Worgaanii: Lammachaa Koorsoo
Worgaanii: Lammachaa Koorsoo
As a democracy, Ethiopia is far removed from the ideal that President Obama spelled out for Africa in his first trip as president to the continent in 2009.
Visiting Ghana then, Obama famously said Africa needed strong institutions, not strongmen.
Human rights groups had expressed concern about Obama’s decision to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia, a nation that has few real democratic institutions, routinely harasses and jails journalists and bloggers, and is accused of torture. But they were shocked when, on Monday, the president twice described the country’s May elections as “democratic.”
Ethiopia’s ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its allied parties recorded an almost 100% victory in those elections, winning every seat in the parliament — the kind of implausible victory margin common in dictatorships.
During his Africa tour, which ended Tuesday, Obama made the case that no one questions U.S. engagement with China and Russia. The U.S. could achieve more by engaging and telling blunt truths to leaders, he has argued.
“But the president didn’t give them blunt truths in saying they had a democratic election when their election in May had intimidation of opposition figures, arrests and detentions of political watchdogs and 100% of the seats in the parliament were filled by the ruling party,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House, in an interview Tuesday. “The president was giving them a warm kiss when they didn’t deserve it.”
He said Obama was “fundamentally wrong” in his comments about the election. “Calling Ethiopia’s government ‘democratically elected’ lowers the standards for democracy and undermines the courageous work of so many Ethiopians who fight to realize a just and democratic society.
“I think it hurts U.S. credibility and I think it even hurts any partnership we may have in counter-terrorism. If the government of Ethiopia doesn’t think the U.S. is going to stand up for its very clearly avowed principles, it harms our relationship.”
Ethiopia is rated “not free” in terms of politics and civil rights by Freedom House, a watchdog organization. Lagon said Ethiopia was so closed and secretive that it was a “suspect partner” in security and counter-terrorism.
Opposition parties have complained that Ethiopia’s election board, seen by critics as a tool of the ruling party, didn’t cooperate with their efforts to lodge complaints after the May election.
The EPDRF, a former rebel group, came to power in 1991 after it toppled the regime of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, and has won the five elections since.
When Obama traveled to Ghana in 2009, he extolled the values of human rights and democracy. Until his current trip, he had steered clear of nations with poor records on those issues, rewarding those with better records with presidential visits. His trip to Ethiopia seemed to signal a more pragmatic approach, acknowledging Ethiopia and Kenya as strategic allies and key partners in the counter-terrorism fight.
His visit to Ethiopia came at a time when China, which isn’t concerned about the rights and democracy records of some African states, has surged in prominence on the continent, leaving the U.S. behind as it offers hundreds of billions of dollars in soft loans and infrastructure projects.
Even as Obama called for Ethiopia to end its crackdown on journalists and allow criticism and dissent, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made clear his disdain for the country’s few independent journalists. On Monday, he repeated a justification often used by the government for jailing journalists, accusing them of having terrorist ties. He called for journalism that was “ethical,” “civilized” and told the good news about Ethiopia.
“As far as Ethiopia is concerned, we need journalists,” he said, adding, “but we need ethical journalism to function in this country.”
He said, “Journalism has to be respected, when it doesn’t, you know, pass the line [of] working with violent terrorist groups.”
“It’s an attempt to speak the language that the president of the U.S. understands, but it’s a gross abuse of the term,” said Maya Foa of Reprieve, a Britain-based human rights group.
“There’s been a massive overuse and exploitation of this concept of terrorism in Ethiopia. You could translate it as those individuals who express opinions that differ from the ruling party, including journalists,” she said.
After an outcry over his Monday remarks, Obama seemed to try to deliver a more nuanced message Tuesday, saying he had told the prime minister that when journalists were jailed and activists harassed, “you may have democracy in name but not in substance.”
The human rights group Reprieve, which Tuesday called Obama’s comments on democracy in Ethiopia “woefully misplaced,” has been campaigning for the release of a Briton, Andy Tsege, who is an official of a banned opposition movement. He has spent 399 days in a secret Ethiopian jail after being abducted while traveling and rendered to Ethiopia.
“Throughout his 13 months in detention, Mr. Tsege has not been allowed contact with a lawyer, and has spoken to his family only once. He faces a death sentence handed down in absentia in 2009 in relation to his political activities, and there are fears that he is being tortured,” according to a Reprieve statement Tuesday.
In 2006, Tsege visited Washington and addressed Congress, comparing the EPDRF repression of dissent with the darkest days of military rule.
Lagon said that while Obama’s remarks offered comfort to the government of Ethiopia, they sent a message to struggling Ethiopian rights activists that the U.S. wasn’t willing to stand up for them.
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One of us, Merga Nebiyu Gelgelo, was a biomedical engineering student who founded an organization to support economic development in Ethiopia’s Oromia region. Though he did not belong to a political party, he was detained under the anti-terrorism law and brutally tortured. Prison guards tied him to a cross, lit a fire under the cross and slid his body close to the fire. Mr. Gelgelo thought he would burn to death.
Ethiopia can work with the United States to combat terrorism in East Africa without torturing Mr. Gelgelo and hundreds more like him just because they do not support the dictatorship.
Andrea Barron and Merga Nebiyu Gelgelo, Washington
The writers are, respectively, advocacy consultant and member of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition.
Instead, they largely agree with Samuel Berger, national security adviser under President Clinton, who said it was a mistake to “think of human rights and security as an either-or proposition.” Indeed, I doubt that any of the former government officials quoted in the article would argue that lasting security can be achieved in Ethiopia, Kenya or any other country without enduring respect for human rights.
The real question isn’t whether or not to engage with these countries; it’s whether the U.S. government will use its considerable leverage, including state visits, to press for progress on the prerequisite for security and prosperity: human rights.
Elisa Massimino, Washington
Question from Kevin Corke with Fox News to President Obama and TPLF-EPRDF’s prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I’d like to ask you about balance. And you often speak about the importance of rewarding good governance, and so I’m wondering how do you balance your obvious concerns about human rights here in Ethiopia with a desire for increased economic partnership and strengthening regional security cooperation? And if I could follow up — have you ruled out, or would you consider increased military involvement by the United States in East Africa to battle al-Shabaab? And if so, what lessons could be learned from the battle against ISIS, for example, that might be relevant here?
And, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your great hospitality in your beautiful country. I’d like to ask you about perception. For all the incredible things that are happening here in Ethiopia — a strengthening economy, great investment right now in renewable energy infrastructure — there is still a perception, sir, that human rights abuses are tolerated here, and that could really be affecting international investment in your economy. Are you concerned about that? If so, how can concerned, and what might you be doing, sir, to change that perception? Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, as I said in my opening remarks, this was a significant topic of conversation. We are very mindful of Ethiopia’s history — the hardships that this country has gone through. It has been relatively recently in which the constitution that was formed and the elections put forward a democratically elected government. And as I indicated when I was in Kenya, there is still more work to do, and I think the Prime Minister is the first to acknowledge that there’s more work to do.
The way we think about these issues is we want to engage with governments on areas of mutual concern and interest — the same way, by the way, that we deal with China and deal with a range of other countries where the democratic practices or issues around freedom of the press and assembly are not ones that align with how we are thinking about it, but we continually bring it up and we indicate that this is part of our core interest and concern in our foreign policy. That’s true here as well.
My observation to the Prime Minister has been that the governing party has significant breadth and popularity. And as a consequence, making sure to open additional space for journalists, for media, for opposition voices, will strengthen rather than inhibit the agenda that the Prime Minister and the ruling party has put forward.
And I think our goal here is to make sure that we are a constructive partner, recognizing that Ethiopia has its own culture and it’s not going to be identical to what we do, but there are certain principles that we think have to be upheld.
The one thing that I’ve tried to be consistent on, though, is to make sure that we don’t operate with big countries in one fashion and small countries in another. Nobody questions our need to engage with large countries where we may have differences on these issues. That’s true with Africa as well. We don’t improve cooperation and advance the very interest that you talk about by staying away. So we have to be in a conversation. And I think the Prime Minister will indicate that I don’t bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues, but I do so from a position of respect and regard for the Ethiopian people, and recognizing their history and the challenges that they continue to face.
With respect to our military assistance, keep in mind that we have been active in the fight against al-Shabaab for a long time now. And we’ve been partnering with Ethiopia and Kenya and Uganda and the African Union and AMISOM. And that’s something that I think those other countries would agree has been a very effective partnership. Part of the reason that we’ve seen the shrinkage of al-Shabaab’s activities in East Africa is because we have our military teams in consultation with regional forces and local forces, and there are certain capacities that we have that some of these militaries may not, and I think there’s been complementarity in the work that we’ve done together.
So we don’t need to send our own Marines, for example, in to do the fighting. The Ethiopians are tough fighters. And the Kenyans and Ugandans have been serious about putting troops on the ground, at significant sacrifice, because they recognize the importance of stabilizing the region.
