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Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:23 PM

AN AIR FORCE SPECIAL OPERATIONS SURVEILLANCE PLANE IS LURKING NEAR PORTLAND DURING FEDERAL CRACKDOWN

https://theintercept.com/2020/07/23/air-force-surveillance-plane-portland-protests/?fbclid=IwAR2-6vk9ld3lRHi_PAxNrO7XdePz_w1JAf9fC4mF42cLSV_8SVqSx6NOljw

The aircraft is a twin-engine plane built in a modular fashion that allows it to be outfitted with long-range surveillance equipment suitable for supporting U.S. Special Operations commandos on the ground, according to Air Force documentation and previous public reporting. It was in Colorado earlier this month, looping over Denver and Boulder, before flying to Portland on July 19, and has been circling above Portland and its suburbs since July 21, according to publicly available flight data aggregated by websites like ADS-B Exchange.

The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The flights don’t seem to have taken place directly over downtown Portland, the epicenter of the protests, but rather at a range of 20 to 30 miles from the city’s center. That could still allow for fine-grained surveillance, however; a 2016 Bloomberg report on police aerial surveillance over Baltimore noted the small civilian planes used there could surveil an area of up to 30 square miles.

The mere presence near Portland of a plane designed to stress test SOCOM’s aerial spy gear is enough to concern some observers. “The apparent use of military aircraft in a domestic operation should set off all kinds of alarm bells,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Government Secrecy Project. “What is their mission? Under what authority are they operating, and who authorized them? It seems like the administration is pushing right through what had been established norms of transparency and accountability.”

The vast array of power surveillance gear this plane potentially could be carrying on these flights is cause for concerns over privacy and political expression. “These aircraft are believed to carry SIGINT [signals intelligence] sensors; if that is the case, then circling at that distance would probably (depending on the altitude) allow the sensors to collect data,” David Cenciotti, a retired Italian Air Force officer and aerospace journalist, told The Intercept, though he noted that he could only speculate without knowing the Cougar’s actual payload.




Sen. Ron Wyden, who resides in Portland, told The Intercept, “It would be totally unacceptable for U.S. armed forces to take part in surveillance of protests in an American city,” adding, “I’ve asked the Air Force to explain these flights, including why this plane is circling Portland, what data it is collecting and who approved the mission.”



This is the military. Is the military trying to send the American public a message?

What's next -- shock and awe?

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply AN AIR FORCE SPECIAL OPERATIONS SURVEILLANCE PLANE IS LURKING NEAR PORTLAND DURING FEDERAL CRACKDOWN (Original post)
ancianita Jul 23 OP
UTUSN Jul 23 #1
Ex Lurker Jul 23 #2
ancianita Jul 23 #3
Ex Lurker Jul 23 #4
ancianita Jul 23 #5
Ex Lurker Jul 23 #6
ancianita Jul 23 #7
Ex Lurker Jul 23 #8
ancianita Jul 23 #9
Binkie The Clown Jul 23 #10
csziggy Jul 23 #11
ancianita Jul 23 #12
csziggy Jul 23 #13
ancianita Jul 23 #14
csziggy Jul 23 #15
ancianita Jul 23 #16
ancianita Jul 23 #17

Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:30 PM

1. K&R

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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:30 PM

2. Intercepting cell phone messages nt

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Response to Ex Lurker (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:35 PM

3. For what purpose is the U.S. Military intercepting phone messages -- and whose? CBP'? Citizens'?

My question is, given the quotes in the report, why are they doing this at all?

“The apparent use of military aircraft in a domestic operation should set off all kinds of alarm bells,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Government Secrecy Project. “What is their mission? Under what authority are they operating, and who authorized them? It seems like the administration is pushing right through what had been established norms of transparency and accountability."


This is ominous.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:42 PM

4. Protestors nt

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Response to Ex Lurker (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:49 PM

5. Unjustified. Protests have existed in the US for 100 years with no US Military surveillance.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:51 PM

6. Not saying it's justified

just that it's obviously what they're after.

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Response to Ex Lurker (Reply #6)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 06:54 PM

7. I didn't say you said it. I said it.

What's not so obvious is the chain of command on this.

How the Air Force would even consider this as consistent with their military mission is also not obvious.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 07:00 PM

8. My BIL performed a similar job in the Navy

He wore a Navy uniform, got paid by the Navy, but was actually working for one of the alphabet agencies. The chain of command gets kind of murky.

ETA this was several years ago and what he did was overseas, not domestic.

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Response to Ex Lurker (Reply #8)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 07:25 PM

9. So it was okay abroad. It's not okay here.

The whole misidentified uniform game looks like something Russians do.

Right now, how military act abroad seems to be practice for what they do back in their home nation.

Right now, if military command ignores civilian constitutional rights to assembly and all the communications that go with that, the military looks to be in Trump's pocket.

If the military backs Trump, we're doomed. Doomed.

