Jun 21, 2013
Excerpts of Josh Begley’s graduate thesis presentation at New York University on the history of all drone strikes performed by the US in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Begley says, “Dronstream was my attempt to take a largely-hidden data set, clean it up a little bit and make it machine-readable and to try to make it a little more visible.”
Here it is:
Begley has created database and website with a real-time and historical data about every reported US drone strike. These are ongoing and the database is constantly growing
A short animation of this data has been made, showing the dramatic rise in drone attacks after Obama was sworn into office.
He says, “…for Americans, like me, what had previously been blank spots on the map, all of a sudden, have complex stories; they have voices of their own. From 30,000 feet up, it might just look like cars and buildings – but there are people in them; people living under the drones we fly….a sixteen year-old US Citizen, born in Denver, Colorado, who was goofy and loved Hip Hop music and was barbecuing with his cousins, one night when “A piece of the sun fell out of the sky.”
He discusses the difficulty in obtaining the names and ages of those killed, as most of these attacks were executed by the CIA and are not officially acknowledged.
He asks, “What can we learn, as technologists from the data, if we don’t really have access to it?”
He says, “…there are people now, who can speak back to the drone and be heard.”
Full version of dissertation here: http://vimeo.com/67691389