That’s why, in the past, I’ve said, for example, that the work that we’re doing in Somalia is a model. Some in the press have noted that al-Shabaab is still here, and they say, well, how can that be a model if you still have bombs going off? The point that I was making at that time is not that defeating any of these terrorist networks is easy, or that the problems in Somalia are completely solved. The point I was making was that a model in which we are partnering with other countries and they are providing outstanding troops on the ground — we’re working with, in this case, the Somali government, which is still very much in its infancy, to develop its national security capacity
— so that we’re doing things that we can do uniquely but does not require us putting boots on the ground — that’s the model that we’re talking about.
And Ethiopia is an outstanding partner in that process. They have one of the most effective militaries on the continent. And as I noted in my earlier remarks, they are also one of the biggest contributors to peacekeeping. And so they’re averting a lot of bloodshed and a lot of conflict because of the effectiveness of their military, and we want to make sure that we’re supporting that.
PRIME MINISTER HAILEMARIAM: We fully understand that the perception and the reality does not, in many cases, match as far as Ethiopia is concerned. Therefore, we want to work on this issue; it’s our concern. But something has to be understood that this is a fledgling democracy, and we are coming out of centuries of undemocratic practices and culture in this country. And it’s not easy within a few decades — in our case, only two decades of democratization — that we can get rid of all this attitudinal problems, and some challenge we face. But we feel that we are on the right track, and there is a constitutional democracy which we all are obliged to observe for the sake of our own people and prosperity.
So I think this is a way that we have to work on. That’s why I said in my speech that we have to learn the best practices of the United States and age-old democracies, because this is a process of learning and doing, and I think we fully understand that. And, of course, we also know our limitations and we have to work on our limitations to make ultimately to the betterment of our own people. So I think that is a concern that we have to work on.
Barack Obama has been criticised by opposition groups and journalists in Ethiopia after referring to the country’s government as “democratically elected”, with one human rights watchdog describing the statement as “shocking”.
The US president was speaking at a joint press conference with Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian prime minister, after the two leaders held talks in the capital, Addis Ababa.
Although Obama said he had raised issues of good governance – “I don’t bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues” – he also insisted: “We are opposed to any group that is promoting the violent overthrow of a government, including the government of Ethiopia, that has been democratically elected.”
Answering questions from journalists later, Obama repeated the phrase: “We are very mindful of Ethiopia’s history – the hardships that this country has gone through. It has been relatively recently in which the constitution that was formed and the elections put forward a democratically elected government.”
Hailemariam’s party and its allies won 100% of seats in parliament two months ago. The opposition alleged the government had used authoritarian tactics to secure victory, including intimidation, arrests and violently breaking up rallies. At the time, the US said it remained “deeply concerned” by restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties and independent voices and views.
But Ethiopia remains a key security ally for the US in the fight against the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. It has also become an economic battleground with China, which has delivered huge infrastructure projects in Africa’s second most populous nation.
Critics accused Obama of granting legitimacy to the regime. Reeyot Alemu, a columnist released earlier this month after four years in jail on terrorism charges, said: “It’s not ‘democratically elected’ because there was only government media and people did not get enough information.
“They also arrested many opposition leaders and journalists. They won the election by using human rights violations. How can it be democratically elected? It is completely false. I wish Barack Obama had sent a strong message.”
Bekele Nega, general secretary of the Oromo Federalist Congress, representing Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, said: “I don’t know if democracy means robbing people’s vote and robbing their election result? They have killed people and they have taken the ballot box with them in organised fraud.”
Nega claimed his party found some of its votes thrown down a toilet, while at one polling station its victory by 800 votes to 40 was reversed to a 40-800 defeat. “I wonder if people could tolerate this in America or Britain or wherever? Is this the meaning of democracy in America? We are very sorry that Mr Obama’s comment on our election is really supporting dictators. We know the US is always looking after its own interests and will take over on the military side, sending our people to Somalia.”
Obama had let down opposition groups in Ethiopia, Nega added. “We gave support for an African-American to be elected as president of the United States. We hoped Africa and Ethiopia would benefit from Obama, but we found it to be just a mockery of democracy. We expected a lot and we lost everything.”
Obama’s statement appeared to be the closest thing to a “gaffe” he has made so far on his east African tour. He earned widespread praise in Kenya for championing both gay rights and women’s rights, challenging Africans to reconsider traditional practices including female genital mutilation. But Ethiopia’s more restrictive approach to civil liberties was always going to pose a tougher diplomatic balancing act.
Felix Horne, Ethiopia and Eritrea researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “For president Obama to suggest there is anything democratic about Ethiopia is a shocking statement. I wonder what the jailed journalists, bloggers and political prisoners think of his comments? Or the thousands of Ethiopians who have fled their country because they did not support the government? Or the 18 Muslim activists who were recently convicted under the anti-terrorism law? A truly disappointing statement from the US president.”
Rachel Nicholson, Horn of Africa campaigner at Amnesty International, added: “While President Obama described the Ethiopian government as democratically elected, the leadup to the elections saw a serious onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, undermining citizens’ right to participate in public affairs freely and without fear. Opposition political parties have continued to face harassment since the elections, including reports of the deaths of at least three opposition political figures in suspicious circumstances.”
Many journalists, bloggers and political activists remain behind bars in Ethiopia. Maya Foa, of the UK-based pressure group Reprieve, said: “It’s encouraging to hear President Obama telling Ethiopia to ‘open up space’ for opposition voices. But his praise for Ethiopia’s elections as ‘democratic’ was woefully misplaced, at a time when the government is systematically detaining and torturing leading activists such as Andy Tsege – a father of three who faces a death sentence for the mere ‘crime’ of holding democratic beliefs.”
Obama is the first sitting US president to visit Ethiopia. He praised the country’s progress in development that has lifted millions of people out of poverty, as well as its regional role in fighting al-Shabaab militants and helping peace efforts in wartorn South Sudan, the subject of talks with regional leaders later on Monday.
Speaking at the national palace originally built for emperor Haile Selassie, Hailemariam rejected criticism that his government had crushed opposition and press freedom. “Our commitment to democracy is real and not skin-deep,” he said, adding that Ethiopia is a “fledgling democracy, we are coming out of centuries of undemocratic practices”.
The country needed “ethical journalism”, he added. “For us it’s very important to be criticised, because we also get feedback to correct our mistakes. Media is one of the institutions that have to be nurtured for democracy.”
Obama’s visit to Ethiopia is rigidly organised and, although pictures of his face and US flags adorn much of Addis Ababa, there is little opportunity for interaction with the public. On Tuesday, he will also become the first US president to address the African Union, the 54-member continental bloc, at its Chinese-built headquarters.
A massive car bomb ripped through the façade of a major international hotel in Mogadishu on Sunday, killing 13 in a tragic reminder of why, exactly, President Barack Obama is visiting Somalia’s autocratic neighbor Ethiopia — this despite having said, upon his first presidential visit to the continent in 2009, that “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”
Ethiopia’s powerful military has been a vital bulwark against the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab insurgent group in Somalia, which was responsible for Sunday’s bombing in Mogadishu. But the American need for security support in an unstable East Africa comes at a cost. Despite a history of jailing journalists and holding elections widely derided as a sham — the most recent parliamentary election, in May, resulted in 100% of the seats going to the governing party — Ethiopia can now claim the de facto stamp of approval that comes with an American Presidential visit.
On the morning of July 27, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn welcomed Obama into Addis Ababa’s National Palace with the pomp and glory of an ancient empire that, unlike much of Africa, was not colonized by a European power until 1936. A large brass band, decked out in the red and green of the Ethiopian flag, played The Star-Spangled Banner and the Ethiopian national anthem as Obama and Desalegn stood at attention. Stone lions stood atop the palace portico; real ones roamed the palace’s back garden, reminders of Ethiopia’s former emperor, Haile Selassie, who took the lion as his symbol. (Obama later visited the palace lions, and joked, in a press conference, that he was “considering getting some for the White House.”) As cannons fired off a 21-gun salute, Obama inspected troops from the Ethiopian national guard in a bit of state visit formality that appeared to bore him. Then he and Desalegn entered the palace for several hours of closed-door discussions on regional security, economic development and human rights.
For many Westerners, Ethiopia still conjures up images of starvation and desperate poverty, a product of a horrific famine during the 1980s. But today Ethiopia is the second most populous state in Africa, with some 90 million people, and it has become a regional military and economic powerhouse, averaging ten percent growth over the past decade. It is home to the African Union — another reason for Obama’s visit — and is about halfway through building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which, when completed in 2017, will be the largest hydroelectric power project in Africa.
But that success on the African stage has come at a cost to civil liberties and democratic ideals. Described by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the second largest African jailer of journalists, after Eritrea, the government has detained at least nine reporters and bloggers critical of the ruling party; five were released in the weeks leading up to Obama’s visit. Prime Minister Desalegn justified the detentions in a press conference after the talks by insinuating that the journalists were unethical and aligned with terrorist groups. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have lambasted the Ethiopian government for its abysmal record on human rights, noting that members of the political opposition are regularly accused and detained on charges of terrorism. Obama, in the same press conference, said that U.S. intelligence had seen no indication that the opposition groups of most concern to the government posed a terrorist threat. “If they tip into activities that are violent and are undermining a constitutional government, then we have a concern,” he said. A vocal opposition, he added, should be seen not as a threat, but as an essential part of any functioning democracy.
