[Marxism] Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi dies; dictator and Washington's climate appeaser

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Aug 21 00:01:19 MDT 2012

(There's a banal report on his death, below, and though it's not 
considered appropriate on this continent to speak ill of the deceased, 
sorry but exceptions must be made. For there may be a space in hell 
reserved for Zenawi, and in heaven for the hundreds of democracy 
protesters he killed in Ethiopia; for the thousands in Somali killed as 
Zenawi followed George W. Bush's orders to invade in 2007; and for the 
millions of Africans who will die unnecessarily in the 21st century 
because of his pro-Washington leadership of African Union climate 
negotiations... in a memo immediately below, here's the way I'll 
remember that tyrant, thanks to Manning/Assange, in an early 2010 
meeting in which, remarkably, he even makes US State Department 
officials look pseudo-democratic in comparison... and there's some 
further text from the book/Politics of Climate Justice/, and from a 
paper on the African Peer Review Mechanism... below)

The Guardian, "US embassy cables: US urges Ethiopia to back Copenhagen 
climate accord," 3 December 2010, 

US embassy cables: US urges Ethiopia to back Copenhagen climate accord

     Share 144

     guardian.co.uk, Friday 3 December 2010 21.30 GMT

Tuesday, 02 February 2010, 05:38
EO 12958 DECL: 02/01/2020
Classified By: Under Secretary Maria Otero for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

     The failed Copenhagen climate change summit produced only a 
non-binding Accord, but the agreement suits US interests as it presents 
more chance of forcing China to act. US diplomats campaign hard around 
the world for support for the Accord. Here, the US bluntly urges 
Ethiopia, whose Prime Minister leads the African Union's climate 
negotiations. By November 2010, 140 nations have backed the Accord, at 
the upper end of the US target. Key passage highlighted in yellow

     Read related article

1. (SBU) January 31, 2010; 4:15 p.m.; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2. (SBU) Participants:

U.S. Under Secretary Otero Assistant Secretary Carson NSC Senior 
Director for African Affairs Michelle Gavin PolOff Skye Justice (notetaker)

Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Special Assistant Gebretensae 



3. (C) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Under Secretary for Democracy 
and Global Affairs Maria Otero his government placed no restrictions on 
its citizens' democratic and civil rights, only the right of foreign 
entities to fund them. Foreign funding of civil society organizations 
(CSOs) is antithetical to democratization, he said, as it makes civil 
society leaders accountable to foreign entities rather than their own 
members, turning the concept of democratic accountability on its head. 
Democracy in Ethiopia must develop organically, and Ethiopians must 
organize and fund themselves and defend their own rights. Meles assured 
U/S Otero that Ethiopia's upcoming elections will be free, fair, 
transparent, and peaceful, and elaborated steps his government has taken 
to ensure this. While opposition groups may resort to violence in an 
attempt to discredit the election, the GoE will enforce the recently 
enacted Electoral Code of Conduct and its existing election laws without 
regard to party affiliation. Meles said he has warned opposition leaders 
that the international community will not be able to save them should 
they violate Ethiopian law, but rather if they do so they will face the 
same fate as opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa, who will "vegetate in 
jail forever." The U.S. delegation noted that Ethiopia's forthcoming 
elections would be closely watched in the U.S., and urged Meles to 
exercise wise judgment and leadership, give the opposition more 
political space, and consider the release of Birtukan Midekssa.

4. (C) Meles said the GoE is not enthusiastic about Kenya's Jubaland 
initiative, but is sharing intelligence with Kenya and hoping for 
success. In the event the initiative is not successful, the GoE has 
plans in place to limit the destabilizing impacts on Ethiopia. On 
climate change, Meles said the GoE fully supports the Copenhagen accord, 
but is disappointed with signs the U.S. may not support his proposed 
panel to monitor international financial contributions under the accord. 
Meles made no substantive comment on inquiries regarding the 
liberalization of banking and telecommunications in Ethiopia. End summary.

Foreign Funding of CSOs Antithetical to Democratization

--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. (C) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told U/S Otero the development of a 
strong democracy and civil society is the only way Ethiopia can ensure 
peace and unity among an ethnically and religiously divided population. 
He noted that the Government of Ethiopia's (GoE) commitment to democracy 
is directly related to stability, adding that for Ethiopia, 
"democratization is a matter of survival." Responding to U/S Otero's 
concern that Ethiopia's recently-enacted CSO law threatened the role of 
civil society, Meles said while the GoE welcomes foreign funding of 
charities, those Ethiopians who want to engage in political activity 
should organize and fund themselves. The leaders of CSOs that receive 
foreign funding are not accountable to their organizations, he said, but 
rather to the sources of their funding, turning the concept of 
democratic accountability on its head. Meles asserted that Ethiopians 
were not too poor to organize themselves and establish their own 
democratic traditions, recalling that within his lifetime illiterate 
peasants and poor students had overthrown an ancient imperial dynasty.

6. (C) Meles said his country's inability to develop a strong democracy 
was not due to insufficient understanding of democratic principles, but 
rather because Ethiopians had not

ADDIS ABAB 00000163 002 OF 003

internalized those principles. Ethiopia should follow the example of the 
U.S. and European countries, he said, where democracy developed 
organically and citizens had a stake in its establishment. When people 
are committed to democracy and forced to make sacrifices for it, Meles 
said, "they won't let any leader take it away from them." But "when they 
are spoon-fed democracy, they will give it up when their source of 
funding and encouragement is removed." Referencing his own struggle 
against the Derg regime, Meles said he and his compatriots received no 
foreign funding, but were willing to sacrifice and die for their cause, 
and Ethiopians today must take ownership of their democratic 
development, be willing to sacrifice for it, and defend their own rights.

