By Yilma Bekele
The headlines screamed ‘Ethiopian court convicts 24 of terrorism charges’. As usual it was a misleading and incorrect statement. There is no such animal called Ethiopian court. There is a TPLF controlled judicial arrangement in Ethiopia. Prime Minster Meles and his politburo are the directors behind the scene of this farce. For the last twenty-one years they have been using the power of the state to marginalize, terrorize, demean and undermine the Ethiopian citizen. We are so used to their bullying the average Ethiopian does not even dwell on it. We make that peculiar noise with our lips you know that hissing sound and move on.
Our brothers Eskinder Nega, Andualem Arage, Wubshet Taye our sister Reyot Alemu and the others whose names are not publicized were convicted for exercising their right to speak and write freely. They only used their voice and their choice of weapon was the pen and paper. There was no evidence to show otherwise. Ato Eskinder has the audacity to speculate the chance of Arab Spring migrating to Ethiopia. Ato Andualem was simply trying to organize and recruit people to his legally recognized party. Reyot and Wubshet were doing their job as journalist and reporter. In any other country this is a normal and routine kind of job. But we are not like any other country or any other people. Our Ethiopia has always been different. Not only we got strange and bizarre leaders but we also have a different breed of people.
Yes we are different both inside Ethiopia and in the Diaspora. A vast majority of us have decided to accept shame as normal behavior and we even celebrate it loudly and wear it with pride. We victimize each other our country and people and we are the first ones to holler foul. It is done so much and so often it is becoming a little boring. I am afraid we have lost any semblance of respect for our selves and what is sad is others are losing respect for both victim and victimizer. They deserve each other is what comes to mind.
Asians have this philosophy referred to as Ying and Yang to describe how opposites are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. Nothing is totally yin or totally yang. Female and male, dark and light, cold and hot, water and fire are manifestations of yin and yang. ‘Just as the state of yin is reached yang begins to grow. Yin contains seed of yang and vice versa. They constantly transform each other. The classics state ‘yin creates yang and yang activates yin’. I am afraid that philosophy is not true in our country. Our yin and yang are not in balance. The harmonious change envisioned in the philosophy has gone haywire when it comes to us. Too much of one is bound to weaken and consume the other. That is happening in our society. This phenomenon is so clearly manifested in the Ethiopian Diaspora community.
Let us start with our yearly soccer tournament. It is such a beautiful and positive activity that it has energized our community for the last twenty-five years or more. It should be our pride and a showcase of how much good we can do when we work together. Unfortunately it is also the other side of us where a few can use this positive energy for negative purpose. Those that have been leading the organization have been using the proceeds as cash cow and also as a vehicle to undermine our unity and sell our country to the highest bidder. We let them do that. We see, we hear but we choose to be silent. We have this notion that ignoring bad deed will make it go away.
Thus the Ethiopian Soccer Federation in North America (ESFNA) governing body at long last voted to start fresh and reform this rogue outfit. Of course those who are so used to working behind the scene in the dark were not willing to go silently. They were taken to a real court that ordered to cease and deceit from using the name of the organization and also answer a few question regarding finances and book keeping. What did they do? They went to their sugar daddy and applied for welfare. The same person that is fully integrated with that other rogue outfit called the TPLF supposedly gave them $2 million US to carry out their mission of dividing us and setting us against each other. They, like their father and mentor Meles Zenawi do not believe in self-imitative but run to the nearest welfare donor to get their funding. He sells our land, borrow in our name and steals in consort with his friends, sells our daughters to Middle East degenerates and ours squander their payment in renting stadium to entertain the rich and greedy. Money can buy you anything including entertainers that got their start from the Diaspora but now serve a new master to undermine their benefactors. Definitely Yin and yang are not in harmony or in balance.
