Mer, Kabila, the Congo, Dan Gertler and… Rudi Guiliani… and then There’s Magnitsky
This opinion is written following a brillliant article that came out in Buzzfeed on December 30, 2020 and should be read in the context of that article entitled:
A Secretive Company Needed To Convince Washington That Congo’s Election Would Be “Free And Fair.” It Found A Friendly Ear Among Trump Allies.
A BuzzFeed News investigation, based on thousands of pages of documents and more than 100 interviews in the US, Congo, and Europe, provides a first-ever look inside Mer’s aggressive campaign to influence the Trump administration and serve Kabila’s interests. It shows how such efforts can shape foreign policy in ways unbeknownst to both the public and senior government officials, through meetings and phone calls that leave few witnesses and little trace of the private influences involved.
In this case, the most powerful nation in the world swept aside authoritarian abuses — even when many of its own top diplomats thought such a decision flew in the face of US interests.
Despite all the promises that Kabila’s proxies made in Washington that year, Congo’s election, ultimately held in December 2018, was neither free nor fair. Citing voting data that leaked after the election, international observers said that it was brazenly rigged in favor of a candidate with whom Kabila had struck a secret power-sharing deal. Kabila would officially step down, but he would still command Congo’s security forces, his allies would still hold top Cabinet positions, and his party would still wield a legislative majority.
Within days of the election, the leaked voting data sparked protests across Congo. Heads of state in Europe and Africa called for an international investigation. The US echoed the denunciation.
Mer’s efforts in Washington looked doomed.
But a month after the election, in January 2019, the Trump administration suddenly dropped its objections and instead praised “Kabila’s commitment to becoming the first president in DRC history to cede power peacefully through an electoral process.” The decision to reverse course came from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, BuzzFeed News has learned. But it shocked veteran diplomats and rank-and-file State Department officials who had crafted the initial policy. And it put an end to the international coalition that was forming to examine the election.Read the Buzzfeed article in its entirety here.
Let me refresh your memory, on November 7, 2019, in a follow up to an article I posted on November 6, 2019, I published an opinion piece entitled “Dan Gertler and the OFAC Sanctions – Someone Had to Have Been Negotiating with Glencore” wherein I corrected the record as to dates from the previously posted article and presented my theories. The relevant corrected dates of that article, however, only serve to substantiate my theory, that there were a series of well-timed announcements, one corresponding though seemingly unconnected to the other and all subtly buried in a haze of smoke and mirrors. Then came the pandemic and any modicum of an investigation into the activities of the relevant players fell to the wayside.
I maintain that there were lobbyists behind the scenes negotiating on Gertler’s behalf with respect to the Magnitsky Act Sanctions and corresponding payments from Glencore allegedly due to Gertler. Gertler’s proven connection to Kabila providing a backdrop. In 2019 I did not complicate matters, however, by adding in the Congo/Glencore connection because I had fully intended to fill in that piece at some future date. Suffice it to say that the sanctions were imposed upon Dan Gertler (and his related companies) by the United States for his mining activities and human rights abuses in the Congo. While both the US, for formality’s sake, and Gertler and his associates now deny the allegations of abuse that triggered the imposition of the sanctions, The Africa Report, Global Witness and Bloomberg to name a few, have made direct and undeniable connections between Gertler and those abuses. They have also directly connected Gertler to Kabila and Kabila to Gertler. While they have not necessarily tied Gertler to Kabila’s reelection, or rather re-positioning of power, the connection is largely undeniable; and we maintain the whole show was being negotiated by Guiliani and/or his associates and Mer.Continue reading