for your own protection

Flying Spy-Death Machines, Coming to an Airspace Over You

Just like in the movies, with blood and everything!

Americans seem a tad unhappy with the club of corrupt kleptocrats running their government these days; seems about as good a time as any for Congress to give the go ahead to the military and private corporations to fill our skies with stealth spy-death machines to help keep an eye on protesters traffic conditions, maybe? To be fair, it must be incredibly annoying for the Department of Homeland Security to have to sit there combing Twitter all day long trying to figure out who needs some reedumacating, in Gitmo. And anyway, why should the CIA be the only ones having all the surveillance drone FUN?

Plus, the military needs something to do with the $40 billion in unmanned drones it plans to buy over the next ten years!

From the AP:

The FAA is also required under the bill [passed by Congress] to provide military, commercial and privately-owned drones with expanded access to U.S. airspace currently reserved for manned aircraft by Sept. 30, 2015. That means permitting unmanned drones controlled by remote operators on the ground to fly in the same airspace as airliners, cargo planes, business jets and private aircraft.

Currently, the FAA restricts drone use primarily to segregated blocks of military airspace, border patrols and about 300 public agencies and their private partners. Those public agencies are mainly restricted to flying small unmanned aircraft at low altitudes away from airports and urban centers.

Within nine months of the bill’s passage, the FAA is required to submit a plan on how to safely provide drones with expanded access.

Yes, perhaps “drone safety” would be a good idea. Field tests of U.S. drones are so far not proving very safe for Pakistani children, according to this recent report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

Speaking publicly for the first time on the controversial CIA drone strikes, Obama claimed last week they are used strictly to target terrorists, rejecting what he called ‘this perception we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly’.

‘Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’, he told a questioner at an on-line forum. ‘This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists trying to go in and harm Americans’.

But research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

Yes yes, but of course those are the “Pakistani child-killer” kind of drone, and the law passed by Congress only allows the surveillance kind of — oh wait, no it doesn’t. Oh well. HIDE, EVERYONE? [AP/Bureau of Investigative Journalism via Glenn Greenwald]

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    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      I wonder if there's a penalty for shooting them down, period. There's certainly parts of the One-Star State where they'd come home perforated like county highway speed limit signs.

  1. Numbat_Dundee

    The drones will no doubt be guided by a computer. Computers can be hacked into. Juilan Assange was a very good hacker once. Just joining the dots here…

  2. LiveToServeYa

    Privately-owned drones, eh? Say, if we all chip in, can we buy a Wonkette drone? We'll think of something to do with it, I'm sure.

      1. bagofmice

        If someone got a toy blimp, printed the Ron Paul "revolution" logo onto it, and snapped a microphone camera bit onto it, you could have some fun.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Congress is chock full of them, and so are most state legislatures … but I don't think we can afford one.

  3. dijetlo

    I can hardly wait for the "Rootmydrone" android app that let's you take control of government death machines via a cell phone running Honeycomb or later.
    We are America, after all, random acts of digital violence is what we do.

    1. HateMachine

      After all the times I've wished for the ability to blow up other cars on the road with my mind, I finally will be able to call in air strikes on these poor bastards. Even if they're unarmed, I can at least crash them into the windshield.

    2. GOPCrusher

      Probably be an expansion pack for Call Of Duty:Modern Warfare. Remote pilot a Predator drone armed with Hellfire missiles from the comfort of your own X-Box.

  4. BaldarTFlagass

    Of course, a Cessna 172 and some surplus wing-mounted Sidewinder missiles would level the playing field.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      And when they arm the drones with the Hellfire missiles, it'll be like John Woo is directing!


        1. BaldarTFlagass

          Shit, I just thought you were talking about that neocon lawyer John Yoo, which even made your comment funnier. Yoo, woo, wtf

    1. bagofmice

      It is. The notion that a machine somewhere in this network of machines we live within today won't be able to record things is laughable.

  5. chascates

    Hey, once global warming really gets worse we'd all be living underground any way. Now, if they come up with robotic assassin worms . . .

    1. HateMachine

      I do, after I hack the previously government-owned ones. If Iran can do it, I'm sure there will be a tutorial available on the internet sooner or later.

  6. edgydrifter

    After the elections are over, I figure I can pick up one of those Ron Paul blimps cheap to use as an anti-drone barrage balloon over my lair.

  7. coolhandnuke

    If you want to get rid of the drones put John McCain in command. Within months he'd have crashed landed all of them.

  8. YasserArraFeck

    Forget about the flying variety – be more concerned about the hordes of drones that went a'voting yesterday – a much greater danger to our civil liberties

  9. Monsieur_Grumpe

    I just know the NRA is going to declare that every citizen has the constitutional and God given right to own their own drone(s).

    1. chascates

      The Second Amendment guarantees me an anti-aircraft gun. Sure is a bitch to reload the shells, though.

  10. ifthethunderdontgetya

    ‘Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’, Obama told a questioner at an on-line forum. ‘This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists trying to go in and harm Americans’.

    Cool story.

  11. SayItWithWookies

    This is bad news for the private prison industry — I mean, when you have a whole country that's treated like cellblocks you really don't need to incarcerate anyone further, do you?

  12. Dashboard Buddha

    Maybe I'm feeling negative because my current job is winding down (I march in March) and I've got fuck all to do and I'd rather be home packing cuz basically all I do all day is do a bit of work – surf a lot – do a little work – surf a lot, etc.

    Anyway, yeah – negative.

