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US Set to Use Spy Satellites on US Citizens 513

Posted by samzenpus
from the eye-in-the-sky dept.
duerra writes "A plan to use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law-enforcement missions is moving forward after being delayed for months because of privacy and civil liberties concerns. The plan is in the final stage of completion, according to a department official who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about it. While some internal agencies have had access to spy satellite imagery for purposes such as assisting after a natural disaster, this would be the first time law-enforcement would be able to obtain a warrant and request access to satellite imagery."
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US Set to Use Spy Satellites on US Citizens

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  • by itsybitsy (149808) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:16PM (#22414356)
    And the sheep do nothing about their masters in the government as all their liberties are taken away one by one.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnick (1211984) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:18PM (#22414372) Homepage

    Is anyone here surprised...I mean, anybody ???
    Yes - The government is admitting to using spy satellites on its own citizens. I find that very surprising.
  • Starting now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpengo (1148351) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:20PM (#22414396)
    Does this mean they are just now starting to do this or just now admitting to doing this? ;)
  • by Orange Crush (934731) * on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:27PM (#22414472)

    . . . this would be the first time law-enforcement would be able to obtain a warrant and request access to satellite imagery.

    With the way things have been going, I'm surprised they're still even pretending to care about due process. And really, I wouldn't have a problem with law enforcement gaining access to spy satellite photography as long as they can only get it after supplying evidence to establish probable cause that a specific person committed a specific crime in a specific time and place. But I'm very concerned that little requirement is going to fall by the wayside and they'll be able to spy on citizens waiting for anybody to slip up.

    Slippery slope indeed . . .

  • by Luscious868 (679143) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:33PM (#22414532)

    It's of no consequence. Obama's time has come. He will will beat Hillary Clinton in the primary, emerge battle tested and go on to beat John McCain in November as the demoralized conservative base of the Republican party sits this one out. If Obama wins in November he will begin the process of righting the ship.

    If your tired of your privacy rights being trampled on by the government and if you're sick of having our laws written by lobbyists, stop bitching and moaning and do something [barackobama.com] about it.

  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:34PM (#22414538)
    if they can do it WITH a warrant, they have already shown they will circumvent the warrant process when it's suits them. be it a valid use or not.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:5, Insightful)

    by owlnation (858981) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:36PM (#22414558)

    Yes - The government is admitting to using spy satellites on its own citizens. I find that very surprising.
    It's now too late to be surprised. It's too late for anything. Now the Government is so comfortable, so complacent admitting they are doing things like this, it just means that it is too late to change anything. It's over. Forget democracy, your vote will have no effect in changing this.

    Just be thankful you are not in an evil totalitarian regime, like the UK.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:38PM (#22414564)
    That is, if you even care [dhs.gov].

    Given the level of comments to this article so far, I'm guessing that is not the case.

    This is part of the spirit of the mandate of the sweeping Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which prioritizes information sharing, including between federal, state, and local entities, and enabling state/local/tribal governments to leverage federal intelligence resources across the spectrum.
  • Re:Oblig. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FromTheAir (938543) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:38PM (#22414568) Homepage
    The people don't realize the power they have yet when acting in Unity. They divide us with fictions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:39PM (#22414578)
    And the sheep do nothing about their masters in the government as all their liberties are taken away one by one.

    Exactly what freedom is being taken away here? This won't give them access to anything they couldn't get other ways. If the info can be gathered by satellite, it can be gathered by aircraft. Much more detailed info can already be gathered by stakeout. Even without the current administrations assults on personal liberty, this wouldn't rank as something to be concerned about.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:41PM (#22414594)
    Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.

    We will get fooled again.

    If a major political party supports a candidate, you can be sure they've checked with their masters before allowing them to become viable.
  • Interesting quote (Score:3, Insightful)

    by g1zmo (315166) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:43PM (#22414614) Homepage

    Under no circumstances, for instance, would the program be used to intercept verbal and written conversations.

    No, that phase was already implemented.

  • Re:Plain view? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @09:55PM (#22414724)
    Except that the sattelites have the ability to see through the walls/roof of your house where police planes/helicopters do not. It's not in "plain view" if you have to use millimeter wave radar, x-rays, muons, neutrons, or other advanced/exotic systems.
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:02PM (#22414786) Journal
    Look, I might even vote for the guy, but if he or any other presidential candidate, if elected, manages to undo even a fraction of past wrongs done unto the People---and I'm not just talking about what has changed in the past eight years---then I will eat my socks.

