Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Millennial Challenge Series: Western Journalists enabling global terrorism, fact or fiction

Dear Patriotic Citizens of the World

Re: Millennial Challenges of Global Terrorism, from New York- Demanding transparency and accountability from NewYork Times Reporters and Editors!

Misinformation of Criminal proportion is witnessed by another western jurnalist of the type of New York Times is the latest confusion between accurate reporting and dabling with the likes of Counter Intelligence Fiasco in the post Cold War world among countries alied against global terrorim. Good governance as a way of life should visit the modern so called journalists masquerading as propaganda chiefs of terrorists of Counter Intelligence agents posing as tourists and journalists and actually functioining as terrorist enablers.

This time New York Times itslef appears to be imbedded with Terrorists enablers and they think the public is stupid, or may e the do not know that they are exposing their own incompetence and callous disregard for the public's intelligence.

International Reporting needs accuracy, context and perspective as well as verification from all sides, but this reported did none of the above.

Please read the attached story, unbecoming of a Western Journalist but A Terrorist blending with terror and cought red handed and then goes ahead and reports fabricated or at least one sided propaganda news.

What a shame, the New York Times is not a free media but a cover for terrorist agents!

Please read on and make your judgements. Terror is nothing but enabling terrorists with all the power and the tool the New York Times has at its disporal. It should be remembered that terror is nothing but terror, whether it happens to Ethiopians and Chinese in Ogaden or New Yorkers in Manhattan, but the fools at New York Times will not get it. Mind you if he were at the site of terror in that fateful night, he would have not been spared regardless of his association with New York Times or citizenship of one of the greatest countries of the world, the USA. He would have been butchered like the Chinese and Ethiopians in Ogaden if he was there on 24 April 2007. Imagine how he would have felt if another fellow New York Times journalist published what he did at his obituary or memorial service.

Abetting and aiding a terrorist is nothing but a terrorist activity!. Shame on Mr Gettelman, he forgot he is dealing with Ethiopians!

Please read on and make your own judgements! A Journalist, a Politician, a Holy Wood Actor and White House Chief of staff, are facing their day in court in today's USA as they are accused of breaking the the law of the land. Why should it be different for law breakers and criminals in Ogaden, Horn of Africa. This fools deserve to face their day in court and for that matter this journalist has to account for his reporting either in Ethiopia or in New York.

However, this will not happen. I forgot New York Times Journalists have protection under the law- the New Patriotic Act or the freedom of expression amndement in New York. This one might even call the Fifth Amendment tha allows terrorist enablers like himself to go scott free, pardon me, I am sorry, I was trying to say New York Times, free.

Where is the transparency and accountabiliity? Good governance needs to creep into New York Times! Now, I understand why Fox News and commentators like the Factor shouts fire every evening with the liberal medial like the New York Times. It is now becoming clearer day by day, and we need to compile more cases to make a point in this age of Instant communciation and easy access to information across the globe.

Will readers suggest cases of such activities that enable terrorist activities be it overt or covert Counter Intelligence Activities by New York Times reporters and editors? this is a good time to look for more research.

with regards,

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH

Ethiopia - On Jeffery Gettleman and the New York Times

June 19 2007

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Press Release
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Seyoum Mesfin
In May, Jeffery Gettleman, a journalist from the New York Times with two colleagues, was expelled from Ethiopia. The group had specifically asked to visit Ethiopia as tourists, not as journalists, and had requested assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obtain tourist visas. It was given. Mr. Gettleman also contacted the Ministry for assistance when there was a query over his camera equipment at the airport. Again, it was given. His subsequent behavior then mimicked that of an intelligence officer, or even a secret agent, rather than that of a reporter.

He even crossed the international border into Somalia and then returned to Ethiopia clandestinely. Indeed, as his report makes it clear he had an agenda, not the aim of producing the sort of balanced and fair report that readers of the New York Times might expect. Mr. Gettleman is clearly angry that he was arrested and detained by security forces even though he was hardly behaving in a way that New York Times journalists normally behave outside Africa. His writing reflects this.

