FREEDOM 4 ALL ETHIOPIANS

FREEDOM,DEMOCRACY.JUSTICE.AND UNITY FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS …by DANIEL TESFAYE

Archive for the month “May, 2016”

Prof. Berhanu Nega “The fight with TPLF is in the heartland, not along the border”

Mai 31,2016

 Prof. Berhanu Nega in Washington D.C. May 29, 2016

(ESAT News)— Chairman of the Patriotic Ginbot 7 Movement for Unity and Democracy, Prof. Berhanu Nega reiterated that armed operations by his Movement is not along the border with Eritrea as the regime in Addis Ababa would like the people to believe, but is inside the heartland as has been seen in the recent fight with regime forces in Arbaminch, south Ethiopia.

Addressing Ethiopians in North America at a meeting held in Washington DC on Sunday, the Chairman of Patriotic Ginbot 7, an armed coalition fighting the tyrannical regime in Ethiopia said the recent attack against regime forces in Arbaminch has proven the regime’s rhetoric wrong – that the armed group would launch an attack from the country’s border with Eritrea.

An attack by the Patriotic Ginbot 7 forces early this month killed at least 20 regime soldiers while 50 others sustained serious injuries.

Prof. Berhanu meanwhile called on Ethiopians in the diaspora to get organized and stay vigilant so as not to fall into the regime’s trap, which would otherwise destroy the fabric of Ethiopian civic and religious institutions in the diaspora.

He said Ethiopians abroad should work to bring officials of the corrupt regime to justice whenever and wherever they see them. He encouraged Ethiopians abroad to use alternative ways when they send money to their country as remittances are a significant source of foreign currency to the corrupt regime. He also urged Ethiopians to establish democratic institutions wherever they are and strengthen the culture of democracy.

posted by daniel tesfaye

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State Terrorism and “Computer Crimes” in Ethiopia

Mai 30,2016

Smoke and mirrors: The T-TPLF replacing its “anti-terrorism law” with a “computer crimes law”?

Computer crimes and state terrorism in Ethiopia

The Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) is getting hammered left and right and upside the head on its so-called antiterrorism law (“Anti-Terrorism Proclamation No. 652/2009”.)

Now, T-TPLF’s strategists have come up with a new trick to fool everybody: Slowly phase out the “anti-terrorism law” and replace it with what they hope will be a less contentious and innocent sounding garden variety penal “law” dealing “computer crimes”.

The T-TPLF thinks that if they continue to chase and hound Ethiopian journalists, bloggers, dissidents and their other opponents as computer criminals instead of terrorists, their donors and loaners and the international human rights organizations will go easy on them.

Imagine how much better it sounds for the T-TPLF to say they are prosecuting journalists, bloggers, dissidents, opposition leaders, human rights advocates, civic society leaders as “computer criminals” instead of terrorists. Imagine the international public relations payoff for the T-TPLF to be accused of prosecuting individuals for computer fraud and hacking than to be condemned for using a bogus anti-terrorism law.

My suspicion is that once the “computer crimes law” is in effect, the T-TPLF plans to quietly phase out its anti-terrorism law, for which it is getting universal condemnation.

It never ceases to amaze me. The TPLF thugs think they are so smart that they can fool all of the people all of the time.

Get this T-TPLF! It is true that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But a “computer crimes law” that smells like an “anti-terrorism law” stinks to high heaven.

T-TPLF, you ain’t foolin’ nobody. We got you pegged!

The fact of the matter is that the T-TPLF has lost ALL credibility with its “anti-terrorism law”.

Every major international human rights organization and donor and loaner has condemned the T-TPLF’s “anti-terrorism law”.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry demanded the T-TPLF stop using its “anti-terrorism law” to crush democratic dissent. A State department spokesperson publicly stated, “We reiterate Secretary Kerry’s May 1 [2014] call on Ethiopia to refrain from using anti-terrorism laws as a mechanism to curb the free exchange of ideas. The use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation in previous cases against journalists, activists, and opposition political figures raises serious questions and concerns about the intent of the law, and about the sanctity of Ethiopians’ constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.”

The White House issued a statement, “urg[ing] the Ethiopian Government to release journalists and all others imprisoned for exercising their right to free expression, to refrain from using its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation as a mechanism to silence dissent, and to protect the rights of journalists, bloggers, and dissidents to write and speak freely as voices of a diverse nation.”

The European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the T-TPLF’s  “anti-terrorism law”: “The  Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (Law no. 652/2009), adopted in 2009, contains a definition of terrorism that is broad and vague and has been used to target Human rights defenders, journalists and the political opposition, encouraging self-censorship, as it foresees imprisonment for up to 20 years for the publication of statements considered to encourage acts of terrorism; whereas it also provides the government with additional power to conduct online surveillance, and imposes sharp restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.”

United Nations human rights experts (U.N. Special Rapporteurs) have condemned the T-TPLF’s use of its “anti-terrorism law”. The Special Rapporteurs condemned the ongoing use of anti-terrorism laws to curb a broad range of freedoms in Ethiopia. Ben Emmerson, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights said that “the anti-terrorism provisions should not be abused and need to be clearly defined in Ethiopian criminal law to ensure that they do not go counter to internationally guaranteed human rights.”

U.N. Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue said, “Journalists play a crucial role in promoting accountability of public officials by investigating and informing the public about human rights violations. They should not face criminal proceedings for carrying out their legitimate work, let alone be severely punished.”

U.N. Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya said, “journalists, bloggers and others advocating for increased respect for human rights should not be subject to pressure for the mere fact that their views are not in alignment with those of the Government [of Ethiopia].”

U.N. Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai said “The resort to anti-terrorism legislation is one of the many obstacles faced by associations today in Ethiopia. The Government must ensure protection across all areas involving the work of associations, especially in relation to human rights issues.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the T-TPLF “anti-terrorism law” from the time it was in draft form in 2009.  HRW said the “law” “containednumerous provisions that fundamentally contravened human rights guaranteed by Ethiopia’s constitution and international law.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists also condemned the T-TPLF “law” because it “criminalizes any reporting authorities deem to ‘encourage’ or ‘provide moral support’ to groups and causes the government labels as ‘terrorists.’”

Freedom House concluded, “Journalists reporting on opposition activitiesface serious harassment and the threat of prosecution under Ethiopia’s sweeping 2009 Antiterrorism Proclamation.”

I called the T-TPLF’s “anti-terrorism sim law” state terrorism.

Law and diktat in the TPLF thugocracy/thugtatorship

Whenever I read or hear someone talking about a T-TPLF “law”, I either laugh or shake my head in quiet disbelief at the ignorance of those who call T-TPLF’s “laws”, laws.

Thugs know as much about the law as heathen know about Scripture.

The benighted leaders and followers of the T-TPLF can only issue diktats, never law.

What are diktats?

Simply stated “diktats” are the law of the jungle; or in T-TPLF’s case, the law of the bush.

When the T-TPLF leaders in the bush (and before they put on fancy designer suits), they dealt with each other with diktats.

The few at the top would dream up stuff and tell everyone it is the “law”. (I did not say dream up stuff while they are high on khat (ch-at).)

Shakespeare’s Hamlet asked, “What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture?”

I ask, “Thugs! How dost thugs understand the law?”

The same people who talk about T-TPLF “laws” also talk about T-TPLF “elections” and “courts”. I believe the least these people could do is spell the words correctly, “elektions” as in rigged and “kourts” as in monkey.

Everyone knows that the T-TPLF is a certified terrorist organization listed on the Global Terrorism Database.

Terrorists and thugs in a three-piece Armani suit are like the pig in lipstick. At the end of the day, both the pig and the terrorists/thugs are who they are.

I have explained in previous commentaries the differences between the rule of law, rule by law, rule by unjust law and rule of men (diktat).

The T-TPLF and their ilk all over Africa rule by diktat (decrees pulled out of the back pockets) which they try to palm off as “laws”.

Thugtators scribble down their ignorant diktats, send it over to a parliament of ignoramuses and have it  rubber stamped as “law” or “proclamation”. They use the diktat to play policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. Under rule by diktat, dictators use the “law” as a bludgeon — a sledgehammer — to vanquish their opposition. For the T-TPLF, the “law” is a sledgehammer to crush dissidents, jail journalists, harass, intimidate and persecute opposition political leaders and maintain itself in power by using the “law” as an instrument of terror.

That is what the T-TPLF does with its “laws”. That is what the T-TPLF has done in its draft “computer crimes law”.

After the late thugmaster Meles Zenawi wrote his “anti-terrorism law” (diktat), he told his rubber stamp parliament:

In drafting our anti-terrorism law, we copied word-for-word the very best anti-terrorism laws in the world. We took from America, England and the European model anti-terrorism laws. It is from these three sources that we have drafted our anti-terrorism law. From these, we have chosen the better ones.  For instance, in all of these laws, an organization is deemed to be terrorist by the executive branch. We improved it by saying it is not good for the executive to make that determination. We took the definition of terrorism word-by-word. Not one word was changed. Not even a comma. It is taken word-by-word. There is a reason why we took it word-by-word. First, these people have experience in democratic governance. Because they have experience, there is no shame  if we learn or take from them. Learning from a good teacher is useful not harmful. Nothing embarrassing about it. The [antiterrorism] proclamation in every respect is flawless. It is better than the best anti-terrorism laws [in the world] but not less than any one of them in any way…

Only a pathetic ignoramus would copy “word-by-word, without changing one word, not even a comma” and call it a “flawless law.  Thus spoke the great visionary leader of the T-TPLF!

Here is a simple question: Do the Americans, the English and the Europeans whose anti-terrorism law Meles “copied word for word” without even missing a “comma” jail journalists, bloggers and dissidents?

The T-TPLF’s “computer crimes law”

First, is a “computer crimes law” even necessary in a country where  computer ownership and internet access are so negligible? Put differently, in order for criminals to commit a “computer crime”, they need computers and internet access.

The T-TPLF owns Ethio Telecom that has a monopoly over telecommunications in the country.

According to Internet World Stats, an organization that tracks internet usage data, “Only 3.7 percent of Ethiopians have access to the internet.” In contrast, “South Sudan, [which became a country in July 2011] which lacks most basic government services, has an internet penetration rate of 15.9 percent.”

According to World Bank data, internet users per 100 people in Ethiopia between 2011-2015 was 2.9.

Second, who is really committing computer crimes in and outside Ethiopia?

The T-TPLF has converted the internet into a weapon of surveillance and intimidation against its opponents.

The T-TPLF criminals who “have been working with several European tech companies to expand its surveillance powers in the past few years, potentially with the goal of improving its capabilities to monitor its own citizens.”

The T-TPLF criminals have been using spyware to monitor U.S.-based journalists in violation of U.S. law.

In 2014, the T-TPLF was sued in U.S. federal court for illegally spying on an American citizen in the United States using FinSpy surveillance software in violation of  the Electronic Privacy Communications Act. (To read about the shocking computer crimes of the T-TPLF, click HERE.)

According to Motherboard, a leading technology online magazine, “It’s clear that the government of Ethiopia is one of the most aggressive purchasers of surveillance technology out there. They are building mass surveillance capabilities to monitor everyone in country, and using hacking tools to spy on dissidents and journalists at home and abroad.”

Third, is the T-TPLF’s “computer crimes law” another mindless cut-and-paste, copycat job?

From whom did the T-TPLF scarf its “computer crimes law” this time around?

The Chinese? The “flawless” Chinese “cyber-crimes law”?

The stench of the “Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China” (articles 285, 286 and 287)  is palpable in the T-TPLF’s “computer crimes law”. These and related articles in the Chinese criminal law deal with illegal accessing and obtaining computer data, illegal control of computer systems, illegal use of software for access, control or to damage computer systems.

I believe the T-TPLF plagiarized (cannibalized) its “computer crimes law” from  various Chinese internet laws, administrative regulations and guidelines.

(Is there a single creative policy measure the T-TPLF has initiated on its own without copycatting and cutting-and-pasting someone else?)

Here is the BIG question: Does the T-TPLF need new “laws” to combat “computer crimes” when the T-TPLF has choked off internet services and tightly controls access to online information?

The T-TPLF already has sufficient provisions in its “Criminal Code” to deal with “computer crimes”.

Article 706 of the T-TPLF “Criminal Code” prohibits “access, taking or using computer services without authorization.” Article 707 metes out punishment for “causing damage to data”. Article 708 prohibits “disruption of computer and services by an authorized user.” Article 709 punishes anyone who “facilitates the commission of computer crimes.” (Hey! That sounds just like the Chinese computer crimes law!)

