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US Sanctions Darken Internet in Congo

By       Message Georgianne Nienaber     Permalink
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On January 15, a group called "Scholars Are Eastern Congo" sent an Open Letter to Ban-Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, urging that that the United Nations consider bias inherent in the GoE report.

September 28, 2012-The Lobbying Effort Against Rwanda, a Congressional Hearing, and the Tax Exempt Group

Lobbying by Facebook
Is This Lobbying?

The US Treasury Department acting in conjunction with the State Department and following Executive Orders is one thing, but lobbying by foreign nationals posing as tax exempt organizations is quite another, and possibly violates US law.

Voters can use the ballot box if they don't agree with the actions of an elected administration, but voters must rely on federal oversight to protect them from tax fraud and illegal lobbying.

Section (Lobbying Activities) of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code prohibits tax exempt organizations from "carrying on propaganda" or "otherwise attempting to influence legislation."

This may include direct lobbying by the organization to influence legislators, or grassroots campaigns in which the organization "urges members of the public to contact legislators for, or in opposition to, or to propose, some piece of legislation."

Based upon this criteria, the Washinton DC-based "Friends of the Congo (FOC)," mentioned in the Jeune Afrique report, may have some explaining to do to the IRS.

In a September Facebook post, FOC National Spokesperson and Youth Leader Kambale Musavali urged almost 3,000 followers to specifically lobby Congresspersons Chris H. Smith (R), Jeff Fortenberry (R), Tom Marino (R), Ann Marie Buerkle (R), Robert Turner (R), Karen Bass (D), Russ Carnahan (D), and Theodore E. Deutch (D).

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Musavali, who was born in Congo,  provided direct access phone numbers to the Congressional offices and a "script" that urged participants in his lobbying campaign to weigh in on the hearing, "Examining the Role of Rwanda in the DRC Insurgency."

The US government should fully implement section 105 of Public Law 109-456 (The Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief Security and Democracy Promotion Act) by withholding aid from Rwanda and exploring other means of accountability for Rwanda's aggression against the Congolese people.

Is this a violation of US tax law? The IRS is looking at it and we have filed an inquiry using Form 13909, as suggested.

Invoking the OFAC sanctions process and demanding suspension of internet access to the M23, the FOC Spokesman said, "The US Ambassador to the United Nations should explore ways in which targeted sanctions can be levied against individuals in the Rwandan regime identified by the United Nations Group of Experts (GoE) as having supported rebels in the Congo, and that the President should consider adding to his Executive Order 13413 the Rwandan military officials identified in the UN Group of Experts report...."

Then the Spokesperson provided a link to the 2006 Bush Executive Order 13413.

This demonstrated very sophisticated knowledge of US law implemented after 9/11, and was used to influence Congress.

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Do we have the moral authority to suspend free speech to a rebel/army revolutionary movement in another country now in active peace negotiations with the African Union?

October 24, 2012- Obama Signs Extension of Executive Order 13413

Just weeks after the Congressional hearing and the lobbying by the NGO, Obama signed a Continuation of the 2006 Executive Order 13413.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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