    I used to teach history and I still enjoy reading it. In my quieter moments, after reading about someone alive in the 1930s, I think…I wonder at what point that person recognized that it was all going to shit. Now I realize that, while I will never be in a history book, I am just like that person. The loss of civil liberties…spying on American citizens…denying food to American citizens. I'm probably later than most folks when it comes to figuring this stuff out, but yeah…this is what an end to an era looks like…and it's happening in my lifetime.


        1. ttommyunger

          It never comes when you're trying. Relax, just don't give a fuck. I'm there most of the time and I don't even drink or do drugs nowadays. 'Course I'm miserable, but at least I don't give a fuck.

    1. Jukesgrrl

      I just got finished with Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst and that was my very thought. This is what it will be like. But with more advanced electronics.

      1. Fukui_sanYesOta

        I've just been re-reading my Furst novels. They really are quite ridiculously evocative and well-written.

    2. VinnyThePooh

      I know how you feel. They're pushing me out in two weeks. Five minutes after my boss gave me the news, the Overlords sent out an e-mail about our banner year. An hour after that, HR posted job positions elsewhere that I was never offered.

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        Ugh…nice knife to the back there. In my case, it's kind of a blessing. I don't know what I'll be able to do for work just yet, but I'll have UI. And, being completely honest, I suck at this job.

    1. leek801

      I KNOW I had that comic when I was a kid. I remember that cover really well. I came here to say that and you beat me. Darn. Phooey.

  13. Dudleydidwrong

    I welcome the drones. I'm clear: grow house well hidden, the still is fully underground, and my sex-slave operation is, er, elsewhere. But I want one of those drones to get good pictures of my hot next-door neighbor lady when she's sunning herself. Her fucking husband put up a high fence and my cardboard periscope won't do the job any more.

  14. BigDumbRedDog

    Privately owned? I'm totally getting a drone for myself. This will make my stalking sooo much easier.

  15. UnholyMoses

    Wonder how this would've gone over if Bush II had proposed it. (Ya know, folks, the GOP will gain power again — not this year … I hope … ohdeargoddon'tletitbethisyear! — and I can't wait to see my fellow lefties freak the fuck out over this at that time).

    On the bright side, someone has to make all those drones, so they're technically JERB CREATORZ!!!!!!

  16. Ducksworthy

    OMG! I just realized that I'm now getting the majority of my "news" intake from Wonkette. Sorry Jon Stewart.

  17. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    In the future, we will mark this as the day that Cox/Estes and Air Hogs took over the United States.

  18. Monsieur_Grumpe

    When Skynet becomes self aware it might not be such a good idea to have lots of these drones flying around. I'm just saying.

  19. Biel_ze_Bubba

    If they can take out some of the idiots driving on the Garden State Parkway, this may not be a bad thing.

    1. prommie

      Just don't drive on it mid-day, thats when the amatuers are out, rush hour, that road moves, man. 80 mph with about one carlength separation.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        Because if you allow any greater separation, some jackass will cut in front of you. Some privately-owned Hellfire missiles would come in handy out there.

  20. johnnyzhivago

    I'm looking at this differently – instead of Hoverounds when we're too fat to get up and move, use drones. Drones to go shopping! Drones to get the leaves out of the gutter! Drones to go to parent teacher night at school!

    Drones could be the boost this country needs!!! What's Clint Eastwood's phone number?

    1. MittBorg

      Nah, Japan's developed something WAY cooler. Giant exoskeletons that you can strap into a la Ripley in Alienz Part Elebenty Bajillion. Less of a footprint, literally, and I b'leev they're testing them on Oldz as we speak.

  21. Steverino247

    Every so often a certain Sheriff Department's chopper is grounded because they get caught using the IR camera to check out people in hot tubs and jacuzzis. So much for getting a hummer in the pool…

    1. Jukesgrrl

      So that's why Sheriff Paul Babeau (friend of McCain and Arpaio and current candidate for Congress from AZ) was so hellbent on getting a helicopter for nowhere-near-the-border Pinal County.

  22. prommie

    Girls, you may all secretly pee in the shower, but do you know that us menfolk, at least those of us with proper "yards," all pee in the yard? So much for that precious American freedom now.

    1. MilwaukeeKent

      Don't let these stories get out! Sometimes my wife reads over my shoulder. No, not when I pee in the yard, when I read Wonkette. Next you'll tell them we actually are capable of doing the laundry, and probably screwed it up the first time on purpose. Sheesh!

  23. jus_wonderin

    Is is necessary to say Unmanned Drone?

    Which brings up the question, do you know who else like MANNED drones?

  24. owhatever

    I wants me one of them new Harley-Davidson drones with lots of chrome, but they keep denying they have built any. Yeah. Right. It's my constitutional right under the freedom to do whatever the hell I want.

  25. Designer_Rants

    "But research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children."

    Guns don't kill people, Presidents kill people?

  26. C_R_Eature

    Drones? Hell, I'm holding out for a geosynchronous spy satellite/zero-gee Tiki bar.

    What? It is the Future, aint it? They promised us Flying Cars. Flying Cars, dammit!

      1. Negropolis

        It'd be the largest, most luxurious drone evah. Gold-plated. It's gonna be EWGE. Klass out the ass!

  27. Negropolis

    I read Super Sad True Love Story, a year or two back, and I totally know where this is all going. That wasn't a fiction, it was a prediction. We've got them up here flying along the border, because, you know, all them damned Canadian turrists, right? The one guy they did catch was some middle-aged Czech in a speedo trying to cross the St. Clair River at night…and he was actually caught by some late-night fisherman and reported to border security. So, what the hell are the drones and border cameras for, again?

    Silly, Americans. Where have you been? We have always been at war with Texistan.

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