Continued Disinformation Campaign against Ethiopia: Press Release

We urge the US government and the international community to exercise prudence and not fall to the ploys of the TPLF that has hoodwinked the West for over three decades

Vision Ethiopia

Vision Ethiopia Press Release | November 2, 2020

Vision Ethiopia, a non-partisan association of Ethiopian scholars and professionals, expresses its unequivocal disapprobation of the recent disinformation campaign waged against the interest of the people of Ethiopia by the Western media, certain humanitarian organizations, and some branches of the US government and the European Union.

While we fully appreciate the engagement of the United States and other organizations to work with the Ethiopian government to achieve a peaceful solution to the crises in the Tigray region and to conduct untarnished investigation into any reports of human rights violations, we are deeply concerned by the lack of balance and objectivity in the reporting of the facts on the ground. A case in point is the recent statement issued by the US State Department [1] that levels unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations, singling out the Amhara people as perpetrators and invaders, in a blatant violation of the sovereignty of the country.

We believe that it is inopportune and a travesty of justice for the US State Department to put blame on the same people whose suffering has been completely unheeded by successive US administrations, the international community, the Western media and human rights institutions.

As fully documented in our earlier communications, the Amhara people and other members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have been victims of genocidal violence [2], committed by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its terrorist allies, in various parts of the country, including the Amhara ancestral lands of Wolkait,Tegede and Raya, which had been illegally and forcibly annexed by the TPLF.

As recently as the early days of November 2020, following the treasonous attack by the TPLF on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), over one thousand innocent civilians, preponderantly Amharas, were massacred by TPLF cadres in the small town of Mai-Kadra alone [3]. The murderers, after committing the heinous crimes, not only managed to escape to the neighboring country of the Sudan as refugees, but are also now used as the primary source of all the misinformation campaign that the remnants of the TPLF regime are methodically fanning and feeding to the Western media and sympathetic governments. Ironically, the recent Amnesty international report [4], which was alluded to in the US State Department statement and cited by the mainstream media, was mostly based on the accounts and testimonials of these criminals.

Equally troubling is the lack of balance in the coverage of the crisis in Tigray, whose root cause is the brazen and unprovoked attack by the TPLF on the ENDF. It is extremely disheartening and alarming to behold how major newspapers, humanitarian organizations and even the US State Department, conveniently and conspicuously omit this crucial fact in their analysis of the current situation in the region. For example, in its issue of February 26, 2021, the New York Times unashamedly asserted that the government of Ethiopia “launched a surprise military offensive,” going to the extent of contradicting the statement issued by a TPLF spokesperson who had bragged about the lightening preemptive attack they carried out against the ENDF. The New York Times has yet to retract its erroneous reports or regret its misleading accounts!

The TPLF, having lost the unwinnable war that it had started, has predictably embarked on a major public relation offensive, thanks to the enormous amount of aid money the criminal organization had embezzled while in power. TPLF operators, some of whom are prominently planted in international organizations, humanitarian institutions and major news outlets, are using traditional and social media forums in a coordinated fashion to disseminate their disinformation and lies.

Tragically, the TPLF operatives have so far been successful in befuddling the international community, as well as sympathetic governments and institutions, as they had effectively done so done for over three decades of their tyrannical rule. The people of Ethiopia are confident that history will judge those Western media, governments and institutions who stood on the side of a terrorist group that has inflicted immeasurable suffering and committed horrendous atrocities and crimes with impunity against innocent and defenseless civilians.

Manifestly, the spiteful tactics pursued by the criminal TPLF organization include:

  Playing victim.  They have deplorably used the atrocities they had committed on the Amhara people, as if they were the victims themselves.

  False impersonation and misattribution [5]. They present criminals as eyewitnesses or victims of crimes, and re-enact fabricated acts of atrocities. In one such fabricated story, a TPLF operative who actually resides in Boston was videotaped pretending to be a priest in Axum [6].

  Regionalizing the crisis. The TPLF is raising arms and conspiring with neighboring countries to wage war against Ethiopia. In other cases, the TPLF flagrantly provoked neighboring countries, such as Eritrea, with missile attacks to draw them into the conflict.

  Engaging high-profile lobbyists and freelance reporters. The TPLF operatives have effectively used the billions of dollars their leaders stashed away in foreign bank accounts to hire high-profile PR firms for the sole purpose of advancing their agenda of disinformation and influencing policy in the West

  Creating chaos, disruption and unrest in the Tigray region and the rest of the country. The TPLF agents have methodically destroyed infrastructure, committed heinous crimes in the region, and inflicted hardship on the people of Tigray for the objective of swaying public opinion against the law enforcement campaign waged by the government,

Thus far, their wicked tactics and strategies appear to bear fruits, as evidenced by the recent reports of the US State Department, Amnesty International and major media outlets.

