Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Uncertainties remain as FAA integrates drones into American skies and COMMENT

From:  McClatchy 

COMMENT -  All assertions for the domestic use of drones ignore the most relevant issues as to the  legality of their use.  

Is their use by law enforcement Constitutional without a previously, and legally acquired warrant obtained through the courts?  I would say not.  The units are costly.  Our economy is struggling.  We can not afford them, and local areas would be likely to view acquiring them in just this way.  The Federal government has proven itself far too likely to assert control over the states, which are, Constitutionally, subject to the wishes of their own citizens. 

The fact the roll out of the technology carried with it the ominous threat of further terrorism by government against the people is enough to quash the use of the technology by government unless, and until, the issues of liability for the chronic abuse of power locally, and by the Federal government are solved. 

Drone medill cropped
University of Missouri students guide a quad-copter drone off the ground | David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT

More on this Story

Thousands of unmanned aircraft systems – commonly known as drones – could be buzzing around in U.S. airspace by 2015 because of a law passed last year, aiding in police investigations, scientific research and border control, but also raising safety and privacy concerns among some lawmakers and advocacy groups.
Already, drones are in use to count sea lions in Alaska, to conduct weather and environmental research and to monitor drug trafficking across our borders. In fact, 327 drones already have been licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly over U.S. soil.
But the FAA expects that number to increase to 30,000 by 2020, fueling what could become a $90 billion industry.
The drones used domestically bear little resemblance to the war machines making headlines overseas; the drones being flown in the United States often look more like toys, and none carries weapons.
The 2012 law, called the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, contains a seven-page provision – known as the Drone Act – requiring the FAA to fully integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System by September 2015. Additionally, the Drone Act allows law enforcement agencies, including local police forces, to buy and use unmanned aircraft for evidence gathering and surveillance.
Leonard Montgomery, a police captain in North Little Rock, Ark., said his department hopes to use its drones for surveillance of high-crime neighborhoods during drug investigations and other police work.
“Mobile drones will be able to quickly move to get a better perspective,” he said. “They’re both faster and more flexible than any other forms of surveillance.”
The department has one unmanned aircraft now, an SR30 helicopter-type drone that can only be flown over unpopulated areas while it awaits FAA rules for use over the more populated cities.
“They will only be used in public areas where people have no expectation of privacy,” Montgomery said. “We’re not flying at low levels looking into your bedroom windows.”
The new technology has potential in a wide range of applications.
Mario Mairena, spokesman for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, which lobbies on behalf of the drone industry, said drones can provide assistance to first responders in search and rescue missions and during or after natural or manmade disasters, and they also can aid in scientific research.
Unmanned aircraft can be equipped with infrared cameras, allowing responders to identify the heat signature of a body underneath a bank of snow on a mountain or under a pile of rubble in a disaster area.
Researchers are also using drones. For example, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks uses them to monitor sea lions, because the animals retreat under water when approached by larger and louder manned craft.
Mairena also outlined potential commercial uses for unmanned aircraft. Farmers, he said, want to use unmanned aircraft for crop dusting and disease detection, while oil and gas companies want to use drones to inspect rigs and pipelines. Hollywood, too, wants to get its hands on unmanned aircraft to capture innovative camera shots and save money on manned aircraft costs.
A company called Darwin Aerospace has even developed the Burrito Bomber, a drone equipped to carry and drop a parachute-wrapped burrito, which it calls “truly the world’s first airborne Mexican food delivery service.”
Transitioning drones into domestic airspace has raised safety and privacy concerns. The unmanned vehicle industry, though, thinks the benefits associated with civil drone use outweigh any concerns.
Earlier this month, a small drone was spotted 200 feet from a passenger airliner within airspace controlled by John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. This isolated incident may be the first of many, though, as 2020 approaches.
There are provisions in the Drone Act to protect manned aviation – airplanes and helicopters – from unmanned flight. But those provisions cannot prevent an inadvertent breach of controlled airspace. Also, as the drone population grows, so do the chances of a midair collision between two drones.
In addition to concern over drones entering closed airspace, some worry unmanned aircraft could have their signals interfered with or fall victim to a “spoofing” attack.
University of Texas professor Todd Humphreys and his team developed a software-based GPS transmitter designed to deceive – spoof – a drone.
Humphreys said sophisticated drones have two wireless communication linkages: the command-and-control link, which allows the operator to control the aircraft, and the GPS navigation link, which keeps the craft abreast of its own position. Spoofing is when a third party targets the GPS link, through which he or she could manipulate the drone.
Drones also are susceptible to communications jamming, leaving the operator unable to control the aircraft. A craft with dual linkage then would go into “lost link protocol,” which likely would navigate the vehicle, using its remaining GPS connection, to a pre-designated landing spot.
Unmanned aircraft already are finding homes in local police departments and other law enforcement agencies. The specific provision in the Drone Act authorizing law enforcement and other government-funded entities to use drones now, while the FAA creates final regulations for commercial use, mandates aircraft must weigh 25 pounds or less, cannot be operated higher than 400 feet above the ground or near airports and must remain within naked eyesight of the operator.
Right now, law enforcement can use drones to survey anything that is visible to the human eye without a warrant, said Amie Stepanovich, counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
But drones can be equipped with penetrating technology like infrared thermal imaging cameras to uncover details that are not visible to the naked human eye.
“It is physically impossible to hide from a drone within the typical home” if the drone is equipped properly, she said. At this point, with the technology being so new, Stepanovich said it is unclear whether such examinations would be considered “searches” under the Fourth Amendment, which would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant.
Mairena disagreed. He said the industry thinks the Fourth Amendment provides ample protection for citizens from invasions of privacy.
“We respect and support individuals’ rights to privacy, and if anyone is misusing this technology, they should be punishable to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
The concerns related to privacy go beyond just what drones can see. Because purchasing an unmanned aerial vehicle is much cheaper than buying a manned one – hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy as opposed to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars – law enforcement can afford to have more of them in the sky.
American Civil Liberties Union senior policy analyst Jay Stanley said that in American legal tradition, police don’t watch over citizens unless they have individualized suspicion that a person is about to do something wrong. But, he said, drones could allow police to constantly monitor people, tracking their movements and vehicles.
The unmanned vehicle lobby and the International Association of Chiefs of Police have both put forth guidelines for proper drone use. The lobby’s code of conduct includes one sentence addressing privacy that reads, “We will respect the privacy of individuals,” but it provides no detail as to which uses do and do not violate an individual’s right to privacy.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, introduced the Preserving American Privacy Act last month. It would ban all drone surveillance unless a warrant was first obtained, except during emergencies, if consent is given by the subject of the surveillance or within 25 miles of the border. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol currently operates 10 Predator drones.
Virginia is considering a two-year moratorium on drone use. Thirty other states have introduced legislation to protect privacy and limit unmanned aircraft use.
Ashley Balcerzak and Taylor Hiegel of Medill News Service contributed.