    Show me an executive and a bloc of legislators who would willingly relinquish powers. A few examples notwithstanding, these sorts of people don't make it into government. Not here and now, anyway. The principles embodied in our primary charters, those from the Enlightenment, are res non gratae to modern politics. If acknowledged at all, they are given lip service. The judiciary upholds the principles sometimes; but without a constructive force creating new law to rebuild them, all we have is case law, which is a crapshoot.
  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:06PM (#22414806) Homepage Journal
    Ok, it is easy to blather on (blah blah blah sheep blah cattle blah blah), but seriously, what the hell are we supposed to do? It isn't like I don't vote. It isn't like I don't write my senators and congressmen long, thought out, well worded letters.

    It seems like the only option is to leave... yeah... where they require a passport for you to cross the canadian border on foot. Where a passport takes months to get. Where even if I go, I pretty much can't take my most valuables (AKA my computer), because they will likely look all through it or even take it.

    Seriosly. We are already too far gone. Nothing can be done.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:09PM (#22414838)
    Congratulations, yanks. After rebelling 500 years ago, you're back under mother-rule with the rest of us. Hope you enjoyed that freedom while it lasted, time to come back in the house for supper!
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:09PM (#22414840)
    You're missing the point. No one is concerned that the spy satellites are used to conduct actual counter-terrorism and counter-espionage intelligence and surveillance. That's fine. The problem is that every little bit of technology in the last few years has been openly abused to conduct drag-net surveillance of innocent American Citizens.

    I don't care if you're truly Intel, someone pretending to be, or just on crack. The point is that "Trust us, we know what we're doing" is not the proper response to "what the hell do you think you're doing?" Your stance that we cannot know what the Intelligence community is doing is just as irrelevant to the problem. The set of *possible* uses (as opposed to the set of actual uses) is very well known, and the problem is around the potential for abuse. Even a technology's potential for abuse is not necessarily a problem, if the users and wielders of the technology are known to abide by accepted laws and standards. The problem really is in the last few years, it has been shown that there are enough shitbags in the Intelligence community and those using its reports that these technologies are guaranteed to be abused.

    I'll be damned if I consent to drag-net type intelligence gathering on citizens that are supposed to be presumed innocent.
  • by peccary (161168) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:10PM (#22414850)
    is at least part of what this is about. Should make it much easier to find hidden fields of cash crops. I don't see needing a warrant to be a real impediment: "Your Honor, we have a confidential informant that tells us that there is a 1/4 acre plot of pot plants somewhere in the Adirondack National Forest. We could just go fly a plane over it for a few days at a cost of $2000, or we sure could use those high-res satellite photos."

    From what I've seen, the Google Earth photos are good enough to locate a clearing in the woods, but not good enough to differentiate pot from, well, weeds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:11PM (#22414866)
    Obama won't be able to give us our rights back, but at least when he's in office the Republicans will be back to trying to limit the power of the government for the first time in eight years.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 (605297) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:18PM (#22414914) Journal

    Just be thankful you are not in an evil totalitarian regime, like the UK.
    ...yet.

    The difference is, we are still clinging to our 2nd amendment - so at least we still have armed revolt as an option. The UK doesn't even have that.

    Either way, it's probably a good time to start learning Chinese.
    =Smidge=
  • by Kinky Bass Junk (880011) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:18PM (#22414920)
    A Government should never be seen as a parent.
  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:33PM (#22415028)

    My guess is, if he wins the nomination, someone will make an assassination attempt just prior to the November election. There's just too many groups out there to whom Obama would be a threat, both philosophically and economically, and not just the neocons either.

    Considering that Obama has been compared to JFK, and the groundswell of excitement for his campaign (especially among young folks) akin to that of RFK, and with his being African-American like MLK....well, yes, I worry about the same thing happening. As Mark Twain once said: "History does not repeat itself. But it does rhyme."

  • by Nimey (114278) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:40PM (#22415078) Homepage Journal
    Got a good rifle?
  • Re:War on America (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:40PM (#22415084) Journal
    Hmmm where did you get Christian Supremacist from that article? He only mentions God once and doesn't specify which god he is talking about. Actually all he says that is even potentially religious is "under God" which is part of our Pledge of Alliance [wikipedia.org]. Now you might take issue with that fact or that "In God We Trust" is on our currency, but to brand author of the GP link as a "Christian Supremacist" is hypersensitive foolishness. On top of that you seem to think that his potential religious views somehow negate the validity of his opinion. There are names for people who dismiss the opinions of someone simply because they of a different religious persuasion. Perhaps if you can manage to overcome your bigotry long enough to read the entire article, you will see that he is speaking as a former police officer not a religious nut. That is why I quoted him, because even many of the police can see that the policing in this country is becoming ever [app.com] more [youtube.com] oppresive. [youtube.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:52PM (#22415246)
    Google can't throw me in jail if it doesn't like what I'm doing.
  • Re:They've won. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @10:54PM (#22415274) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, right.

