Posts tagged drones
State Legislature Truth Updates April 5, 2013
Last week in the Tennessee General Assembly, House bills requiring labeling of GMO foods and seeds were deferred until 2014. House Subcommittees are shutting down for the year, while Committees finish hearing bills as the legislature prepares to begin budget discussions.
This week, a bill prohibiting United Nations representatives from monitoring elections in Tennessee failed in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. A bill making evidence obtained by drones inadmissible in court, except when a warrant is obtained or in exigent and authorized exceptions, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. The bill authorizes civil suits against law enforcement agencies to prevent or stop violations of the legislation.
Several tax bills are moving forward. The House unanimously passed a bill reducing the sales tax on food ¼ of a % saving about $25 million a year which is about $3.50 per individual. This makes the State portion of sales tax on foods 5%. A bill raising the Hall income tax exemption levels for senior citizens in 2013 from $16,200 to $33,000 for single filers and from $27,000 to $59,000 for joint filers passed the Senate Tax Subcommittee. Tennessee has the highest beer tax rate in the nation. The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 removes the wholesaler beer tax of 17% replacing it with a flat tax of $35.60 per barrel. The legislation is moving forward in both the House and Senate.
The Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2013 passed the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee and is headed to the floor next week. The state workers’ compensation system was established in 1919. Tennessee is one of only two States to adjudicate workers’ compensation claims in the trial courts, causing medical costs related to workers’ compensation to be some of the highest in the nation. The overhaul is suppose to make the system more efficient by allowing allow workers to receive benefits faster and return to work sooner. The bill has already passed the Senate 28-2, with Blount County Senator Doug Overbey voting against it.
A bill allowing State legislators to nominate their parties candidate for general elections of US Senators was taken off notice. This bill attempted to partially return the process of selecting Senators back to State legislature. The 17th amendment to the US Constitution allegedly ratified 100 years ago, requires popular election of US Senators, although some States were already doing this prior to the amendment. A copy of the State Legislative Journals documenting the ratification process of the 17th amendment in Tennessee is available at www.bcpublicrecord.com. This reporter visited the Tennessee State Library and Archives to obtain documentation of Tennessee’s ratification process for the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments to the federal Constitution and is happy to share those documents.
This is Tona Monroe with Blount County Public Record. I am delighted to bring you these weekly State legislative updates and thank Truth Radio for the opportunity. For more information on these bills, visit www.bcpublicrecord.com.
Published on Feb 16, 2013
Join us for “50 Days of Freedom” as we chronicle our progress over the last 50+ days, showcase exclusive guests and remote reports from around the nation – this is an event not to be missed. Starting LIVE at 12:00 Central at http://
Danny Panzella, from http://TruthSquad.tv/, will be reporting LIVE from the New Hampshire Liberty Forum bringing us LIVE coverage & updates every hour.
Michael Salvi, host of TFPLive!!! and http://
1 Lew Rockwell
2 Attorney Georgia Sands
3 Alex Jones
4 John Dennis
5 Gerald Celente
6 James Corbett
7 David Keene
8 IRS Agent Joe Banister
9 Sheriff Mack
10 Robert Platshorn
11 Michael Boldin
12 Wayne Walton
13 Michael Badnarik
14 Jim Garrow
15 Jim Babka
16 Larry Pratt
and more surprise guests!
Next News Network covers various topics including the new “Riot” program that is designed to collect massive amounts of personal data from social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and others. Also covered is the latest in drone and robotic technology.
Gary Franchi and Next News Network interview Trends forecaster Gerald Celente covering our current condition and future paths. Topics discussed cover the economy, the power play behind ever expanding wars and the natural resources involved, Wall Street and the government blessing to the “too big to fail” organizations plus the recent gun control moves by the administration and the history behind it all.
By Neil Macdonald, CBC News
Posted: Feb 6, 2013
Some say U.S. president is waging a ‘war on whistleblowers’
In 2001, when Israel started killing militant Palestinian enemies (and, often, innocent bystanders) with missiles fired from helicopters hovering so high you could barely see them, foreign reporters were urged by the Israeli government to call the practice “targeted killing.”
Most of us, including many of my American colleagues, preferred the term “extrajudicial assassination.” We felt we were in the news business, not the euphemism business.
Today, 12 years later, the Washington Post carries a front-page headline about the U.S. drone program titled, “Targeted killings face new scrutiny.”
