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‘Not A Bug Splat’: Project Launched To Remind Drone Operators Of Civilian Casualties

April 7, 2014 by  

Late last year, former U.S. Air Force imagery analyst Heather Linebaugh told The Guardian that civilian casualty rates from drone strikes are high because the pilots are often unable to get a clear picture of the targets they kill. Linebaugh’s revelation provides context for why drone operators routinely refer to people killed in their operations as “bug splat[s]”. An artist collective in Pakistan is working to change that.



A collaboration of artists working with the Foundation for Fundamental Rights have installed a massive portrait of a nameless child in the heavily-bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan. According to the artists, the portrait of the young girl— who was reportedly killed in a strike alongside her parents and two young siblings— is visible on the grainy screen of drone operators.


“The group of artists traveled inside KPK province and, with the assistance of highly enthusiastic locals, unrolled the poster amongst mud huts and farms,” says a post on a website dedicated to the project. “It is their hope that this will create empathy and introspection amongst drone operators, and will create dialogue amongst policy makers, eventually leading to decisions that will save innocent lives.”


The artists launched the initiative along with the Twitter handle #NotABugSplat.

More Personal Liberty Digest™ coverage of the U.S.’s drone program:

Slippery Slope: U.S. Government Aiming Missiles At Cellphones Overseas

If U.S. Drone Strikes In Pakistan And Yemen Are Legal Under International Law As Obama Claims, Does That Mean Other Nations Recognizing Terror Threats In U.S. Territory Can Legally Order A Drone Strike Here?

Rights Groups: Civilian Casualties In Drone Strikes Soar, Administration Officials Guilty Of War Crimes

On Heels Of Foreign Policy Change Speech, Obama Drone Strikes In Sovereign Nations Continue

Former Air Force Analyst: Drone Pilots Can’t Tell The Difference Between A Shovel And A Weapon

U.S. Drone Mistakenly Strikes Wedding Convoy In Yemen, Kills 14

CIA Must Release Some Drone Info, But Don’t Expect Much

How To Dodge A Drone Strike

Peace Prize President Prepares For All-Out Drone Assaults

America’s Mighty Drones

The CIA Wants More Drones

U.N. Investigator: Obama’s Drones Violate Human Rights

Drones: Big Brother’s Eye In The Sky

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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