Hollywood star and activist George Clooney on Tuesday urged the international community to go after illicit money from Sudan, voicing hope that financial pressure would change the calculus for generals who violently put down pro-democracy protests.
Clooney — a longtime campaigner for human rights in Sudan’s western region of Darfur — noted that the notorious Janjaweed militias were involved both in abuses in Darfur and in putting down demonstrations last week.
Dozens were killed when paramilitary forces forcibly dispersed a weeks-long sit-in outside the headquarters of the army, which had deposed veteran leader Omar al-Bashir but balked at protesters’ persistent demands for a prompt transition to civilian rule.
Clooney, in a joint op-ed piece written with former US official John Prendergast, said that the generals were afraid they would lose out in a deal after they “looted the country with impunity for 30 years.”
The pair said that The Sentry, an initiative they founded to track dirty money, had pointed to financial laundering out of Sudan as the crisis intensified.
“Freezing and seizing some of those assets — and blocking some of these officials from the international financial system — would be a major and unutilized point of leverage for peace and human rights,” Clooney and Prendergast wrote in Politico.
“By creating significant financial consequences for regime leaders and their commercial collaborators, diplomats from Africa, Europe and the United States will be able to to influence the cost-benefit calculus of Khartoum’s generals,” they wrote.
They voiced fear that US envoys including Tibor Nagy — the top US diplomat for Africa, who is due in Khartoum this week — will see their appeals “fall on deaf ears” without parallel action on the pocketbooks of the generals.
Despite Western criticism of the crackdown, Clooney and Prendergast noted that the generals still enjoy support from Gulf Arab states, China and Russia.
Trump is ‘having a full-blown mental breakdown’ and needs to resign: Ex-Trump staffer
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Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci blasted his former boss during an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily."
"He has totally and completely lost it. There is nobody that can look at the situation, read the tweets, look at the press sprays, and say he hasn’t lost it," Scaramucci argued.
"What does that mean, lost it?" Todd asked. "Define that."
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Austan Goolsbee was interviewed by MSNBC's John Heilemann on Friday after the DJIA closed down over 600 points after the trade war escalated on Friday.
"Just give us, if you would, Austan, your sense of what has unfolded today and how bad it is," Heilemann asked.
"Yes, it’s terrible, I'm phoning from a bunker as we speak," Goolsbee replied.
"There hasn’t been a day like this in a very long time. Yes, the markets sell a lot but the fact we’re going to have an escalating trade war, the president of the United States is publicly declaring the head of the Fed an enemy of the state and, oh, by the way, 40% of the Amazon is on fire and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being treated for pancreatic cancer," he continued. "If this is on a Friday, it makes it bad for Monday."
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After US markets tanked on Friday, President Donald Trump dramatically escalated his trade war with China.
"For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on trade, intellectual property theft, and much more. Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year to China, with no end in sight," Trump tweeted.
"Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of fair and balanced trade that it has become a great burden to the American taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen," he argued.