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I Saw Drones
December 15, 2012 3:56 AM   Subscribe


 


You missed Dronestagram, which posts aerial photos and info of drone strikes on twitter, tumblr and Instagram
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:37 AM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]




There's also FPS Russia's alleged actually armed drone.

I don't think anyone is "alleging" too hard there. The CGI is pretty obvious at 720p, although the explosions are probably real, they probably just pre-placed explosives.

There are some actual armed, remote controlled helicopter drones on youtube, though. Basic drones are well within the reach of a typical RC hobbyist.
posted by delmoi at 4:47 AM on December 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I had to laugh at the ham-fisted attempt at amping up teh fearz in that Milo Danger video. It's like Fox News for liberals. From the opening suggestion that all "drones" are military hardware because the military uses drones (uh oh, they also use boats, trucks and condoms! I'd better not use any of those either!) to the "shocking" act of mounting a "weapon" (actually a paintball marker) on something, to the jihadi-style face covering and over-the-top voice modulator effect. It's a crass attempt at emotional manipulation and not much else.
posted by indubitable at 5:17 AM on December 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


NYPD is pathetic and terrifying at the same time. Way to prove the guy's point, coppers. I sure feel a lot safer knowing a terrorist artist is no longer on the loose hanging posters. Meanwhile, I had a student robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight in central Harlem 2 weeks ago. Where were you for that?

I'm cracking up at the fake Van Wagner van and uniform bit, though. Hoping he's acquitted and NYPD has egg on its face, and for sure many more people will now see the posters, so mission accomplished, boys in blue.
posted by spitbull at 6:01 AM on December 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


I love Essam Attia's drone posters. Anyone seen the original vector graphics files or high quality images floating around?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:02 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Essam Attia's drone posters. Anyone seen the original vector graphics files or high quality images floating around?

The outline of the people fleeing on the lower left part of the poster is from a famous sign on the I-5 freeway in San Diego, warning drivers of border-jumpers running across the freeway...

This one.
posted by thewalrus at 6:10 AM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love me some drone posters too, but is getting caught part of the plan? I'm confused. Why disclose real first names and other personal details in the Animal interview otherwise?
posted by fatbaq at 6:16 AM on December 15, 2012


The "machine gun" on the FPSRussia drone is actually just a shorty AR-15 upper receiver, without any of the parts of the gun that actually fire the rounds off. In other words, he's just got a barrel and some plastic furniture on there to look neat.

You *do* realize that his accent is completely fake and there's a lot of CGI used in his videos to be impressive and fun, right?
posted by mrbill at 6:27 AM on December 15, 2012


If I lived in NYC, I would be furious to see the NYPD spend so much manpower on catchng a guerilla artist when so many matters of public safety in the city are being blithely disregarded.
posted by ocschwar at 6:33 AM on December 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm a little confused. Essam put his own first name on the posters, but still it took forensics teams and a counter-terrorism squad to figure out who made the things?
posted by item at 6:34 AM on December 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Why is a counter-terrorism unit wasting its time and taxpayer money chasing after someone who is not, by any definition of that word which isn't stupid, a terrorist?
posted by 1adam12 at 6:34 AM on December 15, 2012 [41 favorites]


Ok, I now see that his name isn't written in an easily interpreted manner. Still odd.
posted by item at 6:36 AM on December 15, 2012


I think the whole domestic drone thing (and the international ones for that matter too) is indicative of the path the U.S. is trodding: unchecked power of a military/industrial/governmental state, a citizenry reduced to being so many suspects, and paranoia and suspicion are seen as normal, common sense. I know its a cliche, but I feel like police/military organizations really do see and treat people like sheep. Plebes are to be told what to do and kept in line. Our rights have become mutable to fit the circumstances, and they know they have the power and that no one can or will oppose them.

One thing that I think should worry everyone, right or left: when the rubber hits the road these days, it doesn't matter who you are or what you did. Something can be pinned on you and you will be a subject of the system, which will then do with you what it pleases.

Paranoid? Maybe. But seriously, could the country be an more Orwellian right now? I was riding the subway the other day and there were ads for new security cameras on buses. The cheery text said "Smile, it's for you safety!"
posted by nowhere man at 6:53 AM on December 15, 2012 [29 favorites]


I think it is known as proof of concept. Seriously how long do you think before 'teh crazy' give this a go? I mean if some "nice" guy can borrow a friends semi-auto "target shooter" and give it a Friday Night Flight around the local high school football pitch/stadium. Even if it fired blanks or never hit anything at all, the ensuing panic filmed in delicious hi-def from a bird's eye view, would be an instant viral runaway a punk'd episode for sure.
posted by pdxpogo at 6:55 AM on December 15, 2012


Why is a counter-terrorism unit wasting its time and taxpayer money chasing after someone who is not, by any definition of that word which isn't stupid, a terrorist?

