Thursday, July 10, 2014

Drone Crashes Pile Up In and Near Florida

July 2013: Heavy smoke is visible near Mexico Beach, Florida after a
drone crashed on takeoff from Tyndall Air Force Base.

The very first post on the No Drones Florida website was about the way in which Florida is bristling with drones bases. At the time, we could only guess at what some of the consequences of this would be.

On June 22, 2014, the Washington Post published the results of a far-reaching investigation into crashes that have occurred in the U.S. drone program.

Shockingly, of the 194 major ("Class A") crashes that the Washington Post was able to document, 47  occurred within the United States.

Below is information on five (5) drone crashes that occurred in the state of Florida alone between the years 2001 and 2013. (The listed incidents are Air Force-related, unless otherwise indicated.)

(See the full online database of crashes on the Washington Post website for full details of these and other drone crashes.)

Tyndall crash: October 25, 2001

Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Tyndall Air Force Base
Estimated damage: $1,523,469
Details: An aerial target drone [Phantom (QF-4E)] crashed . . . .

Date: May 10, 2004
Location: undisclosed FL location
Estimated damage: N/A
Details:   An Army Hunter (RQ-5A) drone crashed  . . . .

Date: April 25, 2006
Location: Gulf of Mexico, 88 miles south of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., United States
Estimated damage:  $2,450,000
Details:  A Phantom (QF-4E) had to be blown up when it went out of control . . . .

Remains of crashed drone in the Gulf of Mexico: May 13, 2011

Date: May 13, 2011
Location: Gulf of Mexico, 16 nautical miles south of Tyndall Air Force Base,
Estimated damage: $2,801,574
Details:   An aerial target drone [Phantom (QF-4E)] crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Date: July 17, 2013
Location: Tyndall Air Force Base
Estimated damage: $4,564,536
Details:  An aerial target drone [Phantom (QF-4E)]crashed about eight seconds after takeoff . . . .

Tyndall crash: July 17, 2013

Related posts

A drone crash in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay was one of the first incidents to bring crashes by military drones to the attention of the American public.

(See Maryland Drone Crashes: The Other Shoe Drops )

There have been several crashes of Hunter drones in connection with Army programs in Georgia.

(See Military Drone Programs in Georgia Lead to Crashes)

Ten (10) drone crashes occurred in the state of California alone between the years 2004 and 2011.

(See California: Is the Sky Falling? )

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Alan Grayson: HR 4372 "Come Clean on Drone Killing" Act needs YOU!

Rep. Alan Grayson (representing Florida's 9th Congressional district) is on the record declaring that the Obama administration needs to do some 'fessing up:

"It's time for our government to shed some light on its drone practices. Transparency, as uncomfortable as it may sometimes be, is an essential part of our democracy. Americans need the facts -- the who, what, when, where, and (most importantly) why -- in order to decide if the benefits of these strikes outweigh the negatives. And for the people in other countries, whose lives are so profoundly impacted by America's drone activities, people like Rafiq ur Rehman and the individuals in Datta Khel, they deserve some closure, too."

(See - "Come Clean on Deadly Drone Activities," March 27, 2014 in the Huffington Post) And there is lots more material available on the web about Rep. Grayson's criticisms of the drone program.

Now a bill is pending in Congress -- the The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (HR 4372) -- also known as the "Come Clean on Drone Killing" Act. At this writing, quite a few of Rep. Grayson's fellow progressive caucus members have become co-sponsors for the bill. So where is Rep. Grayson?

Rep. Grayson's constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Additional resources to help:

Identify your member of Congress

Example letter to a member of Congress in support of HR 4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (the "come clean on drone killings" act)

Related posts

First Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) called the U.S. on the carpet for dodging the call from the international community to come clean about its drone killings. Then Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) submitted a bill calling for drone transparency. So ... are we finally going to get the truth?

(See REAL Progressives Demand that the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings)

A 2013 U.N. report makes it clear that the U.S. has to report fully on all its drone attacks.

(See 2014: The Year of Transparency (for U.S. Drone Use)?)

The reason the Administration is hiding truth about drones is that they don't have a satisfactory answer for how decisions about drone strikes are made.  As we have known all along, we need the public to think about how crummy the whole drone program is, and then they will be ready to be on our side. The best way to get them really thinking is to shine a spotlight on the secrecy, evasiveness, and deceit involved in the U.S. drone program.

(See Drone Killings: Come Clean )