Saturday, 9 January 2021

THE TRUTH ABOUT MAI-KADA

THE TRUTH ABOUT MAI-KADRA

Wondimu Mekonnen, UK, 08 January 2021

Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” The Tigray Liberation front (TPLF) is the best at the game of misinformation in the wars it has been waging since 1974. Gullible journalists could easily be taken for a ride. The Morning Star knowingly or unknowingly is the the latest victim.

History tells us there have been messengers of justice to the persecuted and downtrodden mass. They taught us to stand up for the rights of the poor, the marginalised and the disadvantaged. Many of my generation read Morning Star because it promoted those ideals. I am truly shocked to see the perpetrators had taken this amazing newspaper to mislead when they used it as a platform to broadcast their lies and innuendoes under the title of “Ethiopia Accused of War Crimes in Mai Kadra Massacre[1], reported by Steve Sweeney.

I thought this is not a genuine representation of the Morning Star as we normally know it, but more like a dodgy social media piece from the likes of the digital TPLF, also better known as the Tigrayan Peoples’ Looting Front. The whole story in the paper was contrary to the facts on the ground. Such disinformation may temporarily confuse your readers but sooner or later the truth will come out and when it does, it would be the Morning Star that will loses credibility. The TPLF is at war. History tells us that it fights dirty. It murders in cold blooded and blames the victim.

The ugly background of the TPLF

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is a master of lies and deceit. To use more formal vocabulary, it is a crafty engineer of disinformation and fake news with experience since its inception in 1974. The TPLF is deadly narrow minded tribalists, worse than the genocide criminal Hutus of Rwanda. Just a bit craftier.

The Tigray Liberation Front (TLF), predecessor of the TPLF, shared the same values of Tigrayan hegemony over Ethiopia. The two fronts who shared identical objectives, met to discuss the modalities of their union, way back in 1974 and celebrated an agreement eating, drinking and singing well into the night at a TPLF camp. As custom would have it, TLF leaders retired to bed first as guests of the TPLF. All the leadership of TPLF were then massacred in their beds, in cold blood. Almost the same fate happened to the EPRP, an opposition group to the Dengue regime operating at Assimba, in Tigray region during the same period.

Catalogue of deceit goes on. Journalist Martin Plaut discovered, with the help of eyewitnesses and personalities, the deceitful instructions of TPLF seniors in the years 1984/85. Cunning and extortionist, TPLF approached Bob Geldof for a share of the funds mobilized by Band Aid to feed a starving population in the territories it controlled. An entire £25,000,000[2] was diverted to purchase arms and raise interest in foreign banks for a start-up capital of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), owned privately by TPLF leaders. Cash payments intending to deliver sacks of grain invested instead in bags of sand facilitated by Mr Gebremedhin Araya, posing as a Sudanese grain trader counting his money. Some grains received from donor countries in kind were openly sold on the open Sudanese market.

For the TPLF, lying is not considered as a sin. It is rather a tactic to achieve its goals. For the TPLF, politics is a game. At a game, any trick is allowed if one remains uncaught. The late PM Meles Zenawi once said on the Parliament: “As long as you don’t get caught, stealing is a job. Their main moto is defeating the enemy by any means necessary. So, they lie between their teeth when it suits them. Gullible aspiring Western journalists are ready to buy that. They sit back, laugh the white journalist and move on to deceive another victim. Who would be at the receiving end when the truth comes out? No! Not them.



Right now, they have managed to convince score of journalists to echo their own version of stories contrary to the truth. They are playing victims. The Morning Star is duped into believing them. The TPLF laughs at you and goes looking for another victim elsewhere. They have lots of money they looted from Ethiopia. They can pay anyone who is willing to write their lies. The TPLF well knows it has lost the war it started on the ground. Today, the founding father of TPLF, Sebat Nega had been captured, but like Trump, Diaspora TPLF just went on saying “fake news!” While they are denying, Makale, the capital city of Tigray went on celebrating this evening with lightworks and gunshots, after the confirmation of the capture of the TPLF Mafiosi God father. Its supporters residing abroad are working day and night to win the propaganda war. What they don’t know is it is not going to bring the terrorist backs to power. The TPLF is gone for good! Some journalists are enriching themselves, at the risk of putting their credibility on the firing line.