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The Medill News Service is a Washington program of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/04/29/189894/uncertainties-remain-as-faa-integrates.html#.UYAAMEqISSq#storylink=cpy

Hagel drops controversial medal for drone operators - and COMMENT

From:  U. S. News 

COMMENT - Veterans groups and many critical of the use of drones in the ongoing illegal wars our government has started, were behind the quashing of a medal to be given out to those actually operating the drones.  

But others have suggested it would be good to see those hard-working drone contractors receive recognition for their work, even if the actual operations are to be ignored just because they are in absolutely no physical danger from those they are killing.  These individuals, of course, include small children and pregnant women.  

But this award has been proposed for critical drone contractors, the first to  be awarded to the Management Team at Green Hills Software, Inc., which provides essential components to the ongoing covert war being carried out in Pakistan.  

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday eliminated the Distinguished Warfare Medal, overturning one of Leon Panetta’s last acts in the position.

The award — which had come to be known as the Nintendo Medal — recognized drone pilots and cyber operators.

Now, instead of a medal, individuals will receive a pin that will be placed on another existing medal — similar to a V that is pinned to a Bronze Star to indicate an award with valor.
The medal was established to “recognize the achievements of a small number of service men and women who have an especially direct and immediate impact on combat operations through the use of remotely piloted aircraft and cyber operations,” Hagel wrote in a statement.

Hagel ordered a review of the medal after hearing feedback from veterans groups, Congress members and others. The review “confirmed the need to ensure such recognition,” Hagel said, but “it found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose.

“The service men and women, who operate and support our remotely piloted aircraft, operate in cyber, and others are critical to our military's mission of safeguarding the nation,” Hagel continued. “I again want to thank my predecessor, Leon Panetta, for raising the need to ensure that these men and women are recognized for their contributions.”

The new face of American serial killers: drone operators


COMMENT - There is a chain of causality when someone is killed or maimed by drones we, as Americans, pay for.  The first step is the campaign to get the war started for the benefit of the relatively small number of multinationals and banks who so vastly profit.  

Reference John Perkins, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman," on this first step.  

Second Step: If the proposed victim country can't pay the usurious interest on loans made them, refusing to turn over their natural resources, specialized hit men of the violent variety come in.  

The third step was documented by Major General Smedley Butler in his book, "War is a Racket." 

The article below is about the 21st Century variation on this theme, remote war.  The overhead is less at a time when even multinationals can see there is an end to our ability to kill America's youth, forced into the military because of the death of opportunities at home.  

Today, most people understand these wars for what they are.  This profoundly clear commentary on the subject, related to Vietnam, appeared on EdHat, an online website for Santa Barbara, where Green Hills Software in located.  The original entry is about a woman driving a Mercedes parking in a handicapped spot.  The commentary which followed went deeper.  

 NATURE BOY helpful negative off topic
2013-04-29 06:17 PM
That's Levi. He's the coolest. A double-amputee with a custom made 3-wheel hot-rod that is customized to fit his needs. He rides it with his little dog on the back! Whenever i see him while i'm on my old Vespa, we always wave. Vietnam veteran, i believe. The LAST guy whose spot you want to park in! He earned that spot by fighting for our country. Oh i wish i could've been there!
 COMMENT 403163P helpful negative off topic
2013-04-29 06:18 PM
Looks like she was maybe a nursing aide for an elderly person, who probably owned the card and the car? Not an excuse; just and observation.
 NATURE BOY helpful negative off topic
2013-04-29 06:21 PM
163P, how does it look like that? I know you're not defending her crime, but what makes you think that?
 CHILI_CON_ARTCARNE helpful negative off topic
2013-04-29 06:25 PM
 COMMENT 403163P helpful negative off topic
2013-04-29 06:25 PM
Small point of history, but we were not fighting for our country in Vietnam. We were fighting to keep a corrupt gang of South Vietnamese military lords in power. We had no national interest to protect in Viet-man. Draft had ended with that war, and not everyone is in combat, when they later chose to enlist in the military.
Huge drug problems among our military personnel was a consequence of that engagement in South East Asia with its proximity to the Golden Triangle of the global drug traffic. It was one of our most strategic national blunders; exceeded only by Iraq, when we should have known better.

NATURE BOY helpful negative off topic
2013-04-29 06:32 PM
Not to get into either semantics or a debate on geo-politics of the 1960s, but, "Fighting for his country":
1. He was fighting.
2. It was "for his country" in the way that his country either asked him to do it or made him do it.

At each point in the chain of causality people make decisions about what they, personally, will do.  Using the information available, we each choose.  When we are lied to, by policy and for profit, we often make decisions which later impact us profoundly and, in the case below, kill others.  

Those supplying every part of the drones are accountable and had far better information about the capacity for killing than those enlisted to pull the trigger.  

drone operator

Brandon Bryant, 27, from Missoula, Montana, spent six years in the Air Force operating Predator drones from inside a dark container. But, after following orders to shoot and kill a child in Afghanistan, he knew he couldn't keep doing what he was doing and quit the military.
"I saw men, women and children die during that time. I never thought I would kill that many people. In fact, I thought I couldn't kill anyone at all." - Former US drone operator Brandon Bryant

A little after 10:00 p.m., and a serial killer is getting ready to make his move. He has watched and waited for this moment for some time.

