George Clooney's High-Tech Plan to Avert Civil War in Sudan

On Jan. 9, southern Sudan will vote to determine whether or not it will secede from the north. If the northern-based government of President Omar al-Bashir doesn't recognize the South's independence, the country could descend into civil war. But if George Clooney's new satellite technology project works, the country could avoid a massive human rights crisis. Clooney's brainchild, the Satellite Sentinel Project, combines satellite photographs, field reports and Google technology. The project's goal is to reveal any preparations for war, like large troop movements or weapons shipments. Clooney's hope is that making any such satellite images public will put pressure on the United States and other powerful governments to act if the situation deteriorates.

"We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we're watching, the world is watching," said Clooney. "War criminals thrive in the dark. It's a lot harder to commit mass atrocities in the glare of the media spotlight."

Clooney has emerged as one of the most credible voices on Sudan, after visiting the troubled country several times and speaking out on the need for peace there.
The actor came up with the idea of satellite surveillance when he visited the tense border area in October. Then he pulled together the unprecedented collaboration and finance needed to make it a reality.

... The Sudan project works like this: Commercial satellites passing over the border between North and South Sudan will transmit detailed images of activities in the area. The satellite photographs will show possible threats to civilians, such as the massing of soldiers and the deliveries of weapons. The satellite photographs will also record any attacks on refugees and displaced people and will provide evidence of any violence such as bombed and razed villages.

Read the full story at Global Post.

Presented by

Elizabeth Weingarten is an editorial assistant at the New America Foundation. A former Slate editorial assistant, she also previously wrote for and produced the Atlantic's International Channel.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Global

Just In