The bottom line on the T-TPLF “computer crimes law”

Here is the bottom line on the T-TPLF “computer crimes law. The draft T-TPLF “law” creates:

an internet police force to troll social media and other sites to catch T-TPLF critics.

internet detectives to catch T-TPLF online critics.

a process for T-TPLF monkey courts to railroad those accused of “computer crimes”.

a system of self-censorship for internet users and those who have computers.

a climate of fear for young people using social media and reinforces the closed political space by closing access to cyberspace.

a system for the prosecution of cyber-dissidents.

a crime out of simple civil defamation causes of action.

significant restrictions on anti-T-TPLF dissidents.

criminal liability for internet café and other access providers for the alleged crimes of anyone who uses their services.

criminal liability for the use of mass emails that are against T-TPLF rule.

The elements of the T-TPLF’s “computer crimes law”

The draft T-TPLF “Computer Crime Proclamation No. —/2016” is intended to replace  Proclamation No. 761/2012. It is actually a clever cover to reinvent the 2009 “anti-terrorism law.” It is the same old vinegary wine  in a new bottle. The T-TPLF thinks by changing their tune and dressing up their barbaric “anti-terrorism law” as a kinder and gentler “computer crime law”, they could hoodwink everyone. Not a chance! As I have told the T-TPLF a thousand times before, you can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day it is still a pig. So is a thug in a designer suit. The difference between the T-TPLF’s “computer crime law” and “anti-terrorism law” is the difference between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

The “Computer Crime Proclamation No. —/2016” has two major sections.

The T-TPLF has frontloaded the “proclamation” with a whole bunch of garden variety “computer crimes” to distract the reader from its real objectives, namely use the “law” to punish, intimidate, harass and jail those who use computers and the internet to express  dissent.

Garden variety computer crimes

The first section of the draft “law” is the cover, the smoke and mirrors. But stripped of its diversionary legalese (that is to make it look like a real computer crimes law) about the “vital role of communication technology  in the economic, social and political development of the country” and other such gibberish, the aims of the T-TPLF “computer crimes law” are starkly evident.

The first part of the “law” deals with what appear to be garden variety crimes committed using the internet and computer software. These include:

Illegal access to the whole or any part of computer system, computer data or network.

Illegal interception of non-public computer data or data processing service.

Interference with computer system to interfere in the proper functioning of computer systems.

Causing damage to computer data by any means and rendering it useless.

Criminal acts related to usage of computer devices and data.

Forgery and falsification of  computer data for illegal benefits  or economic loss.

Electronic identity theft caused by illegal acquisition, possession or distribution of information using a computer.

Dissemination of obscene or indecent materials involving minors.

Crimes against liberty and reputation of persons  by online intimidation and threats.

“Crimes against Public Security”

It is in the “computer crimes” against “public security” section of the “law” that the T-TPLF bares its dingy teeth.

In that section are the following provisions:

Whosoever intentionally disseminates through a computer system any written, video, audio or any other picture that incites fear, violence, chaos or conflict among people shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding three years. (Translation: Use of the internet and use of computers on the internet for such things as social media, etc. is a crime of inciting fear, violence, chaos and conflict among the people.)

A service provider shall be criminally liable for any illegal computer content data disseminated through its computer systems by third parties.  (Translation: If you are an internet café, hotel and other internet access provider, shut down your internet operation and find another line of work, like spying for the T-TPLF.)

The public prosecutor and police shall have joint power to investigate criminal acts provided for in this Proclamation. And the public prosecutor shall lead the investigation process. (Translation: Unlike any other crimes committed in the land, in computer crimes, the public prosecutor is required to lead the investigation. (By the way, that is exactly what the “public prosecutor” does in “terrorism” cases (I mean, of public prosecutors who can read and write instead of sign criminal charges with their  thumbprints.)

Any service provider shall retain the computer data disseminated through its computer systems or data relating to data processing or communication service for at least one year. (Translation: Internet cafes, hotels and other internet access provides shall serve as record keepers for the T-TPLF.)

*** I don’t get it! The T-TPLF owns Ethio Telecom as a monopoly.  Ethio Telecom is the only internet service provider in the country.  Ethio Telecom has all the servers for the internet service it provides. Do the T-TPLF ignoramuses know that internet cafes, hotels and other facilities providing internet access maintain no servers to retain computer data? Do the T-TPLF ignoramuses know that information accessed on Facebook and other social media is stored in proprietary servers outside Ethiopia? For crying out loud, what the hell is wrong with these people!?***

The Minister may give permission to the investigatory organ to conduct interception or surveillance without court warrant. (Translation: A T-TPLF minister can override the order of any court at any time and authorize illegal searches and seizures of computers and persons suspected of involvement in “computer crimes”.) order

Any service provider who has knowledge of the commission of the crimes or dissemination of any illegal content data by third parties through the computer system  shall immediately notify the Agency. (Translation: Internet cafes, hotels and other access providers shall serve as government informants.)

Where the investigatory organ reasonably believes that the computer data sought is stored in another computer system, the search or access may be extended to that other computer system without requesting separate search warrant. (Translation: Any computer suspected of having any connection with a suspect computer is subject to search and seizure without a court order.)

Computer crimes as state terrorism

The aim of the draft T-TPLF “computer crimes law” is the same as the T-TPLF’s “anti-terrorism law”: hunt down and jail journalists, bloggers, political activists and others by cracking down on their use of the internet to express dissent.

The aim of the draft T-TPLF “computer crimes law” is to criminalize the expression of dissent by shutting down both the political space and cyberspace.

The aim of the draft T-TPLF “computer crimes law” is to terrorize  those who use social media to express themselves.

The aim of the draft T-TPLF “computer crimes law” is to criminalize human rights, human rights advocacy and human rights defense.

Today, there are thousands of Ethiopians in T-TPLF secret and official prisons who have been jailed for expressing their dissent online and off.  Eskinder Nega, the Zone Nine bloggers and other journalists have been jailed for using their computer keyboards to express themselves.

Yonatan Tesfaye,  the spokesperson for Blue Party,  has been in detention for posting on Facebook

As the T-TPLF points its legal index finger on journalists, bloggers and dissidents as “computer” and “cyber-criminals”, it should be mindful that three fingers are pointing firmly at it.

T-TPLF’s desperate efforts to close the political space and cyberspace

I have been following the T-TPLF’s efforts to use the internet as a weapon of dissent suppression.

In June 2012, I wrote a commentary on the T-TPLF’s efforts to choke off Skype.

In that commentary, I also reviewed the T-TPLF’s “Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offences” (PTFO) 2012.

I have wasted way too many hours studying and analyzing T-TPLF’s  mindless laws. I invite my readers to read my previous commentaries on these topics.

Suffice it to say that when it comes to con artists, scammers, swindlers, fraudsters and computer criminals, the T-TPLF is second to none!

Talking about scammers and such, do you remember that in 2008 “USD$16 million dollars” worth of gold bars  simply walked out of the bank in Addis Ababa in broad daylight never to be seen again?

Do you remember the time in 2011 when 10,000 tons of coffee earmarked for exports simply vanished from the warehouses and Meles Zenawi called a meeting of commodities traders and threatened to “cut off their hands” if they steal coffee in the future. In a videotaped statement,  Meles told the traders he will forgive them this time because “we all have our hands in the disappearance of the coffee”.

Do you remember in 2011 Global Financial Integrity documented that US$11.7 billion walked out of Ethiopia never to return?

Here is the deal: Now, do you want to talk about real criminals or make-believe computer criminals?

posted by daniel tesfaye

Does Ethiopia Need a Constitution?

Mai 23,2016

The question is NOT if Ethiopia needs a new constitution.The question is NOT if Ethiopia needs a new constitution.

The question is, “Does Ethiopia need a constitution?”,  since it currently does not have one.

The so-called “1995 Ethiopian Constitution” is a constitution of the T-TPLF, by the T-TPLF, for the T-TPLF.

The T-TPLF (Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples’ Liberation Front) is a certified terrorist organization currently listed in the Global Terrorism Database.

The crass and brazenly rapacious political  objectives of the T-TPLF are bared in the text and structure of their constitution.

The T-TPLF constitution purports to create “a federal and democratic state structure.”

This so-called federal and democratic structure has one and only one purpose:

The complete centralization of political power and control in the hands  of the T-TPLF and the total incapacitation of any other political groups and organizations in Ethiopia.

The T-TPLF “federal constitution” draws its textual and ideological inspiration from  the polemical writings of  Joseph Stalin, the bloodthirsty and homicidal master of the Soviet Union who died in March 1953.

In 1912, the ideological and organizational crises long brewing in the Bolshevik organization broke out into factional rivalry and strife. Arguably, the most important of the ideologically divisive issues for the Bolsheviks was the “national question”.

In 1913, Stalin wrote a tract entitled “Marxism and the National Question”. In it, he argued that the solution to the “national question” of oppression was to recognize the existence of entities he described as “nations”, “nationalities” and “peoples”, and incorporate the issue it into the Bolshevik political program.

Stalin drew on the Marxist theory of dialectical materialism to support his argument.  Stalin argued  the rise of nations and nation-states and the emergence of national consciousness is a peculiarly capitalist phenomenon cultivated and guided by the “bourgeois class” seeking to expand markets. Lenin, in a 1914 tract entitled  “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” articulated the reason: “The bourgeoisie must capture the home market, [and to do so] there must be politically united territories whose population speak a single language.”

In pre-capitalist (feudalist) societies, there was no real national consciousness  based on a sense of shared or common ethnic, linguistic or cultural heritage. Pre-capitalist societies generally identified with people in their villages, towns and fiefdoms and at most pledged allegiance to the monarch who owned all the land in the kingdom through the feudal hierarchy.

The rise of capitalism and ensuing bourgeois national-democratic revolutions led to the creation of nation-states and emergence of national consciousness and identity. According to Stalin, some nations in Western Europe avoided  the “national question” because they had developed the  rudiments of a nation-state at the cusp of the capitalist revolution.  In Eastern Europe, the pre-existing empires, such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, came into existence before ethnic groups had formed  into nations creating the problem of multi-national peoples in a given nation-state.

Stalin offered his own definition of “nation” in analyzing “national question”. Stalin argued, “A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” He emphasized,  “It is only when all these characteristics are present together that we have a nation.”

For hardline Bolshevists like Stalin and Lenin, the Russian “national question” (i.e. oppression of “nations”, nationalities” and “peoples” in the Russian Empire) proved problematic. The Russian Empire included a number of smaller nations, or “subject peoples” as Lenin called them, such as Ukrainians, Poles, Armenians, Azerbajanis, Finns, Georgians, etc. Lenin supported national independence movements within the Russian Empire and regarded their demand for the right of self-determination as intrinsically revolutionary. Lenin argued, “If, in our political agitation, we fail to advance and advocate the slogan of the right to secession, we shall play into the hands, not only of the bourgeoisie, but also of the feudal landlords and the absolutism of the oppressor nation.” Lenin also believed the demand to end oppression of “nations” and “nationalities” under bourgeois nationalism was indistinguishable from other democratic demands.  Stalin later wrote more calculatingly: “The principle of self-determination ought to be used as a means in the struggle for socialism and it ought to be subordinated to the principles of socialism.”

Rosa Luxemburg, the influential Marxist theorist, disagreed with Lenin arguing that under socialism the working class had no need to struggle for national self-determination because that would be reactionary; at best the oppressed “nations” should aim for cultural autonomy. Luxemburg insisted socialists should fight not for national independence but the international unity of workers.

Stalin and Lenin understood the implications of the “national question” for their revolution.  They saw two potential dangers: 1) Absent a revolution, the Russian Empire could be maintained by reformists in some sort of federal structure organized and managed by a multiplicity of national parties. Such a multi-party system would lose its revolutionary nature and perpetuate the Russian Empire. 2)  There was a real risk of replacing or merging the revolutionary socialist  aspirations and ambitions with the oppressive practices of the Russian Empire.

Stalin and Lenin concluded  that  it was necessary to dismantle the Russian Empire and divide the people into “nations, nationalities and peoples” to facilitate the Bolshevik revolution and ensure their takeover of power. They sought to depict the “national question”  as a class struggle against national bourgeois oppression and denial and suppression of cultural and linguistic rights, among others.

Article 39 of the T-TPLF Constitution

The T-TPLF’s constitution under Article 39 (1) (“Rights of Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples”)  provides:

Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession.

Article 47 designates the “Member States of the Federal Democratic Republic” in the following order:

1) The State of Tigray
2) The State of Afar
3) The State of Amhara
4) The State of Oromia
5) The State of Somalia
6) The State of Benshangu-Gumuz
7)  The State of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples
8) The State of the Gambela Peoples
9) The State of the Harari People

The late TPLF thugmaster Meles Zenawi drew important lessons from Stalin’s and Lenin’s tracts on the national question and self-determination in his efforts to consolidate power by dismantling the  “Ethiopian Empire” in much the same way the Bolshevists dismantled the Russian Empire.

