drones

04/05/2015 - 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, which established the founding principle of modern law: presumption of innocence.  Today that principle is largely a casualty of the so-called war on terrorism. Trials, evidence, juries. Who needs them when we have an Oval Office assassination program carried out by drones? These pilotless aircraft have become the weapon of choice for Washington. They are efficient machines killing not only their intended targets but also whoever happens to be nearby. Collateral damage in Pentagon-speak.

Limits On Drone Use On Thursday's Legislative Agenda

Mar 11, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Thursday at the Montana legislature brings a bill that would limit the use of drones. House Bill 586 would ground these unmanned aerial vehicles if flown within about 3 miles of airports, areas of an emergency, or places where planes or helicopters are spraying.

The bill’s sponsor, Willis Curdy of Missoula, says he’s a commercial pilot himself, and has seen planes grounded because of drone use.

“Some operations had to have been terminated because drones have been in the area and aviators have not been able to continue with their mission.”

At least six Montana police departments, including Billings, Bozeman, and Missoula, are using armored vehicles similar to those used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of them are military surplus. 

Now the legislature is considering a bill that would ban local police from acquiring surplus “MRAPS” or “BEARCATS”, which have been criticized as a symptom of the militarization of police forces across the country. 

Republican Nick Schwaderer from Superior wrote the original bill to stop police from using military surplus combat gear.

The security detail at the White House aren’t the only people worrying about encounters with small aerial drones. Some of Montana’s sportsmen want limits placed on the popular flying machines.

Todd Eames from Billings says he and his brothers were fishing when he realized that someone, possibly from a nearby ranch, was watching him.

National Park Service

A federal court has ordered a Dutch man to pay more than $3,000 dollars for crashing a drone in the biggest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.

Theodorus Van Vliet crashed a drone into the Grand Prismatic Spring in early August. Workers have been unable to recover the unmanned aircraft so far.

Park authorities banned drones in late June.

Van Vliet was one of three visitors to crash one in the park this summer.

This is the second federal conviction for piloting drones in Yellowstone in a just over a week. One other illegal drone case is still pending.

Yellowstone Drone Problems Don't Plague Glacier

Sep 4, 2014
National Park Service

A German man has been charged with four misdemeanors related to crashing a drone into Yellowstone Lake this summer. In addition to violating the park’s ban on unmanned aircraft, Andreas Meissner is charged with filming without a permit, leaving property unattended, and giving a false report to authorities in the July 17 incident.

Yellowstone National Park Spokesman Al Nash says Meisner is not the only person to be cited for flying a drone in the park.

“We’ve actually charged three different people regarding use of unmanned aircraft in Yellowstone this summer,” Nash says.

Leon Panetta at UM

Apr 25, 2014
Sally Mauk

The former head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, spoke recently on the University of Montana campus. Panetta has also served as Secretary of Defense, as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and in Congress as a representative from California from 1977 to 1993.
    As part of the annual Jones/Tamm law school lecture, Panetta was questioned by Washington, D.C. trial attorney Robert Bennett about domestic and foreign policy; here is that conversation in its entirety.

Sally Mauk

In sometimes salty language, the former head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, covered everything from torture to budget deficits in a wide-ranging talk Thursday at the University of Montana. Besides heading the CIA, Panetta also served as Secretary of Defense, and as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.     

Panetta spoke to a riveted audience at the annual Jones/Tamm law school lecture. He was questioned for about 40 minutes by his friend and famous trial attorney Robert Bennett about domestic and foreign policy.