Sandy, the shock doctrine, and drones

Hurricane-post-tropical-Frankenstorm Sandy is winding down, but is the “shock doctine” about to kick in?  Author Naomi Klein has famously noted how disasters and other “shocks” to often trigger otherwise impossible actions by governments. In fact, right now legislators are beginning to seriously talk about climate change. But the after-effects of disasters are not always so sweeping and grand. Sometimes they happen quietly, or even secretly. Take “drone” aircraft for example.

Hurricane Sandy may prove to be one more reason why the US government continues or expands it program of secret spy planes over domestic U.S. airspace.  Despite complaints from civil liberties groups, the US government’s use of non-piloted aircraft––otherwise known as drones––has been steadily migrating to domestic airspace. In fact, just last week the ACLU filed court documents with five federal agencies (Justice Dept, FAA, GSA, Homeland Security, and USAF) inquring into the facts behind the federal government’s current operations and future plans for spying on Americans at home. “Drone technology is largely a product of our war efforts abroad, but the federal government is repurposing these machines for surveillance purposes at home,” the ACLE reports in “ACLU Asking the Federal Government How It’s Using Drones Inside the US.”

But hurricane hunting drones? In it’s current Danger Room section, Wired reports in a piece entitled “NASA Props Drone Hurricane Huntrer, But Misses Sandy” about a NASA/USAF program that just might have been a huge help in predicting exactly what Sandy was going to do…except the plance were on the ground at the time. Yet, as Wired points out, if anything this lapse could well be an excuse to beef up the program in future years.

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