George Clooney, Don Cheadle to Unveil Report on War Profiteering in South Sudan
The two-year investigation 'War Crimes Shouldn't Pay ' by Clooney's humanitarian organization The Sentry reveals an international web fueling war.
George Clooney and Don Cheadle are scheduled to unveil a major report on war profiteering in South Sudan in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
The report, entitled "War Crimes Shouldn't Pay," was put together by The Sentry, an organization Clooney and John Prendergast founded. It reveals links between the country's president, deposed vice president, international banks, multinational oil and mining companies and arms dealers and how they helped fuel one of the world's deadliest conflicts.
Don Cheadle is a co-founder of Not On Our Watch, which collaborated with The Sentry on the report. Not On Our Watch is a global human rights group whose supporters include Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.
"South Sudan, the world’s newest state, continues to be embroiled in a horrific civil war," the report states, according to a summary seen by THR. "Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives, many of them civilians. Mass rape has been used as a weapon of war. Children are routinely recruited as soldiers and sent as cannon fodder into combat."
Investigators spent two years looking into how a network of politicians, businessmen and arms dealers profit from a conflict that has made multi-millionaires out of South Sudan president Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar, the rival leaders responsible for the civil war that has wreaked havoc on their nation.
In a Washington Post op-ed Monday, Clooney and Prendergast condemned political leaders who have agreed to a peace deal and legal measures to bring war criminals to justice, but have done little to implement the plans as they play international agencies off one another. "South Sudan's leaders are perfecting the art of the diplomatic bait-and-switch while fighting over the spoils of the resource-rich state," Clooney and Prendergast wrote.
Peacekeepers have been admitted, but their movement is restricted, and resentment is being whipped up against the United Nations. Humanitarian aid is also obstructed and aid workers attacked and raped. Meanwhile, more than 5 million people in the country are suffering from hunger and urgently need food aid.
"All of this obstruction and obfuscation buys time for the leaders to continue to use extreme violence to loot the state treasury and the country’s natural resources," Clooney and Prendergast add. "And we have the evidence."
Highlights of the report include details of how the "warmongering leaders" have stashed fortunes in overseas property, luxury cars and stakes in businesses, including "major multinational oil and mining companies, banks, casinos and an airline" leaving a "trail of murky transactions, insider deals and outright fraud," according to the report summary.
International companies that have helped facilitate these deals are implicated at every turn, with bankers, businessmen, real estate agents and lawyers helping "facilitate their heist," the report states.
Photographs, documentation and "evidence of complicity in the looting and destruction of South Sudan" was found worldwide by researchers who inspected "thousands of pages of legal records, corporate filings, financial statements, transaction and shipping documents and other official correspondence."
Clooney, writing in the Washington Post, is demanding a "new strategy" of "international leverage" to alter the incentives "so that war can be made costlier than peace." The report's findings are already being turned over to U.S. and international governments and agencies for action, its backers say.
South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011. The launch of the report at the National Press Club in Washington between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET is being live-streamed here.