Naming the Dead

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently launched its “Naming the Dead” project, which aims to catalog the names of those men, women, and children who have been killed in some 340 CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. The website’s objective is to identify, and in some ways restore humanity, to those individuals that only exist as abstract numbers in government press releases–if at all.

At least 2,537 people are reported to have been killed by drone strikes in the country, with some estimates suggesting up to a quarter may have been civilians, although the TBIJ plans to name both civilians and militants using a mixture of media reports, court documents, academic studies and researchers on the ground.

The objective, said TBIJ deputy editor Rachel Oldroyd, is to take these deaths out of obscurity and make it easier to test statements about the nature and use of drones. US authorities have been reluctant to acknowledge any civilian deaths caused by the drone operations, which have been going on since 2006. The CIA has claimed a high rate of killings of militants, saying that strikes since May 2010 have killed more than 600 militants but no civilians. This claim is contested by experts, journalists and researchers on the ground.

The website can be found here.

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