Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Millennial Opportunities: Educating the Diaspora Extremists & Proponets of HR 2003 ..the ABC of Patriotism
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity- www.globalbelai4u.blogspot.com
Dear Patriotic Global Citizens, and Friends of Great Britain, Ethiopia and USA:
Emperor Haile Selassie once said.... It is not your genes nor your colour, nor your class or family status that matters.... it is your character and your deeds that matters most!
What a wise saying that is so applicable to the present generation of patriots across the world and specifically to those engaged in protecting freedom, good governance, and the security of free Nations and the challenges of HR 2003 and AFD Network of the Horn!
Patriotism is about respect for self, family, ones community at home, region and globally.
However, there is a serious challenge to this classical notiton of Patriotism.
Who is the Patriot? What is the notion of Patriotism today? How do we honor patriotic and heroic and honorable duties and responsibilities to families, communities, nation states and the globe at large?
Today, it is becoming evident that Patriotism is being challenged from every corner to day where even the human rights of terrorists and those who are engaged in disrupting normal lives is being processed as inverse patriotism and the left leaning media such as New York Times, Washington Post, Jewish Daily News are promoting reverse patriotism by campaigning to protect the interests of terrorists against the general public.
The question is to what end is this Campaign of promoting the interests of terrorists by western media is going to continue is the question. These same media mishandled the 9/11 Intelligence and let the US and Britain in the wrong direction, now they are campaigning to litrally promote terrorist activities in the Horn!
should we keep quiet or act pre-emptively to avert a potential danger is the critical question.
The issue is at hand is how to manage patriotism and how to promote it in the modern context of flexible and rather chaotic world situaitoin. How do we learn from our mistakes and how do we promote patriotism in a world where short sighed media outfits manage to mislead world opinion and in effect promote the agenda of terrorists with or without their consent?
This is a time of great change in our moral and character across the world. The post Communist and Cold War world is leaving behind a potential world of chaos and disorder, unless we re-define patriotism and the honor codes of good governance across the world.
Patriotism should be the focus of all national and international institutions, as the challenges of protecting the family, community and the nation at large be it from the ecological or human rights perspective is being challenged on a day to day basis.
Patriotism should be appreciated that it is about respecting the ecology around you wherever you are, be it in the river basins of the Amazon, Congo, Nile, Euphrates, Ganges, Mississippi, Yellow River or small streams and ponds around the globe.
We have to be able to promote patriotism across cultures, civilizations, regions and cyber space that there is some thing called honor, dignity and most importantly the concept of living for others! which almost all civilizations admire and promote.
It is also critical to appreciate there are highly organized forces in the Post Communist and modern day totalitarian, extremists Jihadist world, where the old Communists are re-grouping under new outfits where ever the culture of the ecology they live in allows them to flourish.
Here in North America and the Capitals of Western Europe a new phenom en is raging among Diaspora communities. The old Communists and Terrorists are re-grouping and taking on the liberal values of the societies they live in. One great example is the Horn of Africa Diaspora Extremists groups that are mushrooming by the day.
The recent experience of HR 2003 passage in US Congress under a special circumstance of Voice Vote without the appropriate scrutiny, debate, and testimony is a series development.
Thee modern day charlatans who are masquerading as Diaspora Extremists and who have penetrated the US congressional system that is too tight for handling details and reviewing intelligence on the ground and even those provided by its own State Department, UN Security Council is a dangerous precedent.
The new savvy Diaspora Extremists talk the talk of liberal democracy but act differently to hide their own tracks and have managed to holding the US Congress and Senate hostage. These groups would never understand what patriotism means and what sovereignty means and how HR 2003 violates every thing diplomatic and legal in international relations!
The series of demonstrations on 13 and 20th November 2007 against the Patriotic US Senator James Inhofe at his Colorado office at 10:00 am is a case in point.
It is critical to understand who Senator Inhofe is. By his own admission he is considered number one conservative and patriots among all US Senators. He has a grand-daughter adopted from Ethiopia and visits the Horn on a regular basis.
Therefore , we honor the Patriotism of the Senator and share our perspective on this critical issue at this critical time by reflecting the experience of terror in the Horn over the past 30 years with a focus on the people who are demonstrating in front of this great noble and patriotic Global Citizen.
These die hard criminal communist morons are even throwing their racist cards at this Great Patriotic Senator (Read Alemayhu's Racist Diatribe at www.ethiomedia.com) to see how low they can bow; when in reality he has adopted an Ethiopian Girl, which none of these communists ever do. They just shout hallow slogans and shed crocodile tears while this Great Senator walks the talk. For these morons to raise racist diatribe against this noble man should never be allowed again.
It is not your race, neither your genes or your ethnic background, it is your character and your deeds that matter. Remember Emperor Haile Selassie's words. Today, we honor HIM, as the Man of the Millennium and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC has a special program on this great Man which the communists tried to dishonor. No one expects any thing good from these desperate Diaspora goons.
For the record, we support and honor this great senator for standing his ground when so many at US Congress have been fooled and taken for a great ride by the Diaspora extremists!
Again, for the record, there has been enough communication on this matter for so long over the past 30 years or so when the Demonic Communist Revolution was raging across the world and specially in the Horn and Ethiopia in particular.
Many, including my friends and family members have paid the ultimate price- that is with their lives, property and heritage, during the Derg massacre of the Who and Who's of the famous 60 that included the Ethiopian Royal Family, Prime Ministers, two sets of cabinet and the overall Ethiopian administration and intelligentsia via the moronic Red and White Terror.
Unfortunately like PTSD victims of Post Vietnam and Iraq Wars, we also will remember the heroes of Ethiopia who were massacred by the same set of demonstrators today, some 30 years ago during this Global Remembrance Week. History is repeating itself, the criminals are crying foul and trying to put the innocents once more again on trial or into misguided sanctions.
Not if Senator Inhofe or President Bush will have their way. We will campaign with the Democrats, Republicans and Black Caucus and educate them about this treasonous activities of these sleeper cell terrorists who should not be in the US in the first place. They managed to fool the system by hiding their criminal, communist and treacherous past.
The architects of these series of revolutions and terror are now hiding in Europe and North America and have galvanized themselves under the banner of the European Socialist and Communist International Parties and here in the US under the Democratic and Black Caucus outfits.
The result of their misguided campaign is the EU Parliament Human Right Council reports on Ethiopia and the series of Jewish authors like Gettleman of New York Times and David Hemmel of Jewish Daily News on the Horn, that are fabricating new Christian and Muslim Warfare in the Horn. Unfortunately, this story is not based on fact, as the victims of the ONLF terrorists are in reality Muslim Ethiopian Somalis and Atheist Chinese and there was no Christians involved.
When do these Jewish reporters and scholars learn to tell the truth. First, why do they undermine Ethiopia that is home to Jewish, Christian and Muslim populations. The experience of Lebanon with Israel is a case in point here. Imagine, these same set of Jewish Authors said nothing when Israel Planes were carpet bombing Lebanon or when the current Comatose PM and the then General Sharon was allowing Palestinians to be massacred in Lebanese Refugee Camps. Now, Ethiopia is going to be a scape goat for their newly acquired Jewish Conciousness. Please read Daniel Hemel's article in the Jewish Daily News literally appealing to the Jewish Diaspora in America about the implications of such misguided campaign against Ethiopians and Americans!
