“Dronestagram”: Mapping covert wars through aerial photos

Thanks to reports compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, blogger David Bridle located this satellite image of the outskirts of Jaar, Yemen, where a drone hit on October 18. Between 7 and 9 people were reportedly killed.  
 
Most people who use the popular photo-sharing site Instagram post pictures of their daily life – their friends, their families, their pets. James Bridle, however, posts photos of remote places that have been hit by drones. Each time a drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia, he posts an aerial shot of the targeted location.
 
“Dronestagram” (tagline: “the drone’s eye-view”) has apparently struck a nerve with many Internet users. In the three weeks since Bridle started his project, more than 4,000 people have followed his account on Instagram, and many more have subscribed to his blog
 
Bridle is succeeding where others have failed. Last summer, Apple repeatedly rejected an iPhone application called Drones+, which simply sent users a pop-up notice whenever an American drone killed someone. The company said Drones+ “contain[ed] content that many audiences would find objectionable”, without explaining its reasoning any further.
 
This photo shows an area several miles outside of Maarib city, in Yemen. On October 21, at least four alleged members of al Qaeda were reportedly killed in a strike here. 
Contributors

“The point is to make these places feel real”

James Bridle is a writer and artist based in London. He blogs both at Dronestagram and at BookTwo.
 
Modern technology like GPS and Kinect [a motion-sensing device used in video games] brings people closer, but this same technology is also used by the military to distance and hide things. One of the best examples of this is drones. They’re powerful, dangerous, and invisible. To me, that’s disturbing, so I wanted to make them a bit more visible.
 
I get my information on drone strikes mainly through the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which collates reports of strikes from a variety of sources – from the local and international media, and in some cases from witnesses on the ground. I’ll look at those reports and try to find the strike locations on Google Maps. Sometimes I can find a photo of the precise village where an attack took place; other times it’s more approximate. But even in those cases, the landscapes I find are going to be pretty close to the actual site, and these are still places most people don’t see very often. The point is to make these places feel real.
 
“Posting the photos on Instagram emphasises that this is something that’s going on now, all the time”
 
A huge amount of information is already out there, since the Bureau of Investigative Journalism publishes all of its reports on its website http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/, and yet the reality of drone strikes still doesn’t seem to get through to most people. Making these places visible seems to help. Instagram is immediate; posting the photos there emphasises that this is something that’s going on now, all the time.
 
I think it’s great that the project is getting so much attention. However, the deeply unpleasant side to this is that I’ve got myself into a position of always waiting for a drone strike to happen, which is not a nice place to be. Personally, I think drones are a horrific piece of technology. They are a violation of not only international law [the UN has suggested they may even constitute war crimes], but also any kind of moral and human standards. There’s very strong, clear evidence that those killed in these attacks are not all linked to terrorism. Drone strikes in Afghanistan are part of a declared war. However in Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan, they’re part of an undeclared war and are purposefully kept under wraps, which I believe sets a deeply worrying precedent in international affairs.
 
The site of a drone strike on November 7, in a village 40 kilometres from Yemen's capital Sanaa. An alleged Al Qaeda leader and two of his bodyguards were reportedly killed. A child and two others were reportedly injured. 
 
On October 28, two men were reportedly killed in a drone strike on a lonely road in eastern Sadaa, a province in the remote north of Yemen.

Comments

Reply to comment | The Observers

Just а brief note to ѕay thanκs for the nеωs updаtе, that ωas eхactly ωhаt I ωas in ѕеаrсh of!

yet the reality of drone strikes still doesn’t seem to get throu

As for me, I think I know what the reality of a drone strike is. I also know about roadside bombs and bombs planted in market places which you conveniently ignore. When you start giving equal time to these Taliban bombs which could care less about civilian casualties, then I will begin to think you are concerned about bombing effects. Because you rant and rave against one type of bombing which happens to be what non-Taliban do, it convinces me you are another politically correct propagandist.
Gerald Erikson.

Try to immagine yourself

Try to immagine yourself under an israelian drone strike above Gaza and at a market place in Tel Aviv.

Hysteria Journalism

Where is the burden of proof? Where is the credibility to any of these claims?
This is "reporting" at its worst, BS spoon fed to the gullible masses.

Also, the UN is one of the biggest purveyors of genocide in modern times. The mandate of the UN should include having to relocate to the poorest nation on earth every 25 years. Can you imagine to UN in the Congo?

Reply to comment | The Observers

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