The most offensive, and unacceptable, element in Mr. Gettleman’s reporting is the way in which he embellishes claims of terrorists. Indeed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs finds it intolerable that Mr. Gettleman is prepared to try to make terrorists appear to look like rebels with a cause, to make heroes out of a terrorist group whose latest exploit in April was to slaughter indiscriminately dozens of civilian workers at the Adole oil exploration site.

Most of the 65 Ethiopians and 9 Chinese technicians massacred there were killed while they slept. This was a straightforward terrorist atrocity. For the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) to justify this with a claim that warnings had been given against oil exploration in the region is simply unacceptable. There can be no justification for the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of civilian workers; the dead included a three year old child. Such comments are particularly outrageous when families of those murdered are still in mourning.


The Ethiopian government refers to members of the ONLF as terrorists because that is exactly what they are. Their activity cannot be justified as Mr. Gettleman tries to do, by quoting ONLF claims of government atrocities, real or imagined. The ONLF have, over several years, been responsible for a succession of bombings, assassinations, and the laying of land-mines, frequently aimed at civilians and targeting members of rival clans. Traditional leaders and clan elders critical of the ONLF have been particular targets. This cannot, by any stretch of imagination be identified as a liberation struggle. It is terrorism, pure and simple.

Mr. Gettleman’s article makes no effort to provide any understanding of the political situation in the self-administering Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. He totally ignores government’s efforts to talk to the ONLF, and makes no reference to the delegation of Ogaden clan elders who unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with the ONLF leadership abroad last year, in the UK, Sweden and Denmark – in fact, the ONLF has never been interested in participating in the political process. Mr. Gettleman fails to comment on the ONLF’s membership of the opposition "Alliance for Freedom and Democracy", set up under the auspices of Eritrea last year. It was then the ONLF leadership removed itself from London to Eritrea. Hundreds of ONLF fighters were trained and armed in Eritrea before being sent to the Ogaden via the Islamic Courts Union in Mogadishu in October and November last year.

Mr. Gettleman shows no interest in Eritrean involvement with, and support for, the ONLF, or in what the Eritrean government is trying to do in its attempts to destabilize Ethiopia. All this is surely relevant to his supposed story. Instead, Mr. Gettleman quotes US Congressman Donald Payne whose recent pronouncements about Ethiopia and Somalia have demonstrated a serious lack of up-to-date information about Ethiopia. Indeed, it is far from clear that facts matter much for Congressman Payne. He knows very well that to describe Ethiopia as a country which has no respect for democracy is completely fallacious. Ethiopia has gradually moved through various stages of democracy in the last 16 years, culminating in the first real competitive multi-party elections in 2005. Despite some controversial elements, including the deeply regretted riots and deaths in June and November 2005, these were largely successful. We now have a functional, indeed, lively, opposition in parliament, and a parliamentary body to which the administration is now answerable.

In his continuing efforts to defame Ethiopia, Mr. Gettleman quotes ONLF fighters on the situation of the region through which he was traveling. He repeats their claims there is no education, no development in the Somali Regional State, and talks of “huddles of bubble-shaped huts” passing for towns. We would certainly accept the level of development in the Somali state remains low, but even Mr. Gettleman’s brief visits to Jigjiga and Deghabur, should have given the lie to such nonsense. Towns in the region like Jigjiga, Deghabur, Kebridar, Gode and others are certainly not collections of huts. They have substantially built schools, mosques, health centers, administrative buildings. There is a university in Jigjiga which currently has nearly 1000 students; as of 2005 there were 23 secondary schools in the region, and some 700 primary schools.

Ethiopian troops have not been gang-raping women, burning down huts or killing civilians at will. Indeed, given the ONLF’s recent actions at Adole, the latter is a particularly outrageous claim. The Ethiopian army takes very seriously any such claims and investigates any and all accusations that are made against its troops.