Meles re-conceptualized the Bolshevik’s notion of “class struggle” in the Russian Empire into a notion of “ethnic struggle” in the “Ethiopian Empire”.

According to the Meles/T-TPLF mythology, the “Ethiopian Empire” came into being in the 19th century in the rivalry between feudal “Amhara” kingdoms and principalities which fought each other for ascendancy and domination. In the mid-19th century, Emperor Tewodros II crowned himself  “negusa negest” (king of kings) in the northern part of Ethiopia and marched down south with his  army swallowing up land and subjugating the “nations, nationalities and peoples” on his warpath.  Following Tewodros’ death, Emperor Menelik II took over and led his armies expanding the “Ethiopian Empire” gobbling up more lands and subjugating more “nations, nationalities and peoples”.  According to T-TPLF fable, Ethiopia today is the product of forced and brutal amalgamation of completely different “nations, nationalities and peoples”.

In 1993, thugmaster Meles told an interviewer, “Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in fairy tales.”

In much the same way as Stalin and Lenin manipulated the national question to ensure Bolshevik ascendancy and domination, Meles and the T-TPLF manipulated the “national question” to convince the “oppressed nationalities” into believing that they have been forcibly and brutally incorporated into Ethiopia.

The T-TPLF remedy to the problem of “oppressed nationalities” was to constitutionalize “ethnic federalism”, which presumably would liberate and enable them to achieve political, cultural, economic, social, etc. autonomy and self-government.

But the T-TPLF flimflammed the “oppressed nationalities” in selling its “ethnic federalism”. Meles and the T-TPLF could not care less about “oppressed nationalities, nations and peoples”.  Their one and only interest was and is T-TPLF domination.

Indeed, the T-TPLF’s drumbeat around the “national question” was a smoke screen to conceal the real and hidden T-TPLF agenda consisting of three objectives. First, their aim was to ensure that they will perpetually remain in power and entrench themselves as overlords of the people of Ethiopia. Second, they  aimed to weaken and cripple any and all opposition to their rule by dividing Ethiopians along ethnic, regional, linguistic, cultural and religious lines. Third, they sought to portray themselves as defenders of  oppressed nationalities against an imaginary  “Amhara” conspiracy to return to power and enslave non-“Amhara” “nations, nationalities and peoples.”

Simply stated, the T-TPLF drafted a constitution that would present a veneer of ethnic federalism while cleverly masking the  centralized T-TPLF state which is controlled and operated by a secret cabal of a state within a state. (I did not say a secret Mafiosi state.)

The whole “national question” for Meles and the T-TPLF was a clever and shrewd gimmick which they used to divert public attention from their real agenda of permanent political domination. The fact of the matter is that the central and core mission of the T-TPLF has always been the disintegration and dismemberment of the Ethiopian nation. Their master plan has been and remains the complete destruction of the Ethiopian nation. Any Ethiopian who does not believe this is living in his/her own La La Land. The T-TPLF never had a plan to liberate “nations, nationalities and peoples.” Once the T-TPLF seized power, they took tactical advantage of the national question by proclaiming to unite the “oppressed nationalities” of the “Ethiopian Empire”. Their aim was and remains the creation of a new order, the establishment of the T-TPLF Empire. (Just as an aside, I challenge anyone to produce documentary, audio or video evidence in which any top T-TPLF leader (including the late Zenawi) is ever recorded saying, “I am an Ethiopian” or “I love Ethiopia.”)

The T-TPLF constitution is one of the slickest constitutional scams in history.

I would put it second only to the Brooklyn Bridge scam:

“Hello, sir. Would you like to buy this lovely bridge here? It’s on sale for today only. Think of all the money you could make from tolls.”

The confused man answered, “Are you sure it’s for sale?”

Came the reply, “Why else would it have a ‘For Sale’ sticker on it?!”

That is exactly what the T-TPLF did with the “national question”.

The T-TPLF sold its “ethnic federalism” Brooklyn Bridge to Ethiopia’s oppressed “nations, nationalities and peoples”.  The T-TPLF told them it is only available from the T-TPLF. “Think of all the freedom you are going to have under ethnic federalism”, hustled the T-TPLF scammers.

Undoubtedly, the T-TPLF constitution is the greatest con in any con-stitution ever written in Africa.

For 25 years, the T-TPLF scammers made suckers out of the Ethiopia’s oppressed “nations, nationalities and peoples”.

The T-TPLF has paraded their constitution for the last 25 years as THE emancipation proclamation liberating the “subjugated peoples” of the Ethiopian Empire from their “prison houses of nationalities”, to borrow phrases from Lenin.

In their smoke-and-mirrors constitutional game, the T-TPLF created a bogus front organization called the “Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic front” to unite the oppressed victims of  “Amhara” oppression; and just like Stalin and Lenin, the T-TPLF guaranteed them the “right of self-determination”, which means complete separation from the Ethiopian nation-state at any time.

In T-TPLF fairy tale, by guaranteeing the right to complete separation, Ethiopia was saved. The fact of the matter is that the T-TPLF has fragmented Ethiopia to facilitate and guarantee its own perpetual political dominance.

Like Stalin, the late thugmaster Meles Zenawi arbitrarily combined unrelated ethnic groups within a single ethnic territory.  Meles and the T-TPLF went about creating their bogus ethnic federalism willy-nilly  drawing  fabricated,  sham and artificial borders. For instance, recently Prince Mengesha Seyom, governor of Tigray under the imperial administration, stated that the historical landmark between Tigray and Begemedr was the Tekeze River and that Wolkait Tsegede had never been in Tigray administration. Indeed  based on T-TPLF’s constitutional criteria of language, history, territory, culture, etc., the people of Wolkait Tsegede should be part of “Amhara” region. (Just for the record: I do not believe, never have believed and never will believe in any idea which tags Ethiopians as “Amhara”, “Oromo”, “Tigre”, etc. I believe and will defend the absolute right of any Ethiopian to live, work and raise a family in any part of Ethiopia.)

For the past 25 years, the T-TPLF has used the “nations, nationalities, peoples” slogan effectively to fool some of the people most of the time, most of the people some of the time but never all of the people all of the time.

The fact of the matter is that the “oppressed nations, nationalities, peoples” of Ethiopia never became free from oppression. The T-TPLF allows only nominal autonomy under ethnic federalism.

Like Stalin, Meles and his T-TPLF have brutally suppressed those who opposed their rule and those seeking to exercise their right to self-determination.

Like Stalin who deported millions, Meles Zenawi and the T-TPLF have called “Amharas” sefaris (illegal squatters) and deported thousands of them from different parts of the country.

The T-TPLF has displaced and villagized en masse the people of  Gambella and other “peoples” and sold their ancestral homelands to fly-by-night international land-grabbers and scammers.

The T-TPLF has used “self-determination” defensively to portray itself as the Avenging Angels against the “Amhara Bogeyman”. The T-TPLF has used “self-determination” offensively to demonize “Amharas” and dream up the “Amhara Bogeyman” who, the T-TPLF warns, will rise up and go on a rampage to re-enslave the “nations, nationalities, peoples”.

Today, the T-TPLF avenging angel has become a demonic spectre.

To paraphrase Marx in the “Communist  Manifesto”, “A spectre is haunting Ethiopia- the spectre of the T-TPLF. All of the “nations, nationalities and peoples” who have entered into an unholy alliance must resolve to exorcise this spectre.”

Today, the T-TPLF has drawn the “nations, nationalities and peoples” of Ethiopia under its central control and disempowered them.

The T-TPLF dominates the “federal structure” in every way. The T-TPLF has one hundred percent ownership and control of the land in Ethiopia.

The T-TPLF has one hundred percent control of the military, the security and police apparatuses.

The T-TPLF has one hundred percent control of the economy, and with its supporters has created a crony capitalism for its supporters.

The T-TPLF controls one hundred percent of the bureaucracy and the judicial process.

Those who chafe at and yearn for the fabled “Ethiopian Empire” should think hard about the real T-TPLF Empire. The “Ethiopian Empire” created in the hate-filled minds of Meles Zenawi and his band of ignorant thugs never existed.

The real empire is the T-TPLF Empire, an empire of hate, an empire of injustice, an empire of inequality, an empire of corruption and an empire of abuse of power.

Despite the rhetoric of ethnic federalism and claims of a democratic republic, the T-TPLF has managed to secure in its con-stitution the reconfiguration of the fabled “Ethiopian Empire” into a real and live T-TPLF Empire.

Does Ethiopia need a constitution?

You are damn right it does!

Ethiopians need a constitution of the people, by the people and for the people.

Ethiopia needs a constitution which begins with the following words: “We the People of Ethiopia in order to form a more perfect union…

Ethiopia needs a constitution that helps its ONE people create a “more perfect union” among themselves.

What does a “more perfect union” mean?

To me, a more perfect union is not about territorial union.

A “more perfect union” is about the union of the hearts and minds of the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopians were able to defeat one of the most modern European armies twice in less than 40 years and keep their country free of colonial domination because they were of ONE heart and mind.

Ethiopians became the symbol of freedom for all Africans suffering under colonial rule because they stood together as ONE people.

Ethiopians became the inspiration to African Americans suffering racism and discrimination because they proved by example that when the people united as ONE can never be defeated.

Ethiopians became a beacon of freedom and were celebrated by some of the greatest poets of the English language because they stood as ONE people and defended their freedom with blood, sweat and tears.

How do we create a more perfect union among the people of Ethiopia?

Simple!

To ensure a more perfect union among the Ethiopian people, we (each one of us) must work tirelessly to ensure

the supremacy of the rule of law.

the human rights of all Ethiopians (freedom of speech, press, religion, petition, assembly, etc.) are protected and respected.

strict legal accountability is imposed on all persons in positions of power and authority.

the institutionalization of free and fair elections.

the right to property, especially in land, is guaranteed and government is constitutionally constrained in its interference in the exercise of property rights.

the operation of a vigorous and independent judiciary.

During the civil rights struggle in the U.S., leaders often used the metaphor of the “Five Fingers” to teach the grassroots on the importance of unity. I believe Ethiopians can learn from that metaphor as they work to create a “more perfect union”:

There are five fingers on each hand. As long as the ten fingers are stretched separately from each other, they do not have much punching power.

If the ten fingers are pulled together in a clenched fist, they become a formidable weapon.

If one finger is lifted from each hand, a lot of the power in the fist is lost.

If a second finger is lifted, all of the power in the fist is gone.

For the past 25 years, Ethiopians who have been chopped up, diced, bantustanized and kililized by the T-TPLF. They have been unable to make a fist and rage against the T-TPLF Empire.

But Ethiopians should look into their own history to appreciate the power of the clenched fist.

They conquered their mightiest enemies when they came together, closed ranks and raised their fists in defiance.

Let history testify:

The Oromos alone did not defeat one of the mightiest European powers that invaded their country.

The Amharas alone did not defeat one of the mightiest European powers that invaded their country.

The Tigreans alone did not defeat one of the mightiest European powers that invaded their country.

The Gurages alone did not defeat one of the mightiest European powers that invaded their country.

The Afaris, Ogadenis, Hararis, Gambellans and all others in southern, northern, eastern and western Ethiopia did not alone defeat one of the mightiest European powers that invaded their country.

The Oromos, Amharas, Tigreans, Gurages, Afaris, Ogadenis, Hararis, Gambellans and all others in southern, northern, eastern and western Ethiopia came together as ONE PEOPLE  and defeated one of the mightiest European powers that invaded their country.

Likewise, they are not going to defeat the T-TPLF each one fighting alone.

Like the ten fingers of the hand, Ethiopians from all walks of life must come together, made a fist  and gave the European invader a sucker punch he will never forget.

The nine fingers (kilils) the T-TPLF imposed on Ethiopia should now come together as ONE fist and give the T-TPLF a sucker punch it will never forget.

Ethiopians do not need a constitutional thugmocracy.

Ethiopians do not need a constitution that germinated in the mind of the genocidal maniac Joseph Stalin.

Ethiopians do not need a constitution that severs their bonds of family, marriage, kinship and friendship developed  over thousands of years.

Ethiopia does not need a constitution that is a master plan and a blueprint to keep Ethiopia in a state of perpetual disunion, discord, dissension and dismemberment.

Ethiopia does not need a constitution that is a tool of political division, power centralization, social segmentation and geographic dismemberment of the people and territory of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia needs a constitution that unites the people of Ethiopia as ONE nation, ONE nationality and ONE people on the basis of equality, brotherhood/sisterhood, and liberty.

The struggle for the soul of Ethiopia

I dream of a constitution for Ethiopia that recognizes not the ethnicity of a group of Ethiopians but the humanity of every single Ethiopian.

I believe Ethiopians are human beings created free in the image of God before they are members of  “nations, nationalities and peoples”.  The humanity of Ethiopians comes before Ethiopianity, nationality or Africanity.

