Top Ten List: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Drone”

It appears that the “Drone people” have decided that they need an extreme makeover to change the image of drones from authoritarian killing machines to something more like a really really smart toaster. Company officials are about to launch a publicity campaign to change the public perceptions of drones after conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said recently that the first person to shoot down a surveillance drone on U.S. soil will be a “folk hero.” It is not clear when this ” How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Drone” will start.

Michael Toscano, President of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), says that the industry will soon start the publicity campaign. It is not clear what group of Mad Men ad executives will tackle the problem. However, they will seek to change the view of the drones as threatening privacy or safety.

The industry already has a Gretchen West, fetching “Domestic Drone Advocate” who appears on Fox.

The article below discusses the recently uncovered Air Force document laying out how the government can circumvent laws to use drones to monitor the activities of Americans.

Some standard publicity moves can be expected like photo ops of drones visiting wounded veterans in hospitals and commercials showing them at home with their little drones. However, they may want to ramp it up a bit. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Change the name of drones from menacing monikers like “the predator” to “the sky buddy.”

2. Use drones to locate missing kids, cats, and car keys on local news.

3. Show a drone next to a Ted Nugent clip and ask “who would you prefer to hover outside of your house at night?”

4. Have a drone marry Kim Kardashian and then go on an interview tour to explain why it just couldn’t stay married more than a week with someone who is so self-engrossed and materialistic.

5. Release talking points to Fox anchors showing more people are killed each year by civil libertarians driving than drones.

6. Have Rush Limbaugh attack drones as “sluts” and “prostitutes” who want the taxpayer to subsidize their lifestyle.

7. Distribute bumper stickers at Tea Party conventions comparing the “American-made drones” to a “foreign-born President” and proclaiming “all drones are straight.”

8. Play on the rising angst of permanently single and divorced Americans with a campaign promising “The BFF Force: Drones will never leave you.”

9. Reveal that drones are all Cubs fans (who have not been a threat to anyone in decades).

10. More drones mean fewer black helicopters.

Any other suggestions for the good people at AUVSI?

Source: Salon

51 thoughts on “Top Ten List: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the <del datetime="2012-05-23T11:03:58+00:00">Bomb</del> Drone””

  1. With Control of Drone Strikes, Is Counterterror Chief John Brennan the U.S. “Assassination Czar”?

    “President Obama’s counterterrorism chief John Brennan is heading up a new team to determine who should be targeted by armed U.S. drones overseas. The newly revealed procedure for drone attacks means Brennan’s staff consults the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies before ultimately deciding who will be targeted. One official said there is growing concern over “how easy it has become to kill someone” under the administration’s drone strike policy. We speak with investigative blogger Marcy Wheeler of the website “Empty Wheel.” [Transcript to come. Check back soon.]”

  2. Senate Advances Expanded, “Orwellian” Gov’t Surveillance With FISA Amendments, CISPA

    “The Senate is closer to renewing controversial measures that critics say would allow the emails and phone calls of U.S. citizens to be monitored without a warrant. The Select Committee on Intelligence has voted to extend controversial amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that were set to expire at the end of this year. “What we’re asking is that they slow down this process and start first with the question: What type of information are they picking up? How many Americans are being affected? What is the government doing with it?,” says Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued over the U.S. government’s surveillance practices, saying agencies would be able to tap their communications with clients and sources overseas.

    We’re also joined by William Binney, who served in the National Security Agency for nearly 40 years, including a stint as technical director of its World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Since retiring from the NSA in 2001, Binney has warned that the NSA’s data-mining program has become so vast that it could “create an Orwellian state.” “This is a continuation of the mindless legislation that our Congress has been putting out just to justify what they’ve been doing for a decade or more,” Binney says. “Instead of living up to their oath of office [and] defend the Constitution, they’ve decided to violate the civil liberties and the rights of all U.S. citizens.” The Senate is also set to vote soon on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — a bill opposed by many civil liberties and privacy groups. [Transcript to come. Check back soon.]”


    Drones over US to get weaponized – so far, non-lethally

    Published: 24 May, 2012, 14:12

    American police officers may soon be able to use unmanned aircraft not only for surveillance, but also for offensive action. The drones may be equipped to fire rubber rounds and tear gas.

    “Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out, and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily news app as he outlined the possible development.

    The US military and CIA have used drones armed with lethal weapons to target militants overseas for years. The prospect of having “lite” versions of those remotely controlled killer-machines circling over America gave some second thoughts to rights groups.

    “It’s simply not appropriate to use any force, lethal or non-lethal, on a drone,” Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told CBSDC.

