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TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

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TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by carolhathaway on Wed Jan 13 2016, 19:58

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Amal does/did an interview with Cynthia McFadden that will be aired on January 14th on "NBC Nightly News" and on January 15th on "Today".

She will also do an interview with Chuck Todd that will be aired on January 17th on "Meet The Press".

They didn't mention if it is about business (probably Nasheed) and/or about private issues / George.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by carolhathaway on Wed Jan 13 2016, 20:07

I just found another article about the interview:

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They write: "It's unclear if the questions will be limited to international relations, given the interest in the Clooneys' personal lives."

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Wed Jan 13 2016, 21:00

Thanks carolh.  

I watch Meet The Press most Sundays  so I'm excited to see this interview with Chuck Todd.  His interviews and discussions almost always center on politics and U.S./international news.  Never seen him do celebrity interviews so think this one will focus on the Nasheed case and maybe her other work.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Katiedot on Wed Jan 13 2016, 21:38

I'd put money on this being 99.9% to do with her work and they'll throw in one easy peasy gentle question about her marriage just to keep everyone happy.

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NBC interview with Amal on NBC's Tonight tomorrow 14.1.2016

Post by party animal - not! on Wed Jan 13 2016, 23:59

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Cynthia McFadden is their legal correspondent

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Tulips on Thu Jan 14 2016, 02:38


NBC lands Amal Clooney interview

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This article refers to a chance to hear Amal talk about things other than her marriage or what she wears. Thing is, I don't think she has ever talked about her marriage or what she wears in any interviews.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by melbert on Thu Jan 14 2016, 03:30

She's never done any interviews, other than whatever "case" she's working on.  She made one reference to "her husband" in Greece, but nothing more.  A few words on the red carpets...

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by PigPen on Thu Jan 14 2016, 14:33

devil's advocate time..... why all of a sudden the USA tv interviews?  Stint in DC?  Not bad mouthing her.  She's supposedly has been famous in Europe ( I say supposedly because I never read about her before she met Mr G) long before hooking up with The Man.  Now- seen in DC, tv interviews, Meet the Press.    Something sounds amiss.  JMO

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by fava on Thu Jan 14 2016, 15:10

PigPen wrote:devil's advocate time..... why all of a sudden the USA tv interviews?  Stint in DC?  Not bad mouthing her.  She's supposedly has been famous in Europe ( I say supposedly because I never read about her before she met Mr G) long before hooking up with The Man.  Now- seen in DC, tv interviews, Meet the Press.    Something sounds amiss.  JMO
Why?  Because she has a case she is lobbying the US government about.  PR is part of that effort and can generate some interest and perhaps pressure on the government.  Would she get air time with the cause for the Maldives if she was anyone else?  Extremely doubtful.  I'm not a huge fan of hers, but it is a big stretch to see this as motivated by anything other than her job.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Thu Jan 14 2016, 15:13

She's in Washington campaigning for further action e g sanctions to free her client President Nasheed of the Maldives (an IS hotspot) from illegal imprisonment.

Her interviewer is the legal correspondent of NBC.

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At the State Department yesterday/today

Totally agree with Katie - maybe one or two questions about George at the most..

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Thu Jan 14 2016, 15:16

Don't forget she has already been interviewed about other clients in major news stories - Yulia Tymoshenko and Mohammed Fahmy to name two, but in those cases they were BBC news interviews - and in the first case B G - before George...sort of

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Jan 14 2016, 16:11

She had also done an interview about the Egyptian law system B G (before George):
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But fava,
I didn't know her B G as well. I think that's normal unless you were interested in her cases. But actually it's not to critisize (if you should intend to do so) that her cases get more attention now. I think it's positive for her clients


Last edited by carolhathaway on Thu Jan 14 2016, 16:15; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added text)

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Thu Jan 14 2016, 18:01

Getting the word out (PR) and meeting with lawmakers who are involved in the Maldives situation is an important part of the lawyers' visit to the U.S.  I'm not surprised that media outlets here in the states want to interview her.  For obvious reasons yes but it's also an opportunity to get more publicity for Nasheed's case (shine a light).  Though most of the interview on the news tonight and tomorrow morning will be about the Nasheed case I won't be surprised if  McFadden will ask some personal questions. The Fahmy case was reported to some extent in the U.S. so that may be touched on also.

On the other hand Meet The Press tends to be more political. Chuck Todd may not venture beyond the merits of this case and the legal work Amal does on behalf of humanitarian issues.

I'm really looking forward to seeing both interviews!

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by annemarie on Thu Jan 14 2016, 18:51

She is doing her job nothing amiss about it  the press coverage will reach many people who don't know about the case.
As much as I would love to hear about her and George's life together , I hope they don't ask about her private life. If she wanted to talk about it she would have done interviews by now. This should be about her client and her work.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by LizzyNY on Thu Jan 14 2016, 19:57

Annemarie - I think it probably will be about her work. "Meet the Press" is a forum for discussion of serious political issues. Asking her questions about her life with George isn't what they're about. I think they would be embarrassed to bring it up, as it really doesn't fit their image.

The questions on the "Today" show might get more personal, although I think they'll focus mostly on her work. If they wanted to pry into her personal life they would have assigned someone like Matt Lauer to do the interview.