As born-free human beings, I believe in the sanctity and dignity of every Ethiopian. I do not believe in group rights. No one should be denied or granted the equal protection of the laws, due process or equal opportunity merely on the basis of his/her affiliation or membership in any group whatsoever. Period!

Ethiopians have individual rights that are paramount to any group rights.

Every Ethiopian has the right to choose his/her government and government leaders.

Every Ethiopian has a right not to be enslaved by a gang of bush thugs.

As I talk to young people across the spectrum, I am convinced that struggle for the soul of Ethiopia is reaching a critical mass.

I call on all patriotic Ethiopians to come together and make a “fist for freedom” in Ethiopia.

But there are others far more eminent than I who have made calls to Ethiopians to make a fist for freedom.

The great African American (“the people’s poet”) poet, Langston Hughes, called on Ethiopians to make a fist for freedom, and liberate all of Africa, when he wrote his poem in September 1935, just as the Italian aggressors launched their campaign of colonial conquest of Ethiopia:

Call of Ethiopia

Ethiopia
Lift your night-dark face,
Abyssinian
Son of Sheba’s race!
Your palm trees tall
And your mountains high
Are shade and shelter
To men who die
For freedom’s sake —
But in the wake of your sacrifice
May all Africa arise
With blazing eyes and night-dark face
In answer to the call of Sheba’s race:

Ethiopia’s free!
Be like me,
All of Africa,
Arise and be free!
All you black peoples,
Be free! Be free!

Ghana’s first president and the great Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah wrote in his poem not only will all Africa arise but

Ethiopia shall rise [with a fist for freedom]

Ethiopia, Africa’s bright gem
Set high among the verdant hills
That gave birth to the unfailing
Waters of the Nile
Ethiopia shall rise
Ethiopia, land of the wise;
Ethiopia, bold cradle of Africa’s ancient rule
And fertile school
Of our African culture;
Ethiopia, the wise
Shall rise
And remould with us the full figure
Of Africa’s hopes
And destiny. 

Ethiopia shall rise from T-TPLF tyranny and domination!

Support the right of self-determination of all Ethiopians from the T-TPLF Empire!  

MY ETHIOPIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS: WE ARE ONE NATION, ONE NATIONALITY, ONE PEOPLE!

“We think of this as the reign of people who inspire terror; on the contrary, it is the reign of people who are themselves terrified. Terror consists mostly of useless cruelties perpetrated by frightened people in order to reassure themselves.” Marx in a letter  to Engles during the Paris Commune (1870)

posted by daniel tesfaye

ሲውዲናዊቷ የኢትዮጵያውያን መብት ተሟጋች ሜሎዲ ሰንድበርግ (በማህሌት ፋንታሁን)

May 12,2016

የመጀመሪያ ዲግሪዋን ሳይኮሎጂ ነው ያጠናችው። ከዛ በኋላም የህክምና ሳይንስ በተለይም የአእምሮ ህክምናን ተምራለች። በሙያዋም የአእምሮ ህሙማንን በማከም ታገለግላለች። በአለም ላይ በእስር ለሚገኙ ዘጋቢዎች እና ፎቶግራፈሮችን በገንዘብ ለመደገፍ የተቋቋመው ቃሊቲ ፋውንዴሽን የቦርድ አባል ናት። የመሳል፣ ፎቶግራፍ የማንሳት እና የመፃፍ ድንቅ ተሰጥኦ አላት -ስዊድናዊቷ ሜሎዲ ሰንድበርግ (Melody Sundberg)። ሜሎዲ የ27 አመት ወጣት እና ባለትዳርም ናት።

Melody Sundberg, Founder of Untold Stories

ስለ ሜሎዲ መጀመሪያ ያወቅኩት እስር ቤት ሆኜ ነው። የኔን እና ሌሎች አብረውኝ የታሰሩ ጓደኞቼን እንደሳለችን (sketch እንዳደረገች) እና ስእሎቹም በማህበራዊ ሚዲያ በሰፊው እየተሰራጩ መሆናቸውን ከቤተሰቦቼ ሰማሁ። በወቅቱ የተሰማኝን ስሜት በቃላት ማስቀመጥ ይከብደኛል። የህሊና እስረኛን ከሚጠቅሙነገሮች አንዱ አለመረሳት/ መታወስ ነው። እኛም እንዳንረሳ በየጊዜው በምትለቀው ፅሁፎቿ እና ስእሎቿ ከፍተኛ አስተዋፅኦ አድርጋለች። ከእስር ከወጣሁ በኋላ ከሜሎዲ ጋር በኢንቦክስ ስናወራ ህልም ህልም ነው የመሰለኝ። ከገፀ-ባህሪ ጋር የማወራ አይነት ነገር። እርግጠኛ ነኝ እየጮኸችላቸው ያሉ አሁን በእስር ያሉ ጋዜጠኞች፣ አክቲቪስቶች፣ ፖለቲከኞች እንዲሁም የህሊና እስረኞች ተፈተው ከሜሎዲ ጋር የሚያወሩበት ጊዜ እሩቅ አይሆንም።

እኛ ከተፈታን በኋላም ስራዋን ቀጥላለች ሜሎዲ። Untold Stories [http://www.untoldstoriesonline.com] በሚል ድረ ገፅ እና የፌስቡክ ፔጅ ተነግሮ የማያልቀውን በኢትዮጵያውያን ላይ በገዛ መንግስታቸው የደረሰባቸውን/እየደረሰባቸው ያለውን የሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት እና በደል ለአለም እያሰማች ነው። ያልተነገሩ እና ያልተሰሙ ታሪኮችን ቋንቋና ባህል ሳይገድባት መረጃዎችን አድና ማግኘቷ በጣም ይገርመኛል። ስለ ሜሎዲ ስራዎች እንዲ ባጭሩ ተወርቶ የሚያልቅ አይደለም። ባጭሩ ሜሎዲ የኢትዮጵያ ጉዳይ ያገባናል ከምንል ኢትዮጵያውያን በላይ ስለኢትዮጵያውያን መበደል እና መጨቆን እያጋለጠች የምትገኝ፤ ምስጋና እና ክብር የሚገባት ድንቅ ሰው ናት ።

ውዷ ሜሎዲ እነሆ የከበረ ምስጋናዬ ይድረስሽ! ያሰብሽው ሁሉ ይሳካልሽ!

posted by daniel tesfaye

The “Law” as State Terrorism in Apartheid Ethiopia

May 9,2016

The “Law” as State Terrorism in Apartheid Ethiopa

TPLF terrorism in Ethiopia

Author’s Note: This is the third installment [1] in a series of ongoing commentaries that I expect to post regularly under the rubric, “Apartheid in Ethiopia”.

The twin aims of the series “Apartheid in Ethiopia” are:

1) to demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt that the political system created and maintained by the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF)  is a slightly kinder and gentler ethnic form  of the racial apartheid system practiced by the white minority regime in South Africa before the establishment of black majority rule, and

2) to engage Ethiopia’s Cheetah (younger) Generation in broad and wide ranging conversation, debate and discussion necessary for the creation of the New Ethiopia cleansed of ethnic apartheid.

In the series, I aim to go beyond mere critical political and legal analysis and intellectual and academic examination of the objective political, social and economic conditions in Ethiopia under T-TPLF rule. Indeed, I aim to make a clarion call to Ethiopia’s Cheetah (young) Generation work hard and usher the New Ethiopia where the rule of law is supreme and the rule of tyrants ancient history. I call on all Ethiopian Cheetahs to put their shoulders to the wheel and build a city upon a hill in the Land of 13-Months of Sunshine for the entire world to see.

Apartheid white minority use of “anti-terrorism law” to terrorize black South Africans

John Dugard in his book “Human Rights and the South African Legal Order” (1978, p. 136), perfectly summarized the repressive use of the “law” to maintain a vast system of repression: “Although designed to combat terrorism, the Terrorism Act [of 1967] has itself become an instrument of terror and a symbol of repression.

The 1948 white minority parliamentary election in South Africa was transformational. Whites were offered two choices. The United Party offered a political pathway which accepted the inevitability of racial integration (if not black majority rule) and urged relaxation of the most repressive laws which limited black African freedom of movement. The National Party favored strict racial segregation and complete disenfranchisement of black South Africans. The National Party won and legislated its system of racial segregation in a series of “apartheid” (apart-hood; being apart) laws which aimed to entrench absolute white rule in South Africa.

In 1950, the apartheid white minority government passed the “Suppression of Communism Act, No 44 of 1950 (three decades later renamed “Internal Security Act, 1982” expanding the scope of application to anyone “endangering the security of the State or the maintenance of public order”). The  Communist Party of South Africa composed of the African National Congress, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and others were established in 1921 and opposed racial segregation and apartheid. The Suppression of Communism Act criminalized the advocacy of “any political, industrial, social or economic change in the Union by the promotion of disturbances or disorder.” In practice, anyone who dared to criticize or challenge white minority rule was classified as a “communist” and jailed. The Rivonia Trial of 1963-4 and conviction of African National Congress leaders Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki was accomplished principally through this Act. Thousands of other ordinary black South Africans were also prosecuted and banned (subject to extreme restrictions on their movement, political activities, and associations) under this law.

The apartheid regime passed other laws to clampdown on dissent and protest. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, No. 8 of 1953 sought to suppress public protests against repressive laws and policies. The  General Law Amendment Act, No. 39 of 1961 suspended habeas corpus (a legal process to challenge illegal government detention) and bail and authorized a 12-day arbitrary detention. The General Law Amendment Act, No. 37 of 1963 allowed the warrantless arrest and detention of  anyone suspected of violating the Suppression of Communism Act. Warrantless detention of 180 days was authorized by the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act, No. 96 of 1965.

In the lead up to passage of the Act in 1967, the apartheid South African government made repeated claims regarding “terrorist attacks on South Africa’s borders”. The 1967 Terrorism Act (Act No. 83 of 1967) was enacted to control and suppress terrorism from within and outside of South Africa. The Act became singularly the most repressive law enacted by the apartheid regime to terrorize black South Africans.

Under the Terrorism Act, a “terrorist” is “(a) any person [who] with intent to endanger the maintenance of law and order in the Republic…  [engages in any act which] incites, instigates, commands, aids, advises, encourages or procures any other person to commit, any act; or (b) [engages in any training which]   endangers the maintenance of law and order… or (c) possesses any explosives, ammunition, fire-arm or weapon and fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt [that he has possessed such things for a lawful purpose].

The Terrorism Act lists a dozen specific terrorist offenses including:

(a)   hampering  or deterring  any person from assisting in the maintenance of law and order;

(b)   promoting by intimidation the achievement of any object;

(c)   causing or promoting general dislocation, disturbance or disorder;

(d)  crippling any industry or the production or distribution of commodities or foodstuffs at any place;

(e)  causing or encouraging an insurrection or forcible resistance to the Government or the Administration of the territory;

(f)   encouraging the achievement of any political aim, including the bringing about of any social or economic change, by violence or forcible means;

(g)  causing serious bodily injury or endangering the safety of any person;

(h) causing substantial financial loss to any person or the State;

(i)  causing or encouraging feelings of hostility between the White and other inhabitants of the Republic;

(j)  damaging, destroying, etc., the supply or distribution at any place of light, power, fuel, foodstuffs, water, etc.;

(k) obstructing or endangering the free movement of any traffic on land, at sea or in the air;

(l)  embarrassing the administration of the affairs of the State.

Section 6 of the Act gave police complete and unquestioned power over “terrorist” suspects who could be arrested without a warrant and held for 60 days (which could be renewed) “until the Commissioner orders his release when satisfied that he has satisfactorily replied to all questions at the said interrogation or that no useful purpose will be served by his further detention, or until his release is ordered in terms of subsection .”  A police officer at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or above who believes a person to be a “terrorist” could order the arrest and detention of that person. No court on its own could order the release of detainees; only the Minister of Justice had final authority.

The Act excluded any habeas review or pretrial judicial intervention even to adjudicate detainee allegations of abuse and torture. Information blackout on detained “terrorism” suspects was imposed and the identities and number of detainees could not be publicly revealed. Many detainees, in the absence of public accountability, simply disappeared without a trace (and their whereabouts unknown until the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was able to track down the fate of some of the disappeared victims).

The Terrorism Act made admissible in court “any document” as evidence if such document is acquired from any person or organization suspected of terrorism. Any person alleged to have directly or indirectly assisted in any way a person suspected of terrorism receives same punishment as the accused. Regardless of the location of the occurrence of the alleged terrorist act, a South African court or attorney general could prosecute the case.

The Terrorism Act placed the burden of proof not on the prosecution or the police but on the defendant. The Act presumed the terrorism guilty until the suspect can prove himself innocent of the charges.