He watches his victim get out of a cab and dig in his pockets for money. Two of his children run out to the porch to greet their daddy. The killer presses a button and watches as the victim, the taxi driver and the two children are vaporized. Other people in the house, the man's wife, parents and three other children are badly injured and burnt by the high explosive.

The house next door partially collapses, killing an elderly woman and injuring her grandson. But this is just the beginning.

Neighbors and emergency personnel arrive and begin trying to help the victims. There is chaos...children screaming, people wailing and the cries of the burnt and injured. Several people are trapped under rubble.

When enough people have gathered, the killer presses the button again. Fifteen seconds later, all those at the scene are vaporized or blown to shreds. The killer high-fives his partner. In two hours he will be off work! They are planning on driving in to Las Vegas, have some cocktails maybe pick up some girls.

On the other side of the world, at the crime scene, the misery, grief and suffering is just beginning. The gathering and grouping of body parts, the burials, the amputations and lifetime medical traumas, the traumatized children, the destroyed lives. But tonight in Vegas, it is party party party for this 22-year old serial killer from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, some 7550 miles away from the carnage. The biggest threat he will face tonight is a hangover tomorrow.

He is a drone "pilot". He and his kind have redefined the words "coward", "terrorist", and "sociopath". He is the new face of American warfare. He is a government trained and equipped serial killer. But unlike Ted Bundy or John Gacy, he does not have to worry about getting caught. It is his job.

One thing that the drone terrorism/assassination program has revealed to the world is how racist we Americans are. American life is precious... when Americans die we expect the entire world to weep at our feet along with us. Three Americans die in a senseless act of violence and murder at the Boston Marathon, and the entire country grieves and the president makes heartfelt speeches. Where were all the speeches and expressions of grief when the US bombed the school in Chenagai, Afghanistan? Didn't hear about that senseless act of violence and murder? Of course not.

This is from the UK newspaper The Tribune

    "It is one of the worst incidents of the entire drones campaign, yet one of the least reported.
    A CIA strike on a madrassa or religious school in 2006 killed up to 69 children, among 80 civilians.
    The attack was on a religious seminary in Chenegai, in Bajaur Agency.CIA drones attacked on October 30, flattening much of the school. Their target was reportedly the headmaster, a known militant. But dozens of children were also killed, the youngest aged seven."
    (see here)
Wow. So the CI next decides that the teacher of this school needs to be killed. They do not kill him on his way to school, or when he is alone. They wait until he is at the school full of children, THEN they send the missiles. They PURPOSELY wait until they can kill dozens of children too. Could Satan himself top this act of pure evil? If there is aHell, there is a special place for the murdering, drug running, child killers known as the CIA. Hitler's SS were Cub Scouts in comparison.

When the CIA decided that they wanted to kill a 16-year old American kid named Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki, they waited until he was in a Yemeni restaurant with two of his teenaged friends. A drone operator fired the missiles and not only the intended victim, but eight other people died.

This is from Wikipedia:

    "Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki was a 16-year-old American citizen who was killed while eating dinner at an outdoor restaurant in an airstrike by an armed C.I.A. drone in Yemen on October 14, 2011. The attack also killed two of his teenaged friends and five other people in the restaurant, which was reduced to rubble. He had no connection to terrorism and was searching for his father Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by an airstrike by an armed C.I.A. drone two weeks prior to the death of his son."
drone strike victem

Dr. Mona Kazim Shah with a drone strike victim
By the way, Obama approved that strike, according to the New York Times. Tough guy. A real leader. Child killer.

Would that ever happen in the US?

Say if a non-government sanctioned serial killer like Jeffery Dahmler was in a Burger King, would the police or FBI blow up the entire restaurant and kill everyone else inside to get him ? If a really bad guy...robber, rapist, murderer was found to be in his house some night with his wife and four small children, would the police blow up the entire house and everyone in it to get the bad guy? Would the CIA bomb a school full of children in Colorado (where the 16 year old was from) to kill ONE teacher? No, because we value AMERICAN life.

Our damned military and the ghouls who give them their orders are rapidly changing for the worst, how we are perceived in the world. We are murderous, racist thugs, killers of children, bombers of weddings and funerals. The "logic" given for bombing weddings and funerals is that there might be someone attending that they want to take out. So, our Nobel Peace Prize winning president and the serial killers he employs just kill as many people as possible.

If they were at the wedding of someone who might be related to someone possibly involved with trying to get the foreign invaders out of their country, well they were probably "terrorists", and the children would probably grow up to be terrorists, so kill em all.

This is racism at it's most extreme. We can kill them like mice because they are not like us. We lie, invade, destroy, kill and then we call THEM "savages". WE are the most brutal, arrogant and sociopath society this earth has ever seen. We criticize the Jews for calling themselves the Chosen Ones, yet we act as if we are the only people on the planet that matter.

"Well", you might be thinking, "this rant does not apply to me. I am not in the military, I am not an 'aviation warfare specialist' as the joystick/drone operators in their 'flight suits' are called. I don't like this crap any more than the author of this piece...."

My question then would be "What are you doing about it?"

Have you called your congressmen and senators and told them that you will only support those politicians who sincerely and repeatedly call for an end to the drone murder program?

About the only thing I feel that I can do about it at this time is try to raise awareness. Anyone can do that in their everyday conversations with others. Letters to the editor are good. Do something or know that by your silence you are aiding and abetting evil in it's purest form.
Even a "Drones are Evil" bumper sticker would be a start.

You would probably be surprised and maybe encouraged by how many others would comment on it. I believe that there should be a drone operator website where these punks are "outed". We need a drone operator list with names, pictures and addresses... I want to know if my neighbor, my child's friend's father, or the newly hired town cop is or was a murdering serial killer.

