CONGO STORIES: Battling Five Centuries of Exploitation and Greed

– Well good afternoon. I’m Dan Benjamin. I’m the Director of the Dickey Center, and I want to thank you
all for turning out. I know that when the
sun comes in springtime in the Upper Valley, you
need automatic weapons to get people into auditorium, especially when the former head of the Council of Economic
Advisors is speaking across the green, but
you will have the reward of knowing they’re far
more morally righteous for being here. And I welcome you and I’m
glad you could make it for this event with John Prendergast. It’s been a while since
I did an introduction without any notes whatsoever, but John is such a good and old friend that I will wing it. Sometimes good friendships
come out of infernal places. I first met John while I was
working at the White House, not necessarily an infernal place, but I was a speechwriter
and he was working on Africa and then I moved over to
work on counterterrorism, and we worked in a very
strange office suite together. And it was strange because
someone had done in that suite what had not happened anywhere else in the old executive office building. They had put in essentially a loft. The very high ceilings
almost as high as these and they had decided
that what they were doing was far too important and therefore they couldn’t go short on personnel, put in a loft so that they
could cram more people and work them really hard. The person who did that was
a guy named Oliver North and John and I worked in
that suite for at least a couple of years together, and that was a great experience. He was bringing peace
to Ethiopia and Eritrea. I was trying to keep the United States from suffering another terrorist attack and in the few minutes
we had free each day, we socialized and compared our misery. Anyway, we’ve been friends ever since. I think John’s post government experience is fairly well known to all, but just a rehearsal. He worked for the
International Crisis Group. He helped establish the Enough Project to draw attention to and
do whatever could be done to stop the genocide in Darfur. He has written numerous books,
articles, been in movies. He’s I think still famous
for being the man who took Angelina Jolie to Africa. And he’s just done an
extraordinary job in terms of drawing attention to any
number of different appalling humanitarian situations
and doing his level best to make them better. He now has a project
together with George Clooney called the Century Project,
which I’ll let him tell you more about, but it
has to do with doing the financial forensics on bad guys and getting them out of power in Africa. He’s just written,
co-written I should say, a terrific book called Congo’s Stories with photographs by an
obscure photographer named Ryan Gosling. And it’s always just
a tremendous pleasure. We had John here five years ago and we told him we had to
wait till everyone graduated and then we’d have him
back as soon as we could and we made good on that. So anyway welcome John Prendergast. (audience applauding) – Thanks Dan. I really have beautiful fond memories of our time together when we first started and I was a wide-eyed,
this was my first shot at working in government, and I came in, everybody told me, I had to get my hair cut, and not knowing where anything was, and Dan just the steady hand, somebody who understood
where how to get things done, and he would take the time to talk to me and listen to me and I
learned a great deal from him from day one, and I will
always be grateful for that, and continued to watch your career evolved with interest and awe in terms of difference the
diversity of experience and interests that you have. So thank you for having me here. I started out to write a book about Congo, and about this country in Central Africa that had suffered all these
terrible depredations, a place I’d spent a
great deal of time with, I had to spend a great deal of time with over the last 35 years, but it ended up being a book just as much about all of us. About how we are crazily connected without knowing it to this country deep in the heart of Africa. About how we and our ancestors here in this landmass of North
America are deeply responsible without knowing it for Congo’s
multi-generational crisis. About how we in America are more dependent without knowing it on Congo than Congo is on us despite
giving billions of dollars of aid over the course
of the last few decades. Most importantly about
how deeply empowered we all are without knowing it to work in solidarity with
all of the Congo’s upstanders. The folks that are
working on the frontlines to bring change, to change
the trajectory of that country going into the future. So, the crux of what
we try to talk about it and it took me a while
to put all this together and understand the enormity of it is for 500 years Congo, the image that Congo evokes for me is that of a vampire’s ball. Human traffickers, kings,
colonists, presidents, tycoons, bankers, mining
magnets, arms dealers, mineral smugglers and elephant poachers, all have colluded with Congolese leaders to loot the people and
the natural resources of that extremely rich country. So, that dependence on
Congo that I talked about us having began all the
way back in the late 1400s and early 1500s. Portuguese arrived on the shores of what is present-day Congo and soon after within five years, they’re
deep into kidnapping and enslaving people and
beginning to ship them across the Atlantic in the Middle Passage in this sort of expansion of
the transatlantic slave trade. The need for labor on the
plantations of the new world drove the dramatic expansion of that transatlantic slave trade, and it ended up that one
quarter of the people, who were enslaved in the
American South on the plantations were from the territory
that is presently Congo. So, I’m gonna take us through quickly just little data points over
the course of this 500 years starting with that beginning when the Europeans first landed to demonstrate to you how
directly dependent we are and how much we have benefited from the connections to this
country and the people there. So, we’re gonna fast
forward now to like the mid sort of the second half of the 1800s. Today one of the omnipresent
products is plastic. Plastic is in so many different
things that we use everyday. At the time in the mid to late 1800s, sort of the high-end
version of plastic was ivory and the biggest tusks,
elephant tusks in the world were elephants in the Congo, and so you had this surge of exploitation driven particularly by the Belgians and Portuguese to slaughter the elephants and bring that ivory to America and Europe for the purposes of our
various domestic industries. Joseph Conrad wrote the Heart of Darkness after having spent time as a ship, a little riverboat captain
on the Congo River. So, the horror that he was writing about was mostly driven by
his personal experience and what he had witnessed in the context of this European madness with respect to dramatically violent
exploitation of the ivory, because not only did they
have to kill the elephants, but a lot of the ivory was
possessed by local communities, and they would go and burn the villages, kill people and take the ivory out of it. So, let’s fast-forward again. I’m going to address this very quickly because of time the late 1800s. The inflatable rubber tire is invented, and it facilitates and supports
the dramatic expansion, development and expansion of the American and European automobile industry. So, the global demand
for rubbers for the tires for this industry had
dramatically increased, and so, at the time,
Africa as we all know, was an assortment of colonies colonized by numerous European countries. The Congo was the one case,
where it was colonized and owned by an individual. In this case the king of
Belgium Leopold the Second, and he unleashed because
it was in his power, the Belgian Army on the Congo to organize and extract with slave labor
and extremely violently rubber for the, because
Congo had the second largest naturally occurring rubber
tree population in the world after the Amazon, and so surge of demand
equaled surge of exploitation, and the estimates by
demographers is that maybe 10 million Congolese people
perished in the context of this operation that went
on for a couple of decades of mass extraction of
rubber by the Belgian King to service the American and European automobile industry’s growth. Let’s fast-forward again to World War I, where suddenly the demand
for weapons systems dramatically increased in
the response to the war, and copper was the main element in almost every weapon system. Somebody wrote at the
