George Clooney

Satellite Sentinel Project Confirms Razing of Village in Sudan as George Clooney Helps Relaunch High-Tech Documentation of Mass Atrocities

Date: 
Jul 20, 2012

Satellite Sentinel Project Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org, +1-202-386-1618

WASHINGTON -- The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, has released new satellite imagery confirming the intentional burning of Um Bartumbu village in Sudan’s conflict-torn border region of South Kordofan. SSP’s latest report, which also includes new eyewitness reports and photos embedded with GPS codes, solves the mystery of an undated cell phone video, which appeared to show a unit of Sudanese forces called the Match Battalion razing an unnamed village.

At least 80 buildings in the Nuba Mountains village of Um Bartumbu, which appear to be consistent with civilian residential structures and comprise approximately 90 percent of the village infrastructure, were intentionally destroyed by fire, sometime between November 12 and November 28, 2011, according to Satellite Sentinel Project analysis of near infrared imagery used to detect evidence of fire.

George Clooney, who co-founded the SSP with Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, stated:
“Burning civilians out of their homes is a crime against humanity, caught on camera by the Satellite Sentinel Project in the sky and by citizen journalists on the ground. We’ve got irrefutable visual proof of a mass atrocity that happened last year in a village that’s not even on most maps. This partnership between DigitalGlobe and the Enough Project represents a game-changing leap forward in how to document evidence of crimes against humanity.”

Imagery was captured in November 2011 by Landsat 7 -- a satellite operated by the United States Geological Survey in a joint initiative with NASA -- and confirmed by analysis of additional imagery taken in January 2012 by DigitalGlobe. SSP’s findings corroborate new eyewitness reports, obtained June 16, that a joint unit of forces comprised of Sudan Armed Forces and Popular Defense Force, or PDF, militia members razed the village in late 2011.

In addition, SSP has obtained new videos and photographs taken by Eyes and Ears Nuba, a team of citizen journalists based in rebel-held territory in the Nuba Mountains. The team traveled to Um Bartumbu with GPS-equipped cameras on June 16, to document evidence of the razing of this village, which sits in a no-man’s-land between opposing forces in Sudan’s ongoing conflict. An Um Bartumbu elder reported that the now-abandoned village had contained 50 homesteads of Muslims and Christians, numbering approximately 250 adults, plus an unspecified number of children.

An undated cell phone video obtained by SSP from Eyes and Ears Nuba, and available on NubaReports.org, shows Sudanese forces who call themselves “Katiba Kabreet,” Sudanese Arabic for “Match Battalion,” setting fire to a village. In the video, Sudanese men fire guns and carry torches as residential compounds burn. Most wear matching uniforms and boots, and are dressed in a manner consistent with Sudan Armed Forces. Some wear mismatched uniforms and tennis shoes, and are dressed in a manner consistent with PDF militia forces.

“Matches, where are the matches? Burn this house,” one soldier commands in Sudanese Arabic. A group of soldiers stands in front of a grinding mill, and discusses whether to loot the food inside before setting fire to the mill. Humanitarian sources interviewed by the Enough Project confirmed that Um Bartumbu hosted a grinding mill, as well as a clinic, a mosque, storage facilities, and a Sudanese Church of Christ.

Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast stated:
“The continuing bombing and starving of the residents of South Kordofan and Blue Nile state must be addressed more forcefully by the United Nations Security Council. It is not enough to press for a deal between Sudan and South Sudan. There also must be a process dealing with the conflict in Sudan that addresses the political grievances of the people of these regions as well as Darfur and the East. Absent that comprehensive approach, there will be no sustainable peace between the Sudans, and the people of Blue Nile and South Kordofan will continue to be hammered.”

The multi-media report marks SSP’s first published research on evidence of war crimes since the conclusion of the project’s successful 18-month pilot phase in June. On July 18, SSP published an evaluation of its formation, goals and accomplishments to date. A team of professional geospatial analysts based at the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center in Longmont, Colorado, has replaced the team at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, which led SSP’s imagery analysis efforts since the launch of its pilot phase on December 29, 2010.

Download or view the DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, together with new photos obtained by SSP from Eyes and Ears Nuba: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157630562277682/

Download or view the latest SSP report, “Match Battalion: Confirmation of the Razing of Um Bartumbu Village, South Kordofan, Sudan”: http://satsentinel.org/report/match-battalion-confirmation-razing-um-bartumbu-village-south-kordofan-sudan-report

Download or view SSP’s previous report on its 18-month pilot phase, “Making the World a Witness: Report on the Pilot Phase”: http://www.satsentinel.org/report/making-world-witness-report-pilot-phase-report

Download or view Eyes and Ears Nuba reports and photographs at http://www.NubaReports.org

Download or view undated cell phone video filmed by the Match Battalion and obtained by SSP from Eyes and Ears Nuba: http://www.youtube.com/user/SatelliteSentinel

About the Satellite Sentinel Project

The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Enough Project provides field research, policy context, and communications strategy. DigitalGlobe provides imagery from its constellation of satellites and geospatial analysis from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. SSP is funded primarily by Not On Our Watch.

