Wednesday, 30 May 2012 04:58

President Obama Readies the Sale of Drone Ordnance to Italy

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President Obama will soon apprise Congress of his plan to supply arms with which to equip American-made Italian drones.

The current occupant of the White House has a fondness for remote control killing and it seems his fascination has prompted him to extend the range of these unmanned airborne assassins to the European mainland and beyond.

According to a story printed by Reuters, “within two weeks” the Obama administration will proceed with the arming of the American-made drones already sold to Italy. Italy will then join the United Kingdom in deploying the remote control weapons loaded with “laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles.”

Until the sale of the weaponry is complete, Italy’s reported arsenal of six MQ-9 Reaper drones sit unarmed and thus useless to the President and his global allies who remain committed to avoiding the tedium of trials of those suspected of threatening international security.

The cost of mounting these sophisticated weapons to the Italian drones runs about $17 million, money that can then be redistributed into accounts funding the cost of policing the globe and protecting the “homeland.”

Reports indicate that West Wing water carriers already have made the trip up Capitol Hill to bring key congressmen up to speed on the President’s ramp-up of the remote control drones we have sold to Italy.

In its report on the impending weaponizing of Italy's inventory of drones with American ordnance, the Wall Street Journal indicates that the consultations between the Executive and Legislative branches are progressing speedily and without apparent obstruction: 

The administration gave Congress a longer-than-usual 40 days to review the proposed sale. The period ended May 27 without a move to block the sale, according to congressional officials, clearing the way for the deal to move forward and for a formal notification of Congress as soon as this week.

Congress still could block the sale if it passes a joint resolution of disapproval in both the House and the Senate within 15 calendar days, though several members of Congress from both parties say such a move is unlikely.

Now that the National Defense Authorization Act has designated the United States as an active theatre in the interminable War on Terror, it’s about time Europe be officially tagged, as well. The sale of drone weapons to Italy (and previously to Britain) is likely just the first of many such deadly deals to be made with other regimes clamoring to join the claque of countries with the capacity to eliminate enemies with the push of a button.

In fact, Reuters reckons that the delivery of drone weapons to Italy will facilitate similar transactions with “the other members of the 28-country NATO alliance or by close U.S. partners such as South Korea, Japan and Australia….”

"I think that if you sell armed drones to Italy, you will very likely make a decision that any member of NATO that wants them can also get them," said a former congressional staff member as quoted in the Reuters piece.

Anyone at all familiar with the zero-sum game that is post-Cold War realpolitik will readily recognize the likelihood that the distribution of these newly empowered drones will spark similar sales by those countries outside the “coalition,” namely: “Israel, Russia and China.”

Membership in this decades-old, though constantly shifting “coalition” is reportedly what greased the skids for the proposed sale of bombs to arm Italian drones.

Witness this comment from the Reuters report:

The State Department does not comment on proposed sales of U.S. military hardware until formal notifications have been completed. But a State Department official described Italy as a strong NATO ally which contributes significantly to coalition operations. 

"The transfer of U.S. defense articles and service to allies like Italy enables us to work together more effectively to meet shared security challenges," said the official, who declined to be named.

Yes, security. It is the freedom and civil liberties of Americans that is the now common sacrificial lamb tied to the altar of security. The Constitution is shredded and used as kindling in the fires that consume the blood offering. When safety is “secured,” due process and other judicial protections are then stripped and prepped for surrender to the gods of globalism.

In the post-NDAA era into which the United States has now entered, the government has assumed all power over life and death and has passed law after law and innumerable volumes of regulations that legalize that usurpation. In this nation today, every man, woman, and child (including unborn children) is required by force of law to appeal to the ultimate arbiter of the right to life for their continuing existence. Should they fail to adequately demonstrate the requisite level of obsequiousness, their life, liberty, and property may be confiscated without recourse and seemingly without remorse on the part of those carrying out the sentence.

To that end, a couple of recently published articles in the New York Times and Newsweek reveal, “key tenets of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policy”:

(1) a policy seen as violating the law can be made to seem legal by shaping the law to give it proper justification (2) if it seems illegal, rewrite terminology so that the policy is now legal (3) anyone killed is likely a militant or terrorist because the US killed them (4) the president must have many options available when dealing with terror suspects so that he can appear to be pragmatic; (5) the president is willing to sign off personally on the executions because he believes he is taking a measured approach to ordering the killings and it is the moral thing to do.