If so, they need to be treated like any other murderers.

They need to know even a bit of the terror that they inflict on others. They need to worry every single day, like the way Afghan and Pakistani parents worry, many now not sending their chidren to school because of the American/NATO habit of bombing schools, picnics and any gathering of people.

Can you imagine being afraid to throw a wedding for your child because a bored 22-year old "aviation warfare specialist" on the other side of the world may decide that it could be a terrorist get together and blow it up? That is the reality of life for many people in the world today, especially in Northern Pakistan.

And do you think that this killer drone business will not come to our shores?

Do you think that the same people who plan, approve and carry out strikes on weddings and houses full of children, who blow up an entire restaurant and everyone in it to kill a 16 year old American kid..do you think that these people would hesitate to do the same thing here if they felt a need to?

They kill children but are too nice to do it here?? "They wouldn't do that to us....that's crazy talk!" Remember Waco? There were children there. Twenty-eight of them.

drone poster
Sooner or later we are going to see a scenario like this...in the United States. A citizen shoots down a surveillance drone flying over his property. The government responds with an armed drone and blows the citizen to shreds. No risk to "law enforcement", call the guy a terror suspect and classify the information so that no one can look any further into it.

The message will be sent to the other uppity citizens that if you mess with us, you will die...today.

And consider this the next time you hear of a "terrorist" bomb, a suicide bombing or a car bomb going off somewhere. The giant V-2 rockets that Germany deployed during WWII were invisible to the naked eye when they hit. These rockets were 46 feet long, nearly 6 feet in diameter, and had a 12 foot wingspan. They were the size of, and looked like, the finned rockets in old science fiction movies.

Hellfire missiles, which US drones use, are less than five feet long, seven inches in diameter, and have a 13" wingspan. By my rough calculations, nearly three hundred Hellfires could fit into a V-2, yet these giants were invisible when they hit. How much more so the Hellfires?

And by the way, do you know how many car bombs had been set off in Iraq before the American/British invasion?

Even with all the "sectarian strife" that we were told we must invade to prevent. Look it up..not one recorded car bombing incident until the Americans and Brits got there. Coincidence? I think not.

So if a drone fires a missile at a car in a crowded market and it explodes, it becomes a "car bomb"? In Gaza, shops, houses and cars blow up routinely and it is usually attributed by the Israelis to a bomb blowing up prematurely. You can only use that so many times however, before people start to question things.

I am afraid that we are to the point however, where they do not care about our impressions of their actions as long as we are "shock and awed" enough to fear resisting. Everything the government does, it does gradually...like frogs in a cooking pot, we adjust to each little infringement, each loss of freedom, each "sacrifice" that we are asked (ordered) to endure "for the good of the country".

One day we wake up and realize that we have become slaves to a cartel of profiteers that do not give a damn about us or The United States or the world. We are their tools, their pawns to be used and disposed of as they see fit. They use one group of us to wipe out another group of us, but we are all their pawns... Americans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, whatever.

We are being distracted and manipulated by "nationalism" - by people who have no allegiance to any country. Their loyalty is to power and wealth. They believe that they should rule the world.

When I was growing up, in the movies, cartoons and comic books, the people who wanted to "rule the world" were ALWAYS the bad guys....remember? How did that change? It didn't... wanting to dominate the world remains the wet dream of the most evil amongst us.

drone poll
The real war going on is a class war. But it is very narrow class indeed which does the ruling..maybe the top 3%. They use fear, nationalism, "patriotism", religion, race, sexual preferences... anything they can to get us to fight each other, but what we always have is one group of poor bastards killing another group of the same so that evil people who have nothing but disdain for all of us can continue to grow in power and wealth.

We average Americans are too nice. We think that our "leaders" are nice also. We cannot imagine lying to the whole world to create a war for profit, or bombing a restaurant full of people to kill a 16-year old kid but they can and have. We cannot imagine torturing people to death, but they can and do. We could not imagine that they would kill 2200 of us on 9-11 to get a war going, but even the government appointed 9-11 commission members do not believe the official story that they say they were railroaded into endorsing. Polls show that a majority of the world does not buy it either.

So, do I think that even massive public pressure would change things, that the US military and the CIA would stop using and promise not to use killer drones anymore, or if they did make such a promise it would be kept? Not for a second. They are here to stay. I think that the only thing we can do is make it as difficult as possible for them. Make them go to a little more effort to cover their tracks. Harass drone-promoting politicians... make them worry. Send a letter to General Atomics, the ghouls that build these Predator drones.

Here is their address:

General Atomics
PO Box 85608
San Diego, California 92186-5608
If you think that their products are shitty, maybe the best way to express that is to send them some......shit! Got a dog? Maybe a cat? There you are... you are just a stamp and an envelope away.

We have generated a lot of well-justified hatred. If Americans were digging through rubble of weddings, restaurants and schools looking for their victims of Chinese drone strikes, I think it is safe to say that we would hate the Chinese.

I would try to figure out a way to fight back if I could. Wouldn't you?

And if Chinese drones were killing Europeans or Japanese in their houses, their restaurants, I would boycott all things Chinese. Despite all our wealth and WMDs, we are just 5% of the world's population. How long can we spit in the faces of the other 95% and not receive serious repercussions?

drone protest
We use force to resolve differences, but we are an especially warlike society. The rest of the world will simply ignore us, reject us, and starve us out. Remember the fall of the South African apartheid government? That regime lasted a decade longer than it would have only because of loans from AMERICAN banks. The rest of the world had closed it's doors on the racist regime.

No one likes murderous bullies, except it seems, other murderous bullies. Things are going to change. I am surprised that it hasn't happened already. We are raised to think that the whole world admires us and wants to be like us. That may have been the case in the past, but we have become so brutal, hypocritical and arrogant that those days are over. The beautiful young maiden that the world embraced last night has been revealed to be an ugly, syphilitic old whore with bloodstained hands in the morning light.

The honeymoon is ending quickly...

