Who is profiting from African conflicts? George Clooney wants to find out.

Actor George Clooney, in collaboration with human rights activist John Prendergast, has just launched an investigative project called The Sentry.

Toru Hanai/REUTERS
Cast member George Clooney attends the Japan premiere of the movie "Tomorrowland" in Tokyo May 25, 2015.

George Clooney is out to catch the bad guys again. But this time, he’s not doing it on the big screen. 

Collaborating with human rights activist John Prendergast, the 'Tomorrowland' star just launched an investigative project called The Sentry.

Created under the umbrella of The Enough Project, another brainchild of Mr. Prendergast, The Sentry plans to track down the funders and beneficiaries of Africa’s deadliest conflicts. It will rely on open source data collection, field research, and network analysis technology to analyze how key players finance, sustain, and monetize conflict. 

“Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause,” Mr. Clooney said in a statement

The Sentry’s analysts will collaborate with local and international civil society organizations, journalists, and governments. The project will also depend on anonymous tips, leaks, and information submitted through its website’s secure portal.

For those who aren’t familiar with Africa’s conflicts and the key figures involved, The Sentry published summaries tracing the web of corruption, violence, and kleptocracy in four African countries.

“Countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are often referred to as failed states, but in reality, they should be considered hijacked states,” the site reads.

“In these states, high-level corruption linked to violence is not anomalous; it constitutes the actual system of governance.” 

This isn’t the first time Clooney’s delved into activism. In 2010, he and Prendergast, former Africa director for the National Security Council, launched the Satellite Sentinel Project

Aimed at mapping human rights violations in northern and southern Sudan, the project uses satellite imagery and analysis to monitor and document threats to civilians in both countries.

"We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we're watching," said Clooney in a 2010 statement. "It's a lot harder to commit mass atrocities in the glare of the media spotlight."

While it’s too early to tell whether The Sentry’s tracking will influence the perpetrators in Africa’s conflicts, Clooney and Prendergast claim their alternative methods provide more enhanced paths towards the truth and more accountability than traditional efforts. 

“Conventional tools of diplomacy usually have not helped end conflicts because they don’t alter the calculations of those fueling war and committing atrocities,” Prendergast said in a statement.

“Given the current profitability of conflict, new efforts must center on how to make war more costly than peace. The objective of The Sentry is to follow the money and deny those war profiteers the proceeds from their crimes.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Who is profiting from African conflicts? George Clooney wants to find out.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today