But Ethiopia, bordered by the violent and faltering states Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, is also a bastion of security in a region roiled by war. It has, in the past, hosted a secretive American drone base, but it is unclear whether the U.S. is currently conducting drone operations from the area. Ethiopia is second only to Bangladesh as the largest contributor of peacekeeping troops to the United Nations, one of the largest contributors of troops to the African Union, and has one of the strongest militaries on the continent. As such, it is a country that cannot be easily dismissed — even with its spotty record on human rights.
Pressed on whether Obama’s visit to Ethiopia was consistent with American ideals of democratic freedoms and human rights, Rhodes told journalists that despite the differences between the two countries, it was more important to remain engaged. “We have a broad set of interests with the Ethiopian government that includes a commitment to raise these issues, because ultimately we believe that democracies are going to be more successful if you’re looking at promoting economic growth, economic dynamism, in combating security threats.” He went on to compare the Ethiopia visit to other presidential trips to China. “The fact of the matter is, if we only went to countries around the world who agreed with us about everything, we’d have a very short travel itinerary.”
Later in the day Obama will convene a meeting with regional leaders about the devastating civil war in South Sudan. He will be joined by Desalegn, the presidents of Kenya and Uganda, the chairwoman of the African Union and the south Sudanese foreign minister. Despite the high-powered attendees, one senior Obama administration official admitted to journalists, speaking on background per White House protocol, traveling with Obama that a positive outcome on South Sudan was unlikely. “I don’t think anybody should have high expectations that this is going to yield a breakthrough. The parties have shown themselves to be utterly indifferent to their country and their people, and that is a hard thing to rectify.”
Obama, speaking to the press, lamented that “The conditions on the ground are getting much, much worse.” And that “we don’t have a lot of time to wait.” Fighting in South Sudan has meant that farmers have not been able to plant vital crops for two seasons in a row, and the country is on the verge of famine – one caused not by drought, but by war. In order to solve the South Sudan crisis, Obama needs the help of Ethiopia, along with many other African nations with questionable human rights records. It’s not that human rights are being held hostage to security needs, Obama argues, so much that visiting a country like Ethiopia gives him the opportunity to help solve a thorny regional problem while pushing for democratic progress on the sidelines. Which works first may yet define the success of his trip.
July 25, 2015
For years, the United States has displayed a kind of split personality when it comes to Ethiopia, working closely with its government to fight designated terrorist groups like al-Shabab, while denouncing the same government for arresting journalists, suppressing dissent and making it impossible for opponents to win even a single seat in parliament.
Human rights and democracy advocates want President Barack Obama to focus on the second set of issues when he visits Ethiopia beginning late Sunday and meets with officials including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
“I don’t know how much scope the U.S. or other outsiders have to pressure the Ethiopian government to be a little bit more open and inclusive,” said Mark Bellamy, a former U.S. ambassador to Kenya, now a senior adviser on Africa for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “What I think is that this has to be discussed. We need to find a way to raise these [issues] frankly with the Ethiopian leadership and … point out that in the long run, this is going to happen one way or another in Ethiopia, and it’d be better if this opening happened in a more controlled and peaceful fashion.”
Bellamy was one of 14 analysts and advocates who signed an open letter to Obama released this week. The letter raised human rights issues in Kenya, where the president arrived Friday evening, but the signees voiced stronger concerns about Obama’s decision to go to Ethiopia. ” … [Y]our visit may send the message that the United States is giving short shrift to the profoundly repressive policies pursued by the government,” they said. “The political environment in Ethiopia is dramatically restricted, as is the ability for Ethiopians to express themselves.”
Other individuals who signed the letter are leaders and officials with groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, the Council on Foreign Relations and the United States Institute of Peace.
Earlier this month, hundreds of Ethiopian-Americans protested outside the White House, waving their native country’s flag and calling on Obama to cancel his stop in Ethiopia.
At a pre-trip news conference this week, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama would emphasize the importance of democracy and respect for rule of law and human rights during his two-nation tour.
Ethiopia’s ruling EPRDF party has imposed greater and greater restrictions on the media and political opponents since the 2005 elections, when the opposition made substantial gains and challenged the ruling party’s hold on politics. Disputes over the results triggered protests and led to violence that killed some 200 people.
In 2010, opposition parties found it hard to campaign, held back by harassment on the street, restrictions on broadcast time, and the ruling party’s dominance over the voting process. When the votes were tallied, the EPRDF and allied parties had won all but one seat in parliament. That seat was held by an independent. Opposition groups were shut out.
The 2015 election results were the same, except that the EPRDF coalition won that last elusive seat.
The opposition All Ethiopian Unity Party says the repression continues, charging that authorities have arrested more than 100 of its members this month ahead of the president’s visit. The party’s president told VOA’s Amharic service this week that few of the detainees have been brought to court. The Ethiopian government refused to comment on the arrests.
Authorities did release six detained bloggers and journalists last week, but scores of other journalists, protesters and political opposition leaders remain in jail.
U.S. criticism of Ethiopia has been muted, because of the country’s importance in combating Islamist militants in the region, especially Somalia’s al-Shabab. In 2006, Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia and ousted an Islamist movement that had seized most of the country. The troops stayed another two years and have returned periodically since to fight al-Shabab in areas near the Somali-Ethiopian border.
On Wednesday, President Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, offered only mild criticism of the outcome of the 2015 vote, saying the U.S. has “some concern for the integrity of the electoral process.”
“Ethiopia has always played a very strong hand vis-a-vis the U.S. government,” said E.J. Hogendoorn, the deputy program director for Africa at the International Crisis Group. “It has always said that its security cooperation is contingent on not too much public criticism of the government. And again, that will be a delicate balancing act for the president to play.”
Hogendoorn said the IGC believes the president should have gone to other countries like Nigeria because of its democratic elections in March. He said the president has legitimate security concerns to discuss with Ethiopia but added that “certainly, he could push Ethiopia a little harder on its record with its citizens.”
Terrence Lyons, an associate professor at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, said he thought that if the president pushed, there is a chance Ethiopia may yield.
“This trip is a big deal to Ethiopia,” he said. “This is something they want, the kind of diplomatic recognition, the kind of profile they get from hosting the president of the United States. That, I think, provides an opportunity for some leverage, some ability for the president to shape the conversation we have with Ethiopia. And that policy discussion, that debate, must include opening up political space, more room for civil society, more independent media.”
In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC’s North American Editor Jon Sopel, US President Barack Obama said a lack of changes on US gun laws was the “greatest frustration” of his presidency. Mr Obama also told the BBC what he will say about gay rights in Kenya, why his own Congress and the Gulf nations should accept the recent Iran nuclear deal, and what he expects his legacy as president will be.
Barack Obama has become the first sitting US president to visit Kenya. His next stop, Ethiopia, has a poor human rights record, but is strategically important for the US. This may temper Obama’s criticism.
In Addis Ababa, an Ethiopian prime minister will welcome a US president to his country for the first time in its history. Some Ethiopians view this as an emotional occasion. Barack Obama, one resident of Addis Ababa told DW, “should be proud to come to Ethiopia – the most ancient country in the world, the origin of Lucy, of Homo erectus, ancestor of mankind.”
Many Ethiopians hope that Obama’s visit will lead to an improvement in bilateral relations with the US. “The narrative of an emerging economic power” is the main reason why Ethiopia is on the US president’s itinerary, according to Ethiopian analyst Hallelujah Lulie. Top priority at Obama’s talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday will be given to security policy and the fight against terrorism on the Horn of Africa.
Fighting terror together
Ethiopia was always a key player in security policy in the region and on the continent at large, Lulie said. Ethiopia – like Kenya, the first stop on Obama’s tour – contributes troops to AMISOM, the African Union’s military mission in Somalia. Ethiopia also plays a major role in efforts to secure a peace deal in South Sudan. It also has growing significance as the host nation of the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa and as an active partner in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – the eight-nation regional trading bloc.
Counter-terrorism is an important plank in US foreign policy. In 2014 the US opened a drone base in Arba Minch in southern Ethiopia from where it has already launched unmanned air strikes on the militant Somali al-Shabab militia. For Washington, there appears to be no alternative to forging a partnership with Ethiopia. The sum of $490 million (447 million euros) was transferred from Washington to Addis Ababa in 2014. Observers expect the two countries to strengthen their ties further.
Democrat meets authoritarian ruler
But Ethiopia has a bleak side. “I hope that President Obama is well aware of the human rights conditions in our country and will raise this question in discussion with Ethiopian government politicians,” one Ethiopian told DW on the streets of Addis Ababa. Human rights campaigners both inside and outside Ethiopia have criticized the timing of Obama’s visit to the country.”The United States is a strong advocate of democratic, free and fair elections,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy director for Africa at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “But Ethiopia has just been through an election in which the ruling party apparently won 100 percent of the vote.” This raises questions about the circumstances surrounding the elections in May and, in a broader context, about the human rights situation in the country.
