Image by AK Rockefeller via Flickr Creative Commons

Drone Surveillance Wants You!

By Grant Marcus

There is a current war on the American people. Corporations in California are at war with us and each other, vying over which company will get the first $22 billion drone contract in our state.

Assembly Member Jeff Gorell (R–Camarillo) wants to build drones in Oxnard, turning Highway 101 from Lancaster (Edwards Air Force Base) to Lompoc (Vandenberg Air Force Base), or a 75-mile stretch, into a “technology corridor” for drones. Point Mugu, where the drones are designated to be assembled, will complete the “military triangle” for drone technology in central California.

Gorell, a former naval intelligence officer manipulating drones over Pakistan, wants to use drones on the American people to “fight crime.” According to Pacific Business News, “That’s where the real money is.”

Drones, at 5,000 feet and with infrared cameras, can take detailed photographs on the ground and detect movements within walls or curtained windows. Drones can also be loaded with advanced weapons. Reports of the evolutionary technology have suggested that drones will eventually be reduced to “bug-size,” fitting in the cracks of walls or windows, and entering homes for surveillance purposes.

Gorell wants to secure the profits of his privatized drone industry “project” through tax-free incentives—on the backs of California taxpayers—while preventing accountability by building them under national security at Point Mugu Naval Base. He baits California by promising jobs, but the switch is those jobs will largely come from out of state, using international visas to hire cheap foreign labor.

Homeland Security and the Defense Department plan to move into the military triangle once legislation is passed in Sacramento.

Drone technology initially will likely target the poorest areas in California, the hunting down of immigrants and a crackdown on marijuana growers. But even that process will likely encroach on the lives of every Californian. As the drone industry expands (by “700% in the next few years”), it will likely affect every American as it spreads to other states.

Regardless of its expansion, the real questions should be: What will drone technology mean to the further eradication of American personal freedoms? Could drones lead to the elimination of due process if Americans are targeted as “terrorists” or “combatants”? And how can we presume anything involving corporate personhood, privatization and militarization will in any way serve best the American people? Or will drone technology instead turn Californians and the rest of the United States into Pakistani victims of the West?

*****

Grant Marcus, formerly of Fresno, is a writer for the Ventura County Reporter. Contact him at grantpeacenurse726@gmail.com.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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