    She explained that an officer operating an armed drone from afar would simply not have the same understanding of a situation that an officer on location would have. So judgment on the use of force would be limited by this narrowness of observation.

    “An officer at a remote location far away does not have the same level of access,” she explained.

    ACLU is also worried about the general atmosphere of pervasive surveillance that may engulf America as the use of drone technology becomes wider.

    “We don’t need a situation where Americans feel there is an invisible eye in the sky,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at ACLU.

    “The prospect of people out in public being Tased or targeted by force by flying drones where no officer is physically present on the scene,” Crump added, “raises the prospect of unconstitutional force being used on individuals.”

    There are other potential threats of a wide fleet of armed drones operating in a country. For instance, their communication is not tamper-proof, as the recent downing of an American spy drone by Iran showed. So malignant hackers may take over control of a police UAV and use it for nefarious ends.

    The US Federal Aviation Administration allowed several public safety agencies to use drones domestically with fewer restrictions last week. UAVs weighting up to 11.3 kilos can now be operated by police, fire and similar departments without special approval.

    The step moves forward a campaign for broader use of drones in America, which was launched by Congress in mid-February.

  4. ACLU Sues As DOJ Ignores Surveillance Transparency Law

    By Avinash Samarth, Human Rights Program


    Today the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to force the government to release statistics about its use of powerful electronic surveillance tools that law enforcement can use against any American simply by stating to a judge that it’s relevant to an investigation. The Department of Justice is required to disclose these statistics to Congress each year, yet routinely fails to do so. Today’s suit is an effort to compel the DOJ to follow the law (here are our complaint and our FOIA request).

    The surveillance tools at issue are called pen registers and trap and trace devices. Originally these devices were designed to eavesdrop on the old analog telephone network, but now they refer to a broader type of electronic eavesdropping. Using these methods, the Justice Department has claimed the authority to reveal:
    • The phone numbers you call and that call you
    • The time each call is made
    • The length of each call
    • The email addresses of the people you send emails to and who email you
    • Your IP address and the IP addresses of computers you connect with (IP addresses can reveal physical location)
    • The web addresses of the websites you visit

  5. U.S. drone bases are showing up in several places:

    For those keeping a careful eye out, U.S. drone (and air) bases in the region have been proliferating — in the Seychelles Islands, in Ethiopia, and at an unidentified site on the Arabian peninsula, among other places. Recently, however, Wired’s Danger Room website reported that an Italian blogger had put the pieces together and offered impressive evidence of a larger war-making effort in the region, involving not only drones but F-15E fighter jets, possibly being used to bomb Yemen. Meanwhile, there are U.S. drone strikes in Yemen almost daily and at least 20 special forces operatives are reportedly now on the ground there, helping direct some of the fighting and even taking casualties.

    (Tom Dispatch).

  6. anon nurse,

    You are welcome. For a long time many abuses of people by the govt. went unnoticed. There are now open accounts of citizen harassment and the reality of it cannot be denied.

    The fact that Chris Hedges is suing to keep Obama from having him indefinitely imprisoned, along with Brennan acting as droner in chief should truly alarm people. What is happening to people in OWS, other protesters, civilians in this govt.’s wars of empire and the complete breakdown of the rule of law seems to be of little concern to many.

    I’m hoping people snap into reality soon because a quiescent citizenry is greenlighting all of it. It’s like writing the govt. a blank check. “Do what you want. We won’t say anything.” That is not the correct response to oppression!

  7. how can we get ted nugent to ride one like slim pickens in dr. strangelove?

    i know, dress it up like a 13 y/o girl.

  8. To me, Brennan simply taking this power openly is very frightening. –Jill


    It is. It took me a while, given my personal situation, to grasp that the military is calling the shots and running the show but, increasingly, it appears to be very much the case. The tight lid on whistle blowers serves the purpose (obviously) of keeping information about domestic programs from being revealed. If what is going on domestically right now were to see the light of day, well, I would be thrilled, but as for those who have a lock on power, not so much.

    (I want to thank you, personally, Jill. During the early days of my ordeal, when I hardly knew up from down, you were encouraging, supportive and helpful. I will always be grateful.)

  9. anon nurse 1, May 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Have mall Santas distribute mini-drones during the holiday season. Put a drone-shaped candy bar inside.

    Those mini-drones would be “toys”, of course… tiny little toy drones… We can’t have kids taking each other out…
    Anon, I’m not sure. They are more likely to be real drones with cameras. While the kids sleep the remote controllers can manipulate them into the parents’ bedroom. Arming them would allow the controllers to take out those whose sexual activites they don’t like.

    1. @bettykath Actually the schools have already been delegated primary responsibility to monitor children and their families via cameras on school issued laptops. The drones are only called in when a properly authenticated reason to fire is observed.