THE TRUTHS ABOUT MAI-KADRA

It appears that Steve Sweeney got his facts about Mai Kadra upside down. After igniting the conflict by massacring, the restive Ethiopian Defence Force Northern Division, in Tigray, as reported by Sekoture Getachew[3], the TPLF spokesperson, who was killed yesterday, on 07 January, trying to escape, their force marched and crossed the border with the neighbouring region of Amhara. The objective was to subjugate the unsuspecting Amharas within just less than a day, capture cities like Gondar, Bahr Dar and Woldia then on the third day to capture Addis Ababa the capital city, to topple the central Government of Ethiopia.

The TPLF underestimated the whole scenario. The war adventurist plan backfired on it. It couldn’t overrun the Amharas as it planned because the Amharas gallantly fought back. The Amhara militia stopped them at the border. Then the army of the Ethiopian National Defence force arrived next day from elsewhere to free the captive ENDF. The joint force of Ethiopian Defence Force and the Amhara local militia was too much for the miscalculated TPLF force to stand up against. They pushed the aggressors back into the territories captured by the TPLF 29 years ago from the Amharas and forcefully incorporated into the region of Tigray, that includes the town of Mai-Kadra. The population of that part the country is composed of the indigenous Amharas and late settler Tigrayans, to change the demography of the occupied land. Regardless of the grievances and discrimination of the occupying Tigrayan forces, the people used to live peacefully side by side until 09 November 2020.

The TPLF force was completely defeated, many surrendered, some killed and those who ran for the lives fled the battlefield, retreating to Mai-Kadra. ENDF and the Amharas militias pursued them and Mai-Kadra was about to fall. Then the retreating army committed war crime on civilians of non-Tigrayan origin. The local Tigrayan vigilante youth called “Samri”, who knew who lived where in that small town, together with the Tigrayan Special Force went door to door and massacred cowardly in cold blood 600 innocent civilians, belonging to  Amhara ethnic group in just few hours before the arrival of the National Army. The streets were littered with dead bodies of innocent Amhara civilians. Since then two more mass graves were discovered two weeks later, one containing 74 bodies and another 56 bodies of the murdered Amharas by TPLF Special Force. What an irony that Morning Star is telling us a diametrically opposite stories, unblinking, yelling the victims were the perpetrators and the perpetrators were the victims. This was like telling us the 25,000,000 Russians perished in the WWII were Germans! No journalism ethics here at all.



Steve Sweeney should have done his research well, before putting pen to paper. Either he is ignorant of the facts or he is deliberately twisting them to save the face of the criminals. Amnesty International[4] interviews had clearly reported the outcome of its investigation and concluded convincingly the crime was committed by the TPLF retreating force and the “Samri” vigilante youth. The survivors clearly described the perpetrators of these crimes to be TPLF militias and Samri youth. Interviews with survivors on Ethiopian Television in Amharic shows the victims corroborating the version given to Amnesty International. There have also been reports that those who committed these crimes, TPLF fighters, fled the scene changing their uniforms into farmers clothes and fleeing to Sudan as "civilian refugees" while they are the TPLF fighters. Now from there they are spreading this false allegation.

An independent Ethiopian Human Rights Commission also sent fact-finding mission to the place and came back with the same conclusion as the Amnesty International[5]. Both group of residents, the Amharas and the Tigrayans were interviewed and confirmed what had happened. Therefore, The Morning Star should travel to the place and needs to investigate the matter if it is genuinely concerned. If need be, they should join an independent group and those responsible should be arrested under international arrest warrants and tried for war crimes against civilians.

There is this picture used by the Guardian newspaper of 21 December 2020 to illustrate the deplorable situation of the so-called refugees but ended up misleading its readers and the international community to reach homeless refugees watching outdoor television.

