Monday, December 12, 2011

Musings: Somebody's Watching You

As some Kauai folks worry about KIUC's foray into “smart meters” and an 88-year-old lodges a complaint after being forced to show her colostomy bag to TSA agents, a far greater threat to the privacy and security of American citizens is unfolding: the growing use of Predator drones by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

A report in the Los Angeles Times details a case in which North Dakota cops called on a Predator owned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine the location of three men on their 3,000-acre farm. Though it marked the first time that military spy planes were used in the arrest of American citizens, the article revealed that law enforcement is starting to use them for basic police work.

And once you start down that slippery slope of militarizing the police, well, no telling where we'll end up. Except it's certainly nowhere good.

Or as former Rep. Jane Harman, who helped beat back efforts by Homeland Security officials to use imagery from military satellites to help domestic terrorism investigations, noted:

Using Predators for routine law enforcement without public debate or clear legal authority is a mistake, Harman said.

"There is no question that this could become something that people will regret."

Interestingly enough, though the men (after being Tasered by cops earlier in the day), were arrested over some disputed cows, they are reportedly members of the Sovereign Citizen Movement, an antigovernment group that the FBI considers extremist and violent. In other words, they are just the kind of people who could be labeled “terrorism subjects” under the pending National Defense Authorization Act, which would allow the military to arrest and detain them indefinitely.

As Michael Edwards observes on

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.

Well, not exactly the same, because they weren't blown to bits. But you know how one thing leads to another....

Salon's Glenn Greenwald, who wrote extensively about the “growing menace of domestic drones” in posts last Tuesday and again today, puts it quite clearly:

A prime aim of the sprawling Surveillance State — justified in the name of Terrorism — is to empower the government domestically.

It’s beyond obvious that policy planners and law enforcement officials expect serious social unrest. Why wouldn’t they: when has sustained, severe economic suffering and anxiety of the sort we are now seeing — along with pervasive, deep anger at the political class and its institutions — not produced that type of unrest? Drones are the ultimate tool for invasive, sustained surveillance and control, and one would have to be historically ignorant and pathologically naive not to understand its capacity for abuse.

It takes little imagination to see the dangers of this militarization of domestic police powers; in fact, it takes extreme denseness and authoritarian trust to dismiss it as “paranoia” or “hysteria.”

Just a little something for folks to think about here in "paradise," an occupied nation that is also the most heavily militarized (fake) state in America and the only place where martial law was imposed.


Anonymous said...

I'm all for law and order, whatever it takes to establish it.

Anonymous said...

"There is always a large segment of the population that reflexively supports the use of greater government and police power — it’s usually the same segment that has little objection to Endless War — and it’s grounded in a mix of standard authoritarianism along with naiveté."

--- Glenn Greenwald

Anonymous said...

"I'm all for law and order, whatever it takes to establish it."

Yes, of course, just like in Spain during Franco, and Italy during WWI, or Singapore today. Valuing "order" so much as to support "whatever it takes" to get it - has historically resulted in government-sanctioned violence, fascism and society being "ordered" in such a way that uniforms and badges get all the thuggy power, then using it for most unAmerican results and reasons.

Yes favoring a police state may be understandable, but it is neither democratic nor American. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Hey if we got those drones on Kauai, maybe the Planning Department could delegate those warrantless searches for rice cookers in the wrong room to the military. Somehow the left is always inadvertently eeking us toward fascism.

Even locally, the creation of a military-like police force and a loss of the 4th amendment and other personal rights is happening.

So long you say the loss of rights is to stop drugs the right on Kauai will embrace martial law and if you justify the same conduct as necessary to stop illegal TVRs" then the left on Kauai will embrace martial law.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, control. And to what end? Let us not forget that Empire is unsustainable and all that machinery will come crashing down.

Anonymous said...

Having done business in Singapore and England, I like the order of the first and the CCTV's of the second.

America has too many "rights" as it is.

Anonymous said...

The best societial/political organization I know of is a benevolent dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

With Google, you have aerial views of the whole world. What does the government have access to? It's on a need to know basis. If they want to know, they'll find out.

Anonymous said...

With Google, you have aerial views of the whole world. What does the government have access to? It's on a need to know basis. If they want to know, they'll find out.

December 13, 2011 4:06 PM

The county has a contract with this company and pays for fly overs every two years under their contract with them...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

it is a good idea to keep track of what they are spending our money on....don't you think?

Save it in your favorites, check back regularly...see the Drug Treatment facility permitting/designing is out to bid, opps just closed. wonder which of the same group will get that one - AECOM, Group 70 or PBR?

Anonymous said...

I'm for freedom, whatever it takes to establish it, even if it takes getting rid of the order of law.

Who writes the laws? God?
How about the 1 percent?

Dr. Shibai

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of law and order, eh?

An anarchist?

Shame on you!