If we look at our Church in exile it is something to be proud of. It is a place where our rich culture and ancient religion is celebrated like never before. It is a place where our fathers and mothers in exile find peace and happiness and every week and mentally transport themselves to that place they call home. It is a place where our children learn how social we are and how we respect and value our culture and country. It is such a beautiful feeling to see our children come in front of the congregation when they graduate from high school to be blessed by the priest and proudly inform us their choice of college. Then we have the troublemakers in every city and town. Their mission is to disrupt and divide us. There is no church spared from these prince’s of darkness that scheme behind the scene and attempt to take over the leadership. If that does not succeed they have no qualms in waging a relentless war to undermine and weaken and disparage all those that stand between them and their evil scheme. Our city is going thru such a painful process and it is sad to see families and friends in turmoil. Most of us allow them to do that by our silence and apathy. It is another instance yin and yangs are not in harmony.
A few days ago we had a fund raising activity for ESAT and also celebrate Ato Abebe’s heroic stand for his people and country by exposing the tyrant in front of his enablers and the whole world. There was no question a vast majority of our people was empowered by his action. There are most certainly over ten thousand Ethiopians in the Bay area where the event was held. Less than two hundred brave souls showed up to help raise fund to make ESAT a powerful force in the struggle against tyranny. A good amount was collected from those who came. We are happy and grateful. But I find it odd that out of all these country and freedom loving folks only a handful showed up. Why do you think it is so?
They all seem to harbor negative feelings against the TPLF regime. It is odd to meet some one that would speak favorably regarding the actions of the dictator or his polices. Every Starbucks and every coffee house is full of these talkers parsing the actions of the TPLF party. How come they don’t take the next logical step, which is to help bring this ugly regime to its knees? Why is there such a wide gulf between talk and action? Here is what President Obama said on his visit to the Holocaust Memorial in Washington a few months back speaking of the victims of nazi horror:
He said “Let us tell our children not only how they died, but also how they lived—as fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters who loved hoped and dreamed just like us — we must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen – because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts, and because so many others stood silent – We must tell our children. But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, “never again” is a challenge to us all—to pause and to look within.”
‘Awareness without action changes noting’ is the key phrase and that is what is escaping us. That is so many of us talk but are unable to move beyond that. We kid ourselves or we expect someone else to do the job for us. Is that why when Kinijit kicked Woyane’s ass so many people were pushing each other to get to the center of the action? We had a visitor to our church from Canada. Abune Michael of Calgary gave a memorable sermon a few Sundays back. What stuck in my mind was his saying ‘meswatenet yelelew emnet’ or belief without sacrifice I believe that is ying without yang.
Fear not all is not lost. We also have our Ethiopian Heritage Society of North America (EHSNA). They are celebrating their second anniversary from July 27-29 in Washington DC. Last years event with Judge Bertukan Mideksa was a huge success. This is one venue where our flag fly high our culture is celebrated with all its diversity and our history is told with all its glory. It is a family affair and our young ones and children are given the respect and attention they deserve. The March 2012 Adwa Victory celebration organized by EHSNA gave our ancestors gallant effort the highest honor reserved for such Herculean deed. We salute the organizers for shining a bright light on our accomplishments as people in this time of doom and gloom. This is one organization that is trying to bring balance between our yin and yang. We can see perfect harmony between the opposites.
Each one of us is faced with a choice. We can be carriers of change or we can follow the path of destruction. Change does not happen without effort. Those that are hell bent in bullying and dividing us are not going to leave voluntarily. No one willingly gives up his privileged position. It has never happened. They are unable or unwilling to see the freedom train coming at them at full speed. That is what happened to Mubarak, Gadaffi faithfully believed his people loved him and we see Assad for some reason thinking that he can save himself and his clan by killing all Syrians if necessary. Dictators are a rare breed of people. Meles honestly believes he can last a while longer. Locked in his palace surrounded by his yes men reading his own review and watching his one channel TV he is intoxicated by his own lies. Twenty-one years is a long time to be isolated from normal people. It is possible to create ones own make believe world.