Either way, it should be interesting.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by fava on Thu Jan 14 2016, 20:48

carolhathaway wrote:She had also done an interview about the Egyptian law system B G (before George):
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But fava,
I didn't know her B G as well. I think that's normal unless you were interested in her cases. But actually it's not to critisize (if you should intend to do so) that her cases get more attention now. I think it's positive for her clients
It wasn't a criticism.  It is a part of her job to raise awareness.  My point is that her colleagues--who do not have the high profile/name recognition of being married to a movie star-- would be unlikely to get a segment on the Today Show about the Maldives.  This is not her fault and, yes,  a lot of clients would chose her over another equally qualified lawyer because of the access she has to the media.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Jan 14 2016, 21:33

Fava,
I just wanted to point it out. Yes, Amal gets clients because her cases get a lot of attention by the medias. On the other hand there may also be clients who don't want that attention and so choose another lawyer / barrister.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by carolhathaway on Thu Jan 14 2016, 22:13

LizzyNY wrote:Annemarie - I think it probably will be about her work. "Meet the Press" is a forum for discussion of serious political issues. Asking her questions about her life with George isn't what they're about. I think they would be embarrassed to bring it up, as it really doesn't fit their image.

The questions on the "Today" show might get more personal, although I think they'll focus mostly on her work. If they wanted to pry into her personal life they would have assigned someone like Matt Lauer to do the interview.

Either way, it should be interesting.
Lizzy,
I'm not very familiar with your talk shows and their hosts, just seen a few on Youtube like Letterman (with George of course). We've got our own ones (which are mostly quite boring). So - as they didn't mention what they were going to discuss - I wasn't sure about it.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Thu Jan 14 2016, 22:46

Forty minutes ago:


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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by LizzyNY on Thu Jan 14 2016, 23:01

Carolhathaway - We basically have 3 kinds of talk shows : the daytime shows that are a mix of entertainment and news (leaning towards entertainment) - that's what the Today show is; the late-night talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show which are mostly entertainment and where stars come to plug their newest projects; the news-based shows like "Meet the Press" and Charlie Rose's show where they discuss and analyze serious issues and politics.

The kind of show a person is guest on can give you an idea of what kinds of things they'll talk about in their interview.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Thu Jan 14 2016, 23:04

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Transcript of the interview


and also on the Today programme tomorrow morning:

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Fri Jan 15 2016, 01:53

PAN, thanks for posting the interview.  It was as I expected.  Thought McFadden did a capable job and stayed away from specifically asking Amal about her marriage.  i liked McFadden's question to Amal about how she sees her celebrity benefitting her causes ... and used the comparison to Angelina Jolie.

Amal has such an elegant accent.  She is very poised and seemed very comfortable during the interview.

PAN, great article that you posted along with the video.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Jan 15 2016, 02:09

I think she's quite amused at how McFadden and also Lyse Doucet at the BBC phrase the 'George' questions but is so matter-of-fact and motivated about the causes that she just stays on the subject she wants to talk about. There's something on Today tomorrow morning too

Very focused but without aggression, or hesitation for that matter. Legal training I guess.

Seem to have two threads running on this............

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Sevens on Fri Jan 15 2016, 04:34

annemarie wrote:She is doing her job nothing amiss about it  the press coverage will reach many people who don't know about the case.
As much as I would love to hear about her and George's life together , I hope they don't ask about her private life. If she wanted to talk about it she would have done interviews by now. This should be about her client and her work.
I'm dying to hear she talk about her marriage life or any personal fun stories with George, but her professional interviews really show some of the reasons why George fell for her. Anyway, we can wait till some red carpet interviews she might do with George later in a few weeks.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by carolhathaway on Fri Jan 15 2016, 06:31

Lizzy,
thanks for clearing it up! I loved the interview Geotge had done with Charlie Rose, Charlie was such a good host. We have the same sort of shows on our tv - although we usually don't have interviews with just one person but discussions with a few with different opinions. So it usually ends in interrupting each other and some either staying with one argument that's almost finished or bringing up arguments that have nothing to do with the one that's discussed at the moment. That's mostly so tiring and exhausting for me that I stopped watching them.

I liked it that Amal stayed focussed on her case and the message she wanted to send. And that she said she doesn't see herself as a celebrity in the same way as Angelina.

The article is also very interesting and much more detailed. Was that the whole interview that was aired or just a short version of it?

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Fri Jan 15 2016, 12:27

carolh, I watched the interview on NBC last night and it was the same interview that PAN posted.  The interview that is planned for the Today show this morning is probably an expanded version.  McFadden may ask her more personal questions in this interview.  It's coming on in a few minutes.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 15 2016, 12:52

PigPen wrote:She's supposedly has been famous in Europe ( I say supposedly because I never read about her before she met Mr G) long before hooking up with The Man.  Now- seen in DC, tv interviews, Meet the Press.    Something sounds amiss.  JMO
Just to correct something: she's never been famous in Europe and it's never been said that she was. Maybe you've misremembered? The only thing that's ever been said about her 'fame' is that she was known in legal circles in the UK. That makes her a medium-sized fish in a very small pond before marrying George.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Jan 15 2016, 13:16

Here's the Today piece........

