Tag Archives: drone

You really ought to go home! Navy Pilot Intercepts Iranian Over International Waters.

Jeremy_F4

The Author with an F4 Phantom II at Fort Snelling MN. The F4 was the workhorse of the US military and is currently in use in the Iranian Air Force.

“You really ought to go home!” were the words of warning from an American F-22 pilot, likely a Navy pilot, to an Iranian Air Force pilot this past March. The F-22 intercepted the F-4 Phantom II aircraft over international waters over the Gulf after the Iranian pilot attempted to engage a US drone there.

 

The Washington Times carried the story this week and PJTV’s Bill Whittle has excellent commentary on it on his hit podcast “Afterburner”. I invite everyone to look at both of these. I also wanted to pile in and comment on this story.

 

My brother first brought my attention to this story. He’s a retired Army Major and served as a space officer in Afghanistan. Here’s the story. The Iranians have been aggressively testing their limits in the region attempting to establish themselves as the dominant power in the Middle East. With the fall of their nemesis, Iraq, Iran feels a power gap in the region and is willing to fill the void. You may remember that Iran and Iraq were engaged in an 11-year civil war, a conflict that was costly in blood and material on both sides and ended in stalemate.

 

Since then Iran has been in a proxy war with us. As Mr. Whittle points out, most of the IED’s, improvised explosive devices have been manufactured by Iranian Quds Force agents operating in Iraq and have been used to target our American Servicemembers there, to costly effect. The Iranian military would love to further embarrass us and damage our credibility in the region, which is why they attack our drones from time to time.

 

In February of 2012 they attacked a drone and downed it, capturing the vehicle. They made another attempt in March, but it didn’t go as planned. Instead, as they were lining up a shot with their internal machine guns, the pilot, unawares, was intercepted by the best stealth fighter in the world, the F-22 Raptor. He literally didn’t see it coming. The US pilot lined up beneath the F-4 to check it’s payload, to ascertain the weapons it was carrying. Then it nonchalantly rolled out to the wingtip of the other aircraft and that is when the US Navy pilot got the Iranian’s attention. The US pilot flipped to the Iranian frequency and warned him in English, the international language of aviation that, “You really ought to go home!” The Iranian complied, tail tucked down between his legs, intimidated by the superior technology of the opponent aircraft and in awe of the sheer skill and aplomb of its pilot.

 

Now Bill makes some eloquent points on why this incident is significant and I’ll let him explain what those are. I would like to add a few more.

 

Sure, the F22 is a special aircraft, there is none like it and they are in short supply, thanks to the Obama administration’s canceling of their manufacture. That matters, but there is something else that matters more. Our political leaders lack in the vision and strength to meet the threats out there and it shows, but our men and women in the military are not lacking in that regard. They have it in spades and as long as we have them, the US is in good hands. What they need to succeed is a real leader in the White House, not the little girly man we have now that rides a little girl’s bike. We were blessed with that kind of leadership when Ronald Reagan occupied the office and for the most part the Bush family kept up appearances. We were lucky to have George W. for the beginning of this new cold war with radical Islam.

 

But, we are backsliding now and the world can feel our lack of leadership. Russia is stepping up and Obama is being easily outmaneuvered by the skill and political savvy of Vladimir Putin.  The influence of Russia, which supports regimes like Iran and Syria, is growing, while the influence of the US is unfortunately shrinking.

 

While we are distracted by the healthcare debate and the economy and jobs, let us remember that we still have real men and women in uniform out there who are holding back the hordes of tyranny all around the world. They need our thoughts; our prayers and they deserve better leadership. They deserve the best training and the best equipment, items like the F22. Next time around, I hope we can pick a leader who is worthy of them.

Rand Loves The Drones? Not Quite…

randpaulfilibuster-300x225

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has learned another key lesson of the “age of sound bytes.” During an appearance on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business Network show, Paul pointed out he didn’t mind using drones or any kind of technology against an “imminent threat,” whether it was a terrorist or “someone coming out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash.” He also said it didn’t matter if it was a cop or a drone who killed the criminal. To fans of his father, ex-Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the reaction was fast and it wasn’t pretty.

Rand Paul was called someone who was “bullsh—tting,” a “politician” (which he is), someone who supported “the militarizing of police” and someone who needed to get away from neoconservatives because they were “rotting your brain.” Even Matt Drudge threw up the clever headline, “RAND LEARNS TO LOVE THE DRONE!”

However, people are ignoring the second half of his quote. Paul specifically said it was different if a drone wanted to go over someone’s hot tub or yard just to look at you. Even when Cavuto asked what if police were searching for a criminal and accidentally found something “bad,” Paul didn’t budge. He said no one should be looking into someone’s backyard and didn’t want surveillance when there wasn’t “probable cause.” Paul made it very clear police must have a warrant to use a drone, unless there was a “killer on the loose” or someone “running around with a gun.”

