Denton Collins sept 2021
- ***URGENT ALERT*** Forward this article and findings to USAID and The White House. Contact your US House Representative and Senator and social and print media to share this article. Forward the link to all above and simply demand two things: 1) disarm the terrorist TPLF to stop the war, and 2) ask “Where are the US taxpayers’ billions stolen from Ethiopia?” — a false pretense for supporting the terrorist TPLF and weakening Ethiopia for geopolitical reasons (similar to Iraq’s fake WMD) is being peddled by CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream media (read evidence below) along with the Biden Administration.
- While thousands die in ALL parts of Ethiopia, if you cannot take 5 minutes to speak truth to power and forward an article to create change — then you are part of the problem. Events are moving fast. Do it to save Ethiopian lives. Do it today not tomorrow. If you have time, ALSO make phone calls to your state Representatives and Senators.
- The US Embassy in Addis can be reached at [email protected] OR [email protected] (011130 70 00 or 0111 30 60 00). The US Mission to the African Union can be reached at [email protected] (0111 30 70 01). USAID Ethiopia [email protected] or [email protected] (0111 30 69 78 or 011 130 6002)
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I am old enough to intimately remember Emperor Haile Selassie as the first among world leaders at the side of JFK’s casket in on 25 November 1963. Front. And. Center.
Yesterday, 17 September 2021, will go down in history as the death of this historic relationship dating from 1903. This compelled me to put pen to paper on a foreign policy topic for the first time in years. To my Ethiopian friends, I am with you.
How does one even begin to apologies for the Biden Administration’s humiliating foreign policy record so far? (Within the last 48 hours America has lost historic allies in Ethiopia and France — the latter recalling her ambassador. How poetic that de Gaulle and Haile Selassie are standing side by side above.)
Look at this picture and take a moment for it to sink in. Ethiopians like to say gold in your hand feels like a piece of bronze.
Yesterday, President Biden issued an executive order imposing sanctions on warring parties in Ethiopia — which in reality is targeting the Government of Ethiopia — the most democratically elected in the history of the ancient nation.
It is not the first time that Ethiopia, a nation that has sent diplomatic mission abroad since before the United States existed, has been thrown under the bus by the West. Recall when Ethiopia — one of only a handful of African nations in the League of Nations — was allowed to be overran by the same League that it was member of AND by another League member. Double standards and colonialism have never been part of your vocabulary.
Yesterday’s Executive Order has parallels to the British and French foreign ministers at the time of the League’s decision: Sir Samuel Hoare and Pierre Laval, secretly planned to divide the country and give a piece to Mussolini (Hoare and Laval lost their jobs as a result).
The Administration gave moral equivalence to the Ethiopian version of Blackshirts collectively known as Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF, a declared terrorist organization by both Ethiopia and the US. A collection of dead-end, narrow-minded, ethnophob, kleptocrats as details in Forbes and more recently in Foreign Policy (citations later in the piece will, I believe, confirm the previous adjectives ‘dead-end, narrow-minded, and ethnophob’).
The executive order has, without a doubt, emboldened the TPLF and prolonged the war and suffering.
Anyone who follows the Horn of Africa politics and human rights issues (and has half a brain and an ounce of campassion) will know the TPLF be as racist and base-ist as the National Party of Apartheid (literally ‘separate development’) South Africa and the Nazi Party of Germany — just a cunning modern equivalent. I present data from peer reviewed publications, published books, World Bank spatial analysis on distribution of infrastructure projects, among other sources that substantiate these charges. If you are not aware, here are the latest contextual developments, as explained by the Awasa Guardian.
Surly coincidental, also yesterday, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) declared that of the 445 large food aids trucks sent to to Tigray province only 38 have returned. Suppress one news story with another is as old as…Ethiopia. The message from WFP characterized the missing trucks (not one or two, but several hundred in a war zone) as “concerning” — if that’s not the understatement of the century, I don’t know what is.
On 24 August the American Embassy in Ethiopia tweeted, “USAID rejects any accusation that food assistance is knowingly or willingly given to soldiers,” — the response was met with widespread derision including photos of TPLF fighters with USAID biscuits.
Just six days later, on 1st September, Sean Jones, the USAID mission Director to Ethiopia reversed course after withering criticism (during the same week Americans started the infamous exit from Kabul airport) and admitted the TPLF was indeed attacking and stealing food from aid storage depots in an Ethiopian television interview — listen closely from the 4:30 mark — (this local unofficial admission appears only to keep the barbarians at the gate on a local TV station outlet — read NOTES section at the bottom of this piece about how the statement was essentially walked back less than 48 hours later.
Furthermore, the communication that came on 3rd September was an official US Embassy statement — saying one thing (to locals on local TV) and something that appears contradictory two days later to the outside world in an official channel statement.
Resurrecting the TPLF, which appears to be the (misguided) US policy is akin to throwing a lifeline to the Nazi Party after, for argument’s sake, they had retreated to, say Bavaria, at the end of the WWII — as the TPFL had fled to Tigray region during the last three years.
