Warfare continues to become more professional and dehumanized every day.

The purpose of Extraordinary Edition is being revisited for winter, headed into 2013. U.S. foreign policy, Central Asia and the Middle East remain key focal points. Economics and culture on your front doorstep are coming into focus here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Drones at home: FAA approves Predator drone to monitor Texas border

Dallas Morning News AirlineBiz blog
12:53 PM Wed, Jun 23, 2010
by Dave Michaels

Quick note: If we get drones in domestic operation, why would any of us think they wouldn't be used to hunt US: on a bad license plate number in a search for a fugitive or any other number of police operations conducted on poorly gathered intelligence, clerical errors and the like. Blackhawk helicopters are used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border now, which I have seen with my own eyes east of San Diego. That doesn't mean those helicopters aren't used for other domestic purposes directed at civilians. For the details of my view on drones, do a quick search on this site ... or watch the Terminator movies again. Every action has an equal an opposite reaction. Your government is hunting foreigners with machines. I don't want to be hunted with machines, do you?

Full text ...

We reported earlier today that Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, had held up the nomination of the FAA's #2 official over aerial surveillance of Texas border. It seems that hold is now moot: the FAA today approved an unmanned aircraft to monitor 1,200 miles of the border, from El Paso to Brownsville, according to Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.

"Today marks a critical next step in securing the Texas-Mexico border. By permanently positioning this aircraft in Texas, CBP can further combat illegal activity along our southern border," Cuellar said in a statement. "For five years, other southern border states have benefited from this technology and this will ensure Texas has the same tools in the box to combat the spectrum of threats we face."

Cuellar's press release says the plane will be based in Corpus Christi. Read on for more from the congressman about the FAA's decision:

Earlier this month, CBP began flying a remotely-piloted aircraft based in Arizona over a portion of West Texas. FAA's most recent approval will allow CBP to fly over the remainder of the Texas-Mexico border between El Paso and Brownsville along the Rio Grande.

In addition, CBP will patrol the state's coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. The remotely-piloted aircraft, known as a Predator B, can fly for up to 20 hours and provide to CBP real-time critical intelligence information from attached cameras, sensors and radar systems.

"Increasingly these aircraft will become a familiar means for providing homeland security," said Congressman Cuellar. "By putting eyes in the sky, we can provide real-time information to our law enforcement on the ground. This combination of technology and manpower keeps our law enforcement a cut above the challenges they face."

According to CBP, since 2005 Predator Bs have flown more than 1,500 hours in support of border security missions and have assisted in the apprehension of more than 4,000 illegal aliens, in addition to the seizure of more than 15,000 pounds of marijuana.

For more information on the CBP UAV program, visit cbp.gov

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