The US military is conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons, documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission
If you thought that the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States was going to repeal the Patriot Act at best, or stop government intrusion into our lives at least, you would be quite wrong. Case in point is our story today about DARPA and the Pentagon conducting high-altitude spy tests using mass surveillance balloons over 6 midwest states. And no, this is not conspiracy theory either. Down below are links to the manufacturers of the balloons.
As we have been warning you, very radical change is underway right now that will transform the United States, no matter who is president, into a place that cannot be rightly imagined by a generation raised on Norman Rockwell paintings, baseball and apple pie. America is coming apart at the seams from all sides, and we are starting to see why the United States doesn’t appear in end times Bible prophecy though dozens of other nations do.
Whistleblowers like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden tried their best to warn us, but we ignorantly failed to heed their warnings. As shocking as these surveillance balloons are, it is only the very tip of the government surveillance iceberg. Perhaps you need to visit our DARPA Archive and refresh your memory.
Pentagon testing mass surveillance balloons across the US
FROM THE GUARDIAN UK: Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois.
Travelling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000ft, the balloons are intended to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats”, according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace and defence company.
They always tell us the tools of mass surveillance are intended for use only against the faraway Other; the foreign enemy, the terrorist, the criminal. And then, just a few years later, we realize precisely the same system secretly surrounds us at home. https://t.co/XY0QUEM4Uw
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 2, 2019
The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather. The tests, which have not previously been reported, received an FCC license to operate from mid-July until September, following similar flights licensed last year.
Arthur Holland Michel, the co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in New York, said, “What this new technology proposes is to watch everything at once. Sometimes it’s referred to as ‘combat TiVo’ because when an event happens somewhere in the surveilled area, you can potentially rewind the tape to see exactly what occurred, and rewind even further to see who was involved and where they came from.”
The tests have been commissioned by the US Southern Command (Southcom), which is responsible for disaster response, intelligence operations and security cooperation in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Southcom is a joint effort by the US army, navy, air force and other forces, and one of its key roles is identifying and intercepting drug shipments headed for the United States.
“We do not think that American cities should be subject to wide-area surveillance in which every vehicle could be tracked wherever they go,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Even in tests, they’re still collecting a lot of data on Americans: who’s driving to the union house, the church, the mosque, the Alzheimer’s clinic,” he said. “We should not go down the road of allowing this to be used in the United States and it’s disturbing to hear that these tests are being carried out, by the military no less.”
For many years, Sierra Nevada has supplied Southcom with light aircraft packed with millions of dollars’ worth of sensors, which then flew over Mexico, Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean sea. But planes require expensive crews and can only fly for a few hours at a time. In a report to the Senate armed services committee this February, Southcom’s commander, Admiral Craig Faller, wrote: “While improving efficiency, we still only successfully interdicted about six percent of known drug movements [in 2018].”
The new balloons promise a cheap surveillance platform that could follow multiple cars and boats for extended periods. And because winds often travel in different directions at different altitudes, the balloons can usually hover over a given area simply by ascending or descending.
Neither Sierra Nevada nor US Southcom responded to requests for comment on this story. However, the rival balloon operator World View recently announced that it had carried out multi-week test missions in which its own stratospheric balloons were able to hover over a five-mile-diameter area for six and a half hours, and larger areas for days at a time.
“The very nature of these balloons is that they can operate for weeks and months,” said Ryan Hartman, the CEO of World View. “The challenge is how to harness the stratospheric winds to be able to create a persistent station-keeping capability for customers.”
Raven Aerostar, the company that is supplying the balloons for Southcom’s tests and launching them from its facility in South Dakota, told the Guardian that it has had balloons remain aloft for nearly a month. Raven also makes balloons for the Alphabet subsidiary Loon, which uses them to help deliver internet and cellphone service from the stratosphere.
The FCC documents show that Southcom’s balloons are carrying small, satellite-like vehicles housing sophisticated sensors and communication gear. One of those sensors is a synthetic aperture radar intended to detect every car or boat in motion on a 25-mile swath beneath the balloon.
The balloons also have advanced mesh networking technologies that allow them to communicate with one another, share data and pass it to receivers on the ground below. READ MORE
PENTAGON TESTING MASS SURVEILLANCE BALLOONS ACROSS THE U.S.
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