How come we see Libya, Egypt, Yemen and now Syria and do not learn? How come we do not work a little harder to avoid such catastrophe? Why do we allow Eskinder, Andualem and all the other fellow Ethiopians pay the price on our behalf? How come we are unable to say no and show outrage at such act of injustice by a handful of people? Do you think Meles jailed our brothers and sister or do you think we allowed him to do such ugly deed due to our indifference and apathy? Is the blame on the dictator or on the vast majority that lets him gets away with this criminal act? I am sure we are all disgusted with this farce of jailing people for life because they spoke what the regime does not approve of. What is next, to go to prison accused of bad thought? Why not the dictator has no incentive not to follow that route. He knows we will take it silently. Didn’t we when Professor Asrat was denied medical treatment, when Asefa Maru was gunned down, when Judge Bertukan was jailed twice, when Gambella was sold, when our children are left to die in the jungles of Central Africa and their bodies scatted on the highways of Tanzania and the waters of Lake Malawi or Gulf of Aden? Yes no question about it we are responsible for the jailing of Eskinder and all the rest. Frankly I am bored and tired of shifting the blame.
Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ying_and_Yang
Alemayehu G. Mariam
Lies, Junk and Cut-and-Paste
Meles Zenawi, the dictator-in-chief in Ethiopia, says he does not want to talk about the 2010 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights [Report] in Ethiopia. But speaking through his parrot Hailemariam Desalegn, Zenawi said the Report is a meaningless “cut and paste” exercise and will be treated with “the contempt it deserves”:
The last two years we have engaged ourselves with the authorities of the United States and discussed several meetings on the human rights situation in Ethiopia. We thought we had convinced each other on many of the issues… If this is not considered at all, then there is no need to accept this report as something that can help us. So that’s why we dismissed the report totally because it is based on unfounded allegations which are baseless… We said this is a methodology failure. So if the United States is worried about the human rights challenge, then it should be critically evaluated. So if it is ‘cut and paste,’ then it doesn’t give any meaning to anyone. So we said, if it continues like this, it has nothing to do with changing and improving the human rights situation in Ethiopia.
Desalegn said the Report would not affect the “cordial relationship” between Addis Ababa and Washington. With snooty sarcasm he emphasized, “we dismiss the report, we have not dismissed the United States.” Translation: We will gladly pickpocket American Joe and Jane Taxpayer to the tune of USD$1 billion a year, but they can take their human rights report and shove it.
Last year Zenawi blasted the 2009 human rights Report as “lies, lies and implausible lies.” He even ridiculed the U.S. State Department for not preparing a report based on true lies:
The least one could expect from this report, even if there are lies is that they would be plausible ones. But that is not the case. It is very easy to ridicule it [report], because it is so full of loopholes (sic). They could very easily have closed the loopholes and still continued to lie.”
Zenawi’s consigliere, Bereket Simon, called the 2009 Report “the same old junk” released “to punish the image (sic) of Ethiopia and try if possible to derail the peaceful and democratic election process.”
Defending against unfavorable or critical reports of international human rights and other organizations by delivering a barrage of scorn, sarcasm and derision is standard operating procedure for Zenawi’s regime. In November 2010, Zenawi blitzkrieged the European Union Election Observer Report on the May 2010 election in Ethiopia as “trash that deserves to be thrown in the garbage“.
The State Department human rights report does not “deserve” condemnation in barnyard language, but diplomatic praise for its rigorous analysis and reporting of human rights abuses. The Report is an important policy instrument submitted by the U.S. Secretary of State to the Speaker of the House of the U.S. Congress annually pursuant to amended sections 116(d) and 502 B (b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and 504 of the Trade Act of 1974. Using the Report, Congress aims to hold U.S. aid recipient “governments accountable to their obligations under international human rights instruments” and promote the rule of law, expressive freedoms, women’s, children’s and minority rights in recipient countries. The U.S. State Department says it uses the findings and conclusions of the Report in “shaping policy, conducting diplomacy, and making assistance, training, and other resource allocations” and in determining “U.S. Government’s cooperation with private groups to promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights.” But the annual Report has broader significance in the global struggle for human rights. As Secretary of State Hilary Clinton explained, the human rights
reports are an essential tool – for activists who courageously struggle to protect rights in communities around the world; for journalists and scholars who document rights violations and who report on the work of those who champion the vulnerable; and for governments, including our own, as they work to craft strategies to encourage protection of human rights of more individuals in more places.