Numerous journalists and bloggers have been incarcerated in Ethiopia since the government introduced a new anti-terror bill in 2009, HRW accuses the government of misusing the legislation to silence its opponents.
Before he left for Africa, Obama said that the economic growth that the continent desired was dependent on good governance, strong democratic institutions and a vibrant civil society. He saw this trip as an opportunity to discuss these points – publicly and privately – in talks with political leaders.
Lefkow is hoping for a stronger commitment to human rights from Washington than in the past, when there was emphasis on security and development and the hope that “quiet diplomacy” would deliver on other issues. But the situation in the country has worsened in the last decade, Lefkow said. The anti-terror law has not brought more security. “The Ethiopian government cannot curb the right to freedom of expression and assembly, as it is doing at the moment, and believe that it is the best recipe for a peaceful, stable Ethiopia. That’s too short-sighted,” Lefkow said.
Observers are putting their hopes on a planned meeting between Obama and civil society groups. Which ones they will be is uncertain. Much of the Ethiopian opposition is abroad, seeking to promote change from the outside.
by John Campbell
July 22, 2015
Whatever decision the White House makes in selecting the countries included on a presidential visit to Africa, it is bound to draw critical scrutiny. On July 24, President Obama departs for a trip to Kenya and Ethiopia. Two reasons for these two countries seem immediately clear. An important focus of the trip will be the African Union (AU), which has its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held this year in Nairobi, Kenya. The AU is the lodestar of the “African solutions to African problems” policy, while the Entrepreneurship Summit demonstrates a focus on economic development. Both are policy goals keenly supported by the United States. However, there is also a symbolic significance to this decision. Many in Africa have questioned why President Obama, with a Kenyan father, has not yet visited Nairobi during his presidency. This absence has contributed to disappointment in Africa that the Obama presidency has not been particularly African in its focus.
There is also a bilateral dimension to the trip. Both countries are important strategic partners of the United States. Both have recently experienced periods of rapid economic growth. Neither is a model of good governance, though Kenya’s new constitution is a step in the right direction. Both also have blemished human rights records and a history of problematic elections.
Following Nigeria and South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya are in the second tier of African states in terms of strategic importance to the United States. Both have been on the frontlines of the struggle against terrorism and have cooperated closely with the United States on a host of issues. Both, however, appear to be on a downward trajectory with respect to human rights.
In Kenya, police and other security services commit human rights violations largely with impunity. Their methods with respect to certain minorities, such as Somalis who are Kenyan citizens, and also foreign Somalis in refugee camps, are often abusive and likely generate support for jihadist terrorist organizations like al-Shabaab. Of late, the government has sought legislation that would restrict the media and civil society that is rightly critical of the administration. Finally, Kenya has an abysmal record with respect to cooperation with the International Criminal Court, to which it has formal treaty obligations. In Ethiopia meanwhile, recent elections were a sham, and the ruling party is increasingly repressive. There are growing restrictions on the media and civil society there as well. New legislation restricts freedom of speech and association, ostensibly as anti-terrorism measures. Moreover, the Ethiopian security services already have a history of war crimes.
In Kenya and Ethiopia, the Obama administration must balance U.S. strategic interests with human rights concerns. In a period of resurgent terrorism, security issues are likely to be at the forefront. One can only hope that President Obama’s agenda will also include human rights.
Gargaarsa artist Ibrahim Adam
Artistii Oromoo jaalatamaa fi Sabboonaa Oromoo kan miidhaan hedduun irra gehee jiru Artist Ibrahim Adam. Yaroo ammaa kana dhukkubaan akkasumaas waan nyaatee dhugu dhabee yeroo akkanatti rakkatu nuti keessattuu
Warri biyya alaa jirru, ni jirra jennee dubbachuun salphina. Kanaafuu yaa ilmaan Oromoo mee waan dandeenyuun bira dhaabbannee rooba keessaa manatti haa galchinu. Erga due booda waliif boohuun bu’aa hin qabu waan ta’eef jecha.
Warra waliif galee wal bira dhaabbatu nu haa godhu Jenna.
Namni dhunfatti isa qunnamuu barbaadu lakkoofsa bilbilaa kanaan arkachuu ni dandeysan.
Complied by Fayyis Oromia
This brief about Agaw-Midir is a preliminary work to be developed further and completed by those who do have more knowledge about the Agaw people and those who are interested in the issue. Most of the information is collected from different sources about the Agaw land and people.
The country is named Agawia (phonetically, Agawiya) or Agaw-Midir. The map of Agawia is as shown here:http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2015/07/fayyis-oromia-can-the-two-biggest-nations-the-oromo-and-the-agaw-cooperate-against-the-system-of-domination-in-oromia-ethiopia/. Agawia is about 150,000-SQ-KM large. It encompasses Axum, Adwa, Tembien, Abergele, Welqayit, Tsegede, Enderta, Adigrat, Semien, Quara, Metema, Lasta, Wag and Awi; that means, in general most areas of Tigrai (excluding Raya), north Gondar, part of Gojjam (Awi) and the whole Wag-Lasta.
Agawia is located in the Horn of Africa in what is today coined as Oromia (Cushitic Ethiopia). Agawia (Agaw-Midir) is the northernmost of present Oromia’s regions containing the whole homeland of the Agaw people (including the majority, who are already assimilated toAmharinya- and Tigrinya-speakers). Its capital is Gondar (the word Gondar means ‘source of God’ in Qemantiye language). Agawia is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, Afar Region to the east and Oromo Region to the south. Besides Gondar and Meqele, other major towns and cities in Agawia include Injibara, Dangila, Debarq, Metema, Dabat, Lalibela, Seqota, Abiy Addi, Adigrat, Adwa, Aksum, Humera, Inda Selassie, Maychew, Wukro, Qwiha and Zalambessa, as well as the historically significant village of Yeha.
NB: Oromia = formerly Ethiopia as defined here – http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2014/12/fayyis-oromia-why-not-the-union-state-of-oromia-as-an-optimal-solution-for-the-majority-at-the-center/ – is a union in which the following five points (FADOB-score) will be implemented: F = Freedom from the system of domination; A = Afan Oromo as a working language of federal government;D = Democracy as rule of game in the union; O = ‘Oromia’ instead of ‘Ethiopia’ as name of the union; and B = Black-Red-White as Cushitic flag of the union. This Upper Nile country called ‘Oromia’ by the native owners of the land is used to be named as ‘Abyssinia’ by the Portuguese; ‘Kushland’ by the Jews; ‘Ardulhabesh’ by the Arabs; ‘Punt’ by the Egyptians; and ‘Ethiopia’ by the Greeks.
Agawia is the mother of some civilizations in the Horn of Africa. It is the source of the Geez fidel, and the first African country to accept Christainity and Islam. Agawia is the land of Atse Theodros, Fasil Palace, Qidoos Yaryed, Axum, Yeha and Wuqro Negash. It is the land of dauntless emperors, such as Ezana, Kaleb, Armaha, Abraha, Elamda, Almeda, Zera Yakob, Theodros, Yohannes, and some heroes likeRas Alula, General Hayelom and much more. Agawia is the home of the Ark of the Covenant, the land of the just, brave, free and fair. The Agaw people have a lot to be proud of. Above all, they survived the 3000 years de-Agawization (de-Cushitization) process in their country.
– Waldoota Hawaasa Oromoo Addunyaa
– Oromoota Biyyoota Addunyaa irra facatanii jiraattan maraaf
Irraa: Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Minesootaa, USA
465 Mackubin Street St Paul, Minnesota, 55103
Tel: (651) 751-3040; Fax: (651) 224-1786
Dhimmi isaa: Ibsa waa’ee Guyyaa ‘Oromia Diaspora Festival’ jechuudhaan Wayyaanee fi OPDOn ayyaana qopheessaa jiran ilaala
Yeroo ammaa kanatti Motummaa Wayyaaneen kan bulfamu Itiyoophiyaa keessatti mootummaan naannnoo Oromiyaa Guyyaa Diyaasporaa Oromiyaa jechuudhaan ayyaana akka qopheessaa jiru ni yaadatama. Ayyaanni kun “Oromia Diaspora Festival” jechuudhaan gaafa Hagayya 3-10tti akka ayyaaneffatamu ibsi karaa Embassy Itiyophiyaa baafame ni agarsiisa.
Kanaaf Ayyaanni kun kan qopheeffameef Oromoota biyya ambaa keessa faca’anii jiraatan gidduutti wal-shakkii fi wal-dhibdee uumuuf kan karoorfate tahuu hubattannii Oromoonni marti ayyaana kana irraa akka qooda hin fudhanne isiniif dhaamaa, mootummaan Wayyaanee yeroo ammaa kana lafa ilmaan qotee bulaa Oromoo if saboota biro irraa buqqisee maqaa misoomaan gurgurataa akka jiruu fi “kottaa lafa mana irratti ijaarrattan isiniif kenninaa” jechuudhaan lafa qabiyyee Oromoo taheen Oromoota akka gowwomsaa jirtu beekuun barbaachisaa dha jennee amanna.