time you can’t kill people in large numbers without copper, and of course Congo had the
largest naturally occurring deposits of copper in the world, and so you had another
surge of especially European but also American corporate exploitation of the copper production
and export from Congo, where slave labor with
people chained to their necks going into the mines for servicing American and European companies
and their demand for copper for the war needs. Fast-forward again to World War II. Albert Einstein writes a letter to President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt saying, we are probably going to lose the race to the atomic bomb to Nazi Germany, unless there’s dramatic changes
in what the United States is doing to try to develop the bomb. And what resulted from that
we all know was the project that led to, name escapes
me now, Manhattan Project, that led to the development
of the atomic bomb, but you needed uranium to power that bomb as the main ingredient and
Einstein told in this letter, told Roosevelt if you didn’t already know, 99% of the world’s uranium that is usable for an atomic bomb was
in one mine in Congo. And so the race was on. Everybody knows about the
Manhattan Project story. Very few people know about
the story of this deployment of a CIA unit to consolidate
control of that mine in Southern Congo and despite
the fact that Belgium, which now was the colonizer of Congo after the death of the king, Belgium took it over. That Belgium was overrun by German troops, but the colony remained
allied with America, and other parts of Europe allied forces, and decided to, so
there was a time element that was saved allowing the CIA to drive the, to take
the uranium out of there. Of course the Congolese
people who were forced to mine the uranium weren’t told that this was radioactive material. Tremendous health
repercussions generations experienced afterwards, but the tons of these
were brought to the shores of the Atlantic and crossed the ocean, and German submarines firing
took down a quarter of it at the bottom of the ocean now, but eventually the uranium made it back to the United States
and the rest is history. So we can fast-forward again. The aftermath of World
War II and the Cold War and instead of the Germans
competing with the US, and some of her European allies, it was now the Soviet Union. The Soviets wanted their
slice of the uranium and other important minerals from, raw materials from Congo. And so in the context of
that superpower competition, Congo was a major point of
contention between the two. The United States President Eisenhower signed an executive order to assassinate the Congo’s first prime minister, first democratically
elected prime minister. The country had recently
become independent, and they had an election and Patrice Lumumba was the victor. He came elected on a
very nationalist platform saying it’s not fair that
we have to give up all of our resources to the West. We need to make more
equitable arrangements. He played footsie with the Soviets’ vision to dramatically alarm the ambassador and other folks paying
attention to this situation, easily convinced the
President of United States to issue an order to kill him
and Belgium the same thing. They got to him for before we did, and Lumumba was kidnapped
and assassinated, and the US then moved in and supported a colonel in the army, a
guy called Joseph Mobutu, who later changed the
name to Mobutu Sese Seko and he became the president
for the next 30 years, and became for his
acquiescence to European and American commercial arrangements became one of the richest
people in the world. Then we fast forward again, leaving aside many stories
about gold and diamonds and other things, we fast
forward to the late 80s, sorry the late 90s, and now
we’re getting into things that all of us are very familiar with. Most of our electronics
products, our telephones and computers laptops and video
games and digital cameras, all that stuff, the technology
was advancing dramatically in the 90s and the late 90s, we started to see the
prices of the raw materials going in these because the
demand had grown so tremendously, the prices started to jump. Very quickly in the aftermath
of the genocide in Rwanda, they were unfolded in the
neighboring country of Congo. Very complicated, we can
talk about it in the context of the discussion if you want, but the war didn’t start
because of the valuable minerals that were located in the
soil of Eastern Congo that suddenly became wildly more valuable because of this rapidly increasing demand for these electronics
products all over the world, particularly in America. But the Armed Forces that
were fighting the war in Congo realized the territory they were fighting on top of was the real prize, not whatever their issues
were that brought them there. And so what followed was a feeding frenzy. Eight or nine African countries dove into the morass within Congo. The war what was dubbed
Africa’s First World War and many commercial interests
behind them internationally, and we estimate or the
one major study done on, because nobody cares enough
to do more than that, of deaths as a result
of that war in Congo, the estimate is around
five and a quarter million. So, it makes it by far the
deadliest war in the world since World War II, and highest rates of
violence against women, sexual violence in the world, highest rates of child abductions, all these different worse of categories, driven in large part, not
caused but driven in large part, and extended and exacerbated in large part almost primarily by the incredible greed behind the demand, the growing demand for these raw materials that go into our electronics products. And then we fast-forward
again to the present just for the purposes of sort of understanding what’s going on. And today’s automobile industry
making its bet on the future of the electric car, which is
powered by the lithium battery which has as its main ingredient cobalt. 65% of the world’s cobalt
reserves are in Congo. So as we stand here
today and sit here today, little children are in these mines digging and servicing the international
demand for cobalt. So, you have this I think
relatively unparalleled history 500 year history of massive exploitation, that benefits in America and Europe and to some extent now
China and other places, but that’s not the whole story. Congolese are battling back
against this sort of tide of injustice and exploitation
to change the equation in the narrative and to
change this legacy of greed and repression and state looting. So, I’d like to present
just a series of quickly, a series of rays of hope. So, on the ground and the book talks a lot about the Congolese who are
upstanders we call them, who are standing up against this historical tide of exploitation. But their efforts because so much of that, so much of the cause
of the plight of Congo is driven by external demand, they need external partners. They need change in policies. They need change in corporate
behavior for their efforts on the ground to completely
alter the situation and the future of their country. So, I’d like to talk for a few minutes about some of those changes. Some of the rays of hope
that are occurring today and just sort of random 10 quick points, and then we can open it for discussion. The first sort of ray
of hope I think is that in last year and these
are just sort of again in and of themselves
probably not sufficient for anything really major to change, but when you put them
all together you start to see the alteration of a trajectory, but Congress was considering or a couple of members of
Congress who cared enough about Congo put a little
bill in the hopper. And it was a bill that
was an attempt or desire to send a message to the, at the time the President
of Congo Joseph Kabila said, if you try to change the constitution and run for a third term, basically becoming or
attempting to become president for life, there are
going to be significant and serious repercussions
that the US Congress is going to be on record and say no there will be sanctions,
there’ll be all kinds of different consequences if that occurs. So as soon as the bill was dropped, was put into the hopper, the K Street lobbying firms phones lit up because the Congolese government started paying these image launderers in DC to start to lobby Congress
against this bill, and spent millions of
dollars paying these entities that have of course
former members of Congress working for them to go
talk to their old buddies to say why don’t we just
slow this thing down. And despite this and against
them was bringing a few Congolese activists in