    It's easy to be deceived if you are ignorant, arrogant, complacent, and passive. Those of us who saw the US moving down this path right from the start (using 2007.09.11 as the start, because that seems to be when the massive powergrab started, though the symptoms where there long before) were derided as paranoid, "tin-foil hatters". We were told, "This is America. Stuff like that can never happen here." We were told to "Calm down. It will never get that bad."

    You know what? The US Constitution IS just a goddamn piece of paper. You know why? Because it is a contract from the people to the Government telling the government exactly what it can and cannot do. It's up to the people to enforce that, and when they don't, then it stops having any value greater than the paper it is written on. Your actions, or lack there-of, speak for you, and what they are saying is you don't care that this is happening.

    You know what the US reminds me of? In the old cartoons, when a character ran off the cliff, he didn't start falling until he looked down and noticed that it was too late. That's where America seems to be. I hope I'm wrong, but I honestly don't see enough people caring to actually set things right.

    I'm glad I left.

    /cue the "good riddance" comments

  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:1, Insightful)

    by nilbud (1155087) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:06PM (#22415450) Homepage Journal

    The difference is, we are still clinging to our 2nd amendment - so at least we still have armed revolt as an option. The UK doesn't even have that.
    Now that's funny. We always have a good laugh at that bullshit. You have a gun so the pigs have armor piercing rounds, gas, and tanks. They train for armed resistance and usually shoot to kill if there is even the suspicion of a weapon (or a piece of tinfoil). The pigs are a lot more polite on this side of the Atlantic.
  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:18PM (#22415580) Journal
    Are you willing to kill other people to stop this kind of thing? Are you willing to give up your life, so that your children, or even the children of your friends, family, and neighbors, can live in a freer society than we? If you hesitated or said "No", or indeed anything other than a forceful "Yes", to either of those questions, you are a part of the problem and have only yourself to blame.

    Not every colonist in 1776 supported the Revolution, but enough people did to change history. Can we find enough people with strength of heart, character, and purpose like that today?

    I think it's time to stop talking and asking questions, and to start making some powerful people sleep a little less well at night.
  • Re:They've won. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheNucleon (865817) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:19PM (#22415582)
    You're not going to get any "good riddance" comments from me. Most days, I hope to follow you out as soon as I can. This is one of those most days.

    The only question is, will America's potential demise into a police state goof up the rest of the world as well? I can't imagine that Canada, for instance, will be immune to the problems this will cause.

  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tassach (137772) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:20PM (#22415598)
    Armed revolution is much less interesting than reality TV or celebrity gossip. Bread and Circuses. Keep the masses fed and entertained and you can get away with anything.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paganizer (566360) <[thegrove1] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:31PM (#22415680) Homepage Journal
    Gods I hate to do this. I'm going to be modded offtopic, and it's going to be justified. But it is also very much on-topic, depending on how you look at it. Tradition, however, insists that /. readers mod me down.
    Ahh. here goes.
    It looks like Obama is gonna win the democratic nomination, unless something very bizarre happens.
    in 1998, Obama stated that he would Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons. that includes about half the shotguns, more than half of the pistols, and a fairly good chunk of the rifles in the U.S. There are also some quotes about putting in "thousands" of intelligence assets at the state & local level.
    I look around at the social networking sites, and see that no one seems to be mentioning this; this freaks me out to the core, and when something like this topic comes along that mentions it, I can't help but take the opportunity to mention it.
  • by FSWKU (551325) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:36PM (#22415736)
    For all the incessant claims that the world is ending, that we're losing all of our freedoms, and that the "enemy" has won and we are all doomed to live a dystopian nightmare, I've noticed a few things.
    • The sun still shines (unless you live in Seattle, in which case you get "the rain still falls." heh).
    • You're still allowed to rant and scream about the government.
    • Nobody is beating your door down because you think the government sucks.
    What does that mean? It means its NOT too late to DO SOMETHING. And by do something, I don't mean sit in your basement posting long winded diatribes to Slashdot that almost nobody with any power to make policy will ever read. No, posting to Slashdot serves the same purpose as preaching to the choir. Everyone here knows what's going on. You have to tell everyone ELSE about it. Make people aware, vote for people who will protect privacy and freedom. CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES. Letters, phonecalls, and ballot boxes, people. This means getting off of your ass and getting something done.

