Venice Film Festival 2013

'Gravity' star George Clooney helps keep an eye on Sudanese dictator accused of war crimes

Star claims spy satellite he funds helps to curb murderous tendencies of ruler

Venice

George Clooney has revealed further details about the spy satellite over Sudan which he funds to keep an eye on the Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir and his followers, who have been accused of war crimes.

At a Venice Film Festival press conference for his new film Gravity – in which he plays an astronaut – the actor claimed that the satellite was already in action and is helping to curb the murderous tendencies of the Sudanese ruler.

“I have a satellite in areas [in Sudan] where there is a lot of violence because we want to keep an eye on some of the atrocities that are going on there and because we want not just accountability but we want to make it more and more difficult to act without ramifications,” Clooney said. “We find that it has been incredibly successful since now the attacks only happen at night or under cloud cover.”

In response to the dictators’ new tactics, Clooney said that the satellite will now be “switched up to infrared” so that acts of violence can still be seen even when it is dark or cloudy.

“It is our job to try and shine a light on those places,” he said. “If it helps at all, it is worth it.”

Flanked by his co-star Sandra Bullock and the director Alfonso Cuaron, Clooney reflected on his role in Gravity as an astronaut abandoned in space and fighting for his life. Yes, the American star said, he had faced moments of adversity in his own life, although none as extreme as those confronting the astronaut.

“I find myself often times in places in the South Sudan that are considerably more dangerous than I thought they would be,” he said. “Often times, my version of calm and collected is not looking like a scared, screaming child.  I enjoy a little adversity along the way. I think it is a good test. It is really easy to be good at things or to be calm when things are going well. You test people’s personalities by how they handle tricky moments in their lives in adversity. I look up to people who handle that very well.”

However, when he was asked whether he supported the idea of the US launching missile strikes on Syria, the actor declined to answer.

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