To justify their existence, which is a great waste of time and money to those who have any sense.
posted by nowhere man at 6:57 AM on December 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Essam Attia, 29, was hit with 56 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny possession of stolen property and weapons possession after allegedly having an unloaded .22-caliber revolver under his bed

OK, weapons possession, fine, that's a lucky random find for them. But forged instruments? Are they claiming his satirical posters are forgeries? And what's the stolen property exactly? Did he steal their dignity or something?
posted by ook at 7:02 AM on December 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


He put the Ad Council logo on it. Which was a brilliant move, imho.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:04 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it is known as proof of concept. Seriously how long do you think before 'teh crazy' give this a go? I mean if some "nice" guy can borrow a friends semi-auto "target shooter" and give it a Friday Night Flight around the local high school football pitch/stadium.

You could say the same thing about home brewing beer. How long until someone crazy brews extra-strong beer at home and gets super drunk, gets in his car, and runs someone over?
posted by indubitable at 7:04 AM on December 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seems to be a senseless waste of taxpayers money when they could be chatting real crime.
posted by arcticseal at 7:20 AM on December 15, 2012


If you've noticed the crazies' attacks are pretty desperate and primitive. The best you get is someone proficient with a pair of handguns, hoping he won't walk out alive.


The real thing to worry about is ubiquitous surveillance. Fears of hellfireing suburbanites or housing projects or whatever weird fantasies lie beneath the surface of these symbols are nuts: for now. The ability to live in a Kafkaesque forensic milspec panopticon where you can get fingered for a massacre and be tracked down by the police by your broadcast insistence insistence you're not a dead man... Imagine how much surreal fun it's going to be when law enforcement branches at many levels are playing rorschach interpretation games with metropolitan bird's eye views.
posted by clarknova at 7:22 AM on December 15, 2012


Let us not confuse stupidity (driving while intoxicated) with deliberate intent to cause panic/injury/fear for entertainment and or political theater. If we go straight to Muhammad and Malvo crazy another way to commit anonymous acts of random murder. You can't equate unintended consequence with deliberate acts. Is Milo Danger exploitation? Sure it could be done better, but there is something to consider here.
posted by pdxpogo at 7:23 AM on December 15, 2012


You could say the same thing about home brewing beer. How long until someone crazy brews extra-strong beer at home and gets super drunk, gets in his car, and runs someone over?

Well, except for the last item on that list that was me last night. Admittedly, I only got into my car because I was searching for my phone though.
posted by Fezboy! at 7:25 AM on December 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why is a counter-terrorism unit wasting its time and taxpayer money chasing after someone who is not, by any definition of that word which isn't stupid, a terrorist?

Because they don't have anything else to do. It's not like a city needs a dedicated anti-terrorist unit. Not even New York.
posted by Malor at 7:36 AM on December 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


...allegedly having an unloaded .22-caliber revolver under his bed...

Drop gun, much?
posted by fifthrider at 7:38 AM on December 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


It's not like a city needs a dedicated anti-terrorist unit.

Nor, for that matter, does a city need a full-blown intelligence service capable of operating overseas. Even if we somehow find some means of justifying their rampant civil rights and civil liberties abuses, their misguided arrest quotas, their absurd buildup of military hardware, and all the rest, we still are faced with the fact that the NYPD openly infringes on the Federal government's reserved power of conducting foreign policy.

And yes, Bloomberg is talking out of his ass when he says that the NYPD is "the seventh largest army in the world." That he's bragging about circumventing Washington, however, is cause for more than a little concern.
posted by fifthrider at 7:48 AM on December 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


Drop gun, much?
posted by fifthrider


It might be a "ham sandwich", I mean, the guy must have been expecting the cops to knock on his door eventually. Even the dumbest criminal knows to hide their gun in a public space.
posted by 445supermag at 7:51 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


still it took forensics teams and a counter-terrorism squad to figure out who made the things

Those parts of the story seem to vanish into thin air if you actually follow the various links. The Metafilter headline asserts it as fact. The story it links to offers it as airy speculation, linking to a story which simply says that he was arrested after outing himself in that online interview--with no mention of "counter terrorism" units at all.

