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Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by sisieq on Tue Jan 04 2011, 00:40

Atalante wrote:Well after watching the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] my computer broke down. This is going to cost me money !!! Rolling Eyes Don't I love Google Earth ! lol!

bom cherry geek What a Face

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by sisieq on Tue Jan 04 2011, 00:54

PigLove wrote:
But this is a Clooney forum, where we talk about all kinds of frivolous stuff,

FRIVOLOUS! You call our discussions FRIVOLOUS! affraid


HOWEVER, I now realize it's the board's first negative. Oops!

No it isn't. Don't fall over, but it was either you or Lucy that someone gave a negative to for a comment made about EC sometime in December. Not saying its a regular here, but there are Lurkers who register so they can click on the "last post read" arrow. Whoever made the comment really didn't say anything mean, so I gave a + to the comment.

I never intended to be that harsh. Your comment did not deserve that distinction (not by a long shot). I'm really sorry -- newbie mistake. If there was a way to take it back (Katiedot?) I would. pale

Not to worry, I gave Gina (know her from another forum so I know her "writing style" and took the negative away.

Very Happy

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by sisieq on Tue Jan 04 2011, 01:01

I finally was able to watch the video - I have to respectfully disagree with most of you. I thought he did a decent job with the interview.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by PigLove on Tue Jan 04 2011, 01:42

Thanks sisieq!

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Tigerina on Tue Jan 04 2011, 01:47

No worries piglove. I wasn't offended by your comments at all.Trust me, if i felt George did a bad job or looked bloated or hungover for such an interview, I would stand and say so. I just never really noticed his appearance or his stumbling because of the nature of the interview. I really hope their strategy works to help keep the people there safe. :-)

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by PigLove on Tue Jan 04 2011, 01:49

Yeah, we're being overly harsh with G. But it's because we expect him to be perfect at everything!! Wink

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by melbert on Tue Jan 04 2011, 02:05

You mean he's NOT perfect??? king

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Snoopy on Tue Jan 04 2011, 03:09

I was reading comments on a blog about 'This week' and the only one about John and George stated, 'George Clooney is dumb but good looking'. If he isn't well versed on the topic, they will just write him off as an actor looking for publicity. I have read many articles on Darfur and still couldn't be well versed in speaking about the situation, but if you are on national TV, people want someone who is.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Merlin on Tue Jan 04 2011, 09:50

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George Clooney: ‘The world is watching’

Jan 3rd, 2011 2:43 PM EST
By Malaka Gharib

Satellite photographs. Hollywood actors. Dictators and the threat of the world’s next genocide. Although this may sound like the makings of an action-packed spy movie, it’s not. It’s the foundation of the Satellite Sentinel Project, George Clooney’s latest project to combat civil war in Sudan through the use of cutting-edge satellite and mapping technology.

Mr. Clooney initiated the Satellite Sentinel Project in time for Sudan’s big vote next week, which determines whether southern Sudan, a region rich in oil, will become independent from the rest of the country. Human rights experts warn that it’s a dangerous proposal — if President Omar al-Bashir refuses to accept the South’s independence, the country could plunge into a civil war, sparking the world’s next genocide.

In order to avoid this, Mr. Clooney’s project, in partnership with the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch, will use satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker technology to watch for indications of war preparation on the border between North and South Sudan. Any signs of war will be immediately exposed to the mainstream media and the human rights community.

“We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we’re watching, the world is watching,” said Mr. Clooney. “War criminals thrive in the dark. It’s a lot harder to commit mass atrocities in the glare of the media spotlight.”

According to John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, “Deterrence is our objective. We want to contribute to the prevention of war between North and South Sudan. If war does ignite, we want to hold accountable those responsible, and hopefully deter human rights crimes that would be committed in the context of war.”

Here at ONE, we believe that peaceful countries with leadership accountable to its citizens will have the best chance at winning the fight against extreme poverty and disease. Projects like the Satellite Sentinel Project will help create and promote more transparent governments that respect civic participation and the rule of law necessary to ensure that investments are made in the poorest people.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Katiedot on Tue Jan 04 2011, 15:33

melbert wrote:You mean he's NOT perfect??? king
Uh oh.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Vi on Tue Jan 04 2011, 15:56

Katiedot wrote:
melbert wrote:You mean he's NOT perfect??? king
Uh oh.

NOT perfect ?

ay ay ay ay ay

then we are all really in a tight spot !

Atalante ? please a typical belgium comment !



ok - maybe we have to laugh in between
while being afraid that he's in Sudan

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Atalante on Wed Jan 05 2011, 23:20

Me ?

