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#Ethiopia #TigrayGenocide #ExcuseForRegimeChangeWar

Monday 17 January 2022, by siawi3


#Ethiopia #TigrayGenocide #ExcuseForRegimeChangeWar

By Ann Garrison

January 13, 2022

While France steps up neocolonial aggression in its former North and West African colonies, the U.S. has set its sights on the elected government of Ethiopia in the geostrategic Horn of Africa. Ethiopia’s growing ties with China and Russia and the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Between Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea so threaten U.S. global hegemony that a U.S.“regime change” campaign is well underway.

One of the first stages of any such campaign is, of course, massive disinformation. Mass media, human rights organizations, aid organizations, and, more recently, social media armies—especially Twitter armies—are all engaged.

Hashtag #TigrayGenocide

The #TigrayGenocide Twitter campaign first appeared on November 4, 2020, the same day that Tigrayan soldiers within the Ethiopian National Defense Force surprise attacked their fellow soldiers in the country’s Northern Command Base in Tigray Region. There’s no way the Ethiopian government could have mounted a genocidal response in a matter of hours, but #TigrayGenocide was already trending. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its supporters had obviously been prepared to seize the narrative, claiming victimhood and blaming the Ethiopian army that they had just attacked.

CNN and its foreign correspondent Nima Elbagir then launched an all–out campaign to convince the world that the Ethiopian government was committing genocide against the Tigrayan people. Their reports have been so relentless that “CNN! Fake News!” is one of the most prominent signs and chants at Ethiopian diaspora protests in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the government.

“Award-winning CNN journalist Nima Elbagir” also became Democracy Now!’s primary source. On December 3, 2020, one month into the civil war, Elbagir told host Amy Goodman, “In essence, I think the best way to understand what’s happening in Ethiopia is to consider it a conflict over power that has descended into potentially a form of ethnic cleansing.”

Ten months later, on October 7, 2021, Elbagir told Goodman, “In the last few weeks, Tigrayans say the bodies of over 60 victims have floated into Sudan from Ethiopia [in the Tekeze River], evidence of a methodical campaign, one which bears all the hallmarks of genocide as defined by international law. Up in this remote corner of Sudan, this is evidence the world wasn’t meant to see.”

Really? The world wasn’t meant to see this, but CNN’s Nima Elbagir did? Even if such a dubious proposal were true, neither CNN nor anyone else claimed that these bodies floated into Sudan with identity cards. Ethiopian identity cards specify ethnicity, and many Ethiopians say that this is the heart of the country’s problems, but CNN did not produce identity cards or even names matching the bodies.

Parts of the Tekeze River have been controlled by both TPLF and Amhara militias at various points in the war, so either force could have dumped the bodies into the river, but CNN and the TPLF both attempted to claim that they definitively proved #TigrayGenocide.

Bodies floating down the Kagera River from Rwanda to Uganda, 1994

A similar story shocked the world in 1994, when bodies floated down the Kagera River from Rwanda into Uganda, and international media reported that they were the bodies of Tutsis massacred by Rwanda’s allegedly genocidal national army.

It later came out, however, that the Tutsi army led by General Paul Kagame, now the president of Rwanda, was at that time in total control of Akagera Park, where the Nyabarongo River flowed into the Kagera River and then down into Uganda. So, unless the Tutsi army was killing Tutsis in Akagera Park, those were the bodies of their Hutu victims.

That, however, was not determined until well after international news media had shocked the world with its reporting and moved on.

Investigative journalists and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) defense teams eventually determined that there was not only a Tutsi genocide but also a Hutu genocide in Rwanda, as documented by investigative journalist Judi Rever in her groundbreaking book “In Praise of Blood: Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.”

The identity and/or ethnicity of the bodies that floated down the Tekeze River into Sudan may or may not be credibly determined by future investigators, but the appearance of bodies alone does not prove who they are or who killed them.

In Rwanda today, tourists visit genocide memorial museums with piles of bones on display, which they’re told are all Tutsi bones and therefore proof of Tutsi genocide. However, many Hutu people believe that their own families’ bones are piled high in those museums as well, and that all the bones should be buried, not displayed for political purpose and tourist industry profit.
The genocide trigger

The U.S. has had its finger on the #TigrayGenocide trigger for over a year now, with the threat of “humanitarian military intervention” always looming. Members of the Tigrayan diaspora often protest with signs reading, “Call it Genocide.”