Taking cheap shots at the Report by calling it “lies”, “junk” and “cut and paste” is to put on public display one’s abysmal ignorance of the American policy and legal process. To be sure, submitting any document to Congress containing “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry” (i.e. “lies, lies and implausible lies”) is a serious crime subject to a five-year prison sentence under Title 18, section 1001 (a) (3) (c) (1) (2). If there are any statements in the Report that fall under the foregoing section of Title 18, it is incumbent upon anyone with evidence of such statements to lodge a complaint and request a formal investigation with the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House, among other federal law enforcement authorities. Launching a tirade against the U.S. is no defense against the naked truth that Zenawi’s regime is a notorious violator of human rights, nor is it a substitute for substantial and credible evidence to support a claim of false statement.
Failure of Methodology?
Desalegn parrots his boss when he says there is “a methodology failure” that consigns the Report to the ash-heap of “contempt”. Over the years, Zenawi has used similar vague and unsubstantiated accusations of “methodological” flaws in a futile attempt to discredit unfavorable human rights reports on his regime. In 2008, Zenawi alleged that methodological flaws in a Human Rights Watch report on the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia amounted to manufactured lies. It is a fact that Zenawi’s regime has thwarted and frustrated every effort by human rights organizations to conduct open and independent investigations of human rights abuses in Ethiopia. By labeling the truth a lie, Zenawi seems to believe that he can indeed change the truth into a lie.
There is nothing secret or sinister about the “methodology” and data collection procedures of the U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The Report is based on a compilation of information from a variety of sources. U.S. embassies collect “information throughout the year from a variety of sources across the political spectrum, including government officials, jurists, armed forces sources, journalists, human rights monitors, academics, and labor activists.” U.S. Foreign Service Officers undertake investigations of human rights abuses under difficult and not infrequently under “dangerous conditions”. They “monitor elections, and come to the aid of individuals at risk, such as political dissidents and human rights defenders whose rights are threatened by their governments.” The initial drafts of the Reports are completed at the embassies and submitted for review to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in the State Department. Information collected by other sources including “US and other human rights groups, foreign government officials, representatives from the United Nations and other international and regional organizations and institutions and academic, media experts” and other sources are also evaluated and included to ensure accuracy, balance and corroboration.
The Reports reflect the work of hundreds of highly experienced and knowledgeable employees in the State Department and other branches of the U.S. Government. For the Report to be “lies, lies and implausible lies”, there must be a grand criminal conspiracy of hundreds of officials in the U.S. Government, including Secretary of State Clinton.
What’s in the “Contemptible” 2010 Human Rights Report on Ethiopia?
Here are some of the “lies, lies and implausible lies” in the 56-page Report:
There was no proof that the government and its agents committed any politically motivated killings during the year… [but] there were credible reports of involvement of security forces in the killings…in the Somali region…” (p.2.)
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances; however, there were innumerable reports of local police, militia members, and the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) seizing… opposition political activists. (p.4.)
On September 10, the federal government and Amhara and Oromia regional governments granted pardons to more than 9,000 prisoners, in keeping with a longstanding tradition for celebration of the new year on September 11. (p. 10.)
The UN Committee Against Torture noted in a November 19 report that it was ‘deeply concerned’ about ‘numerous, ongoing, and consistent allegations’ concerning “the routine use of torture” by the police, prison officers and others. (p.4.)
The country has three federal and 120 regional prisons. There also are many unofficial detention centers throughout the country… Most are located at military camps… Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. Severe overcrowding was common… Many prisoners had serious health problems in detention but received little treatment. (p. 6.)
Authorities regularly detained persons without warrants and denied access to counsel and family members, particularly in outlying regions. (p. 8.)
The Ethiopian government and regional governments began to put in place “villagization” plans in the Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz regions… The plan involves the resettlement of 45,000 households… [T]here were reports of local skepticism and resentment… because much of the land was or was to be leased to foreign companies (pp. 14-15.)
The government used a widespread system of paid informants to report on the activities of particular individuals… Security forces continued to detain family members of persons sought for questioning by the government. (p. 15.)
While the constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and of the press, the government did not respect these rights in practice. The government continued to arrest, harass, and prosecute journalists, publishers, and editors. (p. 19.)
