The Sentry Mission

Dismantling the Financing of

Africa’s Deadliest Conflicts.

 

Over the past two decades, the area stretching from northeast to central Africa has been the deadliest war zone in the world. Tens of millions of people have perished or been displaced as a result of violent kleptocracy — a lethal nexus of extreme violence, grand corruption, and competition over vast natural resources.

Countries such as Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic are often referred to as failed states, but in reality, they are hijacked states. Political, military, and commercial elites in these countries – often collaborating with neighbors – control and run the state and its institutions, use their power to transfer a large fraction of society’s resources to enrich themselves, and use brute force and organized criminal activity to remain in power. In these states, high-level corruption linked to violence is not some occasional exception to the rule; it constitutes the actual system of governance.

Responsibility for mass atrocities in this region of Africa is not limited to those perpetrating or orchestrating violence.  Networks of facilitators extend from the conflict zones into global economic centers and use legitimate systems of international finance, trade, and transportation to fund and equip warring parties, as well as launder the spoils of war, often in pursuit of their own profits. 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, and thus a policy response.

A collaborative effort between financial investigators, regional analysts, and policy experts, and co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch (NOOW), with its implementing partner C4ADS.

Following the money that funds atrocities and crimes against humanity

In order to track and analyze how armed conflict and atrocities are financed, sustained, and monetized, The Sentry uses open source data collection, field research, and state-of-the-art network data analysis technology, and works in partnership with local and international civil society organizations, journalists, and governments.

The Sentry’s investigations produce analytical reporting that engages civil society and media, supports regulatory action and prosecutions, and provides policymakers with the information they require to take effective action.

The Sentry examines the techniques used to benefit financially from armed conflict and atrocities, 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.
  • Money and commodities laundering – illicit actors launder money and commodities such as gold to disguise their criminal origins and move it through legitimate financial systems undetected.
  • 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.
  • War crimes and crimes against humanity – illicit actors orchestrate crimes against civilian populations in natural resource-rich territories — including enslavement, forced labor, and arbitrary arrests — as a key strategy for taking control over wealth and silencing dissent.

The Sentry’s ultimate objective is to alter the incentive structure of those benefiting financially and politically from conflict and mass atrocities. This will lend greater support to broader accountability measures as well as provide leverage to peace and human rights initiatives aimed at ending Africa’s deadliest conflicts.

The Sentry Team

Investigators, field researchers, analysts, and other staff are not listed for security reasons.

George Clooney

Co-Founder

John Prendergast

Co-Founder

Greg Hittelman

Communications Director

Jacinth Planer

Senior Editor

Jere Sullivan & the Edelman Team

Pro Bono Communications Support

Lee Levine, Esq.

Legal Counsel

Praveen Madhiraju, Esq.

Legal Counsel

Daniel Ward, Esq.

Legal Counsel

Core Supporters

The Sentry couldn't exist without the support
of the following people and institutions:

Open Square Charitable Fund
Humanity United
IDeA Foundation
Dutch Postcode Lottery
The Hunter Foundation
Newman's Own Foundation
Not On Our Watch
Carnegie Corporation of New York

Kells Family Charitable Foundation

Wynnette LaBrosse

Ruben Vardanyan

Jason Hackmann

Sir Tom Hunter

George Clooney

Don Cheadle

Swedish Postcode Lottery Foundation

Carl Allen

Todd Wagner

Walt Miller

Kristen Bell

Rebecca Minkoff

Marc Winkelman

Ryan Gosling

Robin Wright

Special thanks to Mary Beth Goodman, former Senior Adviser, for her significant work in building the foundation of the Sentry prior to returning to the White House in June 2015 as Senior Director for Development & Democracy at the National Security Council.

The Sentry also offers thanks to the hundreds of people who have shared critical information in order to advance the mission.

The Sentry

The Sentry Video

We want to
follow the money and find out how mass atrocities are funded.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

About NOT ON OUR WATCH (NOOW)

NOOW focuses global attention and resources towards putting an end to mass atrocities around the world. Drawing upon the powerful voices of artists, activists, and cultural leaders, Not On Our Watch generates lifesaving humanitarian assistance and protection for the vulnerable, marginalized, and displaced. We encourage governing bodies to take meaningful, immediate action to protect those in harm’s way. Where governments remain complacent, Not On Our Watch is committed to stopping mass atrocities and giving voice to their victims. Founders: Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman, Jerry Weintraub. Not On Our Watch is a federally registered 501(c)3 www.notonourwatchproject.org

SUPPORTING PARTNER

About C4ADS

C4ADS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to data-driven analysis and evidence-based reporting of conflict and security issues worldwide. We utilize cutting-edge emerging technologies to manage, integrate, and analyze disparate data, from diverse languages, regions, and sources, including our ownfield research in conflict zones and fragile states. Beyond pure data collection and analysis, we seek to produce and disseminate compelling content to engage both international and local audiences on issues of conflict and security. In doing so, we fill a critical gap left by traditional public sector institutions and profit-driven contractors. www.c4ads.org