Well I was watching some trees in Sudan and they didn't move and then ... my computer broke down !!!! Suspect Are some of you watching that thing ??? pig Or is it just me ??? What a Face

George perfect ? I've never ever made that association. I always think he's hilarious, ..., some carmechanic ey. Basketball

Anyway Men who stare at goats is on this week on the BBCEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ! cheers

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by sisieq on Wed Jan 05 2011, 23:34

FYI for some of you not on CU Forum. Some may get it right away, some may take awhile, but you'll get to appreciate Atalante's sense of humor.

geek

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Atalante on Wed Jan 05 2011, 23:46

You make me believe, there IZZZZ something wrong with me. Vraiment, shame on you !!! affraid

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by sisieq on Thu Jan 06 2011, 00:10

flower

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Merlin on Thu Jan 06 2011, 07:28

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Harvard Researchers Monitor Violence in Sudan
By JANE SEO, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

A team of researchers from Harvard University is collaborating with Google and a humanitarian group led by George Clooney to implement a monitoring system that will watch for violence in southern Sudan.

The Satellite Sentinel Project—a joint effort by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, the Enough Project, the U.N.’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme, Google, and Trellon—will analyze satellite images of areas of southern Sudan in the hopes of preventing human rights violations, such as potential genocide attacks, before they escalate.

“This early warning system has a profound implication for monitoring and responding to emerging crisis,” said Jonathan J. Hutson, director of communications for the Enough Project.

Funded by Not On Our Watch, a humanitarian organization founded by Clooney, the project is the first sustained, public effort to observe happenings in Sudan in near real time.

“We are the antigenocide paparazzi,” Clooney said in an interview with Time Magazine. "We want them to enjoy the level of celebrity attention that I usually get. If you know your actions are going to be covered, you tend to behave much differently than when you operate in a vacuum.”

Sudan has been riddled with violence since 2003 when a conflict broke out in the Darfur region of the country. That conflict has been widely described as genocide, and the international community has been roundly criticized for its sluggishness to intervene.

While the conflict in Darfur has since quieted, violence threatens to erupt again in southern Sudan, the focus of the new project. Voters in that region will go to the polls Sunday to determine whether the region will secede from northern Sudan.

Observers are concerned that secession may reignite a decades long civil war that ended with the signing of peace accords in 2005. The monitoring system being put in place by the University and human rights activists aims to prevent such a recurrence.

According to Harvard Kennedy School Professor David H. Yanagizawa-Drott, the University’s role in the project is two-fold: research and evaluation of the system’s effectiveness and human rights documentation.

As the director of system wide research and evaluation, Yanagizawa-Drott will interpret the images and assess ways in which technological development can help prevent potential political problems in Sudan.

Among other things, the satellite images will monitor troop movement in Sudan. The images are analyzed and viewable to the public on the group’s website, which went live on Dec. 29, 2010.

“It’s the first open source platform to stop the war before it happens,” Hutson said. “A better, faster analysis of images makes for a stronger, faster responses.”

Charlie Clements, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, will lead the project’s human rights documentation to contextualize the data collected from the satellite images.

“We may see 30 trucks, but have no way to know whether they are army trucks or food program trucks,” he said. “We will analyze verbal reports to contextualize the information so that our sources are reliable.”

“We hope that by letting the perpetrators know that the world is watching, the harm they inflict will be minimized or prevented,” Clements added.

The tool also has many practical applications in the environmental arena and in the field of global health. Hutson said the satellites not only spotlight emerging crisis in Sudan, but also track climate changes, famine, and outbreaks of diseases.

In addition to gathering field reports and policy analysis, Hutson said the project aims to get the public involved by pressuring policy makers to respond quickly to human rights atrocities.

“The main goal of the project is to send out a message to the public,” Yanagizawa-Drott added.

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is a University-wide center that provides expertise in public health, medicine, social science, management, and other fields to promote humanitarian assistance. According to its website, the center aims “to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide.”

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Lighterside on Thu Jan 06 2011, 14:21

I really hope this works. Cockroaches don't like lights shining on their activities and I hope this premise also applies to human cockroaches who kill innocent people on command.