The government restricted academic freedom during the year. Authorities did not permit teachers at any level to deviate from official lesson plans and actively prohibited partisan political activity and association of any kind on university campuses. (p. 25.)
Although the law provides for freedom of association and the right to engage in unrestricted peaceful political activity, the government limited this right in practice. (p. 27.)
The constitution and law provide citizens the right to change their government peacefully. In practice the country has never had a peaceful change of government, and the ruling EPRDF and its allies dominated the government. In May  elections, the EPRDF … won more than 99 percent of all legislative seats…. [T]here was ample evidence that unfair government tactics–including intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters–influenced the extent of that victory. (p.32.)
The constitution provides citizens the right to freely join political organizations of their choice; however, in practice these rights were restricted through bureaucratic obstacles and government and ruling party intimidation, harassment, and arrests, with physical threats and violence used by local officials and EPRDF operatives, local police, and shadowy local militias under the control of local EPRDF operatives. (p. 33.)
The World Bank’s 2009 Worldwide Governance Indicators made it clear that corruption remained a serious problem… [S]ome government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, and state- and party-owned businesses received preferential access to land leases and credit. (p. 37.)
The law provides for public access to government information, but access was largely restricted in practice. (p. 38.)
The government harassed individuals who worked for domestic human rights organizations. (p. 40)
The government denied NGOs access to federal prisons, police stations, and political prisoners. There were credible reports that security officials continued to intimidate or detain local individuals to prevent them from meeting with NGOs and foreign government officials investigating allegations of abuse. (p. 41.)
There were no further developments in the July 2009 case of the 444 staff members, including high-ranking officials, fired by the Addis Ababa Police Commission for involvement in serious crimes, including armed robbery, rape, and theft. (p.8.)
Women and girls experienced gender-based violence daily, but it was underreported due to cultural acceptance, shame, fear, or a victim’s ignorance of legal protections… Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, was a pervasive social problem. The 2005 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) found that 81 percent of women believed a husband had a right to beat his wife. (p. 42.)
Sexual harassment was widespread. The penal code prescribes 18 to 24 months’ imprisonment; however, harassment-related laws were not enforced. (p. 43.)
Child abuse was widespread. Unlike in previous years there was no training of police officers on procedures for handling cases of child abuse. (p. 45.)
There were an estimated 5.4 million orphans in the country, according to the report of Central Statistics Authority. Government-run orphanages were overcrowded, and conditions were often unsanitary. Due to severe resource constraints, hospitals and orphanages often overlooked or neglected abandoned infants. (p. 47.)
There were approximately seven million persons with disabilities, according to the Ethiopian Federation of Persons with Disabilities. There was one mental hospital and an estimated 10 psychiatrists in the country [of 80 million people.] (p. 48.)
If the foregoing facts are “lies, lies and implausible lies”, the U.S. State Department must be held accountable for issuing false, misleading and deceptive reports and those involved in its preparation should be prosecuted. But if it is the truth that keeps the human rights abusers in Ethiopia closemouthed, then as Scriptures counsel, “Let the lying lips be put to silence.”
By Alemayehu G. Mariam
“Lies, lies and implausible lies,” blasted Meles Zenawi, the enfant terrible of Ethiopia, in describing the March 11, 2010 U.S. State Department’s “Reports on Human Rights Practices” on Ethiopia. Apparently, the U.S. State Department is not worth a damn when it comes to lying: “The least one could expect from this report, even if there are lies is that they would be plausible ones,” snarled Zenawi. “But that is not the case. It is very easy to ridicule it [report], because it is so full of loopholes (sic). They could very easily have closed the loopholes and still continued to lie.” His consigliere, Bereket Simon chimed in, “It is the same old junk. It’s a report that intends to punish the image (sic) of Ethiopia and try if possible to derail the peaceful and democratic election process.”