 

This is very similar to what he said during his 13 hour filibuster and the comments he made afterward. It’s also part of the no domestic drone strike legislation he and Texas Senator Ted Cruz co-sponsored. Drones can only be used on “dangerous criminals” and people who poses an “imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury” to another person. So Paul is being consistent.

 

There are still problems with how Paul worded what he said. The definition of a “dangerous criminal” may mean someone like the Boston terrorists, who engaged in an active shootout with police. But, as Paul pointed out in his filibuster, the Fusion Center of Missouri considers “dangerous criminals” as people who have pro-life bumper stickers, people who may want more border security, support third party candidates or might be in the Constitution Party. Unless the “dangerous criminal” terminology is strictly defined, the use of drones by governments on American soil could end up being as slippery of a slope as warrant-less wiretapping. Even with the strictest of definitions, it may not be worth it, despite how awesome the technology is.

 

By making broad comments on an issue, Paul giving potential political enemies more ammunition against him. It also disappoints his supporters and those who consider him a “political hero.” Plus, the liquor store example is a bad example, which Paul realized. He made it clear in a statement he released Tuesday. After all, hindsight is 20-20.

 

There may be ways to figure out how people in the private sector (i.e. farmers) could use drones, without raising questions about privacy. Drone countermeasures are already being developed and sold to those who can afford it. That may be the ultimate solution.

 

But in the end, Lucius Fox may have it right when he raised questions about technology Bruce Wayne developed in The Dark Knight. Even when it was obvious Batman could use a city-wide tracking device to find the Joker, Fox said, “No one should have it,” because the tracker could be abused.

 

It may be time for us to listen to Lucius Fox on drones. Cool technology, but not worth using.

 

Iranians Shoot at US Drone

Drone image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Drone image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

The Pentagon has confirmed that on November 1 two Iranian jets fired on an unmanned US drone flying routine surveillance over the Persian Gulf.

Pentagon spokesman George Little insists the drone was flying 16 miles off the cost of Kuwait in international waters and not near Iranian airspace.

Watch the FOX News report for more information.


 

Air Force Confirms Another Drone Crash

Photo: dover.af.mil

The Air Force has confirmed another drone (an unarmed MQ-9) has crashed at an airport at the Island nation of Seychelles. This comes just over a week after the crash of a drone in Iran causing the Iranian defense minister to call on the United States to apologize for the “hostile act”

“The cause of the incident is unknown and currently under investigation,” said the Air Force in a statement.

The Air Force has been using the island nations airport to target Al-Qaida linked militants in Somalia.

 

Iran Actually Hacked America's RQ-170 Spy Drone

This is looking bad, folks.  Reports initially said that Iran had shot down one of  America’s RQ-170 spy drones (the type of drone that was used to provide real-time data during the Osama Bin Laden raid).  And to be honest with you, that’s what we wish would have happened.  Instead, it looks like Iran actually hacked the drone and commanded it to land on one of their air strips.  Here’s video of the drone (that is clearly NOT shot down and damaged).

Below is an excerpt from BBC.co.uk

US officials have acknowledged the loss of the unmanned plane, saying it had malfunctioned.

However, Iranian officials say its forces electronically hijacked the drone and steered it to the ground.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the intact condition of the Sentinel tends to support their claim.

Iran’s Press TV said that the Iranian army’s “electronic warfare unit” brought down the drone on 4 December as it was flying over the city of Kashmar, about 140 miles (225km) from the Afghan border.

So, this is bad no matter how you slice it.  One has to wonder, however, did Iran gain the capability to bring down one of the most sophisticated pieces of technology in the world.  You would almost think they had help…..

Air and Space Museum "Occupied," Closed

It seems that I lean more and more on DJ Redman, whose CDN article sets the stage for the latest “occupation” by a rather small group of smelly Marxist anti-capitalists. Now the occupation has spread to Washington D.C., where some 150 to 200 anti-war protestors tried to occupy the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to protest Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and drones like the one that killed Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen on September 30, 2011. Many who tried to occupy the Air and Space Museum said they were inspired to come to Washington D.C. by the Occupy Wall Street movement that began last month in New York and has spread across the country.

Smithsonian spokesman John Gibbons said a group of anti-war demonstrators arrived at the Air and Space Museum about 3 p.m. and tried to enter. When a security guard stopped demonstrators from entering, saying they could not bring in signs, he was held by the demonstrators. A second guard who arrived used pepper spray on at least one person. The crowd soon dispersed, and the museum closed at about 3:15 p.m. The protesters reportedly pushed a guard up against a wall, prompting another guard to intervene with pepper spray.