We are deeply concerned that uncritical support given to this criminal group by the US State Department and other organizations and institutions will further embolden the group to continue to execute nefarious activities, disrupt the peace in the region, and subject our compatriots in Tigray and the rest of the country to more suffering, violence and bloodshed.

We, therefore, urge the US government and the international community to exercise prudence and not fall to the ploys of the TPLF that has hoodwinked the West for over three decades, while committing atrocious crimes against the people of Ethiopia.

We also call upon editors of all major media institutions to uphold minimally acceptable journalistic standards, and discharge their responsibilities to issue responsible, unbiased, fact-based and untarnished reports.

Board of Directors of Vision Ethiopia

References

[1] https://www.state.gov/atrocities-in-ethiopias-tigray-region/

[2] https://borkena.com/2020/08/12/genocide-is-alive-and-well-in-africa/

[3] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/12/survivors-recount-horrific-details-of-mai-kadra-massacre

[4] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/02/ethiopia-eritrean-troops-massacre-of-hundreds-of-axum-civilians-may-amount-to-crime-against-humanity/

[5] https://gpethiopia.medium.com/concerning-misuse-abuse-and-deliberate-misattribution-of-evidences-of-crimes-against-humanity-in-3c06a0b4c771

[6] https://www.bbc.com/amharic/news-56249153

One comment

  1. What I rather see is the need for the Abiy’s administration a better and robust diplomacy. To be honest I am not sure what many of its emissaries are doing these days. May be that is due to a lack of coordination and clear directives. But I don’t feel comfortable with the officials there getting into a debate with Good Ole USA. The Biden administration thinks/believes serious crimes against humanity have been committed on innocent civilians. I don’t see a problem with that claim. As a nation that provided shelters, protection and opportunity for bisieged millions throughout its history it has to monitor humanitarian violation wherever it allegedly happens. It is up to the accused to prove its innocence beyond the benefit of the doubt. Just ‘I did not do it’ or ‘lecturing about ‘sovereignty’ would not cut the mustard. The current regime there must allow verified independent group to carry out an extensive investigation and find out if the alleged serious crime was committed and by whom. Were the victims enemy combatants or unarmed innocent civilians? That must be hammered out. I don’t think everybody is gonna believe such investigative report by the domestic human rights body. If there are armed forces in Tigray other than those of the federal government, they must leave immediately. The current provisional administration of that region has ordered/demanded such forces to leave the region and that must be heeded with no further delay.

    And there is another scenario that has been bothering me lately. This back and forth exchange between Abiy and Biden administration seems to have precedence. I am afraid it may end up to be 1976-77 all over again. Then it was like ‘No I didn’t do it. Yes you did. No I didn’t , yes you did’. That is what we see now. What worries me is this mild exchange of words will escalate into arguments resulting into frosted diplomacy. Then Abiy will feel besieged and cornered and will throw himself into the hands of the heathens in Moscow and Beijing. That will be the worst thing that can happen to that country and it’s more than 120 million citizens. The burden is on the prime minister. He had told the world that civilians were not intentionally targeted/victimized and he has to tax himself to prove that to the world. I believed him. He told the world that Ethiopian defense forces and the police are the only ones that have been doing the law enforcement tasks. I believed him. As a man of The Holy Scriptures he was speaking with a 100% assurance. He has to prove to the world that his forces were/are innocent beyond the benefits of the doubt. His officials should have a sit down with the UN officials and come up with a plan on how to investigate the allegations. He better watch his steps with the goons in Moscow and Beijing. He can’t be in both houses. He has to be in Beijing or Moscow. He can’t be both. Otherwise he will be toast. The time Putin sees him all in with the Chinese he is gonna see coup at his doorstep. The time the commies in Beijing realize he is all hands on deck with the Russians one of his trusted generals will be staring at him with handcuffs. So he better stay in good terms with Good Ole USA. Nobody has the right to take away the blessed human life that Allah so intricately created. It is quite clear that the Abiy administration is losing on the diplomatic front. The only way out of this quagmire is to prove it is innocent. It has to prove that there were no foreign armies on the Ethiopian soil in Tigray. BTW, I don’t consider Amharas to be foreigners in their own country. I hope and pray that the Biden administration will continue engaging the current regime there and will not let history repeat itself.

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