Erroneous newspaper report prompts outrage
Paul Joseph Watson
February 11, 2013
A newspaper report which erroneously claimed that fugitive Chris Dorner would be the first American to be targeted with surveillance drones on U.S. soil led to a social media freak-out, with Twitter users expressing fears that armed drones had been authorized to assassinate Dorner.
The confusion was prompted by a UK Express article which reported that, “Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil.” The sub-headline of the article made it clear that the technology used would be “spy drones,” not armed drones.
Firstly, the claim that this incident represents the first time surveillance drones would be used against a U.S. citizen domestically is inaccurate. In 2011, police used a Predator surveillance drone against a family in North Dakota who were accused of stealing six cows.
Despite the fact that the report clearly referred to spy drones and not lethal drones, Twitter exploded with hysteria about how Dorner had now been marked for assassination.
As Twitchy documents, “Many Twitter users are in full-blown freak-out mode,” with innumerable messages condemning the notion that Dorner will potentially become the first American killed on U.S. soil with a drone.
Americans didn’t react with anything like the same level of outrage when 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was assassinated by an Obama-authorized drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Despite the confusion, the Dorner case is proving to be a useful poster child for the widespread introduction of drones for law enforcement use in America.
Could police turn to armed drones in the hunt for Dorner, legitimizing the use of technology that has thus far only been deployed against alleged terrorists in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan?
While it’s highly unlikely that lethal drones will be used to assassinate Dorner, a more realistic option would be to deploy the the ShadowHawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, previously used against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan and East Africa, which has the ability to tase suspects from above as well as carrying 12-gauge shotguns and grenade launchers.
The drone, albeit in a surveillance role only, is already being used in Montgomery County, Texas, thanks to a $250,000 Department of Homeland Security grant.
The ShadowHawk is a 50lb mini drone chopper that can be fitted with an XREP taser with the ability to fire four barbed electrodes that can be shot to a distance of 100 feet, delivering “neuromuscular incapacitation” to the victim. The drone can travel at a top speed of 70MPH and can operate for 3.5 hours over land and sea.
WIth the hunt for Christopher Dorner going cold, authorities have offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the capture of the former LAPD officer, who is wanted for the murder of three people. Dorner has vowed to launch “asymmetrical warfare” against police after he was fired in 2009 for filing a false complaint of excessive force against his training officer.