Ethiopia 1935/2020, Poland 1939: Why the Double Standard, Still?
The sanctions imposed by the Administration, which elicited on open letter to President Biden from the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Adiy, will, based on history (unless the TPLF disarm and surrender) only strengthen the resolve of Ethiopia to:
a) Crush the TPLF on the battlefield as in Stalingrad, however long it takes
b) Prosecute those captured or turned in as in Nuremburg
c) Hunt those leaders who escape prosecution as in Eichmann in Argentina
Food Aid: ‘The Great Diversion’ Emperical Evidence on the TPLF Grand Theft
Empirical Findings Reveal Large-Scale, Ethnic Based, Theft of Food Aid
A multi-million dollar food aid distribution research project was conducted in the late 1990’s. The project was led by the Agricultural Economics department at Michigan State University in coordination with the Ethiopian Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (MEDAC) and funded by the US Agency for International Aid (USAID). Below are the findings:
For years, while TPLF were leading Ethiopia, food aid was going to one particular region, Tigray, at approximately 20 times more per person than average of other regions of Ethiopia, and about 8 times more per person than the average of other regions — when adjusting for the possible influence of contributory factors, or covariables, using statistical and econometric analyses.
Basically, worse case 20x more, best case 8x more to Tigray region directed by the TPLF.
This little-known study was brought out in technical aid workshops and various proceedings, of course it didn’t make the TPLF led government in Addis Ababa happy. The US funded project to understand where the billions in American taxpayers’ funds were going to was immediately cancelled by the TPLF government and the foreign university researchers kicked out of the country (the government of Ethiopia is waiting on a formal response from Samantha Power on this report in the journal of Food Policy and why no tracking mechanism for food and trucks were not in place).
Ultimately the data, based on a survey of 4,166 households, was published in the peer reviewed journal Food Policy, 24 (1999) pg (see above or Table 3, pg. 404 for the theft and regional discrepancies cited).
In typical academic fashion, the most salient but politically contentious findings, are buried at the bottom of the paper with the unsurprising statement that regional differences “are due to the factors not measured by this study.” No uproar, not even a whimper, from the US State Department and US Mission in Ethiopia?
Food Aid: the Foreign Policy Tool that Keeps on Destroying
Food aid is fuel to keep fighting. It is also fungible with cash and arms. Is the United States using food aid in the same way it funded Contras with arms sales to Khomeini’s Iran?
If there is poster child for a failed state, effectively without a government for approximately 30 years, neighboring Somalia would be the most convincing.
What few recognize is that, Somalia, the land of modern-day pirates largely became dismembered and ungovernable due to food aid, or more precisely the use of food aid by the US and the West for short term geo-political interests.
A little known book from 1999, The Road to Hell, written by a recovering American aid worker in Somalia, chronicles the devastating and extreme effects of ‘poor people in rich countries giving food aid to rich people in poor countries.’
The Road to Hell, should provide a roadmap of how NOT to create the next Somalia. Or Syria, or Libya, or, or.
In early July of this year, the open debate on the Tigray conflict at the UN was spearheaded by the US. At this unprecedented event for Ethiopia — one of the few countries in the world that is was a member of both the League of Nations and founding member of the UN — the US Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, was unequivocal in advocating for food aid to reach TPLF held region of Tigray.
Who wouldn’t support feeding starving women and children?
USA, Discouraging Democracy?
Let us look back at the events of the summer, for context: In the week before the UN meeting, Ethiopian Federal forces had just completed a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew from Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, undoubtedly under heavy fighting and pressure from troops loyal to the TPLF.
Also coinciding in the week before the UN meeting, Ethiopia had just completed the most free and fair election in its long history so it’s alarming to see that the State Department was “gravely concerned” at this historic achievement in the middle of a pandemic no less.
Note, Obama called Ethiopia a ‘democracy’ at a state visit during TPLF’s rule and who could forget the despicable Susan Rice laughing while endorsing the TPLF Election (imagine if it was Canada, or any European nation, she was commenting on) despite the mass killing, live bullets on pro-democracy protesters at the time.
Rice, a close confidant of the former TPLF dictator, Meles Zenawi, and as close as one comes to legal corruption according to ABC news, is apparently calling the US policy shots for Biden on Ethiopia even though she is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
I invite Rice to one of the many homes that lost children to TPLF’s live bullets while marching to honor their vote.
Read the eye-opening analysis of the wider conflict, the influence of Egypt (who likely threatened Americans that they would close or slow down Suez Canal traffic — and we know how that goes) and US policy by Nemo Simret in Pay any price, bear any burden. Also, related, is an unbelievable reversal by the New York Times journalist Declan Walsh on who started the war, A brief experiment with Truth — “editors of the NY Times are apparently sweeping this reversal under the rug.”
General El Sisi of Egypt, Trump’s ‘favorite dictator’ and apparently now Biden’s, came to power in a military coup in 2013. His government houses 60,000 political prisoners — in some of the worst prison conditions in the world — including American Moustafa Kassem who died from a hunger strike last year.