    Will one or two of you doing this make a difference? Not a chance in hell. However, if in the process you get one or two others, who also get more people to act, then eventually a big enough noise will be made that those in power will have no choice but to listen. Calling people to action on Slashdot is about as effective as pouring water on a grease fire. It accomplishes absolutely nothing. Get out in the real world and tell people why things like this are bad in words that they will understand. You can't make a difference from your keyboard, so put on some comfortable shoes and get out the door!
  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:55PM (#22415920) Journal
    Here's an example of how/why you're wrong: Obama has a clearly defined, well laid out, comprehensive plan for the Federal government to provide health insurance to a majority of Americans. The problem? There's nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the government to do any such thing.

    And yet you seem to think he'll accept other restrictions on the Federal government, when he's already very publicly said he'll ignore that one? Interesting.

    Every time you say "It's OK for the Feds to ignore the Constitution on this thing, because it's good for us," you're saying it's OK for them to ignore the Constitution on a whole bunch of other issues that someone else thinks is "good for us".
  • by thelexx (237096) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @11:56PM (#22415934)
    "Similarly, it's the job of the government to keep myself and the rest of the American citizenry reasonably safe, while still giving us the freedoms we value so much."

    Your freedoms do not come from the government, you are born with them. All the government can do is restrict them.

  • by Orange Crush (934731) * on Thursday February 14, 2008 @12:57AM (#22416472)
    Wait, did you seriously just say "I'm okay with omnipresent surveillance"? Oh boy, do you need a smack upside the head with the Constitution.

    Well, I'm not thrilled by it, but the satellites are already there and we frequently send new ones up. It's potentially a privacy-destroying technology, but the bitch of it is that (to steal a bit from Arthur C. Clarke) nature doesn't keep secrets. You can't uninvent anything. We just have to learn to live with it.

    Besides, does it really matter if it's law enforcement going after satellite imagery, or law enforcement subpoenaing private security cameras (almost as omnipresent in densely populated areas)?

    Whether the cameras are in someone's pocket, mounted on a building, or flying overhead on a satellite, the fact remains we've got cameras EVERYWHERE. We're not getting rid of them any time soon, so the only thing I think we can really do is make sure the rules are *very* strict for when law enforcement can get their grubby little hands on them.

  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:2, Insightful)

    by atriusofbricia (686672) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @01:28AM (#22416662) Journal
    Hmmm... Three-hundred million people in the US. Even if only 1% decided that they had enough and were ready to revolt, that would be an army of around three million people. Now, if we decided that only one tenth of that was worth anything, you've still got an army of Three-hundred thousand people. And yes, "they" have tanks, airplanes, bombs, and all that stuff. If you get a band of people to ambush one of those tanks, now "we" have a tank. This wouldn't be a pitched battle with armies in the field, but an insurgency type action. What do you think 300,000 insurgents could do? hmmm?
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MadUndergrad (950779) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @01:36AM (#22416722)
    See, I'm not worried about that. I don't think the president -any president- has the power to do that. Only Congress could do that, and there's no way they're going to. On the things that the president is in charge of, like general domestic and foreign policy and economic policies, I like Obama's platforms. That's why no one is worrying about his gun platform (until the republicans convince everyone he's gonna personally come and take their guns) - because it doesn't matter.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stfvon007 (632997) <enigmar007 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:10AM (#22416928) Journal
    Now imagine if a few of those people revolting have the keys to access the tanks, airplanes, and armor-piercing rounds......
  • Nice distraction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus (799657) * on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:11AM (#22416936) Homepage Journal

    I keep seeing this ludicrous "we can take up arms!" justification for having no control of guns in the United States. You do realize that for any practical purposes, unless they allow private citizens to own nuclear weapons, no amount of firepower you amass will do you a damned bit of good, right?

    If you don't believe me, ask some of the guys who had a hell of a lot more guns that you probably do and decided to take up arms against the government. Ask David Koresh. Oh, that's right, you can't, because he's dead. Ask Timothy McVeigh. Whoops, he's dead, too. Ask Eric Rudolph. Whoa, you actually can, because he's not dead yet, he's rotting in a jail cell in Colorado!

    Anyone who threatens to take up arms against the government is either playing on irrational emotions or an idiot, and they're more dangerous to society than helpful to it. You would have thought that people would have learned more from Dr. Martin Luther King, but I guess he was just some kind of weird ineffectual idealist, right?

