    But U2 spying could be to far… info? LOCAL please.

    • Modavations

      Hundie I like you better as a Black man.I must tell you,I find rich white boys, using black patois,to be rascist.

  • brennan7228359

    Technology will win only! if society maintains Lame.
    The last President said toUrism and Terrorism are related, now sure the war was a shame, but could unDirectEd society be to blame? technology will escentially ID the shame,,, and level… “the game”, balance and tame BEFORE the lion’schit-0 mane.
    societies Normal-frame, phone’s ring invain? preempt the geo-plane or follow again? secondary-chance for American fame. no no no not insane, just reflecting the bane, and societies gain. a poem as a crane ;) annyt in the rain; policy is the same, yet nobody will complain. and leaders we’ll train.

    • Modavations

      What’s with Lefties aleways posting behind ghosts.This is Hundie in his rich,white boy personna.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Could be?  I see similiarities and differences.

  • david

    They have our top secret helicopter tech!
    They now have our top,top secret drone tech!

    The only secret we have left is why Obama’s approval ratings are still high! Baffling!

    • ArnoldWalker

      How about the secret sauce?

    • TFRX

      You’ll never get on teevee by bringing up the inconvenient fact of Obama’s high approval ratings. It doesn’t suit what “everybody knows” among our pundits.

  • ET

    It would be interesting to see a cost/benefit analysis:
    Dollars spent on aerial surveillance of the general populace – to detect
    and acquire evidence regarding crimes that they might commit, 
    vs.
    Dollars that could be spent instead properly funding the SEC and the
    Judiciary Department – to pursue crimes committed indoors and behind
    desks. 
    For instance, let’s find out what Jon Corzine did with that $1.2 billion.  And it might be worth looking to see if there was any criminal activity involved in the financial bubble and collapse that we are still immersed in.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Those are probably the sources of funding for the myriad surveillance drones checking out your bedroom.  They can’t let justice be served on the REAL criminals-corrupt politicians, Banksters, bankrupting CEOs, and ‘financial’ ‘managers’, that get rich while their clients go broke!

  • http://www.facebook.com/isafakir Isa Kocher

    anyone who says if you’re doing nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about is ignorant of the thousands released after proof of wrong conviction, including hundreds sentenced to death who are exonerated by DNA and other science after wrongful conviction. American citizens born in the usa deported because they were arrested in a sweep, transfered to jails across state lines who spend years proving they were born in the USA. Executed Americans exonerated years later when the REAL criminal confesses from their conscience. we indicted George III for using the military and imprisonment without trials. unlimited surveillance is absolutely against the bill of rights: it surpresses our freedom to think, worship love as we will.

  • Cime

    These will be the future weapons of new world order.

  • Anonymous

    All those for regulation and responsible use give me a thumbs up.  Let’s face it, we aren’t even free now.  Within our present society we depend on so much; true freedom is disconnection from social obligation.  No job, no money, no home, etc… that’s freedom.  I’ve served in the military and I’ve come out of it with an engineering and a technology degree.  I can tell you we give our technology purpose; without an operator a drone is junk. Without analyst what would a picture taken by a drone be?  You want cool phones don’t get mad when your cool phone tracks you.  If we wanted this to stop we would all limit our ties to the present infrastructure but I bet every guess on this show owns a smart phone.  Lets not allude ourselves of the obvious hypocrisy here. My cousin was in the Seals and he doesn’t own a cell phone, he puts aluminum foil on his hats to distort public camara images of his face, he’s buried his personal records within the low fi paper records of most state institutions, he only keeps friends with tangible value. Everyone he knows thinks he’s crazy but according to the guess he’s got it right!  Simple suggestion, lets just be pragmatic and reasonable about it. Someone will always abuse technology, when we catch them or suspect them lets use technology against them.  If not, they’ll be left alone.  If someone shots me I hope it’s in a place with a camara. If we stigmatize our technology then we are already fighting against our own advancement.

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