It’s generally understood by hydrologists that the large dam Ethiopia is building will not appreciably affect Egypt (in drought years it’s in everyone’s best interest to release more water than usual), yet this goes against the internal politics of Egypt and the optics for the dictoator who want to maintain the colonial agreement on Nile water sharing.
At appears that the simplistic and short sighted US policy is foment conflict and weaken or dismemberment of Ethiopia — through supporting the TPLF— so Ethiopia has no sovereignty over the dam. Sudan was recently removed from the terrorist countries list, while the US cut aid from Ethiopia last year (aid flows continue to flow to both Egypt and Sudan in the billions).
The US has longstanding knowledge of the misuse of food aid, so the missing trucks this week, and looted warehouse should not come as a surprise. Given the big geopolitical goals and chain of events, it not unreasonable to conclude that 400+ massive trailer trucks and thousands of tons of food didn’t go missing by accident. The TPLF routinely misdirected aid, we now know as the ‘Great Diversion’ even when ruling Ethiopia let alone while on the run.
That Easy Word: Genocide
The word ‘genocide’ along with buckets of tears effuse from the useful fools’ (essentially brainwashed Tigreans as no one else in the country or diaspora supports the terrorists) social media accounts with hashtags purporting genocide in Tigray.
Findings of state sponsored diversion of food aid from all Ethiopian ethnic groups and giving it to another (then trying to cover it up by canceling the project and expelling the researchers) is vastly different from village level attocities in the height and heat of war however gruesome these acts may be.
If state sponsored stealing of billions from starving people of one ethnicity and giving to another (up to 20 times more per person) over decades is not genocide, then English needs a new word for ethnic-based suffering or death from deprivation since there were period of famine during the period of the ‘great diversion’ documented above. So when TPLF talking heads are crying genocide from day 2 of this conflict, it’s classic case of the perpetrator crying wolf.
Forbes Magazine was not as coy as the academics in the journal Food Policy — an article published many years after the Food Policy publication, Ethiopia’s Cruel Con Game (ironically these stollen funds are now used to buy influence on the same Americans it was stolen from) had this to say:
“Two numbers tell the story in a nutshell: 1) The amount of American financial aid received by Ethiopia’s government since it took power: $30 billion. 2) The amount stolen by Ethiopia’s (TPLF) leaders since it took power: $30 billion.”
This video from 2015 documents the theft among other crimes such as ethnic cleansing (clearly a propaganda film but it has unrefutable facts such as the ethnic massacres and the TPLF corruption).
America is notorious among G7 countries for being rather skimpy for its own citizens’ food stamps and safety-net policies. Yet it has been providing billions of dollars of food aid for decades. Moreover, when it is stolen, misallocated, and sold — there is deafening silence.
Note, see my remark later in the piece about retribution in Tigray (a few examples of atrocities are mentioned herein but NOT necessarily in a balanced way, that’s exactly the point — those perpetuated in Tigray have selectively been highlighted legitimately or fabricated/exaggerated(eg the ‘Axum’ massacre) in the social and mainstream media and by the US Administration. Readers of this piece are aware of those.
Review Jeff Pearce’s Medium feed for additional examples of Western media twisting the truth or naively/foolishly being mislead (with no small help from their own laziness or career-centric sensationalism — and random cases bias, or political or financial presure).
Food Aid in Ethiopia: A Brief History of TPLF Theft (the New Iran Contra?)
Moreover, it stands to reason that this theft and continual Aid is not a bug but rather a feature — a new Iran Contra? You’re a billionaire, and if your house has been burglarized for 30 years, losing billions, when you don’t change your locks, what should one assume?
The Kleptos, Pickpockets, Ill Gotten Gains, the Ethiopian Low-Lives…
ሌባ /Leba/ Amharic for ‘thief’: a person who steals another person’s property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence.
The word ‘leba’ has a particular weight in Ethiopia, so much so that it’s even a term of perverse endearment: Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that does not have iron bars covering windows of gold shops — you get the picture. Armored cash truck companies have yet to do business there.
Since the TPLF’s effective hold on national power from 1991 to 2018, blatant corruption, often taking the form of ethnic based misallocation of resources (aka lebenet, in adjective form) extended far beyond food aid. Infrastructure and capital projects along with contractors’ lucrative contracts followed a pattern largely indistinguishable from South African Apartheid in its effects.
The TPLF, their supporters, and Tigray to some extent benefited — although the mass of Tigray’s population gained little and millions are still trapped in structural food deficiency requiring annual food handouts — in four ways:
1) Regional bias favoring Tigray with the allocation of the aid and investments.
2) By driving infrastructure policy from the ubiquitous government constructed apartment complexes (dolled out to TPLF supporters) to the suspicion number of football stadiums — which caught the attention of the Economist.