 

The Crisis in the Sudans: The Urgency of U.S.-China Cooperation

This op-ed co-authored with actor George Clooney originally appeared on Time.com.

On the surface, our recent trip to the rebel-held areas of Sudan’s Nuba Mountains hauntingly echoed earlier visits to Darfur and South Sudan. A huge group of people—targeted by their government in Khartoum because of their ethnicity, the rich land they live on, and their resistance to dictatorship—are being serially bombarded, raped, abducted, and starved in this case for the second time in the last two decades. The culprit remains the same as well: the Khartoum regime led by General Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. This human rights catastrophe within Sudan is unfolding alongside a virtual state of war between Sudan and South Sudan, playing itself out in the border oilfields not far from the Nuba Mountains.  Read More »

George Clooney, Members of Congress, Human Rights and Faith Leaders Arrested Protesting at Sudanese Embassy

Date: 
Mar 16, 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Allyson Neville-Morgan, United to End Genocide

anevillemorgan@endgenocide.org, 202-368-9387

Matt Brown, Enough Project

mbrown@enoughproject.org, 202-468-2925

Sudanese President's Food & Aid Blockade Threatens 500,000 Lives

Washington, D.C. – George Clooney, President of United to End Genocide and former Congressman Tom Andrews, Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA), Al Green (D-TX), Jim Moran (D-VA) and John Olver (D-MA), Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast, and other human rights and faith leaders were arrested today for civil disobedience outside of the Sudanese Embassy while protesting the escalating humanitarian emergency in Sudan that threatens the lives of 500,000 people.

These leaders demanded that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir immediately end the blockade that is preventing food and humanitarian aid from reaching the people of Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions. Bashir’s forces created the dire food shortage in the region—predicted by USAID to reach near-famine levels this month—by bombing fields and preventing villagers from planting crops in July and August last year.

After speaking on the steps of the embassy to hundreds of activists, members of Congress and activist leaders were asked by police to leave the scene. When the protest continued, officers arrested those who would not comply. Additional participants arrested in the civil disobedience included Nick Clooney, Jewish Council for Public Affairs President Rabbi Steve Gutow, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism Director Rabbi David Saperstein, Jewish World Watch Executive Director Fred Kramer, and American Jewish World Service Associate Director of Policy Ian Schwab.

Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, a Nuban leader from South Kordofan, Sudan addressed the crowd at the embassy, along with Darfuri activist and United to End Genocide Director of Global Partnerships Niemat Ahmadi, and Sudanese activist for Darfur and Enough Project Senior Advisor Omer Ismail. Dr. Richard Land, President of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and TransAfrica Forum President Nicole Lee also spoke.

“We are protesting to make sure the Sudanese government knows that the world is watching,” states Congressman Jim McGovern. “The United States Congress is watching. And we will be back again and again until they stop using food as a weapon; stop slaughtering innocent men, women and children; and stop spitting in the face of the world community.”

John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, says: “George Clooney and I just returned from the Nuba Mountains, where the Sudan government regularly bombs civilians and blocks humanitarian aid to the war-torn regions along the border with South Sudan. It is urgent that the Khartoum government allow aid access. More broadly, the window is now open for a comprehensive political settlement on all the issues that divide Sudan and South Sudan, and the U.S. is playing an important role in supporting that effort.”

“It is unacceptable and inexcusable that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir—an internationally criminal  wanted for war crimes and genocide—is getting away with bombing, starving and displacing hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State,” says United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews. “We need to hear the outrage from President Obama and see robust international leadership. The United States should immediately do everything in its power to get food to the region before people starve and increase sanctions on Bashir and his forces.”

“We should not allow the tragedy of Darfur to be repeated. Hundreds of thousands of people died before the international community and United States took action. The question for the people in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile is will the U.S. government act now, or will the response be too little, too late,” states United to End Genocide Director of Global Partnerships Niemat Ahmadi who is originally from Darfur, Sudan.

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The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network are now United to End Genocide. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities.  United to End Genocide is building the largest activist organization in America dedicated to ending genocide and mass atrocities worldwide, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors collectively representing more than $3 trillion in assets under management.