Yet another government document has been leaked, this time a so-called “white paper” in which the U.S. Department of Justice lays out the administration’s justification for killing American citizens it suspects of belonging to Al-Qaeda.
U.S. media outlets, it seems, are perfectly comfortable with the term “targeted killing,” now that it is a major tool for the Pentagon and CIA.
It’s also clear American media outlets are comfortable suppressing news the government does not want published. Today’s story reveals not just that the Americans have operated a secret drone base for years in Saudi Arabia, but that the Post, along with various other news organizations, have been keeping that fact to themselves at the government’s request.
History of suppressing sensitive information
It isn’t the first time such information has been suppressed. In 2005, bowing to the White House, the New York Times for months kept confidential the fact that the Bush administration had been carrying out warrantless wiretapping. The revelations eventually provoked Congress to pass a new law.
Reports on the U.S. drone program, also based on leaks, have described how Barack Obama’s administration has become ever more dependent on remote-controlled killing. Obama himself reportedly signs off personally on each target.
The American public has been largely unconcerned with the program, except when the person killed has been an American citizen. (The U.S., unlike many other countries, accords its citizens special protections from government intrusions.)
That is the focus of the latest leak. The “white paper” in today’s story appears under the arid title “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qaeda or an Associated Force.”
The term “senior operational leader” appears to be key. An American citizen who is a low-level fighter would appear to enjoy a legal immunity that does not extend to foreign nationals suspected of planning or involvement in attacks on Americans.
As the Post story rather dryly notes, “The number of attacks on Americans is minuscule compared with the broader toll of the drone campaign, which has killed more than 3,000 militants and civilians in hundreds of strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”
There is an accompanying article today on the astonishing fact that 54 countries, including Canada, have participated in or enabled the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program of sending suspected militants to be interrogated, sometimes under torture, in secret prisons and by totalitarian regimes worldwide.
Twelve years ago, reporters had a different term for that sort of thing, too: kidnapping.
Obama’s ‘war on whistleblowers’
All these hardened security measures were begun under the Bush administration. President Obama, who once denounced them and even, as president, ordered Bush legal memos be made public, has not just amplified Bush’s programs, but has begun vigorously hunting down and prosecuting officials who leak details.
And that is one initiative the American media is not so comfortable with.
Some are calling it Obama’s “war on whistleblowers.” Current Attorney-General Eric Holder has prosecuted more officials for leaking information to reporters than any of his predecessors since the Second World War.
The government has hunted down intelligence officials who leaked details of expensive programs to spy on internet traffic, wiretaps placed in the Israeli embassy in Washington and of Obama’s personal involvement in selecting drone targets.
The lawyer for one of those officials said Holder’s prosecutors “don’t distinguish between bad people – people who spy for other governments, people who sell secrets for money – and people who are accused of having conversations and discussions.”
Several news outlets have noted, rather acidly, that the administration seems fairly expert at leaking classified material that makes the government look good.
None of this makes Obama different from any previous president. It just demonstrates his ability to keep the nation’s media on board, and mete out punishment when they publish the wrong sorts of secrets.
Republished with permission
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Apparently the United States isn’t the only Western country pouring money into futuristic drone technology as it is now being reported that British soldiers are using tiny drones for surveillance in Afghanistan and have been since 2012.
The drones being used by the UK are absolutely tiny at a mere 4 inches by one inch, weighing around half an ounce with up to 30 minutes of flight time and a top speed of 22 miles per hour, according to the BBC.
Some might say that this technology is somewhat basic compared to advances like drone-borne EMP missiles, drone-based facial recognition technology, perpetual flight, automated tracking technology, cameras capable of capturing over 30 square miles in a single shot and more.
The helicopter-like drone, called “Black Hornet Nano,” was developed in Norway and is equipped with a small camera capable of sending video and still images to a handheld remote control device.
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) is apparently a fan of the device, saying that it can fly around obstacles and corners and can identify unnamed potential hidden dangers.
The MoD also said that the drone can be easily carried by soldiers on patrol and is capable of flying in harsh, windy conditions.
According to an unnamed MoD spokeswoman cited by the BBC, the Black Hornet Nano has been used since 2012.
The drones are the result of a £20 million (about $31.51 million) contract with Marlborough Communications out of Surrey, England to supply and maintain 160 Black Hornets.
However, the drones were originally developed for Prox Dynamics, a company out of Norway that dubs itself “The Specialist in Micro Air Vehicles.”
