Drones over America. Are they spying on you?

Deputy Amanda Hill of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado prepares to use a Draganflyer X6 drone equipped with a video camera to help search for a suspect in a knife attack. Drones are in demand by police departments, border patrols, power companies, news organizations and others wanting a bird’s-eye view that’s too impractical or dangerous for conventional planes or helicopters.  [Mesa County Sheriff’s Unmanned Operations Team/AP]

“Thousands of drones could be routinely flying over the United States within the next ten years. They can help with law enforcement and border control, but they also raise questions about invasion of privacy.”

By , Staff writer, Christian Science Monitor / June 16, 2012

Most Americans have gotten used to regular news reports about military and CIA drones attacking terrorist suspects – including US citizens – in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere abroad.

But picture thousands of drone aircraft buzzing around the United States – peering from the sky at breaches in border security, wildfires about to become major conflagrations, patches of marijuana grown illegally deep within national forests, or environmental scofflaws polluting the land, air, and water.

By some government estimates, as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years. Operated by agencies down to the local level, this would be in addition to the 110 current and planned drone activity sites run by the military services in 39 states, reported this week by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), a non-government research project. Continue reading

US: New government attacks on migrants target unionized workers with mass firings

US government's xenophobic anti-immigrant campaigns include ICE raids in working class communities and mass firings of workers, both unionized and unorganized

FIGHTING THE FIRINGS

By David Bacon,  In These Times web edition, 8/23/11

After years of ‘silent raids’ and federal workplace audits, unions and community allies are going on the offensive.

BERKELEY, CA — When the current wave of mass firings of immigrant workers started three years ago, they were called “silent raids” in the press.  The phrase sought to make firings seem more humane than the workplace raids of the Bush administration.  During Bush’s eight-year tenure, posses of black-uniformed immigration agents, waving submachine guns, invaded factories across the country and rounded up workers for deportations.

“Silent raids,” by contrast, have relied on cooperation between employers and immigration officials.  The Department of Homeland Security identifies workers it says have no legal immigration status.  Employers then fire them. The silence, then, is the absence of the armed men in black.  Paraphrasing Woody Guthrie, they used to rob workers of their jobs with a gun.  Now they do it with a fountain pen. Continue reading