Apart from graft concerns, this had the effect of squeezing out the (more efficient) private sector, job creation, innovation, etc in an already poor country. The ‘developmental state’ policies during the period of TPLF rule ensured that Ethiopia was one of the top countries in the world, if not the top, in terms of percentage of GDP in state hands.
3) First priority for these contracts were awarded to the network of TPLF run front companies under the guise of independent private companies, often associated with the so-called REST (Relief Society of Tigray) and so-called EFFORT (Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray).
4) Developing a system of patronage whereby businesses and individuals connected with the TPLF would benefit resulting in a systematic culture of corruption in a rare 3rd World country previously known for an absence of corruption.
The World Bank own spatial data (blatantly published online, no less, at least it gave Priyanka Kanth and Michael Geiger a chance to show off their spatial analysis skills — save the website to PDF form in case the WB decides to remove the link), show the concentration of road construction in Tigray tell a powerful story.
The fact that no one at the World Bank or the State Department has objected tells an an even more powerful story of the low opinion the Bretton Woods institutions have about Africa (imagine if Biden’s home state of Delaware received 5x, 10x, 20x, 50x more infrastructure spending than the remaining 49 states).
Interesting, just to the south, Amhara region had almost no growth in roads (there were no inherent previous disparities in non-Tigray parts of Ethiopia that would justify such an unbalanced investment).
I’ve seen similar maps from South Africa in the 1980’s: Townships and bantustan areas vs where whites live.
TPLF rebel movement late 1970s to 1991
At the time of the ‘Great Diversion’ (discovered the MEDAC and Michigan State University), the TPLF were not new to diversion and commercializing food aid. Indeed, that is how the rebel group financed their movement that ousted the government of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991 (a dictator, no doubt, but one who suppressed all equally regardless of ethno-linguistic background).
Campaigns such as ‘Live Aid’ and ‘We Are the World’ were primarily used to fund the TPLF according to the BBC:
“Two former members of the TPLF, Aregawi Berhe and Gebremedhin Araya, said the group had relied on the aid money to fund its campaign against the then ruling military junta.
Berhe, a former TPLF commander, told (journalist) Martin Plaut that in 1985, only 5% of the $100m raised by charities ended up with the victims of the famine.” The BBC stood by this report in 2010 as published in The Guardian.
During this period in the 1980’s the TPLF survived by exaggerating the population under threat of famine, through the sale of food aid, and other techniques involving their diaspora Tigrigna speaking community in Sudan — from where arms were smuggled through — and “with the use of Relief Society of Tigray (REST)…it enabled it to use food as a weapon of rewarding supporters and penalizing those who refused to cooperate,” writes Paulos Milkias an essay from International Conference on African Development Archives. Essentially what it did after it came to power with the ‘Great Diversion’ and what it’s attempting to do during the current war.
TPLF led Government 1991–2018
It will be helpful to understand the current crisis by looking at how the rebel group conducted itself after coming to power as an unelected ‘transitional government.’ Without a national debate, much less a referendum, in 1994 it re-drew the country’s regions creating satellite-parties, inserting the suicidal Article 39 clause (un-debated or legally ratified) in the constitution that permits regions to separate. Again, the parallels with Apartheid South Africa are unavoidable.
Hatred as a Strategy
It’s interesting how many detested the Trump administration while tolerating the TPLF. The TPLF, reveled in highlighting past wars and conflict (the act of presentism to highlight grievances) while preaching equality and ethnic group rights.
Imagine Angela Merkel speaking, on a near daily basis, for 20 odd years (as the longtime TPLF dictator Meles Zenawi was wont to do), about the wars between pre-Bismark German fiefdoms, teaching it in schools, abolishing German as a national language and essentially making division the platform of the Christian Democrats. It’s a miracle that Ethiopia still exists, but a generation has grown up brainwashed — which will take time to undo.
Of course the true aim of the TPLF wasn’t some sort of reconciliation from old conflicts. It was a cruel and self-serving strategy to burn down the house and cause disharmony among the 80+ ethno-linguistic groups. A classic divide and conquer strategy with jealousy and a conspicuous inferiority complex at its heart.
Some of the poorest parts of Ethiopia are in the so-called Amhara region (the polar opposite of what the TPLF did for Tigray, by amassing wealth and infrastructure in a few short decades) contradicting their mantra of Amhara hegemony and expropriation of wealth at the expense of other groups.
This duplicity no doubt facilitated TPLF’s hold on power for almost 30 years — extending from its small base of support — Tigrayans comprise less than 10% of the population — and facilitated the misappropriation of foreign aid and resources for the Party’s elite writes Matthew McCracken in the peer reviewed Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, “Abusing Self-Determination and Democracy: How the TPLF Is Looting Ethiopia.”