Mr. Gettleman’s failure even to attempt to produce a balanced picture of recent events in the Somali regional state, and the clandestine nature of his visit, makes clear he remains angry that he was arrested and detained. He should not be. He was not on any legitimate news-gathering assignment. He had requested a visa to visit tourist sites in the north of the country, and gave no indication he wished to travel into the Somali regional state. His sudden appearance in Deghabur, close to the site of the terrorist massacre at Adole a few weeks earlier, was a surprise to local authorities, all the more so as Mr. Gettleman had left Ethiopia, crossing into Somalia, and then re-entered Ethiopia illegally. Given the state of alert following the atrocity at Adole, the arrival of three journalists pretending to be tourists, inevitably led to suspicion. Since Mr. Gettleman and his group were planning to make contact with the terrorists responsible for those killings, it is hardly surprising that the group were arrested.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is always ready to welcome journalists on legitimate news gathering assignments, journalists who are prepared to display the responsibility, integrity and truthfulness we would expect from employees of a newspaper with the reputation of the New York Times, though this has had to admit to a number of serious errors on occasions. Four years ago, one journalist was forced to resign following the discovery that he had committed a whole series of journalistic frauds. Mr. Gettleman’s reporting has seriously tarnished the reputation of himself and of the New York Times. It will certainly make it harder for Ethiopia to believe in the integrity of western news outlets. It leads to suspicion that the New York Times, like others, has double standards with regard to reporting about Africa, and the way their reporters behave in Africa.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Addis Ababa

19 June 2007


The Bankruptcy of the CUD Leadership and the Interesting
Jurisprudence of the Crime of Treason

By Tesfaye Habisso
&n bsp; habisso@yahoo.co.uk

"As a general rule the costs of unlawful acts vastly outweigh any benefits. The forces of law and order....are vigilant and have access to quite frightening techno-logy. If someone suggests to you that you should do something unlawful the chances are that the person making this suggestion is either (a) an idiot, and therefore dangerous, or (b) an agent provocateur--an enemy deliberately trying to get you into trouble...."

In the light of the above words, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy [ CUD] leadership's position on violence and their leadership style has been rather interesting, from the very beginning of their political campaigns. The CUD spokesperson's bold and fiery assertions on the eve of the May 15, 2005 national elections were quite revealing. His threats or campaign gimmicks were approximately summed up in the following words:

"...The EPRDF as usual will rig the elections and the people whose votes
are stolen will this time around rise up against the ruling party
to assert their rights, and because of the EPRDF's repressive
actions a revolution, akin to the revolutions that occurred in Georgia
and Ukraine because of people's power, will erupt in the country and
people's power will reverse the outcome of the elections in the opposition's
favour and thus unseat the incumbent party from power.

If these actions do not succeed in removing the ruling party from power, we will unleash people's power against the ruling party by mobilizing all sections of the population--industry workers, taxi operators, students, employees of the services sector, etc. to go on strike and thus bring everything to a standstill, which will eventually remove the ruling party from power........."

Further,the CUD President's leading statement, allegedly made in Washington D.C, USA, to the party's financiers just before the May 2005 elections was simply speaking the most outrageous and reckless outbursts that many believe would come out only from the mind of a pathological killer and a fascist and not from an octogenarian gentleman like Hailu Shawul, saying that "the CUD is prepared for a major showdown with the EPRDF and that the lives of only 10,000 to 15,000 CUD supporters may be lost in the struggle to remove the EPRDF party and to catapult the CUD to the State House--Emperor Menelik's Grand Palace, and that he would be too old to be a Prime Minister if he were to wait for another five years", i.e. if he were to accept the results of the ballot box and wait for the next elections in 2010.

These ideas of Ato Hailu Shawul and Ato Lidetu Ayalew, both apparently married men with families and who have proven extremely reluctant to do anything at all (even to write articles for their own party papers) suddenly leading a 'street insurrection' against the EPRDF regime--the EPRDF regime with its vast intelligence resources, organizational strength, its numerous security officers, its state-of-the-art armed forces complete with sophisticated weaponry and other technology--is truly the stuff of comic strips.

Those who have been around in the political struggle a great deal longer than Ato Hailu Shawul and Ato Lidetu Ayalew will know that such positions have always been pushed by two types of persons: lunatics or State Agents. Why? Because the EPRDF regime is quite strong in terms of repressive capabilities--to believe that a handful of self-declared liberal democrats and amateurish politicians, who publish irregular, photocopied bulletins, can rid the country of the EPRDF regime through violence and intimidation is tantamount to believing that the moon is made of cheese.