Indeed, the Prox Dynamics homepage shows a drone that appears so petite it almost makes the Black Hornet look large.
On top of the drone on the homepage placed next to a coin for a size comparison, previously developed Prox Dynamics products include two award winning 1 gram ornithopters.
On top of the miniature drones capable of being directly piloted or flying autonomously along programmed GPS coordinates, the UK operates 300 larger drones in Afghanistan, according to the BBC.
In addition, according to a Sky News article from October 2012, the UK’s armed drone fleet in Afghanistan is going to double.
“We used [the Black Hornet] to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset,” said Sgt Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan.
“Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the light weight nature of it,” Petherbridge told Sky News.
“It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground,” Petherbridge said.
The praise coming from the MoD and Petherbridge make the stories from Sky and the BBC read much like promotional press releases for the tiny drones.
Regardless, drones are clearly becoming an increasingly integral aspect of the UK’s arsenal.
According to Defense Minister Philip Dunne, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems will be a “key component” of the MoD’s investment over the coming decade.
“Black Hornet gives our troops the benefits of surveillance in the palm of their hands. It is extremely light and portable whilst out on patrol,” Dunne said, according to Sky.
“[N]ow that we have balanced the defence budget we are able to confidently invest in these kinds of cutting-edge technologies,” Dunne said.
“Spending outlined last month also includes almost £36bn for a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines, almost £19bn for combat aircraft, and around £17bn for Royal Navy warships,” according to the BBC.
About Madison Ruppert
Madison Ruppert is a Los Angeles-based independent journalist and researcher as well as the founder, owner, administrator and editor of EndtheLie.com. He has no affiliations with any government agencies, political parties, non-governmental organizations, or economic schools. He is available for freelance writing assignments and appearances or interviews in any format. He can be reached by emailing Admin@EndtheLie.com
More at EndtheLie.com – http://EndtheLie.com/2013/02/04/half-ounce-surveillance-drones-have-been-used-by-british-soldiers-in-afghanistan-since-2012/#ixzz2K1UhiCeb
By Steve Watson
Activists warn public is being categorized as “low-grade enemy”
Legislation to stave off the use of drones by law enforcement and government agencies in Virginia has advanced in the State Senate, as well as the House, bringing closer a two-year moratorium on the unmanned craft.
A House panel approved sending their version of the bill, HB2012 sponsored by Del. Benjamin L. Cline, to the floor by a 9-4 vote, while the Senate Courts of Justice, also endorsed the legislation Monday.
While the House bill advocates a blanket ban on the use of drones, the Senate version has an exception where missing person searches are concerned.
Delegate Todd Gilbert, who sponsored a similar drone bill last year said that strict limitations should be imposed upon the use of drones, including requiring search warrants for surveillance or collecting evidence for criminal investigations.
Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia noted that “All of us are about to sacrifice our privacy to this new technology.”
“The Fourth Amendment should be the floor to protect our privacy, not the ceiling.” Gastañaga added.
At the House hearing, law enforcement groups argued that warrants may not be able to be obtained in time to use the technology effectively. Russell County Sheriff’s Office said it had already purchased two drones, and argued against the introduction of stipulations.
Last year, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell described warrantless drones as “great”, citing “battlefield successes”.
“If you’re keeping police officers safe, making it more productive and saving money… it’s absolutely the right thing to do.” McDonnell said on the deployment of drones in the State.
Residents seem to disagree, particularly in Charlottesville, where the City Council is considering making the city a no-drone zone.
Over the weekend, anti-drone activists led by resident David Swanson, held a rally, complete with a giant model of a drone, to educate more people on the matter and pressure the Council to act.
“They can put drones outside our windows, drones can listen in on our phone calls, drones can spy on us in ways that will be far too tempting to any police department and they’re already openly saying that’s what they need it for,” Swanson said.
“We have police departments across the country picking up the use of drones with tear gas, with rubber bullets to control crowds,” he added. “We don’t think we need to be controlled, we think such police departments need to be controlled.”
Swanson added that the way the military uses drones overseas is a core reason to prohibit their use domestically.
“A government that would target and kill an American abroad would target and kill an American at home,” Swanson said, adding that “There’s this trend toward looking at the public as sort of a low-grade enemy.”
The anti-drone resolution will be debated at a City Council meeting tonight at 7p.m.