The truth shall speak for itself. Ethiopians are noble, just and it is not in their character to create genocide except the dark days of the Communist Military Junta led by Mengistu between 1974 and 1991. This is an aberration and not the norm of Ethiopian character or culture!
Ask the Prophet Mohammad and his followers, how Ethiopians saved the then flageling faith from extinction by giving refuge to the original believers, what we refer to the First Hegira. Alternatvely we can also remind the Jewish Diaspora that Ethiopians are the ones who gave refugee to their leaders in the 1940s when the British were in charge of Palestine.
Ethiopians also gave material and diplmatic support for the liberation of almost all African nations during the 1960s and the then African Freedom fighters, today's aging statesmen of Africa are witnsesse, in fact some are still alive. Family members of Menachim Begin and Goldamier were given refuge in Ethiopia and the current series of elderly African Statesmen including Nelson Mandela will testify to the fact that Ethiopians are just and hospitable people and not genocide freaks as these authors try to portray Ethiopians today without appropriate research and context.
So, why fabricate all this propaganda against Ethiopians when we are busy celebrating our 3rd Millennium with an African and Ethiopian Renaissance? Why?
All this is far from the truth and the facts do not substantiate their claim. But they have succeeded to fool the teenagers during their Communist Revolution Campaigns in college campuses and those teenagers have made it now to Congress, Senate and European Parliament and the Great Misinformed Ethiopian Diaspora and these fools are reminding them their youthful folly days. But, at what cost is this tragedy allowed to resurface again?
Regardless of these propaganda challenges, real problems are brewing in the Horn and we cannot keep quiet.
However, Ethiopia and the Horn are in a very serious critical time in history.
The challenges and threats both from internal and external forces demand our utmost attention. However, remember, the people at home have more stake than us in the Diaspora what ever our persuasion is.
Our role is to support them and not sale out like AFD/ONLF/OLF and a series of 5th columnist treasonous individuals who have sacrificed their families and their communities in the Horn and are now preparing to bring their chaos to the blessed Europe and the United States, that has become home to so many patriots and victims to these fools but eventually even to themselves. Mind you they were claiming Socialist International Victory and deploring the west and especially the US as the enemy. Where are they today? Not in these socialist countries but in good old USA and western Europe.
Just imagine the hypocrisy and all the lives that were lost because of these fools and what they can do now by sitting comfortably in the capitals of western Europe? I live the imagination to you!
Democracy is about consultation, dialogue, transparency and accountability, these morons have never consulted the people even once. They are after their own misguided and misinformed and treacherous destructive routes. Should we allow them to take others as they do in the suicide massacres in the Middle East. This is the real question.
The United States and Ethiopia as well as allies will not rest until we bring these criminals to justice and impeach those congressmen if necessary, who betrayed their own country and people with intentional disinformation campaign of the Communist Jihadist Terrorist Network.
Within this big picture, a small misinformed self aggrandising terrorist network and the series of misguided liberation front impostors who do not even know their real names either due to ignorance or cowardice is insignificant.
However we need to stand up and be counted and respond appropriately to educate the public and especially the unsuspecting US Congressmen and Senators!
The stakes are too high to keep quiet. Please read below some interesting counter arguments for and against HR 2003 for your own review.
with regards and seeking your creative and alternative dialogue in this unique time of win-win synergy for improved understanding for Peace and Prosperity!
Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & Prosperity
Win-win synergestic Partnership focusing on 5Es: Education+Energy+Ecology+Economy+Enterprises
C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545
Sample Response to The recent letter by a certain Alemayehu who accuses the Senator Inhofe as Racist without evidence!
We believe that Senator James Inhofe of Colardo, have no racial prejudice towards Africans contrary to Dr. Alemayehu’s claims.
If you had prejudice against Africans, you would have not adopted an Ethiopian girl as your grand-daughter. Moreover, you would have not opposed HR 2003.
Instead, you would have supported HR 2003 in order to deny Ethiopia economic and military assistance as some isolationists would have done.
By that, we are not implying that those who voted for HR 2003 have had racial prejudice against Ethiopians.
In fact, we believe that the U.S. House of Representatives were misled and deceived by the sponsors of HR 2003, CUD members and supporters. The other possibility is, as
some people suggested, that the House of Representatives did not give a serious attention to HR 2003 because Ethiopia is a poor country in Africa.
The unanimous vote given to HR 2003 with practically no serious debate shows that the House did not take HR 2003 seriously. Therefore, Dr. Almayehu is playing a
race card in order to mislead African-Americans as he misled his own party members, Dr. Berhanu Nega and Bertukan Mideksa who testified in support of HR 2003.
As a result, Dr. Alemayhu, Dr. Berhanu and Bertukan might have violated article 259 of the Ethiopian Penal Code of 1957 (as amended).
Pursuant to Article 259, whoever commits an act intended to “…(a) jeopardize or
destroy the independence of [Ethiopia]; or (b) provoke intervention in or interference with [Ethiopia’s] affairs, calculated to endanger its independence; or
(c) initiate hostile acts from outside the state directed against [Ethiopia] or to involve it in a foreign war, hostilities, a blockade or occupation, is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from five years to life, or, in case of exceptional gravity, with death.” Therefore, if HR 2003 becomes law, CUD members (i.e. opposition) may be the first victims even though the Ethiopian people would be the main victims of HR 2003.
Before we discuss the details of HR 2003, let us make one quick point. Ethiopians don’t have last names in the same sense as the Europeans and Americans do.
Ethiopian “last name” is actually the first name of the father or grand-father. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to address an Ethiopian with his or her last name since that would amount to addressing the father or grand-father. Thus, that is why we will address Dr. Alemayehu Gebre Mariam as Dr. Alemayehu.
We hope that Dr. Alemayehu will respect the Ethiopian culture and addresses Ethiopians accordingly.
With regards to the details of HR 2003, section 4
(b)(2)(A) states as follows:
Nonessential United States assistance shall not be made available to the Government of Ethiopia if the Government of Ethiopia acts to obstruct United States technical assistance to advance human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, economic development and economic freedom in Ethiopia.
In section 4(b)(2)(B), Nonessential United States
assistance is defined as follows:
Nonessential United States assistance means assistance authorized under any provision of law, other than, humanitarian assistance, food aid programs, assistance to combat HIV/AIDS and other health care assistance, peacekeeping assistance, and counter-terrorism assistance.
Therefore, it is very clear that “Nonessential” United States assistance includes economic assistance and military assistance excluding peacekeeping assistance and counter-terrorism assistance. That means Ethiopia will be denied economic and military assistance if Ethiopia refuses to compromise its sovereignty and refuses to accept technical assistance from the United States.
As shown in section 4(b)(2)(A) the United States will force Ethiopia to do whatever the United States wants with regards to human rights, democracy, independence of judiciary, freedom of the press, economic development and economic freedom in Ethiopia.
In addition, pursuant to section 5(a)(3)(A), the United States will determine who the “political prisoners” and “prisoners of conscience” are, and the United States will give orders to the Ethiopian Government to release those prisoners.
Pursuant to section 5(a)(3)(C) the United States will be in charge of determining whether the Ethiopian judiciary is able to function independently or not. Then, if Ethiopia refuses to take orders from the United States with regards to any of the above issues, the United States will deny Ethiopia economic and military assistance as indicated above.