the Diaspora to Washington to talk to members or to go to their local and a few human rights
groups and faith-based groups and student groups,
different student groups from campuses around the country, that was basically the
coalition that sort of supported the bill and pressed for it. And it ended up having a vote, and we were really actually worried that if it didn’t pass, what a message
that would send to Kabila? Like the Congress usually
standing up for human rights on these kind of things
just completely capitulates and lets it go, and it
ended up the Congress voted for the bill 374 to 11. So, I think, it hired
Alan Dershowitz and hired, you know Giuliani of course was involved, because there’s money and
we’ve got all these people just kind of parade against it and the Congress did the right thing. So, that was a nice little ray of hope. A second one, so Kabila
the President of the Congo, second ray of hope, Kabila,
not the ray of hope, he specializes in state looting. His old regime is designed
to capture institutions, the institutions of
state and repurpose them for private enrichment. Him and his family his network, the generals that maintain the
repressive state apparatus. That’s what state hijacking
sort of has come to mean and not just some of these
longtime war-torn African countries, but also places
like Afghanistan and Syria. And so, you need your
international partners to be able to steal and
externalize the money. So, Kabila’s main commercial partner in the international system is an Israeli diamond dealer named Dan Gertler. And Dan Gertler, friend of Netanyahu would buy these, Kabila would sell, the state of the Congo
would sell to this character some mining concession for nothing, just the smallest amount of money. Clearly a sweetheart deal and then suddenly six months later, you’d read about that Gertler had now sold the same concession to
some major mining company like Glencore for billions of dollars. And then what you wouldn’t
know about is that he would then take the
money give part of it to Kabila, part of it
to some of the generals who were keeping place intact, and his business partners
that were laundering the proceeds of corruption through the international financial system. A pretty sweet looting
machine they had established, which was stealing
billions of dollars a year. So, it turns out that
the Trump administration named an undersecretary of the Treasury, primarily whose job title
is Undersecretary for Counterterrorism and Illicit Finance. And this person Sigal Mandelker
had to be senate confirmed, but once she was, because there was no Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. The Trump administration
decided they didn’t need one, and so she became the acting number two in the entire Treasury Department. Arguably the most powerful financial institution in the world. Her background, her parents
are Holocaust survivors, and she believes very
strongly that she wants to use this position she now has to advance human rights. This is not the president’s priority, but it doesn’t matter,
because she has a great deal of authority on her own. Treasury Secretary
Mnuchin has deputized her to lead on a whole bunch of things. And by and large she’s able to do it. We talked at length and we
turned over droves of evidence on this guy Dan Gertler’s
financial dealings with Kabila and these fishy deals and
showed how they were directly linked to mass corruption
and war crimes in Congo, turned evidence over to
the Treasury Department and to banks, and she and her colleagues and the Trump administration decided to sanction Gertler. They didn’t just do one
sanction against one person. They undertook what’s
called a network sanction to sanction an entire network of people and corporate interests who are benefiting from whatever that issue is. In this case it was Gertler, his main business partner, also International and
33 of his own companies. And this shut him down almost immediately because the banks didn’t
want to do business with him, because if you get caught
evading sanctions these days, over the last decade, the
US Treasury Department has a demonstrable record of massive fines against these banks for sanctions evasions usually for counterterrorism
and Iran issues. So he was immediately cut
out of the international financial system and you
have to imagine your own self and how would you or your whole family operate without being
able to access a bank. You couldn’t act as your, if you had money in the bank
you couldn’t get a credit card, you couldn’t get a loan. You’re literally working solely in cash and hiding your cash. So the people that know now
that you can’t do anything but hide your cash, know
you have that money. And so he immediately said I’m not gonna pay any of my debts anymore. So, of course the Glencore
and these other major mining companies start suing him, and then they’re suing each other and it’s total chaos. Kabila sees all this. His main partner who for 20
years or whatever it’s been that had been robbing this country blind, and now this guy’s completely
discombobulated financially, and Kabila is on the
precipice of whether or not he’s going to run, try to illegally alter the constitution and run again. And he pulls back, is it a coincidence? I don’t think so. Third ray of hope is the
Department of Justice. This is now Treasury’s
doing what I just described. Justice has now opened an
investigation in Glencore, the second largest mining
company in the world for its money laundering, potential money laundering
and bribery in Congo for these mining deals that
they’ve been involved in. So now we’re talking about
a criminal investigation. The fourth, a number of the
well most of the global banks, we started targeting our
research and investigations on the bank that the President
of Congo at the time, Kabila and his brother set up, and we found that they
were a money-laundering, they weren’t a bank that was opened up, so hey let’s make financial
services available to the Congolese people. No it was a bank that was open to launder the stolen money of the Kabila family. And we showed and demonstrated
physical evidence of that, but luckily we also found
evidence of Hezbollah doing business with this Bank, because often when there’s a corrupt bank that is getting away with
a lot of money laundering other unsavory characters
come and do business there, and so we had evidence of that. So, as soon as we presented that to the number of the global
banks that we all do our business with, they shut it out and cut it out of the international financial system. They weren’t able to access US dollars, death sentence, for a bank. So, these are again severe and serious financial repercussions to the essence of this kleptocracy. The fifth ray of hope that a number of, so Europe, number of European
countries importantly because a lot of these kleptocrats who are stealing money,
externalize it in the form of buying mansions in Europe, and sending their kids to schools, the best schools in Europe and externalizing, their
families all live there. So, a number of high-level
officials were sanctioned got visa sanctions so they
weren’t allowed to travel to some of these European countries that they have been
putting their money in. So this makes it hard
when you can’t travel to the place where all your money is, and so it’s just yet another small, but point of small consequence but serious to those people who are experienced. And the sixth ray of hope is that Congress again some years ago, I’m
bouncing all over the place, Congress passed a little amendment to the main bill that we’ve
all heard of Dodd-Frank that was specific to Congo, and it basically required
companies who were selling, listing themselves on the
New York Stock Exchange or any of the other US exchanges to reveal where they were
sourcing their minerals from for their phones and
laptops and other products that these minerals that
were coming from Congo, where they get them from and what they were doing to mitigate the very negative consequences of what was happening in Congo. So this had a tremendous
impact on the policies of these countries. We found that whereas 10 years ago or so, every one of the mines,
the UN concluded big study, every one of the mines in Eastern Congo was controlled by an armed group. So, wherever that happens, you had high mortality rates, you have skyrocketing violence
against women and girls. You have again child abductions, all those kinds of horrific
human rights abuses. And fast-forward to last year when another major study was done, eight years or nine years,
say maybe seven years after the the bill was passed and 18% as opposed to 100, 18% of the mines were