If there is to be any argument at all for political leaders it must surely be that they offer leadership--that they provide strong democratic leadership and a viable strategy to take their organization from A to B and that they mobilize people to implement that strategy. Insofar as they fail to offer such wise leadership and strategy and effective mobilization then they are failing to provide any reason for their existence qua leaders. Leaders are elected or selected to provide leadership to their followers. They are there to lead the masses of unsuspecting and mostly uninformed supporters to achieve certain objectives and not to trail behind them, not to seek daily guidance from them, and if the latter is the case, then, there won't be any need for leaders in the first place.

Let us put aside for a moment our various suspicions about the motives of the CUD leadership and assess them purely on the question of whether they have provided sound leadership since their assumption of the CUD's topmost positions. Assessed on this score it is clear that the CUD leaders have miserably failed to offer anything resembling coherent leadership and strategy.

Throughout their brief existence as a hodge-podge and disparate collection of strange bedfellows (four separately registered political parties with divergent political programmes and visions) gathered together in a marriage of convenience just before the May 15, 2005 national elections with the sole aim of unseating the ruling party by any means possible, they have been--or have portrayed themselves as--creatures of impulse, taking up one idea and then abandoning it a little later, publicly declaring to abide by the current constitutional order and the constitutional mechanisms in place and then denouncing them as unacceptable after a while; signing an agreement with the ruling party to pursue a path of dialogue and non-violence and then suddenly reneging on the deal before the ink that they signed with dried off; calling for public demonstrations, protests, work stoppages and strikes and then calling them off at the last minute, to play with another notion mostly cooked and relayed to them by those extremist elements of the EPRP, AESM (MEISON), MEDHIN, etc. circulating amongst the Diaspora and whose social and political history remains a lot to be desired. What the CUD leaders have spectacularly not produced so far is any sort of coherent political programme or common platform and road map leading and taking their members and followers forward and any sort of sustained effort to push them along a path to any sort of success.

Instead, despite the incredible patience of the ruling party and government in tolerating their wishy-washy positions on a large number of mutually concluded and peacefully negotiated agreements and its repeated calls to the CUD leadership to desist from violent or unlawful means to challenge the election outcome, the latter however decided to think the unthinkable, to imagine the unimaginable and pursued the destructive path of violence to snatch political power and thus led (rather, misled) their organization and their members as well as themselves into the quagmire of utter disaster, got themselves incarcerated by the government and are now not only accused of treason, genocide and other serious offences but found guilty of these offences by the High Court and awaiting their sentence on July 08, 2007 that would perhaps hammer a nail in the CUD's coffin (its member organizations as well) once and for all. What a tragic folly on the part of the CUD leadership, so to speak.

Yes, possible motives for violence always exist in every country. People everywhere resent certain injustices and abuses. Many people are disposed to resort to violence in political disputes. They are willing to kill--and to risk being killed--to counter perceived wrong or to implement what they believe to be right or just to get themselves into power, or in self-defense. But farsighted and wise political leaders do not choose the path of violence and push their supporters into violent behavior and anarchy in political disputes when the odds are against them but define the risks involved in doing so and design ways and means of containing these risks through lawful and democratic means; they do not encourage their supporters to engage in or resort to futile and fruitless risks and violence, least of all to challenge election outcomes which are solely the prerogative of national electoral commissions or boards, and the courts of law.

No sane political party under a newly democratizing state opts for such a violent course, as it is against the consolidation of the democratization process and most of all contrary to the rules of the game. If the electoral system and the judiciary are believed to be partisan and not independent and impartial, real or imagined, then the course to be pursued would be to open up serious dialogue and negotiations with the ruling party and government to make the necessary changes in those systems and ensure the impartiality and independence of the electoral commission and the judiciary in place, so that they would be acceptable and credible to the opposition bloc as well.

This is the only civilized and democratic way of doing things in a country that is struggling to extricate itself from centuries of authoritarian rule by alternating monarchical regimes and two decades of tyrannical misrule under a military dictatorship, and graduate to a well-functioning democratic state and society. To disregard this glaring reality and to seek a shortcut to power would put us all in a very dangerous situation that may be difficult for us to manage. There is no shortcut to democracy and to free, fair and credible elections in Ethiopia. It will happen not instantly or in a short period of time but over a long period of time, gradually and in an incremental manner. All who expect instant results are bound to fail.

