Friday, 13 February 2015

Satellite Photos"? Shhhhh, don't Ask!

I have had a most interesting dismissive reply from a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science team working on satellite photos from the Middle East. I wrote to her because her name was mentioned in a recent newspaper article as having access to the latest satellite photos:
Dear Dr Wolfinbarger
In a recent article, Deborah Amos quotes you as having access to satellite photos of archaeological sites from the Middle East "every few days" for your AAAS project on monument destruction in the area. Can you tell me whether and when satellite imagery of the sites at Nimud, Hatra and Khorsebad in Iraq widely reported in the media as to some degree or another being destroyed will be available? Presumably whatever happened there a week ago will be visible on such photos. Who would have access to this imagery? With all the misinformation floating around, it would be good to see some evidence to replace rumour and counter rumour. Thanks, with best wishes for your important work on helping document destruction of the heritage Paul Barford
Now please note what I asked, I asked whether and when photos would become available, and who would have access. I clearly am not asking for advance copies of those photos, information about their contents of those photos. So I was a bit taken aback to receive the following:
Thank you for expressing interest in the work that we are doing here at AAAS. We are firmly committed to providing information and clarity in this difficult situation where reliable information is sorely needed. However, it is the policy of my organization to not give advance information to members of the media (or anyone) prior to the official release of analysis reports. As a scientific organization, we firmly believe in providing everyone with equal access and opportunity to report on the results of our work. 
Well, as anyone can see, I was not asking for the results (let alone "advance information") of their analyses. I was asking when we would be seeing for ourselves the data on which they are based. Her reticence to even refer to that is to say the least - surprising.

UPDATE 13th June 2015
Indeed, somewhat suspicious in fact as more and more questions are raised about the propaganda uses to which such data are being put by the US. 

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