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Fri Jan 15 2016, 13:21

PAN you are on your game with these interviews!  Hot off the press!

Thanks for the post.  This version is a bit longer where last night's was probably abbreviated for time.  McFadden stayed away from the personal questions.  Good!  And I appreciated her remarks after the interview about Amal's commitment to her work!

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 15 2016, 13:29

Here we go:



Amal Clooney: The human rights lawyer on her reluctant celeb status
Amal Clooney has been practicing law at the highest levels for the past 15 years, and in 2014, she married one of the most famous bachelors on the planet, actor George Clooney. Amal sits down with NBC's Cynthia McFadden for TODAY in her first-ever network interview to discuss her important work, her marriage, and her newfound fame.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 15 2016, 16:29

There seem to be three slightly different versions of this video on the NBC site.  Here they all are, sorry for any dupes:


Most Americans think of the Maldives as a vacation resort destination — if they think of or have even heard of the Indian Ocean island at all.
But a political crisis is brewing in the country, and British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, 37, is fighting to reverse the political repression, human rights abuses and rising jihadism there. She's also raising awareness about what's happening.
"U.S. values are at stake. Democracy is at stake," she told NBC's Cynthia McFadden in her first American television interview and the reason behind her recent trip to the U.S. Capitol.



The Oxford-educated attorney was in Washington, D.C. earlier this week, convincing lawmakers to introduce a congressional resolution calling for sanctions against the members of the current government regime in Maldives.
"Democracy is dead in the Maldives," Clooney said. "I mean literally, if there were an election now there would be no one to run against the president. Every opposition leader is either behind bars or being pursed by the government through the courts."
Clooney is representing former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, who sits in prison because of a March 2015 terrorism conviction considered bogus by the State Department and the United States.

"I think it's important for tourists to know the facts of what's happening in the Maldives," she said. "I don't think people realize that there's a flogging taking place a kilometer away when they're sunbathing in their resort."
The fight for Maldives and Nasheed is nothing new for Clooney, who has spent the last 15 years pursuing human rights. But her work came under a global spotlight after her 2015 marriage to one of the world's biggest movie stars, and formerly elusive bachelors, George Clooney.
Clooney said she's been trying to steer that attention to the work she does.
"I think it's wonderful celebrities would choose to spend their time or energy or the spotlight that they have to raise awareness about these causes," she said. "I don't really see myself in the same way because I'm still doing the same job that I used to do before. So if there's more attention paid, for whatever reason, to that, then I think that's good."



Amal Clooney Discusses Latest Human Rights Battle in NBC News Exclusive
Fri, Jan 15
The high-powered human rights lawyer is using her star power to take on an out-of-control crisis in the Maldives, where her latest client went from being president to prisoner.



Amal Clooney Takes Maldives Human-Rights Battle to Washington
by Cynthia McFadden, Jake Whitman and Tracy Connor



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Amal Clooney meets with Sen. John McCain on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Jake Whitman


Amal Clooney, high-powered human rights lawyer and high-fashion Hollywood wife, swept through Washington this week — bringing the spotlight to a crisis in the Maldives, a honeymoon paradise where her latest client went from being president to prisoner.

The 37-year-old attorney is representing Mohamed Nasheed, who rode a wave of pro-democracy protests into office and led the tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean for three years before being forced out and jailed.

Amal Clooney Discusses Latest Human Rights Battle in NBC News Exclusive 4:04
Shuttling from office to office in the U.S. Capitol, Clooney won support for the introduction of a congressional resolution calling for sanctions against members of the Maldives' current regime until they free Nasheed, whose conviction and 13-year sentence has been criticized by the State Department and the United Nations.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, she took aim at political repression, human rights abuses and rising jihadism in the archipelago, where a $2 billion tourist economy is fueled by pristine beaches, blue lagoons and coral reefs.

"Democracy is dead in the Maldives," said Clooney, who has been doing human rights work for 15 years. "Literally, if there were an election now there would be no one to run against the president. Every opposition leader is either behind bars or being pursued by the government through the courts."
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George Clooney and and his wife Amal cruise the Grand Canal after leaving the Aman luxury Hotel in Venice, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. Luigi Costantini / AP

As the Oxford-educated lawyer met with Sen. John McCain and other members of Congress, she was all business. There was no talk about her husband of one year, activist actor-director George Clooney.

But sitting down later, she did acknowledge that her newfound celebrity — a blog devoted to her style choices noted she wore Dolce & Gabbana to D.C. — means more attention for whatever she does on or off the red carpet.

"I think there is a certain amount of responsibility that comes with that," she said. "And I think I'm exercising it in an appropriate manner by continuing to do this kind of work."

In an interesting twist, the Nasheed case has cast Clooney against another accomplished lawyer with a high-profile husband: Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

As international condemnation of Nasheed's imprisonment grew, Blair's firm, Omnia Strategy, was retained by the Maldives government to help "strengthen democratic institutions" and "promote a culture of respect for human rights."

Headlines focusing on the battle between the two women are a "distraction," Clooney said, but she dryly noted that "we don't see that there's been any improvement in the conduct of the government since they hired expensive advisors."