controlled by armed groups. Still long way to go but a
major difference had been made and you had so the eighth ray of hope. The biggest rebel group in the entire East and Central Africa at the time, was a group called M23, backed by Rwanda. Rwanda which was, the Rwandan government which was exploiting
these natural resources more violently than any other country. And used this rebel, this militia group because they weren’t really rebelling. Their purpose was natural
resource extraction, and that at the time was the most violent and largest group of rebellion in Africa. Today, it doesn’t exist. Like once you change the
commercial incentive structure, you can no longer make money
from violent extraction of these minerals that
were going into our phones and laptops, tin, tantalum and tungsten were the three minerals going into these, that are the three main minerals going into our cell phones and laptops. Then you couldn’t make money
off of violent extraction. Then why would you keep doing it? So they disbanded, gone. Ninth ray of hope is
that the main commander of that M23 of that rebel group, a guy whose nickname is the Terminator. He had done so many things, is now in The Hague facing
charges for war crimes, and crimes against humanity. What will happen to that case is unknown but the idea that this
person who held sway over large swaths of the country and did so much incredible human damage is now sitting in a dock
somewhere in the Netherlands facing international justice it’s a start. It’s a point of possible hope and then tenth and finally, Kabila the president
I’ve been talking about, didn’t end up changing that constitution and he didn’t end up running, but he did, so then he
tried to pull a Putin and he put a sympathetic character from his regime, his actual
national security adviser, and ran him in the election, but the guy got so little support like he couldn’t have even
pretended that that guy won. Because it would have led to mass protests and tremendous repercussions. So Kabila pulled a fast one. Gotta give a dictator
credit when they innovate, and he figured out let
me find one of these opposition people and
make a deal with him, and say that he won and then, but he’ll be pliable because
he got the job because of me and I’ll still behind the
scenes, behind the curtain be the Wizard of Oz. And so he managed to convince the son of one of the great opposition
figures of all of Africa, the son of Tshisekedi to be the, to basically accept that
he won the election, even though he didn’t and he is now the president
of the country now. We talked a little bit earlier (mumbles), we were like there are places in Africa where this kind of scenario is unfolded in the last few years, where a cabal, a kleptocracy has, or a relative authoritarian regime has attempted to mollify
international and domestic critics by placing a different person in power and replacing the sort of old guard with someone who appears to be new, believing that they could
control that new person. We’ve seen that in Ethiopia
and Angola particularly, and we’ve seen those new
people begin to innovate. So, there was an opening and they stood up and
tried to take advantage of that opening and it
was hard for the old guard to stop some of this from happening. Still work’s in progress. So right now we don’t know. Will Tshisekedi be one
of those kinds of people that takes the opening and
presses forward with reforms or will he just be another
one of these people that just goes along for the ride, makes his billions, not millions
in Congo you make billions. And does the bidding of
the sort of the existing kleptocratic cabal. It’s still too early to tell, but we’ve seen a little bit of change. I think these are sort of signs of hope. They’re seedlings for the
potential transformation. You can’t change 500 years of history, so I spent the first half of this talk talking about how deep this goes. Like it’s not going to
change with one election or one change in power, that the roots are much
deeper to be uprooted, but as the beneficiaries us, all of us, and consumers of Congo’s exploitation, we are all linked to that country and we can all play a role I think in supporting the forces for change. My life I’ve been lucky enough
to be part of some things. I got to be part of the peace process that Nelson Mandela led in Burundi, when I was working with
Danone in the White House, and saw a country that was in
a war that everybody thought was unstoppable, to be stopped. I saw that Nelson Mandela
was the mediator in that war in his own past and own history, when we were working together
on that peace process, he would tell me these stories of how he, when he was in Robben Island was so infused with hope when
he would hear the stories because the guards would let
him have newspapers and stuff, when he would read about
the American and Europeans, especially American,
especially young people, who were mobilizing in support of the anti-apartheid movement. And I was telling him that I
had been part of those things and he was saying like you have no idea, he said, your actions
didn’t change South Africa. What we did changed it, but you gave us hope, you gave us solidarity and support, and that meant a lot to the
movement within the country, and the movement the
folks that were in prison and it really affected me at the time, because I thought the little
things we were doing back in the United States and
I was in my early 20s, mid 20s, we felt self-righteous
a bit about it all, but what impact was it really having and here’s the icon of the
whole anti-apartheid movement saying you know what a
group of students did half a world away mattered to him, and mattered to the movement, mattered to the effort and I
thought that was remarkable. The blood diamonds
example is also one where students fed up with the idea
that the diamond industry in America and Europe, the
demand for these precious stones was helping to fuel this horrific wars in West Africa and Sierra
Leone and Liberia and Angola, and they stood up and
did all kinds of that. I was part of that one too to try to change the situation and eventually it led to
an international treaty that filtered out blood diamonds from the international market
and within a couple of years those countries all three
of them were at peace. I mean it was complicated
stories each one of them, but the main gasoline that
was being poured on the flame that was there, the embers let’s say that were there already was removed, and once that playing field was altered, the local forces were
able to change things and all three of those
countries are somewhat functioning democracies at peace today. Again these are dramatic
and incredible things I think that could
happen to Congo as well, given the right alteration
of incentive structures. For five centuries, the story of Congo has not been a pretty one, but I think with folks
like us in this room, that together we can change that story. So, thank you very much. (audience applauding) Oh yeah. – Terrific story. You were telling the
students a little before about your own move
towards the forensic work from the Enough Project. And I thought maybe it’d be interesting for more people to hear about it. – Yeah so for years,
I’ve worked on in support of all of the things that
we know and understand to be the central pillars of
international crisis response. When there’s a war that breaks out, I work on Africa but
this is pretty standard all over the world. When there are mass humanitarian needs, or there’s major human rights issues, usually the sort of mix of responses, peacekeeping forces we deploy, billions of dollars a year we
spend on these peacekeepers. Usually a mediator or two, maybe an envoy. Somebody to talk to the parties to see if there can be,
gaps can be bridged, and humanitarian assistance. All necessary as part of a solution, but not sufficient. All dealing with the
symptoms not the cause, of the causes of the conflict. And to nobody’s surprise would there be, should it be that these
conflicts continue. Sometimes they get resolved
for a minute like South Sudan has a year where they don’t fight and then the war erupts again, because no one’s even talking about the main drivers of the war nor addressing them. So they’re left untended. So we spend billions and billions
of dollars on the symptoms and don’t touch the causes. So I was part of that. I worked in the UN and worked for a nonprofit organization,
NGOs, humanitarian groups, human rights groups,
Congress administrations. And in support of these,
this dominant model of crisis response and found
