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New Website Brings Drone Strikes to Light

Dronestagram: "A Little Closer. A Little More Real."

- Common Dreams staff

A new website by writer and technologist James Bridle shines an important spotlight on some of the "names of places most of us will never see." By using images from Google earth and target details from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, he identifies the "towns, villages, junctions and roads" that have been targets of drone attacks.

The London-based designer writes on his blog, booktwo.org, that he wanted to make this augmented form of 'death-dealing' "just a little bit more visible, a little closer. A little more real."

Bridle continues:

The political and practical possibilities of drone strikes are the consequence of invisible, distancing technologies, and a technologically-disengaged media and society. Foreign wars and foreign bodies have always counted for less, but the technology that was supposed to bring us closer together is used to obscure and obfuscate. We use military technologies like GPS and Kinect for work and play; they continue to be used militarily to maim and kill, ever further away and ever less visibly.

This summer, Apple rejected an iPhone app that similarly sent users notification whenever a drone strike occured, on the basis that the content was "objectionable and crude."

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US has killed up to 3,378 people in 350 drone strikes in the past eight years in Pakistan alone. Other campaigns persist in Yemen and countries in northern Africa.

Bridle hopes that the immediacy and intimacy of these seemingly benign "landscapes" will add to the growing demand for transparency. You can follow Dronestagram on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter.

7th November: a strike at night in a village 40km from Sana’a. Alleged al Qaeda leader Adnam al Qathi and his bodyguards Rablee Lahib and Radwan al Hashidi were killed. A child and two others are also reported injured. Drones had been seen over the area for three days. (at Beyt al-Ahmar, Yemen)OB298 / October 24 2012 / 3-5 reported killed / 1 civilian reported killed / 2-4 reported injured. Three missiles fired destroying a house and a vehicle. Three cows intended to be sacrificed for Eid were also killed. (at Tappi Village, Pakistan)Ob297 – October 11 2012 / 16-26 reported killed / 5-15 reported injured / Possible civilian casualties (at Buland Khil, Pakistan)

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