Blair and Omnia declined to discuss their work in the Maldives but the firm said in a statement that it "is intended to support the development of the rule of law in a young nation facing multiple challenges."
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Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed waves from a boat as he is taken back to Dhoonidhoo prison after a court dismissed his appeal against his arrest in Male, Maldives, on March 15, 2015.  Mohamed Sharuhaan / AP file

For 30 years, the Maldives was ruled by one man, Mamoun Abdul Gayoom, and during his tenure, Nasheed, a government critic, was jailed 20 times. Three years after returning from self-exile in 2005, Nasheed beat Gayoom in the country's first-ever multiparty elections.

The media-savvy new leader's positions on climate change and democratic reform won him praise from the West and the starring role in "Island President," a documentary about the Maldives, which are only eight feet above sea level, and the threat of rising waters from global warming.
Nasheed didn't finish out his turbulent first term, leaving the presidency in early 2012. The circumstances remain in dispute; the government says he voluntarily stepped down amid a crush of opposition, while he maintains it was a gunpoint coup d'etat.

Either way, he was soon under in custody and charged with terrorism for ordering the arrest of a judge during his time as president. U.N. officials blasted his trial as "clearly flawed" and a "mockery" of the constitution.
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Nasheed's appeal is now with the Maldives' highest court, but Clooney said she has no confidence in the judiciary, where a quarter of the judges have criminal records, according to a 2012 State Department report.

She said sanctions are needed to force the regime — now helmed by Gayoom's half-brother as president — to release her client, whom she is representing for free.

"Here we are a year later, and he still sits in prison," she said.

"And so we're calling on states like the U.S. to now use the tools at their disposal, including targeted sanctions — which means travel bans, which means freezing assets of those officials in the Maldives who are most responsible for human rights abuses."

The Maldives might have only 345,000 citizens and be nearly 10,000 miles from the U.S., but Clooney said what happens there next should matter to all Americans, not just the 25,000 or so that visit its shrinking shorelines each year.

It's on an east-west trade route and just 650 miles from the U.S. military base at Diego Garcia. And it holds the alarming distinction of having the highest per capita rate of ISIS recruits.

According to a U.N. report, at least 200 people from the Maldives have joined the terror gang in Syria and Iraq — the equivalent, Clooney says, of 20,000 Australians running off to the caliphate.

She notes that before the powers-that-be in the Maldives hired Omnia, Blair's partner in the firm, lawyer Toby Cadman, warned that the country risked becoming a "pariah state."

At the time, Cadman was submitting a proposal through his private practice to represent Nasheed. He branded the prosecution "a politically motivated show trial aimed at cementing further an already authoritarian regime" and said he saw "clear signs of a military dictatorship, rising Islamic fundamentalism and abuse of women in the Maldives."

Six months later, Omnia began advising the regime — which Clooney called "rather surprising." Asked how he could square his earlier criticism with his current representation, Cadman pointed to a statement that explained he based his pitch to Nasheed on information he now believes was "inaccurate.'

He declined to respond to Clooney's argument that democracy in the Maldives had worsened since Omnia was brought on board, but Omnia has said sanctions are unjustified.

"I have always maintained that this matter can be and ought to be dealt with before the Courts, and you will note the matter is currently pending before the Supreme Court," Cadman wrote in an email to NBC News.

The Maldives government did not respond to two inquiries from NBC News passed on by its U.N. mission in New York.
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Supporters of Mohamed Nasheed protest in the Maldives. Sinan Hussain / AP

Clooney has only met Nasheed once, during a September visit to the Maldives. Days before she arrived, her local co-counsel was ambushed and stabbed in the head. "It was actually a miracle that he survived," she said. Asked whether the attack could have been seen as a warning to her, she said, "I think that's a very plausible interpretation, given the timing."

"It wasn't the most comfortable position to be in, but I was determined to go," she said.
She said she was bringing that same determination to Washington, pushing the Obama administration to freeze personal bank accounts and ban travel by regime officials, without imposing sanctions on the Maldives itself.

"We know that the Maldives isn't typically on the top of people's to-do list, so we're encouraged that we got such high-level meetings with some of the people we're meeting today," she said before a face-to-face on Tuesday with Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y.

Then it was onto Sen. Chris Murphy, who raised some questions about whether the U.S. needs to apply sanctions more evenly across the globe, followed by meetings with Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey.
The next day, her team met with McCain, who promised her, "We'll go to work on it."

As they navigated the corridors of power, Clooney was joined by her co-counsel, Jared Genser, a veteran human-rights attorney and founder of Freedom Now, who has represented some 40 prisoners of conscience, including Nobel Peace Prize winners Aung San Suu Kyi and Liu Xiaobo.
Genser, who is also working pro bono, described Clooney as "just like any other fabulous partner."

"I think we make a great team. I think it makes it very difficult for the government of the Maldives to run away," he said.
Clooney said she's not going anywhere, either.

"We'll keep pushing until we get him released, which is what the U.N. has said should be done. We are not gonna give up," she said. "It could be still be a long wait ahead. I hope it's not. But we'll keep pushing."

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by What Would He Say on Fri Jan 15 2016, 16:42

Ouch low blow....Mr Nasheed, was worried about his island nation being submerged by water rising....no need...

His island nation will be deserted....no one will be there as tourism dies....