with very few exceptions that are exceptional cases to be my 35 years in this work to have been mostly a failure. And it took me a while to conclude what I read recently Socrates, wrote 4000 whatever years ago that all wars are about money. That’s what he wrote. Okay pretty simple. What does it mean? I mean these like what
I’ve talked to you today about what’s happening in
Sudan, what’s happening in South Sudan, in
Central African Republic and all of the wars that I mentioned, fueled by the blood diamonds,
all these conflicts, we could make a case that if
you look at the root cause, it’s unchecked greed. That the state institutions
have been hijacked by a small cabal of people and their commercial collaborators for the purposes of personal
enrichment and use of, and that money some of that money is spent on building stronger and
stronger security institutions in order to smash any opposition, whether it’s militarily in
the context of civil wars or repression in terms of popular dissent or political parties or whatever. And so this is the nature
of a violent kleptocracy and if you don’t deal with that, why would it change? The incentive structure
is so loaded in support of mass corruption, because
there’s no consequence. The incentive structure is so loaded in support of the use of extreme violence, rape as a tool of war,
village bombings of others, because there’s no consequence. I mean we’re asking people we go and talk to these leaders and say it’s in your interest to change your behavior, why? It’s not, it’s in their
interest to continue to do that because no one’s doing
anything to stop it. So, the one principle
vulnerability these kleptocrats have is that they don’t hide
the billions and billions of dollars they’re stealing
under their mattresses. They internationalize them
in US dollars and euros into the international financial system. They buy real estate. They form companies. They have stuffed bank accounts
in banks that we bank in or in banks that our
banks correspond with. And because they are doing
that in US dollars or euros but principally in US dollars, the US Treasury Department
whenever a crime is committed with the US dollar, basically
has jurisdiction over that and can take action if it
wants to freeze or seize those assets and work with the banks to shut those people out of the international financial system. So, our idea is if you want
to impact the calculations of someone who’s willing
to commit genocide to stay in power, then you’ve got to find their vulnerabilities. Encouraging them to do the
right thing is ludicrous. Shaming them is irrelevant. You have to address their interests, their core interests and alter
that incentive structure, alter their cost-benefit analysis because right now their
cost-benefit analysis is flashing green. Why shouldn’t I genocide this population? Who’s going to do anything to stop it? Who’s going to do anything? What consequence will I aside
from a UN Security Council resolution deploring the
violence at the strongest, if Russia doesn’t object. So, I think it’s financial. So you go after their money. You find their finances. Their money’s in all
these different accounts and real estate and their
kids are going to schools, the best schools all over the world. Their families are living
large and you see it. It doesn’t just require that we hire all these financial
forensic investigators. The first place they go is Facebook because these people just they
lavishly spend their money and put it on social media. So you have all this evidence of okay here’s whether they have all this money. It’s inexplicable how they got it, because their dad’s making
$30,000 a year officially. That’s a politically exposed person. That’s unexplained wealth. That’s a signal for a
bank red lights flashing what are you doing we’re investigating if you don’t and if we then
come and bring evidence to the bank and say you
didn’t look at that. And we go to the Treasury Department, they can be fined and I
said the fines can read billions not millions. So, they are like, we don’t
care about these people. These banks don’t care. Yes they’ve made some money off them but it isn’t like the fines
that the Treasury Department do, so they’ll just shut them right out. So this is our strategy. That’s what the centuries about is, developing the evidentiary chain that links these
kleptocrats with war crimes, and then tries to create a
consequence for those crimes, and use that those
consequences as leverage for changing policy,
changing the government’s decision-making process
at the negotiating table, and the way they deploy their
security services etcetera. So, that’s the idea. – So years ago, when
we were in government, you and I worked with a
woman named Mary McCarthy, who was the Head of Intelligence, and she and I had a conversation once, and I said what do you think is a bigger problem for the globe? International terrorism or
international organized crime? And she said no question,
international organized crime. It is a much bigger problem. And so I’m curious if you are tracing back your findings into sort of international organized crime networks,
oligarchs in different countries, things like that, and what
you do with that information? – Yeah well– – And I want you to do it carefully because I want to invite you back. – (laughs) So yeah if they
thought we were teaming up together, they would be
very worried and confused. I think that the good news is that most of these kleptocratic
machines emanating from, looting machines that emanate from Africa have gotten away for so long. That’s why I was so
obsessed with this Congo in 500 years, like they’ve just done it, and they’ve never faced the consequence until like literally the last few years that they were very
sloppy and uninterested in the kind of sophisticated
levels of deception that for example the
Iranians had to undertake in order to try to continue to operate in the international financial
system when the full weight of US financial measures
were coming down on them as part of the process leading
up to the nuclear deal. So they never had to do this. So, they haven’t integrated
with some of the big organized criminal network, the
laundromats that we read about. They really just steal and
work with their local banks, their regional banks, who then put it, shift the finances into real
estate and other products and pay for, like they don’t, they never really had
to hide it until like literally in the last year or two when we started coming for them. So, we have not, now a number of, as I mentioned that
Hezbollah case earlier, a number of these opportunistic
networks, terrorists, and drug and other kinds
of criminal activity, ivory smuggling and trafficking,
human trafficking networks will use the same money
laundering trajectories that some of these folks pioneer. So when we catch that
information that’s good because that interests lots more people who otherwise wouldn’t
be really interested in a place that is just
about a human rights issue. So we are always on the prowl for seeing when those linkages occur, but by and large they’re principally they’re pretty simple
strategies of wealth hiding and wealth extraction
and wealth offshoring. – So, the good news is you’re
getting the low-hanging fruit? – [John] Yeah. – These guys are not the
most inventive criminals. – [John] Haven’t had to be. They could be and they
might be in the future, but they haven’t had to be up till now. – And the nexus with
war crimes, atrocities. So, years ago I went to
Nigeria for a paid speech. John and I were comparing
notes on how few people are interested in hearing
either about terrorism or about atrocities in Africa
anymore in the age of Trump. – [John] Thanks for coming by (laughs). Last few remaining people who care. – I know who care about these things. So, anyway I was invited by,
to give a speech in Nigeria, and I went and was kind of astonished by the lavishness of the
life in the immediate circle of the governor of that
state, who had invited me. And I felt really guilty
about my participation in the whole thing, but if he
hasn’t committed a war crime, if he’s just your average
corrupt princeling there or governor, you’re not going after him. – The eleventh ray of hope I see is, so, you could probably tell the story better about what happened in Russia, but a series of
unfortunate events occurred where some major-league
corruption in Russia was exposed and then the people that
exposed it were killed, and blah blah blah and
eventually the gentleman who was key informant on
standing up courageously to talk about this horrific corruption who was killed, became sort of a symbol and the US Congress and
Member of Parliament’s guy called, Serg, I think. – [Dan] Sergei Magnitsky.
