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George Clooney and John Prendergast Seek to Expose Those Who Finance/Profit From Wars in Africa

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The Enough Project announced the launch of THE SENTRY, a new investigative initiative that seeks to dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. The Sentry’s arrival comes as President Obama prepares for an historic trip to Africa later this week.

Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, building on lessons learned from their earlier Satellite Sentinel Project initiative, The Sentry uses open source data collection, field research, and state-of-the-art network analysis technology to track and analyze how conflict is financed, sustained, and monetized. The new website for The Sentry, www.TheSentry.org, also features a secure portal for the confidential and anonymous submission of tips, leaks, and information.

John Prendergast, co-founder of TheSentry.org, said: “Conventional tools of diplomacy usually have not helped end conflicts because they don’t alter the calculations of those fueling war and committing atrocities. 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.”

George Clooney, co-founder of The Sentry, said: “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.”

The Sentry today also published four Country Briefs detailing the nexus of conflict, corruption, and violent kleptocracy in South Sudan, Sudan, Central Africa Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sentry Analyst Akshaya Kumar pointed out, “The points of convergence where illicit schemes rely on legitimate global financial and transport infrastructure, at times represent the most profitable links in the conflict value chain, and also those most vulnerable to disruption. Direct perpetrators of mass atrocities may be relatively insulated from international pressure, but their facilitators are certainly not.”

Omer Ismail, Sentry Analyst, said: “Without countering systematic looting by governments and rebel groups, peace and protection efforts stand little chance of success. The good news story that Africa has become, and which in the next days the President will appropriately highlight, in many parts of the continent will continue to be undermined by these hijacked states and their long-running, predatory civil wars. A new framework must be developed to adapt, implement, and enforce the tools of financial crimes enforcement to give these countries back to the people.”

Sentry Co-Founder John Prendergast elaborated: “The Sentry’s ultimate objective is to alter the incentives for funding or profiting from violence and mass atrocities. This will lend greater support to broader accountability measures as well as provide leverage to peace efforts aimed at ending Africa’s deadliest conflicts.”

The Sentry’s investigations will produce analytical reporting that engages civil society and media, supports regulatory action and prosecutions, and provides policymakers with the information required to take effective action. The Sentry examines the techniques used to finance and profit from conflict, including:

Convergence of licit and illicit systems—illicit actors conceal their operations and launder their profits through globalized systems of finance, trade, and transportation.

Regulatory and sanctions evasion—illicit actors find ways to adapt to and avoid international laws, sanctions, and regulations.

Disguised beneficial ownership—illicit actors employ increasingly sophisticated methods to disguise their true identities to avoid detection and exposure.

Extractive industries and natural resource trafficking—illicit actors extract, tax, and sell natural resources to fund and sustain their operations.

Corruption and illicit financial flows—illicit actors compete violently to capture state resources and divert funds for their own personal enrichment and to finance their armed campaigns.

Security sector fraud and abuse—illicit actors manage state and military expenditures to fund off-budget activities with little-to-no transparency or accountability.

Elite financing and offshored assets—illicit actors abuse their power and position to accumulate significant wealth that is then laundered through offshore jurisdictions to evade detection.

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