The Voice of Freedom and Warning
Drones: A Double Edged Sword
Drones or UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) have been filling the headlines lately and have led to much confusion and consternation. UAV’s come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and capabilities and can be as innocuous as those used to monitor butterfly populations to the MQ-9 Reaper RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle) the world’s most deadly UAV used to hunt down and kill terrorists around the world. Hence the term Double Edged Sword, as they can be used for good or evil depending upon the circumstances and your interpretation. As of late there is evolving a great controversy in Congress and in America over the use of UAV’s for the killing of American citizens who have joined terrorist groups. These citizens have been classified as enemy combatants and considered legitimate targets in the war on terror. Most Americans polled have no problem with the killing of traitorous citizens; their concern comes from how these American Citizens are classified as enemy combatants or enemies of state. President Obama made headlines a while back with his much touted “Kill List” and how his administration had rendered al-Qaeda ineffective as a terrorist threat by taking out many of its leaders. This theory has been shown to be erroneous as al-Qaeda has proved to be very resilient and has actually spread its influence and control over even larger areas of the Middle East and Africa.
Another growing concern is the use of UAV’s by both the federal government and state and local police departments. The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) in cooperation with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are using Predator UAV’s to monitor the southern border for illegal immigrants and drug trafficking. The high resolution cameras aboard the Predators gives the ground base operators a live video feed that is so clear it makes possible positive facial recognition. These live videos can also be shared with officials anywhere in the world by way of computer down link. State and local law enforcement are also now using various types of UAV’s for everything from monitoring traffic to surveillance of criminal activity. Therein lies the threat of unauthorized and unconstitutional use of UAV’s to invade the privacy of American citizens guaranteed by the 4th Amendment: “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.”. What safeguards will be instituted to guarantee that abuses will not take place, we have seen in the past that the letter of the law in not always followed and especially when the federal government is involved. The head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano made headlines herself when she stated that returning veterans as well as anti abortion groups, the Christian right and Right Wing Extremists should be considered as possible domestic terrorists or terrorist groups. Considering the Left defines Tea Party members as right wing extremists along with law abiding gun owners the concern is that any individual or group could be classified as a terrorist threat and thereby allowing them to be under surveillance by UAV’s. Another major concern is how long would it be until armed UAV’s were flying the skies over America with weapons that can take out targets designated as imminent terrorist threats. The concern is so great it has led to 11 states to start considering state legislation against the use of UAV’s by the federal government and state and local law enforcement authorities to illegally spy on American citizens. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has authorized 106 Federal State and Local entities to fly domestic drones (UAV’s) over U.S. Soil. George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty Four” and Big Brother don’t seem as farfetched as they once did.
The question of whether Drones (UAV’s) over the United States, is not something that might happen sometime in the future because it is happening now. The question is how will they be used and for what purpose the information gathered will be used. Ronald Reagan quote said the 9 most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. Those words of wisdom seem extremely prophetic now concerning drone over flights in American skies.
Watch for the next Sentinel Alert coming soon.