In other words, according to HR 2003, the United States will be above the Ethiopian
Government, the Ethiopian courts and the Ethiopian constitution. Therefore, there is no doubt that the United States will be violating the sovereignty of Ethiopia and interfering in the internal affairs of Ethiopia if HR 2003 becomes law.
However, the Ethiopian people will not allow that to happen. Prime Minister Meles has stated the following on July 20, 2007 when the opposition members were pardoned after admitting guilt. “…the pardon proved that the Ethiopian Government isn’t willing and is unable to be run like a banana republic from Capitol Hill.” That statement is also a true reflection of the sentiment of the Ethiopian people.
In that regard, the heroic people of Ethiopia have proved several times that Ethiopia will not compromise its sovereignty. The brave fighters of Ethiopia defended their country from colonial powers and aggressors and defeated Italy in 1896 and 1941, defeated Somalia in the 1960s and in 1977, and Eritrea in 1998-2000. As a result, Ethiopia is the first country in Africa and in the world who defeated a colonial power.
Ethiopia is also the only country in Africa that has never been colonized and one of the few in the world. Therefore, Ethiopia will not compromise its sovereignty and will not accept HR 2003. Consequently, even if HR 2003 becomes law, Ethiopia will ignore HR 2003, as well as the United States, and look for economic assistance
The United States did not violate the sovereignty of the largest recipient of U.S. economic assistance i.e. Egypt. According to USAID, Egypt received 28 billion dollars between 1975 and 2005. On the other hand, Ethiopia received only 931 million dollars of loans and grants (i.e. economic assistance) between 1952 and
2006 i.e. in 54 years.
Egypt got more than 30 times that of Ethiopia in just 30 years. Egypt and Ethiopia are more or less equal in size since the population figure is 80.3 million and 81.1 million respectively according to the 2007 estimates. Above all, Ethiopia is the only ally in the Horn of Africa against terrorism. Therefore, there is no justification to treat Ethiopia differently and violate its sovereignty.
Above all, HR 2003 will not advance democracy in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Government will simply transfer local funds from development projects and other items in the national budget to the national defense in order to fill the gap created by HR 2003.
By the way, one of us worked as an economist in Ethiopia in the departments that deal with external loans and grants and the national budget, and the above facts are based on personal knowledge.
That is precisely how Mengistu remained in power for 14 years despite the significant reduction in economic and military assistance from the United States i.e. excluding humanitarian assistance during the famine, etc. Then, even in the extreme case, economic sanctions with trade embargo did not bring down Fidel Castro.
Instead, it made Castro stronger and helped him to stay in power for 48 years. oreover, economic sanctions did not bring down Sadaam Hussein. Instead, economic sanctions did hurt the people of Cuba and the people of Iraq. Similarly, reducing economic assistance as in the case of HR 2003 will only hurt the Ethiopian people. In fact, there isn’t a single instance where economic sanctions even in its extreme form brought a change in government or advanced democracy leave alone a reduction in economic assistance as in the case of HR 2003.
However, HR 2003 will hurt the Ethiopian people as it slows down the economic development and exacerbates poverty because of the reduction in economic assistance, unless of course Ethiopia gets more economic assistance from other sources such as China, etc. inorder to cover the gap created by HR 2003.
The Ethiopian Government and the budget for the national defense will not be affected since the government will make the necessary adjustments by changing priorities in the national budget as shown above and the Ethiopian Government will be as strong as ever.
Therefore, HR 2003 will not achieve its goals of “advancing democracy.” If anything, HR 2003 will be an obstacle to the ongoing advancement of democracy in Ethiopia since United States will not be able to advise or mediate between the Opposition and the Ethiopian Government because the United States will be violating Ethiopia’s sovereignty if HR 2003 becomes law and Ethiopia will not accept HR 2003 or the United States’ role as a mediator or an advisor.
The “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007” (HR 2003), is supported by the enemies of the Ethiopian people i.e. the Eritrean Government who is supporting the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) who in turn has close ties with Al-Qaeda. HR 2003 is also supported by ONLF and OLF who have been involved in terrorist activities and who are determined to break up and destroy Ethiopia.
The Opposition has created some form of alliance with the Eritrean Government, ONLF and OLF. Therefore, the U.S. Senate should take into account the full ramifications of such an alliance in the light of the interest of the United States and that of the Ethiopian people, before the U.S. Senate votes on HR 2003.
This being the case, why does Dr. Alemayehu support HR 2003? There are two possible reasons. In the first place, Dr. Alemayehu came to the United States when he was very young and did not work in Ethiopia especially in the departments that deal with foreign aid and the national budget not to mention that Dr. Alemayehu is
not an economist.
Therefore, Dr. Alemayehu does not understand the limitations of economic sanctions leave alone that of a reduction in economic assistance. That maybe why Dr. Alemayehu naively thinks that HR 2003 will bring down the Ethiopian Government or at least will advance democracy in Ethiopia. The second and the most likely reason as many people have already suggested, Dr. Alemayehu is trying to revive his legal career and benefit financially directly or indirectly from the passage of HR 2003.
Even if we assume that HR 2003 can advance democracy in Ethiopia, that will not materialize unless the Ethiopian Government accepts the terms and conditions of HR 2003 and take orders from the United States.
However, that will never happen since the Ethiopian people as well as the Ethiopian Government will not accept HR 2003 because of the issue of sovereignty as indicated above.
Above all, the Ethiopian Government has made significant progress since the fall of Mengistu as has been indicated in section 3, of HR 2003 itself when the bill was introduced to the House. Moreover, the 2005 election was more or less free and fair as has been witnessed by international observers including former President Carter. But, the only dispute was whether the vote was counted accurately or not.
In that regard, we had similar problems in Florida during the 2000 election even though the two situations are somewhat different. Therefore, if those problems occur in the United States after 200 years of democracy, Ethiopia should not be expected to be free of those problems only after a few years of developing democracy. The solution to those problems will come naturally when democracy developes and matures.
The United States as a friend and ally can advise and sometimes mediate between the Ethiopian Government and the Opposition and try to solve those problems diplomatically.
Dr. Alemayehu has accused Senator Inhofe of making false statements as shown in his letter dated 10/22/07 to Senator Inhofe and states as follows:
False Statement # 1: HR 2003 undermines and threatens U.S. counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa…
Your statement is patently false and contradicted by section 5 of HR 2003, which makes a major exception on counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn.
As shown above, Dr. Alemayehu is unable to analyze the full ramifications of HR 2003 or more likely he “refuses to understand” the obvious, in order to advance his own self interest. The Ethiopian government will not accept the terms and conditions of
HR 2003 because of the issue of sovereignty as we have shown above. The Ethiopian Government will simply ignore HR 2003 if it becomes law. Therefore, section 5 and HR 2003 will become irrelevant.
The Ethiopian Government will also ignore the United States and will pull out of Somalia and will not cooperate with the United States in fighting terrorism. As a result, Somalia will become another Afghanistan (as it was before 2001) and a Taliban-like Government will take power. Then, Al-Qaeda will have a permanent, safe haven in Somalia and will threaten to topple the governments of oil rich countries, expand terrorism in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the United States. As a result, the United States and the West will be the biggest losers. Therefore, there is no doubt that HR 2003 undermines and threatens the U.S.
counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa. This being the case, what part of the above analysis that Dr. Alemayehu does not understand and why did he resort to accuse Senator Inhofe of making false statements? Once again, Dr. Alemayehu willfully and maliciously accuses and claims that Senator Inhofe made false statements.