Wouldn't it be lovely if this election went off without a hitch and not one shot fired? I know it's not likely but I can still dream can't I? cheers

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by lucy on Thu Jan 06 2011, 14:34

It makes me wonder why so may people are opposed to the world watching for 6 mths. if they haven;t got anything to hide,let us see for ourselves who is responsible for all the human violations. I understand no one wants to be spied on but people are dying while others lie.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by playfuldeb on Fri Jan 07 2011, 04:50

What happens when we are not as faithful to watching anymore? Time does that. One cannot be everywhere at the same time. And by the time any damage is done, the perps are gone without any recognition before anyone can physically try to hunt them down. The militia is not the only form of malicious attacks. Many so-called vengance groups, right-wing this, and anti-that, spring up all over all the time.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 07 2011, 05:04

lucy wrote:It makes me wonder why so may people are opposed to the world watching for 6 mths. if they haven;t got anything to hide,let us see for ourselves who is responsible for all the human violations. I understand no one wants to be spied on but people are dying while others lie.
Hm, I could guess that most countries would object. Imagine if during the next US presidential election the UN said 'we don't trust Florida so we're going to set up satellite observation of the state'. There would be uproar and much talk about privacy and people's rights and who the hell does the UN think it is anyway. Rightly so IMO.

playfuldeb wrote:And by the time any damage is done, the perps are gone without any recognition before anyone can physically try to hunt them down.
I think that the satellites aren't nearly good enough to actually see and recognise individuals. What they will be able to see is movements of militia, military vehicles etc which would indicate military action.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by playfuldeb on Fri Jan 07 2011, 06:23

"I think that the satellites aren't nearly good enough to actually see and recognise individuals. What they will be able to see is movements of militia, military vehicles etc which would indicate military action."

that is what I meant by my comment. Even if we saw the violence, nobody would ever be able to pinpoint it to a specific group. I am tired and didnt make myself clear before.

Sooo, even tho it sounds like a great idea, and maybe the scare tactic seems plausible, I really dont know how effective watching from satellite is going to be. And is it going to be worth the money they spend to do this?

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 07:14

what @ U.N.'s Operational Satellite Applications Programme & Harvard University?
all crazy?


question:
did George received death threats?

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Merlin on Fri Jan 07 2011, 07:21

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George Clooney's Hi-Tech Plan To Stop War

George Clooney has told Sky News his hi-tech attempt to prevent a resumption of civil war in Sudan is "the best use of his celebrity." Skip related content

The actor's pressure group Not On Our Watch is funding a project which uses commercial satellites to monitor any signs of impending conflict.

There is concern that a referendum on Sunday could reopen a decades-old civil war, if the oil-rich south of Sudan votes to split from the north.

The mainly Arab government in Khartoum, which has been accused of genocidal activity in the Darfur region, may resort to arms in the disputed border region.

Clooney says he wants President Omar al-Bashir to know that if he uses force against innocent civilians, the world is watching.

"A lot of bad things happen when the lights are turned off, in particular in Sudan, and so we are just trying to turn the floodlight on," he told Sky News.

"Our big argument is this: we are always late and we always come in and say we didn't know and had I known I would have done something about Rwanda or Cambodia."

"But rather than triage this after it has happened, it's infinitely cheaper and infinitely more effective to do it beforehand," he argues.

In association with the anti-genocide group, Enough Project, the website will allow experts to analyze and record imagery of any signs of aggression or movement of refugees.

It could be used as evidence to indict members of the Khartoum government and toughen the United Nations mandate, allowing peacekeepers to protect citizens from attack.

Read Sky's report on the UK plan to give a £40m aid package to the UN's Common Humanitarian Fund in Sudan.

Clooney says it makes sense to harness the technology.

"You can Google Earth my house any time, and zoom right down onto it. I want people who do really evil acts to enjoy the same level of celebrity that I do."

"They want to be famous, you're famous now - if it works, its worth doing everywhere because its infinitely cheaper than taking all these people to refugee camps and paying to keep them alive."

Sudanese officials called the project "baffling", saying it "reeks of an ulterior motive."

But the actor remains defiant.

"To be disliked by a government which has been charged by the international criminal court of crimes against humanity and genocide, is not necessarily a scarlet letter," he said.

"I don't feel terribly bad about the government of Sudan being upset. I think they're concerned by this and I think that's a good thing. They should be concerned."

The actor says if the project is successful it could become a model for other global hotspots, using the threat of 21st century technology to prevent bloodshed, previously hidden from view.

"Listen, I don't know if it will work, I really don't, but we are going to try," he said.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 07 2011, 08:53

True, you can google earth his house, but those are still images taken a while ago, not live video footage (unless I'm missing something!!)

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 07 2011, 10:10

If those quotes are actually his in Merlin’s most recent article, then I really question his judgement. And that of those who are allowing him to come out with what I can only describe as arrogant bragging. Who is this 'we' he's speaking on behalf of? He is a UN volunteer! Not a politican, not an expert, not an elected UN rep, a volunteer. Can you imagine another UN volunteer making public statements like this at a time when quiet diplomacy is so important? What is it with him? Is it that he wants to be seen as the man who single-handedly took on the evil warlords and enabled the Sudanese elections to take place? Because that‘s what it‘s beginning to sound like.

