by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, June 25, 2009
Antifascist Calling… – 2009-06-24
As the American republic’s long death-spiral continues apace, newer and ever more insidious technologies usher us towards an age of high-tech barbarism”At first glance” Newsweek reveals, “there was nothing special about the blimp floating high above the cars and crowd at this year’s Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend.”
“Nothing special” that is, until you took a closer look. What you then discovered was another quintessentially American innovation, all the more chilling for its bland ubiquity. A silent, hovering sentinel linking commerce and repression; a perfect trope for our ersatz democracy. “Like most airships” Newsweek continued, “it acted as an advertising vehicle.”
But the real promo should have been for the blimp’s creator, Raytheon, the security company best known for its weapons systems. Hidden inside the 55-foot-long white balloon was a powerful surveillance camera adapted from the technology Raytheon provides the U.S. military.
Essentially an unmanned drone, the blimp transmitted detailed images to the race’s security officers and to Indiana police. “The airship is great because it doesn’t have that Big Brother feel, or create feelings of invasiveness,” says Lee Silvestre, vice president of mission innovation in Raytheon’s Integrated Defense division. “But it’s still a really powerful security tool.” (Kurt Soller, “Are You Being Watched? The blimp flying above your head may be watching your every move,” Newsweek, June 11, 2009)