“Customs and Border Protection drones and the Los Angeles manhunt UK tabloid The Daily Express was the first to report that UAVs would be used to track down Christopher Dorner, writing that the ex-LAPD man was to be the “first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on U.S. soil.” A number of American outlets uncritically echoed the “first human target” claim, with msnNOW reporting, “It’s official: The drone war has come home to America.”
I despise these drone strikes because the use of robots to carry out lethal covert missions abdicates human accountability. Children, civilians, wrongly identified threats, legitimate political adversaries of war crime are killed along with enemy combatants as part of the strikes. Battlegrounds and warfare should not extend to every corner of the earth. Being at war with US foreign policy is not unusual globally nor is it ever without provocation. It is the equivalent of an enemy following you home from the battlefield. From a purely military analysis, people within proximity to enemy troops are merely collateral damage in the normal course of every war.
Battlefields used to be places a person could come home from. After a period of time engaged with military resistance to US occupation forces, a targeted individual could plan to spend time at a family gathering. So now instead of leave away from the front lines, the drones come and kill not only him (someone defending his home by participating in military muster against invasion forces in perpetual war against a variety of perceived security threat) but also his family.
No one is safe should they be noticed by the US intelligence industry as a threat to, not the territories of the US but really a threat only to American financial interests for intents, perhaps some arbitrary diplomatic allegiance might also be threatened by these enemy combatants who are targeted.
After all, you can’t invade a country, place the population under occupation, suspend the authority of local law and representative leadership, yet still regard the fighters defending their hometowns as terrorists, right? That would be like breaking in somebody’s house and claiming self-defense when you shoot them for asking you to leave.
“The headline, which msnNOW changed two days later, here is wrong on three counts. First is the factual issue of CBP support to the search for Dorner. Parker Higgins, an activist at Drone Census partner the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggested early on that this was a “massive drone hoax,” questioning the Express article’s dubious sourcing and suspicious absence of corroboration. Mashable confirmed with Border Protection officials that “CBP UAS [unmanned aerial systems] are not flying in support of the search.” [Update: msnNOW revised its article on February 11, removing the “drone war” sentence and changing its headline to “Report: Fugitive alleged killer is target of police drone” while continuing to cite the Express as an authoritative source. Gizmodo’s article and headline remain unrevised.]
Beyond the first-order factual hurdle, this would not even be the first time that Border Protection UAVs have been used for local law enforcement investigations. That honor goes to a June 2011 incident in North Dakota, in which a CBP drone was called in by the Grand Forks Police Department during an armed standoff to pinpoint a suspect’s location on his farm. That case is currently making its way through appeals. The Department of Homeland Security has lent its UAVs to local police on several occasions since.”