Of drones, domestic authority, and civil unrest

Glenn Greenwald has a very strong piece: The growing menace of domestic drones

Whatever else is true, the growing use of drones for an increasing range of uses on U.S. soil is incredibly consequential and potentially dangerous, for the reasons I outlined last week, and yet it is receiving very little Congressional, media or public attention. It’s just a creeping, under-the-radar change. Even former Congresswoman Harman […] has serious concerns about this development: ”There is no question that this could become something that people will regret,” she told the LA Times. The revelation that a Predator drone has been used on U.S. soil this way warrants additional focus on this issue.

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 (I side with authority over those they accused of being Bad and want authorities increasingly empowered to stop the Bad people) along with naiveté (I don’t really worry that new weapons and powers will be abused by those in power, especially when — like now — those in power are Good). This mindset manifests in the domestic drone context specifically by dismissing their use as nothing more than the functional equivalent of police helicopters. This is a view grounded in pure ignorance.

Glenn is one of the true voices sounding the alarm of authoritarianism, and understanding the mindset of those who would assume that power.

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.

So where do we go from here?

No matter one’s views, the escalating addition of drones — weaponized or even just surveillance — to the vast arsenal of domestic weapons that already exist is a serious, consequential development. The fact that it has happened with almost no debate and no real legal authorization is itself highly significant. One thing is for certain: this is a development that is going to continue and increase rapidly. It needs far more attention than it has thus far received.

Update: One answer:

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19 Responses to Of drones, domestic authority, and civil unrest

  1. Nick says:

    Glenn is an outstanding journalist.
    Glad you read his book Pete.

    • Pete says:

      I always read Glenn (and his books). One of the most important writers out there today. He’s also a fan of Drug WarRant and is on my advisory board for the Prohibition Isn’t Free Foundation.

  2. darkcycle says:

    A Federal Appeals Court upheld your right to film the Police:
    Excercise your rights!

  3. Duncan20903 says:

    Here’s some more evidence that supports the premise that merrywanna is associated with violence. I had never before thought of the possibility that hardened criminals would commit aggravated assaults of police officers using merrywanna as an actual weapon! Perhaps we should call this new crime assault with a friendly weapon.

    Men Arrested After Throwing Pot at Patrol Car


    I’m certain that the Mexican Police have it worse though seeing as how the pot there grows in bricks. If you think that getting crowned on the old coconut with a pound of pakalolo packaged cartel brick weed style isn’t dangerous all I can say is that you need a checkup from the neck up.

    • darkcycle says:

      Perhaps these are misguided attempts at escape…if you throw it at them, and they smoke enough before they get to you, they may just forget what they were doing and go get some more donuts. Makes sense to me, but hey, I’m stoned right now and donuts sound pretty good.

    • Dan says:

      reminds me of the saying: pot won’t kill you – unless a ton of it falls on you (perhaps too if a 1lb brick of it cracks your skull.) but then again – one could say that “bricks don’t kill people…”

  4. Francis says:

    Hey Pete, I just sent you an email with a revised list of drug warrior claims about cannabis including some possible links to include. Let me know if it doesn’t come through for some reason.

  5. Nunavut Tripper says:

    Wanna make some extra Christmas money ? Just call Sheriff Priceless and he’ll set you up with a wire and give you free informant lessons. No risk involved.


  6. darkcycle says:

    Gentlemen, I’m off to a chiropractic appointment and have a full morning. BUT there is some idiot over in Hutchenson Kansas with an opinion. A really, really stupid opinion.

    • Nunavut Tripper says:

      One form, cannabis, contains 400 chemicals.

      Well just stay away from the cannabis form of marijuana and you should be safe. Yes darkcycle this guy is a gem.
      Some pretty good rebuttals below however.

      • Francis says:

        Ha, yeah you beat me to it. But that was my favorite part. (It’s also why I only smoke the “dank” variety. It’s MUCH safer.) I’m tempted to believe it’s a spoof. Also, marijuana contains nicotene?! (Who knew and why aren’t they required to put that on the label?) And evidently in “young abusers” marijuana can cause “indifference to homework.” (Hmmm, I wonder if I unknowingly ingested some as a kid.) And seriously, “If my critics label me as blind, then let it be so. What blinds me is the light of truth. ” ??!! Ok, I’m calling it. This has gotta be a parody.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Those rat bastards didn’t publish my post.

  7. darkcycle says:

    California Medical Assn. Doctors defend call for legalization:

  8. darkcycle says:

    …off to be de-pretzelated.

  9. GoSouthUntilTheButterMelts says:

    One can only imagine what this amazing home-grown kid will one day mean to hemp farming and it’s harvesting and production methods:

  10. cy Klebs says:

    If they did stop the WoD, they’de still be need for defense against the wahabi firsters.

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