These ethnic based regions, or ‘homelands’ as they were called in Apartheid South Africa, were not appreciably different in form and structure from South African bantustans or homelands. Ethiopia, an ancient ethno-linguistically connected country (where a distinct common culture arose and all groups helped to built the country) from centuries of political integration as well as integration through trade, marriage (the current Prime Minister is from two ethno-linguist groups and brought up in a mixed Christian and Muslim household), war, and religious pilgrimages— was now a collection ethnic ‘homelands’ being taught different languages begining in elementary school. The TPLF introduced, ethnicity question on the government forms and applications for the first time in the country’s history — for example when you apply for a driver’s license.
As pointed out in the article, Ethiopia Without Shame, Emperor Yohannes IV, who ruled Ethiopia for 20 years at the end of 19th Century, hailed from Tigray and that recent attempts to highlight ethnic difference are self serving and feed into Western mindset of unconnected tribes of Africa. There are many books on Ethiopian history and identity for those wanted to learn more.
Just as America’s last president, Trump, found that it is much easier to build support using divisiveness than by unity, the TPLF attempted to brainwash a much less educated populace than the American one, and had much success. Normally, leaders without perverse agendas build countries with cohesion, not actively attempt to destroy them, to the extent of writing it into the constitution (is there an antonym for nation building?).
The entire social fabric was upended over the 27 years of TPLF rule. The country’s regions were re-drawn on ethnic lines (suspiciously close to the same borders Italy used during the war and occupation from 1936 to 1941). All of this, from a group without any mandate or legitimacy — a rag tag group of largely uneducated rebel fighter (read the section on “Manipulation of the Ethiopian National Conference,” in a recent piece by Ivo Strecker writing for the World Peace Foundation: “TPLF Strategies of deceit, a reminder.”)
If you happen to be born outside of your ‘homeland’ — as many were for several generations — prospects for employment, personal security and wellbeing were greatly diminished and tens of thousands have lost their lives to ethnic cleansing in all the regions including Afar, Amhara, Bene Shangul, Oromia, Somalia and Tigray — by pitting neighbor upon neighbor.
Since regions were now encouraged to teach in a local language, freedom of movement for employment and other reasons were curtailed. Unqualified stooges with connections to local government officials were running whole government agencies and departments, and of course driving fancy cars. It was good for the both TPLF and the regional or bantustan leaders. Again, a classic co-option model of pre-Mandela South Africa.
As Meles Zenawi, Susan Rice’s confidant, famously stated on television, “it’s not your qualifications that matter, we will hire a donkey if they are aligned with our politics.”
Ethiopia was largely corruption free, but that began to change with the TPLF and still persists today. Were it any other country, Ethiopia would have turned into a banana republic. Post TPLF it is on the edge and it will take another generation or two to recover.
2018 — Present
The misrule led to a mass uprising in 2018 that saw TPLF leaders retreat to the Tigray region. Much diminished, the TPLF used the looted funds to sow discord among ethnicities with tens of thousands of ethnic cleansing deaths in the last three years — a massive uptick from when they were in power — curiously ethnic strife was present in all regions except Tigray (it discusses the assassination attempted on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed masterminded by the former TPFL security head Getachew Assefa, and the killing of Haccaluu Hundeessaa the popular Oromo musician and rights activist).
Just today, my Ethiopian friends reached out when they knew I was writing this. They informed me about an 87 page leaked TPLF strategy document on how to destabilize Ethiopia by pitting Oromos against Amharas, among other strategies such as social media manipulation with the end goal to seek independence (if they won’t rule Ethiopia they are intent on burning it down). Apparently was it was broadcast on the ESAT network today — if someone can insert English subtitles and post it, I would appreciate it.
Kill Your Brother (in the Night, if You Must)
The proximate cause leading to the current conflict is when in November 2020 the TPLF attacked the national army based in Tigray protecting northern Ethiopia (in the middle of the night) killing hundreds. Essentially a bloodier Ethiopian equivalent to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumpter (the 1861 battle that began the American Civil War).
This 10 minute video explains what happened along with eyewitnesses of TPLF child soldiers and interviews of soldiers at hospital that survived the attacked (fighting off the TPLF for three days without food and are recovering from injuries now).
This fact was completely misreported, inverted actually, by a New York Times, and later quietly corrected (oddly, without erratum) after multiple public attempts to reveal the truth (see previously article cited A Brief experiment with Truth).
Imagine if a group of American insurrectionists killed US troops, in their sleep, at Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia or Fort Bragg, California— then they went on to attack several more states killing and starving thousands more. The American public would demand that the terrorists be crushed like cockroaches, not negotiate a settlement with them.
Weeks before the attack, the TPLF leadership proceeded with a rogue regional election despite being pleaded by elders to follow the rest of the country and postpone the vote to responsibly mitigate COVID-19 risks.
Over the last 10 months since the outbreak of fighting between TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense force, the TPLF has been using lobby groups including SGR LLC and Von Batten-Montague-York to influence US policy (the latter a guest on CNN — there are countless of Ethiopia experts who are not inherently biased and are far more knowledgeable — but CNN choses a paid lobbyist with a list of TPLF talking points to put on TV for millions to watch?). Read the tweet exchange at the bottom more for the audacity than anything else.