A close look at the mentioned picture posted below reveals that there are no women and children among the so-called refugees. How come? Who are they? Perhaps Mai-Kadra mass murderers? May be TPLF Special Force who committed war crimes, crossed the borders and are now telling their version of reversed story, spreading disinformation through the likes of Steve Sweeney? All that is done with hope of securing undeserving sympathy from the international community, to grant them asylum when they arrive in some advanced Western countries.

 


The TPLF is no different from the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. They share the same political ideology and brutality. TPLF has perfected its propaganda machine, in lobbying adventurist journalists, and disseminating its disinformation and fake news. This ruthless group need not be forgotten for callous kidnapping of foreigners such as Sunday Times Reporter, Jon Swain[6], in 1976. You are dealing here not with an ordinary manipulator, but masters of deception.

To enable the perpetrators escape from being hunted down for war crimes, the TPLF supporters living in the democratic world are currently actively engaged in echoing the disinformation. Though the social media had been their playing field, they have elevated themselves to the mainstream media. Morning Star is the latest victim of deception. Can you save your reputation by sorting out your facts straight and reporting the truth? You must not be the platform to spread such blatant lies.

Steve Sweeney wrote:

“The UN Office at Geneva (UNOG) says an independent probe must take place to determine what took place in Tigray amid reports that civilians were targeted and massacres took place during the operation which started in November.”

Be our guest. That is exactly what we need. Not only UNOG alone, but also African Union, United National Human Rights Commission and European Human Rights Commission should also send a joint investigative mission to Mai-Kadra, so that the truth be revealed, for the perpetrators to be captured and faced justice. There should be no safe place for war criminals to hide.

Morning Star! The truth will set you free!

 


Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Disinformation, Misinformation, and Fake News in the Ethiopian Cont

 

Disinformation, Misinformation, and Fake News in the Ethiopian Context

 

Sensational, eye-catching headlines can be so exciting well into the first few lines of a paragraph before one stops to notice that the fancy title is exaggerated, unfounded and unsubstantiated. Imagine the let-down, which was real in the case of the Guardian’s recent “Slaughtered Like Chickens[1].

It is not a genuine representation of The Guardian as we normally know it, more like a dodgy social media piece from the likes of the digital Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), the better known as the Tigrayan Peoples’ Looting Front. Does the article contain facts about an Ethiopian internal conflict or about an imaginary war between the “TPLF and neighboring Eritrea”? It takes a while to get through the waffle.

How TPLF is remembered

The more glaring question however is why the TPLF has been so desperate to bring Eritrea into its war mongering charade ever since it instigated the conflict on 4 October? Not one but three unprovoked rocket attacks were launched by TPLF onto Eritrean soil, an obvious and desperate series of attempts to lure the international community into its incitement tactics.

The TPLF is a master of lies and deceit. To use more formal vocabulary, it is a crafty engineer of disinformation and fake news with experience since its inception in 1974. The Tigray Liberation Front (TLF), predecessor of the TPLF, shared the same values of Tigrayan hegemony over Ethiopia. The two fronts shared identical objectives, met to discuss the modalities of their union, and celebrated an agreement eating, drinking and singing well into the late of the night at a TPLF camp. As custom would have it, TLF leaders retire to bed first as guests of the TPLF. All of them were massacred in their beds in cold blood. Almost the same happened to the EPRP, an opposition group to the Dengue regime operating at  Assimba, in Tigray during the same period.

An extortionist group with no regard for humanity

Journalist Martin Plaut discovered, with the help of eyewitnesses and personalities, the deceitful instructions of TPLF seniors in the years 1984/85. Cunning and extortionist, TPLF approached Bob Geldof for a share of the funds mobilized by Band Aid to feed a starving population in the territories it controlled. An entire £25,000,000[2] was diverted to purchase arms and raise interest in foreign banks for a start-up capital of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), owned privately by TPLF leaders. Cash payments intending to deliver sacks of grain invested instead in bags of sand facilitated by Mr Gebremedhin Araya, posing below as a Sudanese grain trader counting his money.


