Surveillance drones haven't started hovering outside and above the homes of Americans en masse just yet, but former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura claims he's left the United States just in case.
Ventura, a 62-year-old professional wrestler-turned-politician, says his new Ora TV program 'Off the Grid' is being filmed in secret somewhere in Mexico where the all-seeing eye of American unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, don't have a chance of finding him.
Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday from an “undisclosed location” south of the border, Ventura said there was a reason he doesn't reveal his each and every movement.
“I’m off the grid. I move about with my TV show so that the drones can’t find me and you won’t know exactly where I am,” Ventura said.
According to Ventura, his Ora TV program will continue to broadcast “as long as we have solar power and we can reach the satellite.”
“I view the United States, today, much like East Berlin. And I’m off the grid. I’ve tried for 20 years to warn the country about the Democrats and Republicans, and nobody’s listening,” he said
“I now view the United States from the outside, and I don’t like what I see,” added Ventura, who won Minnesota's gubernatorial election back in 1998. “You know what the favorite T-shirt was off the grid down here a couple years ago? A picture of [former President] George Bush, and it said weapon of mass destruction. Is that the way we want the United States portrayed throughout the world? I don’t think so.”
Ventura's remarks on CNBC came only days after he made a similar comment to veteran broadcaster Larry King on the newsman's own Ora TV production, Politicking.
“I can't do this show and talk about what I want to talk about in the United States,” Ventura said of 'Off the Grid.' “They are locked down up there,” he said, again from an undisclosed location.
Ventura equated his online-only program as being a twenty-first century version of Radio Free Europe, the US-sanctioned network that shared a western take on the news of the world among the people of communist countries after the second World War.
“Remember Radio Free Europe? This is Internet Free America with Jesse Ventura,” he told King. “Broadcasting across the grid, off the grid, back to the United States, Jesse is allowed speak freely without drones hovering over his head and tracking him down,” the ex-governor insisted.
And according to Ventura, his new endeavor is also helping to employ Mexicans who might otherwise attempt to permeate the jobs market in America, much to the chagrin of the perpetually unemployed.
“I’m a job creator,” Ventura said during the CNBC segment on Tuesday. “And I’m not only creating jobs, putting Mexicans to work, I’m stopping them from running across the border now and taking our jobs, because my whole staff said that if I wasn’t down here, and I didn’t have them, they’d be coming up to America, looking for jobs.”
The US Federal Aviation Administration has projected that upwards of 30,000 drones will be deployed in American airspace by the end of the decade, and law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already relying on unmanned aerial vehicles to track down dangerous criminals. Should Ventura decide to return, though, then he may want to consider crossing back into the US at Mexico's border with California: lawmakers there advanced a measure last week that would outlaw warrantless drone surveillance in most instances. The US Department of Homeland Security will likely nevertheless continue to use drones to patrol that very same international crossing, but a mishap off of California's Pacific Coast last last month lowered the number of DHS drones to only nine: a tenth UAV was crashed a few miles from San Diego after an onboard malfunction was detected, destroying the multi-million-dollar aircraft.