We need to realize that an American boycott could very well happen. Sadly, only then will a huge number of us realize that we have been on the wrong side of history. Many of us will dig in with the "right or wrong, it's us against them" mentality. But most of us, I believe, are good, decent people who wish no harm to anyone. We just want to live our lives the best we can and hopefully raise our children in a happy and peaceful world. And most of us realize that all around the world everyone else is, with very few exceptions, the same.

For most of us our only sin is our silence.

That is how history will judge us.

People want to feel proud of themselves, of their country, of their military. We resist realizations that shatter that perception. It is tough to realize that at this point in time, we are indeed "the bad guys", and we should be ashamed for allowing this world-threatening cancer to grow in our name. But we are continually bombarded with lies and misinformation by a "government" that we were raised to trust and believe in.

What will our overlords do when they realize that we see through their lies, and their time is up? What will they do when our servicemen and women start refusing orders en mass? And how many innocents have to die before that point is reached? THAT is up to us.

"If there be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." - Thomas Paine

Vic Pittman is a freelance writer from Scotts Mills, Oregon who resides in Mexico today. He is the holder of no literary awards, journalistic awards or college degrees. He has at one time or another been a honor student, inmate, biker, Christian, pothead, father, radical, pacifist, anarchist, artist, heavy metal guitarist, model citizen, lawbreaker, business owner, illegal marijuana grower, and volunteer for various causes. He is proud to be a "common man" and be among those striving to make this world a better place if at all possible. He was fortunate enough to have been raised by awesome parents who instilled what he feels to be essential values and encouraged him to feel a kinship with not just family or Oregonians or Americans or whites, but every person on Earth, and to act accordingly. He and his wife Glenda currently live in Nayarit Mexico. You can write to Vic at this address: tropicats08@hotmail.com

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How a Transparent World Protects us

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Drone Contractor caught exposing himself in Taunton, MA, two days after Boston Marathon Explosion near Boston

John B. (Jack) Douglas, an attorney and author of the long touted, “Reebok Rules,” famously filled with advice on how to make it as a corporate counsel, caught in 'the act,' told the off-duty officer what he was doing was a family tradition. Officer McGowan did not find the argument compelling.

Douglas exposed himself to Officer McGowan's wife and children as the family ate a meal together at Olive Garden Restaurant on County St, Taunton, MA.

Some will chuckle. Others will be outraged. A few will talk about the beauty of the human body and their support of nudity. But Jack Douglas revealed something about his real values and operating principles, there, between Dunkin' Donuts and the Olive Garden, something he would prefer was not transparent to the world.

When we can see and understand the actions of those, who otherwise, we would automatically trust, we are far better able to ensure our trust is not misused.

Jack knows perfectly well what the prevailing standards are for nudity, legally and culturally. He is a seasoned and sophisticated graduate of Harvard. On June 7th Douglas will face pre-trial in Taunton District Court.

Covert behavior which gratifies or profits individuals flies underneath a system of law and the original American culture which, localized and community based, allowed us to know each other well enough to know the predilections and motives of those around us. We knew who we could trust and how much we could extend that trust.

Modifications in our form of government and business took place over time. But this form of 'security,' knowing about the operating principles of those around us, which are not enumerated in their resumes and CVs, is exactly what the burgeoning centralization of government and corporations has worked diligently to suppress.

When you look at Jack's smiling face in the line up of his fellow team members from the corporation for which he is Vice President, the last thing you would think about is him is the I image of him lifting his kilt to expose himself to a family eating their garlic bread.

But what you don't know about those in corporations and government can, and is, killing people around the world and reducing all of us, who struggle to do the right thing, to poverty and ill-health.

Jack Douglas is Senior Vice-President for Green Hills Software, Inc., a company which provides software for war drones to the military. Using drones in an illegal, undeclared war in Pakistan which is, daily killing innocent civilians, is good for their bottom line. But this policy of death for profits both violates our Constitution and is is making America a nation, hated for its disregard of human rights, across the globe.

Green Hills took off for the big bucks in 2003 when the War in Iraq was just getting under way, at the same time they supplied uncertified documents to individuals closely associated with the Bush Administration in an attempt to protect one of their operatives, John Fund. 


Look closely at these photos of the Management Team. You are going to learn some interesting things about them which will change your perception of the sheen of respectability which the presentation of their images and resumes create. 


The President and CEO of Green Hills is Dan O'Dowd. Dan owns 97% of the company with his wife, Amy Chang. O'Dowd, whose life ambition is to be wealthier than Bill Gates owns other companies, purchased with his profits. Covert should be Dan's middle name.

Unlike Gates, O'Dowd did not have a wealthy father. Dad O'Dowd was a psychologist.

Dan was a poor graduate from CalTech when, in 1982, with the financial backing of another very successful CalTech graduate, Glenn Hightower, they founded Green Hills.

Despite claims, it was not an immediate success. In fact, in 1985 it seemed likely they would have to return to Hightower for more funding, diluting his shares. It was then Craig Franklin entered Dan's life. Franklin, ignoring Dan's marketing, read the code and recommended it to friends in the industry, saving Dan's equity position. Making Franklin an offer he could not refuse, Dan hired Franklin on as vice president of advanced products development in 1986.