False Statement # 2: HR 2003 is misguided and takes the wrong approach by placing demands on a friend and ally…
False Statement # 3: These punitive actions [in HR 2003] could damage the bilateral relationship between the United States and the government of Ethiopia, as well as derail progress Ethiopia has made in furtherance of democracy and human rights.
The above statements of Senator Inhofe are consistent with our analysis as shown above. Therefore, just because Dr. Alemayehu lacks depth and he can not analyze the full impacts of HR 2003, he does not have the right to willfully and maliciously accuse Senator Inhofe of making false statements.
The quality of a written work is not measured by how well one uses thesaurus or by how many words one lists to describe the same thing. Instead, the quality is measured by its content i.e. how well the arguments are supported by evidence, the relevance of the argument and the consistency of the argument etc. If Dr. Alemayehu
understands that, he would have not raised the issue listed as false statement # 4 “A lot of people [lawmakers in Congress] couldn’t find Ethiopia on a map.” That could be a false statement. But, what is the relevance of that to HR 2003?
That is why Dr. Alemayehu not only lacks depth he is also disingenuous and does not deal in good faith and most likely he is more interested in advancing his career than helping to advance democracy in Ethiopia.
Dr. Alemayehu’s writing style is similar to that of some parties in Ethiopia in the 1970s in which if one logically argues and opposes the party line he is
either a liar or a traitor.
However, Dr. Alemayehu “politely” calls it a false statement. This kind of attitude is rampant among the CUD party members as well as others. CUD does not practice what it preaches i.e. the advancement of democracy. CUD does not tolerate anybody that opposes the party line.
Therefore, CUD has to advance democracy within CUD itself. If CUD is undemocratic, it can not advance democracy in Ethiopia. In fact, constructive criticism is necessary for a party to correct its mistakes. For instance, if CUD had listened to some critics, Dr. Berhanu and Bertukan would have not made such a tragic mistake and would have not testified in support of HR 2003.
We call it a tragic mistake because Dr. Berhanu and Bertukan may not realize their potential because of this mistake as we shall see in the future. This reminds us the situation in 1977 when Somalia invaded Ethiopia, EPRP at the leadership level assessed the objective conditions in Ethiopia and came up with the conclusion that the principal contradiction at the time was between Mengistu’s regime and the Ethiopian people while all other contradictions were secondary.
As a result, EPRP decided that Mengistu and his regime has to be removed first and then the Ethiopian people can easily recapture the land that was taken by Somalia. Here, EPRP made a tragic mistake because knowingly or unknowingly it overlooked the
contradiction between the Derg and the enemies of the Ethiopian people including the aggressor i.e. the Somali Government.
Then, the Ethiopian people practically abandoned EPRP. Similarly, if HR 2003 passes and becomes law, the Ethiopian people will oppose HR 2003 especially when they realize that HR 2003 violates Ethiopian Sovereignty and will rally behind the current government and abandon CUD (Opposition) unless CUD changes its leaders and
condemns HR 2003 and quickly apologizes to the Ethiopian people.
We know that there are many qualified people within CUD who can lead Ethiopia and help the advancement of democracy in Ethiopia. However, we believe that the
current CUD leaders are using the Ethiopian people in order to seize power, as indicated recently by Prof. Mesfin Wolde Mariam, a prominent CUD member and one of
the founders of CUD. That is why there is a senseless power struggle among Hailu Shawel, Dr. Berhanu and Bertukan.
Such a power struggle has led to personal attacks similar to that of tabloid journalism. The said personal attacks might have been carried out by proxies or supporters. At any rate, CUD has to clean up its house and come up with leaders who are dedicated to serve the Ethiopian people. Above all, there are many other burning issues that CUD could have raised.
For instance, with regards to “border demarcation,” the Ethiopian Government is begging the Eritrean Government to take a portion of the Ethiopian territory in accordance with the ruling of the International Court.
The Ethiopian Government should ignore the ruling of the Court since that ruling was not based on credible evidence. Then, if Issayas Afewerki invades Ethiopia again, Ethiopia should use that golden opportunity to correct the mistakes made
by the Ethiopian Government during the 1998-2000 war i.e. bring down Issayas and liberate Eritrea.
Ethiopia’s action in that regard, will be just and legal since the ultimate goal is to help the Eritrean people and the people of Afar to liberate themselves by removing the brutal dictator, Issayas, that has terrorized the Eritrean people as well as the whole people in the region by creating an alliance with terrorist organizations.
Once the Afar people are liberated, Ethiopia should invite the United Nations to hold a referendum and hopefully the Afar people will vote to join Ethiopia. That way, Afar will join Ethiopia legally and Ethiopia will have seaports once again. As far as the Eritrean people are concerned, the United Nations should hold a referendum and the Eritrean people should decide whether they want to be by themselves or join Ethiopia in some form of confederation depending upon the wishes of the Eritrean and the Ethiopian people.
However, if the Ethiopian Government ignores the wishes of the Ethiopian people and transfers a portion of the Ethiopian territory to Eritrea, then the Ethiopian people should rise up and challenge the current Ethiopian Government.
In that regard, CUD has kept quite when foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin repeatedly begged the Eritrean Government to implement the “border demarcation,” because CUD does not want to offend their friend Issayas. That clearly shows that the current CUD leaders are after one thing i.e. power and they don’t care if a portion of the Ethiopian territory is given to Eritrea or not.
This and many other issues would have been more important issues than HR 2003. That is why we are totally amazed why CUD members chose to support HR 2003 when they know
that one cannot gain the support of the Ethiopian people by compromising Ethiopia’s Sovereignty as has been witnessed in history.
Once again, we thank you for opposing HR 2003. We also request other senators to join Senator Inhofe and vote against the “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007” (HR 2003), since it is against the interest of the Ethiopian people and that
of the United States as shown above.
Araya Wolde Giorgis, Ph.D, Chairman
CC: The Honorable Senator John McCain
The Honorable Senator Jon Kyl
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
U.S. Senate Leadership
House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health
House Foreign Relations Committee
House of Representatives, Black Caucus
Here is a Sample letter written Against Pro-Ethi-US Americans!
For the recod, imagine what Emperor Haile Sellassie would say if he saw this letter!
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 323-988-5688 Fax: 323-924-5563
August 22, 2007
Mr. Gary Klein, Esq.
Federal Affairs and Legislative
1200 Nineteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-2412
BY E-MAIL AND FAX
Dear Mr. Klein:
I write this letter to challenge recent statements that you have personally made in a
radio interview, and other statements made by your firm on behalf of your client the
“Government of Ethiopia”.
In these statements you and your firm make certain factual assertions about political conditions in Ethiopia, and inaccurately characterize the legislative intent of H.R. 2003 (“Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007”.
I believe a number of statements that you and your firm have made concerning political
conditions in Ethiopia and H.R. 2003 are grossly inaccurate; and other statements
reflect a reckless disregard for the truth.1 I am a member of the Coalition for H.R. 2003,
eponymously named after the bill. (See http://www.hr5680.org/)
Your Interview on Deutsche Welle
In your Deutsche Welle (German Radio Amharic program) interview on August
14, 2007, you made the following assertions, among others: There are no political
prisoners in Ethiopia today, or at any time following the 2005 election. No one in
Ethiopia has been jailed because of his/her political views or stand.