So here is a representative sample of the implausible, ridiculous and junk lies of the U.S. State Department and the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of Zenawi’s dictatorship:
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #1:
There were numerous credible reports of unlawful detention of opposition candidates and their supporters. Opposition UDJ party president Birtukan Mideksa, whose pardon was revoked and life sentence reinstated in December 2008, remained in prison throughout the year. She was held in solitary confinement until June, despite a court ruling that indicated it was a violation of her constitutional rights. She was also denied access to visitors except for a few close family members, despite a court order granting visitor access without restrictions. There were credible reports that Birtukan’s mental health deteriorated significantly during the year.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #1:
A humongous L I E! Birtukan is actually at the “Akaki Hilton Spa and Resort” doing R&R (rest and relaxation). Her health situation is in perfect condition. She may have gained a few kilos, but other than that, and that may be for lack of exercise, she is in perfect health. All the lies about Birtukan’s bad health situation are made up by the “usual suspects” who shall remain nameless. She is not denied access to visitors, but she is shy and prefers to visit only with her mother and daughter. In short, she is having the time of her life. Or as the French say, “C’est la Vie!”
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #2:
The constitution and law provide citizens the right to change their government peacefully. In local and by-elections held in 2008, virtually all of the more than three million seats open at the federal and local levels were taken unopposed by the ruling EPRDF and allied parties. Of the 3.6 million local and by-election seats open to be contested, opposition parties won three.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #2:
The State Department should know better than telling this ridiculous lie. The opposition won only 3 seats because “there is no alternative in the opposition.” Everybody knows that including “most Western governments [who] want Meles to continue because there is no alternative in the opposition. As long as the elections are semi-democratic, they’ll probably stay quiet, keep giving aid, hope for liberalisation of the economy and leave full democracy for later.” Here is a hint: The opposition will completely lose again in next month’s election regardless of how many candidates they run because they don’t understand a simple fact about elections: “The people who cast the votes do not decide an election; the people who count the votes do.”
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #3:
Although the constitution and law prohibit the use of torture and mistreatment, there were numerous credible reports that security officials tortured, beat, and mistreated detainees. Opposition political party leaders reported frequent and systematic abuse and intimidation of their supporters by police and regional militias… Abuses reportedly include being hung by the wrists for several hours, bound by chains and beaten, held in solitary confinement for several days to weeks or months, subjected to mental torture such as harassment and humiliation…
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #3:
Lies! Torture is a matter of semantics. The alleged torture-victims in the State Department report have an unusually low threshold for psychological and physical pain and discomfort. They also exaggerate stuff. The truth is that the so-called torture-victims are all wusses and wimps. Intimidation is a state of mind as is solitary confinement. Some people just scare easy. Individuals in solitary confinement are not really “solitary” because they can talk to themselves all day and all night. It is a bold-faced lie for the State Department to say, “the [“Ethiopian”] constitution and law prohibit the use of torture and mistreatment.”
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #4:
The country has three federal and 117 regional prisons. There are several unofficial detention centers operating throughout the country. Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. Severe overcrowding was common, especially in sleeping quarters. Juveniles were often incarcerated with adults, sometimes with adults who were awaiting execution. Men and women prisoners were generally, but not always, separated… The government continued to prevent International Committee of the Red Cross representatives from visiting police stations and federal prisons throughout the country including those where opposition, civil society, and media leaders were held.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #4:
Lies, dirty lies! The so-called prisons are actually popular spas and resorts, as Birtukan can testify. The reason they are “severely overcrowded” is because of high popular demand. It’s “la dolce vita” (the sweet life) as they say in Italian in those spas, or “c’est la vie” as they say in French. As to juveniles, women and condemned prisoners being held together, what difference does that make? A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. The Red Cross? They are too nosy, always asking questions. Shouldn’t they be helping out flood, earthquake and disaster victims somewhere else instead of sniffing around spas and resorts?
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #5:
Although the constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, the government frequently did not observe these provisions in practice… The federal police acknowledged that many of its members as well as regional police lacked professionalism. In July the Addis Ababa Police Commission fired 444 staff members, including high-ranking officials, for involvement in serious crimes including armed robbery, rape, and theft. There were no prosecutions of those dismissed.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #5:
Another pack of lies! The State Department is putting words and numbers in the mouths of the Police Commission. The allegedly “fired” police officials are still in their jobs continuing to do armed robbery, rape, and theft.