If there is no law that prohibits a terrorist organization from lobbying members of Congress, there should be.
Moving Forward: Restitution and Justice
Ethiopia has already killed some of the TPLF leadership in battle who have resisted arrest and imprisoned those captured. Meanwhile, Ethiopia and all peace-loving countries should cooperate with Interpol and other financial crimes agencies around the world to recover the funds stollen by the TPLF on moral grounds as well as to reduce the arms being used by the TPLF in the current war.
An audit of those funds used by the TPLF to purchase influence is in order to break the scheme of using looted funds, largely from the US, to secure even more aid and foreign policy concessions from America. Often the funds are kept in the name of the officials’ children.
Whatever the short-term geopolitical interests of the West vis-à-vis Egypt or the Horn of Africa is, it is essential to understand that insufficiently monitored food aid is essentially cash or weaponry. In the wrong hands it can, and has broken nations while rewarding those who control and manipulate it.
No one should die from hunger, anywhere. If the West is genuine about feeding Ethiopians in need, and in particular Tigray region, the first step is to acknowledge TPLF’s history of misallocating and monetizing food aid — actually take their own word for it when they say only 5% of aid reached the hungry in the 1980s and look at the data collected by USAID and others showing gross misallocation based on ethnicity and region.
It’s not far fetched that Tigray could turn into another Somalia and become a safe haven for terror groups like Al Shabab next door in Somalia — such groups are already expanding in the Sahel.
A region with few resources — led by the TPLF — a designated terrorist by both the US and Ethiopia— with a proclivity for fomenting conflict, stealing aid and suppressing dissent cannot be allowed to exist.
If the US and the West are truly interested in reducing malnutrition, at a minimum, the US should rescind call for sanctions and call for the TPLF to disarm and the leadership to turn themselves in.
In a fair world the US would offer assistance, just as we had to Europe in WWII, to eliminate the terrorists (only once when Hitler attacked Europe, Ethiopians fought side by side with British and other Allied troops to expunge the Italians). Barring that, Ethiopia, is in its right, duty to be precise, to eliminate the any threat within or outside its borders and to enlist the assistance from any country near or far.
Anything that does not need to be explained, shouldn’t be, but this is the extent of the double standard Ethiopia and Africa faces, again, where the obvious has to be spelled out.
If they TPLF does not disarm and surrender, an offer of bounty for information leading to the capture or death of senior TPLF leadership will reduce the suffering and cost on all sides.
Food Aid Recommendations
In terms of food aid, the following should be implemented immediately:
1) Require all 407 unaccounted trucks in Tigray returned or accounted for before more aid is sent (and add GPS tracking devises that cannot be removed). They are likely transporting troops and used in the war if not returned.
2) All aid deliveries by land or air must be inspected to avoid arms smuggling.
3) Develop controls for transparency in selecting local distribution vendors and collateral held in case trucks are not returned.
4) Require that a statistical sample of households’ claims be audited by independent third parties to verify the number of family members claimed matches food requests.
5) Inter and extra regional analysis of food distribution to assess the potential for misallocating based on political, ethnic and other affiliations.
6) Seal the boarder with Sudan with troops and coordinated satellite monitoring.
7) Establish whistle-blower protocols and rewards for food aid handlers.
Furthermore, we need to set an example to deter future perpetuators of similar crimes as the TPLF have committed. Let us keep the Abiy Administration and future leaders of Ethiopia honest.
The hunt for stollen funds must begin immediately, and any collected funds should offset food aid commitments by the West and be returned to Ethiopia. Start with the bank accounts of the children of senior TPLF members.
TPLF Party members, and other satellite party members, and their families (including the current WHO General Director Tedros Adhanom, a TPLF politburo member and former foreign minster who BTW is standing for re-election at WHO this year — in what alternate reality does this fellow even become a janitor at the World Health Organization? His case has been referred to the International Criminal Court) that live outside of Ethiopia often do so beyond the means afforded them by their salary. Such an investigation should begin with asset declarations and supporting documentation.
TPLF ‘Leadership’ and the End
It is difficult to believe that the current TPLF leadership is best the region of industrious Tigreans can offer – a collection of leba (unlike most parts of Ethiopia, there are no real opposition parties in Tigray, since they have been snuffed out by the TPLF, so this is not a reflection of the masses in the region). In addition to theft, their moral depravity has been called been exposed on numerous occasions.
For example, the Tigray regional president, Debretsion Gebremichael ‘John,’ was known to engage in international sex tourism worldwide which, aside from the lewdness, would not have been possible on his civil servant salary. These are basic standards to expect from political leaders regardless of nationality or country. According to the report, ‘John’ has a…
“history of employing prostitutes, escorts and call girls in many cities including Cairo, Yaounde (Cameroon), Bangkok, Hiroshima, Tokyo, Geneva, Seoul, Busan (S. Korea), Mumbai (India), Dubai, Hong Kong and Las Vegas in search of whorehouses.”