The two men each have much to hide. 
In 1998 it was Franklin who organized the walk-out of critical employees which, part of a carefully orchestrated plan, allowed O'Dowd to buy out the company from Hightower at a fraction of its real value. Hightower had been an active participant in the company, not a passive investor. 
The deal between Franklin and O'Dowd was of the, “Throw Mama from the Train,” variety. Franklin assisted in defrauding Hightower and O'Dowd made sure Franklin's wife did not receive her marital share of the stock options issued to Franklin the year before. Their actions callously, and intentionally, left her disabled, destitute, and struggling to care for a completely disabled son, who Franklin had adopted.  
Today, Craig Franklin, is widely known to engage in bizarre sexual behavior and to have exposed himself to his adopted daughters. The focus of his sexual drive is young girls, and his fantasies turn on incest. Franklin's son, Jonathan Scott Franklin, is presently serving time for the attempted murder, by hitman, of his wife. 
Green Hills provides software for aerial guidance systems, high level encryption, and covert surveillance, directly to government and to other government contractors, among other products. 
Today, we must openly confront the fact government contractors and other multi-national corporations have become a powerful partner in government. Therefore, the operating principles of the real, flesh and blood people who determine their corporate strategies and policies must be transparent to us, the people who supply the money which has allowed them to ramp up to billion dollar enterprises. 
Those on corporate management teams, officers of the company, and members of their boards, are not private individuals. Our need to know supersedes their privacy, as it would for elected or appointed officials. The American people supply the money which pays for their corporate jets and income. On our behalf, they are making decisions which are impacting all of us. 
We have it in our power to provide the transparency in this sector which is so desperately needed.  The responsibility is ours, each of ours, as individuals.  When we see wrong being done we need to speak out, informing others as we demand justice be done.  

This was true in Nazi Germany.  It is true now. 

Today, it is obvious just how deep and wide the corruption of our institutions has gone.  Read,  "Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever," by Matt Taibbi, now published in Rolling Stone Magazine, if you still doubt. It is not just war contractors. From the highest level of banking down to the seemingly honest faces of the men above, the need for transparency screams to us like a man dying for want of air, lost in an ocean of deceit, all undertaken for profit, without a shred of integrity.   

As we continue the campaign to 'get to know,' the Management Team for Green Hills Software, remember there are 2,500 drone companies which are members of the Association for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Systems International, of which Green Hills is a Silver member. 

Forget their attempts to look honest, normal and respectable.  Remember how much they have hidden, tolerated, and the murders committed in the name of money in their pockets.  Character, and values, do matter.  The lack of integrity, the real thing, not Dan's ironically named software, can destroy all of us unless we, as individuals step up and take action.  

We are the ones we have been waiting for.  

Visit:  DroneFreeZone.info for updates    

I was  asked about evidence for the statements made in the article. 
 Legal papers, depositions, affidavits, declarations, wills, and other proof are available at:
Just the Evidence and Ruthless People.
John B. Douglas, III Police Report  I received the report from an anonymous source.  Checked it with the local police who pointed out the article in the paper, which included the date for the pre-trial. 

Foxboro man in kilt charged with open and gross lewdness in Taunton

For legal papers relating to Dan O'Dowd and Craig Franklin go to Supplemental Declaration - Exhibits and Green Hills Software, Inc.  As you read through the affidavits, declarations, and transcript you will see he could not keep his mouth shut.  Morgan found he had to talk to her about what was going on several times a day. 

Anne Fisher, Craig's former girl friend, sent me emails, documents she prepared for her attorney, and other material.  In addition, we talked very frequently over a period of at least two years as she shared her story and observations.  These included her still ongoing relationship with Craig, which she had a hard time ending because he would not stop calling her. 

It was actually Anne who called to tell me about what was going on when Craig's son, Scott, was arrested for paying a hitman to kill his wife.  It was also Anne who pointed out to me Craig was dangerous, though Morgan also mentioned he was considering having me killed in 1999.  I did not actually want to think about it. 

If you dig into the story you will see Craig and GHS did not stop going after me and were colluding with a group in attempts to 'get' me as recently as last year.  I did not include this because it starts to be more like a book than an article, and did not seem as relevant to the drone issue, which is the point here. 

More is coming on other  Team members.            - Melinda

Saturday, April 27, 2013


From:  Scottish History

COMMENT - It is, of course, true that Dan is pure Irish while Jack celebrates his Scottish Douglas heritage, but it is nice to see these two Celtish descendants able to reach across the boundaries and embrace in solidarity of their common interests. 

Craig Franklin, of Clan Craig, which is his mother's maiden name, and until recently on the Management Team for the company,  also received support from Dan in the interest of their common cause.  Of course, that was slightly different.  

The two had entered into a pact to part Dan's partner, Glenn Hightower, probably German, from his half interest in Green Hills.  In exchange, Dan had a fake stock option agreement made as the beginning of his ongoing campaign to leave me, Craig's wife, destitute.  

The two discussed the details over lunch every day, from what I was later told.  It was a, "Throw Mama from the Train," sort of conspiracy, which certainly paid off for the two of them.  

I wonder what kind of assistance Dan will provide to Jack?  

But all of us share a common heritage.  Craig was a proud descendant of the Highland Craigs until he saw The Craig get it in the neck during the showing of Brave Heart he dragged the family to see at the Paseo Nuevo Theater in Santa Barbara, just as the film opened.  Craig had been talking about it for nearly a year.  When Wallace took of The Craig's head, this Craig, his proud descendant,  fell out of his seat.  

Craig was doubly enraged because I had casually told him the McReynolds Family History I have just received showed I was a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce.  Honest, I did not know who The Bruce was until he came on the screen.  

Robert the Bruce had a motto, which I later learned was, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again."   I took it for my personal motto, for reasons which will become obvious to you.

My first McReynolds ancestor to come to the colonies settled in North Carolina.  She, a widow, coming with her many children, was a Quaker.  From there, three generations fought in the Revolution, grandfather, father, and son.  By all reports, they also refused to give up, continuing to fight for their convictions. 
Craig's family came over after the Civil War and settled in Washington's Court House, Ohio, where they stayed until his mother went off to college, the first in her family to get a college education.  

Remembering the Bruce

Bernard Barton (1784 - 1849) was born of Quaker parentage and passed nearly all his life at Woodbridge, for the most part as a clerk in a bank. Although he has no known genealogical connection with Scotland, one of the poems he wrote concerned the story of Robert the Bruce and the motivation provided by a spider, to continue with his fight against the English who were occupying Scotland.

   Bruce and the Spider

For Scotland's and for freedom's right,
   The Bruce his part has played;
In five successive fields of fight,
    Been conquered and dismayed:
Once more against the English host,
    His band he led, and once more lost
The meed for which he fought;
    And now from battle, faint and worn,
The homeless fugitive, forlorn,
    A hut's lone shelter sought. 

