Camp Ripley drones: New $3.9 million facility sparks protest

Categories: Military
Raven drone.jpg
Camp Ripley will train military personnel in the use of unweaponized Raven drones like the one seen in this photo from Iraq.
Antiwar activists gathered last Friday to protest a new $3.9 million drone facility under construction at Camp Ripley in Little Falls.

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Though drones are increasingly used by law enforcement -- including in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where they have sparked legal controversy -- the Camp Ripley facility will initially be used only be used by military personnel.

According to the St. Cloud Times, drone training has been happening for years at Camp Ripley, but their increasing popularity in military and law enforcement circles prompted the need for a new facility.

Camp Ripley will focus on training military personnel in the use of unweaponized Raven and Shadow drones for surveillance purposes.

One of Friday's protesters, Robin Hensel, recently made City Pages headlines when she sued the city of Little Falls after officials ordered her to remove pro-Occupy, anti-Republican yard signs from her property.

"We have no right going into Pakistan, and Somalia, and Yemen and other countries and illegally killing people with these drones," Hensel told the Times. "It violates the Geneva Convention, it violates our own constitution."

Construction of the new drone facility should be completed by the end of next month.

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