Friday, November 16, 2012

Champaign Sheriff "WAAAaaay ahead of the pack" in the "drone game"?

After extensive review of records of the Champaign County (IL) sheriff department, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a journalist working with the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) has released a chilling picture of how drones are coming to small-town America.

In "Why Does Sheriff of Small Midwestern College Town Need a Drone?", Brian Dolinar shared findings, including:
  • the Champaign County sheriff has owned a drone since 2008
  • the drone was purchased without approval of the Champaign County Board
  • the purchase was made with drug forfeiture money
  • the drone purchased was a “Spectra”. "The plane has a wing span of 48 inches and weighs up to six pounds with equipment. On the belly of the plane is a camera system capable of providing three-dimensional live video streaming."
  • the Champaign County sheriff may be looking for a second drone
  • there is also evidence that the sheriff has been monitoring the increased use of drones across the country
Spectra "Flying Wing"
Dolinar quotes an email dated May 22, 2011, in which a Texas aeronautics company executive wrote to the Champaign County sheriff's office, “Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you guys were WAAAaaay ahead of the pack in getting your UA [Unmanned Aerial]. Seems like more and more PD’s and SO’s are getting in the drone game.”

Greaaaaaaaat . . . .

Read the full article: "Why Does Sheriff of Small Midwestern College Town Need a Drone?".

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nov 15: Leah Bolger and Abdul Malik Mujahid on the Drone War in Pakistan

"The Drone War in Pakistan"
Talks by Leah Bolger and Abdul Malik Mujahid
Thursday, November 15th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
URI-EICHEN Gallery, 2101 South Halsted, Chicago
Join the Facebook event and invite friends!

Leah Bolger is national president of Veterans for Peace. A commander in the US Navy, she retired in 2000 after a 20 year career. She recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, where she was part of a delegation of peace activists that joined a march with thousands of Pakistanis against the US/NATO drone attacks.

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is the founder of the Muslim Peace Coalition. He is the Chair of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, the premiere interfaith organization in the world. He was one of the initiators of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda last year. He will speak about what is happening in Pakistan, the Afghan War, and the response there to the drone attacks.

The event is sponsored by the Anti-War Committee of the Committee Against Political Repression (CAPR).

We are hosted by URI-EICHEN Gallery, which this month has a show entitled “Reflections on NATO in the New Chicago”. The artists feature subjects that are anecdotes of the NATO Summit in May.

For related posts about the delegation of peace activisits to Pakistan, see:
My visits to Pakistan and Kurdistan by JoAnne Lingle on the Indiana Drones Project website.
Why Do They Hate Us? by Pat Chaffee on the No Drones Wisconsin website.