This Week in Washington: Clooney Shines a Spotlight on War Crimes in Sudan

George Clooney is using his star power to shine a spotlight on the war crimes and humanitarian crisis taking place in Sudan. He is making his rounds this week in Washington, D.C., fresh from a trip to Sudan and South Sudan with Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast.  Read More »

George Clooney Witnesses War Crimes in Sudan's Nuba Mountains – New Enough Project Video

Date: 
Mar 14, 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org, +1-202-386-1618

WASHINGTON – George Clooney witnessed indiscriminate bombing of civilians in the conflict-torn state of South Kordofan, Sudan during a trip last week with Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast. A four-minute Enough Project video released today, written and directed by Clooney, documents an aerial attack in the Nuba Mountains and spotlights the urgency for action to stop the targeting of civilians in Sudan.

“This isn’t a war of retaliation, this is simply trying to clear people out ethnically because of the color of their skin,” said Clooney in the video.

South Kordofan, which is home to Sudan’s ethnic minority Nuba people, has been an ongoing target of aerial bombardment by the Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF. According to UN estimates, most of the 200,000 Nuba people who remain in South Kordofan are hiding in caves to avoid attacks, cut off from humanitarian aid.

“This is a civilian protection crisis,” said Prendergast in the video. “We talk all the time about the responsibility to protect human life—right here is a ground zero for that responsibility.”

In the video, Clooney takes cover alongside Nuba people as apparent SAF Antonov bombers fly overhead. He speaks to witnesses and victims of recent bombings, and includes footage of a young boy who lost both of his hands while hiding in a cave during an attack.

At the conclusion of the video, the Enough Project urges viewers to take action (Text Sudan to 30644) and send their Member of Congress a message to support the recently-introduced Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012.

View the video: “George Clooney Witnesses War Crimes in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

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Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.

How Celebrities are Making a Difference for Human Rights: The Enough Project Launches Celebrity Upstanders Database

Date: 
Jul 28, 2011

For Immediate Release

Editors, please note that for further information about the work of these celebrities, contact:

Jonathan Hutson, 202-386-1618

jhutson@enoughproject.org

Link: Celebrity Upstanders http://enoughproject.org/about/celebrity-upstanders

 

WASHINGTON Celebrities are becoming a significant contributing factor to human rights advocacy in Africa.

"Celebrities who use their fame to highlight the plight of some of the world's most vulnerable people are making a real difference. They have educated countless people and shined a light on issues that would otherwise remain shrouded in darkness. By recruiting thousands of people to relatively unknown causes, they help create a real pressure for change,” said Co-founder of the Enough Project John Prendergast, who works closely with many of the organization’s celebrity partners.

The Enough Project, which works to end genocide and crimes against humanity, has partnered with many celebrities to raise awareness about African human rights campaigns that include ending genocide in Sudan, and stopping the deadly conflict mineral trade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Celebrity partners have advocated for these issues through participating in videos and interviews, traveling with the Enough Project to Africa, writing opinion-editorial pieces, and initiating further efforts to support these growing human rights concerns. For example:

  • George Clooney traveled to Sudan in October 2010 with John Prendergast, and initiated the Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses cutting edge technology to visually document human rights abuses in Sudan;
  • In May 2011, actor Javier Bardem participated in a Mother’s Day video with John Prendergast, to educate the public about the conflict minerals trade in the Congo, which was also translated into Spanish;
  • More recently, Chicago Bulls star and South Sudan native Luol Deng traveled with the Enough Project to South Sudan for the country’s independence. While there he hosted a youth basketball clinic and shot a video about South Sudan featured on the front page of Yahoo!;
  • And in August 2010, Ashley Judd traveled with the Enough Project to the DR Congo to learn more about the connection between the conflict minerals trade and violence in the region. Upon return, she appeared in two powerful CNN pieces that covered these topics, and raised awareness about the Congo’s deadly mineral trade.

To highlight these and other celebrities who have partnered to date with the Enough Project on various campaigns and initiatives, the Enough Project has launched an online Celebrity Upstanders database. This new web resource includes 44 celebrity profiles that feature video clips, press interviews, and opinion pieces, highlighting each individual celebrity’s involvement with the Enough Project, and its conflict areas in the Sudan, DR Congo, and LRA-affected communities.

The term “Upstander” originated from Samantha Power's book A Problem from Hell. It was also referred to in the book The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes, written by actor/activist Don Cheadle and John Prendergast: "Throughout our lives, we will constantly have choices and opportunities to either become Upstanders or bystanders. If ENOUGH of us choose to be Upstanders, we can help change the course of history.”

Therefore, the many celebrities who have partnered with the Enough Project have become Celebrity Upstanders by raising awareness and making a difference on some of the most difficult human rights issues in the world today.

Links to Videos:

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Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.