The recently freed opposition political leaders were jailed because of their criminal role in the post-2005 election-related violence. The reports of human rights abuses by international human rights organizations are mere allegations without factual foundation.
The current ruling regime (your client) allows full and unrestricted exercise of basic freedoms including
1 Your Firm’s statements concerning representation of your client are part of the public record, including filings with the
U.S. Department of Justice, materials appended thereto as “Comments”, and various other statements and materials your firm has made available concerning your representation of your client.
free speech, free press and free electoral participation in Ethiopia. H.R. 2003 is
fundamentally inimical to democratic progress in Ethiopia. You interview comments
reflect your Firm’s stated positions.
Statements Made by Your Firm on Behalf of Your Client, and Against H.R. 2003
I. H.R. 2003 “Threatens U.S. National Security Interests”
You2 have asserted that H.R. 2003 “threatens U.S. national interests” and
therefore should not be enacted because it 1) “compromises the national security
interests of the United States” by vitiating the partnership “with a vital ally of the
United States in the fight against terrorism and efforts to promote regional stability in
the Horn of Africa and the regional military task force”,
2) undermines the strategic cooperation between Ethiopia and the United States “by cutting off critical security assistance to Ethiopia unless the President makes a complex 11-part certification, 3)
imposes a “a sanction on all forms of security assistance other than peacekeeping and
counter-terrorism,” and further makes “impractical require[ments] that peacekeeping or
counter-terrorism assistance not be used for any other security-related purpose”,
and 4) limits one of the central purposes of U.S. security assistance which is to “influence the development of military institutions and their role in democratic societies” and “equipmilitary leaders with the professional development required to lead and maintaineffective military forces under democratic civilian control, while enhancing their capacity to respond quickly and effectively to humanitarian crises on the continent.”
This multipart argument misrepresents and mischaracterizes the plain language
and legislative intent of H.R. 2003, and shows utter disregard for human rights as one of the indispensable pillars of U.S. foreign policy.
First, I challenge your claim that H.R. 2003 undermines the strategic cooperation
between Ethiopia and the United States “by cutting off critical security assistance to
Ethiopia unless the President makes a complex 11-part certification.” What exactly are the elements of this “certification” to which you strenuously object on behalf of your client?
Sec. 6, (a) (3) (A-K) of H.R. 2003 enumerates the specific certification conditions
your client must meet before the suspension provisions of the bill are triggered. These
terms are not ironclad, but are based on an ongoing and flexible evaluation of whether your client is making 2 Unless otherwise indicated the pronoun “You” will be used to refer to statements made by yourself and your firm.
credible and quantifiable efforts under the bill to ensure that (A) all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia have been released, their civil and political rights restored, and their property returned; (B) prisoners held without charge or kept in detention without fair trial in violation of the Constitution of Ethiopia are released or receive a fair and speedy trial, and prisoners whose charges have been dismissed or acquitted and are still being held are released without delay;
(C) the Ethiopian judiciary
is able to function independently and allowed to uphold the Ethiopian Constitution and international human rights standards; (D) security personnel involved in the unlawful killings of demonstrators, Etenesh Yemam, and Kaliti prisoners are punished; (E) family members, legal counsel, and others have unfettered access to visit detainees in Ethiopian prisons; (F) print and broadcast media in Ethiopia are able to operate free from undue interference and laws restricting media freedom, including sections of the Ethiopian Federal Criminal Code, are revised;
(G) licensing of independent radio and television in Ethiopia is open and transparent; (H) access in Ethiopia is provided to the Internet and the ability of citizens to freely send and receive electronic mail and otherwise obtain information is guaranteed;
(I) the National Election Board (NEB) includes
representatives of political parties with seats in the Ethiopian Parliament and guarantees independence for the NEB in its decision-making; (J) representatives of international human rights organizations engaged in human rights monitoring work in Ethiopia are admitted to Ethiopia without undue restriction; and (K) Ethiopian human rights organizations are able to operate in an environment free of harassment, intimidation, and persecution.
These certification standards are reasonably flexible under sec. 4 (A) (ii), which
grants the U.S. President full authority to waive application of the law if he “determines that… the Government of Ethiopia has met the requirements [A-K] of paragraph (3);
and…such a waiver is in the national interests of the United States.”
Is the certification issue really as onerous (“complex’) as you allege it to be?
As you know, presidential certification is a very common practice and
requirement in the administration of not only U.S. foreign aid and defense policy, but also international counter-terrorism and -narcotics control policy.
The certification process required by Congress in H.R. 2003 is not rigid and unyielding.
The President has various certification options for Ethiopia under the bill: full
certification, denial of certification, or a "vital national interests" certification. He may choose to “fully” certify Ethiopia should he determine that the regime in power has fully met the certification requirements, or has taken adequate steps to achieve full compliance with the goals and objectives of H.R. 2003. If so, no aid will be withheld.
He may choose to deny certification if the regime makes no or inadequate progress in
meeting the statutory objectives, triggering the suspension of aid. He may also make
“partial certification” under certain circumstances which would allow your client more
time for compliance. But most importantly, even if your client fails to meet the
standards for full certification, the President may nevertheless issue certification by determining that it is in the U.S. “vital national interest” to do so, which will allow uninterrupted delivery of aid to your client as though it had been given full
As you know, regardless of the certification provisions of H.R. 2003, the U.S. has
ratified, is a signatory to or has adopted the following major human rights conventions, among others: Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1977), International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1992), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1994) Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1980) Convention on the Rights of the
The certification requirements of H.R. 2003 are not only consistent with U.S.
international human rights obligations, they also complement existing federal law. 22
U.S.C. 2304 provides:
The United States shall, in accordance with its international obligations as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and in keeping with the constitutional heritage and traditions of the United States, promote and encourage increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world… (2) Except under circumstances specified in this section, no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” (Emphasis added.)
To be sure, the certification requirements of H.R. 2003 are fully consistent with
Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act (1976, as amended) which underscores the
essential nature of human rights in U.S. foreign policy by requiring the secretary of state to transmit to Congress "a full and complete report" every year concerning "respect for internationally recognized human rights in each country proposed as a recipient" of U.S. security assistance. Specifically, this section requires information on specific areas such as: torture, arbitrary arrest, denial of fair trial and invasion of the home, extra-judicial killings or "arbitrary and unlawful deprivation of life, freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly, and freedom of movement and ability to participate in the political process.
This section imposes restrictions on U.S. assistance to foreign governments
that violate internationally recognized human rights. The certification provisions are necessary because of your client’s extremely poor human rights record over the past decade and half.
I challenge your claim that H.R. 2003 imposes “a sanction on all forms of
security assistance other than peacekeeping and counter-terrorism,” and further makes
“impractical require[ments] that peacekeeping or counter-terrorism assistance not be
used for any other security-related purpose”, while undermining the professionalization of the military in Ethiopia. I
ndeed, this claim is inconsistent with existing federal law.
Limitations on use of U.S. military aid to suppress internal opposition is quite
common. In fact, Sec. 6 (A) (1) (a) (Limitation on Security Assistance) of H.R. 2003
restates a fundamental aspect of the Leahy Amendments to the Foreign Operations
Appropriations Act (2001), which provide human rights-based controls on military
assistance to recipient countries:
None of the funds made available by this Act may be provided to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights, unless the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice. (Emphasis added.)
