AllSource joins effort to monitor North Korea’s political prisons

LONGMONT — AllSource Analysis in Longmont will use its satellite imaging resources and analytical skills to monitor and report on North Korea’s political prison system in a new project that is intended to shed light on and save lives of people in the prisons.

AllSource is partnering with Washington D.C.-based nonprofit The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, or HRNK, on the project. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of HRNK, said the collaboration will collect data needed to expose “human rights disasters” in the prisons.

“Up to 120,000 citizens are being held without due process in horrific, inhumane conditions for political reasons, and an estimated half-million people have died in these camps,” Scarlatoiu said in a prepared statement. “The collaboration with ASA will allow us to monitor, review and report on North Korea’s vast system of unlawful imprisonment. Our collaboration will employ technology used for the first time to address such an enormous human tragedy.”

AllSource’s chief analytics officer Joe Bermudez said most satellite imaging analysis of North Korea has focused on weapons and military infrastructure.

“We’re honored to provide the technology to take humanitarian monitoring and analysis to a new level, from providing proof and political pressure to directly rescuing and saving prisoners’ lives in the event of unforeseeable circumstances such as a coup or government collapse where the worst-case scenario would be elimination of the prisoners by the North Korean regime,” he said in a prepared statement.”

The project consists of collecting data using satellite images, on-the-ground surveillance and testimonials from former prisoners, guards and other human sources to track developments at the prisons.

Scarlatoiu believes the visual proof collected by ASA will enhance his organization’s ability to persuade the global community to pressure North Korea to allow United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross access to the camps.