As most of us are well aware, the trial of Engineer Hailu Shawul and 130 other CUD leaders and supporters for the aforementioned alleged crimes began in the High Court, Addis Abeba, on February 23, 2006. Now after more than a year and half, the High Court found them guilty of the criminal offences on June 15, 2007. What a sad situation for all who expected that the government and the courts would show leniency and release them without any pre-conditions. Be this as it may, when the trial began in 2006, we could not dare to delve into the facts or the merits of the case, as it was being discussed in a court of law, and it was therefore illegal for anyone to talk about it on the media--on the television, in newspapers, etc. This is what is called "subjudice" in the legal jargon.

But now we can discuss the trial and all issues revolving around the case without any limitations or restraints. The purpose of this paper however is not to discuss this intricate and complex trial that should, I believe, be left to our able lawyers that have been closely involved directly or indirectly with the case or cases. Rather, I would like to cast some light on the interesting aspects of the jurisprudence of the crime of treason.

&nbs p; Before going any further, it is necessary to describe what we mean by the concepts "crime" and "treason". Let me discuss them one by one at some length here below.
What constitutes a crime?

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines crime as:(1) "activities that involve breaking the law"; (2) "an illegal act or activity that can be punished by law."

A crime is an act that injures another. Without this element, there is no crime, regardless of what might be added to the definition to meet moral or political objectives. A clear and consistent definition however is yet to transpire.
&n bsp; There are five types of criminal behavior: crimes against oneself, or "victimless crimes" (such as suicide, abortion, and the consumption of drugs), crimes against others (such as murder or mugging), crimes among consenting adults (such as incest, and in certain countries, homosexuality and euthanasia), crimes against collectives (such as treason, genocide, or ethnic cleansing), and crimes against the international community and world order (such as executing prisoners of war). The last two categories often overlap.

The Encyclopedia Britannica provides this definition of a crime: "The intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited, and punishable under the criminal law."

But who decides what is socially harmful? What about acts committed unintentionally (known as "strict liability offences" in the parlance)? How can we establish intention--"mens rea", or the "guilty mind"-- beyond a reasonable doubt?

A much tighter definition would be: " The commission of an act punishable under the criminal law" of a country or a state. A crime is what the law--state law, kinship law, religious law, or any other widely accepted law-- says is a crime. Thus a crime is an act which violates a law of a government, nation-state, or jurisdiction, for which there is no successful defense.

According to Western jurisprudence, there must be a simultaneous concurrence of both actus reus ("guilty action") and mens rea ("guilty mind") for a crime to have been committed; except in crimes of strict liability.

In order for prosecution, some laws require proof of causality, relating the defendant's actions to the criminal event in question. In addition, some laws require that attendant circumstances have occurred, in order for a crime to have been committed. Also, in order for a crime to be prosecuted, corpus delicti (or "proof of a crime") must be established. A crime can be the action of violating or breaking the law, having the intention of doing so or helping others in the process; in some systems the simple association for organizing a crime is punished, even if the fact is not verified and usually for many crimes the attempt too is punished, even if the crime is not completed. Crimes are viewed as offences against society, and as such are punished by the state.

2. What Do We Mean By Treason?

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, treason is "the crime of doing something that could cause danger to your country, such as helping its enemies during a war." In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to one's nation. A person who reneges on an oath of loyalty or a pledge of allegiance, and in some way willfully cooperates with an enemy, is considered to be a traitor.

Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as:
"---[a]--- citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]."

The English Statute of Treasons (1350) distinguishes high treason and petty treason. Petty treason was the murder of one's lawful superior, such as when a servant killed his master. High treason covered acts that constituted a serious threat to the stability or continuity of the state, including attempts to kill the king, to counterfeit coins or to wage war against the kingdom.

The punishment for treason was often extended and was an especially cruel death (treason was still theoretically punishable by death in Britain until 1998). The law was used in England to suppress any resistance to government policy and it was not reformed until the 19th century. To avoid the abuses of the English law, treason was specifically defined in the United States Constitution.

Article Three defines treason as only levying war against the United States or giving aid and comfort to its enemies, and requires the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court for conviction. In the United States Code the penalty ranges from "shall suffer death" to "shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."

