Aug 04, 2019 I Brett Tingley

The Pentagon is Flying Mysterious High-Altitude Balloons Over U.S. Cities

As anyone who has researched UFOs knows, the United States frequently tests new aerospace technologies on its own soil much to the fear and confusion of citizens below. The history of the American government’s experimental aircraft testing is a long and sordid one, involving all manner of misinformation, misdirection, and seeming misanthropy. 

Over the last few years, evidence keeps stacking up that may suggest the military industrial complex is up to its old tricks once again, but insane-sounding, gravity-bending, electromagnetically-propelled aircraft aren’t the only things the Pentagon may or may not be testing over America’s skies. According to an exclusive report published in The Guardian this week, the Pentagon is currently flying experimental high-altitude balloons over several American states as a means of conducting wide-area persistent surveillance. Are spy satellites not enough?

The Guardian came across documents filed with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) that grant a “Special Temporary Authorization” for “high altitude MESH networking tests over South Dakota to provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats.” 

MESH networking is a type of communications network in which each node can communicate directly with each other node in a non-hierarchical manner. In the case of these high-altitude balloons, it would seem that each balloon can communicate with other balloons using their own network, thus needing FCC approval for the use of the airwaves.

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Google and other tech firms have been testing MESH network balloons for years as a means of bringing high-speed internet to rural areas.

The balloons fly high up in the stratosphere (up to 65,000ft or 19,000m) and carry sophisticated radar systems that can track multiple vehicles or individuals simultaneously over a 25-mile wide area. According to the FCC filings, the balloons also carry wide-area nine-camera systems known as Gorgon Stare which can record panoramic views of entire cities. The balloons were launched from rural South Dakota and will float over Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri until September 2019.

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The Gorgon Stare system has been previously deployed on drones over battlefield areas.

Many observers have pointed out just how terrifying and dystopian such an experiment is. Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, shared his organization’s fears over the new experimental surveillance project with The Guardian:

We do not think that American cities should be subject to wide-area surveillance in which every vehicle could be tracked wherever they go. Even in tests, they’re still collecting a lot of data on Americans: who’s driving to the union house, the church, the mosque, the Alzheimer’s clinic. We should not go down the road of allowing this to be used in the United States and it’s disturbing to hear that these tests are being carried out, by the military no less.

This latest development only adds to what fellow MU contributor Nick Redfern calls “the growing phenomenon of drones and surveillance.” As our skies become increasingly filled with autonomous aircraft tracking our every movement and communication, we’re losing more and more of the freedom that we once shared as private citizens. Just wait until Facebook and Elon Musk get their technological tendrils directly into your brain and connect it to the Pentagon balloons’ MESH network. 

Welcome to the Panopticon.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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