Satellite Sentinel Project Confirms Intentional Burning of Third Village in Abyei Region

Date: 
Mar 7, 2011
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org, +1-202-386-1618
 

WASHINGTON -- The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has released new satellite imagery confirming the intentional burning of a third village, Tajalei, in Sudan’s Abyei region, in addition to the deliberate destruction since March 2 of the villages of Maker Abior and Todach. 

At least 300 buildings at Tajalei were intentionally destroyed by fire, according to Satellite Sentinel Project analysis of the DigitalGlobe satellite image, taken March 6 and analyzed by UNITAR/UNOSAT and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, with additional analysis by DigitalGlobe. Roughly two-thirds of those buildings appear to be consistent with civilian residential structures, known as tukuls.

George Clooney, who conceived of the Satellite Sentinel Project during a trip to Southern Sudan with Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, stated:


"The Satellite Sentinel Project is the first to confirm the widespread and systematic targeting of civilian infrastructure across the Abyei region. This is the kind of undeniable evidence we feared we'd see if we put a camera where we weren't welcome. Village burning has caused tens of thousands to be displaced, unknown numbers of civilian casualties, and the deliberate destruction of at least three communities. If this violence is left unchecked, it could put the entire North-South peace process at risk.”

Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast stated:


“Satellite imagery combined with on-the-ground analysis is pointing to a deliberate attempt to subvert peace efforts by elements associated with the Khartoum government. By trying to displace Dinka residents from parts of Abyei, the case is strengthened to further divide the Abyei region between North and South. If mediators and concerned governments acquiesce to this strategy, it would legitimize local population clearing efforts and would be a recipe for a wider war.”

On Friday, SSP released a report, “Flashpoint: Abyei,” documenting a significant increase in military activity by apparent Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in South Kordofan state, as well as apparent Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) buildup south of Abyei. The continuing militarization of this tense region, including evidence of battle tanks and other heavy equipment, has contributed to an already volatile situation.

The SSP images, taken by DigitalGlobe, confirm widely reported attacks on multiple villages in the Abyei region since Sunday, February 27. Sources on the ground report the fighting may have begun between armed Misseriya and southern police, but that elements of the Popular Defense Force militias, historically supported by the Sudanese Armed Forces, participated in the attacks. Maker Abior was previously the scene of fighting just prior to the South Sudan referendum in early January. The fighting, as well as rumors of movement toward Abyei Town, has reportedly triggered the flight of tens of thousands of civilians southward toward Agok.

SSP has also documented clear increases in military capacity by SAF and SPLA in areas around Abyei, including heavy equipment transport and tanks at a known SAF outpost in Kharassana, a new suspected SAF position near Heglig, and a rapid build-out of suspected SPLA encampment in Unity State during the past month.

"The pattern in which these buildings were apparently burned is consistent with the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure,” said Charlie Clements, MD, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School and Director of Human Rights Documentation for SSP. "The systematic destruction of villages, primarily through the burning of civilian infrastructure, including residences, is a violation of the laws of war and represents a gross violation of human rights."
 

View or download the DigitalGlobe satellite image taken March 6 for the Satellite Sentinel Project. URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/5504137285/sizes/l/in/set-72157626212287166

View the latest DigitalGlobe satellite images from Satellite Sentinel Project. URL: http://satsentinel.org/gallery/flashpoint-abyei

 

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About the Satellite Sentinel Project
The Satellite Sentinel Project, http://satsentinel.org
combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker to deter the resumption of full-scale war between North and South Sudan. Not On Our Watch provided seed money to launch the Satellite Sentinel Project. The Enough Project contributes field reports and policy analysis, and, together with Not On Our Watch and our Sudan Now partners, pressures policymakers by urging the public to act. UNOSAT analyzes satellite images and collaborates with Google and Trellon to design the web platform. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative provides research and leads the collection, human rights analysis, and corroboration of on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the imagery. DigitalGlobe provides satellite imagery and additional analysis.

'Good News for the New Year' - Round-up of Satellite Sentinel Project Coverage

The launch of the Satellite Sentinel Project captured the attention of national and international news media last week, and has been prominently featured in dozens of countries.  Read More »

Africa: Getting the Continent on the Obama Agenda - allAfrica.com

Date: 
Feb 26, 2009
Author: 
Reed Kramer

George Clooney's meeting to discuss Darfur with Vice President Joe Biden and with President Barack Obama Monday night at the White House provided one of the first glimmers of Africa involvement from the top echelon of the new administration.

According to Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander, Clooney was told that Sudan policy is under "ongoing review." The Academy Award-winning actor, who skipped the Oscar's ceremony Sunday night to fly to Washington, said he welcomed what he heard "because there was some concern this could fall off the radar."
 
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