In a precedent-setting event, local law enforcement in North Dakota nabbed three suspected armed men with the help of a Predator B unmanned drone. It was only after the drone confirmed that the men were unarmed that police moved in to make the arrest.
It has now become clear that, as we have written and warned about for the past year, the drones that were supposedly commissioned strictly as tools for border control will now patrol inland for suspected criminals on American soil, heralding a new level of police state oppression.
In April I wrote about the future expansion of unmanned drones over America based on the admissions made by two-star General, John Priddy, from the U.S. National Air Security Operations Center, evidenced in the video below, that the continued expansion of predator drone surveillance was a stated goal for the coming years.
His comments were echoed by Al Palmer, Director of Unmanned Aircraft Training at the world’s largest center at the University of North Dakota, which just so happens to be the location of the arrest alluded to above, that “The world is going to spend $80 billion on unmanned aircraft between now and 2016.”
As the Los Angeles Times report states:
Congress first authorized Customs and Border Protection to buy unarmed Predators in 2005. Officials in charge of the fleet cite broad authority to work with police from budget requests to Congress that cite ‘interior law enforcement support’ as part of their mission.
True to form, once the cat is out of the bag, we learn just how extensive the program really is.
Michael C. Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, said Predators are flown ‘in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis.’
Beyond the troubling announcement that military drones have arrived from overseas to conduct operations in America, the way in which this first arrest was made — and the family that was targeted — should be equally disturbing.
The Brossart family are owners of a 3,000-acre ranch who were reported to police for stray cows that had entered a neighboring property. When the Sheriff arrived with a search warrant he said he was forced off the property at gunpoint. Apparently, the Sheriff feared that this could turn into another Ruby Ridge incident:
The six adult Brossarts allegedly belonged to the Sovereign Citizen Movement, an antigovernment group that the FBI considers extremist and violent. The family had repeated run-ins with local police, including the arrest of two family members earlier that day arising from their clash with a deputy over the cattle.
This incident too comfortably fits the new narrative which seeks to justify an expansion of the War on Terror by including America as the new war zone, thus enabling all military hardware to be used, and eradicating the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. These Sovereign Citizens, as “extremist and violent” by decree, have received the very same treatment as those in the Middle East and North Africa who are suspected insurgents or enemy combatants.
This event also comes shortly after the recent exposure of a secret drone base in Nevada, housed on the same land reserve as Area 51 of all places. This discovery merely shows that the drone program is full-speed ahead inside the United States, as similar “secret” programs have been uncovered overseas in places like Ethiopia and The Seychelles.
The unmanned drone program in the U.S. actually goes back to at least 2007 when it was first uncovered by reporters in Texas that drones were being tested inside America in an exercise coordinated with local police. The claim that this was only for border control was quickly shattered when Miami-Dade county, FL became the first to commission micro-drones, which are specifically designed for effective use in the close quarters of a city environment.
Now that the precedent has been set — with a supporting narrative to boot — the full spectrum of the drone capability is set to be unleashed in America. Everything from spotting “adversarial intent” to facial recognition, soft biometrics, general threat assessments and even nano drones that mimic nature itself. And don’t think that weaponization is far off.
We will be sold first on the effective use of surveillance to thwart armed conflict, like this one with the dangerous Sovereign Citizens, and other extremists to come no doubt. Then, perhaps we will see them used to deliver non-lethal weapons from above to quell protests (sorry, riots). Then, once we have become fully acclimated . . . .
Dennis Kucinich is one of very few critical voices on this issue. Kucinich penned a terrific commentary back in August warning of the threat to the rule of law posed by unmanned drones. His screed was directed toward their misuse overseas, but he alludes to the writing on the wall, which clearly states that America shall be viewed as no different than any other country plagued by remote control surveillance and warfare:
Think of the use of drone air strikes as summary executions, extra-judicial killings justified by faceless bureaucrats using who-knows-what ‘intelligence,’ with no oversight whatsoever and you get the idea that we have slipped into spooky new world where joystick gods manipulating robots deal death from the skies and then go home and hug their children. Everything America was once said to stand for: the rule of law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is in danger of becoming collateral damage as our fearful leaders continue to kill suspects and innocent alike, mindlessly unaware that the hellfire we are sowing will surely be reaped by Americans in the future. The proliferation of drone technology and its inevitable extension to civilian law enforcement is a leap into the arms of Big Brother.
We have seen horrendous civilian casualties in other countries from this supposed high-tech fleet of unmanned drones operated from trailers thousands of miles away. Countries like Pakistan have had enough and have sent the fleet packing. I submit that we should not wait for the casualties to mount before dismissing this wasteful military expenditure that is part and parcel of deleting human life, and deleting our Constitution.
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Contributed by Michael Edwards of Activist Post.