Sit down, George Clooney, you’re not in a friggin’ movie. This really detracts from the good work he does.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Merlin on Fri Jan 07 2011, 10:46

Video of John and George

George Clooney and activist John Prendergast discuss the mood ahead of a referendum that could form a new nation.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 07 2011, 11:19

Ah, I think I've been able to embed this link. Let's see how long it stays up:


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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 11:42

Caged wrote:If those quotes are actually his in Merlin’s most recent article, then I really question his judgement. And that of those who are allowing him to come out with what I can only describe as arrogant bragging. Who is this 'we' he's speaking on behalf of? He is a UN volunteer! Not a politican, not an expert, not an elected UN rep, a volunteer. Can you imagine another UN volunteer making public statements like this at a time when quiet diplomacy is so important? What is it with him? Is it that he wants to be seen as the man who single-handedly took on the evil warlords and enabled the Sudanese elections to take place? Because that‘s what it‘s beginning to sound like.

Sit down, George Clooney, you’re not in a friggin’ movie. This really detracts from the good work he does.

he tries to do something for those people

much
MUCHMUCHMUCHMUCH MORE then whatever I did

so in that he deserves my respect

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 07 2011, 12:16

I am not disputing his commitment or willingness to help, and never have. If you see nothing to criticise, that is your prerogative. I do, his choice of language in that article, which is neither diplomatic not conciliatory. Grace under fire is what’s required here, leave the drama and the heroics to the movies.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 12:24

he is not a diplomatic
you pretend too much, I guess

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 07 2011, 13:28

Ok guys, can you both agree to disagree? Zen

@It's me: Caged isn't pretending anything, she simply has a different point of view.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 13:53

no problem, I agree to disagree

again a question:
did George received death threats?

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Lighterside on Fri Jan 07 2011, 13:58

Well I don't want to start a war at the open house but if I may, I would like to gently point out that it's difficult when speaking to decide which "pronoun" to use to properly convey any idea. The "we" that you are so upset about isn't to make a grab for attention or credit in my opinion, it's just a form of speech that's being used to imply the vast number of nameless, faceless diplomats and other people working on this issue, behind the scenes daily. George, for better or worse right now is the front man on this issue and the mouthpiece being used for whatever reasons to put this issue front and center in the world media.

There is no doubt that he has a tendency sometimes to jump into the middle of things uninvited but in this case Caged, I think he's doing what he's been asked to do and the "we" he represents in his comments are the one's who are quietly behind the scenes making the necessary deals through diplomacy (which George isn't capable of in this situation) while George is front and center with the cameras shining a big bright light on the situation for the world to see. If you recall, the reasoning behind his first trip with his father was that the "cameras follow George" wherever he goes. I think this eye in the sky was actually a spin off of that very idea so in a way, he may actually BE responsible for this part of the (plot, hahaha couldn't resist) strategy. Lightsabre fight

It seems to be a two pronged strategy, trying to work both angles at the same time and the absence of evidence on the surface doesn't mean that important diplomatic work isn't constantly being done behind the scenes, as you know. Just my two cents...

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 07 2011, 14:08

Lighterside wrote:Well I don't want to start a war at the open house
Oh what the hell, go for it! This forum has been open for exactly one month today, so it's about time. Nunchucks

All I ask is for the contestants to check to forum rules first and play nicely.

Over to you . . .

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Lighterside on Fri Jan 07 2011, 14:15

(looking around) Who, little ole me? A rabblerouser? Nah.... Do battle

Ahem, I would NEVER (cough) engage in a war of words of any kind! Beaten Gunslinger Hahaha (kidding of course!)

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 07 2011, 14:23

I'm confused here. I took no offence whatsoever at It's me's comments, since there's nothing there to be offended by. And I read her 'pretend' as 'expect' - as in, maybe I expect too much? Maybe she's right? Maybe I do. And if I do, it's only because up to now, he has largely been considered and careful in his comments.

And I'm sticking firmly by my earlier opinion on Clooney's choice of bullish response both to the Sudanese Embassy statement and the general tone of his comments.


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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 15:02

yeah
can be expect
anyway he is not there as a diplomatic or a politician
he has and use some free zone, I guess

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 17:15

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Merlin on Fri Jan 07 2011, 17:31

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George Clooney: I Want People Who Do Really Evil Acts To Enjoy The Same Level of Celebrity That I Do

January 07, 2011
George Clooney is putting his power to good use. ET has new video of the actor in Sudan, where he and the organization, Not on Our Watch, are working with new technology to help end the violence in the African nation.