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #5:
Authorities regularly detained persons without warrants and denied access to counsel and family members, particularly in outlying regions. Although the law requires detainees to be brought to court and charged within 48 hours, this generally was not respected in practice… While in pretrial detention, authorities allowed such detainees little or no contact with legal counsel. Police continued to enter private residences and arrest individuals without warrants.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #6:
First of all, the whole due process thing is overrated. Lawyers, warrants, procedure and all that legal mumbo jambo are a big waste of time. The applicable principle is that one is presumed guilty until proven innocent. So, why do guilty people need lawyers? It does not make sense. Why should warrants be required to arrest guilty people? Anyway, even if these people did not commit a crime, they definitely thought about committing one. They are guilty, guilty, guilty! The State Department is obviously pushing some new-fangled Western idea that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. What a bunch of liars!
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #7:
In May the director general of the Federal Police reported that 65 percent of the 45,000 criminal cases filed at the federal first instance court in 2008 were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence or witnesses…. There was a large backlog of juvenile cases, and accused children often remained in detention with adults until officials heard their cases.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #7:
As the old saying goes, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. The State Department is fabricating false statistics to show that the regime is going soft on criminals. That is a lie! It is a well-known fact that a criminal case is filed only after a person has been convicted of committing a crime. To claim that nearly 30,000 cases were dropped for lack of evidence is to unfairly suggest that the vast majority of those charged were not guilty. How could that be so? The director general of the Federal Police never reported such statistics. It is all a figment of the State Department’s warped imagination.
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #8:
Political party leaders reported incidents of telephone tapping and other electronic eavesdropping. In May a former employee of ETC, the state-run monopoly telecom and Internet provider, reported from self-imposed exile that the government had ordered ETC employees to unlawfully record citizens’ private telephone conversations… The government used a widespread system of paid informants to report on the activities of particular individuals. Kebele officials have been reported to go from house to house demanding that residents attend ruling coalition meetings. Those persons who do not attend party meetings reportedly have difficulty obtaining basic public services from their kebeles.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #8:
Ding, dong! All lies told by paranoid opposition leaders who are afraid of their own shadows. By using the phrases “widespread system of paid informants”, “forced attendance of party meetings”, etc., the State Department unfairly suggests that the country has become a police state. Not true! If they had done their “investigations” right and interviewed the “informants”, they would have easily found out that the “informants” are actually researchers doing field studies in social anthropology using “participant observation” techniques. Kebele officials never force people to attend party meetings. The people just love to party and show up uninvited.
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #9:
During the year the government loosened restrictions on the delivery of food aid from donor organizations into the five zones of the Somali region in which military activity was the most intense. Approximately 83 percent of food aid reached beneficiaries, a significant improvement from the previous year.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #9:
Liars! The State Department in its usual manner is cooking up numbers. No food aid reached beneficiaries in the five zones of the Somali region.
Implausible, Ridiculous and Junk Lie #10:
The government restricted academic freedom during the year. Authorities did not permit teachers at any level to deviate from official lesson plans and actively discouraged political activity and association of any kind on university campuses. Frequent reports continued of uniformed and plainclothes police officers on and around university and high school campuses. College students were reportedly pressured to pledge allegiance to the EPRDF to secure enrollment in universities or postgraduation government jobs. Non-EPRDF members were also reportedly denied teachers’ benefits, transferred to undesirable posts, and restricted in promotions.
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth #10:
Ha! Who would believe in their right minds anything those fog-headed college students and their absentminded professors say? There is a good reason why they are not allowed to engage in politics or deviate from the official lesson plan. We know from personal experience decades ago that you if give students and their professors an inch, they will take a mile. If you give them “academic freedom”, they will soon be yapping in the streets for speech freedom, press freedom, associational freedom, assembly freedom and all sorts of other freedoms. That is just too much freedom for those crazy students and their air-headed professors to handle.
It is just too bad the U.S. State Department can’t handle the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
Alemayehu G. Mariam, is a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and an attorney based in Los Angeles. He writes a regular blog on The Huffington Post, and his commentaries appear regularly on pambazuka.org, allafrica.com, newamericamedia.org and other sites.