People were shocked in 2007 when Texas news KPRC revealed that local police were conducting drone tests on American soil. Some cried “conspiracy theory” even as further revelations quickly showed that a full program had been established with Customs and Border Protection as far back as 2004. Drone flights took advantage of the 100-mile-wide “Constitution-free Zone” around the perimeter of the United States within which drones were permitted to operate for border security — two-thirds of the U.S. population happens to reside within this area.
The targeted killing of American citizens abroad jarred people enough to consider the “mission creep” taking place, finally wondering when strikes might land on American soil.
For those who have been following this steady progression of drone use, as well as the continued development in high-tech “non-lethal” weapons, one might already have wondered when the two would officially merge over America. It appears that Homeland Security has also been considering this aspect behind closed doors for quite some time.
Congress already has given the FAA permission to establish safe flying rules for drones in civilian airspace throughout the U.S. by 2015. Along with future plans for the deployment of up to 10,000 unmanned drones in American airspace by 2018.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been at the forefront of attempting to obtain documents under the Freedom of Information Act and through lawsuits that will show the full scope of what the military-industrial complex has in store for America. What they have found so far is quite disturbing. So far, documents obtained by EFF have shown a massive ramp-up of drone surveillance across an array of agencies and “entities,” which includes facial recognition and data collection. along with consideration of the possibility of arming their border drones with “expendables or non-lethal weapons.”
Nevertheless, most Americans look at the drones-in-America debate as something entirely separate from what occurs overseas, and politicians are only too happy to make us forget. It has been repeatedly shown that more more innocent people are killed in the various undeclared wars and military actions than are those identified as enemies of the United States. Let’s keep this in mind when we hear the term, “targets of interest.”
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