"The thought was 'Look, let's stop, let's start really using the technology," he says. "I was always laughing because you can Google Earth my house any time you want and go right down onto it -- and please do, it's not in real time. It will be three months ago or something like that -- but it seems that if you can do that to me, then I want them to enjoy the same level of celebrity. I want people who do really evil acts to enjoy the same level of celebrity that I do. Seems fair. They want to be famous, they're famous now and that's what our job is."

The Oscar winner is hoping that installing satellites that reveal activity from the last 24 - 36 hours will help end the violence.

"We're going to be able to turn it over from several different spots and we have people who are on the ground which is something that it hasn't been thought about, that are giving us places to aim the satellites at on a daily basis," he says. "So we do have some hope, some chance of catching quite a lot. But more importantly that that, they don't know where those satellites are going to be focused and we hope a lot of really bad things happen when the lights are turned off, in particular in the Sudan, so we're just trying to turn the flood lights on, that's it."

But Clooney admits this is not going to be the cure-all.

"This is a tool, this is not supposed to fix it all," he says. "This is just another element of multifaceted elements we're trying to avoid. Our big argument with this, 'We're always late and we always come in and say we didn't know and had I known I would have done something about it.' Rwanda, Cambodia, you can go down the list. At the very least you can't say we didn't know ahead of this. The idea is to try and rather than triage this after it's happened, it's infinitely cheaper, infinitely cheaper and infinitely more effective to do it beforehand."

Check out the video for more with Clooney in Sudan.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by lolo"layla" on Fri Jan 07 2011, 18:58

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think that's another vid.


Last edited by lolo on Fri Jan 07 2011, 19:13; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by lolo"layla" on Fri Jan 07 2011, 19:11

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by lucy on Fri Jan 07 2011, 19:56

Nice photo lolo,he's not only got hair again,it's brown!

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Merlin on Fri Jan 07 2011, 20:13

For anyone in the UK the SKY interview is on SKY News (501) under the red button...

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 21:56

WHERE THE HELL IS HE NOW? confused

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by playfuldeb on Fri Jan 07 2011, 23:09

almost looks like a brown hairpiece in that last pic where he's picking his thumb!

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by blubelle on Fri Jan 07 2011, 23:22

He seems to do that when he is nervous.

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 23:52

hairpiece! OH NOOOOOO!!!! Censored

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 07 2011, 23:56

blubelle wrote:He seems to do that when he is nervous.

I know

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Katiedot on Sat Jan 08 2011, 04:18

Just in case you're wondering I've moved the discussin about George's home here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

Post by Merlin on Sat Jan 08 2011, 10:51

Clooney, envoys on hand for vote
· Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011

Hollywood star George Clooney, Western envoys and elder statesmen gathered in Sudan Friday as the war-ravaged South was finally poised to have its say on independence after a 50-year wait.

The beat of African drums reverberated around the South's regional capital Juba as hordes of youthful campaigners, who have held monthly rallies to ensure the promised referendum goes ahead, staged an exuberant "final march to freedom" from the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.

"Just two days to go--we're going to vote and then the country will be split in two," crowed Archelango, an elderly southerner newly returned from years as a refugee to have his say.

Mr. Clooney toured Abyei Friday amid fears of new violence between its settled pro-southern Ngok Dinka population and heavily armed Misseriyah Arabs from the north who use its waters for seasonal pasture.

Meanwhile, cars festooned in the black, red and green of the southern flag toured the dusty streets and potholed pistes of Juba to ramp up enthusiasm for the week-long polling that begins on Sunday.

Although opposition to independence has been well-nigh invisible, turnout will be important because the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) stipulates a quorum of 60% of the 3.8 million registered voters.

The commission organizing the referendum said its preparations were "absolutely complete."

"The ballots arrived at all of the centres all over the south," said spokesman George Maker Benjamin.

In Khartoum, Scott Gration, the U.S. envoy, held a last round of talks with government officials and referendum organizers hot on the heels of Senator John Kerry, as Washington pulled out the stops to ensure no hitches block implementation of the peace deal.

Mr. Kerry was cautiously optimistic the votewould finally proceed as planned.

"As recently as only a few months ago, many people didn't believe we could get here," he said.

"Now we're not there yet ... but the hope is that this will be an example to the world of responsible leadership."



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Re: Clooney's "Anti-Genocide Paparazzi"

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