For decades, the Terrorism Act was used by apartheid police and security forces to detain, harass, intimidate, persecute and prosecute black South African opposition leaders and organizations and facilitate sweep up ordinary protesters and citizens, labor leaders, clergymen. Winnie Mandela, Steve Biko and Cyril Ramaphosa, among many others, were arrested under Section of the Act  Section 6 of the Act.

The horrendous crimes against humanity committed by the white minority apartheid regime in South Africa are documented in three massive volumes of the Truth and Reconciliation commission. [2]

T-TPLF use of “anti-terrorism law” to terrorize Ethiopians 

FIRST INDISPUTABLE FACT:  The T-TPLF is itself a certified terrorist organization listed in the Global Terrorism Database.

So there is no question whatsoever that the T-TPLF is a terrorist organization clinging to power in Ethiopia!

How can a certified terrorist organization use “anti-terrorism law” to go after others it calls “terrorists”? (That is the million dollar question!)

The whole “terrorism” thing was a god-send for TPLF thugmaster Meles Zenawi in the mid-2000s.  “Terrorism” in the Horn of Africa was both Meles’ get-out-of-jail-card for his crimes against humanity and a welfare card to get maximum handouts from the United States.

Like the apartheid regime which  raised the specter of terrorism crossing into South Africa from neighboring countries before enacting the Terrorism Act in 1967, Meles also invoked jihadists terrorism in Somalia as a pretext for his anti-terrorism measures.

In a November 2006 in commentary  entitled “The Jihadists are Coming”, I argued Meles was using the Somali “terrorism” thing to divert attention from his own crimes against humanity, particularly the massacres he personally authorized in the post-2005 election period in Ethiopia. I opposed Meles’ War in Somalia in the name of fighting terrorism while he is conducting terrorism of his own in Ethiopia: “The problem is the Ethiopian people cannot fight two wars at once: defend themselves in a political war declared on them by Zenawi and his regime, and mount an attack on a distant and invisible enemy rattling sabers somewhere in the “failed state” of Somalia.”

In December 2006, Meles invaded Somalia to prop up the so-called transitional government in Baidoa.  Meles justified his invasion of Somalia as an act of pre-emptive self-defense: “Ethiopian defense forces were forced to enter into war to protect the sovereignty of the nation. We are not trying to set up a government for Somalia, nor do we have an intention to meddle in Somalia’s internal affairs.”

In 2008, I debunked Meles’ justifications for prosecuting a proxy war for the U.S. in Somalia.  But Meles continued his slick public relations offensive that without him the plague of global terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism will consume the Horn of Africa. Meles and his T-TPLF terrorized the Somali people and committed  against them unspeakable crimes against humanity as documented in the Human Rights Watch  report, “So Much to Fear’: War Crimes and the Devastation of Somalia”. Meles’ proxy war in Somalia failed in its objective of crushing terrorism and by 2009 T-TPLF troops were withdrawn.

By 2009, Meles and T-TPLF had invented a terrorist threat in Ethiopia. Anyone who criticized, opposed, openly disagreed or dissented with Meles and the T-TPLF was branded “TERRORIST”!

The T-TPLF has used a diktat (a personal order of the late TPLF thugmaster Meles Zenawi) known as “Anti-Terrorism Proclamation No. 652/2009”  to invent terrorists and fabricate terrorism.  That  diktat was approved on a 286-91 vote in the T-TPLF rubber stamp parliament. The diktat was so repressive on its face that Human Rights Watch in 2009 criticized the draft as a “new and potent tool for suppressing political opposition and independent criticism of government policy.”

The T-TPLF has used its “Proclamation” to muzzle the press, shutter independent newspapers, suppress dissent and neutralize opposition leaders and parties over the past seven years. Hundreds of T-TPLF opponents have been openly charged and convicted while tens of thousands have been secretly arrested and left to rot in T-TPLF jails.

Yonatan Tesfaye 5 Pix

 

Terrorism by Facebook!

Yonatan Tesfaye is a spokesperson for Blue Party in Ethiopia. The 29-year old is the latest victim of T-TPLF’s  “anti-terrorism” Proclamation.

Last week the T-TPLF charged Yonatan with multiple counts of terrorism. His alleged crime is he used Facebook to incite violence, disrupt the social, economic and political stability of the country, criticized the EPRDF (the shell front organization of the T-TPLF).

Among the specific terrorist allegations against Yonatan include the following statements he  posted on his Facebook page:

Our Muslim citizens are complaining that they have been deprived of their houses of worship. They are crying out, “Let our voices be heard.”

Our Oromo citizens are complaining about land grabs in their areas. They are saying “We do not want the [Addis Ababa] Master Plan.”

Amhara people are saying ‘Because of those practicing ethnic division, they are being displaced. Where can they go if they can’t live in their own country?’”

The people of Gambella are being uprooted from their land. They are saying, “We do not want to be villagized.

[Ethiopian] in Tigray, Afar, Wello, Harargie and Somali regions are dying from famine. They are saying “Give us bread (injera).”Young [Ethiopians] are perishing in the deserts and seas. Terrorists are beheading them. They are saying “Don’t kill me. Let me live for my poor mother country.”

Ethiopians have their rights trampled, humiliated, disappeared and exiled. They are suffering oppression. They are saying “We have had enough”.

Two weeks ago, the T-TPLF filed bogus terrorism charges  against Bekele Gerba and 21 others.

T-TPLF monkey see, monkey do “anti-terrorism” law

Meles  claimed his anti-terrorism diktat was not only the best in the world but also “flawless”.  Yes, he used the word “flawless” to describe his diktat!

Meles was the consummate charlatan and a phrase-monger. He was shockingly clueless about the law.

Meles believed by wholesale plagiarism, cherry picking words, phrases, sentences and clauses from the “anti-terrorism” laws of different countries, he could craft a “flawless” one for himself.

In January 2012, Meles offered the following  description  (video of Meles’ statement to “parliament in Amharic, translation below) of his “flawless” anti-terrorism law:

In drafting our anti-terrorism law, we copied word-for-word the very best anti-terrorism laws in the world. We took from America, England and the European model anti-terrorism laws. It is from these three sources that we have drafted our anti-terrorism law. From these, we have chooses the better ones.  For instance, in all of these laws, an organization is deemed to be terrorist by the executive branch. We improved it by saying it is not good for the executive to make that determination. We took the definition of terrorism word-by-word. Not one word was changed. Not even a comma. It is taken word-by-word. There is a reason why we took it word-by-word. First, these people have experience in democratic governance. Because they have experience, there is no shame  if we learn or take from them. Learning from a good teacher is useful not harmful.  Nothing embarrassing about it. The [anti-terrorism] proclamation in every respect is flawless. It is better than the best anti-terrorism laws [in the world] but not less than any one of them in any way… 

When I heard Meles saying these words on video, I was not sure if I should laugh or cry.

I knew Meles’ “tongue outvenoms all  the worms of Nile”, to borrow from Shakespeare, but I was not prepared to see him give a video testament of his total and abysmal ignorance of the law.

Then I thought of Goethe’s maxim: “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” Meles and T-TPLF are the apotheosis of ignorance in action.

At the time, I tried to tutor  Meles that though imitation may best the highest form of flattery, to boldly claim that a mindlessly patched diktat as “flawless” is just mindless. I tried to explain to him on his level that his cut-and-paste anti-terrorism law could be likened to an imaginary biological creature:

One cannot create a lion by piecing together the sturdy long neck of the giraffe with the strong  jaws of a hyena, the fast limbs of the cheetah and the massive trunk of the elephant. The king of the jungle is an altogether different beast. In the same vein, one cannot clone pieces of anti-terrorism laws from everywhere onto a diktat and sanctify it as “flawless in every respect”.

The fact of the matter is that the laws Meles scarfed his “flawless” anti-terrorism law are as flawless as piece of industrial diamond.

I gave copy cat Meles and his T-TPLF minions a lecture on the subject, but I doubt they understood a word I wrote!

Where in America, the U.K. or Europe has anyone ever been arrested and prosecuted for posting words on Facebook? Where?!

“Flawless” anti-terrorism law, my foot!

Of course, Meles did not “copy word-for-word the very best anti-terrorism laws in the world”.  Meles did not take the “very best” from America, England and Europe.

Meles took the absolute worst from apartheid South Africa’s 1967 Terrorism Law.

T-TPLF terrorism by “anti-terrorism law”

Like the apartheid 1967 Terrorism Act, the T-TPLF anti-terrorism Proclamation under section (3)  classifies as “terrorist”  anyone or “group intending to advance a political, religious or ideological cause [seeks] to destabilize  or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional or, economic or social institutions of the country” and “causes damage to public property, natural resource, environment… [or] disrupts public service.”

In section (5), the T-TPLF law condemns as “terrorist” anyone who “provides a skill, expertise or moral support or gives advice… makes available any property in any manner… monetary, financial or other related services … provides any training or instruction or directive”.  Section (6) criminalizes as a terrorist act publication of “a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public as a direct or indirect encouragement… of an act of terrorism…” Section (7) criminalizes the “recruitment” of any person “for the purpose of a terrorist organization or committing a terrorist act.”

Like the apartheid 1967 Terrorism Act, the T-TPLF anti-terrorism Proclamation  authorizes warrantless searches and seizure. Section (14)  allows warrantless “interception and surveillance on the telephone, fax, radio, internet, electronic, postal and similar communications of a person suspected of terrorism”, “enter into any premise in secret to enforce the interception” or “install or remove instruments enabling the interception.”  (I am not sure about this one. It seems Meles scarfed the digital surveillance thing from the 1988 Chinese law on the Protection of State Secrets. It further allows any “police officer who has reasonable suspicion that a terrorist act may be committed and deems it necessary to make a sudden search…,  stop vehicle and pedestrian in an area and conduct sudden search at any time, and seize relevant evidences.”

Section (19)  of the T-TPLF Proclamation authorizes any police officer to “arrest without court warrant any person whom he reasonably suspects of terrorism.” Section (20)   allows the court to grant endless continuances and postponements so that the police/prosecutor  “for sufficient period to complete the investigation.” Section (23) allows the admission of  unverified  intelligence reports, hearsay or indirect surveillance evidence including those gathered by  “foreign law enforcement bodies” and “confessions of suspects, including coerced confessions. Section (25)  authorizes the “House of Peoples’ Representatives” the power to list and de-list an organization as terrorist organization. Section (37)  allows the “Council of Ministers” to issue “regulations necessary for the implementation of this Proclamation.” (In other words, Tweedle Dee makes regulation for Tweedle Dum.)

Application of the T-TPLF “anti-terrorism law”

Proclamation No. 652/2009 in nearly identical ways to the apartheid Terrorism Act is replete with  ambiguous, vague and overbroad language. Under the sweeping provisions of the Proclamation,  any act, speech, statement, and even thought, could be punished. Anyone the T-TPLF prosecutor/police believe or make-believe is engaged in “advancing a political, religious or ideological cause” and intending to “influence the government”, “intimidate the public”, “destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social institutions of the country” could be condemned to long imprisonment or suffer the death penalty. That was precisely what the apartheid Terrorism act did. The apartheid police and prosecutors could charge anyone they wanted without so much as a scintilla of evidence of wrongdoing.

Making or publishing statements “likely to be understood as encouraging terrorist acts” is a punishable offense. Anyone alleged to have provided “moral support or advice” or has had any contact with an individual accused of a terrorist act is presumed to be a terrorist supporter. That was exactly how the apartheid regime used the Terrorism Act to sweep up suspected anti-apartheid activists in the urban areas.

Under the T-TPLF Proclamation, anyone who “writes, edits, prints, publishes, publicizes, disseminates, shows, makes to be heard any promotional statements encouraging, supporting or advancing terrorist acts” is deemed a “terrorist”. Peaceful protesters who carry banners critical of the regime could be charged for “promotional statements encouraging” terrorist acts. Anyone who “disrupts any public service” is considered a “terrorist” (Section 3); and workers who may legitimately grieve working conditions by work stoppages could be charged with “terrorism” for disruption.  That was exactly what the apartheid regime did with its Terrorism Act to arrest peaceful protesters, students, labor union activists, journalists and other dissidents.

Under the T-TPLF Proclamation, a  person who “fails to immediately inform or give information or evidence to the police” on a neighbor, co-worker or others s/he may suspect of “terrorism” could face up to 10 years for failure to report.  Two or more persons who have contact with a “terror” suspect could be charged with conspiracy to commit “terrorism”. That was exactly what the apartheid regime did with its Terrorism Act charging family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances of suspected terrorists.