The complementary language to the Leahy Amendments in H.R. 2003 provides,
under Sec. 6 (a) (1) (B), that security assistance provided to Ethiopia “shall not be used for any other security-related purpose or to provide training to security personnel or units accused of human rights violations against civilians.” (Emphasis added.)
Manifestly, the “limiting” language in H.R. 2003 is in conformity with existing
federal law. It does not invent hitherto unknown limitations or restrictions to be
imposed on Ethiopia. (See also 22 U.S.C. 2304, supra.) Nonetheless, under both the
Leahy Amendments and H.R. 2003 (Sec. 4 (A) (i), (ii)), there are adequate waiver
provisions to mitigate the effects of the law in the discretion of the U.S. President.
I could not disagree with you more in your contention that H.R. 2003, a human
rights bill, is harmful to American national interests. The pursuit of human rights as part of American foreign policy can NEVER threaten U.S. national security interests.
Indeed, the centrality of human rights in American foreign policy is described in
unambiguous language by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human
Rights, and Labor as follows3:
The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States understands that the existence of human 3 http://www.state.gov/g/drl/hr/
rights helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises.
President Carter, whose eponymous Center’s findings you have cited as authority
to legitimize the victory of your client’s party in the 2005 elections, in his augural speech stated:
“The world itself is now dominated by a new spirit. Peoples more numerous and more
politically aware are craving and now demanding their place in the sun -- not just for the benefit of their own physical condition, but for basic human rights.”4 Today, Ethiopia “itself is dominated by a new spirit” of democracy, and its people yearn for “basic human rights.”
Enforcement of human rights anywhere in the world can never be a threat to
American national interests!
While you may believe limitation on use of American security assistance can
cause your client inconvenience and hardship (or “impractical requirements”), it is in the “vital interest” of the United States not to allow American weapons and military aid to be used to kill, maim, and suppress civilian populations in aid recipient countries.
Such legislative restrictions are employed to deny dictators in recipient countries the military means to suppress peaceful dissent and opposition, and perpetuate wars and violence against their civilian population.
In light of the foregoing, your categorical claim in support of your client that
H.R. 2003, a human rights bill, “threatens U.S. national security interests” is grossly inaccurate and unsupported by facts.
II. H.R. 2003 “Overlooks Progress Toward Democracy and Reconciliation”
You have asserted that H.R. 2003 “overlooks” the “immense progress made in
Ethiopia since the May 2005 elections in creating a competitive, pluralistic democratic system of government.”
In support of this purported inexorable march towards democracy, you have enumerated the following propositions with supporting authorities: 1) The U.S. Department of State has made findings that “[t]hese elections  stand out as a milestone in creating a new, more competitive multiparty political system in one of Africa’s largest and most important countries.” 2) The Carter Center has concluded “the majority of the constituency results based on the May 15 polling and tabulation are
credible and reflect competitive conditions.” 3) Former World Bank President Paul
Wolfowitz’s has observed that the Bank will resume aid to Ethiopia because “there is
more reason to feel confident that people are learning the right lessons from the
experiences of last year…” 4) That despite calls to boycott Parliament following the
2005 elections, “eighty-seven percent (150 out of 172) of the elected opposition
representatives have joined the Parliament.” You have further concluded that “the post election difficulties were largely caused by the decision of certain opposition parties (the “CUD”) to reject legal means, including the judicial process, to challenge the election results and instead take to the streets”.
I find your claims about “progress towards democracy and reconciliation” in
Ethiopia quite incredible; and your citation of U.S. State Department human rights
findings in support of this claim is artful and disingenuous.
First, you need to be aware that your client does not share your confidence in any
U.S. State Department findings. In an interview he gave to Andrew Simmons (“Talk to
Al-Jazeera”, March 24, 2007”), Zenawi, commenting on critical State Department
assessments on “progress towards” democracy in Ethiopia and wide-ranging abuses of
human rights, stated:
“That’s not the case… [denying human rights violations]. I have not read [the 2007 State Department Human Rights Report] it, but I know having read the department of state reports on human rights for over a decade now that they do tend to get things wrong, that what they write is not always the last word in the Bible.”
It appears your contentions based on the State Department’s reports are at odds with the publicly stated position of you client.
Second, in criticizing H.R. 2003 for “overlooking” progress towards democracy
and reconciliation, you did a little bit of your own “overlooking” by failing to disclose the full extent of the State Department findings and conclusions on the human rights record of your client in the latest reporting period. In summary, the State Department has concluded:
The [Ethiopian] government's human rights record remained poor in many areas.
Human rights abuses reported during the year included the following: unlawful killings;
beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security
forces; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of those
suspected of sympathizing with or being members of the opposition; detention of
thousands without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; infringement on citizens'
privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of the press; arrest, detention, and harassment of journalists for publishing articles critical of the government; restrictions on freedom of assembly and of association; violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation; exploitation of children for economic and sexual purposes; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against persons with 8 disabilities and against religious and ethnic minorities; and government interference in union activities.5
Third, contrary to your claims of “progress towards democracy”, the details of
your client’s human rights record over the past two years as documented by the U.S.
State Department are reminiscent of the totalitarianism of the bygone Communist Era.
The facts in your client’s human rights record are shocking to the conscience. Here is a sampling6:
On torture, infliction of cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment/punishment:
Although the [Ethiopian] constitution and law prohibit the use of torture and
mistreatment, there were numerous credible reports that security officials often beat or mistreated detainees.
On arbitrary arrest and detention:
Although the [Ethiopian] constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, the government frequently did not observe these provisions in practice…. Authorities regularly detained persons without warrants and denied access to counsel and family members, particularly in outlying regions... The independent commission of inquiry… found that security officials held over 30,000 civilians incommunicado for up to three months in detention centers located in remote areas… Other estimates placed the number of such detainees at over 50,000.
On the denial of fair trial:
While the law provides for an independent judiciary, the judiciary remained weak and
overburdened. The judiciary was perceived to be subject to significant political
On the lack of freedom of speech and press:
While the [Ethiopian] constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, the government restricted these rights in practice. The government continued to harass and prosecute journalists, publishers, and editors for publishing allegedly fabricated information and for other violations of the press law. The government continued to control all broadcast media. Private and government journalists routinely practiced self censorship.
On condition of Political Prisoners
The 200 political prisoners on trial in the Addis Ababa federal system were held in two separate prisons, Kaliti and Kerchele, often under harsh conditions. In March CUD
Secretary General Muluheh Eyoel was placed in solitary confinement at Kerchele prison.
In August fellow CUD member Andualem Arage, along with journalists Sisay Agena and
Eskinder Nega, were placed in solitary confinement.
On Freedom of Assembly
The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly. Prior to the May 2005
national elections, there were numerous opposition rallies, including one that occurred in Addis Ababa that was attended by nearly one million persons the weekend prior to the elections.
However, immediately following the elections and throughout the year, the
government restricted this right in practice. From May 2005 to year's end, the
government granted only one permit allowing a public demonstration to take place.
On Freedom of Association
Although the law provides for freedom of association and the right to engage in
unrestricted peaceful political activity, the government in practice limited this right. The Ministry of Justice registers and licenses NGOs, and there was some improvement in transparency of the NGO registration process. The government continued to deny registration to the Human Rights League (see section 4).