Bringing ISIS into this is not nice, it's a low blow....The Per Capita palaver only tells a portion of the story....geographical location, migrant work availability, transport connectivity as well as religion and the economy tell a more rounded story and  are  evident .....She is not that unaware....so it was used for the purpose the interviewer picked up on tourism....but she side stepped that one.....to make tourist aware....really???

When she was working for the King of Bahrain was she aware than less than a kilometre away people were being tortured....Just want to make her aware.....

It's good to have a Lawyer who will go to the extreme to have you released (Bringing ISIS to the party is extreme in todays world)......BUT as a George fan it shows me that she will go to any means to get a man out of jail....

What means did she use to get a man in to a life sentence???

My dislike of Amal continues....sad to say....

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 15 2016, 19:06

I'm particularly interested in this because I've lived in the Maldives on and off for 13 years.  A few thoughts from me:

-------------------------------------------------
Firstly, a super quick overview of the background to this as I see it: for just over 30 years, the Maldives was ruled by one man, Gayoom.  He achieved the status of dictatorship by the nifty system of simply banning all opposition parties.  At every election, voters were given two options: vote for his government or vote against it.  A vote against the government was basically an invitation to police harassment, jail sentences on trumped up charges or a person's complete disappearance.

Eventually, in 2009, Gayoom gave in to international pressure and allowed opposition politicial parties to legally exist.  About 22 different political parties formed as a result (this, in a country with a population of around 350,000!).  Not surprisingly, in the next general election, Gayoom's party lost the election. Nashid's party won.

Now, if you're thinking that Gayoom and his cronies (nepotism and cronyism is rife in the Maldives) wasn't a particularly great leader, you'd be right, although it's worth noting that under his regime there was economic security and the country moved away from religious extremism (due largely to the fact he pretty much outlawed major religious activities).

Nashid was a breath of fresh air, although it's worth noting he's no angel himself.  He too appointed friends and family to senior positions and of course - as with all politicians - there are questions about where millions of dollars that should be in government coffers have gone.  This however is par for the course in the Maldives and not really of great concern.  His legacy will be universal healthcare (funded by taxation - the first time Maldivians have had to pay tax) as well as mandatory pensions for all.  This may not sound like much but for what is effectively a third-world country, it's a big fucking deal that will undoubtedly improve the lives of the entire country for the future.  How many politicians can say that about their tenure in power?

Nashid's party didn't get quite enough votes to rule outright and had to form a kind of coalition with a number of other parties with wide varied (and sometimes incompatible) beliefs.

We all know the axiom that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Gayoom had absolute power for 30 years and wasn't going to give that up lightly [this is my interpretation of course].  It took a few years, but eventually in 2012 the pressure of holding together the various interests of the different factions in Nashid's party became impossible due to various reported scandals, religious pressure, economic woes other issues the government wasn't able to address.  Nashid was kicked out of government in what he described as 'at gunpoint'.  An interim government was formed without him and limped on for another 18 months until the next scheduled general election in 2013.

Gayoom is now an elderly man and not up to the rough and tumble of politics so he didn't run in these general elections; however his half-brother did.  And his half-brother won the election amid allegations (from both sides) of vote-rigging, bribery and outright thuggery.

Would Nashid have won the 2013 elections had he been able to run?  The answer is possibly yes, although probably not with nearly as much support as before.  Unfortunately he couldn't stand for election as he was already in prison following a nonsensical conviction for terrorism.  Yes, terrorism.  What did he do?  He (supposedly) ordered the arrest of an (allegedly) corrupt judge which was (probably) illegal.

In the last 12 months the country has descended into chaos.  Many of the people who came into power in 2013 (and by that I mean anyone who could represent a credible (or even in-credible) threat to Gayoom's half brother) are now under arrest, in jail or, ahem, 'travelling abroad' (ie: out of reach of the Maldives judiciary).  Many of these people it should be pointed out are/were on Gayoom's half-brother's own party and NOT the opposition. The vice president, for example, is in jail for the alleged attempted assassination of the the president (Gayoom's half brother). The minister of defence is in prison because they supposedly found a gun in his house. And so on and so on.

The sad thing is that this has riven the country in two.  While Nashid has a huge support base, Gayoom is also still greatly liked (something that the media don't like to mention).  I'd estimate that while Nashid has about 35% of the country behind him, Gayoom probably also has about 35% and the remaining 30% of voters are all over the place.  This means that there's unlikely to be a compromise solution.  No matter who comes to power, a big chunk of the country isn't going to be happy about it.

-------------------------------------------------
Now to my thoughts on Amal's TV interview:

I appreciate that in order to get her case heard, she needs to make a big song and dance about it because otherwise the narrative simply becomes 'human rights abuses in tin pot insignificant islands' which is a ten a penny story that has no interest for any newspaper or news programme and her strategy is to get the oxygen of publicity to her cause.  There are massive human rights abuses in just about every third world country around the planet every day that news makers can take their pick from.  So she needs to create a news story to catch their attention.  I'm just sad that she chose to do it by scare mongering.