Gebremedhin Araya (L) says he posed as a merchant, but was in fact a rebel, picture obtained from BBC News Chanel.[3]

Bob Geldof forced BBC World Service[4] to apologise for implicating Band Aid as a participant in the above deception, which was against the purpose of his humanitarian campaign.

Martin Plaut’s tweets today give the impression that the TPLF have paid him a fortune to report on their behalf unlike the deadly critics they appear to have silenced such as Patrick Gilks, Cedric Burns and William Davidson. It paid DLA Piper a monthly fee of £50,000 in 2006 and, to another lobby firm called SGR Government Relations a monthly fee of £150,000 to lobby against US Congress and the State Department passing any resolution on Human Rights[5]. The funds were sourced from official international development assistance.  Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based think tank advising on the prevention of illicit outflows said that “In 2009, illicit money leaving the [Ethiopian] economy totalled US$3.26 billion, which is double the amount in each of the two previous years.”[6]

The Guardian, one of UK’s most prestigious newspapers, fails to meet a standard of professional and ethical reporting as it prints a half-backed reporting of facts that support the TPLF machination. The article fails to offer any background of the recent conflict flare-up in Tigray region. No mention is made of TPLF officials boasting about “starting the war by blistering attack with lightning speed” on the restive Northern Division of Ethiopia’s National Defence Force. They also begged the international community to “stop the war in Tigray” after starting it[7], a tactic to facilitate the re-instatement of the power they had willingly left more than two years ago.

The article is silent about them slaughtering unsuspecting soldiers of the national army in the middle of the night, stripping the dead naked and leaving them to rot for vultures and wild animals to clear. Reuters reported quoting Lt. Gen. Bacha Debele[8], thousands more were stripped of their clothes live and forced to cross the Eritrean border at a place called Shiraro

Eritrean border guards clothed and fed them. PM Abiy Ahmed Ali and his army generals flew into the Eritrean capital by helicopter and drove to the border to witness that humiliation two days later. The soldiers demanded with valour to return to their post and subsequently forced the release of captured officers by TPLF.

The story, as retold by Alex de Waal in The Guardian, titled: “Slaughtered like Chickens” paints an unsubstantiated picture that implies Eritreans committed the attack on Tigrayans. It failed to mention that TPLF’s Special Force and militia marched to the border of neighboring Amhara region, vowing to crush the people and capture the city of Gondar by noon, Bahir Dar by evening, and topple the central government in Addis Ababa on the third day. They boasted a quick fight would secure control of the capital city.

Indeed, the National Defence Force was quick to dislodge TPLF from their own regional capital, Makalle  which could not bypass the Amhara Special forces and militias that stood in self-defence until the arrival of the National Defence Force.

Losses were minimized as arms seized by TPLF troops from the Northern Division were neutralized from the air. Jointly the National Defence Force and the Amhara Special Force pushed TPLF out including from the territories they had seized and forcefully incorporated into Tigray 32 years ago, namely Raya, Welkait, Tselemt and Humera.

When TPLF realized they were losing their extended territory they orchestrated an unthinkable attack on the residents of Mai Kadra. Alex de Waal does not mention how their retreating troops ruthlessly murdered 600 innocent civilians of non-Tigray origin in a matter of a few hours. It can be safely assumed that the deliberate omission of facts and selective, biased reporting is intended to portray the perpetrators themselves as the victims.

Amnesty International’s interviews with eyewitnesses in the aftermath of the Mai Kadra massacre confirms that TPLF committed the war crime. They clearly identified the perpetrators as TPLF soldiers, militias and Tigrayan youth known as the ‘Samri’.

Interviews with survivors of the massacre on Amharic Ethiopian Television showed victims corroborating the version given to Amnesty International. Other reports indicate that TPLF fighters shed their uniforms and changed into farmer’s clothing before seeking refuge in the Sudan. From there, they continue spreading disinformation and fake news. Such crimes need to be investigated by an independent group and those responsible must be arrested and tried for war crimes against civilians.

The pro-TPLF campaign by Alex de Waal is illustrated in the photograph below which he uses to call upon the international community to reach homeless refugees watching outdoor television.


