Satellite Sentinel News Roundup 10/14

On Thursday, October 13, SSP released a new report documenting atrocities reportedly committed by the Government of Sudan in South Kordofan, “In Close Proximity: Alleged Abduction, Detention and Extra-Judicial Killings by Abu Tira,” capturing the attention of major media around the world.

Voice of America interviewed Nathaniel Raymond of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and also featured SSP’s report in its breaking news report, “US Group Claims New Evidence of Violence in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan.” (source)

Satellite Sentinel Project aerial photographs suggest that the CRP significantly built up a facility near the U.N. mission between June and August of 2011, the time period when government forces were said to be attacking internally displaced persons seeking refuge there.

TIME magazine published “10 Questions with George Clooney,”  including reference to his work with SSP. (source)

What are you doing with the Satellite Sentinel Project?
We have a camera 400 miles [640 km] above Sudan, taking pictures. I want [Sudan's President] Omar al-Bashir to enjoy the exact same amount of celebrity that I do. And we've found mass graves when they were trying to quickly bury them. We have photographs of tanks and helicopters and planes where there was supposed to be just tribal fighting. We're able to give these to the U.N.

On Friday, October 14, Enough Project Communications Director Jonathan Hutson was interviewed for the lead story on BBC’s “The World Today” along with a representative from the Sudanese embassy in London. (source)

Hutson: “What we have is eyewitness evidence, first-hand accounts of people who actually saw abductions and murders, along with the UN’s own partial reporting on the incidents, some of which has been somewhat whitewashed on the record. But the UN has been fairly clear that there are multiple credible witnesses who saw abductions and mistreatment and mass killings."

Dr. Khaled Mubarak, Media Counselor from the Sudanese Embassy: “I can see it, but you cannot persuade me that this is evidence!” When asked about the existence of police units in South Kordofan, he said, “I do not know, I am in London here.”

On Monday, October 10, Sudan expert Eric Reeves posted a thoughtful piece, “What really animates the Obama Administration’s Sudan Policy,” that cited SSP’s imagery and reports multiple times. (source)

Revealingly, the Obama administration in the person of special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman has expressed an untenable, finally contrived skepticism about evidence of mass gravesites in South Kordofan, gravesites confirmed by eyewitness accounts to UN human rights investigators and by satellite photography from the Satellite Sentinel Project.

Why was the administration so completely incompetent in responding to the crisis in Abyei that had clearly been building for months? Why was it so accommodating of Khartoum’s conspicuously prepared military invasion, detailed in numerous reports from the Satellite Sentinel Project (April 8, March 22, March 10, March 8, March 4, February 15, January 16, and January 13)? Why was there so little in the way of condemnation of the looting and wholesale destruction in the immediate wake of Khartoum’s May 20 seizure of Abyei? (Again, there are authoritative reports from the Satellite Sentinel Project, including ground and aerial photographs, of the looting and destruction). Why was there no response of consequence to a leaked internal UN report finding evidence of ethnic cleansing?

On Thursday, October 13, AllAfrica.com published an article highlighting SSP's report. (source)

Satellite imagery, provided by DigitalGlobe and analyzed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, shows clear evidence of the buildup of fortifications and significant reinforcement of apparent CRP personnel and vehicles between June 2 and August 19, just 100 meters from the U.N. compound in Kadugli, South Kordofan.