The procedural due process rights (fair trial) of suspects and the accused guaranteed under the T-TPLF constitution and  international human rights conventions are ignored, evaded, overlooked and disregarded by the “law”.  “The police may arrest without court warrant any person whom he reasonably suspects to have committed or is committing a terrorism” and hold that person in incommunicado detention. The police can engage in random and “sudden search and seizure” of the person, place or personal effects of anyone suspected of  “terrorism”.  The police can “intercept, install or conduct surveillance on the telephone, fax, radio, internet, electronic, postal, and similar communications” of a person suspected of terrorism.   The police can order “any government institution, official, bank, or a private organization or an individual” to turn over documents, evidence and information on a “terror” suspect.  Section 6 of the apartheid terrorism Act gave complete power to the police to search and seize persons and evidence at any time and in any place from anyone suspected of terrorism.

A “terror” suspect can be held in custody without charge for up to “28 days” with unlimited renewals. Any “evidence” presented by the regime’s prosecutor against a “terror” suspect in “court”  is admissible, including “confessions” (extracted by torture), “hearsay”, “indirect, digital and electronic evidences” and “intelligence reports even if the report does not disclose the source or the method it was gathered (including evidence obtained by torture). The “law” presumes the “terror” suspect to be guilty and puts the burden of proof on the suspect/defendant in violation of the universal principle that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Under the apartheid Terrorism Act, a terrorism suspect could be held on a warrantless detention for 180 days (renewable by order of police and prosecutorial authorities). Any evidence including involuntary confessions and hearsay could be used in court as evidence.  Like the apartheid Terrorism Act, the T-TPLF Proclamation bars habeas review or pretrial judicial intervention even to adjudicate detainee allegations of abuse and torture.

In apartheid South Africa and apartheid Ethiopia, terrorism suspects got kangaroo (monkey) court trials.

Today, T-TPLF prisons are full of opposition leaders, journalists, activists and dissidents falsely charged and/or convicted as “terrorists.” Among the thousands of people falsely accused of terrorism include Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba,  Ahmedin Jebel, Woubshet Taye, Temesgen Desalegn, Andualem Aragie, Andargachew Tsgie, Emawayish Alemu, Deldessa Waqo Jarso,  Akello Akoy Uchula, Zone 9 bloggers,  Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye.

For a partial list of hundreds of T-TPLF political prisoners held under the Proclamation, click HERE

For an additional list, click HERE.

Victims of T-TPLF  “anti-terrorism law” 

The T-TPLF “anti-terrorism” diktat form its inception was intended to muzzle journalists from criticizing, youths from peaceably demonstrating, opposition parties from political organizing, ordinary citizens from speaking, civic leaders from mobilizing, teachers from imparting knowledge, lawyers from advocating scholars from analyzing and the entire nation from questioning his dictatorial rule. It is a “law” singularly intended to criminalize speech, police thought, outlaw critical publications, intimidate hearts, crush spirits, terrorize minds and shred constitutional and internationally-guaranteed human rights.

In the police state Ethiopia has become, opposition political and civic leaders and dissidents are kept under 24/7  surveillance, and the ordinary people they meet in the street are intimidated, harassed and persecuted. The climate of fear that permeates every aspect of urban and rural society is reinforced and maintained by a structure of repression that is vertically integrated from the very top to the local (kebele) level making impossible dissent or peaceful opposition political activity. As former president under the T-TPLF and currently an opposition leader Dr. Negasso Gidada hasdocumented, the structure of state terrorism in Ethiopia is so horrific one can only find parallels for it in Stalin-era Soviet Union:

The police and security offices and personnel collect information on each household through other means. One of these methods involves the use of organizations or structures called “shane”, which in Oromo means “the five”. Five households are grouped together under a leader who has the job of collecting information on the five households… The security chief passes the information he collected to his chief in the higher administrative organs in the Qabale, who in turn informs the Woreda police and security office. Each household is required to report on guests and visitors, the reasons for their visits, their length of stay, what they said and did and activities they engaged in. … The OPDO/EPRDF runs mass associations (women, youth and micro-credit groups) and party cells (“fathers”, “mothers” and “youth”). The party cells in the schools, health institutions and religious institutions also serve the same purpose….

Apartheid South Africa and T-TPLF state terrorism

In any country where the rule of law prevails and an independent judiciary thrives, such a diktat  would not pass the smell test let alone a constitutional one. But in a world of kangaroo courts, rubberstamp parliaments and halls of vengeance and injustice, the diktat of one man, one party  is the law of the land. So, in 2016 Ethiopia has become George Orwell’s 1984: Thinking is terrorism. Dissent is terrorism. Speaking truth to power is terrorism. Having a conscience is terrorism. Peaceful protest is terrorism. Refusing to sell out one’s soul is terrorism. Standing up for democracy and human rights is terrorism. Defending the rule of law is terrorism. Peaceful resistance of state terrorism is terrorism.

State terrorism is the systematic use and threat of use of violence and coercion, intimidation, imprisonment and persecution  to create a prevailing climate of fear in a population with a specific political message and outcome: “Resistance is futile! Resistance will be crushed! There will be no resistance! ”

State terrorism paralyzes the whole society and incapacitates individuals by entrenching fear as a paramount feature of social inaction and immobilization through the exercise of  arbitrary power and extreme brutality.

In Ethiopia today, it is not just that the climate of fear and loathing permeates every aspect of social and economic life, indeed the climate of fear has transformed the “Land of Thirteen Months of Sunshine” in to the “Land of Thirteen Months of Fear, Loathing, Despair and Darkness”.

When the State uses the “law” to silence and violently stamp out dissent, jail and keep in solitary confinement dissenters, opposition leaders and members, suppress the press and arbitrarily arrest journalists, trash human rights with impunity, trample upon the rule of law and scoff at constitutional accountability, does it not become a terrorist state?

Welcome to Apartheid Ethiopia!

 (To be continued…)

[1] Parts I and 2 available at the following links:http://almariam.com/2016/02/21/a-special-message-in-a-bottle-to-ethiopian-cheetahs-born-free-live-free/

[2] Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Reports:

Volume I:  http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/report/finalreport/Volume%201.pdf

Volume II: http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/report/finalreport/Volume%202.pdf

Volume III: http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/report/finalreport/Volume%203.pdf

posted by daniel tesfaye

San Jose’s Ethiopian Community Objects to a Conference

May 5,2016

(Ethiopian American Council)— San Jose, California – On Sunday, May 8, 2016 starting at noon, the San Jose Ethiopian-American Council of North AmericaScottish Rite facilities on Masonic Drive in San Jose, could become a place of contention for Ethiopian-Americans and other members of the Ethiopian Diaspora community, as they may form against representatives of the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), the single party leading the corrupt and oppressive regime now ruling Ethiopia.

Appeals to Scottish Rite Officials

The Ethiopian-American Council (EAC) of North America, a non-governmental organization focused on the political and human rights of members of the Ethiopian Diaspora, has expressed concerns to Scottish Rite officials by asking them to disassociate themselves from the TPLF meeting.

Canceling use of the facility by the TPLF could snuff any civil upheaval while effectively telling TPLF officials that the Ethiopian Diaspora in America heartily feels that their false ministrations are deeply unwelcome in their communities.

Appeals to the Ethiopian Community

The EAC is also calling on all members of the San Jose Ethiopian community to boycott the meeting should it eventually take place. But, the pain felt by so many Ethiopians at the hands of the TPLF could foment protests at the Scottish Rite facility during the conference.

Officials of the EAC averred that they do not condone violence and have said that only boycott or peaceful demonstration should be the rule.

Irony of TPLF Meeting Regarding Amhara

Ostensibly, the conference is intended to reach out to members of San Jose’s Ethiopian Diaspora for discussions on the Social and Economic Development of the Amhara Region in Ethiopia.

The irony of the situation is that most members of the Ethiopian Diaspora have had to flee their homeland due to the terror and atrocities promulgated by the TPLF and imposed on the beleaguered peoples of Ethiopia, including people who have managed to flee to America from the Amhara region of Ethiopian.

Though cloaked as representatives of the Amhara National Regional State,  a TPLF surrogate it is important to note that representatives are members of the TPLF, and their cronies, who lead the corrupt and oppressive regime that now holds a bloody claw on power in Ethiopia.

TPLF’s Divide and Conquer Strategy

According to officials of the EAC, the meeting probably has a more nefarious goal than just discussing the social and economic development of the Amhara Region. The TPLF sent out letters of invitation for the meeting almost exclusively to members of the San Jose Ethiopian community linked to TPLF the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Indeed, some have money to invest.

It seems an attempt to “make nice” with the alienated population it has so mistreated in the past. The treatment has been so bad that there are now a considerable number of Amhara Ethiopians living abroad . For the last 25 years, through land grabs, ethnic cleansing, and massive population relocation, the vast and fertile lands in Amhara, specifically the districts of Welqaite, Tsegede, -Tselemt and Wello, have been turned over to Tigray and members of the TPLF and their cronies.

The TPLF has dealt with the people of the Oromo region in much the same way. Huge swaths of Oromo land have been taken from the original inhabitants who have been living there for countless generations. Many students from Oromo have been jailed, tortured, or murdered for participating in protests against the unconstitutional land appropriations.

As many nations, Ethiopia has had to deal with some longstanding strife between ethnic and tribal groups. The purpose of most governments is to heal that sort of dissension among the peoples of a nation. The TPLF uses that history as a way of pitting citizen against citizen – promising fealty to one group only to retool and promise whatever is necessary to another.

With Knowledge of TPLF Cruelty, Others Have Canceled

Noting the extreme disaffection of the Swedish Ethiopian Diaspora community with the TPLF, Swedish officials prevented a meeting, similar to that scheduled in San Jose, from happening there, even though the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Tedros Adhanom, was on hand to attend. Other TPLF meetings have been canceled in Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, DC.

(Presently a resolution has been introduced for approval by the Senate of the United States. It calls on the Ethiopian regime to construct a more inclusive government; to cease the jailing, torture, and even murder of peaceful political dissidents and journalists; to stop land grabs and ethnic cleansing; and to bring an end to other atrocities visited on the citizens of Ethiopia.)

Council Calls for an End to Ethnic Adversity

Using ethnic politics to distract the minds of citizens from the real issues affecting Ethiopian populations – specifically the economic reality of robber barons ruling the country and stealing its wealth by jailing, torturing, and murdering innocents – certainly benefits the TPLF and its greedy cohorts. Under the TPLF regime, Ethiopia is not a “rising democracy” as so many western politicians have announced – it a “rising blister” ready to burst.

EAC leadership has urged all the peoples of Ethiopia to unite against their true enemy – the iron-fisted rule of the TPLF and its ethnic politics. The main scheme of the TPLF government is to endure by destroying the national pride of Ethiopians and destroying the spirit of being One Ethiopia for all the peoples of that beautiful country situated on the Horn of Africa.

Council Calls for an End to Ethnic Adversity

posted by daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia: Bekele Gerba’s Trial in T-TPLF Monkey Kourt

May 2,2016

n American legal lore, there is the Scopes Monkey Trial

In 1925, a high school teacher named John Scopes was prosecuted in Tennessee for teaching human evolution in a public school [violating theButler Act]. Throughout the U.S., the Scopes trial was widely seen as a struggle between the “ignorati” who fought to keep their children in a state of benighted bliss and the “cognoscente” who sought to enlighten American children with modern science.

Gerba 6

In April 2016, the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front  (T-TPLF) is prosecuting Bekele Gerba and 21 other individuals on trumped up  charges of terrorism under its “Anti-terrorism Proclamation 652/2001” .

Bekele 2Bekele Gerba is also a teacher, actually a professor of foreign languages at Addis Ababa University. But he is not charged with enlightening benighted children. His crimes are 1) enlightening the people of Ethiopia on the heinous crimes against humanity committed by the T-TPLF,  2) exposing the wanton T-TPLF massacres in Oromia region of Ethiopia, and 3) publicly testifying about the T-TPLF’s bottomless the corruption in land, cold-blooded atrocities and never-ending abuse of power by the T-TPLF.

Bekele’s co-defendants in the bogus terrorism charges include: Gurmesa Ayano Weyissa, Dejene Tafa Geleta, Adisu Bulala Abawalta, Abdeta Negassa Feye, Gelana Negera Jima, Chimsa Abdisa Jafaro, Getu Girma Tolossa, Fraol Tola Dadi, Getachew Dereje Tujuba,Beyene Ruda Deju, Tesfaye Liben Tolossa, Ashebir Desalegn Beri, Dereje Nerga Debelo, Yusef Alemayheu Herega, Hika Teklu Kutu, Gemechu Shanko Gedi, Megersa Asfaw Feyissa, Lemi Edeto Geremew, Abdi Tamrat Desisa, Abdisa Kumesa Heesa, Halkeno Qonchora Goro.

Last week, as trumped up charges were brought against Bekele and his co-defendants, a T-TPLF monkey kourt sentenced Okello Akway Ochalla, an indigenous land rights leader from the Gambella region of Ethiopia, to a 9-year prison term on bogus chargesof terrorism.  Okello was  a former governor of Gambella region in western Ethiopia and went into exile in Norway in 2004 to protest T-TPLF crimes against humanity. In March 2014, the T-TPLF arranged Okello’s illegal rendition (kidnapping) with elements of South Sudan’s military during Okello’s visit in South Sudan.   (To read Okello’s “Defense Statement” in Amharic and English, click HERE.)

