We live in an age of war waged from afar. Drones hover tens of thousands of feet above their prey; their pilots can be almost ten thousand miles away. This "distancing" worries writer and artist James Bridle. While technologies like GPS and satellite imagery have the capacity to bring us closer together, they are, at the same time, being used "to maim and kill, ever further away and ever less visibly."
For the past few months, Bridle has maintained an Instagram account, on which he posts satellite images of locations of known drone strikes shortly after they occur, along with a brief summary of what we know about the strikes themselves.
"They are the names of places most of us will never see. We do not know these landscapes and we cannot visit them," Bridle writes. The Instagram account, he says, is an effort to make these locations "just a little bit more visible, a little closer. A little more real."
Nov. 7, 2012: Beyt al-Ahmar, Yemen.
This strike took place at night in a village about 25 miles from Sanaa, Yemen's capital. Alleged al Qaeda leader Adnan al Qadhi was killed, along with one or two others; two to three people were reported injured, including a child.
Dec. 9, 2012: Tabbi, North Waziristan, Pakistan.
Three to four people were reported killed by a drone strike in a village north of Miran Shah, near the Afghan border. Reuters reported that one of the casualties was Mohammed Ahmed Almansoor, a senior al Qaeda commander. "Tribal sources" told the Pakistani Express Tribune that the three others killed were members of his family.
Dec. 24, 2012: Radaa, Southern Yemen.
At least two people were killed and three injured in this strike. One of the deaths is believed to be Abdel-Raouf Naseeb, who may have escaped the first recorded drone strike in Yemen, on Nov 3, 2002.
Jan. 3, 2013: Mubarak Shahi, North Waziristan, Pakistan.
Three to six (though CNN reports as many as 15) people were reported killed by a drone strike on a car near Mir Ali, North Waziristan. CNN reports the drone fired first on the vehicle, then launched two more missiles as rescuers went in to help the passengers, injuring several more.
Jan. 4, 2013: Almsanh Bakifa, Yemen
At least three people believed to be al Qaeda militants were killed in a drone strike in the mountains near Radaa.
Jan. 6, 2013: Babar Ghar, South Waziristan, Pakistan.
At 2:30 a.m., a barrage of missiles from up to five unmanned drones killed between eight and 18 people in the Babar Ghar area of South Waziristan. The target is believed to have been a Taliban training camp.
Jan. 8, 2013: Haidar Khel, Pakistan.
Four to nine people were reported killed in twin strikes on the villages of Khasso Khel and Haidar Khel in North Waziristan. Both strikes destroyed buildings. The attack is believed to have killed an al Qaeda operative -- either from Somali, the United Arab Emirates or Kuwait. The attack came a day after Gen. Stanley McChrystal (ret.) cautioned against the overuse of drones in an interview with Reuters: “What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world. The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes … is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who've never seen one or seen the effects of one."
Jan. 23, 2013: Qayfa, al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a strike on two motorcycles hit its intended target, killing five people; however, reports from Xinhua say the strike missed the two bikes, and mistakenly hit the house of Abdu Mohammed al-Jarrah, killing nine people including al-Jarrah’s two children.
Feb. 8, 2012: Babar Ghar, South Waziristan, Pakistan.
At least six and possibly up to nine people were killed and at least two more injured in a strike on two separate mud-built houses on the North-South Waziristan border. “Six drones were hovering in the sky at the time of the attack,” a local official told AFP. “Fear prevailed in the area," as a result of the drones flying nearby, delaying rescue operations.
March 21, 2013: Datta Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan.
April 17, 2013: Wessab, Western Damar province, Yemen.
Four to five people were killed in a strike on a vehicle apparently targeting local figure Hamid al-Radmi, believed to be an organizer for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Yemeni activist and journalist Farea al Muslimi noted that al-Radmi was a former high-level government official who could have easily been arrested and brought to trial by the Yemeni government.
April 17, 2013: South Waziristan, Pakistan.
Four to six people were killed and two to three injured when a house was destroyed in a pre-dawn strike near Wana, in either Babar Ghar or Sararogha, depending on reports. Rescuers dug dead and injured out of the wreckage, but rescue work was delayed by the fear of further strikes, and more bodies may have been trapped in the rubble.
May 18, 2013: Jaar, Yemen.
At least four and up to nine people were killed and possibly more wounded in a dawn strike on a road north of Jaar in Abyan Governorate.