In the United States, the accusation of treason has at times been leveled at those who dissented against the government's foreign policy, especially during military actions. However, actual prosecutions have been very rare, and even very well known spies have generally been convicted of espionage rather than treason.
The Interesting Aspects of the Jurisprudence of Treason

Legal philosophers and judges all over the world have, for a long time, had problems with the offence of treason. This is because, unlike most other offences, treason is very much dependent on the socio-political setting, and what may be treson one day can be " a heroic people's protracted struggle against dictatorship" the next.

Broadly speaking, treason is the act of suspending, overthrowing, abrogating or amending the constitution by violent or any other unlawful means (i.e. means that are contrary to the provisions of the Constitution itself). Hans Kelsen, in his book Pure Theory of Law, argued that under the principle of legitimacy, a constitution is valid until its validity is terminated in a way determined by that constitution (e.g. by lawful amendment) or is replaced by another lawfully promulgated constitution. However, Kelsen accepted that this principle has one "important limitation only: it does not apply in a case of a revolution."

He defined revolution as every illegitimate change of the constitution or its replacement by another constitution. In the case of a revolution, Kelsen argued that the new constitution becomes valid and replaces the old constitution when the new, revolutionary regime, becomes "by and large effective".

The leading authority on English Constitutional Law, Stanley DeSmith, sympathized with the legal theorists on this point saying that: "Legal theorists have no option but to accommodate their concepts to the facts of political life. Successful revolution sooner or later begets its own legality. If, as Hans Kelsen has postulated, the basic norm or ultimate principle underlying a constitutional order is that the constitution ought to be obeyed, then the disappearance of that order, followed by acquiescence on the part of officials, judges and the general public in laws, rules and orders issued by the new holders of power, will displace the old basic norm or ultimate principle and give rise to a new one. Thus, might becomes right in the eyes of the law."

As literature in this area of legal discourse unveils, courts all over the world have been faced with express or implied challenges to the lawfulness of governments that have come to power through extra-legal means. In Uganda whereI have been residing for a couple of years since the year 2004, in one case, Uganda v. Commissioner of Prisons ex parte Matovu [1966] E.A. 514, the validity of the 1966 Constitution of Uganda was challenged. The High Court of Uganda held that although the 1966 Constitution had extra legal origins, insofar as it was the product of a revolution within the Kelsenian definition of the term, it had created a new legal order and was therefore valid.

However, in a few cases, the courts declined to recognize the legality of a regime that has come to power through unlawful means. In the case of Madzimabuto v. Lardner Burke [1969] 1 A.C. 645 the Privy Council declined to recognize Ian Smith's regime in Rhodesia [today's Zimbabwe], as it then was, which had come into power through a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. While in the case of the Republic of Fiji v. Prasad [2001] 2 LRC 343 the Court of Appeal of Fiji upheld that the 1997 Constitution of Fiji remained the supreme law of the land irrespective of its purported abrogation by the military in a coup on the 29th of May 2000

But generally courts usually prefer the Kelsenian approach and recognize constitutions that are put in place by usurpers of previous constitutions. So that rather than charging the usurpers with treason, they are recognized as the new rulers under the new constitutional order. Though the role of courts in such scenarios in Ethiopia, as far as I know, hitherto has been alarmingly deficient, all usurpers via violent and unlawful or revolutionary means beginning from the military junta in 1974 to the current EPRDF regime in 1991 have all successfully replaced the previous constitutions by their own new constitutions and become the new rulers.

This was not however to happen in 1961 when the imperial body guards staged a coup d'etat against Emperor Haile Sellassie's rule but could not succeed, they were crushed by the army. They failed and paid a heavy price. The ring leaders of the coup, General Mengistu Neway and his brother Dejazmach Girmame Neway, were hounded and caught by the army, accused of treason, convicted and sent to the gallows at St. George's Square in Addis Abeba. Their followers were also harshly treated and sentenced to long years of prison life.

The interesting aspects of the jurisprudence of treason is that those who succeed to usurp political power through unlawful means become heroes and new rulers; on the contrary, those who fail to snatch power in this way become traitors and get convicted of treason and sentenced to whatever the law and the judges say they deserve. You become a hero when you succeed and a traitor when you fail, and interestingly might becomes right when you succeed, as in the law of the jungle.

