"NATO: These new satellite images show Russian troops in and around Ukraine"
I like the clickbait-style "These new satellite images," although "These 6 new satellite images" would be more effective. WaPo:
The photos were taken by a company called DigitalGlobe. Based in Longmont, Colo., they take high-resolution satellite photos across the world.
This is bizarre. We're setting up a casus belli with Russia on digital evidence from a private company? Doesn't the government have any satellites? What do they show?
Dunno much about DigitalGlobe, whose site just crashed, presumably because of this story; they do a lot of the satellite imagery for Google. They're also in Longmont, CO, a hotbed of resistance to fracking, oddly enough, although they're going to move. They have five satellites, so presumably at least one is over Ukraine. From their media page:
Longmont, Colorado-based DigitalGlobe (http://www.digitalglobe.com) is a leading global provider of commercial high-resolution earth imagery products and services. Sourced from our own advanced satellite constellation, our imagery solutions support a wide variety of uses within defense, intelligence, and homeland security applications, mapping and analysis, environmental monitoring, oil and gas exploration, infrastructure management, internet portals and navigation technology. With our collection sources and comprehensive ImageLibrary (containing more than 1 billion square kilometers of earth imagery and imagery products) we offer a range of on- and off-line products and services designed to enable customers to easily access and integrate our imagery into their business operations and applications.
So they're spooks, of course, and they have clout in the spook world:
The U.S. intelligence community has thrown its support behind a bid by commercial space imagery provider DigitalGlobe Inc to sell higher resolution images from its satellites, the leading U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday.
DigitalGlobe has pressed the government for years to allow it to sell such imagery but U.S. government agencies worried that giving public access to them could undermine the intelligence advantage they have from even higher resolution satellite images. ...
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an industry conference that U.S. intelligence agencies had agreed to allow commercial providers to sell higher resolution imagery but that the decision still needed approval by other agencies.
Clapper said the recommendation "certainly bodes well for the industry." ....
Clapper did not specify what exact resolution the intelligence agencies had approved, but two sources familiar with the process said they expected him to approve a phased implementation over the course of this year.
The Colorado-based company is preparing to launch its new WorldView 3 satellite in August, which would allow the company to sell imagery accurate to 31 cm, a company spokesman said.
"DigitalGlobe appreciates the intelligence community's support for reforms to the current U.S. regulations," said Walter Scott, founder and chief technical officer of DigitalGlobe.
"We are hopeful that the administration will act promptly on this issue to advance the nation's commanding lead in this strategically important industry," he added.
Jeffrey Harris, a former director of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office and industry expert, said the decision to allow sales of higher resolution commercial imagery would help industry and the U.S. government by increasing transparency.
Allowing commercial providers to sell more accurate imagery at an affordable price would allow the U.S. government to spend its money and energy on higher-end government-owned capabilities, said Harris, who was elected Tuesday as president of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.
The company's GeoEye 1 spacecraft supplies the sharpest images of DigitalGlobe's five satellites, capable of resolutions in black-and-white imagery up to 41 centimeters, or about 16 inches, meaning their Earth-facing telescopes can see objects of that size or larger.
According to DigitalGlobe, whose core business is in providing intelligence-grade imagery to U.S. government authorities, the updated approvals also permit it to sell imagery to all of its customers at up to 25-centimeter (9.8-inch) resolution in black-and-white and 1-meter (3.3-foot) resolution in color beginning six months after the launch of WorldView 3, the firm's next satellite.
So, one can only wonder if using DigitalGlobe's imagery is a reach-around from the administration, especially after the MH370 thing didn't work out so well; after all, when their server dude gets the server back up again, they'll be getting plenty of hits, and presumably some business.
On the other hand, one can only wonder if DigitableGlobe, with this convenient imagery, is giving the administration a reach-around for the "updated approvals." Not that I'm foily.
NOTE Nothing nefarious about a server failing from a sudden spike, especially a Drupal one. (I know that error!) But it certainly is indicative of sudden interest in DigitalGlobe's product line!