And cool as those posters are, does anyone really think you can go around breaking into some private company's commercial property and putting up your own posters where they display ads and not get into legal trouble for it? The point about civil disobedience is not that you're meant to be immune from prosecution when you engage in it; the point is you're meant to willingly face prosecution in order to publicize your cause.
posted by yoink at 7:59 AM on December 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


One thing that I think should worry everyone, right or left: when the rubber hits the road these days, it doesn't matter who you are or what you did. Something can be pinned on you and you will be a subject of the system, which will then do with you what it pleases.
Thank you.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:01 AM on December 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


He put the Ad Council logo on it. Which was a brilliant move, imho.

If this is the "forged instrument" that they've popped him for, wouldn't this used of the Ad Council logo fall under the 1st Amendment protections for satire?

The weapons charge I guess might be valid based on NYC's gun laws. I'm still unclear as to what he grandly larcened, though.
posted by wormwood23 at 8:03 AM on December 15, 2012


He took the old posters down, so they're calling that theft.
posted by Malor at 8:07 AM on December 15, 2012


He took the old posters down, so they're calling that theft.

Sounds more like petite larceny to me.
posted by wormwood23 at 8:09 AM on December 15, 2012


wouldn't this used of the Ad Council logo fall under the 1st Amendment protections for satire?

Oh sure, probably. But not before the City used its resources to force him to make that successful defense, possibly bankrupting him in the process. Far more likely is that he'll plead out to some lesser offense and the question of whether this arrest made any damned sense or was a good use of police resources and prosecutorial discretion won't ever get a public airing.

In New York, grand larceny is anything over $1000 in value. $1000 / 56 posters = about $18 a pop. I'd be curious to see what donkey butt they're going to pull that monetary value out of for a bunch of sun-faded mass printed adverts that were probably scheduled to be rotated out sooner or later anyway.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:13 AM on December 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


from Wikipedia: "In New York, grand larceny refers to amounts of $1,000 or more."

I would guess the rental on 56 large sign cases in Manhattan could probably run $1000. OK. I will concede it's grandness.
posted by wormwood23 at 8:14 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


yoink : And cool as those posters are, does anyone really think you can go around breaking into some private company's commercial property and putting up your own posters where they display ads and not get into legal trouble for it?

Wait, what?

He put his posters up in public spaces the city had usurped for nuisance-revenue generation.

Aside from the (likely) planted gun, the rest amounts to minor vandalism. Time served and the cost of replacing the posters, next case.

Except, that would make the authorities look like complete morons for wasting so much time and taxpayer money to hunt down nothing but a small-time (albeit high quality) tagger. So we can expect to hear about either a sealed plea, or some number of consecutive life sentences with this all settles out.
posted by pla at 8:15 AM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds more like petite larceny to me.

Sure. But you're not the guys who were embarrassed, and who have the power to charge him in court.
posted by Malor at 8:15 AM on December 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I, for one, call them "Flying Terminators"...whether they are remote-controlled or have their intelligence on-board is a distinction of little consequence...they are Kill-bots all the same.

Oddly enough, though, what makes me maddest here is the Apple drone app takedown...like, seriously Apple? It's OK to have an app that vacuums $100 at a time from the wallets of TODDLERS, while tracking their PRECICE LOCATION (and usage habits), storing that information in a database and then selling it to any advertiser (or enemy regime or child molester or whoever, who knows, right? move along now, thanks for using the app store!), but what amounts to a simple news aggregator is a no go? What's the matter? Is it too 'edgy'?
posted by sexyrobot at 8:59 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is a counter-terrorism unit wasting its time and taxpayer money chasing after someone who is not, by any definition of that word which isn't stupid, a terrorist?

hi, welcome to america.
posted by elizardbits at 9:12 AM on December 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


I, for one, call them "Flying Terminators"...

Just for the record, the flying terminators were hunter-killers or h-k's.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:26 AM on December 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I agree with this guy's politics, so I can be sure that the criminal charges against him are fabricated and unsupported by any actual evidence.
posted by planet at 9:42 AM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a little confused. Essam put his own first name on the posters, but still it took forensics teams and a counter-terrorism squad to figure out who made the things?

The Identity Killer
posted by odinsdream at 10:20 AM on December 15, 2012


Cheer up! animalnewyork.com is blocked in the United Arab Emirates.
posted by ambient2 at 10:24 AM on December 15, 2012


If I lived in NYC, I would be furious to see the NYPD spend so much manpower on catchng a guerilla artist when so many matters of public safety in the city are being blithely disregarded.

