Why is a Gigantic War-Blimp About to Fly Above the Skies of Suburban Baltimore?

One of the most disturbing and relentless trends over the past several years has been the redirection of war technology and equipment from the battlefield abroad toward domestic use in the USA. This has resulted in a militarization of police across the nation and has encouraged small towns to use Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to purchase ridiculous items such as tanks.

Sadly, it appears this trend is only accelerating. With billions of dollars already spent, and failed wars abroad, the military-industrial complex needs to continue to generate cash flow. May as well just use it against the American people.

We find out from the Washington Post that:

They will look like two giant white blimps floating high above I-95 in Maryland, perhaps en route to a football game somewhere along the bustling Eastern Seaboard. But their mission will have nothing to do with sports and everything to do with war.

The aerostats — that is the term for lighter-than-air craft that are tethered to the ground — are to be set aloft on Army-owned land about 45 miles northeast of Washington, near Aberdeen Proving Ground, for a three-year test slated to start in October. From a vantage of 10,000 feet, they will cast a vast radar net from Raleigh, N.C., to Boston and out to Lake Erie, with the goal of detecting cruise missiles or enemy aircraft so they could be intercepted before reaching the capital.

Interesting, I didn’t realize we were at war. When was the last time cruise missiles were shot into the United States?

Aerostats deployed by the military at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan typically carried powerful surveillance cameras as well, to track the movements of suspected insurgents and even U.S. soldiers.

Defense contractor Raytheon last year touted an exercise in which it outfitted the aerostats planned for deployment in suburban Baltimore with one of the company’s most powerful high-altitude surveillance systems, capable of spotting individual people and vehicles from a distance of many miles.

The Army said it has “no current plans” to mount such cameras or infrared sensors on the aerostats or to share information with federal, state or local law enforcement, but it declined to rule out either possibility. The radar system that is planned for the aerostats will be capable of monitoring the movement of trains, boats and cars, the Army said.

“No Current plans.” What a bunch of assholes. You know they can’t wait to attach an ARGUS surveillance system to these puppies.

“That’s the kind of massive persistent surveillance we’ve always been concerned about with drones,” said Jay Stanley, a privacy expert for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s part of this trend we’ve seen since 9/11, which is the turning inward of all of these surveillance technologies.”

The Army played down such concerns in written responses to questions posed by The Washington Post, saying its goal is to test the ability of the aerostats to bolster the region’s missile-defense capability, especially against low-flying cruise missiles that can be hard for ground-based systems to detect in time to intercept them.

The Army determined it did not need to conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment, required for some government programs, because it was not going to collect any personally identifiable information, officials said in their written responses to The Post.

Did the FISA court rubber stamp this assessment?

Technologies developed for battlefields — weapons, vehicles, communications systems — long have flowed homeward as overseas conflicts have ended. The battles that followed the Sept. 11 attacks have produced major advances in surveillance equipment whose manufacturers increasingly are looking to expand their use within the United States.

Aerostats — basically big balloons on strings — grew popular in Iraq and Afghanistan and also are used by Israel to monitor the Gaza Strip and by the United States to eye movement along southern border areas. Even a rifle shot through an aerostat will not bring it down, because the pressure of the helium inside nearly matches the pressure of the air outside, preventing rapid deflation.

So equipment used to control people in war zones are coming to America and there’s nothing to be concerned about?

The Defense Department spent nearly $7 billion on 15 different lighter-than-air systems between 2007 and 2012, with several suffering from technical problems, delays and unexpectedly high costs, the Government Accountability Office found in an October 2012 report.

“They are bringing this to the East Coast, close to Washington, to get the Pentagon guys and Congress to say, ‘Whoa, we could really use this,’ ” said Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute, a military think tank with ties to the defense industry. “This is re-purposing. You’ve already spent the money.”

Have fun Baltimore.

