The river was something to behold, a wide green trench filled with all the rain from the plains of Africa that cut due north, across the Sahara, all the way to the Mediterranean. Instead he surveyed the grass-roof over the bar, the tiny collection of bottles clamped to the wall and the empty stools still grouped in small, convivial circles.Clooney and John Prendergast, his fellow Sudan activist, had just flown into Juba, capital of South Sudan. To reach it, they would fly to a dirt strip beside a refugee camp in the far north of South Sudan, just below the newly-made border with Sudan.“I was like: ‘How come you could Google Earth my house and you can’t Google Earth where war crimes are being committed? They rented time on three of Digital Globe’s satellites stationed in the stratosphere over Sudan and processed the images and overlayed them with Google Maps in minutes.“The trick was not just to get the images but to get them in close to real time and get the analysis done quickly,” said Clooney.It was the bombings – barrels of oil attached to explosives rolled out of planes – that Clooney had come to see.“It should be interesting,” said Clooney. So you have to be careful.”I asked if he was worried. “And you know,” he said, “you gotta do it.”If we had to have celebrities, it seemed to me that Clooney was absolutely the best kind.“They’re dropping those bombs from 6,000 feet so their effectiveness has been mostly to terrorise and less to actually . It was March 2012 and Clooney was on his seventh trip to Sudan in as many years.Partly because the death toll in Sudan’s wars was so high, partly because Islamists became America’s enemy number one after 9/11, partly because Sudan’s continued use of slaves horrified a nation whose own creation myth was so bound up in the trade, Sudan became the cause for young American activists in the first years of the new millennium. Initially he spoke out against the Sudanese regime’s atrocities, in 20 in the west Sudan region of Darfur.After the US government designated that conflict a genocide in 2004, Clooney was among those who successfully campaigned to have the International Criminal Court indict Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There’s something mind-blowing to see 98% of the people voting, [to see how] they consider it a duty and an honour and a privilege.”In October 2010, Clooney was in Sudan with Prendergast trying to work out ways to hinder the bloodshed when, lying out in the desert and looking up at the stars, the pair came up with an idea even more outlandish than helping to create a new country in Africa: their own spy satellite. You know, maybe we can’.”On their return to the US, the pair contacted Google Maps and a satellite photography specialist, Digital Globe.
“Then you can say ‘Well, five days ago this is what this place looked like. ’ The Defence Minister came out and said: ‘How would Mr Clooney like it if every time he left his house there were people watching him with cameras? Clooney, whose privacy was routinely invaded in pursuit of trivialities, was violating the privacy of a dictatorial regime in the pursuit of saving lives.