When we come back to Uganda, Article 3(4) of the Constitution of the Republic 1995 attempts to cater for the event of treason against it by directing all citizens to resist any usurpers and to do all in their power to restore the Constitution. Recognizing that in resisting the usurpers, the citizens may themselves be charged with treason and other related offences by the successful usurpers, Article 3(5) of the Constitution provides that any person who resists the suspension, overthrow or abrogation of the Constitution commits no offence. Further recognizing that the provisions of Article 3(5) may not be honoured by the usurpers, Article 3(6) provides that any punishment issued to a person who resists usurpers shall, upon the restoration of the 1995 Constitution be considered void from the time of its imposition and that person shall be absolved from all liabilities arising out of that punishment. As far as I understand, there are no similar provisions in the Ethiopian Constitution 1994, and no protections for those citizens who may resist the suspension, overthrow or abrogation of the FDRE Constitution. Anyway, I think it would also be naive to imagine that such protections would indeed be honored under a new regime that has come to power through unlawful and/or violent means in the first place.

By way of conclusion, the offence of treason, therefore, is NOT the act of suspending, overthrowing, abrogating or amending the Constitution by violent or any other unlawful means. Treason is more realistically defined as FAILING in the act of suspending, overthrowing, abrogating or amending the constitution by violent or any other unlawful means! If you succeed you will be recognized as the new ruler because you have effective control of the State. "Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan" says it all. It is only when you fail that your actions will be considered treasonous offence. President Yoweri Museveni and all active members of the NRM/NRA between 1981 and January 1986, President Issaias Afewerki and his EPLF comrades of the struggle between 1961 and May 1991, and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and all active members of the TPLF/EPRDF between 1975 and May 1991, are living testimony of this fact.

I do not think that there is any other offence in law whose effective consummation absolves the offender. In fact public policy usually dictates that one should not profit from one's crime. However, it appears that in the realm of treason, if one works very hard and succeeds, then one gets away scot-free, i.e. without receiving the punishment one deserves, and is in fact able to pin others who may seek to overthrow his/her new constitutional order. That is what is unfolding in Ethiopia today when you observe the case of the CUD leadership v. the State in the nation's High Court, began on February 23, 2006. If you have any doubts about what I have said so far, just ask the aforementioned leaders.

Whatever the case, the CUD leaders today find themselves in a desperate plight, having been locked behind bars for over two years and awaiting the court's ultimate decision or sentence on July 08, 2007. Despite their political posturing and the victory sign that they always display by raising their fingers at every court appearance, nobody can deny that they are indeed scared of what would happen to them on July 08, 2007, the day that the High Court would declare its sentence. What a heart-rending situation! The CUD leadership and their supporters mistakenly thought that the Americans and the Europeans would put maximum pressure on the EPRDF party and government and secure their unconditional release from jail. They misguidedly thought that these forces had the power and authority to make or break governmental decisions in Ethiopia.

They completely disregarded that the incumbent regime is a government governing over a sovereign and proud nation, and not bending and stretching itself to the breaking point. In Ethiopia, there has never been and will never be a client regime for any foreign power. Let no one group or individual entertain such an illusion. It is not going to happen now or in the future for a number of historical and cultural reasons. It is not necessary to discuss these reasons for the time being. Rather, what many citizens from both sides of the isle would like to see is this: Now that the court has passed its guilty verdict on June 15, 2007 based on the law and made it known to all--the accused as well as the public, the government should grant them a free pardon/forgive them fully and declare an official pardon, taking into consideration the fragility of the democratization process in the country and for the sake of national reconciliation in the face of the upcoming millenium celebrations.

I do fully support this two-pronged approach to resolve the political crisis between the CUD leaders and the incumbent party and government. Our government must now act from the position of strength and show utmost sympathy and compassion towards the CUD leadership and supporters in jail, many amongst them almost octogenarian and suffering from ill-health and thus pardon them fully as they have been kept behind bars for a couple of years and already punished for their misguided actions and follies. Our government can do that, no one else. As Mahatama Ghandi said: "The poor cannot forgive; forgiveness is the tool of the strong." Let the government show its strength by declaring an official free pardon or an official decision not to punish the convicted CUD leaders and supporters for their crimes and pave the way for a joyful event to be celebrated by all Ethiopians in the upcoming millenium celebrations.

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