When the US UN Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, publicly asked for Ethiopia to return satellite dishes to Tigray at the open Security Council this summer— if indeed these were taken, they were conceivably removed so the terrorist enemy does not use them for communications to launch more attacks — perhaps she can also politely ask the TPLF to return the billions of US taxpayer dollars looted.
Her performance will no doubt go down in history as Part II of the movie “WMD” staring Colin Powell (an upstanding American used as stooge — something he regrets to this day and calls a “great intelligence failure.”)
Today Ethiopia is in full scale civil war with the TPLF on the OFFENSIVE and committing mass atrocities in the Afar (the main one being in Galikomo) and Amhara (now primary in Wello and previously a massacre of over 1,000 mostly Amhara in Mai Kadra) regions while playing victim.
History will record who the social media provocateurs and the biased, or lazy/intellectually uncurious journalists, who perpetuated the war with unsubstantiated narratives.
False narratives are a propaganda tool that can change history. Here are a vivid example and best practice article from Jeff Pearce: Ethiopia: The Predators at the Northern Star (sorry if you have to read this, i.e. be told how to spot a fixer then you shouldn’t be a journalist to begin with) and The West and Ethiopia: Let’s Start Fixing Western News Coverage
In Germany, while the Nazi party had mass appeal — with their bass-ist, lowest common denominator propaganda appeal of hate and religious ethnophobia — not all Germans were spineless. It’s time for those who seek peace and justice to stand up.
The vast majority of Ethiopians and Africans rightly detest the TPLF and it’s policies (when was the last time Ethiopians and Eritreans agreed on anything?). Protesters in the millions in the streets of Addis Ababa three years ago is testament to that. As more Western journalist and general public gain knowledge, the tide will continue to turn (an Ethiopian proverb says it’s easy to lie about a foreign land).
“You can fool all the people part of the time, or you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool all people all the time.”
The US and Europe will not go far just like in Afghanistan (the list of unconquered countries in world is less than 10 and both Afghanistan and Ethiopia are on that list). I predict Biden will soon lose his job like Hoare and Laval did. Historically, anyone who’s touched the forehead of Ethiopia has come to regret it.
To the clueless, and perhaps well-meaning Western journalist: Your unknown biases and double-standard are glaring. Educate yourself. Resist the urge to be spoon-fed information, double check sources and resist all advertising, lobbyist or TPLF surrogate driven stories.
Biden, Rice, journalists, ask yourself, would you be happy living and raising your children in a country run by the TPLF?
It’s time for Ethiopians, especially Tigreans, to stand up and face the truth. Refuse to be a useful tool whether online, or on the battlefield.
Where are the honest, religious, and peace-loving daughters and sons of Tigray? The TPLF plunged you into war and the world is waiting for you to speak up.
The TPLF perpetuated decades of injustice to which some Tigreans have been subject to retribution — that’s unfortunately human nature and to think otherwise is the height of naïveté.
War is dirty, but note, other countries don’t selectively and ostensibly care about ‘human rights’ like the US — if they care at all. Moreover, this moral crime of using someone’s suffering (Tigrean human suffering in this case — while ignoring ethnic cleansing, door to door killings based on door markings indicating ethnicity — of thousands in Afar and Amhara region) to advance a (nefarious) foreign policy agenda is heartbreakingly disingenuous and arguably worse than the original crime of any rogue soldiers — including rape. Realpolitik is dirtier than war it appears.
On this topic, the TPLF set free 10,000 criminals from prisons in and around Mekele when TPLF lost the Tigrean capital before re-capturing it. Dozens of assassinations and kidnaping of interim administrator, teachers and civil servants has been blamed on these convicts and TPLF fighter (which incidentally has not really been reported by the Western press even though AP covered the story at least once). There are local news reports that some of the rapes are by the freed criminals. The origin of sexual violence warrants farther investigation. The widely-held, media led, perception that it was entirely the actions of troops fighting the TPLF.
It’s time to move forward from this dark chapter of TPLF, heal, and choose leadership that’s fit to lead. If you know where TPLF are. Turn them in and choose light over darkness.
Amharic Version & Final Appeal
If someone can post an Amharic translations of this article (most Ethiopians speak at least two languages, or used to, since the TPLF have deliberately attempted to create a Tower of Babel, perhaps we should aim to get it done in as many of the dozens of Ethiopian languages as possible?). We all need to continue to get the truth out. No Nazism, no Apartheid in Ethiopia. End the TPLF reign of terror in Ethiopia, end aid as a weapon, and work long term to remove the TPLF brainwashing of three decades!
My thoughts are the tip of the iceberg. I hope my words will give license for others to speak up in any language. There are countless stories of hiring and firing discrimination based on ethnicity — at government offices, police, army, Ethiopian Airlines, and private offices. Killings and human rights abuses on farms, with the police and kebeles, at jails, and in all matters of civic live under TPLF.
Please speak up and drown out the voices of the opportunists, the money launderers, the fake news, the ethnophobs, and the hired goons.