Bankers and the various CEOs of major Wall Street firms on the loose?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:39 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part of this post is definitely the corporate dilberts at Apple rejecting the drone attack notification ap. That is embarrassing. Spiegel international online edition has a good story about drone operators with PTSD / combat fatigue / shell shock (or whatever your preferred nomenclature). Link.
posted by bukvich at 10:44 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remain calm. This is the parable of the slowly boiled frog. Except the paradigm is couched in Orwellian terms, where Winston Smith kneels to thank Big Brother and kiss his hand before he receives the bullet to the back of his head. It won't be necessary to pry the gun from your cold dead fingers. We urge you, in fact, to shoot as many as you can, as it takes a bit of the load off our PR squads.

No need to worry if you don't worry the system. Think of the drones as a sort of slum-clearance project that comes in before the bulldozers.

We are currently rooting for Oceana; that could change, so stay tuned.
posted by mule98J at 11:22 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]



If I lived in NYC, I would be furious to see the NYPD spend so much manpower on catchng a guerilla artist when so many matters of public safety in the city are being blithely disregarded.

Bankers and the various CEOs of major Wall Street firms on the loose?


Well, most New Yorkers are benefitting from Wall Street's shenanigans, albeit unwillingly.

But the biggest problem in NY is traffic safety, and the police there are staffed with Long Islanders who absolutely refuse to enforce the traffic safety laws. If you want to murder someone in NY, do it with a car. You won't even get a ticket.
posted by ocschwar at 11:30 AM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


He put his posters up in public spaces the city had usurped for nuisance-revenue generation.

Somehow I suspect you'd be interpreting the legalities of this case very differently if he'd been putting up anti-abortion posters, or anti-gay-marriage posters.
posted by yoink at 11:58 AM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


"from Wikipedia: "In New York, grand larceny refers to amounts of $1,000 or more."


I'd argue that the $1000 limit of "Grand" anything needs to be inflation adjusted. When those laws were written more than 100 years ago (a guess).... a $20 was an ounce of gold.

1000/20 --> 50 ounces of Gold

50 ounces * $1700/ounce --> $105,000

Surely, he's done less than $105,000 of any damage. (Unless of course, he downloaded some MP3s, which are worth billions in damages).
posted by MikeWarot at 12:00 PM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


yoink: "Somehow I suspect you'd be interpreting the legalities of this case very differently if he'd been putting up anti-abortion posters, or anti-gay-marriage posters."

I'm certain pla has their own take on this, but I don't like it when police throw the book at someone just because they don't like them, whether they're an anarchist or Westboro Baptist types. This is the difference between a liberal and a radical.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:29 PM on December 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aside from the (likely) planted gun

One reporter did manage to ask Essam Attia about the gun. The reporter says Attia claims the gun is a "‘120-year-old’ antique."
posted by RichardP at 12:45 PM on December 15, 2012


So they ransacked his home and found a firearm? I thought that in theory, they need probable cause to do that. What was the cause? It sounds like they used "searching for poster-paints to confiscate" as a pretext to destroy his home during their raid.
posted by anonymisc at 1:00 PM on December 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I agree with this guy's politics, so I can be sure that the criminal charges against him are fabricated and unsupported by any actual evidence.

I don't think you get it. I don't agree with posters in public spaces, or tagging for that matter, but I'm far FAR more concerned about living in a just society free of corruption and openly abused power. Russia was nice to visit, but I don't want to live there.

Is it that when the NYPD focuses months of work of its forensics and counter-terrorism teams to track down a tagger, and raids them, we just never hear about it? Or is it that a single tagger (whose unauthorised speech easily inflicts much higher costs on society than this guy ever did, and thus is a higher priority to me) just isn't going to get this kind of manpower focused on him, simply because his speech is less embarrassing to the powerful?
posted by anonymisc at 1:15 PM on December 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


"In New York, grand larceny refers to amounts of $1,000 or more."


Grand. Grand.

Oh, for pete's sake.
posted by mule98J at 1:44 PM on December 15, 2012


The street artist behind the satirical "NYPD Drones" posters has been tracked down by forensics teams and a "counter-terrorism unit" and arrested.

I say throw him in the same jail as Thomas Paine and that lot.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:05 PM on December 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


After thinking about it a bit: this man's REAL crime, the one they're trying to punish him for, is being insufficiently servile.
posted by Malor at 2:59 PM on December 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know what the relation is between the Apple app takedown and the NY poster thing? It's that they are both attempts at protest and expression that take place in commercial spaces. The anti-drone activists chose to use these spaces to express themselves because they knew they could have more reach, but unfortunately these are spaces that businesses use already. I'm beginning to realize there are costs to making everything into a place to push a message or advertise. I mean, the drone app/poster are two extreme examples, but just the other night I was facing a much more mundane issue where I wanted to walk in a nice public space with crowds, but the only places I knew where to walk were malls and shopping centers. And I think my walking issue and the poster guy being arrested and maybe even the app being taken down are related to one another.

