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El Dildo

Homeland Security is bullsh*t

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El Dildo

and I'm not just talking about the absurd mess that passes for airline travel these days...

 

Police Drone Crashes into Police:

http://gizmodo.com/5890507/police-drone-crashes-into-police

 

...now we could laugh and chalk this up to "Texas being Texas," but that's really beside the point.

the same thing could happen anywhere else, as the article points out, because UAV technology is still primitive and far from perfect. but even this is beside the point.

 

Homeland Security is bullsh*t.

can we admit this already? the real issue here is the way that Homeland Security policies (enacted in 2001 after 9/11) have pushed for militarization all the way into our residential suburbs. as if our military wasn't unnecessarily bloated, wasteful, and inefficient enough already. now we have security contracts being dumped on domestic towns and cities for new bomb disposal drones, aerial surveillance drones, and armored tanks for SWAT teams. is this some kind of joke? we're already trying to dig our way out of a recession that was made worse by 2 massive (and equally unnecessary) foreign wars.

 

and thanks to the recession most of these towns and cities have long been strapped for cash; cash that would be SO MUCH BETTER spent on maintaining our deteriorating education system or the buckling local economy than outfitting cops with extra firepower. the local police deal with local criminals. in case anyone hasn't noticed, local crime is very basic. it's not like fighting a war. you're not facing armor-piercing rounds or cyborg terminators with grenade launchers. you're facing a couple of guys with 9MM handguns holding up liquor stores. do you really need military technology to combat local bang bangers?

 

to what end? when is enough enough?

individual localities within a modern state like the US do not need drones and armored tanks. there is no foreign army trying to invade the US and there's simply no such thing as domestic terrorism. if a person wants to blow up a government building like in Oklahoma (or anywhere else), the only thing that's going to stop them is solid intelligence; not a local police force that is strapped to the teeth with military-grade weapons and armors.

 

if certain political factions want to complain about excessive government spending, they can start with the extremely bloated - and almost completely unnecessary - defense budget.

the military industrial complex will literally spend us into oblivion if we don't begin to address serious changes in our attitudes about what constitutes a safe and healthy society. because a military police state is NOT it.

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DareYokel

It's just cops being idiots as usual. I am worried about these drones becoming more and more popular, though.

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Icarus

The one thing that is certainly concerning (and it is brought up in the article) is that it's a bit scary DHS and other agencies want these drones flying around the US, but from the article, it sounds like there's a bit of a design flaw with the drone itself (it's hard to say that will full certainty, though - you need some more details). From an engineering standpoint, you'd want to go back to the drawing board and make sure there isn't an issue with these things en masse. If there is and you're letting hundreds of them fly in US airspace, well you're just setting up for disaster right there.

 

As for DHS itself, it's hard for me to comment being Canadian, because I don't live in the United States, so I don't get to see with my own eyes the effects of sweeping policy changes when it comes to defence and homeland security.

 

Intelligence is the key, as you said. In my opinion, it's much easier to stop a potential attack than to have to deal with the aftermath and the strains on finances (clean-up, search and rescue, identifying bodies, et cetera). If DHS wants to be smart about it, intelligence is where you want to put your money at. Prevention is the best strategy. Of course, you need people to work in intelligence, so this is why DHS and other agencies need to go to universities and try and attract some top students to join the cause of securing the nation. Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather see some math nerd writing a complex computer algorithm that might help to prevent an attack from happening in the first place than sending some macho jock with an ego bigger than his muscles with a badge and gun on the streets doing security checks and looking out for The Terrorist.

 

I'm not sure how many people have seen it, but if you ever drive to the United States from Canada (and I suspect Mexico), when you approach the border, you'd swear you were entering some top secret military outpost. While every officer is armed, you'll see some who are dressed right to the nines (an assault rifle). You'd think they were waiting for the Kingpin Terrorist themselves to show up. It's kind of intimidating, actually.

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Dingdongs

DHS itself is a very massively bloated bureaucracy. There were hopes after 9/11 that this department would be the end all - it would combine all counterterrorism elements into one umbrella. Unfortunately that did not happen as the FBI remained under DOJ. DHS today is a complete f*cking joke - turf wars between HSI and FBI exist. It's almost the same as before 9/11 except the agencies have different names now.

 

As for UAVs in civilian areas, I'm not necessarily opposed to unarmed ones being used to aid in police/federal investigations.

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DareYokel
As for UAVs in civilian areas, I'm not necessarily opposed to unarmed ones being used to aid in police/federal investigations.

The thing is, when you say that you're OK with unarmed drones, pretty soon they'll sell you some bullsh*t story how they have to use weaponized drones. And you'll have no say in the matter of course.