A new Congressional Research Service report published last week warned that drones could be used for stalking, voyeurism, and laws need to be amended to protect the rights of citizens.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill & Rick Rowley’s New Film Exposes Hidden Truths of Covert U.S. Warfare (1/2)
Published on Jan 22, 2013 by democracynow
DemocracyNow.org – Premiering this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the new documentary, “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield,” follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truths behind America’s expanding covert wars.
By Daniel Howden
African mission plea for more firepower after being humiliated by rebel advance in DRC
The United Nations is considering using unmanned drones in its peacekeeping operations for the first time, as it seeks to strengthen its forces in eastern Congo.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, is pushing for the deployment of drones in a diplomatic battle in New York that could have far-reaching implications for the future of international peacekeeping.
The proposal to use the unarmed intelligence-gathering drones has the backing of council members the US, UK and France but faces opposition from China and Russia. Rwanda, which holds one of the council’s rotating seats, and is accused of meddling in its larger neighbour, is also determined to block the move.
Monusco, the UN’s mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the largest of its kind, was humiliated last year after first vowing to prevent armed rebels from taking the regional capital before standing aside and allowing them to march into Goma.
The M23 rebels routed the Congolese national army, despite its support from UN forces. Rwanda allegedly lent direct military support to the rebel offensive, according to a report by a UN group of experts.
Congo analyst Jason Stearns said drones could be a “technical fix” to one of the key problems: “monitoring meddling by neighbouring countries and gathering information about security developments in the vast interior of the country.”
The UN’s peacekeeping head, Herve Ladsous, has been pushing for the organisation’s creaking and poorly supplied missions to be modernised and has threatened to name and shame under-performing troop contingents. This week, he told the Security Council that the Congo mission needed more helicopters, night-vision equipment, river units and drones.
Rwanda has opposed the move, saying it does not want Africa to become a laboratory for foreign intelligence devices. Olivier Nduhungirehe, a Rwandan diplomat at the UN, said his country would oppose the use of drones, calling for further assessment of how they would be used: “We express reservations about the introduction of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to peacekeeping operations when the issues that go along with it are still being discussed,” he told the state-owned media in Rwanda.
The government in Kigali has repeatedly denied allegations that it commands the M23 rebels and rejected evidence from UN experts. The use of UAVs in Congo’s remote border areas would settle the argument and make it impossible for large-scale supply operations to be kept secret.
The UN, which has 17,000 troops and 1,400 police deployed in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country at an annual cost of $1.5bn, has been considering drones since 2009, when it asked the US for the technology and was refused. The cost of UAVs has fallen dramatically in the past five years and the Pentagon has lost its monopoly on the technology with countries from Belgium to Pakistan manufacturing them.
The first UN drone deployment faces significant opposition from veto-wielding China and Russia who have concerns over the security of the intelligence gathered.
America Sets Its Sights On Controlling African Resources … And Reducing Chinese Influence
The U.S. is sending troops to 35 African nations under the guise of fighting Al Qaeda and related terrorists.
Democracy Now notes:
U.S. Army teams will be deploying to as many as 35 African countries early next year for training programs and other operations as part of an increased Pentagon role in Africa. The move would see small teams of U.S. troops dispatched to countries with groups allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, such as Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. The teams are from a U.S. brigade that has the capability to use drones for military operations in Africa if granted permission. The deployment could also potentially lay the groundwork for future U.S. military intervention in Africa.
[A special American brigade] will be able to take part in nearly 100 separate training and military exercises next year, in nearly three dozen African countries
Glenn Ford writes:
The 2nd Brigade is scheduled to hold more than 100 military exercises in 35 countries, most of which have no al-Qaida presence. So, although there is no doubt that the U.S. will be deeply involved in the impending military operation in Mali, the 2nd Brigade’s deployment is a much larger assignment, aimed at making all of Africa a theater of U.S. military operations. The situation in Mali is simply a convenient, after-the-fact rationale for a long-planned expansion of the U.S. military footprint in Africa.
Timothy Alexander Guzman argues:
AFRICOM’s [the U.S. military's Africa command] goal is to eliminate China and other countries influence in the region. Africa’s natural resources is another important element to consider because it includes oil, diamonds, copper, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, bauxite, silver, petroleum, certain woods and tropical fruits.
In a must-watch interview, Dan Collins of the China Money Report agrees that the purpose of the deployment is to challenge China’s rising prominence in Africa:
And the U.S. is not shy about backing our “mortal enemies” to topple those standing between us and resources we pine for.