TruthToTell ENCORE, Jan 28: DOMESTIC DRONES: Watching First, Killing Second? - Audio/Podcast HERE

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On-air date: 
Mon, 01/28/2013
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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An Unarmed Drone




1. We had serious difficulty booking the proper guests in time to air our show on Women in Construction. That show will air with an excellent array of guests on February 25th.

2. A humorous event regarding my posting of a photo with no source links but, it appeared to me, clearly within the realm of believability after doing this show on Drones a couple of weeks ago, elicited an extraordinary reaction - starting with Art Hughes, my friend and colleague (editor of "Bring Me the News"), pointing out that the photo of three drones flying in formation over the Inaugural masses on the 21st of January was, in fact, a doctored photo published by the satirical newsreader, The Onion. I thought it funny, but believable because of what we learned in this week's show about domestic surveillance drones in rapid deployment across the US, but I conceded that photo's "inauthenticity." 

Subsequently, a rather ignorant City Pages blogger decided to make a big deal of my error and published a string of my comments under "Radio Host Duped by The Onion" and going on to name me and my show. In fact, it was wonderful publicity - and we are welcoming many new followers of our Facebook pages, but it also elicited a rash of absolutely vituperous hazing from rightwing namecallers, who continue even now heap their venomous commentary on this writer. Needless to say, they've also gone after those on my pages who challenged them, so they then deserve to be removed. Still, the ignorance that persists in the wider community about the subject of drones and their domestic deployment, primarily for surveillance at the moment, but possibly for deadly confrontation in our cities and other US venues, is as dangerous as any drone itself, and so tomorrow, we re-run our January 7th program as a reminder of the days to come.

And now, for the doubters, comes this:

Is this a mosquito? No. It’s a Dragonfly Spy.

It's an insect spy drone for urban areas, already in production, funded by the US Government. It can be controlled and is equipped with a camera and a microphone. It can land on you, and it can take a DNA sample of you or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology on your skin. It can be operated to fly through an open window or door and attach to your clothing

Few readers and listeners are unaware that the United States is and has been sending unmanned aircraft with the rather insidious moniker – drones – over a wide swath of countries and territories overseas and targeting specific individuals with their deadly missiles. Another of these occurred Thursday or Friday of this week (Jan 3rd or 4th) inside Pakistan – again. Others occur regularly inside Afghanistan and Yemen. With good reason, howls of anguish and protest have pierced the global cyberspace and diplomatic community over the “collateral damage” –deaths and maiming of civilian innocents caught within the area of the blasts designed to destroy some single US-designated combatant the government calls a terrorist.

Hundreds of women and children have died in the wake of these targeted assassinations. At least three of those targets have been American citizens, tracked down and killed without a shred of the due process American citizens are supposed to receive in the wake of charges that they have committed crimes. This, of course, is an egregious affront to Constitutional guarantees – in other words, illegal actions – administered by this newly re-elected President, who, despite other commendable domestic actions, has adopted a dictator-like cavalier attitude toward due process when it comes to political dissent and national security issues.

This leads us to the next step in drone development: one that could, any day now, start hovering over your house, your home right here in the good USofA.

 Hover drone

It is now estimated that some 30,000 drones have been ordered or made available to local law enforcement agencies through grants by US justice officials, only we can’t know about these, either, because the Department of Justice – read Obama Administration – refuses to inform a still-unaware public that the government may now believe it can spy on your town, your city, you neighborhood or your home with secrecy and impunity.The Justice Department's own Inspector General's Year End Report (Top Management and Performance Challenges in the Department) warns about the "challenges" such machines make for a deaprtment whose job it is to protect civil rights and privacy, not dispense with it. Where it could go from there few people want to even think about – and that would be their use as weapons, not just spy machines. (Naomi Wolf insists it’s simply a matter of time.) And drones need not be flyovers, but hovering little camera-bearing robots peeking into windows and backyards and playgrounds – as they did over the Humphrey Dome at the last Vikings-Packers game in Minneapolis Sunday, Dec. 31.

Why does anyone find this necessary? All the former police officers and executive we’ve talked with are as fearful of this tool in the hands of local police agencies and the FBI as any one of us might be. How should we respond to the secrecy surrounding the development of this surveillance machine for domestic use? How should we view the potential for the maximum intrusion into our long-revered privacy these robotics represent? Who’s looking into this extraordinary interruption of American life as we’ve known it? Who’s challenging it?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with various advocates at the national and regional levels as an alert to citizens to take action toward curbing the use of drones – domestic surveillance types, especially.

On-air guests: 

COLEEN ROWLEY – Former Minneapolis office FBI agent and 9-11 whistleblower; Peace advocate, blogger, Huffington Post contributor

CATHERINE CRUMP – Attorney, Speech, Privacy and Technology Program, American Civil Liberties Union, New York, NY

MATT EHLING – President, Lead Producer, Public Record Media, St. Paul; Plaintiff, Public Record Media v. U.S. Department of Justice; CEO, ETS Productions

JT HAINES – Attorney in Private Practice representing plaintiff, Public Record Media v. U.S. Department of Justice