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sivispacem

As long as UAVs remain unarmed (and I can see absolutely no reason why you'd want to arm them- also, exactly what could you arm them with which would fall under the remit of "reasonable and proportional force"- you can't go firing Hellfire missiles or even Frag-12 shotgun slugs (the smallest weapons mounted on UAVs) into civilian areas) and don't start invading private spaces, I don't really care. Personally, I think it's idiotic to have any expectation of privacy in a public place.

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El Dildo

 

It's just cops being idiots as usual. I am worried about these drones becoming more and more popular, though.

right, the behavior of the police is not the point.

the incident only highlights the issue of national security defense attitudes being applied to local law enforcement; an application that is completely out of touch with reality.

 

 

it sounds like there's a bit of a design flaw with the drone itself (it's hard to say that will full certainty, though - you need some more details). From an engineering standpoint, you'd want to go back to the drawing board and make sure there isn't an issue with these things en masse. If there is and you're letting hundreds of them fly in US airspace, well you're just setting up for disaster right there.

well there again, the technology itself is beside the point.

 

even if it worked flawlessly and never crashed, it's the attitude that UAV's suddenly need to be patrolling mainland US (or any modern state, like Canada).

and it's not even about UAV's. the issue is about the attitude of Homeland Security in a post-9/11 world extending well beyond it's rational means. this includes warrantless surveillance, heavy weapons, and military-grade armors being dumped into the hands of local law enforcement.

 

 

Intelligence is the key, as you said.

intelligence is key because - for reasons of efficiency and (at least) common sense - militarization does not work on the home front.

you can't "occupy" the homeland in the guise of protecting against a foreign enemy.

 

I know that's not the case yet.

the US is not occupied by our own army, obviously. but again this all comes back to the attitude, the mindset. ever since 9/11, at the point which we enacted the Patriot Act, we made it OK to be suspicious of American citizens (and perceived agendas) that require no actual evidence to pursue and detain. as of right now this behavior is still relatively benign. the majority of people rounded up under this new system are Islamic combatants captured some time during the war on terror.

 

but a dangerous precedent has been set.

these men are not allowed the kind of basic criminal rights that we assume anyone in US custody is entitled to. they are held indefinitely without seeing a judge or jury. and as the war on terror expands, we learn that this practice is not just reserved for enemy combatants. it can be applied to anyone as long as they are first labeled a "terrorist." this means American citizens, and as we saw with Anwar al-Aulaqi, the "terrorist" label doesn't even protect American citizens (al-Aulaqi was a natural born American citizen) from government sanctioned assassinations.

 

typically I hate the term "slippery slope" but in this case it may finally be fitting.

if we continue down this path of fear and distrust of our own people, to the point that we outfit the local police like the military, where does it end?

 

we have officially made the logical leap between foreign suspicion and the sanctioned assassination of US citizens.

so far it only happens abroad. but what exactly is going to stop it from eventually happening on our own soil?

 

GTAvanja is on the right track:

 

The thing is, when you say that you're OK with unarmed drones, pretty soon they'll sell you some bullsh*t story how they have to use weaponized drones. And you'll have no say in the matter of course.

this is exactly the point I am trying to get at.

 

where does the escalation end?

what's to keep it from getting out of hand?

Edited by El_Diablo

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DareYokel
and I can see absolutely no reason why you'd want to arm them

Neither can I. But you and I are not insane fear-mongering control freaks as far as I'm aware.

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Mike Tequeli
As long as UAVs remain unarmed (and I can see absolutely no reason why you'd want to arm them- also, exactly what could you arm them with which would fall under the remit of "reasonable and proportional force"- you can't go firing Hellfire missiles or even Frag-12 shotgun slugs (the smallest weapons mounted on UAVs) into civilian areas) and don't start invading private spaces, I don't really care. Personally, I think it's idiotic to have any expectation of privacy in a public place.

Well if you're the Philadelphia Police Department you could always use the drones to blow up armed standoffs. I wouldn't really put much past Police Departments in terms of taking things too far, they'll find a way.

 

The drones seem to be another pointless addition to Police resources. Just another thing to take away from any aspect of the untravelled and unseen in America, I suppose that's my main issue. I always find it reassuring that most of North America remains empty, uninhabited and unwatched, that's sort of some weird Western ideal I have though.

 

I think it would be a waste because it seems the only thing it would be useful at is finding marijuana grow ops and maybe illegal immigrant movements, even that it wouldn't be very good at. I would prefer if neither of those things were even enforced really.

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Dingdongs

They already are used on the border to stop illegal immigrants from entering. And if UAVs were employed they really could only be afforded by the major police departments (NYPD, LAPD, Philly) s0 you wou;dn't have to worry about the untraveled and unseen being, well, traveled and seen.

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