I think it's not helpful to create a fiction that what's going on in the Maldives is of political interest to the US.  The idea that 'US values are at stake' is a load of old cobblers.  By definition, US values exist only in the US.  Even in my own country, the UK, US values aren't fully espoused (for example, we don't agree with the right to bear arms).  The Maldives isn't a country that shares historical values with the US and therefore never particularly had US values in the first place.  It isn't risking losing something it never had; rather, it risks moving further away from the western ideals of democracy and freedom.  This is of grave concern to those of us who know and love this country, but it's a fact that's true of a great number of countries around the world at the moment.

The idea that the Maldives, being in the same ocean as Diego Garcia, somehow may represent a threat is laughable.  Other, really rather nastier countries border that same ocean. Somalia comes to mind.  So does Sudan. So does Indonesia.  Yemen, Pakistan, Iran and (just about) Iraq are also all in the area.  It's a big ocean.  The Maldives as a country doesn't represent a threat to anyone (except perhaps to itself): whenever the Maldives feels threatened, they have to put in a phone call to India and ask them to send their navy over.  That's a fact, not humorous exaggeration by me.  Maldivians as individuals may represent a threat somewhere to someone (see the ISIS comments in my next paragraph), but the same is true of just about every country (and at least Somalis and Yemenis have form in this field!).

Yes, around 200 Maldivians have reportedly gone to join ISIS (the general feeling is that the majority of them are dead already) although to put that into context, around 700 Britons have joined.  What that has to do with human rights abuses to the ex-president of the country is beyond me, though.  More scare mongering.

Where I do support her is in her assessment of the 'trial' of ex-president Nashid which was a joke (I wouldn't even call the process that convicted him as a kangaroo court as that would give the trial a sense of justice and legitimacy it didn't have) and was done entirely to get him off the political scene.  

I like the fact that her team are calling for a travel ban for politicians and not a boycott of the country itself.  The Maldives depends on tourism because there is nothing else that brings in money to the country (other than tuna fish exports).  I can't stress how important tourism is to the Maldives.

Her statement about tourists should be aware that a flogging could be taking place on the island next to them is a little misleading.  The Maldives uses British law as its basis (which is why Amal would be qualified to practice in the Maldives should she feel like it) although it does have a side line of sharia law too.  It therefore happens that sometimes sharia law is used for religious matters and therefore floggings can be the resulting sentence.  It should be pointed out that often the floggings are either shortened, or (often in the case of women and minors) rescinded completely and not carried out.  There are no stonings, no beheadings, no hands/feet being chopped off and - although technically possible - no capital punishment.  It's fine to be aware that there possibly may be someone being flogged in the same country that you're holidaying in; to avoid the country because of that would be the same as to avoid holidaying in Florida because the state has the death penalty and there could be someone being killed at the time you're lining up to enter Disneyworld.

[irrevelant as this is, I feel right now that I should mention that I don't in any way support sharia law.  Largely this is because I don't support any kind of capital punishment/state sanctioned beatings or amputations and also because it's so unfairly applied: convictions are often made on the basis of someone's say-so and a bunch of 'witnesses' who could easily be lying through their teeth because they were paid off.  However, I also don't support countries telling other countries how to run themselves]

Finally, Amal said: "Democracy is dead in the Maldives.  Literally, if there were an election now there would be no one to run against the president. Every opposition leader is either behind bars or being pursued by the government through the courts."    Hmm, don't we all hate the misuse of the word 'literally'?  If there were an election now, there would be people to run against the president, although how capable they'd be of running the country should they win is debatable.  Although, given the current president isn't doing a good job, I think it's a moot point.  

More to the point, democracy isn't dead in the Maldives: I think it's never been fully alive in the first place.  In my opinion, Maldivians - like many people new to the concept of democracy (and it seems to me, Republicans) - never really appreciated the full meaning of democracy to begin with.  They understood the 'one person one vote' concept, but didn't get on board with the fact that once the voting is over EVERYONE has to abide by the winning party, whether you voted for them or not.  This is an issue many countries are facing at the moment and isn't unique to the Maldives.

This country is a mess, and really doesn't need to be.  Is there a solution?  I really don't have one.  Sorry.


Last edited by Katiedot on Fri Jan 15 2016, 19:38; edited 1 time in total

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by annemarie on Fri Jan 15 2016, 19:26

I think like all lawyers Amal uses what she has, she isn't doing anything new. She also has a co counsel who she works with. They are both on board with what she has to say he even stated they make a great team. As for her bringing up Isis this was actually said when they released a statement after her visit to the Maldives. 

I think George fell in love with Amal for her intelligence , class sense of humor and caring nature which he has spoken about. He also wanted that life sentence and signed up happily for it. As he said himself he knew early on that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Amal.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Jan 15 2016, 19:37

Great article, Katie. Thank you for your insight

My understanding of the situation at the moment there from a political standpoint is that sharia law is very much on the increase given the absence of a decent opposition.

And they're in the unenviable position of dealing with the current political situation AND the huge threat of global warming. I really hope they were represented at the latest Global Forum in Paris 

I wonder how it is in an everyday sort of way...... if for example you got a speeding ticket what would happen? Or would you have to be on a boat for that!?

Well, if nothing else, at least Amal has highlighted the Maldives and its dilemmas to the wider world.........we are all aware now to a greater or lesser degree. Not before time, I think

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 15 2016, 21:00

party animal - not! wrote:My understanding of the situation at the moment there from a political standpoint is that sharia law is very much on the increase given the absence of a decent opposition.
 Hmmm, that's not really my reading of the situation.  