Why? Because, according to U.S. policy, a genocide designation involves a moral obligation to act. President Obama’s Executive Order — Comprehensive Approach to Atrocity Prevention and Response reads:

Section 1. Policy. As articulated in Presidential Study Directive-10 (PSD-10), preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States. Noting that governmental engagement on mass atrocities and genocide too often arrives too late, when opportunities for prevention or low-cost, low-risk action have been missed, PSD-10 directed the establishment of an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board (Board), with the primary purpose of coordinating a whole-of-government approach to prevent mass atrocities and genocide.

“Whole-of-government” is a bureaucratic euphemism for hybrid warfare, which includes disinformation, censure, aid cuts, debt strangulation, sanctions, proxy war, and perhaps even military aggression. Ethiopia and its neighboring ally, Eritrea, have already been sanctioned and more sanctions are no doubt coming.

Cries of genocide and “Never Again!” and comparisons to the Holocaust and Rwanda typically precede the U.S. and NATO’s “humanitarian interventions.”

The genocide trigger in international law

If the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) agrees that genocide is taking place, it can legally organize a multilateral response to stop it, militarily if need be. Any of the five permanent members of the UNSC can veto any UNSC resolution, and Russia and China have made it clear they see no evidence obliging the UNSC to act in Ethiopia. They have refused to approve any measures violating Ethiopia’s national sovereignty, as has the African Union.

National sovereignty is the first principle of international law, but the U.S. has shown no respect for it in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, or anywhere else the U.S. has invaded—or backed a proxy force—since the adoption of the UN Charter in 1945.

As Russia and China have become more assertive on the UN Security Council, U.S. policymakers have claimed the obligation to “intervene” in contravention of international law because China and Russia, they say, are abrogating their moral responsibility on the UNSC.

#TigrayGenocide cries and hashtags have therefore carried an ominous interventionist implication.

The TPLF began the war by attacking the national army in its own Tigray Region, and so long as the war remained within its boundaries, the dominant press portrayed only Tigrayans as victims, often as victims of genocide, pending genocide and or state-engineered starvation. However, most outlets began to modify that narrative after the TPLF invaded Amhara and Afar Regions during the first week of July and horrendous attacks on Amhara and Afar civilians began to be reported. At that point, the U.S. government and the Western press began “bothsidesing,” switching to a false balance narrative that both sides are guilty of crimes, even as they continued to report on Tigrayan victims and looming #TigrayGenocidemore often than not. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and USAID Administrator Samantha Power masquerade as the voice of reason by demanding that both sides sit down to negotiate “without preconditions,” meaning—though they neglect to say so explicitly—that the federal government representing the vast majority of the population must sit down to negotiate with a treasonous force representing a 6.1 percentminority population as equals. Presumably, if not explicitly, the U.S. would broker an agreement, having pretended to be a neutral, albeit insistent, party all along. #YeahRight



Twitter Bans African Anti-Imperialists

Ann Garrison, BAR Contributing Editor

12 Jan 2022

Many liberals and even some leftists welcomed the removal of Twitter accounts for Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, Donald Trump, and other right-wing ideologues, but it was clear at the time that the left would be next, especially anyone particularly vocal in opposition to U.S. foreign policy.

Since November 3 and 4, when the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) started the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia by attacking a federal army base, Western policymakers and their stenographic press, especially in the U.S., have defended the TPLF, their former puppet, and maligned the Ethiopian government and its prime minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali. In December, Twitter began banning Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Somali activists who had created and built a Pan-African #NoMore movement. I spoke to Nebiyu Asfaw, founder of the Ethiopian American Development Council, who had his account permanently banned.

Ann Garrison: Nebiyu Asfaw, tell us when you were suspended from Twitter.

Nebiyu Asfaw: I was suspended on December 23, two days before Christmas, on the same day the #NoMoreHub account was suspended.

AG: And tell us what hashtag #NoMore is.

NA: Hashtag #NoMore is a movement, a social justice movement that started in November and has been trending globally since then. It’s a Pan-African movement, pro-peace, anti-war movement. Its main theme is saying #NoMore to Western dominance and intervention in Africa.

That’s probably enough to get you thrown off Twitter.

AG: What other accounts associated with you and #NoMore were suspended? I know you’re only one of a number.

NA: Yeah, there have been several influential grassroots accounts, all of them related or promoting the #NoMore movement. The @HornOfAfricaHub , the New Africa Institute, and individuals like Dr. Simon Tesfamariam, Dr. Ir. Middle Lander, and others. The list goes on, and we were banned for no apparent reason.

The biggest ones taken down were the @HornOfAfricaHub , where the #NoMore movement was launched. And then the @NoMoreHub account. Those were the central places where the movement was being organized.

AG: Have you made any attempt to appeal this to Twitter?

