For many of us working in the anti-genocide field, one of the comforting facts of life is that the other side does not have a pro-genocide lobby. It used to be a joke of sorts, something we would say to each other to make us feel better about work that can feel intractable and slow-moving.
After all, who in their right mind would represent a genocidal dictator? Well, now that question has its answer: Bart S. Fisher.
Mr. Fisher—a literal K Street lobbyist who also serves as a senior advisor to the CITIC Group, a state-owned investment company by the People’s Republic of China—has agreed to represent the Government of Sudan’s interests in D.C. for a fee of $20,000 a month.
As you might imagine, this move is being met with a lot of dropped jaws and outright anger. The Washington Post reports the backlash from Congress:
Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), a longtime critic of the Sudanese regime, attacked Fisher in the House and during a news conference this week for agreeing to work for “a genocidal government” that “has blood on its hands.” He also said he suspected the administration may have issued a license to Fisher because of the lawyer’s past campaign contributions to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats.
“I don’t know how Mr. Fisher sleeps at night,” Wolf said on the House floor Tuesday.
In a feat of mental gymnastics, Mr. Fisher claimed he is not a lobbyist, but rather simply a lawyer representing a client…for their interests relating to the U.S. Government. You know, kind of like a lobbyist.
Sudan, which still holds a prominent spot on the U.S. state sponsor of terrorism list, has displaced more than a half million people this year alone due to another round of brutal attacks on its own people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile—attacks which included aerial bombings on civilians. Untold numbers have been killed, and Satellite Sentinel Project has found evidence of at least eight mass graves.
Join us and our friends at Act for Sudan in a protest tomorrow, Friday, December 15 from 11 am – 1 pm outside of Mr. Fisher’s office at 700 12th St NW, Washington D.C.
Email Martha Boshnick for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Tukuls and other structures in Abyei burning, when the town was occupied by the Sudan Armed Forces and northern-aligned armed militias in May 2011. (Enough Project)