I will limit my review of the facts on “the immense progress towards democracy”
to the findings of the U.S. State Department Reports, since you have cited it as your
principal authority in support of your claim. But the findings I have enumerated above are extensively corroborated and documented by Amnesty International7, Human Rights Watch8, The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders9, among
In your radio interview, you stated that you “have no knowledge whatsoever”
about the situation of journalists in Ethiopia. Perhaps, I can help.
On May 2, 2007, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the independent and
prestigious free press organization in the world, identified Ethiopia as the leader of its “Dishonor Roll” among the places worldwide where press freedom has deteriorated the most over the last five years. The report stated: “In [Ethiopia] 2006 alone, authorities ban[ned] eight newspapers, expel[led] two foreign reporters, and block[ed] critical Web sites. Key fact: Only a handful of private newspapers now publish, all under intense self-censorship.”10
You may find useful a report in the Washington Post on August 21, 2007, which
details the harrowing experiences of Ethiopian journalists who were cleared of all
changes and released this past Spring after spending two years in prison:
In lengthy interviews here in the Kenyan capital, the journalists also described
being subjected to psychological torture during their confinement with other
political prisoners in a stifling cell on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital. They said that after their release they had had high hopes of starting a new life, but government agents almost immediately began hounding them, harassing them
with phone calls and otherwise terrorizing them into fleeing their country for
However, if you really want to know about the situation of journalists in Ethiopia,
I should be glad to arrange a meeting for you with any number of them living in exile in the U.S., including the former president of the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association.
All of them will be more than glad to answer any questions you may have
on censorship and the repression of independent journalists in Ethiopia.
Regarding your claim that “eighty-seven percent (150 out of 172) of the elected
opposition representatives have joined the Parliament,” as supporting evidence of
“progress towards democracy”, let me refer you to the resignation statement of
parliamentarian Dr. Getachew Jigi Demeksa, Chairman of Oromo Parliamentary Group: Under the circumstances my conscience could not allow me to continue to be a member of parliament when I cannot speak with and for the people who elected me and cannot spare them from the daily harassment, intimidation, repression, extra-judicial killing, torture and displacement. Hence I have chosen to desist myself from the EPRDF regime and its rubber-stamp parliament.12
It is ironic that you should refer to former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz
as authority for improved political conditions and the spread of democracy in Ethiopia.
Mr. Wolfowitz’s ascended to his position in the Bank as an anti-corruption advocate.
Unfortunately, he could not resist the temptation to engage in a little bit of corruption himself, and was forced out over a scandal involving a large salary raise he authorized for his girlfriend. Suffice it to say that a man incapable of making obvious ethical judgments could hardly be relied upon as a source of sound and informed judgment on political conditions of a country that is itself in the throes of corruption, strife and instability.
II. H.R. 2003 “Impedes Further Democratic Progress”
You have argued that H.R. 2003 “impedes further democratic progress towards human rights, democracy, and economic freedom in Ethiopia and prohibit new and 11 “Freed Ethiopians Describe Threats Journalists Detail Abuse, Intimidation,” Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post Foreign Service, Tuesday, August 21, 2007;
11 ongoing democracy, human rights, trade promotion, and agriculture assistance
You have offered no facts to support this speculative contention.
I disagree with your categorical assertions. I argue the opposite: Defeating H.R.
2003 will definitely “impede further democratic progress” in Ethiopia.
I will concede that there is no single formula for advancing democracy or human
rights in Ethiopia or anywhere else. But there are essential elements that must be
present if there is to be an effectively functioning democracy in Ethiopia that places a premium on individual liberty and safeguards the exercise of basic human rights.
Among the most important pre-requisites for “democratic progress” are such things as
free, fair and competitive elections with a level playing field, good governance based on representative, transparent and accountable institutions and the rule of law, independent judicial and legislative bodies, robust and independent media institutions that operate without censorship and energetic civil society institutions that engage citizens and keep government honest. These are the values that H.R. 2003 (Sec. 6, (a) (3) (A-K)) seeks to promote in Ethiopia.
III. H.R. 2003 “Presents a One-Sided View of the Facts”
You have argued that H.R. 2003 “presents a one-sided view of the facts and does
not reflect careful, objective and impartial investigation.” Specifically, you have
asserted that the “Findings” in the bill are based on “opposition claims and accusations more often than not are taken at face value.” You condemn the bill for “ignor[ing’] the “reconciliation process, led by a council of elders, that has been taking place for the last 18 months and that, most recently, led to the full pardon of 38 convicted opposition leaders.”
I challenge this assertion for its truthfulness. Let’s take a closer look at the
legislative “Findings” of which you complain. Under Sec. 3 of H.R. 2003, 20 specific
findings are made, beginning with an acknowledgement, as a first finding, of the
suffering the Ethiopian people have undergone during the “brutal dictatorship and
murderous regime of the military junta under Mengistu Haile Mariam.”
In the second finding, the bill acknowledges the end of the “the brutal dictatorship of the Mengistu regime” in 1991 by your client’s political party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
In the third and fourth findings, the bill commends your client’s party for
instituting “a multiparty system and organiz[ing] regional and national elections”,
12 applauds your client “for conducting the  elections in Ethiopia [that] were seen by observers to be transparent, competitive, and relatively free and fair, although there were a number of problems reported.”
In the fifth through seventh findings, the bill presents a balanced view on the
claims and counter-claims of the ruling regime and opposition parties concerning the
outcomes of the May, 2005 elections.
In the eighth through twentieth findings the bill documents facts concerning human rights abuses and violations in Ethiopia in the postelection period, including the fact that “The Department of State, in its 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, noted a myriad of human rights abuses by the Government of Ethiopia”, the killings of dozens of demonstrators and detention of thousands of people, arrest and imprisonment of “an estimated 112 political leaders, human rights activists, community leaders, and journalists, including the chairman of the CUD (Hailu Shawel), the newly elected Mayor of Addis Ababa (Berhanu Nega), and the founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam), were imprisoned and charged with treason and genocide”, findings of the “11-member Commission of Inquiry to investigate the disorder and report to the House of People's Representatives in order to take the necessary measure, and other related
In light of the foregoing findings, I am at a loss to understand your claim that
“H.R. 2003 presents a one-sided view of the facts”. What is so “one-sided” about these legislative findings?
But while we are on the subject of “one-sided view of facts,” I would like to ask
you a few questions:
How many CUD leaders or members did you talk to in your frequent visits to Ethiopia? How many opposition independent journalists did you interview to find out the problems of censorship? How many “political prisoners” (using the phrase as used in the U.S. State Department Human Rights Report on Ethiopia) did you speak with in developing your facts? Did you bother to speak with members of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)? Did you ever get a chance to hear the stories of torture victims during your visits to Ethiopia to consult with your client?
Regarding your claim that the work of a council of elders “led to the full pardon
of 38 convicted opposition leaders”, I must point out again that your position is
diametrically opposed to your client’s.
Your client in a report to his parliament a few weeks ago stated that the matter of
the Kality prisoners was properly before the court, and that the government could not
13 interfere in the adjudicatory process out of respect for the independence of the judiciary.
He unequivocally asserted that the prisoners’ matter was not in the hands of mediators or outside intermeddlers. Following the release of the prisoners, he reinforced this view by affirming in public statements that the conviction and pardon of the prisoners was pursuant to processes authorized by the country’s constitution and laws.