  And cheerless was that resting-place,
    For him who claimed a throne;
His canopy, devoid of grace,
    The rude, rough beams alone;
The heather couch his only bed -
    Yet well I ween had slumber fled,
From couch of eider down!
    Through darksome night till dawn of day,
Absorbed in wakeful thought he lay,
    Of Scotland and her crown.

The sun rose brightly, and its gleam
    Fell on that hapless bed,
And tinged with light each shapeless beam,
    Which roofed the lowly shed;
When, looking up with wistful eye,
    The Bruce beheld a spider try
His filmy thread to fling
    From beam to beam of that rude cot -
And well the insect's toilsome lot,
    Taught Scotland's future king.

Six times the gossamery thread
    The wary spider threw;
In vain the filmy line was sped,
    For powerless or untrue,
Each aim appeared, and back recoiled,
    The patient insect, six times foiled,
And yet unconquered still;
    And soon the Bruce, with eager eye,
Saw him prepare once more to try
    His courage, strength, and skill.

One effort more, his seventh and last!
    The hero hailed the sign!
And on the wished-for beam hung fast
    That slender silken line!
Slight as it was, his spirit caught
    The more than omen; for his thought
The lesson well could trace,
    Which even "he who runs may read,"
That Perseverance gains its meed,
    And Patience wins the race.

Highland dress and the tartan are among the most powerful, romantic and dramatic of all the symbols of Scotland. It has been claimed that 'a man in a kilt is a man and a half'; there really is something about the wearing of the kilt that confers extra stature on its owner. It is absolutely no coincidence that the kilted 51st Highland Division was rated by the Germans as the most formidable of all the formations they came across during the First World War. 

Certainly the British government had no doubts on the matter when, after the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie, they banned the use of Highland dress and the tartan, which they clearly saw as an incitement to further subversion. Offenders were killed or sent to the colonies. The form of Highland dress has always owed much to the army and it was the Highland regiments which kept the kilt and the tartan alive until at last, in 1782, their use was once more permitted. Before that time, Scots were only permitted to wear any Scottish wear if they joined the British Armed Services. Pipers were permitted to wear their kilt, but usually in a Regimental color. Other service men - most were permitted to wear the balmoral with their clan badge on it. A high price to pay to wear highland clothes, laying their life on the line to do it. 

Nowadays, the kilt is seen as the national dress of Scotland. In fact, it started life as NO SUCH THING, being entirely confined to the Highlands. The Lowlanders, who have always made up the majority of Scots, regarded what they considered a "barbarous" form of apparel with'loathing' and 'contempt' and conferred the opprobrious term of 'redshanks' on the Highlanders, who were, they reckoned, what we would now term 'blue' with cold. But today anyone with the smallest claim to Scots ancestry (and not a few without) proudly wears the kilt; even Lowland chiefs and their followers vie with their Highland counterparts in a way which their forefathers would have found incomprehensible and appalling. 

The kilt itself in its original form was a very basic garment which required neither the trouble of tailoring nor the frequent replacement which a pair of breeches needed. The tartan cloth forming a piece of material some 2 yards in width by 4 or 6 yards in length. This was known variously as the Breacan, the Feileadh Bhreacain and the Feileadh Mor - the big kilt, usually referrred to in English as the belted plaid. 

To put it on, its owner "put his leather belt on the ground and then placed the material lengthways over it. This he then methodically plaited it in the middle, (suitable to the size of the wearer) over the belt until he had gathered along its length leaving as much at each end as would cover the front of the body, overlapping each other. Lying down on the belt, he would then fold these ends - overlapping each other. The plaid being thus prepared, was firmly bound round the loins with a leathern belt, in such a manner that the lower side fell down to the middle of the knee joint, and then while there were the foldings behind, the cloth was double before. The upper part was then fastened on the left shoulder with a large brooch, or pin, so as to display to the most advantage the tastefulness of the arrangement, the two ends being sometimes suffered to hang down, but that on the right side, which was of necessity the longest, was more usually tucked under the belt."
The belted plaid had many advantages in the Highland climate and terrain. It allowed freedom of movement, it was warm, the upper half could provide a voluminous cloak against the weather, it dried out quickly and with much less discomfort than trousers and if required it could, by the mere undoing of the belt, provide a very adequate overnight blanketing. The tightly woven wool proved almost completely waterproof, something the lose woven wool of today -- is not. When complete freedom of action was required in battle it was easily discarded, and one famous Highland clan battle, that between the Frasers the MacDonalds and Camerons in 1544, is known as Blar-na-Leine, which can be translated as 'Field of the Shirts'. 

The garment that was (originally) largely, -- that of the people; and lesser leaders) worn a Leine Croich or saffron shirt, in fact a knee-length garmet of leather, linen or canvas, heavily pleated and quilted, which provided a surprisingly good defense and which was much more mobile (and less expensive) than contemporary plate armour. This form of dress in to be seen on West Highland tombstones right up to the early seventeenth century, worn with a high conical helmet and the great two-handed claymore. For ordinary wear the kilt may be made of tartan or tweed and may be box-pleated or knife-pleated (as are most); for dress wear it should be of the dress tartan of the Clan. If the Clan posses one. The kilt should be worn with the lower edges reaching not lower than the centre of the knee-cap. 

The ordinary or everday jacket and vest worn with the kilt, should be made of tweed, home-spun (usually wool) or lighter weight for summer, or other suitable material preferably with horn buttons. 

The sporran, or purse, may be made of leather for day wear; the head and skin of the badger, seal, ermine or other light and dark coloured skins for evening. (The kilt having no pockets, the sporran was evolved by necessity). Hose for daywear can be a white or oatmeal color, for evening they should be tartan to match the kilt, fine knit, woven or cut from the piece. Garters are usually of wool or worsted, and knotted with a garter knot, the end or flashes handing below the overturn. At present elastic garters with tartan flashes attached are popular. Colours either red, green or navy blue. 