    When it comes to guns, I'm infinitely more concerned about well-meaning stupid people who think they're responsible gun owners than our government, because in the U.S., the government already own us, lock, stock, and barrel. (Pun slightly intended.) No, it's not a good thing, and I don't particularly like the situation, but it's the way it is, and gun control didn't have a damn thing to do with it. Stupid voters constantly giving the government too much power and taking away our civil liberties is what got us in this situation.

    If you really want to make a change for the better, then quitcherbitchin' with all this gun talk, get off your ass, and either run for office or support someone running for office who will do a better job of protecting our privacy and civil liberties. Because when you rationalize wanting to own dangerous weapons with the excuse that you might want or need to take up arms against the government someday, you're not coming off as a patriot, you're coming off as a bloodthirsty idiot.

  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nullav (1053766) <moc@NOsPAM.liamg.valluN> on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:42AM (#22417090)
    Forget armies, civil wars, tanks and bombs. We have government at every level and instantaneous communication now; an overt attack at one point would just cause every other point to prepare for an attack. For the other ~300,000,000 people, you'd just have one large terrorist network that 'seeks to undermine democracy and the very values this country was built around'.

    I'm not saying there won't be reasons to consider shaking things up (in a positive direction), but it would take a lot more work to do it through violence. By the point you can organize 300,000 (or even 3,000) people for a few goals, you'd be much better off bruteforcing the election process and changing things that way. No bloodshed, no (overt) conflict, and everything runs much more smoothly.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @02:57AM (#22417150)
    It looks like Obama is gonna win the democratic nomination, unless something very bizarre happens.
    in 1998, Obama stated that he would Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons. that includes about half the shotguns, more than half of the pistols, and a fairly good chunk of the rifles in the U.S. There are also some quotes about putting in "thousands" of intelligence assets at the state & local level.


    And if it came to an armed revolt, it would be like the US Army vs Iraq... no not Iraq... Iraq had tanks, rocket launchers, fighter planes, SAM installations, a proper disciplined armed forces each armed and trained with using automatic weapons, etc, etc, etc. And they couldn't hold off the US at all. What do you think some angry rabble with rifles and pistols is going to accomplish in a pitched battle?

    Squat. Jack Squat.

    If it ever comes to violent revolt, whether or not we're legally allowed to bear arms prior to the revolt is utterly irrelevant. We will immediately be reduced to guerrilla or terrorist tactics. We will be using home made explosives, and importing rockets, pistols, rifles, automatic weapons, grendades and ammo from black market arms dealers. We won't be much different than the Iraqi's current 'insurgents', and fighting for much the same reason... to take our own country back.

    The only edge we'll have over the iraqis is that -hopefully- our own army will have a slightly harder time killing fellow americans. But if history has taught us anything that shouldn't be a much a deterrent as one would think it should be.

  • by bumptehjambox (886036) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @03:13AM (#22417234)
    unless they allow private citizens to own nuclear weapons, no amount of firepower you amass will do you a damned bit of good, right?

    Iraqi insurgents don't have nuclear weapons and I'd say they're doing relatively well against us. They cost us billions of dollars every day, and thousands of lives each year. Nukes make a country unlivable, the radioactive decay would make this land worthless for years to come, the government wouldn't do that... Nuke where the most fighting would take place, right? So New York? Washington, DC? The entire eastern seaboard? Nuke their own ports and sub bases? Nuke their weapons caches? Nuke their capitol city?! If you want to see what urban combat against clandestine rebels who oppose the acting government would be like, hit up Iraq; I'm sure the Army can make room for you.

    Sure it seems impossible for full scale chaos in America, but say there's a shortage on oil, and subsequently food, in the near future. How impossible is it then?

    This has nothing to do with gun rights, by the way. My point is just, no one needs guns to kill people (see: IEDs a la Iraq) and it's quite naive to think our government can't be fought simply because of the tools they built in an arms race with Russians for over 40 years. In guerrilla warfare through city streets, masked by civilians, fighting an enemy who has lived their entire life within the confines a a few square miles, they're all sitting ducks. Read the news sometime! Spy satellites are simply a bit of insurance, it will help notice patterns, like how they find weapons caches in Iraq and then monitor them via satellite before striking it. Make no mistake that they put spy satellites up with the intent of searching for their... ENEMIES!