– Sergei Magnitsky. A bill called the Magnitsky
Act was passed about Russia that would allow the United
States to impose sanctions on corrupt officials and whistleblowers and connections, the
confluence of human rights abuses and corruption. And then the Congress is
like, this isn’t enough. We got to go global with this. And shortly thereafter
another year or two after it took actually a couple of
years for enough co-sponsors to be generated, but the
Congress passed a bill at the end of 2016, which is interesting to the end of their session in 2016, called the Global Magnitsky
Act, which allowed, the bill would allow
for sanctioning people on the basis of this interplay
between mass corruption and human rights abuses. Then the problem was that
the Obama administration wasn’t able to create the regulations associated with the passage
of the bill to implement it fast enough before it ended. So, the Trump administration came in and many of the architects
of the Global Magnitsky Act, we were one of the groups
that worked very hard on it thought that now that the
president had to sign this and it was all about
corruption and human rights, like he wasn’t going to do it, and I don’t know if he
auto penned it or what, but the operating
implementation regulations that were developed, the executive order, sorry, that was developed
in association with the bill went way further than the bill. Like it’s a fantasy for
human rights activists and anti-corruption activists. So, in the case of the Nigerian governor like the Global Magnitsky
provisions authorities would allow for someone
like him or any kleptocrat where the evidence is accrued
regards of involvement in human rights abuses to be sanctioned. – But if he’s just a pure
crook, just criminal? – He could be sanctioned. – He could be?
– Yeah. – Okay good, well there’s hope. – Good stuff right? – May not be another
speech there but okay. So, let’s open it up to the audience. Please wait for a mic so that posterity hears your question. Right here. – [Participant] Thank you for
an educational afternoon here. I’m interested in the
role of China in the Congo and particularly in comparison
to the role of Russia in the Congo and I’m
wondering in the case of China is there corruption and the exploitation evolving with Chinese, and how do you compare that, the Chinese to the Russian interests? – Yeah so, with China it’s interesting because a lot of folks are
focusing on China’s role in Africa see this mineral,
raw material resource natural resource gobbling machine heading to the continent and making all these deals
with corrupt dictators that pay no attention
to human rights issues or environmental issues
or labor standards. And they’re like wow this is new and I’m like again as the story just told, China is just the latest
entrant into the free for all for natural resources in Africa. China’s had an interesting
mixed record in Congo. So, on the one hand, they
signed a big deal famously maybe six or seven years ago. I’m very bad at timelines, in the 10 billion dollar range where the idea would be
that they would invest in infrastructure and blah blah blah and plenty of payoffs to senior officials in exchange for access to mineral rights, to mineral rights a variety of
strategic minerals that they, China wants to secure
reserves all over the world. This is just normal policy for them. That deal came under tremendous scrutiny and criticism because it was so opaque and so obviously full of possibilities for mass corruption. The IMF came down really hard and Congo had to renegotiate
it to their consternation because it was a big payday
for Kabila and the seniors and his network and they had
to go back with their tail between their legs and
go back to the Chinese and forged a deal. So the thing went down from
like 10 billion to six billion still the same essence of the deal. So that was some years ago. The evidence so far is that
China is very dissatisfied with the situation. I mean it’s so corrupt and it’s so hard to and the infrastructure is so bad, they haven’t been able to
monetize their investment at all in terms of any kind of profit, and on the other hand, the Congolese, there’s growing dissatisfaction
on the part of local populations throughout
because of course China brings in their own labor and
so there isn’t really any added value to communities. The infrastructure they promised
has already fallen apart. The roads, the buildings,
bridges things like that. It was very poorly, they’re just the cheapest
materials and stuff like that. So you’re starting to see this. We’re gonna see this more and more. There’s gonna be backlashes
across the continent against China’s model of development, and so, but again it’s
not wildly different. I don’t need to see this like
morally inferior to anything the US or Europe has ever done. But they’re just the
latest and they got cash, so they’re in big and
they want those minerals, but Congress been so hard,
the obstruction, the barriers to access, easy access to those minerals are so multifaceted because of
the history I told you about and everybody, there’s
layers at the very top who want a slice of everything. Just make deals complicated,
more complicated than they need to be. So they’ve had a lot of trouble. In the east with the minerals
that go into our laptops and cell phones it’s a different story. So China everybody when we
started pushing that bill in Congress some years ago that ended up being part of Dodd-Frank, everybody’s like ah
you’re wasting your time because the Chinese will
just buy all the minerals. All you’re gonna do is
penalize the American companies and European companies. Well it didn’t happen
because China wants to live, they want to sell to American markets. They want to list on the stock
exchange with the companies and they want to be part of, they want to do business. So they have basically
complied with all the rules like they haven’t been circumvent, I mean there’s little
things here and there. There’s wild cat companies all the time who try to circumvent
the certification process for the minerals there, but China’s playing by the rules just as much as everyone else is and so they haven’t been a
major actor in that situation. So it’s interesting. Russia on the other hand I mean I don’t, honestly it’s getting worse
by the day in my view. I’ve very Draconian view of Russia’s role in Africa at this point. I mean they’re such a
small economic player, but Putin wants to
project Russian influences and Africa was of course
a great playground for the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and he’s on the warpath to get back. And so his strategy largely involves the deployment of these
paramilitary contractors like the Wagner group and
other groups of that nature, and they are mercenaries, but they get there, play
their tune from Moscow. So, they in exchange for
these dictators basically, these authoritarian states
where lots of natural resources in exchange for, but
you’re seeing the regime through these private mercenaries,
semi private mercenaries, from Russia, they get mineral rights. So they are not even buying them. They’re not even investing. It’s just a pure will help
support you stay in power for the rights to make money, and it’s fast money too. Like let’s get in, let’s exploit,
let’s smuggle, let’s sell. It’s not let’s invest in
infrastructure and build up the capacity for mining
and rising tide lifts all boats and pay our taxes and do that. No, it’s the worst of the worst
