January 6th, 2012

Border agency seeks more unmanned aircraft use in Calif.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are looking to expand the use of remotely piloted surveillance aircraft to cover nearly all of California, allowing the unmanned vehicles to fly over the last major section of the Southwest border.

The agency’s Office of Air and Marine expects the Federal Aviation Administration this year to permit it to extend its unmanned aircraft operations into airspace just east of the San Diego metropolitan area, border agency spokeswoman Gina Gray said.

Hailed by some, including U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., for their cutting-edge technology, the unmanned aircraft’s expense – and efficacy – has been criticized by others.

At a cost of $18.5 million each to operate – including radar and sensor systems, maintenance, a ground control station, and the aircraft itself – the unmanned aircraft have been credited with helping to seize 46,600 pounds of illicit drugs and catching a relatively small number of people, 7,500, engaged in illegal activity along the border since late 2005.

Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection

October 7th, 2011
We have lots of communities in America that have drug use, drug dealing, and no violence. They’re called ‘suburbs.’
California-based criminologist David Kennedy, discussing why targeting inner-city drug use won’t cut violent crime. Via the Washington Monthly. (via motherjones)
June 1st, 2011


This is photojournalism of the highest order, on the front lines of a war that recognizes no rules and no boundaries. Like scores of other Mexican towns and cities, Acapulco has endured a massive spike in drug-related violence, and a terrifying shift in the nature of the carnage. Not content with murdering each other (Mexico saw close to 35,000 killings between 2006 and 2010, with 30,000 classified as “execution style” crimes), drug gangs routinely engage in acts of savagery — decapitations, public displays of the mutilated dead — meant to intimidate foes, and terrorize everyone else.

SHOCKING PHOTOS: Inside Mexico’s Drug Wars photos depict extreme violence, viewer discrection is advised.

Reblogged from LIFE
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California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.