    You are correct about the rationale, you certainly wouldn't want the government to know you own semi automatic weapons if you intend on fighting that government WITH those weapons. Only insecure fools trying to compensate for shortcomings would justify their gun like that, the type of person who wouldn't have the nardules to even use it in that situation.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @05:37AM (#22417896)
    In guerrilla warfare through city streets, masked by civilians, fighting an enemy who has lived their entire life within the confines a a few square miles, they're all sitting ducks. Read the news sometime!



    They're only sitting ducks if/because they have to pay attention to the "news". If you don't care about that, keeping an insurgency under control is relatively simple - just kill enough people. Saddam had managed to do so for, what, decades ?

  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:4, Insightful)

    by k2r (255754) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @06:00AM (#22417986)
    > so at least we still have armed revolt as an option.

    To me it seems as if the "at least we still have armed revolt as an option" is the most effective means of keeping people in the US quiet until they find themselves in a facist policestate and it's too late.
    Of course, they could then have their armed revolution against a government equipped with all the best technology of oppression but it would be pointless. You will have no means of communication left, the enemy will know all your whereabouts, your thoughts and will be able to proactively put you in jail, torture you, kill you.
    Maybe it would make more sense to avoid the fascist policestate in advance.

    Firearms are giving you a sense of false security.

    The right to own firearms comes from a time when firearms was to most effective means of oppression a government could have. So to have an equilibrium of power this amandmend exists.
    However, today you would need the right to have spy satellites, secret surveillance, secret rendition etc. pp.

    So your guns give you no safety at all.
  • Uh, dude? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:18AM (#22418550)
    Take a good look at Iraq, and tell me that a well-armed populace couldn't make things very uncomfortable for a tyrannical, out of control US government.

    Way to troll, though. You're comparing lone, conspiracy-theory believing nuts and their lack of effect to the idea of a general insurrection among the American public. You're an idiot if you think Timothy McVeigh is comparable to revolution. As for your comments about nukes - frankly, that worries me more than all the rednecks with rifles out there. That someone could even dream of the idea that nukes would be used by Americans, on Americans. Monstrosity doesn't even enter into it.

    At any rate, there's a reason many of us defend the second amendment so ardently. If the shit ever hits the fan, firearms will provide the last, final effort to free us from tyranny. Arguing that is pointless; there's a reason every dictator of the last century had designs on gun control. Look at it this way - our military can't handle Iraq. Imagine what they're going to do against even a large minority of the American population. And as for equipment - you dream if you think the entire military would goosestep along to some fascist president-cum-dictator in the event of another civil war.

    As it were, you can spout of crap about lone nuts all you want; you can cry and whine and wet yourself over scary guns. The fact of the matter is, we're nowhere near the point of needing to pick up the rifle to throw off the yoke of oppression. Our votes still count. Sure, we have a majority of tools in this country continually voting to re-elect incompetent, greedy bastards into office. The fact of the matter is, they're *voting* these slimeballs in.

    The fact that we still have the ability to vote precludes the idea of armed insurrection. Armed insurrection is the last resort; not something to be trotted out because "OMG BUSH IS EVIL LOL GUYZ"
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @08:47AM (#22418698)
    >Now that's funny. We always have a good laugh at that bullshit. You have a gun so the pigs have
    >armor piercing rounds, gas, and tanks. They train for armed resistance and usually shoot to
    >kill if there is even the suspicion of a weapon (or a piece of tinfoil). The pigs are a lot
    >more polite on this side of the Atlantic.

    I am one of those who strongly believes the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was primarily to arm the citizenry so that they could revolt against tyranny if necessary.

    I am always amazed by people who say, "The common people could never rise in armed revolt against a modern military force."

    There are so many reasons why this is clearly untrue.

    First of all, it has been demonstrated historically that it is indeed possible for numerically and technologically inferior forces to force the withdrawal of superior forces. Four relatively modern scenarios that come to mind are Vietnam, Mogadishu, Afghanistan vs. the Soviets, and probably Iraq. Remember, for an insurgency to be effective it does not have to win battles with military victories. It merely has to sap enough resources until the enemy finds it not worth fighting.

    Second of all, domestic insurrections have another "positive" in their favor - they are highly disruptive to the local economy. Since it is the tax revenue that feeds the government that will be resisted, any disruption of tax revenue erodes the power of the tyrannical government, and probably gets their attention more readily that the loss of troops and material. I'm sure congress people get upset over troop losses. I bet they get more upset over losses in tax revenue. We saw from the DC sniper case that 2 guys shooting out of the keyhole in the trunk of a car caused a huge financial impact over a wide area because people stopped going outside to go shopping. Imagine the economic disruption caused by 10,000 insurgents.