Waldaan Hawaasa Oromoo Minesootaa guyyaan Oromia Diaspora Festival jedhamee Adaamaa-Oromiyaatti kabajamuuf qopheeffame kun guyyaa lafti ilmaan Oromoo irraa fudhatamee ilmaan jala-deemtota Wayyaaneef kennamuuf karoorfate tahuu beektanii qooda irraa fudhachuu irraa akka of-qusattan dhaamsa isaa ni dabarsa. Dhaamsa kana irra tarkaanfattaanii yoo qooda irraa fudhattan garuu itti gaafatama seenaa jalaa akka hin baane hubachiisuu feena.
Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Minesootaa
Sait Paul, Minesootaa, USA
Koree Gumii Irreechaa gidduu gala Awurooppaa irraa
Jaallatammoo fi Kabajamoo Ilmaan Oromoo biyyoota Awuroppaa keessa jirattan hundaaf!!
Hunda dura nagaan keenya kabajaa fi ulfinaa isiin haaga’uu jechaa, Koreen Gumii Irreechaa gidduu gala Awurooppaa, Onkloolessa 3, 2015 Magaalaa Amsterdaamitti ayyaana irreechaa haala ho’aan kabajuudhaaf, qophii keenya xumurreerra. Kanaafuu Sagantaa kana irraa akka qooda fudhaatan gammachuun isiin affeerra.
Guyyaa seena qabeessa kanarratti tokkuummaan walitti dhufnee,gamtaa keenya jabeeffannee, Irreecha Mallattoo Aadaa Tokkummaa Oromummaa ta’e kana midhagsinee akka kabajannu Koreen Guumii Irreechaa Neezerlands irra deebi’aa waamicha kabajaa isiniif godheera. Guyyaa kana Midiyaalee gara garaan, aadaa keenya Addunyaattii beeksisuuf qophirra waan jirruuf, marti keessan Uffannaa Aaadaa Orommoo uffachuu hindagatina.
Sa’aa /yeroo : 12.00 (guyyaa walkkaa) – 1.00 (halkan walakkaa)
Bakki Irreechaa Hora Gaasperplasdam, Magaalaa Amsterdam– Netherlands (Bakkuma waggoota sadan darban itti irreeffanne)
® Haalli irreeffannaa bakka kanatti sa’aa 12.00 – 16.00 tti ta’a.
✓ Sagantaa Irbaata 18.00 – 19.00
Sa’aa 19.00 – 1.00 Sagantaa Bashannana Artistoota oromoon beekamoo fi jaallatamoon.
Namni Aadaa hinqabnee garbicha “( Hayyuu Argaa Dhageettii oromoo Obbo Dabbasaa Guyyoo)”
Waamicha Kabaja Ayyanna Irreechaa kan bara 2015 Amsterdaam (<<<< .pdf banachuuf as tuqaa)
Qe’ee Oromoo (OBS)
WikiLeaks, show that Hacking Team was selling its products to nations with records of human rights abuses, including Ethiopia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Azerbaijan. An Italian company that sells surveillance software to governments and law enforcement agencies worldwide was negotiating to provide an Orlando police agency with spyware technology that infiltrates phones and computers, according to emails just released. The technology, developed by Hacking Team, can monitor conversations and emails, and even turn phones and laptops into surveillance devices by remotely activating cameras and microphones.
Hacking Team was compromised in a data breach on July 5, when unknown hackers posted a link to download more than 400 gigabytes of company data. A message on Hacking Team’s hijacked Twitter account read: “Since we have nothing to hide, we’re publishing all our e-mails, files, and source code.” The emails and files, which have since been catalogued by WikiLeaks, show that Hacking Team was selling its products to nations with records of human rights abuses, including Ethiopia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Azerbaijan.
This year, according to the leaked emails, Hacking Team was looking to enter the large market of local police agencies in the United States. One of the most promising areas for Hacking Team’s expansion was Florida.
On April 22, Agent Randall Pennington of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation — a major-crimes task force that covers Orange and Osceola counties — emailed Hacking Team: “We are a law enforcement task force located in Orlando, Florida. I would like to speak with someone regarding your products.” Within a month, a Hacking Team employee, Daniele Milan, flew from Italy to Orlando to meet with four MBI agents, including the director, Larry Zweig. According to an email Milan sent his co-workers, MBI wanted to increase its surveillance capability. Budget wasn’t a concern, the MBI officials said, even though a leaked company invoice shows Hacking Team services can cost more than $400,000.
Instead, the Orlando law enforcement agents were most concerned about laws that prevent bulk surveillance activities and the collection of information from people who are not targets of investigation.
“The main concern was the federal legal framework they have to comply with (Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets act of 1968) which imposes `minimization’ of the calls and messages (i.e., deleting portions which are not relevant to the speech),” Milan wrote to co-workers on May 21.
Zwieg told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday the task force never bought anything from Hacking Team. He declined to say what exactly MBI was trying to purchase from the company. But Zwieg did say MBI wants to have programs that are able to track drug and human trafficking organizations who use apps such as Snapchat to communicate.
Hacking Team’s surveillance software, as originally designed, would have provided information about everyone with whom the target of the investigation communicated. To comply with a search warrant, MBI needed Hacking Team to prevent the transfer of information they are not allowed to receive under the law — to minimize the data.
“We tried to identify ways to go around this,” Milan explained in the email.
If Hacking Team was to enter the state and local law enforcement market in the United States, the company needed to develop a minimization system, Milan added.
Milan and the MBI employees agreed that they would meet again during an upcoming industry conference in North Carolina so that Hacking Team could demonstrate the modified software. That meeting, according to a company spreadsheet labeled “U.S. Action Plan,” was scheduled for July 21. The Hacking Team spreadsheet lists MBI’s “temperature” — the perceived interest in purchasing surveillance products — as green, with a smiley face emoticon.
MBI referred Florida Center for Investigative Reporting’s questions to Lt. Mike Gibson, who was among the four agents to meet with Hacking Team in May, according to the leaked emails. Gibson did not respond to requests for comment.
While this is the first documented contact between Florida law enforcement and Hacking Team, Florida agencies have not been shy about deploying aggressive surveillance technologies.
In February, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report that documented how cell site simulators, known as StingRay, have become increasingly popular among Florida police. The technology, which is manufactured by Harris Corporation of Melbourne, fools a cell phone into thinking it is communicating with a service tower. The cell phone then sends location and other data to law enforcement agencies, allowing police to track someone’s movements. This type of surveillance does not require a warrant or probable cause.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office conducted 558 investigations from 2008 to 2014 in which StingRay technology may have been used, and the Miami-Dade Police Department used StingRay in 59 closed criminal cases during a one-year period ending in May 2014, according to the ACLU report.
In Tallahassee, the secret use of a StingRay device compromised the prosecution of Tadrae McKenzie, a 20-year-old who was charged with robbery with a deadly weapon. After a state judge ordered police to show the StingRay device to McKenzie’s defense lawyers, prosecutors offered a sweetheart deal — just six months probation after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor — to avoid having to turn over the surveillance device.
Now that Hacking Team’s email and source codes have spilled online, the company’s future business, including with Florida law enforcement, is uncertain. That outcome is something the company’s chief executive officer joked about in an email last month when he instructed an employee not to allow a demonstration to be recorded.
“Imagine this: a leak on WikiLeaks showing you explaining the evilest technology on earth!” David Vincenzetti wrote to several employees on June 7.
He ended the sentence with a smiley face emoticon, then added:
“You would be demonized.”
Now we know what it takes to get your hacking tools taken away if you’re a repressive government.
It’s not enough to get caught spying on U.S.-based journalists — or even to have the story plastered on the front page of a major U.S. newspaper. But if you get caught doing it again because of your own sloppiness, that may just be enough to shame your vendor into cutting you off.
That’s what the public is now learning from a massive trove of e-mails and documents released online this week from Italian company Hacking Team, which was itself hacked.
Hacking Team is part of a burgeoning commercial surveillance industry that critics allege sells hacking tools once reserved for the most advanced intelligence agencies to any country that can pay. The company has long had a policy of not identifying its customers and has responded to previous reports of abuse by saying it has an internal process for responding to allegations of human rights abuses.
The e-mail cache, now archived by WikiLeaks, appears to show that the company relied on a biannual report from an international law firm to determine which countries it can legally sell its products and faced pressure from the United Nations and the Italian government over business relationships with repressive regimes. Last fall, the company briefly faced a ban on the export of its products by the Italian government, according to the e-mails. Around the same time, the company’s chief operating officer wrote in an e-mail that it had suspended Sudan as a client and that it was a “sensitive” time for the company.
But e-mails sent in the aftermath of a March report about Hacking Team tools being used by the Ethiopian government to target journalists based in the United States appear to show that the sloppiness of their Ethiopian customers, which exposed the use of the company’s technology, was a bigger concern for the company than potential human rights violations. And later, the company tried to secure a new contract with the country.
Researchers with Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs discovered traces of Hacking Team’s tools on the computers of U.S.-based Ethiopian journalists, as reported in a front-page story by The Post in February of 2014. The Ethiopian government has a notoriously poor track record on freedom of the press, and Ethiopians living abroad play a significant role in providing independent news coverage of the country’s domestic situation.