If they're taking in data/evidence to use to justify removing him if/when something he does justifies it, maybe this is okay. But they're treating civilians as "need to know."

It's one thing to be covert about surveillance; it's another to be overt.

Americans appear to be no different from foreign targets to the US military. Or this WH occupant, for that matter.

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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 07:41 PM

10. What's next for Portland? Calling in air strikes?

Tanks rolling into the city?



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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 07:41 PM

11. Survelleince has been done over US cities in the past by private companies and the FBI

This Shadowy Company Is Flying Spy Planes Over US Cities

It has tracked cell phones for military training and flown a camera that can watch over a city for hours at a time.
Christian Stork BuzzFeed Contributor
Peter Aldhous BuzzFeed News Reporter

Posted on August 4, 2017, at 7:00 a.m. ET

For six straight days in the middle of March, a small twin-propeller plane flew over Phoenix. Each evening, it picked two or three spots and circled for hours, flying at more than 17,000 feet. The plane was loaded with sophisticated surveillance equipment, including technology developed by the National Security Agency to track cell phones.

In June of last year, that same plane spent three weeks circling daily over Wilmington, North Carolina, carrying a state-of-the-art “persistent surveillance” camera that can monitor a large area continuously for hours at a time.

The Phoenix and Wilmington flights are among dozens tracked by BuzzFeed News that were flown by companies run by an obscure, Oklahoma-based private equity fund called Acorn Growth Companies. Acorn’s planes serve as the US military’s “A-Team” for aerial surveillance in Africa, including tracking suspected terrorists’ phones from the air. In the US, the planes sometimes take part in military exercises — as they were in Phoenix — helping troops practice raids on targets using the same phone-tracking technology.

At other times, Acorn serves commercial clients. The Wilmington flights, according to the company that made and operated the persistent surveillance camera, were run for two reasons: to demonstrate the technology’s value for traffic surveys, and to track vehicles going to and from retail outlets. This “commercial intelligence” would allow businesses to understand where their customers are driving from. The idea was to give retailers clues to help their marketing, so they can target mailings or other efforts to lure in customers from neighborhoods where people tend to shop at competing stores.

Acorn’s diverse activities in these and other cities raise questions about how much data is being gathered from ordinary people who come under the visual and electronic gaze of sophisticated spy planes — and how that information is being used. Although the city of Phoenix agreed to the military exercises and knew that the planes would carry out some sort of surveillance, officials did not know specifics about which technologies were used. And because there’s no requirement to inform cities when recording aerial imagery, the city of Wilmington wasn’t told about the June 2016 flights.

More: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/christianstork/spy-planes-over-american-cities


FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities
JACK GILLUM & EILEEN SULLIVAN & ERIC TUCKER
June 2, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country using video and sometimes cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.

The surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI says the flights are used for specific investigations. The agency says it uses front companies to protect the safety of the pilots and aircraft, shielding their identities from would-be suspects on the ground.

In a recent 30-day period, an AP review found, the FBI flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, including parts of Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle, and Southern California.

Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool for investigations. But the program raises questions as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.

More: https://apnews.com/c22e4fb771bc4574ae37162102c2f91a/fbi-behind-mysterious-surveillance-aircraft-over-us-cities


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Response to csziggy (Reply #11)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 08:09 PM

12. And what do you make of all that?

Are we all supposed to be fully aware and accepting of these practices?

Just what policies or mission do they serve?

And why aren't we who pay for this, fully and formally informed, rather than randomly informed by "news mention" through all the white noise of the nets?

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Response to ancianita (Reply #12)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 08:13 PM

13. I think we should be asking more questions

This seems to violate our Constitutional rights - they are searching without warrants, wholesale.

I just don't know if citizens can get anything done, at least not until January 20, 2021 - but it has gone on even before and during President Obama's time in office.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #13)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 08:19 PM

14. We are. But who is listening?

And if anyone with the power to do anything is, why aren't we hearing from them?

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Response to ancianita (Reply #14)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 08:22 PM

15. You've gone straight to the point

No one is listening and we all are not yelling loud enough.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #15)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 08:58 PM

16. I'll get straight to a few more points, too. Point one: drones are coming out at a dark time.

Point two:
Just because drone surveillance has been done, certainly doesn't mean that it should continue. SIGINT drones can be outfitted with weapons, EMP's, deep ground mapping, as well. Americans should speak out about all that.


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Response to ancianita (Reply #16)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 09:23 PM

17. In general,

The operations of drone surveillance on Americans are tantamount to Panopticon prison treatment, or screen monitoring of a human animal game preserve.

This situation in America is not spectacle or spectatorship.

This is real. Now.

Now what recourse is there if the military is silent? Wait until an election that might not happen?

Does anyone in our party have a plan after that? that includes any law enforcement entity -- you know, those that swear to protect and defend the Constitution as the condition of their employment -- that would rid this nation of a dictator?

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