In July 2014, the T-TPLF arranged the abduction and illegal rendition of Andargachew Tsigie, a human rights activist and General Secretary of the Ethiopian opposition group known as Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy  Ginbot 7, with elements of the Yemeni government.

T-TPLF’s trumped up terrorism charges against Bekele Gerba and 21 others

The allegations of “terrorism” against Bekele and the 21 individuals are straight out of Kafka’s, “The Trial”.  That novel begins with the following sentence: “Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.”

Someone must have been lying about Bekele and the 21 co-defendants for they knew they had done nothing wrong when they were arrested by the T-TPLF.

The T-TPLF’s convoluted and haphazard allegations of terrorism under the so-called “Anti-terrorism Proclamation 652/2001”  boil down to the following: Bekele traveled to the U.S. as an executive of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) following his release from T-TPLF prison in July 2015 and met with Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) leaders. He returned to Ethiopia and with his alleged co-conspirators began spreading OLF’s terrorist messages of insurrection and violence. He allegedly traveled to certain cities and towns in Ethiopia with others  defendants and gave instructions to carry out terrorist acts. Bekele allegedly organized OFC members to carry out terrorist acts on behalf of the OLF causing destruction of government institutions, closure of roads and damage to security forces. Bekele is further alleged to have visited various universities to incite violence causing loss of life and destruction of property. The cookie-cutter allegations against the other defendants harp on the same message of carrying out “terrorist” activities on behalf of the OLF.

“Terrorism” trials in T-TPLF kangaroo/monkey Kourts

I have long  caricatured the T-TPLF’s “justice sector” as a “justice” system founded on a sham, corrupt and whimsical legal process.

In my December 2007 commentary, “Monkey Trial in Kangaroo Court”, I demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that the T-TPLF “justice” system was in fact an injustice system designed to victimize the innocent.

My use of the proverbial kangaroo/monkey kourt to characterize the T-TPLF justice system may be  obscure to some of my readers.

Kangaroo courts have nothing to do with Australia or marsupials. The phrase is used to signify judicial tribunals that blatantly disregard  recognized standards of law or justice. Kangaroo courts are make-believe courts  in which 1) a court purporting to be legitimate intentionally disregards or misapplies and distorts legal and ethical obligations and 2) an ad hoc “court” is established to dispense extrajudicial  vigilante “justice”.

I coined the corollary phrase “monkey kourt” to describe the perversion of established judicial institutions for political purposes in Africa, particularly Ethiopia. During their years in the bush, T-TPLF leaders administered “bush justice” in their own bush “kourts”.

As I have learned from those with firsthand knowledge, in the bush days key T-TPLF leaders would systematically identify potential opponents, dissidents, challengers, potential adversaries, rivals, those suspected of disloyalty or perceived as enemies and secretly make decisions to liquidate, neutralize or subject them to other sanctions. (See a revealing discussion of T-TPLF bush court proceedings in Aregawi Berhe’s [former founding member of the TPLF), “A Political History of the TPLF”, Tsehai Pubs. (2009), pp. 182-3.)

What the T-TPLF did after it seized power in Ethiopia in 1991 was simply reproduce and expand its bush kourt system on a national scale. The nationalization of T-TPLF’s bush justice is what I now call a monkey kourt system.

A 2012 U.S. State Department Human Rights report on Ethiopia concluded: “The law provides for an independent judiciary. Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence, the criminal courts remained weak, overburdened, and subject to political influence.”  According  to Human Rights Watch, “The judiciary in Ethiopia lacks independence and has in fact been used on numerous recent occasions as a tool with which to implement flawed legislation and to crack down on peaceful dissent. The Ethiopian Federal High Court has passed rulings reinforcing an ad-hoc and arbitrary implementation of the CSO law and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.”  (Emphasis added.)

The T-TPLF uses its kourt system and judicial process to give the appearance and illusion of due process, fair and just trial, even though the verdict on any T-TPLF adversary in reality is a foregone conclusion. Reeyot Alemu, the heroine of Ethiopian press freedom and a  victim of T-TPLF bogus terrorism prosecution reported that T-TPLF bosses Hassan Shiffa and Leiku Gebreegziaber threatened  to get her the death penalty, and nothing less than life, if she did not lie and incriminate innocent people.

What passes off as a “justice system” in Ethiopia today is little more than a marketplace where “justice” is bought and sold in a monopoly controlled by T-TPLF leaders and cronies supported by a bureaucracy of  nameless, faceless and clueless men who skulk in the shadows of power. In the T-TPLF “justice” system universal principles of law, justice and due process are disregarded, subverted, perverted and mocked. It is a system where the poor, the marginalized, the audacious journalists, dissidents, opposition and civic society leaders are legally lynched in plain view of the stony silence of the international community. It is a “justice” system in which T-TPLF regime leaders, their families, friends and cronies are all above the law and spell justice “JUST US”.

U.S. expressed “concern”

On April 29, 2016, the U.S. State Department did what it does best. “The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent decision to file terrorism charges against Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) First Vice-Chairman Bekele Gerba and others in the Oromia region who were arrested in late 2015.”

Whoopty doo!

If I counted the number of times the U.S. State Department has expressed “concern” over human rights violations in Ethiopia, I could publish a a book entitled, “U.S. Concerns in Ethiopia’s Spring of Discontent”.

After the T-TPLF claimed 100 percent victory in May 2015 elektions, The White House issued a statement: “We are concerned that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments.”

In 2010, after the T-TPLF declared victory by 99.6 percent, the White House issued a statement and expressed “concern that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments.”

In 201o and 2015, the U.S. expressed the same exact “concern that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments.”

In May 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John  Kerry said  he “shared his concerns” with T-TPLF officials about the arrest of young Ethiopian [Zone 9] bloggers”.

In July 2015, just before Barack Obama declared the T-TPLF regime democratic, Susan Rice said the U.S. has “consistently expressed concern about the treatment of journalists and human rights.”

Every time the T-TPLF commits an outrage, crimes against humanity, steals elections and flouts international law, the U.S. expresses “concern.”

For crying out loud, what does it mean to express “concern”?

Is “concern” diplomatese (diplomatic-speak) for, “We are so ashamed of ourselves for getting in in bed with killer thugs so we want to hoodwink the world into believing that we are not in bed with killer thugs.”

To me, a concerned person takes action about the the thing  s/he is concerned about.

When people are concerned about the welfare and safety of others, they don’t sit on their duffs and mope around claiming they are “concerned”, they do something.

Who cares if the U.S. is “concerned”?  Does U.S. “concern” stop T-TPLF massacres and human rights violations?

“Concern” is a cop out word the U.S. uses to convince itself that it is doing something. The fact of the matter is that being “concerned” is doing NOTHING.

If the U.S. is really concerned about T-TPLF crimes against humanity, it should do something concrete to about its concerns such as leveraging its billion dollar plus annual handout program.

“Concern” is a word found only in the lexicon of American  diplocrisy  (American human rights diplomacy by hypocrisy).

Who is Bekele Gerba?

Bekele Gerba is a leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress.

Bekele “describes himself as a Christian who believes in nonviolence and says he spent his four years in prison pouring over the sermons and speeches of Martin Luther King and translating them into the Oromo language for a book that he hopes to see published. The title: ‘I Had A Dream.’”

In 2011, the T-TPLF charged Bekele with “terrorism” after meeting with Amnesty International investigators.

During his sentencing in December 2012, Bekele told  a T-TPLF monkey kourt,

In my life time, I have opposed injustice, discrimination, ethnic favoritism, and oppression. I am honored to learn that my non-violent struggles and humble sacrifices for the democratic and human rights of the Oromo people, to whom I was born without a wish on my part […], have been considered a crime and to be unjustly convicted. If apology was warranted, I would seek it not from the court that found me guilty of a crime I did not commit but rather from my people […] for failing to fully speak to the depth of their suffering in the interest of the co-existence of peoples…

I don’t need to tell my readers who Bekele Gerba is or is not.

Even if I wanted, I could not. “Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you” what an extraordinary young man of courage, integrity and character Bekele Gerba is.

Bekele is anything but a “radical” or “terrorist” of any sort.

Calling Bekele Gerba a “terrorist” is as true as calling the T-TPLF “democratic”. (Barack Obama said what?!)

If the T-TPLF is democratic, then Bekele is a “terrorist”.  Period!

What is extraordinary is the fact that Bekele is not even a harsh critic of the T-TPLF as are many others.

Bekele’s views are expressed in balanced, reasoned, well-considered and factually accurate way. He is not the provocative and relentless pamphleteer who rages against the T-TPLF tyrannical machine.

Bekele does not have an axe to grind. He just tells the truth as it is, unvarnished and raw!

Here is Bekele Gerba in his own words from a speech he made on the land grab in Ethiopia in 2010.

I ask my readers to judge if the man speaking in the video (translation below) is anything other than a thoughtful, deliberate, brilliant, knowledgeable, perceptive, discerning and profoundly compassionate human being. (To view the video, clickHERE; translation below.)

In 2010, Bekele showed the T-TPLF and world the kind of man he is:

… We don’t say that the EPRDF [the ‘Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front’ the shell political “corporation”  through which the T-TPLF operates to give the illusion of a multi-party alliance]  has not done anything. It is our belief that it has; it is because it has done [things] that the country has chosen it. We know it is not easy to lead a country. But from year to year, the EPRDF has not listened to the people’s pleas, [it has not] tried to improve or learn from its experience [and] move the people and country forward as it should. Day to day, [the EPRDF] it is going backwards. It has reached a point [now] where it cannot lead the country. But we have never said the EPRDF has not done or offered anything to the country.

I want to focus [in my presentation] on land ownership, proper use of land and development  outcomes.

According to the federal constitution and as the ruling party’s [“EPRDF”] documents reveal, land belongs to the people and government. But really, does land belong to the people? Does it belong to the government? [Does it belong to] both?

In our estimation, land does not belong to anyone. Land is the private property of the ruling authorities. Land is something they sell and exchange. It is a means for them to make friends and something they distribute among relatives; a thing they give to their party members and a[tool] they use to recruit [party members].

Land has become a [tool] to even blind the educated people.  Today when we look at the educated people in certain places, they have come to a point where they don’t talk about justice, equality [and] rights.  That is because [land] has blinded them.

Today, in the cities and areas surrounding Addis Ababa, they [the educated people] are given land and their mouths have been sealed shut. Thus, land is a tool for sealing mouths. Land has become a magnet  for purposes of [attracting] Ethiopians abroad.  They call them “Diaspora”. And at one time they swarmed here to get land. They [got the land] sold it and went back [to their homes abroad].  [At the same time] our people were scattered  in the streets and they did not have [centimeters] of land.

That is why we call [land] a magnet. Land today for some is a light speed rocket ship to accumulate incredible wealth. If we see some of the wealthy, if we ask them and tell them they are called ‘my short history [in being rich]’ [nouveau riche?] in society, when they are asked “How did you get all this wealth?”, they cannot even explain [by saying] ‘This is how hard we worked to get it.’ They don’t even know how they amassed so much money.

That is how land is used today. This is what we are trying to improve.  What we are saying is [land] has to be wealth that can be divided among citizens with equality. We know that land is a critical resource.

I believe we Ethiopians, because our relationship to this wealth [land] have been divided [categorized] into four levels. Our citizenship [status] has four classes. There are the first-class citizens who are in power to give away land. The second-class citizens are those who receive land. It does not mean today everyone gets land. The third-class citizens are those who are spectators watching the theaters of land transactions. People who are watching as others are eating. The fourth-class are those whose land is taken away, the land where they are born and their umbilical cord is buried; those who are  dispossessed and expelled and their land given to others and there are those farmers who are victims of such dispossession. That is the reason we are struggling. The national wealth that has been divided up by them [rulers of Ethiopia], the way in which they have determined our nation’s citizenship, our nations peoples,  it is our aim  to redistribute the wealth [consistent with the principles] of equality. That is why we are struggling. We want to struggle peacefully and change this system and play a leadership role.

Proper use of the land is another appropriate question. We know each piece of land, each meter of land  must be put to proper use. But what used to be good harvest land yesterday, what does it look like today? Today some of [that land] it is a pile of rocks, half of it is enclosed by a fence with a guard sitting by looking after it. Perhaps that guard, his relatives or family  who have been displaced may have been the owners of the land at some time. That is what we generally understand. Therefore, once land has given the appropriate service, in some areas the land is left [to deteriorate]. For example, where there are mines, after the mining extraction has been done, the land is left [without environmental reclamation or remediation].  As a result, there is a chance that will be turned into unusable [damaged] land. Thus, there has to be  a way to properly reclaim [and remediate] the land. We do not know what will happen [at various mining locations] in a few years. But there has to be a way to properly reclaim [remediate] the land.