This scheme creates a codification of the conversion of the President (and key intelligence community advisors) into the judge, jury, and executioner of those suspected of defying the unassailable executive will.

Weekly this Star Chamber convenes in the White House to “pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.” In order to prioritize the placement of names on this proscription list, the council considers “the infeasibility of capture, the certainty of the intelligence base, the imminence of the threat.”

Finally, designated members then conduct PowerPoint presentations aimed at aiding the President in the making of the difficult “due process or no due process” decision that is his sole prerogative.

The implications of such a scenario becoming the accepted American method of justice were discussed in a recent article by Kevin Gosztola:

The likelihood of people who are innocent being eliminated is amplified by the fact that it is the president, who is making the decision. His credibility, his integrity and his re-election and ability to get things done is dependent on not making a mistake and letting someone go that just might pose a threat later on down the road. Someone with that sort of emotional stake in deciding whether a suspect is executed should not be considered a fair arbiter of justice.

Now that Congress has consented to allowing local authorities to fill the skies with their own fleet of drones, the likelihood of death by “friendly fire” of some law-abiding American citizen makes the proliferation of this robot army something to be feared and fought.

Lest one doubt the accuracy of the prediction, remember that math doesn’t lie and according to the Economist, drone strikes have increased by 1,200 per cent since 2005. This is equivalent to one strike every four days.

3 comments

  • Comment Link Ross Wolf Thursday, 31 May 2012 22:31 posted by Ross Wolf

    Next: Police Drones—Recording Conversations In Your Home & Business To Forfeit Property?

    Police are salivating at the prospect of having drones to spy on lawful citizens. Congress approved 30,000 drones in U.S. Skies. That amounts to 600 drones for every state.

    It is problematic local police will want to use drones to record without warrants, personal conversations inside Americans’ homes and businesses: Consider the House just passed CISPA the recent Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. If passed by the Senate, CISPA will allow—the military and NSA spy agency (warrant-less spying) on Americans’ private Internet electronic Communications using so-called (Government certified self-protected cyber entities” and Elements that may share with NSA your private Internet activity, e.g. emails, faxes, phone calls and confidential transmitted files they believe (might) relate to a cyber threat or crime (circumventing the Fourth Amendment) with full immunity from lawsuits if done in good faith. CISPA does not clearly define what is an Element; or Self-protected Cyber Entity—that could broadly mean anything, e.g. a private computer, local or national network, website, an online service.

    Despite some U.S. cities and counties banning or restricting police using drones to invade citizens’ privacy, local police have a strong financial incentive to call in Federal Drones, (Civil Asset Forfeiture Sharing) that can result from drone surveillance). Should (no-warrant drone surveillance evidence) be allowed in courts—circumventing the Fourth Amendment, for example (drones’ recording conversations in private homes and businesses, expect federal and local police civil asset property forfeitures to escalate. Civil asset forfeiture requires only a preponderance of civil evidence for federal government to forfeit property, little more than hearsay: any conversation picked up by a drone inside a home or business, police can take out of context to initiate arrests; or civil asset forfeiture to confiscate a home/business and other assets. Local police now circumvent state laws that require someone be convicted before police can civilly forfeit their property—by turning their investigation over to a Federal Government Agency that can rebate to the referring local police department 80% of assets forfeited. Federal Government is not required to charge anyone with a crime to forfeit property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture that have nothing to do with illegal drugs.

  • Comment Link james Thursday, 31 May 2012 17:56 posted by james

    You dumb Americans allow the President to make so many decisions by himself without Congress approval. Just what dictators like.

  • Comment Link Jack Coleman Wednesday, 30 May 2012 23:06 posted by Jack Coleman

    Shortly after World War 2 my dad commented that we had a wartime economy and it would be interesting to see if we could ever get off of it. It has now been 64 years and we’re still there.
    President Eisenhower warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex." He said, "We recognize the imperative need for this development ... the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist ... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
    Sadly enough, we didn’t have the information available to be an alert and knowledgeable citizenry...

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