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Drones on the Rise in the US for Surveillance

Thursday, January 10, 2008 by: Anna Farr
Tags: surveillance, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Drones are now on the rise in the US for local, federal and private use. Taser International, the company that supplies American police and military forces nationwide and is being funded by our taxes, has announced development of a flying drone version of their hand-held electric shock Taser gun which administers 50,000 volts via two wires shot into a victim (http://infowars.net/articles/november2007/26...) .

"Taser stun guns administer electric shock through two probes that are connected to the gun by insulatedwire, disrupting nerve and muscle function. Typically, the guns are used by police forces, correctional officers and the military..." This quote is taken from an article from forbes.com that glorifies the company's increased profits and spins a positive story on their stock outlook (http://www.forbes.com/markets/2006/10/05/tas...) .

Taser has just announced the development of an extended range, wireless Taser using a shotgun, that takes into consideration a person grabbing the imbedded projectile which then inflicts another shock through the hand. http://www.taser.com/products/law/Pages/XREP... And also a multi prong, computerized stand-alone unit for Remote Area Denial.

Over the past year, over 100 people have died after police use of tasers on their own citizenry. There have been reports of Taser use on a boy of six and a mentally-ill nine year old girl already in handcuffs, a deaf man and a pregnant woman already lying on the ground. Click here for further information on both instances:(http://www.nbc6.net/news/3915137/detail.html...) and (http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Opinion/Co...) . Taser International says it "aggressively defends" its products. http://www.nowpublic.com/crime/ex-taser-work...

Taser has also developed a multi-prong stand-alone computerized model for private and military applications:

"Once an engagement decision is made (either by the operator or the system depending on user selected settings), the TASERNET program selects the specific TRAD units best suited for engagement and transmits fire authorization. The TRAD unit will then arrest [sic] the targeted individuals by providing complete incapacitation. Commands can be issued to the targeted individuals over the, TASERNET system and the triggered TRAD unit can be reengaged by the operator as needed to restrain the targeted individuals until response teams can take the targeted individuals into custody." http://www.taser.com/products/military/Pages...

AOL has recently begun airing a radio advertisement ridiculing a student who was publicly tased.

A Military Technologies Conference in Boston last year unveiled 'Unmanned Aerial Vehicles' (UAV) "that are well suited for urban warfare", according to an article in Military and Aerospace Electronics. These small, portable flying weapons can operate in groups and "prowl cities looking for terrorists". "The all-electronic weaponry could be remotely controlled by a human operator, or could operate autonomously in a hunter-killer UAV configuration..." says the sales director of the private company that develops these micro-UAVs.

Their company profile lists "various payload and sensory technologies with our unmanned aircraft. Deliverable systems are available for autonomous or remotely piloted unmanned [vehicles] for military, law enforcement, civil, media, surveillance, scientific and research applications." [Our company] also has 'aircraft only' packages available for "industry and academics to provide a platform for their research and experimental control system and payload development programs."

Many state and local police departments have invested taxpayer money in UAVs for surveillance work with high powered cameras. Individual UAVs have a price tag of around one million dollars. Houston PD will be using them by June 2008, with their main mission being homeland security and surveillance (http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/20/2084.asp) .

The courts have replied that this type of covert surveillance is not a violation of our rights under the Fourth Amendment (http://law.jrank.org/pages/13053/California-...) . Video captured by these drones may be introduced as evidence in criminal court.

Declan McCullagh writes for a C/net News article:

"In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie "Minority Report", one North Carolina county is using a UAV equipped with low-light and infrared cameras to keep watch on its citizens. The aircraft has been dispatched to monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air (close enough to identify faces) and many more uses. Egging on Congress and the FAA are manufacturers of UAVs, who see a lucrative market in domestic surveillance and aerial photography."

"It is quite easy to envision a future in which (UAVs), unaffected by pilot fatigue, provide 24-7 border and port surveillance to protect against terrorist intrusion," said Mike Heintz on behalf of the UNITE Alliance which represents Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. "Other examples are limited only by our imagination."

Blackwater Worldwide, the paramilitary group contracted by the Bush Administration in Iraq and the US, also announced plans to produce unmanned surveillance airships.

These pictures of a drone were taken over the suburbs of Boston recently. (http://annetteafarr.photium.com/drones) .

About the author

Anna Farr -- artist, photographer, mother of a child with autism. BFA from Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Currently attempting to put a micro-hydro-energy community together in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

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