Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Government Spying On Us Again - Satellite Division

Gee, what a surprise. The Bush Administration has begun pointing military spy satellites at American citizens. What sorts of things are they looking at? Can't tell, top secret. What kind of supervision does this have? Bush Administration lawyers are supervising the Bush Administration spying (You know, the same lawyers who said it was perfectly legal to torture people) so it's all good. Ah...are there any warrants? Ha-ha! That's funny.

The funniest bit is John Pike of He went on NPR Wednesday and basically said that military spy satellites are really not much good for anything. The pictures are in black and white so they are no fun to look at. They are really only good, he said, for finding escape routes from New Orleans the next time it floods.
This picture is of the Mars Rover. It was taken from Mars Orbiter and found here. The Rover is about half the size of a Mini Cooper. While the Orbiter can get a lot closer to the surface of that planet, NASA cameras are a whole lot less sophisticated than military spy cameras.

Space Today Online has as much detailed information about spy satellites as is publicly available. They have two general types.
  • Image sats - optical, infrared, and radar - take pictures with a resolution as clear as 2 inches.
  • Signal intercept sats that can tune in on any type of data communication.
Why Use Satellites? It's the Signals not the Images.
After listening to John Pike on NPR my question, the one not asked by the reporter, is what can satellites do that cannot be done better, cheaper, and easier using helicopters? The answer that came shouting back at me is signal interception. It is legal for the police to fly a helicopter over my house and take pictures with far more clarity than any satellite can provide. The same goes with aerial surveys. The only reason the military uses image sats is because it is too difficult and dangerous to fly planes over Iran. Satellite spying to take pictures inside the United States is stupid.

But, using military sats to listen in on phone conversations and business data transfers eliminates any need for warrants. Even under the new, loose, FISA law, warrants are required to listen in on wholly domestic communications. By using top secret military assets they can circumvent the FISA law entirely. It has the added advantage of continuing the trend of having the military consider the American public to be the enemy.

It is sinister, brilliant, conniving, and duplicitous. It has all of the markings of a Dick Cheney plot.

1 comment:

PoliShifter said...

One can also hear the helicopter overhead and hide the bong or put down the Impeach Bush sign...

You can't hear a spy satelite.

And if Bush doesn't like the cut of your Jib he can ask Alberto Gonzales what the best method to torture you would be as you're whisked off to Gitmo.

It hasn't happened yet to my knowledge but in theory, with all Bush's new powers and executive orders, he can freeze ordinary American's assets, render them to Gitmo, and torture them if HE thinks they are a threat to national security. Not Congress, not the courts, not the police or FBI, but Bush alone can decide.