    Third of all, if things deteriorated to the point that it motivated a significant portion of the population to engage in a rebellion, it is likely that not all troops would stay in step with the federal government.

    To me, the biggest problem with the safeguard of the 2nd Amendment is not how effective will average citizens be as resistance fighters. To me the biggest problem is will average citizens be too apathetic to ever stand up and rise in rebellion should it be warranted.
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday February 14, 2008 @09:09AM (#22418796) Homepage Journal
    It's not just the ISS that's getting budget cuts, friend.

    A plan to use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law-enforcement missions is moving forward after being delayed for months because of privacy and civil liberties concerns. So, what happened to those "privacy and civil liberties concerns"? Did they just go away? As usual, the Bush Administration sees civil liberties as damage and routes around them.

  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:2, Insightful)

    by atriusofbricia (686672) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @09:13AM (#22418830) Journal
    Agreed. It is much better to work within the system than to destroy the system. All I'm saying is that at present the latter is a real option if the former fails. No sane person wants revolution for revolution's sake.
  • Re:Surprise? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SkyDude (919251) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @09:16AM (#22418850)

    Are you surprised they are using satellites, or surprised they are admitting to it? The latter. We know that there are satellites with some damned good (tax-payer funded) cameras above us. But, admitting that they take pictures while over our own country, that's new.

    Yeah, next big corporations will be spying on us with satellites.

    Oh, wait a minute... [google.com]

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @09:48AM (#22419142)
    I keep seeing this ludicrous "The military has tanks, jet fighters and nuclear weapons so any insurgency is doomed to fail." argument. It demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge of guerilla warfare and the history of armed insurrection in the post WW2 era. I highly recommend "The War of the Flea" by Robert Taber.

    http://www.amazon.com/War-Flea-Classic-Guerrilla-Warfare/dp/1574885553 [amazon.com]

    This was written in the 1960s, but it's just as relevant today. During the Vietnam war, the United States had tanks, jet fighters, nuclear weapons, heavy artillery, etc. etc. and got their asses handed to them by a rag-tag army with some AK-47s, RPGs and high tech weapons like sharpened sticks and spent 50 caliber shell casings. Since then, we've seen the Russians in Afghanistan, Israelis in Lebanon, and I dare say the United States in Iraq. The evidence is rather overwhelming.

    Basically, the only way for the occupying invader to win a guerilla war is to completely decimate the civilian population. In the United States, killing the people that you're trying to subjugate would be absolutely pointless (you actually think the U.S. government would use a nuclear weapon on its own populace?), and would be like dumping gasoline on the fire of rebellion.

    Never underestimate a determined combatant fighting on his home soil.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moeinvt (851793) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @10:05AM (#22419326)
    "Iraq had tanks, rocket launchers, fighter planes, SAM installations, a proper disciplined armed forces each armed and trained with using automatic weapons, etc, etc, etc. And they couldn't hold off the US at all."

    Do you actually think the United States has "won" in Iraq? How many U.S. soldiers have been killed and maimed since the Iraqi army was defeated and the whole "Mission Accomplished" thing? How much is the U.S. spending day after day to maintain a troop presence and conduct operations in the country? The thing that history has taught us is that an insurgency will eventually break the will of the invader.
  • Re:W00t. 1st post (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @11:44AM (#22420608) Homepage
    If it ever comes to violent revolt, whether or not we're legally allowed to bear arms prior to the revolt is utterly irrelevant. We will immediately be reduced to guerrilla or terrorist tactics. We will be using home made explosives, and importing rockets, pistols, rifles, automatic weapons, grendades and ammo from black market arms dealers. We won't be much different than the Iraqi's current 'insurgents', and fighting for much the same reason... to take our own country back.

    Well yes, since revolution is illegal, obviously the legality of owning guns is irrelevant when the revolution is in progress.

    However, it being legal now means that when the revolution starts, you'll already own rifles and fertilizer. It'll become illegal quickly, so re-supply will have to come from the black market, but again it being legal now means the domestic black market will begin with a large stock, rather than having to immediately begin to import from other countries.

    This will in fact be a huge leg up in a guerrilla war. Just like the Iraqi insurgency had a huge leg up from the fact that pretty much every household had at least one AK-47. I have no idea what we'd use in the place of the amazing RPG-7, but we'd at least have a good stock of firearms to begin with. If they'd had to start importing rifles from Iran and Syria in the beginning, the insurgency wouldn't have gotten started nearly as quickly and effectively.

