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Flight of the Hummingbirds

Spy Drones Over Arizona

by BRENDA NORRELL

TUCSON.

Arizona, already struggling to free itself from racist state officials, banned books and profiteering private prisons, is now targeted as the test site for private spy drones.

Arizona military profiteers are pushing for Arizona to become an expanded drone test site for “commercial and nonmilitary” uses of unmanned aircraft. The federal government announced it will set aside airspace.

The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson seems to think making Arizona an expanded base for drones is a good idea. This drone promotion by the Star magnifies how the Arizona media is part of the continued degradation of Arizona, as it cheerleads for the promotion of the militarization of Arizona. This agenda includes the criminalizing of people of color.

Drones are used worldwide by the US for targeted assassinations, without trials. The reckless murders carried out by drones worldwide, by soldiers seated at remote computers in Nevada, are often based on flawed intelligence.

The Arizona Daily Star proves to have a short memory about the danger of drones, forgetting that already a drone has crashed nearby in Nogales, Ariz.

In southern Arizona, Sierra Vista has been used for a base for border drones. This is where the Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca produced the School of Americas torture manual, made public in 1996. The US training of Latin American military using this manual resulted in the assassinations, torture and exile, of tens of thousands of Indigenous Peoples in the 1980s and 1990s in Central and South America, as corporations seized their homelands for mining, development and exploitation.

The Sanctuary Movement in Tucson was born from the results of these tortures and assassinations of Indigenous villagers. The result was an underground railroad that took Indigenous Peoples to safety. There is real history in Tucson, and the Arizona Daily Star doesn’t have to prostitute itself with its advertisers like Raytheon Missiles.

The drone promotion article in the Arizona Daily Star reveals how the universities have become co-opted in the agenda of militarization and criminalizing people of color. Arizona universities have become infested with global cyber spies and border training that targets people of color.

The University of Arizona in Tucson stands out for its human rights abuses regarding Native Americans. The primary example is the placing of telescopes on Mount Graham during years of protests by Apaches and other Indian Nations. Now, the University of Arizona is involved with the design and creation of drones, unmanned killing machines.

The drone creation at the University of Arizona was also part of Advanced Ceramics, the company that was initially accepted, then rejected by the Pascua Yaqui. After being rejected by the Yaqui, the Tohono O’odham’s San Xavier District’s Development Authority became partners in Advanced Ceramics. A portion of the company was later sold to BAE.

Although initially Advanced Ceramics Research was wrapped in secrecy, it is now known that it was creating drones at the site, on Tohono O’odham land near the Tucson International Airport.

Traditional Tohono O’odham oppose the use of drones and targeted assassinations, stating it is a violation of the O’odham sacred way of life, the himdag.

As the battles rage over the banning of Mexican American Studies, the seizure of books, the racial profiling by law enforcement, and the imprisonment of people of color for the profits of private prisons, Arizona is now targeted with private spy drone testing.

Under the National Defense Authorization Act passed in December, the Federal Aviation Administration must move to integrate unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, into the National Airspace System.

The report says Arizona is under consideration as the private spy drone test site for these reasons:

• Fort Huachuca’s status as a major UAS training center.
• Other military training such as a Marine Corps UAS squadron based in Yuma.
• UAS research and development by companies including Raytheon Missile Systems, BAE Systems, Boeing Co. – which makes its Hummingbird rotorcraft UAS in Mesa – and smaller firms.
• Academic research support including wind-tunnel and other test facilities at the University of Arizona, a UAS minor program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, and an aerospace-defense research collaboration at Arizona State University.

Flagstaff, Yuma and Benson targeted

The article also reveals how the Flagstaff, Yuma and Benson regions have been targeted for this dangerous drone research.

The Star includes this nauseating quote: “We like to say, ‘We were UAS before UAS was cool,’ ” said Robin Sobotta, chair of Embry-Riddle’s aviation business program and chairwoman of the UAS advisory committee.

The committee identified three prime locations for a UAS test range, including two in “non-exclusionary,” or unrestricted, airspace.

The report states that the highest-scoring site is at the Benson Airport, identified as San Pedro North, with airspace stretching northeast to the eastern slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The second-ranking site is around the Seligman airport, about 60 miles west of Flagstaff.

The committee also identified a third site, in exclusionary airspace at the edge of the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground. The Yuma site has served as a test site for UAS technology developed by Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems, including its bat-winged “Killer Bee.”

As it turns out, Mesa, Arizona, in the Phoenix Valley, is the location of the top secret US research facility Arizona Labs.

Jip Ripley writing at the East Valley Tribue in Mesa,  Arizona, reported on the meeting to bring the test site of spy drones to Arizona. It was held at Mesa Mayor Scott Smith’s office on Jan. 4.

“According to my sources, those at the meeting included (retired General John) Regni; (Mesa Chamber of Commerce President) Sterling; William Harris, president of Science Foundation Arizona; Karrin Kunasek Taylor, executive vice president of DMB Associates Inc.; General Thomas Browning, who until funding expired last September headed up the Arizona Aerospace & Defense Initiative along with Regni; Brian Campbell, a Phoenix attorney who heads up the Arizona Labs oversight board; Nancy Cooke, an ASU professor who also runs a business called the Cognitive Engineering Research Institute; Steve Shope, a physicist who heads Sandia Research Corp.; Dane Mullenix of defense contractor Alion Science and Technology Corp., which manages the Arizona Labs; and Chuck Coughlin, founder of HighGround, an influential political consulting company,” Ripley wrote.

Brenda Norrell edits Censored News