style of the kind of money. (participant talking off mic) Yeah I mean if they can sell arms to, but I would say a lot of
countries are trying to do that. The unique thing that Russia
does is this private control, where you’ve got seasoned
veterans of Chechnya in our counterinsurgency, to come to your country and support you, dictator X to stay in power
and deploy and support and repress and undermine opposition, and give them communications technology that helps them eavesdrop
on civil society, all the kind of things
the insidious nature way of conducting operations
to repress independent or opposition voices. It’s a very frightening I
think sort of development, and Africa’s always got to deal with these external problems and here’s another one. – So a quick follow-up. There was a time not too long ago when the US actually really enforced the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And once in a while would even use really sensitive intelligence
to make the case against foreign companies that were engaged in some of the activities
that you just described, particularly some of
the Chinese activities. Do we just never do that in Africa because it’s not a high
enough collection priority? Because it’s not a high
enough political priority? What’s the deal? – Yeah I think that’s the answer. I have not been part of
an effort to encourage that because we just found
it to be so beyond our, yeah so that’s my guess as
to why it’s never happened. – If the mic is still over there, is the mic still over there? Have you given it back? One to our Ambassador Halwell and then we’ll move over
to this side of the room. – [Participant] Yes John a lot
of what you’ve talked about seems to be very contingent
on the role of individuals in the US government in key places, such as Treasury and Justice. I’m just wondering how
you view the strength of our institutions these days, given the proclivity of our president? If individuals change, we’ve
seen it in other departments, that when there’s a change in personnel often the inclination to
do the right thing changes. – Yeah, well coincidentally
yesterday I was with, at Harvard with the
person who coined the term I think originally upstander. Samantha Power in her book, what is it? – [Dan] Problem From Hell. – Problem From Hell about
genocide and about people in the system who stood up over the years, and even the midst of apathy or ignorance have tried to make a difference. So that’s what we’ve been
finding like all these people in different departments
who are highly motivated to make an impact that they’re joined they went into government service because they’re trying
to make the world better and like it sounds all cliché, but there’s governments fool those people, Washington DC’s fool those people and the people believe and we had forged a quite an alliance with Samantha’s successor Nikki Haley. She became a real fierce
advocate of this stuff I’ve been talking about
today and then she’s gone. And now we got a like
wait to see who’s gonna, and then oh the person
they were gonna name, I got in there, and but
then she didn’t get named, and now it’s, I don’t
know, this Fox News person. So, I don’t know what’s happening, but you just keep looking
and keep searching for allies and people come to you. It’s like the whistleblowers
and the deep state and all that stuff. People like really want
to do the right thing. Want to make a difference,
want to be constructive, and I have yet to have the day where the pessimism outweighs the optimism because there are so many
people who want to try and the one thing we
benefit from I think is that the president and the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor, they don’t seem to focus
at all on these issues. If they were, I don’t
know what that would, how that would alter the equation, but folks at a level below are able to move things in a way
that is constructive, and so we’re just gonna
continue to push that. – Thank God for limited bandwidth right? Over here thanks. – [Participant] You mentioned
the situation in the East, and at the African Studies
Association Annual Meeting last November in Atlanta,
on one of the Congo panels, one researcher who’s been
working there for many years argued that one of the
reasons we didn’t see an end to the militia activity
and to the conflict was because Kabila didn’t
care about the East, since he couldn’t derive any benefits from the minerals there. And I wondered if you could speak to the, what has happened to the role of Rwanda since M23 was defeated, disbanded? And are these kinds of
efforts that you’re making vis-à-vis Congolese officials,
can they be equally useful vis-à-vis Rwandans that are
perhaps involved in the export of these minerals. And then a separate question is who are your allies in Congress? I think it would be helpful
for us to know which people there are ones that we might want to be encouraging in what they’re doing? – Great, okay professor I think Rwanda is such a complicated story. How could we even
possibly in a short time, but in a nutshell to
wildly oversimplify things, Rwanda saw as its forces were
deployed in Eastern Congo to disrupt and try to defeat
the remnants of the folks, who perpetrated the genocide started in 1996 their deployment to the, their invasion of the Congo, to the Rwanda’s invasion of the Congo, morphed rather quickly I think into a, not only a regime change operation in the western part of Kinshasa, where they overthrew Mabutu, but then also a resource pillaging, smuggling operation of
enormous proportions. Rwanda I would say a very high percentage of its economic miracle
was funded by the looting of the Congolese state. In fact the most I think
you will know this well, but the most, the sort of
nicest neighborhood in Kigali, the wealthiest neighborhood in Kigali is nicknamed Merci
Congo, say thanks a lot, because this is how we made our money. And so it’s, that the
way they fooled people of course could be Kagame is that, he’s also strong anti-corruption advocate. He’s managed the resources of the country quite remarkably well,
relative to other governments in the region and historically, and has shrewdly played international political game, volunteering for kind of counterterrorism thing
and every peace keeping, always being the first in line so that everybody’s like our pal Kagame, he’s our man in Africa. And meanwhile they’re butchering hundreds of thousands of people literally. I mean it’s crazy, like it’s crazy story. And so but it’s largely
not fully appreciated, and so Kabila’s frustration you mentioned about not being able
to or the person at the African Studies meeting wasn’t able to, was saying that Kabila
wasn’t able to monetize the raw material wealth in East because Rwanda and Uganda had carved off their sphere of influence. But Kabila wily as he is over the years, backed certain militias
and certain ethnic groups and has cut himself in to a great deal of the wealth generation
from Eastern Congo especially in gold. I think the easier to smuggle,
the more he’s been involved the harder to smuggle
where you have to like tin and where you need
major logistical operations to smuggle stuff out, you had
to have a proximity counts and Rwanda right there with
their ready-made rebel group the M23 and their infrastructure, land and air was able
to extract and monetize that quite easily in the context of war, and so, it was only when
Kagame just went too far, where this M23 was just