NA: Many of the account holders or managers have submitted appeals disputing it. I didn’t do that, because I didn’t think there was any point to it. From what I’ve heard, all of the appeals that have been submitted have been either ignored or denied by Twitter. I see this as an intentional silencing of African voices, an intentional silencing of pro-peace, anti-war, anti-intervention voices.

There have been a few accounts, maybe one or two Somali accounts and one Ethiopian account, that were restored, but a lot of influential accounts have not been. In fact, many of the people who have appealed are being told that they and/or accounts they manage are banned for life.

AG: I’ve seen that some have lost both personal accounts and movement accounts they managed. I believe Dr. Simon Tesfamariam lost four accounts, because he was managing two movement accounts, his personal account,, and one that he used for issues related to his profession as a medical doctor.

NA: Yeah, I believe that’s right. But Twitter doesn’t have any rules against people having or managing multiple accounts, professional, personal, and organizational. People often use shared accounts, personal accounts, professional accounts, you know.

It’s disturbing that no accounts associated with the TPLF, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front have been banned, even though the TPLF started the civil war in Ethiopia by attacking a federal army base on November 3 and 4, 2020. The TPLF is a proxy for the Western nations, particularly the United States, and there are hundreds of pro-TPLF accounts that regularly incite violence against the democratically elected government of Ethiopia. These accounts have not been banned or suspended and some of them have even been getting verified by Twitter and getting those blue check marks. They include the rebel leader Getach e w Reda , who was literally tweeting from the war zone in northern Ethiopia, talking about how they were about to shell a town—not an army detail, a town full of civilians. I don’t know how much more violent than that you can get.

AG: Maybe if you drop cruise missiles on civilians or a nuclear bomb on the whole world.

NA: That might be worse, but this TPLF violence is way up on the scale that Twitter and Facebook keep saying they’re trying to protect with their community codes of conduct. And their accounts are getting verified, not disconnected.

AG: I saw a tweet from Getachew Reda some months back in which he talked about cleansing the bloodline, by which I assume he meant Tigrayan.

NA: Exactly. And that should tell you something.

It’s just really unfortunate, you know. I’m not saying the entire Twitter corporation is behind it. But there are certainly people within the company who are regulating these discussions related to the Horn of Africa. They appear to have taken a side and that side they’ve taken is for the insurgents, the armed insurgents that are backed by the Western nations.

And they’re going against people like Dr. Tesfamariam and me and movement organizations that are advocating for peace. Anyone who goes through the archives of our tweets can see that we use robust language sometimes against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, but there’s no violence. It’s pro-peace. It’s about unity. It’s about Pan-Africanism. You know, it’s about respecting the sovereignty of African nations. It’s the voice of the marginalized people.

Western media, CNN especially, but the rest of the mainstream media, has completely shut our voices out, silenced our voices. They’re just telling one side of the story, the pro-war story justifying intervention, using a humanitarian cause as a pretext for foreign intervention.

And when we speak up about our truth, they’re silent. So, you know, we’re trying to tell our own story. We’re trying to create awareness within the good American people.

I think the American people are good people, but are misled by the mainstream media. And we’re using social media to make our voice heard. Because when the American people know the truth, they always stand with us. And this has been apparent in the dozens of protests we’ve had throughout the country, where Americans are coming out and standing with us for peace.

We’ve seen this movie before. We’ve seen it in Libya. We’ve seen it in Syria. We’ve seen it in Iraq, where they told us there were weapons of mass destruction. We’ve seen it in Libya, where they told us that Gaddafi’s soldiers were using Viagra to mass rape people, or that he was committing genocide. It all turned out to be false. In Syria they’ve been telling us that Assad is using chemical weapons. And now they’re doing the same thing in Ethiopia because they want to intervene.

In Ethiopia, we actually have a government that is liked by the people, that was elected by the people. We have a Pan-Africanist leader who is trying to bring people together. But he and the Ethiopian government have refused to play proxy for the U.S., have refused to be a puppet regime like the TPLF. And that is really the only crime—what the U.S. considers a crime—that this government has committed. They have asserted their sovereignty and said that we will not be a proxy for anyone. We’re going to stand for the benefit of the Ethiopian people. They’re standing for African people. That’s the cause for the U.S. aggression, that Ethiopian people are trying to determine their own destiny.

Ann Garrison is a Black Agenda Report Contributing Editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace through her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes Region.

Nebiyu Asfaw is a social justice advocate based in Denver. He is the co-founder of the Ethiopian American Development Council and the viral #NoMore global movement. As a native of Ethiopia; he has a passion for all things Ethiopian and has served the African diaspora locally and globally for the past 15 years. Nebiyu received the “African Americans Who Make a Difference” award in 2019, from the Denver Urban Spectrum for promoting social justice.