Speaking of which…like the missing trucks, this effusive tweet exchange between Nima Elbagir of CNN with paid TPLF lobbyists is a ‘concern’ (you don’t ask your hairdresser if you need a trim, especially if you’re a journalist). Naturally her employment should be reviewed by CNN management and any non-neutrally corroborated reporting retracted and publicly apologized for on her behalf. Strange, a vast majority of her sources are directly from the terrorist TPLF (conceivably speaking by satellite phone)while the, much more accessible, government in Addis Ababa is comparatively less — one only look at her past CNN reports which available online).
Other sensational CNN reporting, this time by the intrepid Eliza Mackintosh, called Prime Minister Abiy, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, ‘a global pariah’ in the heading.
Reading the tweet, we’re in agreement with the lobbyists Von Batten-Montague-York, who want ‘peace & accountability’ — perhaps their esteemed lawyers can offer some pro-bono work to get to the bottom of missing 407 trucks, $30 billion from low-middle income American taxpayers, and crimes against humanity — while reading along and listening to Protegé.
Dissecting the September 1st and 3rd statements from USAID and the US Embassy
Tweets and Statements from the Biden Administration appear be the one-sided by the State Department, USAID and US Embassy in Addis and won’t win any friends in Ethiopia or win geo-political influence games with powerful nations seeking regional influence.
There was some hope and semblance of balance with the 1st September interview on Ethiopian local TV (ETV) by USAID Ethiopia mission Director Sean Jones cited above (a less than official TV interview setting which seemed geared for placating Ethiopians and for public consumption).
Listen from the 4:30 mark, where the crux of the discussion is not just ‘the what’ (food being looted) but also ‘the who’ (which party in the conflict is looting). Mr. Jones states that “we know for fact that the TPLF, in Amhara region, in every town that they (TPLF) have gone into they have looted the warehouses, they have looted trucks, they have caused a great deal of destruction in all the villages they have visited, and it’s a great concern for humanitarians.
Alas, it was essentially walked back less than 48 hours later day when the US Embassy put out an official statement on the US Embassy website which mentioned ‘reports’ of ‘confirmed incidents’ (no mention of location or time of looting) of three warehouses being looted in ‘Amhara region.’
Was this (a) the same incidents that Mr. Jones spoke about on local TV 48 hours earlier, or (b) a new incidents? Either way, why not mention any details?
If it were scenario (a) then why put out a statement without stating TPLF was responsible? Intentionally or not, this is essentially muddying the waters by guiding the reader to make the association that it were residents of Amhara region (because TPLF was not mentioned — a key part of the discussion considering the earlier, August 24th, statement that TPLF were not benefiting from food aid which was reversed on Sept. 1st).
The statement went on to say, “(the thefts in Amhara region) were much like what occurred during previous months in the Tigray Region by Eritrean and Ethiopian forces.” So now it ascribes blame, but for a months-old incidents, and on the non-TPLF protagonists.
It seems that they were confidant that ETV viewers are not reading official US Embassy statements, and vice versa? That would be amateur as news feeds/aggregators will carry them both. Whatever the cause, it’s seems very odd not to mention TPLF as Mr. Jones was so adamant about the concern felt by humanitarians.
The word “however” begins the next paragraph — this is important as it’s basically saying ‘in spite of the looting,’ that “the biggest challenge to providing aid to people in Ethiopia remains access….food warehouses in Tigray have been virtually empty for two weeks.”
So the big problem is not looting (regardless of who is doing it, as we don’t know if we’re in scenario (a) or (b) now), but rather the Ethiopian Government because of empty warehouses in Tigray because “only a small trickle of humanitarian aid has been allowed by the government of Ethiopia into Tigray.”
Why are empty warehouse in Tigray more of a problem than conceivably looted-empty warehouses in Amhara region? Is it the number? Is it who’s doing it or the people affected? It’s not clear.
Now if we consider scenario (b), new thefts, that means that the information is new so Mr. Jones could not have mentioned them in the interview and hence the need for an official statement, or what looks like a press release, (did USAID find out about in the intervening 24–48 hours?). And again, if so why not mention the location, time, witnesses, photos, etc.
Either way there are serious issues: If it’s — (a) the previously mentioned looting — there is a problem, as the culprits were not mentioned, so covering for TPLF (while mentioning Ethiopian Government culprits from incidents from months — this also creates causal associations in readers’ minds).
If it’s — (b) new looting — there is a balance problem because there was no official statement when the TPLF were looting the warehouses in Amhara region and all of a sudden two days later the Embassy does a statement on newly found looting. We still don’t know who did the new looting, more looting from TPLF or local residents.
On both (a) and (b) why no details?
However, to the Embassy’s credit, it elevated themselves from a D- to a D+ in propaganda by ending with the platitude, “all parties, including the TPLF, must cease the violence that only exacerbates the current humanitarian crisis.”
It really is amateur hour at the State Department, but the little good news, folks — since we’re not in a the land General El Sisis or TPLFs — just three more years to go!