The other issue is the health of the environment… Flowing rivers, there are many dead rivers [from pollution] in our country. Without going too far, there are [lifeless] dead rivers because of pollution. Then there are people who live a few meters away and drink the [polluted] water. There are animals  who are a few meters away and drink the [polluted] water. They are citizens and national resources.  We should be concerned about that. Why is it that conditions are not created so that the pollution can be controlled? Those who are profiting from their factories, why are they not concerned about the health of our citizens, our farmers? Why is it that the government is not asking [and requiring] [environmental safety]?

The other question is about fertilizers.  The government does not talk about that. We have no idea if the government has plans to start fertilizer production in the country. Why is that? It is not that complicated or require that much money… [comment cut off by moderator due to expiration of allotted time].

To read an extraordinarily  revealing and riveting interview of Bekele Gerba (May 2015) on Addis Standard, click HERE.

The World Bank and monkey business of justice in T-TPLF monkey kourt

My first critique of the T-TPLF bush justice system  appeared in 2006 when I wrote a32-page analysis titled, “Keystone Cops, Prosecutors and Judges in a Police State.” It was written in the first year of what became my long day’s journey into the dark night of advocacy against human rights violations in Ethiopia and Africa. That piece was intended to be a critical analysis of the trial of the so-called Kality defendants consisting of some 130 or so major opposition leaders, human rights advocates, civic society activists, journalists and others in the aftermath of the 2005 election. I tried to demonstrate that the show trial of those defendants was little more than a third-rate theatrical production staged to dupe the international community. I also tried to show how a dysfunctional and bankrupt judicial system was used to destroy political opposition and dissent in Ethiopia.  I described the “judicial proceedings” of the Kality defendants as “an elaborate hoax, a make-believe tribunal complete with hand-picked judges, trumped up charges, witless prosecutors, no procedures and predetermined outcomes set up to produce only one thing: a  monumental miscarriage of justice.” 

The perversion of the “justice sector” by the T-TPLF in Ethiopia has been well-documented in the World Bank’s 448-page report, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia”.  (The Ethiopian “justice sector” examined by the World Bank includes, among others, the “courts, police, prosecutors, administrative agencies with quasi-judicial powers, and public and private attorneys, prisons, and those in the executive and legislative branches responsible for enacting the laws and regulations governing their operations”.)

According to the World Bank study, corruption in the Ethiopian justice sector “takes one of two forms: political interference with the independent actions of courts or other sector agencies, payment or solicitation of bribes or other considerations to alter a decision or action.” The World Bank study offered critical insights into a justice system rife with corruption, systemic failures of judicial institutions, lack of political will and the lack of capacity to manage judicial resources and maintain integrity of institutions.

Grand corruption in the T-TPLF justice sector stems from the fact that political officials have wide authority over judicial officials (from appointment to management of judicial functions); and political officials have little accountability and incentive to maintain the integrity of the justice sector. There are few functional formal systems of control in the relationship between the judicial and political processes in Ethiopia. If there ever were control systems, they have been broken for a long time making it nearly impossible to administer fairly the laws while maintaining accountability in the form of a robust reporting system and transparency in the form of robust management practices. Such institutional decay has promoted the growth of a culture of corruption in the T-TPLF justice sector and continues to undermine not only the broad adjudicatory role of justice sector institutions but also public confidence in the integrity of the justice system itself.

Justice in a police state?

Expecting justice in a police state is like expecting a tropical paradise in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

The great Groucho Marx is reported to have said, “Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.”

It could equally be said that justice in a T-TPLF monkey kourt is like justice under martial (military) law. No reasonable person would consider martial law to produce justice. By the same token, no reasonable person could expect justice from a dictatorship in which a demonic clique of  crooks wields absolute power.

In July 2015, Barack Obama stood up in Addis Ababa and proclaimed the T-TPLF is a “democratic government.”

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn if Barack Obama believes the T-TPLF is democratic.

I say the T-TPLF runs a police state in Ethiopia.

As I argued in my February 2012 commentary, “The Prototype African Police State”, the T-TPLF is an assemblage of bush thugs whose mission in life is thugging.  A pig in lipstick at the end of the day is still a pig. A thug in a 3-piece Versace suit with millions stashed in off shore accounts at the end of the day is still a thug. There!

I will never forget a T-TPLF “police chief” thug in February 2013 who threatened to arrest a Voice of America reporter stationed in Washington, D.C. simply because that reporter asked him for his full name during a telephone interview.  That police thug told the VOA reporter, “I don’t care if you live in Washington or in Heaven. I don’t give a damn! But I will arrest you and take you. You should know that!!”

If a two-bit T-TPLF policeman can feel emboldened to exercise such absolute power over an employee of the United States  Government doing his job as a journalist, what can be expected of the thugs at the apex of the T-TPLF food chain?

The T-TPLF regime is the petri dish of corruption and living proof  that power corrupts and an absolute power corrupts absolutely.

T-TPLF legal lynching: The fate of Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants in T-TPLF monkey kourt is sealed

Is there anyone in Ethiopia who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?

Is there anyone in the diplomatic community in Ethiopia who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?

Is there anyone in the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia or at the U.S. State Department  who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?

Is there anyone in the African Union who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?

Is there anyone in the Ethiopian Diaspora who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?

Is there anyone in the international human rights and press rights community who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?

I will bet my bottom dollar, there is not!

Why do some of us pretend that there is a real judicial process to adjudicate the bogus trials of the Bekele Gerba and the 21 co-defendants?

As I read statements and comments online about Bekele Gerba and the others facing trumped up charges of  terrorism, I shake my head. Those who talk about T-TPLF political kourts as courts are legitimizing the very idea that the T-TPLF operates a court system. We should call a spade, a spade. The T-TPLF does not operate a “court” system; it operates a monkey kourt system.

The T-TPLF has long embarked on a mission of legal lynching of its opponents and critics. The T-TPLF pretrial process is perverted. The presumption of innocence (Eth. Const. Art. 20(3)) is openly flouted. The late T-TPLF leader Meles Zenawi in 2011 made a public statement in Norway and proclaimed the guilt of freelance Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye as they were on trial on charges of “terrorism”. Meles emphatically declared the duo “are, at the very least, messenger boys of a terrorist organization. They are not journalists.” Persson and Schibbye were “convicted” and sentenced to long prison terms.

In August 2005, Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) met with the late Meles Zenawi. On October 22, 2007, Smith (R-NJ) summarized  his conversation with Meles Zenawi at that time:

…I also had a lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. I urged him to investigate the slaughter of the pro-democracy demonstrators, to punish those responsible, and to release all political prisoners…

Finally, when I asked the Prime Minister to work with the opposition and show respect and tolerance for those with differing views on the challenges facing Ethiopia he said, “I have a file on all of them; they are all guilty of treason.”

I was struck by his all-knowing tone. Guilty! They’re all guilty simply because Meles says so? No trial? Not even a Kangaroo court?…

I urged Prime Minister Meles not to take that route. (Emphasis added.)

That was exactly what Meles and his buddies did in the bush. They would “have files” on their  opponents and mete out justice bush style. Not even a kangaroo court!

In December 2008, Meles railroaded Birtukan Midekssa, the first female political party leader in Ethiopian history, without so much as a hearing let alone a trial. Not even a monkey trial! Meles personally ordered that Birtukan be kept in solitary confinement straight from the street. Later, he  declared “There will never be an agreement with anybody to release Birtukan. Ever. Full stop. That’s a dead issue.” In making his statement, the late T-TPLF leader proclaimed to the world that he is the law and the ultimate source of justice in Ethiopia. His words trump the country’s Constitution!

In 2009, one of the top leaders of the regime labeled 40 defendants awaiting trial as “desperadoes” who planned to “assassinate high ranking government officials and destroying telecommunication services and electricity utilities and create conducive conditions for large scale chaos and havoc.” They were all “convicted” and given long prison sentences.

Internationally celebrated Ethiopian journalists including  Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye and many others were denied access to legal counsel for months in pretrial detention in violation of Article 20 (2) of the T-TPLF constitution.

Ethiopian Muslim activists who demanded an end to religious interference are jailed on “terrorism” charges and denied access to counsel.  They were mistreated and abused in pretrial detention. Scores of journalists, opposition members and activists arrested and prosecuted (persecuted) under the so-called anti-terrorism proclamation were also denied counsel and speedy trials and have languished in prison for long periods. Suspects in T-TPLF custody are interrogated without the presence of counsel and coerced confessions extracted. Yet, Article 19 (5) of the T-TPLF constitution provides, “Everyone shall have the right not to be forced to make any confessions or admissions of any evidence that may be brought against him during the trial.”

The trial of the Zone 9 Bloggers was adjourned 34 times for ridiculousreasons resulting in prolonged illegal pretrial detention.  In anticipation of Barack Obama’s visit in July, 2015, the T-TPLF released two bloggers and 3 journalists. “When the government decided to suddenly discontinue the case against five of the writers and let them walk free, the judges did not know about it.”

Yes, the judges did not know about it!!!

The T-TPLF judicial system is the only one in the world  where suspects are arrested of committing crimes after being investigated for 2 years and then the prosecution asks for endless continuances to gather additional evidence.

The “Minijust” of T-TPLF monkey kourts

Talking about corruption in the Ethiopian “justice sector” is like talking about truth in Orwell’s 1984 Ministry of Truth (“Minitrue”).

In Orwell’s “1984”, the purpose of “Minitrue” is to create and maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute, all knowing, all-powerful and infallible.

The purpose of the “Ministry of Justice” in Ethiopia is to create the illusion that the T-TPLF is absolute, all knowing, all-powerful and infallible.

There can be no justice in a judicial system where there is a complete absence of  the rule of law, due process and an independent  and impartial and judiciary.

In a recent monkey kourt hearing, Bekele reportedly told  a T-TPLF monkey kourt,  “I prefer death to detention at Maekelawi [a/k/a “Torture Central” police station in Addis Ababa]].”

My brother Bekele! Hold on! Don’t give up. Scripture teaches, “Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.”

Bekele Gerba, Eskinder Nega and the rest of the political prisoners will  go free. No question about that!

On a lighter note, I have always claimed that the T-TPLF leadership by and large consists of ignoramuses.

I am pleased to produce conclusive evidence to support my claim.

Gerba 8In the image above, extracted from thecharging document alleging the commission of terrorism by Bekele Gerba and the 21 co-defendants, the assistant T-TPLF federal prosecutor Fekadu Tsega has affixed his thumbprint as his legal signature on the charging document.

Yes, thumbprint!

In Ethiopia and most of Africa, ONLY persons who can neither read nor write use their thumbprints as their signatures.

Only in T-TPLF’s Ethiopia is an illiterate “federal” prosecutor allowed to charge citizens with crimes against the state.

How can a prosecutor sign charges that he cannot read?

In as much as I despise the criminal military Derg regime, I will give it credit for compulsory literacy program (Meserete Timhirt [basic literacy]) throughout the country guaranteeing at a minimum that every citizen is able to sign his/her name in Amharic script and never use thumbprints for signatures.

Today, illiterate T-TPLF “federal” prosecutors sign the criminal charges they file with thumbprints.

Only in a monkey kourt would criminal charges verified by an illiterate prosecutor be accepted as legitimate.

I am speechless!!!  For crying out loud, what can I say!?

But there you have it in black and white (I mean in thumbprint).

The defense rests!

But we should not be surprised. Many of the functionally illiterate T-TPLF leaders fare no better. There are amply documented cases in which top T-TPLF leaders have purchased fake degrees from online diploma mills to prove they are “educated”.

In May 2015, Bekele Gerba said:

There is a challenge. But I think there is still hope. I always believe that things can change gradually. Because of the culture we were in for hundreds, or may be thousands of years, we used to think changing a government is only possible by violence, or armed struggle. But I think that time has passed now; it is possible to change regimes and to confront governments by peaceful means of struggle. If people are very much committed to peaceful struggle, I think the situation will change and the government must exploit this situation – meaning that, as an opposition, we are very helpful, we can contribute much.

In August 2015, Bekele said, “Nobody is actually sure in Ethiopia what will happen to him anytime.  Anytime, people can be arrested, harassed or killed or disappeared.”

Bekele Gerba is in jail because he advocated peaceful change in Ethiopia!

Bekele Gerba is in jail because he advocated justice, equality and fairness for ALL Ethiopians!

When the sword of justice is beaten into a sledgehammer of injustice, it is the supreme duty of ordinary citizens to expose it!

FREE BEKELE GERBA AND HIS 21 CO-DEFENDANTS

posted by daniel tesfaye

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