In a press conference on the release of the political prisoners, your client
reaffirmed his position by stating that the pardon granted should signify the absence of a “sense of revenge and vendetta on the part of the government as long as people recognize that the rules of the game are to be respected by everyone, [and] everyone is given a fair chance to participate". He indicated that the pardon was an act of compassion and charity intended to overcome bitterness and discord, and that it should signal a return to a normal political process. Your claim that the prisoners were released on the basis of a “reconciliation process led by a council of elders” is manifestly inconsistent with your client’s.
My analysis of the facts is that the prisoners of conscience were released not
because of the efforts of a “council of elders” or any “court” process. Rather, they were released because of intense State Department pressure and, undoubtedly, Congressional pressure emanating from H.R. 2003 and the intense work of Diaspora Ethiopians.
There is also little doubt that the direct and indirect pressure applied by human rights organizations, condemnation and censure by European governments and exposés of
gross human rights abuses by international media outlets played a critical role in
persuading your client to release of the prisoners.
V. H.R. 2003 “Promotes Further Deterioration of the Situation in Somalia”
You have argued that H.R. 2003 “promotes further deterioration of the
situation in Somalia by preventing the spread of Islamic fundamentalism” and the “the
region from becoming a radical Islamist state that harbors and encourages jihadistterrorist elements allied with al-Qaeda”, and undermining support for the UN-backed interim government in Baidoa (sic)”. You have further argued that the bill will unravel the “cooperative security arrangements between Ethiopia and the United States” in the counterterrorism area in the Horn region.
Let me point out again that your analysis of the Somali situation is diametrically
opposed to you client’s stated policy positions.
In a recent speech to his parliament, your client stated that he sent his troops to
Somalia to give the Somalis peace at the “request made by the government of Somalia”.
He said peace remains elusive because of “threats posed by extremists who have taken
14 refuge in Somalia”. He explained that he “was forced to revise plans for [troop
withdrawal in] the third and final phase because terrorists were regrouping and
coordinating their efforts with Eritrea.”
He reported progress in disarming Somali militia members and “re-integrating them into the police and defence forces as part of the drive to build the forces” of the Transitional Federal Government” (TFG).
He declared: “[T]he situation in Mogadishu is one in which the TFG is in control of the whole city making it impossible for terrorists or non-government militia to control any part of the city.” He noted that he is working “whole-heartedly to convene a National Reconciliation Congress in Somalia.”
Your client further cautioned that withdrawal from Somalia under the current
circumstances would “prevent deployment of AU (African Union) peacekeepers”, and
lead to a “reversal of the process of stabilization of Somalia”. He reassured his
parliament that he will “completely pull out” his troops “upon the successful conduct of the reconciliation conference and the consolidation of the TFG…”
You client has never mentioned or alluded to H.R. 2003 as a problem in his
The incontrovertible fact of the matter is that H.R. 2003 has nothing to do with events in Somalia. Nothing! The solution to the Somalia “situation” is to
expedite the arrival of the AU forces as indicated by your client, not prevent the
enactment of H.R. 2003.
While we are on the subject of Somalia and the “deteriorating” situation there, let
me share some hard facts with you. For the past 16 years, Somalia has been a polarized and fragmented society. It is regarded as a “failed state” because it has no legitimate national government, among other things.
It has become the battleground for warlords and militiamen. Your client believed that he could outmaneuver and outwit the Somali clan leaders into accepting Ali Mohammed Gedi, as transitional federal government prime minister. He tried to sell the Somalis his brand of peace (a Pax Zenawi, if you will) in the name of national reconciliation and power sharing. But no one in Somalia would buy it. So, your client now finds himself in the cauldron of Somali clan politics, and he can’t get out!
Manifestly, the “deterioration” of the political situation in Somalia has nothing to
do with H.R. 2003. It has to do with 1) the presence of Ethiopian occupation forces in Somalia, and 2) your client’s support of Gedi’s regime. Until these two issues are
resolved, the principal political problem of Somalia -- clan polarization and
fragmentation -- can not be effectively addressed. By his own admission, your client
15 miscalculated the intenti ons and integrity of the clan leaders, and underestimated the complexity and severity of Somali clan politics.13
So, how does H.R. 2003 “promote further deterioration of the situation in
Somalia”? The answer is it does not. H.R. 2003 has nothing to do with the “situation in Somalia”!
Ethical Issues for You and Your Firm
After listening to your radio interview and considering the other public
statements made by your firm, I was left wondering whether your statements reflected
an advocacy position of your client, or whether you were in fact making verified public statements on behalf of your client.
For instance, in your German Radio (Amharic program) on August 14, 2007,
following your blanket assertions about the “dramatic improvements in human rights in
Ethiopia” and the flourishing democracy there complete with free speech and press
rights and multiparty democracy, you made a sweeping declaration of ignorance on the
status of imprisoned and exiled journalists in the country. Asked if you knew how many Ethiopian journalists have been imprisoned or exiled, you responded: “I wouldn’t have any knowledge of that whatsoever.”
Your categorical response to the situation of Ethiopian journalists suggested to
me that your other responses concerning the political situation in the country are based on your personal knowledge, or reasonable inquiry and ascertainment of the facts before you communicated them to the public on behalf of your client. Regardless, as a lawyer you have a special ethical obligation to provide truthful and accurate information in your communication to the public (third parties) on behalf of your client.
This obligation is clearly stated in Rule 4.1 of the District of Columbia Bar Rules. Though you have “no affirmative duty to inform” third parties, it is an ethical obligation of all lawyers not to engage in “misrepresentation” of facts. I am concerned that your public statements on behalf of your client straddle the ethical lines which lawyers must never cross.
In the struggle for human rights in Ethiopia we realize that our grassroots efforts
are no match to your mighty army of lobbyists and lawyers that march on Capitol Hill
everyday with an overwhelming sense of assured victory. DLA Piper is the third largest 13“Ethiopian Premier Admits Errors on Somalia,” Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post Foreign Service, Friday, June 29, 2007; Page A16
law firm in the entire world, with over 3500 lawyers! You have Dick Armey and Dick
Gephardt, two titans in recent American Congressional history. You have George
Mitchell, and many other extraordinarily influential former members of Congress from
both major political parties in your firm.
We are just a bunch of not-so-well-organized mass of grassroots advocates who
do our best to plead our cause before the U.S. Congress. We do not have millions of
dollars to spend on lobbyists, and do not have ready access to the great earthly officers of men.
We know we are no match for DLA Piper as David was no match for Goliath.
But what we lack in money and influence, we more than make up in passion and
unflagging commitment to the holy cause of democracy, freedom and human rights in
our homeland. In the final analysis, all we have are TRUTH and the God of David on
our side. We are convinced that our cause of democracy, freedom and human rights
shall be triumphant in the end as David was victorious over Goliath.
We respect your public advocacy efforts on behalf of your client, and we do not
question your duty of zealous representation in all forums. Though we may disagree, we believe you are entitled to your opinion; but you are not entitled to your own facts.
The facts about the human rights situation in Ethiopia cry out from the pages of
the reports of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, the U.S. State Department,
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Genocide Watch, The Observatory for
the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and many others. Please do not make a
travesty of these hallowed facts in your public statements!
Al Mariam (Alemayehu)
Alemayehu G. Mariam, Ph.D. J.D.
Coalition for H.R. 2003