Friday, October 26, 2007

Israel's airstrike on Syria: imagery clues emerge

While we are on the subject of rumors, In our new media enhanced universe it's really just a question of time until everything is revealed. Even some things USIsrael government rather leave hidden. Thus, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) website now serves the original DigitalGlobe imagery pdf report of the location where Israel airstriked Syria September 6 this year.

The photos, taken on Aug 10, show the location reported on the Washington Post this Wednesday, informing us that "The facility is located seven miles north of the desert village of At Tibnah, in the Dayr az Zawr region, and about 90 miles from the Iraqi border". Based on size and proportions of the structures it is suggested that "Syria might have been building a gas-graphite reactor of about 20 to 25 megawatts of heat, similar to the reactor North Korea built at Yongbyon."

Stefan Geens of Ogle Earth, my favorite virtual globe blog with a special focus on Google Earth, published this amazing photo article discussing the recent news and saving us the trouble of searching ourselves. If you have Google Earth installed just click here to save the kml file and run it. "There on the eastern bank" says Geens, "is an unmistakable candidate nuclear reactor building, 45m x 45m in size, apparently still under construction". It also turns out that all of the sudden, since the last time Geens checked (a few weeks ago), the entire Syrian part of the globe has been upgraded with much higher-resolution image coverage in Google Earth. Ha!

A few open questions: Is Bashar al-Assad becoming a celebrity? Are we expecting a better resolution GE images of Israel soon? If so, is this going to be for similar reasons? Just check the bottom left of the last picture above. This is where we live.

Edit 18:30 GMT+2: reports Google updated their Syria satellite imagery five times sharper from 25 meter/pixel up to 5 meters/pixel and that the upgrade was done two days go. Also according to this blog "It is possible to see all Syria military airports and even count how many warplanes on the ground" and "recognize anti-warplanes batteries, its positions and its types". Yet, roadstoiraq also insists on bringing up the bitter truth, reminding us about similar visuals we all saw a few years ago "exposing" Iraq’s WMD’s and the ones of inside Tora Bora...

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