At the time, Ethiopia denied using Hacking Team’s products. The government did not respond to a request for comment for the story.
This March, Citizen Lab published evidence that Hacking Team spyware had again been used to target Ethiopian journalists in the United States — and the software appeared to have been updated since the earlier attacks were disclosed, suggesting that the company had continued to support the Ethiopian government as a client even after reports of abuse.
Hacking Team declined to confirm its relationship with the company at the time, telling The Post that “assertions that may seem perfectly obvious to some can be extremely difficult to actually prove.” But internally, there was little debate about the accuracy of the Citizen Lab report.
“[T]hey know they are right,” wrote one software architect for the company, according to the e-mails. “[E]very technician reading the report will come to the same conclusions.” The “infrastructure” supporting Ethiopia was shut down after Hacking Team reviewed the report, according to the e-mails.
But the ensuing internal investigation appeared limited. The company did send an inquiry to their contact with Ethiopia’s Information Network Security Agency about the allegations, according to the e-mails. The Ethiopian agent argued that the target was a member of an opposition political movement that the government had declared a terrorist group and that the government did not consider him a journalist, the e-mails said.
The response seemed to satisfy Hacking Team, with Chief Operating Officer Giancarlo Russo writing that it “seems that from a legal point of view they are compliant with their own law.”
Still, concerns remained about the financial fallout from Ethiopia’s use of the Hacking Team products. “I think that we all agree that we should interrupt any business with them due to the recurring media exposure and resulting technical issues,” Operations Manager Daniele Milan wrote in an e-mail.
“The issue is their incompetent use of [HackingTeam] tools,” wrote Hacking Team communications chief Eric Rabe, who is also affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, in the e-mails. “They can argue about whether their target was a justified target or not, but their use of the tool several times from the same email address, and in repeatedly targeting and failing to get access is what caused the exposure of our technology.”
The internal reaction reveals a lot about the company’s priorities, said Bill Marczak, one of the researchers who worked on the Citizen Lab reports. “Their primary concern seems to have been not getting caught again,” he said.
The e-mails represent only part of the company’s discussion, Rabe told The Post in a statement, and the company was “justifiably concerned” by the Citizen Lab reports that Ethiopia was using its technology for political rather than law enforcement purposes. “While many opinions were expressed reaching a decision, the fact is that Hacking Team suspended the use of our system by this client in late 2014 and then ended our relationship altogether in 2015,” he said. “The company rejected [a] subsequent argument that a new restricted contract could be reached.”
But the e-mails suggest that Ethiopia did not lose access to spying capabilities until March. Pressed on the apparent discrepancy, Rabe said that the suspension meant that the Ethiopian government “would still have had some ability to collect data from existing surveillance” but could not select new targets and that a complete cutoff did not occur until this year.
Hacking Team, he said, was concerned after the February 2014 Citizen Lab report on Ethiopia’s use of its tools and had a “protracted series of discussions” with the client. “Ultimately, we were unable to determine the actual facts of the case,” Rabe said.
But the company realized “the client’s activity risked exposing our system not just for this client, but also possibly for others,” so it took steps to protect the systems from detection, he said. Hacking Team also warned Ethiopia to use the system only for law enforcement purposes and required additional training for operators of the system, according to Rabe.
There does appear to have been a contract dispute in late 2014, with more training and a new user agreement being promoted by Hacking Team and the Ethiopian contact complaining about the “bad performance” of the company’s system, according to the e-mails.
However, the messages also show that Hacking Team continued to negotiate with Ethiopia before and after the March 2015 Citizen Lab report.
In May, the company offered Ethiopia a contract with more on the ground training and supervision at a hefty price tag, according to the e-mails. The country continued to have at least some limited access to data within Hacking Team’s systems until June, when a “read-only” license provided to Ethiopia expired, according to the e-mails — and as recently as the beginning of July, some inside the company were hoping to keep it on board as a client.
“I would like them to renew,” an account manager wrote in a July 1 e-mail checking on the country’s status.
The founder of cybersecurity firm Hacking Team has finally spoken out over the attack that saw 400GB of its data dumped on the internet, insisting: “We’re the good guys”.
David Vincenzetti, 47, founder of the Milan-based company, told Italian newspaper La Stampa that the cyber attack – which saw the code for companies hacking tools and its email archive published online – was not enabled by poor security or weak passwords and that it could have only been an organisation “at the governmental level”.
Vincenzetti said: “This is not an impromptu initiative: the attack was planned for months, with significant resources, the extraction of data took a long time.” But he did not explain how Hacking Team apparently failed to notice the attack while it was taking place.
In response to concerns that Hacking Team supplied tools to repressive states which could be used to hack into and spy on almost anyone, Vincenzetti said: “We did [sell tools to Libya] when suddenly it seemed that the Libyans had become our best friends.” He also admitted providing tools to Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco and Sudan, as exposed by the company’s email archive, though denied dealing with Syria.
But Vincenzetti said: “The geopolitical changes rapidly, and sometimes situations evolve. But we do not trade in weapons, we do not sell guns that can be used for years.” He said that without regular updates its tools are rapidly blocked by cyber security countermeasures.
In the case of the Ethiopian government, which used Hacking Team tools to spy on journalists and activists, Vincenzetti said: “We’re the good guys … when we heard that Galileo had been used to spy on a journalist in opposition of the government, we asked about this, and finally decided to stop supplying them in 2014.”
Meanwhile, the impact of the Hacking Team data dump continues to affect wider cubersecurity. A further two vulnerabilities within Adobe’s Flash plugin have been exposed and are actively being exploited as a result of the attack, Adobe has confirmed.
It’s never an easy decision: Should I interview someone who wants to talk in public, but who knows that a word out of line could mean arrest and imprisonment?
I’ve wrestled with the issue before in Myanmar, also known as Burma, Zimbabwe, Iraq and elsewhere.
Ethiopian journalist Tesfalem Waldyes sat in a hotel in Addis Ababa last weekend, and decided it was necessary to speak out.
“I’m afraid. I’m still scared that I might go back to prison… Maybe today, maybe this afternoon.
“[Journalism here] is a very dangerous job, because there’s this red line that was marked by the government, and we don’t know when we crossed that red line,” he said.
Last week Mr Tesfalem was unexpectedly released from a remand prison outside the capital, along with four colleagues.
He and eight other bloggers and journalists had been imprisoned for well over a year, facing trial under Ethiopian anti-terrorism legislation – accused of working with forces seeking to overthrow the state.
“It’s totally absurd…. Our work has appeared in newspapers, magazines.
“We are only doing our jobs,” he said, declining to speculate on whether the timing of his release was linked to a big UN development summit being hosted in Ethiopia this week, or President Barack Obama’s visit later in the month.
Mr Tesfalem said he did not want to talk about prison conditions, for fear of provoking Ethiopia’s government, but he was motivated to speak out on behalf of the four journalists still in detention.
“I beg all the international community, all concerned people… to push, to keep pushing… for the release of our friends.
“The charges are very similar. There is no difference between me and those guys who are still languishing in prison,” he said.
Ethiopia is a de facto one party state, after the governing EPRDF won every parliamentary seat in May’s election.
Although it has presided over extraordinary economic growth, and a rapid reduction in extreme poverty and child mortality in the past decade, it is regularly criticised for human rights abuses, and is often ranked as one the world’s “most censored” countries.
13. 07. 15
“Yaa Mootummaa gurraacha Turaa
Alambaqqaa buutee na duraa
Alambaqqaa buutee na duraa?
“UTUBAA FI DAGALEE”
SEENAA Y.G (2005)
Mana ijaaramu tokkof UTUBAA FI DAGALEETU hundeedha. Utubaan qophaa isaa dhaabbatee Mana ta’uu hin danda’u. Dagaleenis akkasuma. lameen isaanii adda baasanii mana ijaaruun habjuudha. Ijaarsi Manneen durii, Utubaa fi Dagalee irratti hundaa’an. Kan hammayyaa har’aa ammoo , Kolamii (colum) fi Biimii (Beem) irratti hundaa’an . haalli hojii isaanii baraan adda haa ba’an malee, faayidaan isaanii tokkuma. Dagalee fi Utubaan durii garuu, isa hammayyaa har’aaf bu’ura waan ta’aniif, Kaayyoo barruu kanaaf filadheera.
Manni Utubaa malee, Utubaan Dagalee malee hiikkaa hin qaban. Utubaan qophaa isaa ijaajjee, waan mana sanaaf tolu baadhatee mana fakkeessuu hin danda’u. Dagaleenis Utubaa malee, qilleensa irratti dagalfamee waan mana sanaaf tolu walitti qabuu hin danda’au. waan waliif Umame kana adda baasanii dhimma itti ba’uun, baayyee rakkisaa qofaa odoo hin taanee, hin danda’amu jechuutu salaphata. Ijaarsa manaa keessatti , hojiin Utubaa fi dagalee walitti hidhuu gaggeeffamu tollaan , dhumni manichaas tolaa ta’a. Utubaa fi dagalee bakka malee, yoo walitti hidhan, YKN maal na dhibeen yoo ijaaran, umurii manichaa gabaabsuu qofaa ta’a. Walumaa galatti, UTUBAA FI DAGALEEN ijaarsa Mana tokko keessatti bakka ol aanaa ni qabaatu. Mana waggaa dheeraa ykn dhalootaaf dabru ijaaruuf, jabinni fi Ijaarsi isaanii isaaniin murtaa’a. Akkasuma, Ijaarsi Utubaa fi Dagalee irratti tollaan, qaamoota manichaaf barbaachisan hundi akka tolan hin shakkisiisu jennee haa xumurru.
