A US Predator drone passes overhead at a forward operating base near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Today the Middle East and much of Africa are subject to attacks by American drones. As horrific as the drone threat may be seen today or even feared for tomorrow, the truth is far worse than ever imagined.
Drones of unimagined capability are being readied for deployment with even more frightening technical advances on the drawing boards. The drones we are seeing today, even the advanced RQ 170 Lockheed Sentinel captured by Iran in 2011, are child’s play.
History, the “Camel in the Tent”
As with the adage of the camel, whose nose enters a tent and soon afterward, the entire camel is a guest at dinner, so America’s drone program began.
The first drones were model airplanes, battery powered, radio controlled, with small cameras able to show troops on the ground what was on “the other side of the hill.”
Then larger drones were built that carried munitions, in particular the 100-pound “Hellfire” missile.
These drones were intended to supply close air support for direct combat operations. Operators were the actual troops in the field, managing target acquisition and weapons strikes, not just using the camera feed from the drones themselves but, in most cases, able to identify targets as close as 500 meters.
From there, drones became “free ranging,” under “rules of engagement.” Those rules, of course, were a joke. A “militant” was anyone who was armed.
However, few in either Iraq or Afghanistan would venture forth unarmed and peaceful tribesmen or even militia members aligned with the US became targets.
From there, drones were quickly tasked for the purpose they have become so infamous for today, targeted killings, using area munitions and questionable intelligence.
The result has been an admitted 10 to 1 ratio between “dead militants” and “collateral damage.”
Keynoting the moral failure is the reliance on “intelligence,” wild stories from torture victims, interpretation of signals intelligence, always of questionable value or, worse still, informants motivated by money or other issues of “personal agenda.”
Thus far, the US claims to have killed the “Al Qaeda number two commander” 33 times, making that the most dangerous job on earth.
Osama bin Laden himself only died twice. (thus far)
Drones over America
Americans are now told that drones are going to be used within the United States. The “camel in the tent” for domestic drones involved promises that they would only be used to secure borders.
That story was quickly forgotten.
More recently, Senator Rand Paul demanded an exact definition on the legal limitations the Obama administration placed on drone use. The initial response from Attorney General Holder indicated that drones could be used inside the US for “targeted assassinations” of “suspects” deemed a “clear and present danger” to “national security.”
Since the passage of the Patriot Acts in 2002, along with FISA and the NDAA provisions, at one time or another, any American might qualify under Holder’s definitions.
In fact, recent proposed legislation recognizing “extremists” from, not just the “left and right” but, in particular veterans or anyone subject to employment-related stress, is not only possibly subject to limitations of their rights without due process but may well be targeted as a national security threat.
Chief among these groups are police, firefighters, doctors and nurses, teachers and, of course, elected officials. We can also add to these victims of violent crimes, those involved in traffic mishaps and the tens of thousands sexually abused by clergy.
Police, Pro-Gun, Pro-Drone
Recently, many police departments have publicly stated they will refuse to seize weapons if new laws restricting gun ownership are passed. However, as to the use of drones, police departments aren’t all that “constitutionally friendly.”
Most American police departments have requested, not just drones, but armored personnel carriers as well. In no case has any law enforcement agency indicated that it wishes to limit its drones to being “unarmed” or only used in accordance with legal search warrants and in respect to constitutional provisions for personal privacy.
There are thousands of instances each year where police fire on “suspect vehicles” without warning or empty their weapons into wheel chair bound or sleeping “potential suspects” only to learn they have killed “the wrong person.”
Any American adjusting their clothing or taking out a mobile phone may well expect to die in a hail of gunfire at the hands of police who now wish the convenience of, not just drones but Hellfire missiles as well.
Beyond Top Secret Technology
During the late 1990s, hyperspectral/hyperspatial imaging was developed using cameras that no longer required light sources or extensive cooling required by infrared imagery.
Originally tasked with detecting oil and minerals or for oceanographic research, unforeseen advances in technology have surpassed “hyperspectral” into the “hyperspatial” range.
A drone with an “after-next generation” HS/HS system can detect your breath, give you a blood alcohol count, tell you what your last meal was and count the change in your pocket.
From a commercial brochure for units being offered for use on police helicopters:
“Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) and High Spatial Resolution Remote Sensing can be used in a wide variety of applications related to the detection and identification of threats for the military forces. The Hyper-Cam High Performance Surveillance Network is well suited to protect civil and military against Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) and Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) releases.
This system is built to rapidly detect and identify invisible gases using the Hyper-Cam as the main system component. Airborne Hyper-Spectral Imaging aims to improve persistent monitoring over a wide target area, to find UXOs and landmines on contaminated region and to detect camouflaged and stealthy targets such as IEDs. Infrared Coherent Change Detection and Thermal Characterization are efficient methods to provide a fast, low risk, and cost efficient way to survey a region and find small ground changes over a wide area…. (XXX)… were found to be highly sensitive to detect and identify a large variety of gases and solid targets using temporal broadband, multi-spectral or hyper-spectral imaged scenes, making recognition of military or homeland threats faster and more efficient, with low false alarm rates.”
For the 10% of the real technology described above, there is a 90% that is hidden, much as with an iceberg, with its mass always beneath the surface, unseen yet threatening.
Drones had become a threat to life, a harbinger of destruction from above for those unlucky enough to have garnered the attention of the US or Israel.
Death can take on more forms than the physical, a loss of, not just privacy, but a pervasive intrusion into the lives and property of all, not just “targeted militants” or “drug mules,” but, with organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security, tasked with putting advanced technologies into the hands of every agency feigning a “need,” no one will ever feel secure in their person again.
Spying for Profit
The motivation for spying on a massive scale, worldwide, is more than simple security. Actually, it is not more at all but rather less, much less.
It involves money.
All data collected has to be analyzed and archived. From there it can go to clients. Who needs to know everything about everyone and how can they profit from this knowledge, no matter how violated those subjected to this collection may feel?
It will eventually go beyond drones. The capability exists to analyze prescription medications in a purse, to identify many human diseases from miles away or assess personal characteristics, what soap is used, when one last brushed their teeth, or where the dust on their shoes came from.
Are you beginning to understand?
Privacy as a Human Right
Technology has now made the assertions of rights of privacy as outlined in the Constitution of the United States or those human rights outlined in the United Nations Declaration of 1948 outmoded.
We already have Google collecting “keywords” from emails and using them to target users with what they deem “applicable advertising.”
If you were to “email” about the death of a child, would Google choose to subject you to advertisements for burial plots or for deadly weapons?
If you complained about a wife or husband, would your next “pop up” be for suggested poisons or a dating service?
We are now discussing surveillance technologies that will be made available to every organization or agency around the world, public or private, based on willingness to pay, that will see every chemical in our homes, our vehicles and our bodies.
Every human being will be biometrically identified, cataloged and traced for their entire lives.
It is happening as we speak, veiled with secrecy and spreading like a plague.