      It is really a very seamless and effective system. Coordination among civilian agencies and military commands at all levels of jurisdictions is impressive. You ought to be proud of our civil servants at work.

      I would tell you what you should not be doing but that information is classified – unless you are making a film explaining the good work being done by the administration to keep Americans safe.

      Hope that eases your mind.

  10. anon nurse,

    I think the military is coming out as the real power in the US. I thought is was horrific when Obama claimed the right to kill anyone, anywhere on his say so. But he isn’t even pretending to that power now. To me, Brennan simply taking this power openly is very frightening.

  11. What a democracy, huh? It looks like a military dictatorship with elections!!! WOW!!! -Jill

    Yep. From where I’m sitting, and given what I’m personally experiencing, it is.

  12. Apparently, Bush holdover, John Brennan is “the decider” about who gets a drone. Not only is this fun prize awarded by a secret group of people, it’s been narrowed down to the top clandestine guy! What a democracy, huh? It looks like a military dictatorship with elections!!! WOW!!!

    “In November, 2008, media reports strongly suggested that President Obama intended to name John Brennan as CIA Director. But controversy over Brennan’s recent history — he was a Bush-era CIA official who expressly advocated “enhanced interrogation techniques” and rendition — forced him to “withdraw” from consideration, as he publicly issued a letter citing “strong criticism in some quarters” of his CIA advocacy.

    Undeterred by any of that unpleasantness, President Obama instead named Brennan to be his chief counter-Terrorism adviser, a position with arguably more influence that he would have had as CIA chief. Since then, Brennan has been caught peddling serious falsehoods in highly consequential cases, including falsely telling the world that Osama bin Laden “engaged in a firefight” with U.S. forces entering his house and “used his wife as a human shield,” and then outright lying when he claimed about the prior year of drone attacks in Pakistan: “there hasn’t been a single collateral death.” Given his history, it is unsurprising that Brennan has been at the heart of many of the administration’s most radical acts, including claiming the power to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA without due process and the more general policy of secretly targeting people for death by drone.

    Now, Brennan’s power has increased even more: he’s on his way to becoming the sole arbiter of life and death, the unchecked judge, jury and executioner of whomever he wants dead..” Glenn Greenwald

  13. OT, sort of…

    Congress is Deaf: Expands NSA’s Surveillance Power Despite Whistleblower Disclosures

    by Jesselyn Radack on May 23, 2012 ( The Whistleblogger / 2012 )

    Whistleblowers like former National Security Agency (NSA) officials William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe, and Thomas Drake have repeatedly warned us about a burgeoning surveillance state. At great personal risk considering Binney, Wiebe, and Drake were all targeted with a criminal investigation and Drake was prosecuted under the Espionage Act, Binney has publicly revealed massive domestic surveillance, which began under President George W. Bush in the aftermath of 9/11, and is continuing rampantly under President Obama. All three have written extensively and spoken out against NSA’s domestic spying.

    Nonetheless, yesterday, an apparently hard-of-hearing Senate panel reauthorized the constitutionally problematic FISA Amendments Act, which gutted long-standing safeguards for Americans’ privacy in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Considering how badly NSA has abused its surveillance powers since 9/11, it is infuriating that any Senator claiming to represent his or her citizenry would consider giving NSA more surveillance authority.

    In fact, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) – the same Senators who warned us about the Justice Department secret interpretation of another surveillance power: Section 215 of the (un)PATRIOT Act – objected to the re-authorization because NSA refused to give them a clear answer to a simple question: “How many innocent Americans is the NSA monitoring?” WaPo reported:

    Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) opposed the extension on civil liberties grounds. Wyden, concerned that the provision allows innocent Americans’ e-mails and phone calls to be monitored without a warrant, has asked the administration to disclose how many Americans have had their communications monitored under the law.

    The whistleblowers on the other had, have cringe-inducing estimates about just how much data NSA is collecting:

    . . . Binney says. Instead they continued to haul in data on a grand scale. Asked how many communications—”transactions,” in NSA’s lingo—the agency has intercepted since 9/11, Binney estimates the number at “between 15 and 20 trillion, the aggregate over 11 years.”

    The rest of Congress sits idly by while whistleblowers bravely go public to explain the continuing erosion of rights and liberties through dragnet electronic surveillance: …videos… and the article contines…

  14. anon nurse,

    I read about the film makers on Greenwald today as well. He makes many interesting points, especially about the administration’s declassification of “information” (made up bull crap) while prosecuting whistleblowers and telling courts they can’t reveal information on the raid to a court of law!

    They can only reveal secret information to propagandists of their choice!

Comments are closed.