The way I see it is that islamic extremism, along with the associated increase in reliance on sharia law, is on the rise across the whole of the muslim world anyway.  The whys for this are many and too complicated for my little mind, but in short, the Maldives is only echoing what's going on in the wider world.  The only thing with the Maldives is that because it's such a tiny country, small changes can have a very quick effect.

Secondly, in order to gain power, the current government (Gayoom's half-brother) has had to make alliances with a number of politicians they wouldn't normally work with, including very strong islamic parties.  Sadly, you can't put the genie back into the bottle and now the politicians supporting conservative muslim causes have got their teeth between the bit, it's next to impossible to get them out.  

Remember religion works pretty much the same around the world: in Islam, just as in Christianity, the more religious you are, the better a person you are seen to be by the general public (just in general of course - there are always exceptions).  And, to use an example from the west, if many politicians are seen going to church or invoking their religious beliefs regularly, the ones who aren't, are viewed as possibly being less decent people and this can affect the votes they get.  This then leads to a spiral where, if being seen as being religious is good, everyone has to be seen that way and then in order to again stand out from the herd, each person has to up the ante and be seen as being even more religious.  Obviously this is a wide, wide generalisation, but you see what I mean.  Likewise in islam.  So the pressure is on everyone to make that lurch to becoming (at least in public) religious or more religious than before.

This is true of any characteristic that's considered by the voting populace as 'good'.  It's no coincidence that there are more non-bald male politicians in power than you'd statistically expect: we associate good looks with being a good person [as much as we would wish otherwise, scientific test after scientific test demonstrates that people considered good looking are also considered to have more positive traits].  Of course we can all think of many examples that go against this and that's because the correlation between good looks and being a good person is only weak and it's not hard to break the trend (although I wonder whether anyone as obese, short and bald as Winston Churchill was would ever make it far in British politics today).  However the link in many peoples' minds between being religious and being a good person is hard to break, so while it's possible for an ugly person to run in politics and succeed, unfortunately in a political environment where religious belief (or apparent religious belief) plays a role, it would be much harder for an obvious non-believer (or wrong believer) to succeed.  And there the Maldives in in a bit of a bind.  In a holier than thou atmosphere, there's not really much wiggle room for anyone moderate if they want to succeed.

party animal - not! wrote:And they're in the unenviable position of dealing with the current political situation AND the huge threat of global warming.
 Colour me sceptic, but I'm not convinced that the rising of the oceans is going to wipe out the Maldives.  This is because the coral reefs making up the islands is also growing because it's a living organism.  It's a complicated thing, but aerial surveys of the islands shows that they can grow as well as change shape.  Several islands were reported as being a little higher following the 2004 tsunami which dumped sand on them as it swept over.  So for me the jury's out on that.  Countries such as the Netherlands and the UK are however totally fucked when it comes to rising sea levels IMO.  We can't barricade our long shorelines against the sea, and in the case of the UK, the east side of the country (already low-lying) is sinking because the landmass that Britain is on is tilting with the east going down and the west rising up.  We're talking milimetres a year, but still, over time, it's a problem.  

party animal - not! wrote:Well, if nothing else, at least Amal has highlighted the Maldives and its dilemmas to the wider world.........we are all aware now to a greater or lesser degree. Not before time, I think
 So true!  I just hope that it doesn't gain a reputation internationally for being a politcal disaster, environmental disaster and hotbed of islamic extremism because that would be to miss the glories of what is truly a wonderful country.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by annemarie on Fri Jan 15 2016, 21:13

I would never have known of the problems in the Maldives, I simply looked at the pictures and thought what a beautiful paradise. No where is perfect except maybe places untouched by man we bring the problems.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Jan 15 2016, 21:47

Great to hear that the coral reefs are surviving, Katie. So very different from the Barrier Reef where a third has been lost in three decades due to very high temperatures - due to, of course, climate change! And a lot has been lost in the Pacific due to deep sea mining.

Did you ever get to see Simon Reeve's BBCtv - all-encompassing! - documentary
series on the Maldives. It's a must!

And your last paragraph? I think they need some really really good PR. Or to get their act together for the good of everybody - and then get some really good PR!

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Fri Jan 15 2016, 22:01

Katiedot, it was great and really informative to get your take on the political situation in the Maldives.  You've had lots of experience having lived there.

I personally have no reason to question Amal and Jared Genser's handling of this case.  She and her co counsel have been working on it for some time now and have firsthand knowledge of the political situation as it exists currently.  If Amal and Genser have exaggerated any facts I'm sure it's to help their client.  But the U.S. and the U.N. have spoken out against Nasheed's imprisonment.  And I have also read last year somewhere that ISIS had a presence there.  Of course they are in many places around the world currently but nonetheless it's a valid observation in describing the upheaval of the political system in the Maldives.  

I am not a lawyer and can't speak to the legal side of their case.  Amal and Genser are privy to information that we are not. They are building their case.  Both lawyers have a lot of legal experience and I trust they know what they are doing to present the best case they can for their client.