David Swanson of Charlottesville, Va., said he was among dozens of people sickened by the pepper spray even though he was outside the building when the spraying began. Swanson said, “I began choking and vomiting and got a headache.” He said the protesters were not trying to close the museum, but to make a point about the use of deadly drones.

The anti-war protesters included people from the October, 2011, “Stop the Machine” group and Occupy D.C., an offshoot of the larger Occupy Wall Street movement in New York. “Along with the Occupy Wall Street movement, it represents an upswell of people taking to the street around the country to demand social and economic justice as well as an end to the immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” occupation organizers said in an e-mail.

Anwar al-Awlaki Killed, Were His Civil Liberties Violated?

By now any American breathing knows that Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a US military launched drone in Yemen on Friday, September 30, 2011. His killing has been hailed as the largest US success in hitting al-Qaeda leadership since the May, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden. But his killing raises questions about al-Awlaki, an American citizen. He has not been charged with any crime, and civil liberties groups have questioned the US’s authority to kill an American without trial. The strike also killed Samir Khan, the co-editor of an English-language Al Qaeda web magazine called “Inspire.” Khan was an American of Pakistani heritage. His magazine promoted attacks against U.S. targets.

Who was Anwar al-Awlaki?

Anwar al-Awlaki, 40, from San Diego, CA, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents, was an American, a former imam, and an engineer and educator. He was promoted to the rank of “regional commander” on the Saudi Arabian peninsula within al-Qaeda in 2009. He reportedly spoke with, trained, and preached to a number of al-Qaeda members and affiliates, including three of the 9/11 hijackers. Al-Awlaki was believed to be in hiding in Southeast Yemen since 2002. President Obama signed an order in early 2010 making him the first American to be placed on the “kill or capture” list.

al-Awlaki’s Recent Activities

Anwar al-Awlaki is credited with inspiring or directing at least four plots on US soil:

  • Fort Hood military base shooting: Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 12, wounded 31.
  • Failed Times Square bombing: Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen was arrested for trying to explode a bomb-laden SUV in Times Square.
  • Failed underwear bomber: Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab intended to blow up a Northwest flight 253 with a bomb made at the location in Yemen.
  • Parcel bombs hidden inside printers that also failed to explode while inside a passenger jet: Two bombs, disguised as laser printer cartridges, addressed to synagogues or Jewish community centers in Chicago, were identified in Britain and Dubai after a tip from Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service.

    There can be little doubt that al-Awlaki was a bad guy.

    Due Process Of Law

    Civil liberties groups are condemning the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, saying that he was killed without proper legal process. Anwar al-Awlaki’s father, Nasser, sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta in 2010, when it became clear that the US was targeting al-Awlaki. But US District Judge John Bates threw the case out. Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU lawyer who handled the case said, “The government’s authority to use lethal force against its own citizens should be limited to circumstances in which the threat to life is concrete, specific and imminent. It is a mistake to invest the president, any president, with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country.”    [emphasis mine – I guess al-Awlaki’s recent activities were not concrete, specific and imminent enough for Jaffer]

    But Kenneth Anderson, an international law scholar at American University’s Washington College of Law, said US citizens who take up arms with an enemy force have been considered legitimate targets through two world wars, even if they are outside what is traditionally considered the battlefield.

    Let’s turn our attention to the US Constitution, specifically the 5th amendment. Among other things, it clearly states, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger;….” Does “in time of War or public danger” apply to al-Awlaki? Apparently civil liberty groups don’t think so.

    “War On Terror

    President Obama and his administration worked hard to stop using the phrase “War on Terror,” essentially declaring it to be over, or that it never existed. They refused to call all activities by al-Awlaki “terrorist activities.” Obama has put himself on the spot. If he admits that we are fighting terrorists, he is admitting how wrong he has been about the “War on Terror.” If he does not, and continues downplaying the terrorist threat, he puts the nation at greater risk on the altar of political correctness. Obama does not want to identify the enemy for who they are – Islamic Jihadists working to destroy our way of life. We are at war and the enemy will never rest in their desire to harm us. They can’t be negotiated with or pacified. We must be more determined to destroy them than they are to destroy us.

    Interpretation

    So I suspect that the current situation with al-Awlaki, his being killed, and his “rights,” will come down to interpretation of the 5th amendment to the US Constitution and whether or not this country is “at war.” But let’s remember that al-Awlaki was a self professed al Qaeda member, and that the al Queda attack on September 11, 2001, was an act of war. Some ACLU “do-gooder” lawyer will file a lawsuit on behalf of al-Awlaki, and we taxpayers will again have to foot the bill for him and his activities.

    But that’s just my opinion.