    Ultimately, though, I think the best reason to have the 2nd Amendment is to remind us that our country was itself founded on armed revolt, and the leaders of this revolt knew full well that another such revolt may be necessary in the future. Revolt is an American principle, and the 2nd Amendment enshrines it in our highest law.

    The only edge we'll have over the iraqis is that -hopefully- our own army will have a slightly harder time killing fellow americans. But if history has taught us anything that shouldn't be a much a deterrent as one would think it should be.

    The parts of the army that stay loyal will probably not have that hard a time shooting "traitors". At the same time, I think our biggest edge will be that sections of the military would defect to the revolutionary side. If even a small portion defects, that could provide enough skills and equipment for a guerrilla army to fight effectively for many years.

    On a lighter but related note, I thought it was pretty funny in Jericho where it was mentioned there was a "wild card" that hadn't joined any of the new unions yet. I knew who it was before they even got to the part about them having lots of oil -- it was Texas, of course. Yeah I have a strong feeling that even if they weren't necessarily on the side of the revolution, they also wouldn't exactly cling to the federal government either. They still half think of themselves as an independent nation.

  • by Floritard (1058660) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @11:49AM (#22420678)
    If the requisite conditions for full-scale revolt looks anything like the current state of Iraq then no thank you. Say we do stage a successful revolt, but all of our infrastructure is completely destroyed. As a nation we'd be screwed, especially with a rising China/India/etc. And that's assuming the coddled, overweight masses of the US have any of the sand or sheer willpower of your typical Iraqi insurgent to stage said revolt.

    And forget about nukes. What was that story about a gun that fries a tiny subdermal layer of tissue, all over one's body, reducing its victims to a harmless screaming child. Or dousing large crowds of dissidents with aerosoled valium for quick and resistless arrest. Or hey, maybe they'll perfect that gay bomb [wikipedia.org] some day.

    I used to think it was really the only valid reason to allow gun ownership in this country. But anymore, you have to be pretty naive to think you could successfully fight the gov with firearms. The game is a lot more evolved than that. If we don't win politically, we're out of luck.
  • Re:They've won. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Thursday February 14, 2008 @01:23PM (#22422284)
    This has to be the best example of a truly insightful post I've seen in a long time.

    However, I think you are being a bit too pessimistic. I was around in the 70's when serious commentators were asking if the Republican party was in its death throes. In the previous 30 years it had elected only 2 presidents and never controlled congress. Huge social strides were being made, and the Left seemed in total control. Wiser people argued that these things run in cycles, and that the Right would eventually come back.

    Boy did they. I never lost faith that things would eventually swing back to Liberalism, but I did fear that it might not happen in my lifetime.

    So now what has happened, almost 30 years later (on cue)? Bush and merry band have, through herculean efforts, pushed the pendulum as far to the right as they can shove it. But it is clear to anyone looking that they have nearly hit the stops. The American people are now starting to awaken and take a good look at what is going on, and they don't like it one bit. The pendulum is about to swing back with a vengence, and woe betide those in its way.

    I could of course be wrong about this, but if I am I'm about the wrongest on anything that I have been in my entire life. The signs are all around. The last election 2006 was all set to be a good one for Republicans. Nearly all the vulnerable Congressional seats were Democratic held. Instead, they got waxed. They didn't just loose a bit more than they won, they *everything* that was competitive, and some that weren't supposed to be. *This* is the election where the vulnerable Republican seats were up, and if anything the mood in the electorate for them is worse now than it was in 2006. Twenty Nine Reps so far have announced that they aren't even going to try. Party identification is swinging Democrats' way. Young voters (the electorate of the future) are turning out to be overwhelmingly Democrat. The Rep's only hope for the future, our rapidly growing Hispanic population, they have spent the last 2 years insulting (with no signs of stopping). The count of Democrats voting in the primaries is shattering records. I'm not talking by 5 or 10%, but in some cases 300%! Nearly every state has had more voters in the Democratic primary than the Republican, even though both are contested and on the same day. In Georga (a solid Republican state since '76), *two* different Democrats got more votes than the entire Republician slate!

    Still not impressed? The Democrats are actually raising more money. They have been since 2006. I always thought that was physically impossible. Even in the 70's when things were good, we had the people, they had the money. That's just the way things work. Well, apparently not anymore.

    Now I'm normally the most pessimistic guy you can meet, but I just don't see how the Reps pull this one out. So personally, I'm sad for you that you left. Even if you aren't of the Left == good, Right == bad mindset that I am, its clear that something major is going on. I have never in my life seen anything like this. The closest equivalent was the mood around Regan's election back in '80. For better or worse, change is comming. This is a very exciting time.

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