Drones over Broadway

June 20, 2013

Obama drone cartoonSeemingly clear skies this Thursday morning on California’s north coast, but I can’t see any twinkling stars — must be a way-high overcast way-up yonder somewhere.
Well, this is Humboldt County, we’re higher than the rest of the country combined, to start with, and to finish.

America as a concept is pretty-much over — this is not the US of your grand-daddy, or even of your daddy. In just a short space into the future, this country won’t be recognizable to a shitload of folks.

(Illustration found here).

On Tuesday — beyond the way-shock of the death yesterday of actor James Gandolfini (he was only 51) — there was a little conversation that more than dramatized the horror of America in the nowadays. A hot mic revealed the stink.
Via the UK’s DailyMail:

The director of the National Security Agency was overheard offering a round of beer to the FBI’s second-in-command following Tuesday’s congressional hearing on the NSA’s controversial surveillance programs.
The three-hour hearing had just wrapped up around 1 p.m. when NSA Director Keith Alexander turned to FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce and praised him for his testimony.
‘Thank you, Sean,’ Alexander said, according to a clip of the exchange that was first reported by Ben Doernberg (via Twitter).
‘Tell your boss I owe him another friggin’ beer,’ he added.
‘Yeah?’ Joyce responded.
‘Yeah,’ said Alexander.
‘Tell him to give it to me,’ Joyce said.
Alexander and Joyce sat side-by-side during the hearing and took turns answering questions from lawmakers about the recently disclosed government surveillance programs.

Ha-ha-ha-ha — hilarious.

And even worse — in a bit of whimsy-like testimony, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress the FBI has already used drones over America, but shrugged off the disclosure as no big deal, as the program is only just getting started, and used in a “very, very minimal way, very seldom” — so, no sweat.
Via The Guardian:

“It is still in nascent stages but it is worthy of debate and legislation down the road,” said Mueller, in response to questions from Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono.
Hirono said: “I think this is a burgeoning concern for many of us.”
Dianne Feinstein, who is also chair of the Senate intelligence committee, said the issue of drones worried her far more than telephone and internet surveillance, which she believes are subject to sufficient legal oversight.
“Our footprint is very small,” Mueller told the Senate judiciary committee.
“We have very few and have limited use.”
He said the FBI was in “the initial stages” of developing privacy guidelines to balance security threats with civil liberty concerns.

A Senate intelligence committee member, Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, later questioned whehter such use of drones was constitutional.
“Unmanned aerial systems have the potential to more efficiently and effectively perform law enforcement duties, but the American people expect the FBI and other government agencies to first and foremost protect their constitutional rights,” Udall said in a prepared statement.
“I am concerned the FBI is deploying drone technology while only being in the ‘initial stages’ of developing guidelines to protect Americans’ privacy rights.
I look forward to learning more about this program and will do everything in my power to hold the FBI accountable and ensure its actions respect the US constitution.”
Another senator, Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, also expressed concern.
Asked whether the FBI drones were known about before the Mueller hearing, Grassley told CNN “absolutely not.” Grassley added the FBI was asked last year whether agents were using drones but the bureau never got back with an answer.


And if that crazy, read the shitty case of Barrett Brown, one case the FBI went after with a vengeance, over nothing, even arresting his mother.
From The Nation:

When the FBI went to serve Brown he was at his mother’s house.
Agents returned with a warrant to search his mother’s house, retrieving his laptop.
To turn up the heat on Brown, the FBI initiated charges against his mother for obstruction of justice for concealing his laptop computer in her house.
(Facing criminal charges, on March 22, 2013, his mother, Karen McCutchin, pled guilty to one count of obstructing the execution of a search warrant. She faces up to twelve months in jail. Brown maintains that she did not know the laptop was in her home.)

Read the whole shit, kind of un-nerving and Orwellian frightful.

And finally, no matter what, the FBI is always correct.
Via TPM:

According to interviews and internal FBI records obtained by the Times, FBI agents fatally shot 70 “subjects” and wounded 80 others from 1993 to early 2011.
In none of those cases was a shooting deemed improper, according to the Times investigation.
The Times’ survey of 289 deliberate shootings evidenced in the documents, including shootings in which no one was harmed, showed that only five were designated “bad shoots” that didn’t comply with bureau policy — but in none of those cases did a bullet hit someone.
These findings are “predictable,” the Times wrote.
Last month an FBI agent fatally shot a Chechen man who was questioned in Orlando, Fla. about his relationship to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarneav.
Conflicting reports on whether the subject was armed or not called into question the FBI agent’s justification in shooting him.

If the FBI can’t get you, they’ll get your mother — if they shoot you or her, none will be “bad shoots.”

Next, drones shooting your mother.

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