Posts Tagged ‘drones’

Drones: Object of war or wave of the future?

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm by

dronesFlight Plan: Charting a Course for Drones in Washington,” is a recently made documentary by a nonprofit public affairs television station that discusses the uses and abuses of the drone industry. Most people, on hearing the word drone, immediately relate the word to Washington and the way in which the U.S. government has adopted the use of drones to police its citizens. There is a reason that this is the first thought people jump to.

As Matthew Kellgrew, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee’s legal fellow, says in the documentary “most people know that drones can be objects of war that kill people abroad.” The documentary poses the idea that drones might someday be used for beneficial reasons that don’t involve invading the personal lives of U.S. citizens and citizens abroad during wartime. The documentary gives examples such as hobbyists who fly drones for fun, as well as farmers, and firefighters. (more…)

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition supports AB 1327 veto for different reasons than Governor Brown

Friday, October 3, 2014 at 10:00 am by
drone free LAThe Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and its partners in the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign support Governor Brown’s veto of AB 1327- The Drone Privacy Protection Act of 2014, for significantly different reasons than Governor Brown.  In vetoing AB 1327 on September 28th, Governor Brown stated “the measure appeared to impose restrictions on law enforcement that went far beyond federal and state constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure and the right to privacy.”

On August 21st, the Coalition along with its community partners launched the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign.  Later at a press conference on September 15th, the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign called upon the governor to veto AB 1327 because Drones signify a giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement that is normalizing continued surveillance and violations of human rights of our communities.  AB 1327, while masked under the guise of police seeking warrants to use drones, essentially authorized and legitimized their use under myriad of situations and loopholes that would allow the use of Drones for collection of information and surveillance.


Anti-drone grandmother sentenced to one year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm by

Our government locked up a grandmother and member of New York’s Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars for protesting against drones at a US base.

Prior to her current case, Mary Anne Grady-Flores was issued an order of protection to keep her away from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base after she participated in an act of civil disobedience there on October 25, 2012.  The order was in effect for one year.

After the order of protection was put in place, Grady-Flores attended a protest.  Reports indicate that while she did not participate in the action, she took photographs of it from the roadway, fully believing that she was in compliance with the protective order.

Unfortunately for Grady-Flores, the property of the base extended all the way to the roadway.  Thus she was charged and tried with second degree criminal contempt for violating the protective order.  Rather than plead guilty to this abuse of our judicial and criminal process, Grady Flores took her case to trial.

On Thursday, Judge David Gideon of the DeWitt Town Court sentenced her to the maximum sentence of a year in prison for violating the protection order and fined her $1,000. In a courtroom packed with about 150 supporters, Grady Flores spoke about what she called the four perversions of justice in her case:

“The fourth perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base involved in killing innocent people halfway around the world or those innocent people themselves, who are the real ones in need of orders of protection? So I, as a nonviolent grandmother and a caregiver to my own mother, as I prepare for jail, itself a perversion, I stand before you remorseful. I’m remorseful about my own country and its continued perpetuating of violence and injustice.”

Newly released memo on drone killings based on faulty assumptions and secret law.

Friday, July 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm by

droneThe US government may assassinate its own citizens.  We saw this in 2011 when the US killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen of Yemeni descent.  But under what conditions may the US government assassinate one of its own citizens?  This question was partially answered with the June 23 release of a legal memo authored in 2010 by former White House counsel, now federal appeals judge, David Barron.

The memo explains the legal reasoning justifying the 2011 drone assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. It was released by order of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals in response to a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times. It is a follow up to a white paper released in 2013 by the Obama administration stating the legal opinion that a US citizen could be killed if he was a “senior operational leader” of al-Qaeda or an “associated force” posing an “imminent threat.” That memo specifically stated that assessing a target as an “imminent threat” need not require knowledge of a specific planned attack against the US. (more…)

Retired Air Force officer exhorts Americans to challenge “Fortress America”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 11:06 am by

Reflecting on his 20 years of military service as a US Air Force officer, and noting the dramatic changes in both law & culture over the past decade, Lt. Colonel (ret.) William J. Astore wrote last week about the acquiescence of Americans to what he describes as “Fortress America.” In Uncle Sam Doesn’t Want You—He Already Has You, Astore exhorts Americans to challenge the national security state in order to preserve basic liberty principles.

Referencing young people who may not recall an era in which privacy was ever respected, he explains:

Many of the college students I’ve taught recently take such a loss of privacy for granted. They have no idea what’s gone missing from their lives and so don’t value what they’ve lost or, if they fret about it at all, console themselves with magical thinking—incantations like “I’ve done nothing wrong, so I’ve got nothing to hide.” They have little sense of how capricious governments can be about the definition of “wrong.”