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Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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11 Comments

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  1. yea yea keep yer fucking pants on.

    you have a point as usual but it’s misdirected here. you want a full scale reduction of military spending, i get that. but fucking blimps are the best military money you can spend.

    the fact is, the LACK OF THE USE OF BLIMPS has contributed greatly to waste in the u.s. military. and in the domestic telecom industry.

    a few well placed blimps can provide telecom converage WITHOUT any need for expensive satellites. AND they are cheap compared to loitering drone aircraft for indefinite missions.

    it is unfortunate that our military is so wasteful, but in fact , the waste comes from decisiosn to spend massive amounts of money on things that just aren’t that necessary like battatlions of sattelites vulnerable to SOLAR FLARES, space micro dust , a nuclear bomb in space shorting them out.

    the u.s. military NEEDS to have the capacity to observe forces on the ground and missiles.

    it will not be possible to transition to the next stable geopolitical plateau without scaling down war. you cannot scale down war without a game plan. look at how the soviet union collapsed. they didn’t just give up their nuclear weapons!. same as the u.s. when we bring much of our military equipment back home from our vassal states and outposts as every major empire has done when it needs to consolidate due to financial lossess and domestic problems—–the u.s. will have choices to make. one of those choices is how to cut the massive budget. the answer, blimps for surveillance will replace sattelites and endless circling of fuel burning drones.

    and blimps are far more defensive in nature than offensive spying . why’s that you ask? because they can easily be shot down with a shoulder fired surface to air sam missile . ( which is why they’re not too popular in iraq and other military places ) .

    • What “forces on the ground” in Baltimore are you referring to? Occupy Baltimore? Mothers Against Drunk Driving? Grandmothers with Dementia campaigning for better rights in nursing homes? Those grandmother’s can get pretty rowdy. Definitely a good use for a few billion dollars of borrowed money.

  2. This is obviously going to be used to track aliens.

  3. It’s a “Fat Albert” surveillance blimp (see Cudjoe Key, FL)! Hey, Hey, HEY!! (Lock up your treats)!!!

  4. Wake up Americans! Obama is a NSA puppet, liar, and un-American traitor. His regime is the same as Bush of 2008 (same pigs in DC). Obama should be impeached immediately for crimes against the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  5. Well, I suppose that we’ll need these blimps to defend our borders when we can no longer afford to project our military might on distant shores. We can also use them to keep the restive population under observation when TSHTF. A double bonus!

  6. Missiles? That’s actually funny. From whom? Al Qaeda?? No, wait, they work for us now in Syria, if not before. Russia? No, wait, those would be ICBMs from space. China? I can’t see the largest holder of US debt cancelling redemption. It must be North Korean missiles that we’re worried about. Of course, they’d have mail the missiles first, but it could theoretically happen.

    How about a little Occam’s razor here: The simplest answer is the correct answer. The blimps are for domestic surveillance and constitute the further militarization of the US police state.

    • Since a missile strike would invite retaliation, the Chinese might just forego their debt redemption and sell off all their US Gov’t bonds at rock bottom prices. This would totally bankrupt the US Gov’t, as their debt would become worthless. Wars are sometimes conducted by non-military means.

  7. We will fly this blimp for 3 years as a test. Once the people get used to it they will pop up all across the country in cities both large and small.

    Don’t worry about that 10,000 foot tether and small aircraft. Nothing bad can happen there. I remember a young helicopter training pilot who lost his life when his craft got tangled up in a persons kite string.

  8. I saw a similar blimp flying over Dallas, TX in the early 90′s except the one I saw utilized some kind of invisibility technology similar to this:

    Although the blimp was utilizing the invisibility technology, I was still able to see it because 1) it either attracted or created a small cloud that traveled along underneath it and 2) the sky that it was reflecting differed from the sky behind it. The blimp was perhaps as long as a football field. I sat and watched the blimp go over Dallas, TX for about 15-20 mins. I was able to see it switch between invisibility that reflected the night sky to reflecting the city lights below. The one I saw also had windows kind of like this one:
    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/05/20/article-1279831-09AAC2A4000005DC-937_634x380.jpg

    Therefore, the blimp may have been able to carry passengers and may not have just been for surveillance. The blimp was headed in a southwest direction over Dallas, TX which made me think that it may have been headed toward one of the military bases.

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