Monitoring Conflict with the Satellite Sentinel Project

de Südsudan en Southern Sudan ru Южный Судан

Image via Wikipedia

South Sudan satellite monitoring in near real-time:

About the Satellite Sentinel Project — initiated by George Clooney — combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker technology to deter the resumption of war between North and South Sudan. The project provides an early warning system to deter mass atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns.

This project is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between Not On Our Watch, Google, the Enough Project, the United Nations UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Trellon, LLC.

The project works like this: Commercial satellites passing over the border of northern and southern Sudan are able to capture possible threats to civilians, observe the movement of displaced people, detect bombed and razed villages, or note other evidence of pending mass violence.

UNOSAT leads the collection and analysis of the images and collaborates with Google and Trellon to design the web platform for the public to easily access the images and reports. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative provides system-wide research and leads the collection, human rights analysis, and corroboration of on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the satellite imagery. The Enough Project contributes field reports, provides policy analysis, and, together with Not On Our Watch, puts pressure on policymakers by urging the public to act.

The Satellite Sentinel Project marks the first sustained, public effort to systematically monitor and report on potential hotspots and threats to security along a border, in near real-time (within 24-36 hours), with the aim of heading off humanitarian disaster and human rights crimes before they occur.

The Satellite Sentinel Project Website:

Some things to consider:

  • Protecting Indigenous People’s Privacy from Eyes in the Sky by Wayne Madsen (1994) “… The United States, as one of the two most advanced remote sensing nations in the world, bears a special responsibility to prevent remote sensing data from being used for purposes of exploitation and violations of human rights. The other major remote sensing nation is France. It, too, has demonstrated a willingness to permit the abuse of remote sensing data as it affects indigenous peoples. In 1994, France announced that it had captured the international terrorist “Carlos the Jackal” in Khartoum, Sudan. This feat ironically involved the trading of French imagery intelligence to the Sudanese, a trade which ultimately resulted in more Sudanese “state terrorism” against the black African minority in the south of the country. The southern Sudanese believed that the north wanted to drain their swamps by building the Jonglei Canal which would increase the flow of water through the White Nile. One southern Sudanese, Dr. John Garang, wrote his doctoral thesis on the negative environmental impact of the Jonglei Canal. In 1985 the southern Sudanese revolted against the north and demanded independence (Moszynski, July 1, 1994, 25). The Sudanese wanted an end to the revolt. They agreed to hand over Carlos to the French in return for high-grade French SPOT imagery photographs of the positions of southern Sudan guerilla forces. Using the satellite imagery provided by the French and analyzed by Iraqi imagery analysts, the Sudanese launched a massive ground and air offensive against the southerners including a faction led by Dr. John Garang, native environmentalist turned leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). British MP Tony Worthington was one of a few Western politicians who expressed his outrage, saying “Obviously we can understand that the French were keen to capture Carlos, but does it have to be at the expense of the Sudanese people who have been brutally murdered by the appalling regime in Khartoum whom the French have assisted by providing military intelligence to help the slaughter?” (Moszynski, Oct. 1994, 32). …”


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  1. The right to google at violence « Leslie's Theology - December 31, 2010

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