Sabni akka keenya Gabrummaa jala jiru, Gabrummaa jalaa ba’uuf , Qabsaa’uun waan hin hafne. Qabsoo kana gaggeeffachuuf, yaadi Nam-tokkeen (akka dhuunfaatti) eegale , booda irra gurmuu ykn tokkummaan qabsoo gaggeessutti ce’uun isaas waan hin hafne. Kunis deemee deemee dhaaba Siyaasaa ijaarrachuutti deema yk ce’a. Qabsoon Ummata Oromoos adeemsuma akkasii keessa qaxxaamuree, sadarkaa har’a irra jiru ga’ee jira. Namoonni “waan harka isaaniin hin keenye barbaadan”, Qabsoon kun sadarkaa inni irra jiru yennaa “Xiinxalan”, bakkuma itti mul’ate ykn ammuma iji isaanii argitu irra ka’aan. Waan ofii keessa hin jirre tokko xiinxaluun rakkisaadha. Waan of irraa darbatanii gatan, ykn keessaa of moggeessan tokko sadarkaa itti baasun ulfaataadha. Akka Kiyyatti, dura bakka ofii jiran ilaalanii, Qabsoon tun deeggarsa kiyyaa fi Ilmaan Oromoo malee, eessallee hin geessuu jedhanii, bakka yaannu geesisuuf shoora ofii gumaachuu irratti xiyyeeffachuutu dansaadha jedheen amana. Mata duree bal’aa fi ragaa hedduu tarrisuu barbaaduu kana yeroo itti eeggachaa, mata duree UTUBAA FI DAGALEETTI haa deebinu.
Yoo Oromoon gurmuu isaa tolfatee, sochii irraa eegamu yoo guuttatee, carraan Injifannoo isaa goonfachuuf qabu, hedduu bal’aadha. Hojii diina irratti hojjannu caalaa, halakanii fi guyyaa hojjachuu ka qabnu, keessa keenya jabeeffachuudha. Diinni diinuma . Diinaaf waan barbaachisu har’a wal hin gaafannu. Walis hin gorsinu. Waan keessa dabarree irraa waa hedduu barannee jirra. Kana dhugeessuuf sochiileen hedduu Nama dhuunfaa kaasee hanga dhaabaatti dabrees , hanga Ummataattu hojjataman hedduutu mul’ataa jira. Kanneen keessaa, milkaa’iina Qabsoo Oromoo fi jabiina qabsoo keenyaaf Utubaa kan ta’uu, Dhaabbilee Siyaayaa Oromoo kaayyoo fi galiin isaanii tokko ta’ee walitti dhufanii wal jabeeffachuu fi tokkummaan Diina irratti xiyyeeffachuuf sochiin taasifamudha. Namoonni hedduun, Araarrii fi Gurmuu jiru tokkomsuun yeroo akka fudhateetti yennaa dubbatan dhageenya. Arginas. Qabsoo Oromoos akkasuma. Akka kiyyatti, Araara boodallee, Qabsoon Oromoo Injifannoon galuuf, yeroo fudhachuu akka danda’utu natti mul’ata. Injifannoo Qabsoo saba tokkoo, Injifannoo Fiilmii keessaa, yeroo gabaabaatti goonfatamtu agarree tilmaamna yoo ta’ee, kun dogoggora mataa keenyaati. Qabsoo Ummata Addunyaa keenya irraa qorannee fi calallee dubbanna ykn waan qabsoon keenya keessa dabre, maaliif harkifate ? rakkoo maaliitu isa qabee ture ? dhuguma hanqina hogganootaa moo , gantootaa bara baraan humna dhaabaa laamsheessanii fi iccittii dhaabaa dabarsanii warra kennanii dhaabicha miidhatu qabsichi akka harkifatu taasisee ? kkf akka gaaritti quncisanii gilgaalanii ka’anii , yaada ofii laachuutu baroodha malee, Xiinxalli funyaanii hanga Afaanii kun furmaata hin taatu. Araarri har’aas kanuma. Waan boruu diigamu tolchu irra , waan jabaa yeroo fudhatanii hojjachuutu gaariidha. Kana yemmuun jedhu, Hogganoonni dhaaba siyaasaa addunyaa keenyaa akkuma hanqinaa fi jabiina, murannoo fi dhibaa’ummaa akkuma qaban, keenya biras jiraachuun waan hin Oolle. Isaanis qaamuama addunyaa keenyaa waan ta’aniif.
Shaabiyaan har’a addunyaan itti duulaa jirtu fi Ummata isaaf Mootummaa dhaabee Biyya Bulchaa jiru, bara qabsoo irra turan, hangam akka wal miidhanii fi wal qajeelchan seenaa isaanii kan beekutu ragaadha. Wal qulqulleessuu fi akeeka ifaa qabachuudhaaf sochii taasisan keessatti, Hogganni isaanii muraasi fi Namoota muratoo meeqaan ka’anii , Alaabaa Mataa isaanii Addunyaa irratti akka dhaabbatan, ammas, Seenaa isaaniitu ragaadha. wayyaaneen har’a Ummata keenya fixxee jiraachuun kaayyoo tokkoffaa taasifattee hojjachaa jirtu , bara bosona keessa turan, walii isaanii galaafachaa fi ari’aa dhuma irra Nama torba qofaan akka haaraatti qabsoo eegalanii har’a eessa akka jiran walitti hin himnu. Tarii wal ajjeesuun isaanii , deebi’anii ka’uuf yeroo gabaabsee ta’a. wal irra aanuuf wal galaafachuun isaanii garuu, har’a wal unkuruu fi ijaa wal ba’uuf keessa keessaan wal galaafachuu wayyaaneef, sababaa ta’ee jira. Keenya daandii kana irra hin jiru ta’a. hegareen isaa garuu tolaa ta’a jedheen yaada. Yoo xiqqaate haloo gosummaa sanaaf qoricha ta’a, ta’a.
Kanaaf, Araara kana, qabsoo kana gara tokkotti luucceessuuf hawwii qabnu irraa qeeqna yoo taatee, Hawwiin eessaanu nama hin geessu. Haala amma keessa jirruu fi sadarkaa dhalli Oromoo qaamaa qalbii itti jiru yennaan ilaalu, Oromoon Addunyaa irra jiru Kaayyoo tokko jalattu odoo hiriiree, waan barbaannu hin argannu. Dhugaa jiru hubatanii bakka jiran beekuutu marxifatanii hojjachuutu, galii keenya gabaabsa. Oromoon har’a , yaadaan tokko ta’uu qofa irratti hojjachaa jira. Inni iyyuu jabiinaan yoo irratti hojjatame bakka barbaadamu ga’a. kan nu barbaachisu, yaadaaan qofaa mitii, qaamaan tokko ta’uudha. qalbiin qofti yoo yaaddee , yaaduma taati. Qaamaan wal bira dhaabbachuu yoo hin murteeffatiin, bakka yaadnu hin geenyu. Diinni nu dura dhaabbatee jiru, qalbii qofaan akka wal iyyaafannu fi dubbachuu qofaan akka jiraannu barbaada. Inni garuu, qaamaan nu keessa jiraachaa jira. Waan qaamaan nu keessa jiru of keessaa baasuuf, qaamaan Utubaa fi Dagalee waliif ta’anii of irraa dhiibuu qofaatu furmaata. Wayyaanee caalaa Qabsoo keenyaaf gaadidduu guddaan , humnoota alaati. Wayyaanee irratti humna ta’uuf , keessa keenya jabeeffachuu, wayyaanee humna buusuuf sochii harka kudhanii humnoota alaa irratti hojjachuutu nurraa eegama. Kana akka salphaatti ialaaluu hin qabnu. Kun hundi hojii keenyadha. Akka kanaan of ilaaluun gaarii. Carraan Filitsixeemootaa, harka Abbootii irree addunyaa keessa gangalataa jirtu kun nu bira ga’uu akka hin hafnee hubannee adeemsa keenya bal’ifatanii irratti hojjachuun fardii ta’uu beekuun baroodha. Kana hubachuu kan qabu hoggana qofaa odoo hin taanee dhalooti qubee fi Qeerroo kana qalbifachuu qaba.