Instead of a tie, the lace jabot is worn over a plain white shirt, in modern days, some wear the tie but the lace jabot is favored. Lace cuffs are usually sewn or snapped into the jacket.
Shoes for evening wear should be light weight and with silver gilt buckles. Gillies or a light weight leather shoe with the appearance of gillies can be worn and are well suited to dancing the Country Dances. Shoes for daywear any color leather that compliments the kilt. 

The "Balmoral" style bonnet is the most popular style of headwear. And it approximates more closely to the old broad bonnet of the Highlander. It is generally dark blue, green, and brown in color, and may have a pom-pom (usually) of red. The bonnet should display the crest buckle and strap in silver of the wearer, (if he is entitled to wear one - if he is in fact, a member of that clan). Under no circumstances should ordinary clansmen wear the crest without the strap and buckle which indicates that the wearer is merely displaying the topmost part of his chief's crest in the strap and buckle. Only the Chief of the Clan is entitled to wear the full Crest. The diced (or orange checkered) band around the base of the balmoral indicates loyalty to the House of Hanover, i.e. the King/Queen of England. Highlanders generally do NOT wear the diced Balmoral, but choose to wear the plain dark blue bonnet; many lowlanders may choose wear the diced cap as they are intermingled with English blood and loyalties. Some Lowlanders also will not wear the diced cap. It is a matter of loyalties as some Lowlanders and Highlanders are loyal to the highlands, and would not wear the diced cap, even after all these years. 

The wearing of a dirk, although not necessary, is generally carried in the loop on the kilt, at the waist, made for the dirk. A sgian-dubh, (or small dagger) however, is carried in the right hand stocking on all occasions. The kilt is male attire and should NEVER be worn by the ladies, except Highland dancer lassies. 

As it happens, pre-nineteenth century portraits of the chiefs and lairds painted in tartan are remarkablly few; in general, apart from those wearing kilted military uniforms, they preferred to have their pictures painted in ordinary dress of the time. 

The Feileadh Beg, or little kilt, is what is worn today. In essence it consists of the lower part of the old belted palid with the pleats sewn in at the back and neatly tailored (knife pleated), the ends of the kilt's two aprons being drawn across the front of the body and secured usually by buckle and strap. This form of dress may have existed earlier, but there is no sign of it before 1725. It is a severe shock to many people to find that the "little kilt's originator may well have been an Englishman, one Rawlinson, who was employed as the manager of an iron smelting works in Lochaber who adapted it, to allow more freedom of movement for his workers. (Probably so they could work faster being the concerned English they were). Be that as it may, it is this form of garment which is now firmly taken as being the kilt. 

Identification at any distance of differing clans was due largely to the wearing of the various clan plant-badges of which, it will be noticed, is a considerable feature by an easily visible token in the bonnet so as to allow other clan members to know who their clan, septs and friends were in a battle. This plant-badge was worn on the bonnet or balmoral.
During the Jacobite uprising the white cockade (from the French cocarde or the Old French coquarde meaning "vain, or cocky"). It was worn in the bonnet to identify supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The modern, armorially correct fashion for a clansman of wearing (the upper portion) of his chief's crest within a buckle and strap displaying the motto as a silver cap badge, as stated earlier, only the Chief of the clan can wear the complete crest. 

Today, tartans abound and it is an unfortunate person indeed who will not be told by the tartan shops that he or she indeed can buy 'their' tartan. The ascribing of a vast plethora of names to membership of various clans has long been an industry in itself - luckily there is insufficient time or space here to enter into that particular subject! 

The convention has now been adopted that it is the chief of the clan - assuming that there is one - who lays down who belongs to his clan and what is its tatan. 

The transformation of the attitude towards the Highlander in the mind of the rest of the nation from the fear and disgust engendered by the Jacobite rebellions (few people would believe that there were many Scots in arms against Prince Charlie than for him, but such is the case), to admiration and respect is nothing short of remarkable. Jacobite (from new latin Jacobus meaning: James, or latin meaning Jack). It was a name chosen to show support for James II. The bravery of the Highland regiments of the latter part of the eighteenth century, must give them the right to claim a large part of the credit, but the early years of the ninteenth century saw the arrival of an extraordinary veneration and romanticizing of the Highlander. 

Of course, the most eminent enthusiast of things Highland was Queen Victoria herself, her task at the time being summed up in that splendid word 'Balmorality'. The Queen displayed enormous pride in her Stewart ancestry, ignoring the fact that if that family had triumphed a hundred years before, her own would have remained in undistinguished obscurity. Her reign saw the final transformation of what their detractors could claim to be a race of savages, however noble, into figures of glamour and romance. The process can perhaps be summed up by the comparison between the silver encrusted and often caringorm ornamented ceremonial dirk with its knife and fork in the sheath so frequently illustrated in Scottish books, and the much older and plainer example on display at Inveraray Castle. Any doubt as to the stark purpose of the latter is dispelled by the Gaelic inscription on its worn blade which, being translated, reads 'Give me blood for I am thirsty...'. 

The element of fantasy is still with us today now that Highland dress is popular as never before. There is something that is very special indeed about the kilt and the tartan. It is a limp back indeed that does not straighten as the kilt is buckled on and a poor heart that is not lifted just a little, at the sight of the colours of the clan. 

The kilt has now become, beyond any doubt the national dress of Scotland; let us keep it that way and ensure it is not allowed to decline into mere fancy dress. 

Regimental tartans can be addressed in another article although one must mention the influence of Regimental tartans played a very large part in keeping the tartan very much alive and very greatly revered. -------------------------------

Lady Nancy A. MacCorkill, s.c.h.
Email: Scone@scotlandmail.com
Member of Clans Gunn; MacLeod of Lewis and Marshall
Sources: Clans of Scotland by Innes
Clans and Tartan, R. Bain,
MacNaughton, Clans of Scotland
Scottish Clans, Innis
Lord Lyons Office, Agent of the Queen
[Credits] Standard Disclaimer Researched
(C)opyrighted: All Rights Reserved NAM 1997/98