Katiedot, thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this tiny island.  At a glance it looks like quite a beautiful place to vacation.  Did you enjoy the times in which you lived there?  Did you get to enjoy the beaches or were you working all the time???

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Katiedot on Fri Jan 15 2016, 22:19

party animal - not! wrote:Did you ever get to see Simon Reeve's BBCtv - all-encompassing! - documentary series on the Maldives. It's a must!
Yep, I met him as he filmed for a couple of days on one of the islands where I was working. I was sorry to miss the rest of the series though.

Donnamarie wrote: If Amal and Genser have exaggerated any facts I'm sure it's to help their client.  
Oh, I don't disagree with that. I'm just sorry that they've chosen the route they have to get attention though. It paints a misleading picture of the country and while it may help their client, it doesn't help the country he hopes to represent. Something of an own goal in a way, I think.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by LizzyNY on Fri Jan 15 2016, 23:42

Donnamarie - Don't forget that she's a lawyer. It's her job to do what she feels will bring a favorable outcome for her client. That can involve being very selective with the facts and skewing the truth to your advantage. It isn't lying, it's just interpreting the facts to your client's benefit.

Katie, I just wanted to thank you for your insight into the situation. I'm thinking Amal might learn a thing or two from you. Your boots-on-the-ground experience of living there and being an impartial observer have probably given you a much better insight into Maldivian problems than she's getting from her legal briefings. - You lead such an interesting life!

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Sat Jan 16 2016, 00:21

Lizzy I agree. She and Genser are defending their client and they want to set the tone so that the facts look favorable for Nasheed.  I am sure that both lawyers did their homework on Maldives' political history when they took on his defense.  

It will be interesting to see if the lawyers' visit to Capitol Hill will have any positive effect.  They obviously want congressional action to institute sanctions on the country.  With the state of inaction currently the case in Congress not sure much will happen.  But at least Amal and Genser "got the word out".

Katiedot I still want to hear about your time in the Maldives.  The beaches look tremendous.  Did you indulge in this tropical paradise?

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Hebe on Sat Jan 16 2016, 00:44

Personally I think that it is extremely important that human rights abuses are highlighted throughout the world. Thinking about the Maldives does bring images of paradise to mind. It is beautiful and tourism is very important for the economy and for employment etc but the political state is also very important particularly to the population. I don't think it is acceptable that a political leader and his supporters can get rid of opponents so that they have an unchallenged claim for political power. That is corrupt. Surely the people of the Maldives deserve better. 

I believe that Amal and Jared Genser know what they are doing and they also have the backing of the UN and Amnesty International, who I have great respect for. They are looking at the situation from a human rights perspective and that informs the work they are doing.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by party animal - not! on Sat Jan 16 2016, 17:40

Wow! Now this is interesting.............just announced.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

........in the UK

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by LizzyNY on Sat Jan 16 2016, 17:54

PAN - I guess they're trying to save face as much as they can after Amal painted such a bleak picture of the situation. The threat of sanctions is, I'm sure, bothersome but the loss of tourism if people begin to feel the Maldives are unsafe would be a real problem for them. Cherie Blair's team probably advised them that this was a move that would reassure people and spruce up their image.

I wonder if Amal will advise Nashid to stay in the UK after his surgery?

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by carolhathaway on Sat Jan 16 2016, 17:58

I guess Nasheed won't return to the Maledives after he had his surgery because he would be imprisoned again. So that's the way the government can concede the claims of the UN, Amnesty International and his lawyers without losing face...

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by Donnamarie on Sat Jan 16 2016, 18:20

Timely move by the government. Hmmmm....

Good news for Nasheed.  If he doesn't return what will that mean?  Does Nasheed want to continue the fight?  Does he have extended family there who could be in danger if he doesn't return to serve out this sham sentence?  He could never go back to the Maldives.  Is that a sacrifice he would be willing to take?

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by annemarie on Sat Jan 16 2016, 19:12

Really good questions Donnamarie , I can't imagine leaving my family and friends.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by LizzyNY on Sat Jan 16 2016, 20:38

There's also the issue of integrity. If you believe in the rule of law isn't it hypocritical to ignore the law to protect yourself? They said a condition of allowing Nasid to get his surgery in the UK was that he agreed to return afterwards and finish serving his sentence. Granted that he was unfairly imprisoned but shouldn't he keep his word and keep fighting through legal channels?

I can absolutely understand if he decided to stay in the UK, but what would that say about him? And what would it say about any legal advisor who encouraged him to break his word and ignore the law? Not passing judgement, just wondering.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

Post by melbert on Sat Jan 16 2016, 23:23

I was wondering the same thing Lizzy.  His wife and children are already in London, and he would have NO reason to go back to the Maldives after his surgery, except for that little pesky "conditions" clause.  If that is their strategy, I wouldn't want them as attorneys.  But, on the other hand, with that kind of "justice" in the Maldives, maybe he'd be better off leaving everything behind and making a new life in the UK.  Amal and George can sponsor him.

Another thought.  With all the "haters" out there (against George and/or Amal), what kind of damage will this somewhat shady transaction do to George's career?  If he's a part of it (or even considered a part of it through his marriage to Amal),  will more of his fans turn against him?  The ones on the fence could abandon him.

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Re: TV interview with Amal Clooney on NBC

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