Astore goes on to note the sycophancy of Hollywood, reflected in movies repeatedly glorifying US intelligence agencies despite their serial crimes, in sharp contrast to the films of the 1970s and 1980s that offered storylines and narratives more reflective of the agencies actual behavior.

He also takes on border security and police militarization:


Constitution in Crisis :: BORDC May Newsletter

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 9:55 am by

Constitution in Crisis

May 2014, Vol. 13 No. 05

View this newsletter as a webpage:

Cities around the country say: fusion centers are wasteful, fraudulent, and perpetuate racial profiling

Diverse, multiracial grassroots coalitions from around the country held teach-ins, press conferences, and actions to challenge civil liberties violations by fusion centers, which coordinate the surveillance activities of local police alongside federal agencies like the NSA and FBI.

BORDC Analysis

Read the latest news & analysis from the People’s Blog for the Constitution

Have you read BORDC’s blog lately? The People’s Blog for the Constitution features news & analysis beyond the headlines.

Highlights from the past month include:

Grassroots News

Grassroots updates

To view campaigns supported by BORDC at a glance, visit our interactive campaign maps for local coalitions addressing surveillance and profiling by local law enforcement, or military detention under the NDAA. To get involved in any of these efforts, please email the BORDC Organizing Team at organizing (at) bordc (dot) org. We’re eager to hear from you and help support your activism!

New Resources & Opportunities

BORDC News Digest for 04/03/14

Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm by

Current News

4/3, Kathryn Watson, Virginia Bureau, Advocate: Police bypass Fourth Amendment with license plate readers

4/3, Caitlin Hendee, Denver Business Journal, Colorado hunters won’t be allowed to point guns at drones

4/2, Andrew Napolitano, Washington Times, NAPOLITANO: What if secrecy, NSA trump the Constitution?

4/2, Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian, CIA torture report to remain largely secret despite declassification vote

4/2, Daniel Gallington, World Report, What’s Behind the NSA Battle

3/31, Bradley Klapper, ABC News, Senate Report: Torture Didn’t Lead to Bin Laden

3/31, Radley Balko, The Washington Post, The drug war exception to the Fourth Amendment

BORDC News Digest for 03/26/14

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm by

Current News 

3/26, Reuters, The Guardian, Fisa court names Thomas Hogan as new presiding judge

3/26, Nina Totenberg, NPR, Protesters Want To Sue Secret Service: Do They Have The Right?

3/26, Martha Mendoza, StarTribune, Intelligence disclosures show vulnerabilities in US privacy rights

3/25, Calvin Sneed, Channel 9 NewsPolice for Profit: Confusion about the Law?

3/25, Bradley Klapper, The Kansas City Star, Senators to vote next week on torture report

3/25, Jameel Jaffer, The Guardian, The House’s NSA bill could allow more spying than ever. You call this reform?

3/24, Business Standard, ANIFormer US President Jimmy Carter criticizes drone use, NSA surveillance program

Drones may be the new weapon of choice

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 8:55 am by

drone1Drone devices are being lauded as the new frontier in the technology sector and both commercial and government actors can’t wait to get their hands on it. While it is undeniable that this technology can serve as a useful tool, it is important to note that drones can also be wielded as weapons.

Many drone advocates argue that commercial drone use doesn’t pose a genuine threat to civil liberties and that potential abuses are more likely among government agencies. But, it is incredibly difficult to assert that commercially collected data won’t fall into government hands. One need look no further than the National Security Agency (NSA) to see how government agencies are capable of collecting and aggregating commercial data, without a warrant, to serve their own purposes.

Putting Big Brother in the driver’s seat: V2V transmitters, black boxes & drones

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 10:37 am by

Original commentary by John Whitehead from the Rutherford Institute published on Feb. 10, 2014.

Time to buckle up your seatbelts, folks. You’re in for a bumpy ride.

aa-Big-Brother-is-watching-good-one-300x225We’re hurtling down a one-way road toward the Police State at mind-boggling speeds, the terrain is getting more treacherous by the minute, and we’ve passed all the exit ramps. From this point forward, there is no turning back, and the signpost ahead reads “Danger.”

Indeed, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re about to enter a Twilight Zone of sorts, one marked by drones, smart phones, GPS devices, smart TVs, social media, smart meters, surveillance cameras, facial recognition software, online banking, license plate readers and driverless cars—all part of the interconnected technological spider’s web that is life in the American police state, and every new gadget pulls us that much deeper into the sticky snare.