Satellite Sentinel News Roundup 10/7

On Monday, October 3, IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis mentioned SSP in their post, Sudan-South Sudan: What the analysts are saying post-secession.” (source)

When Sudanese Armed Forces stormed into Abyei in May, the George Clooney-sponsored Satellite Sentinel Project claimed footage showed that one-third of civilian buildings were destroyed by tanks and looting. More than 110,000 people fled south of the border and have been stuck in South Sudan ever since in areas hit by flooding and food insecurity, as the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian affairs (OCHA) requested humanitarian access to Abyei.

In an October 5 interview posted on Entertainment Weekly, George Clooney was quoted about SSP. (source)

On his Satellite Sentinel Project: “Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged for war crimes against humanity, has said that I’m spying on him, and I just said, ‘Look, I’m not a country. I don’t have to play by the same rules. I’m a guy with a camera 400 miles up. I’m a tourist taking pictures. And if you have a problem with that, I don’t care.’ You can’t please all the war criminals all the time.”

On Thursday, October 6, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Caitlin Howarth was profiled in NPR’s “On the Media” blog. (source)

Most of the students who work at the project have some sort of 'core competency' they bring to the project. Howarth's skill is layout and design - she works on preparing the project’s publications. Other students have expertise in crisis mapping or have coding skills.

On Friday, October 7, Elizabeth Blackney covered the Sudan testimony at the hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights for The Huffington Post.  (source)

The Satellite Sentinel Project is an inherently American success story. Essentially, Prendergast along with George Clooney, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Google, DigitalGlobe and others have privatized Statecraft because it became necessary. Inaction at the federal level, at the international level, forced men of good conscience to come together and forge a new path. They have documented many violations of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Mass graves, villages nearly destroyed, troop movements are de rigeur for the indicted war criminals in Khartoum. published a letter by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative to Ambassador Andrew Natsios in response to his criticisms published earlier this week. (source)

We are perplexed by your statements about SSP's reports, particularly in light of the fact that your claims seem unverifiable. You provide no concrete evidence to support these claims and you mention only unnamed sources in the US Government, who do not represent the official US position on evidence of mass graves in South Kordofan. The US State Department has called for an independent investigation of alleged mass graves and other potential war crimes in South Kordofan, and has never confirmed nor denied the existence of mass graves in Kadugli.

In this dire context, unverifiable claims, including unsubstantiated accusations that Harvard researchers have lied about their findings, undermines the international effort to alleviate human suffering on-the-ground and hold alleged perpetrators to account. As both a former diplomat and current scholar, HHI invites you to come to Harvard to review SSP's reports and the evidence on which they are based, and publicly share your findings.

George Clooney was a guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Wednesday, October 5. (Read the post.)

And on Saturday, September 30, Enough Project Communications Director Jonathan Hutson appeared on Al Jazeera English’s “The Stream.”  (Read the post.)