A close look at the above picture reveals that there are no women and children among the so-called refugees. Who are they? Mai Kadra mass murderers? TPLF soldiers who committed war crimes and spread disinformation through the likes of Alex de Waal?

Well, let me add one more story to this embarrassing saga. There a skirmish going in the border between the Sudan and Ethiopia, on these days that is not well publicized yet. Guess what! A fighter in Sudanese uniform was was taken prisoner on 29 December 2020. The shocking truth was he spoke Tigrinya, the language spoken in Northern Tigray, not Arabic? How I come? I leave the judgment to the reader. Here is the prisoner of in the Sudanese military uniform



The TPLF is no different from the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia or the Communist Party of Albania. They share the same political ideology and brutality. TPLF has perfected its propaganda machine, is lobbying adventurist journalists, and disseminating its disinformation and fake news. This ruthless group need not be forgotten for callous kidnapping of foreigners such as Sunday Times Reporter, Jon Swain, in 1976.

Reporting mechanism for journalism safety but none for disinformation

Alex de Waal needs to know that the defence of the people and law enforcement does not exclusively belong to the United Kingdom. He should be reminded that the British Army was deployed in the Northern Ireland to protect the people from the IRA for several years.  He should also remember PM Margaret Thatcher ordered the British Army into The Falkland Islands in 1982.

Alex De Wall ignored that African countries are watching what the TPLF had done for 27 years in neighboring countries, as well as to Ethiopia, and what it has been doing over the last 2 and a half years. At the 38th IGAD Extraordinary Summit of Heads of States & Governments of IGAD which kicked off on 20 December in Djibouti, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa, H.E. Faki Mahamat commended the Government of Ethiopia for its bold steps to preserve the integrity of the country. He also stressed the need to sustain efforts to help solve the issues of affected people in the aftermath of the operation. TPLF disinformation has no place here.

The possibility of civilian causalities in any conflict is evident, however, the Ethiopian Defence Force kept this at an absolute minimum. Alex de Waal claims that Eritrean refugees camped in Tigray are being forcibly “returned“ to Eritrea but his evidence mainly comes from TPLF sympathisers residing abroad. Who is he sympathising with? The Eritrean refuges or the TPLF? He again accuses Eritreans, not the Ethiopian National Defence force, for the killings and lootings in Tigray. Nevertheless, the looters and killers are the TPLF themselves as evidenced from first-hand accounts coming from Tigray.

Alex de Waal claims that aid workers and diplomats have reported that the law enforcement operation involved thousands of Eritrean soldiers undermining a population more than 114 million strong against Tigray’s 7 million amounting to just over 6%. The Ethiopian National Defence Force is well trained and equipped serving an impeccable record beyond sovereign borders and with a capacity to deploy peace keeping missions in Somalia and South Sudan.

The Guardian’s report by Alex de Waal signals a continuing decline of professional and ethical journalism which is an obstacle to widespread understanding of peace building efforts in Ethiopia. It undermines the intense pressure on the ground to reinstate lives and livelihoods to acceptable levels of survival. Recent speculative headlines include “Secret UN report reveals fears of long and bitter war in Ethiopia”, “Ethiopia PM rebuffs mediation attempts as Tigray deadline nears” and the persistent “Diplomats back claims Eritrean troops have joined Ethiopia”.

In conclusion, here is a recent tweet that serves as a reminder, of Mr Herman J Cohen who propelled the TPLF into power in 1991:


 Abiy needs to unify by delivering on his promise to create a federal system that provides the self-determination each state desires. And the TPLF needs to understand that it can no longer be an important political force, neither in #Ethiopia nor in Tigray.”

 

FINITO!

 

Wondimu Mekonnen, UK, 24 December 2020

https://www.buckingham.ac.uk/directory/mr-wondimu-mekonnen/


Wednesday, 25 November 2020

ምሽት 2 ሰዓት አማርኛ ዜና…ህዳር 16/2013 ዓ.ም

በሁመራ ሆስፒታል ሊታከሙ የገቡ 22 ታካሚዎች ሞተው ተገኙ