Qabsoon waan qabatamaadha. Waan hojiidhaan mul’atuu qabuudha. Kana dhugeessuuf warra har’a nu gabroomse irraa barachuu dandeenya. Kanaaf yaadaa fi hawwii keessaa ba’uu nu barbaachisa. Araarri maa dheeratee ? odoo hin taanee, waan araara achi fageessan irraa of qusachuutu dansaadha. Waggoota muraasa boodas araara biraaf akka hin teenyef, har’a qulqullaa’uu qabna.Akka kiyyatti araarri kun, dhuma irra akka milkaa’u hin shakku. Warri Araara kana milkeessuuf ifaajjanis, Araara kanaaf carraa kennanii irratti hojjachuuf malee, qabsoon kun araara kana malee hin milkaa’uu jedhanii irratti of gatanii akka hin jirreetu natti mul’ata. Ammi qabsoo murannoon gaggeessutti muratee, Bilisummaan Oromoo Diina of irraa kaasuu qofaan kan mirkanaa’uu odoo hin taanee , diina dura iyyuu, Oromoo ta’anii kanneen Oromoo gabroomsu fi gabrummaaf dabarsanii kennan irraa Bilisoomun barbaachisaa akka ta’uu, karaa qulqulleessuu akka mijatuufitti kan hojjatan natti fakkaata.
Araarri har’a kun dhaloota boriif illee bu’ura kan kaa’uu waan ta’eef , jarjaruu dhiifnee, milkaa’uu fi dhaloota itti aanuuf illee akka fayyadutti tokkon tokko keenya waan irratti hojjachuu qabnu waa hedduudha. Ani yeroo fudhachuun araara kanaa na hin yaaddeessu. Araara haadha warraa fi Abbaa warraa gidduutti gaggeeffamutti yoo fudhannee ta’ee, dhugaadha dheerateera. Qabeenyaaf jecha kanneen wal ajjeesan araarsuu yoo nutti fakkaates, dhugaadha yeroo fudhateera. Araarri fi gurmuu qabsaa’oonni ummachuuf itti jiran garuu, kan Seenaan isaan gaafachiisu illee akka ta’uu beeku barbaachisa. HUNDEESSITOOTAA FI QABSAA’OOTA walitti fidanii , atis dhiisii, ati ammoo kana godhii jedhanii, akka siinaaf tolutti waan hundaa gabaabsuun ni danda’ama. Garuu waan yeroo itti fudhatanii hojjatan hedduutu jira. Kaayyoo tokko kanneen qaban walitti fidanii akka haaraatti ijaaru irra , warra kaayyoon wal hin fakkaannee wal taasisuutu salphata. Yaada adeemsa kee gabaabsitee, dhaabuma tokko fi lama walitti baqisitee, caasaa haaraa ijaarree ega jettee booda, tokko ammoo bor anaanis na makaa yoo jedhe, caasaa kaleessa ijaarte keessa deebitee akka ilaaltu si dirqisiisuu, kana odoo hin raawwatiin kanneen biros yaada wal fakkaataa yoo dhiheessan ammas waan ijaarte deebistee akka diigdu beekuun gaariidha. Kana hunda irra, yaada waloo warra qabu walitti fidanii haala mijeessuu, isa bubbulee dubbiin isaaf galus yeroo laatteefii eeguutu filatamaadha. irra jireessi Oromoo Ilmaan qotee bulaati. Maarree midhaan yeroo isaa malee firii kennu argee beekaa ? biqiltuu Bishaanii fi biyyee itti guurreef yeroo isaanii malee waan barbaannu nu kennuu ykn guddatu ? kun inumaa dubbi umamaa gufu hin qabneeti. Dubbii Namaa ammoo maal of keessaa akka qabu maa hubachuu dadhabna .
Anaan Araarri xumura dhabuu yk yeroo fudhachuu isaatu na yaaddeessa miti jedheera. kan na yaaddeessu, dubbii UTUBAA FI DAGALEETI. Anaaf Utubaan Dhaaba siyaasaa tokko , Hoggana jedheen amana. Dhaaba tokko hundeessuuf kanneen karaa eegalan Hogganuma ta’an. Miseensi ammoo, Dagaleedha jedheen fudha. Jabiina dhaaba tokkof qaamni kun lameen hundeedha. Hogganaa fi miseensatu wal utubee , waliin hojjatee miseensa biraa ykn Hoggana biraa ykn deeggaraa fi Ummata qabsicha waliin dhaabbatu horata. Kun Falaasama qofaa odoo hin taanee dhugaadha. Maaliif jennaan Utubaa fi Dagaleen Mana tokko ijaaruuf dhaabbatan. Hogganni fi miseensoonni qabsoo Oromoos Manuma Oromoo Ijaaruuf waliin jiran. Qajeeluun Utubaa Manaa Dagalee simachuufis qajeelaa ta’a. dagalee qajeelaa fi jabaanis, Foddaa fi baatii ykn waan biraa baadhachuuf tola. Waliif tolanii mana ijaaran bareechan. Hogganni mana Oromoo ijaaruuf, warri kaayyoo tokko qabnu waliin haa dhaabbannu jedhanii yennaa ifaajjan, Miseensi ibsa isaan baasan deeggaruu qofaa odoo hin taanee, innis sadarkaa isaatti kan jiru giddutti maal uumuu akka danda’u itti yaadu qaba. Hogganni qofti qajeeleef dubbiin xumura argate jechuun hin danda’amu. Hogganni wal dhibdee fi garaagarummaa dhiphisaa jira taanaan , Miseensis waan miseensaa fi warra waliin hojjatu hundaa waliin waan gubbaati raawwatame raawwachuuf ifaajjuu qaba. Hogganni wal dhabdee hadhaawaa bulfatee, qabsicha tarkaanfachiisuuf dursa kennuu murteeffachuu yennaa labsuu, Miseensi, waldaaleen, Kominiitiin, kkf,waan eebbifamaa qabsichaaf tolu hordofuu qabu.
Bakka jiranitti, dubbii boruu guddattee sadarkaa Dhaabaatti rakkoo uumtu, miseensummaatti of keessaa baasuutu tola. Miseensi har’aa , Hogganaa hegaree waan ta’eef. Rakkoon miseensummaatti hin tollee, miseensaa waliin guddachuu ykn isa waliin Hoogana ta’uu hin qabdu. Qabsoon akka milkaa’uuf, sababaa gara garaan kan walirraa fagaate hammatee , furmaata buqqaasaaf kan tattaafatu hoggana qofaa miti. miseensii fi hogganni gadi aanaa hundumtuu waan jiru hundumaa qabbaneessuu fi toora tokkotti galchuuf irratti hojjachuun murteessaadha. Araara dhaloota itti aanuuf furmaata ta’u argamsiisuuf, dhalooti boruu Hogganummaa dhaalu, dhibdee hangafoota isaanii rakkoof saaxilte, har’uma of keessaa buqqisuu qaban. Araara Umurii qabu ykn furmaata maayyii ta’uu hojjachuuf yeroo fudhatee jennee komeef jarjaruu irra, Hoggana har’a waan tolaa kana eegalan kanaan simachuun gaariidha.
Bilisummaan Oromoo yeroo fudhatus waan hafuu miti. Bilisummaa keenya kan dhiheessu, laafachuu diinaa miti. jabaachuu keenya qofaadha. Waan keessa jirru irraa jabiina keenyaa fi laafina keenya haqaan yoo gilgaallee, Guyyaa Bilisummaa keenya shakkii malee tilmaamu dandeenya. Guyyaa isaallee beeku dandeenya. Bakka jiran wallaaluu irraa, Bilisummaan keenya bor jennee , yoo dhabnee namatti quba qabna. Akka kiyyaatti Bilisummaan Oromoo na hin yaaddeessu. Kan na yaaddeessu Bilisummaan booda rakkoo nu quunnamuudha. Biyya keenya ijaarramoo, rakkoo har’aa arginee of jibbinu kana sirreeffannaa ? jedheen yaadda’a. bara 1992 dhaaboonni siyaasaa Oromoo 5 maal akka wal godhan warra keessa tureetu beeka . har’a woo ? jedhee yaadda’a . Bilisummaan booda dhaaboonni Oromoo maatiin hin ta’iin hafaa ? yaaddoo kanatu, Hogganni murtee fudhatee itti jiru Miseensi , Hoggana Bilisummaan boodaa har’uma haa shaakaluu, dhibdee dhabamsiisuu haa baruu , madaalliin namaa fi qabsaa’aa maal akka ta’ee haa beekuu, ofittummaa fi of tuulummaa keessaa haa ba’uu jechaan jira. GALATOOMAA !
Want dirt on one of the dirtiest tech companies ever? WikiLeaks published a searchable database of over a million leaked emails from Hacking Team, the nefarious Italian spyware company that was massively hacked this week.
There’s all sorts of messed up information in this emails, even aside from confirmation that Hacking Team actively worked as a digital mercenary for government agencies in Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as notoriously violent police unit in Bangladesh.
The emails reveal that the FBI dropped big money on Hacking Team’s powerful snooping software, paying over $800,000 on updates and maintenance even though Hacking Team’s software was considered a backup to the FBI’s other digital tools. And an exchange between CEO David Vincenzetti and other employees suggests that Italian members of Anonymous physically broke into the company’s Milan headquarters in an act of sabotage.