It's undeniable that people spend a good amount of time in commercial spaces because they want to be entertained and buy stuff and services. So, the messages in these spaces are naturally going to be broadcasted by those who have the most capital. And even the traditional public spaces (town squares, parks, plazas) are having to resort to sponsors in order to remain open and safe, trying to leverage the traffic and "eyeballs" they receive daily to boost their coffers.

As for a solution to all this, I'm not really sure.
posted by FJT at 3:38 PM on December 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


We used to communicate and protest in public spaces: Parks, streets, city squares.

Now we're stuck communicating and protesting in virtual malls, from which we can be booted at any time. And even public spaces are becoming public in name only.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:16 PM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a bunch of knee jerk replies. The guy vandalized things that he shouldn't have. He was found and arrested. Big fucking deal. Yeah sure, he has a a serious hipster explanation. I call it an excuse for someone with nothing but time and then whining because he got caught.

Ooh the big police are gonna catch me. Well they did. And this changes the use of drones in other countries not one fucking bit.

To hell with assholes like him. If they want to fix things go to countries that still have unexploded mines. Run through them and make yourself useful. Otherwise stop tying up law enforcement that can be used elsewhere. Schmuck.
posted by Splunge at 9:21 PM on December 15, 2012


Otherwise stop tying up law enforcement that can be used elsewhere.

By the same rationale, we shouldn't be allowed to have parades, as the boys in blue directing traffic could be doing something better with their time.

Either the police officers involved chose to pursue this investigation, or they were ordered to do so. Neither one of those options were under the control of Essem Attia. I'm sure he would have been fine with the police ignoring his vandalism/art.
posted by dubold at 2:29 AM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, weapons possession, fine, that's a lucky random find for them

With the NYPD's record, I have doubts as to how "lucky" and/or "random" it actually was.

The word that first comes to my mind is "convenient".
posted by lampshade at 5:46 AM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think I buried the lede there.

Note to self: Next time, don't include anyone who could be called a "hipster" in the post, because everyone will spend their time debating the hipster instead of thinking about the little kids getting blown up.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


dunkadunc: those "little kids" were obviously terrorists. We know this, because they were killed in a drone strike. Which was ordered because they were terrorists.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:28 AM on December 16, 2012


Somehow I suspect you'd be interpreting the legalities of this case very differently if he'd been putting up anti-abortion posters, or anti-gay-marriage posters.

"The imaginary people in my mind, in a hypothetical situation of my own imagining, just so happen to be behaving in such a way as to reinforce the correctness of my pre-existing beliefs" is not the rhetorical coup de grâce you seem to believe it to be.

Here in the real world, I challenge you to find one single instance in all of Metafilter of anyone ever calling for someone to be arrested and charged with a felony for posting anti-abortion or anti-gay-marriage posters on a piece of public street furniture.
posted by enn at 12:55 PM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here in the real world, I challenge you to find one single instance in all of Metafilter of anyone ever calling for someone to be arrested and charged with a felony for posting anti-abortion or anti-gay-marriage posters on a piece of public street furniture.

I find it very hard to imagine that such a subject would come up for discussion on Metafilter. An anti-abortion protester arrested for flagrantly breaking well established laws? Who here would care enough about it to even make a post about such a thing? What would the discussion consist of but "serves him/her right"?

Here's a story from just a few days ago, for example. Notice the conspicuous lack of "oh my God, this is the end of our freedoms" posts about this here on the blue. I welcome you to prove me wrong by crafting an FPP around it.
posted by yoink at 1:49 PM on December 16, 2012


Yoink, what do you think about that story makes it postworthy?
posted by zippy at 2:12 PM on December 16, 2012


Notice the conspicuous lack of "oh my God, this is the end of our freedoms" posts about this here on the blue.

Notice also the lack of a credible, unbiased source for your story.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:34 PM on December 16, 2012


[Folks? Please? If you want to complain about how MetaFilter handles things, go to MetaTalk, otherwise be decent here or take a walk.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:12 PM on December 17, 2012


Space robot photographs a war robot
posted by homunculus at 12:26 AM on December 19, 2012


Tweeting Every U.S. Drone Strike Is Taking Way Longer Than Expected "For now, just tweeting as fast as possible. Once we get through the remaining tweets, the account will roll over into something resembling a real-time feed. Right now, though, it's just bearing witness to the immensity of the archive."

Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend

posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:14 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend

I believe this has been used in all air strikes, not just with drones.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:56 AM on January 14, 2013


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