Friday, February 8, 2013

The Stalker Knows

Trey Smith

Imagine you’re being stalked from the sky. Every time you go in or out of any building, it’s recorded. Everybody you talk with. Everyplace you drive or take public transportation. Your sky-stalker can see through your windows, read your lips, and, using infrared cameras, can even see if you’ve lit a cigarette – of any type.

Shouldn’t this be illegal?
~ from Drones: The Ultimate Stalkers by Thom Hartmann ~
I know what a lot of people think about domestic drones: Let 'em spy on me. I'm doing not anything wrong, so what is there to worry about?

On the surface, they may have a point...except that the whole notion runs counter to the US Constitution! But I think people who hold this opinion are missing a much bigger point: YOU think you aren't doing anything wrong, but does that mean that the government agrees with you?

As we have seen in recent years, various arms of the government routinely violate the rights of citizens. For example, citizens have the constitutional right to gather peaceably and yet the police in many locales have arrested people for assembling. Another example is when the police either arrest someone and/or confiscate the individual's cell phone when all the person is doing is recording police actions. The US Supreme Court has ruled that it is within a citizen's right -- provided they aren't impeding official police business -- and yet many police officers continue to deny citizens this right.

Consequently, any one of us could be engaged in a constitutionally-protected activity and if, for whatever reason, someone in the government or some employee of a corporation that contracts with the government to fly and monitor drones decides that you or I possibly may be doing something that someone doesn't like, we could be labeled a criminal or a terrorist. And this would happen without you or I even knowing about it!

In a nation where the President or one of his senior advisers secretly can declare that someone is a terrorist WITHOUT PROVIDING A SHRED OF EVIDENCE to a court of law and then place that individual on an execution list, any one of us could find ourselves on such a list. A person could wind up there for doing nothing more than what I'm doing right now: protesting the fact that this power has been claimed in the first place!

Heck, with drones filling the domestic skies, a person genuinely may not be up to no good and yet some flunky watching a monitor miles away may draw an inaccurate inference from an innocent action. If you think that's nothing more than hyperbole, try talking to some of the families in Pakistan or Yemen who must deal with the sorrow of relatives who've been murdered by drones while their loved ones were going about their routine daily lives.

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