Basile Simon (blog) Data, hackery, stories

Joining a new project - monitoring airstrikes against IS

I’m very happy to join a new initiative led by investigative journalist Chris Woods, which aims to monitor the strikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria by US and allied air forces.

At the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Chris started several years ago what is known today as the Drones Strikes project. He is currently working on a number of projects, including a book about the CIA’s role in drones strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.

Both of these efforts call for more transparency in Western foreign interventions, in particular when they come to the point where civilians die.

Chris has been maintaining for several weeks a dataset recoding the coalition’s strikes against ISIL, and we both think that there’s probably something to be done with the dataset. We will particularly be looking at graphics and interactives to accompany some articles. Governments also have a habit of ‘disappearing’ datasets – so it’s important to scrutinise their actions from the start. Already the data shows the dominance of US actions; the steeply escalating nature of the airwar; and as many as 50 civilians killed in US and allied strikes.

If you want to get involved in the monitoring, get in touch with Chris or with me. Help regarding France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada or Australia (and also Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or UAE) is wanted, where you can assist in regularly checking on your Ministry of Defence/ government re. ongoing operations.