creating so much havoc and they’re killing peacekeepers and like, it’s just humiliating to the Americans and Europeans at some point. Like their buddy is
causing so much trouble and now they were trying to keep it quiet that it was their buddy but
then it’s like everyone, all these human rights groups are writing and journalists are saying this is a Rwandan organization folks. This is not a Congolese group please. Anyway so it just became
so untenable after a while, so the combination of the Dodd-Frank bill where suddenly the
commercial interest changed with the embarrassment that the US felt about their primary ally in Africa, butchering people in Congo and funding this kind of mass smuggling, so finally the Obama administration acted and said we’re just gonna cut
you off and threatened him. Look he’s a ballplayer, he’s not gonna, he knows which way the wind’s blowing. Okay walked away, M23 (imitates explosion) like a, what do you call
those big helium balloon just nothing inside it, once the Rwandans walked. And once there wasn’t money to be made. I think anyways that’s a
wildly oversimplified story, but I think it’s accurate. And so today, I don’t remember that. So the interest, Rwanda is
still pecking around now. They’ve gotten into gold because again gold is easier to smuggle. So you’re starting to see
a lot of smuggling activity going through Rwanda now. Rwanda’s numbers are suddenly
going up like Uganda’s went from like zero grams of
gold to massive tons of gold like, hey we’re doing
good this year you know, and there’s all kinds of
regulations about not, so now we caught red-handed the big, the smuggler that was
working through Uganda. We got all the evidence on him and it’s Africa, it’s Uganda,
it’s gold, like who cares? And then suddenly we found evidence that that same smuggler he’s a Belgian guy, which we love and he’s been
buying Venezuelan gold. Yes, so now everybody cares
and the Trump administration, they’re like, what? Who is this? Give us the evidence. We’re gonna smash this guy. So, it’s just great. So, he’s been profiting
for years on human misery literally decades and he’s
actually prowling around with Rwanda now trying to
set up a refinery in Rwanda. After he set up one in Uganda, just a real miserable character. So now that we got him
on the Venezuela stuff, I think his whole operation is
gonna be turned upside down. They’re really, they’re
prepping to go for it. So, Rwanda’s interest is just
continue to try to extract, but to do it in a way that
isn’t so publicly damaging for their own image. – [Dan] And who in Congress should we be– – So the great thing
is I’m terrible at it, because the revolving door of, I remember, I just saw a buddy of mine, who was an intern with me in 1986 in some Washington. And we used to sit on the roof of it, and we knew every 100, all 100 senators and what they did and so I can’t
remember who’s who anymore. But, in fact what I ought
to do is we can afterwards give you and my staff, we have a congressional relations department, like is all over these people. And there are a number of
senators and Congress people, who both sides of the aisle
and they just keep changing like some of the old stalwarts
that have over the years been had been the great champions of Africa are either dying or retiring. And new ones come up and they get involved and work in support of things. In terms of the
presidential candidates now just in case you never know
who’s going to get hot, but Cory Booker is probably
the one that has invested the most and learning about
the situation in Central Africa and sponsoring legislation and working. So, I think he’s been a quite
a champion of African issues. But there are many people. And I prefer to get you
a good comprehensive list rather than just kind of getting a few right off the top, and we can, I have to resolve, to make sure I can
write to you about that. – One final quick question. Can you wait for the mic? – The impact on the environment with all of this fighting and
the exploitation of wildlife in the land and so on, do
you see any hope at all? For consciousness among in that region for being respectful to the environment? – So, there are a few really,
just writing them down, so I don’t forget, really
kind of high profile or really horrific impacts
from this exploitation model that impact the environment. The first one would be
trafficking in wildlife, particularly ivory still
because those elephants continue to be the source
of major exploitation and other lesser-known animals, and so the kind of activity
that we’ve been talking about, the financial tracking,
the follow the money model of creating consequences
for the exploitation of raw materials applies as
well to wildlife trafficking. So, we work closely with a group called Center for Advanced
Defense studies, C4ADS. And we share information
and when we find stuff about wildlife trafficking,
since they’re a leader in that we give them to and when they
find stuff on the humans, who are stealing, they give it to us. So a number of these trafficking networks have been disrupted, but it’s still like drugs,
profit is there, it’s going, but there’s increasing efforts, there’s a consensus or whatever reasons bipartisan around this
that we ought to do more. So, you’re seeing more
resources going into the effort to combat wildlife trafficking. The second one is more
of a regional problem, not an international one,
but it’s the cutting down of the forests for charcoal. And the Congolese forests are fodder for the charcoal industry throughout East and Central Africa. And it’s a devastating business, and it’s all criminal networks and gangs. Some of them known to us like the FDLR, which was the remnants of
the group that the militias that committed, who were the foot soldiers of the genocide in Rwanda. And the Lord’s Resistance Army
and other unsavory characters of that nature got involved in the charcoal trafficking business. So, there are all kinds of
efforts that are being undertaken to try to counter that, which
would take a while to describe but rest assured there is, but
it’s a losing battle so far. And then gold has a particular, because of mercury when
it’s the way you find it and what’s the word? I don’t know the terminology around it, but anyways that there are tremendous negative environmental repercussions around the use of mercury
in gold excavation. And so trying to find
alternatives and educate miners is an example of some of
the external interventions Congolese and NGOs and
international ones working to try to educate folks
on alternative ways that aren’t so harmful to the environment. And there are probably many, many others. I’m not an environmental person, but there are many, many
other aspects of the problem that you’re asking about, and there’s lots of groups
that are working in Congo on environmental restoration issues, but it is a thumb in the
dike of the tidal wave. Again the word I used before,
the phrase I used before, unchecked greed comes
to mind in this regard. There’s just so much money to be made on the exploitation of the environment, and so little invested in countering that. That it’s you have to be
very smart and strategic in how to try to disrupt those networks that have been primarily responsible for environmental degradation in Congo. – Okay well, we’ve
reached the witching hour, so, I want to thank you all
for coming out and thank John. (all applauding)

One comment on “CONGO STORIES: Battling Five Centuries of Exploitation and Greed”

  1. JennFlProfile Updated says:

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