7. (C) Meles drew a clear distinction between Ethiopians' democratic and 
civil rights on the one hand, and the right of foreign entities to fund 
those rights on the other. There is no restriction on Ethiopians' 
rights, he asserted, merely on foreign funding, adding that the U.S. has 
similar laws. U/S Otero countered that while the U.S. does not allow 
foreign funding of political campaigns, there is no restriction on 
foreign funding of NGOs. Ms. Gavin noted the examples of foreign support 
for the abolitionist movement in the U.S. and for the anti-apartheid 
movement in South Africa as positive examples of foreign engagement of 
civil society, and expressed that aside from the issue of foreign 
funding, the ability of local organizations to legally register, 
operate, and contribute to democratic discourse was of tantamount 

GoE Will Hold Free and Fair Elections, Despite Opposition

--------------------------------------------- ------------

8. (C) Meles assured U/S Otero that Ethiopia's upcoming electoral 
process will be free, fair, transparent, and peaceful. The GoE has 
learned from the violence that followed the 2005 elections, he said, and 
taken action to ensure that violence is not repeated. Meles said the 
recently signed Electoral Code of Conduct (CoC) was not done for the 
benefit of political parties, but for the Ethiopian people. The people 
will ultimately judge political actors, he said, and they must have 
parameters agreed to by the parties by which they will judge those 
actors. After the CoC was passed, Meles noted, the ruling Ethiopian 
People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) gathered over 1,300 of 
its senior leaders to discuss party strategy and train all leaders on 
the CoC. The EPRDF knows violations of the CoC by its members will hurt 
the party and provide a rallying cry for the opposition. This message 
will flow down to all EPRDF members, he said, so that they know what is 
expected of them, and know both the courts and the party will hold them 
accountable to the CoC.

9. (C) Meles told U/S Otero he feared a repeat of the 2005 violence, and 
that many opposition members were not interested in peaceful elections, 
but would rather discredit the electoral process. As such, the EPRDF 
cannot give them any excuse to resort to violence. Meles noted that in 
addition to opposition political parties, the GoE had intelligence that 
the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogaden National Liberation Front 
(ONLF), and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki were all directly or 
indirectly involved in plots to discredit the elections. The EPRDF, he 
said, would "let them be" to show the population that even though their 
opponents' goal is not peace, the EPRDF will abide by the law.

10. (C) Meles recalled that in 2005, he had told opposition leaders in 
the presence of the diplomatic corps that they should not believe 
foreign allies would protect them if they violated the laws of Ethiopia. 
Opposition leaders were right to believe the diplomatic corps would try 
to protect them, he said, as evidenced by the statement they issued 
demanding the release of opposition politicians upon their arrest in 
2005. Today, Meles said, foreign embassies are inadvertently conveying 
the same message, that they will protest the jailing of opposition 
leaders and potentially take action against Ethiopia to secure their 
release. However, the GoE has made clear to both opposition and EPRDF 
leaders that nothing can protect them except the laws and constitution 
of Ethiopia, and the GoE will clamp down on anyone who violates those 
laws. "We will crush them with our full force," Meles said, and "they 
will vegetate like Birtukan (Midekssa) in jail forever."

ADDIS ABAB 00000163 003 OF 003

11. (C) In an extended discussion in response to Meles' comments, U/S 
Otero, A/S Carson, and Ms. Gavin noted that Ethiopia's forthcoming 
elections would be closely watched in the U.S. and that the GoE's 
treatment of the opposition would be subject to public criticism by the 
Ethiopian diaspora and U.S. political figures. The U.S. delegation urged 
Meles to exercise wise judgment and leadership, give the opposition more 
political space, and consider the release of Birtukan Midekssa. A/S 
Carson stressed the importance of putting Ethiopia's democracy on an 
upward and positive trajectory, and not letting it atrophy or slide 
backward, using the suffrage and civil rights movements in the U.S. as 
an illustration of challenges the U.S. has faced as it improved its own 
democratic system. (Note: Three quarters of the nearly two-hour meeting 
focused on democracy. End note.)

Ethiopia Not Enthusiastic About Jubaland Initiative

--------------------------------------------- ------

12. (C) Meles said he had been briefed extensively regarding Kenya's 
Jubaland initiative. Because Ethiopia had previously intervened in 
Somalia without seeking Kenyan approval, he said, the GoE would not 
presume to analyze the Kenyans' chances for success in their own 
intervention. The GoE is sharing intelligence with Kenya, but Meles 
expressed a lack of confidence in Kenya's capacity to pull off a 
tactical success, which he feared could have negative regional impacts. 
The GoE is therefore working to minimize the likelihood of a spillover 
effect in Ethiopia's Somali Regional State. Noting that Ethiopia might 
have underestimated Kenya, Meles said, "We are not enthusiastic, but we 
are hoping for success."

GoE Prepared to Move Forward from Copenhagen


13. (C) U/S Otero urged Meles to sign the Copenhagen accord on climate 
change and explained that it is a point of departure for further 
discussion and movement forward on the topic. She noted that while the 
agreement has its limitations, it has the international community moving 
in the right direction. Meles responded that the GoE supported the 
accord in Copenhagen and would support it at the AU Summit. However, he 
expressed his disappointment that despite President Obama's personal 
assurance to him that finances committed in Copenhagen would be made 
available, he had received word from contacts at the UN that the U.S. 
was not supportive of Ethiopia's proposal for a panel to monitor 
financial pledges regarding climate change. Ms. Gavin assured the Prime 
Minister that she would look into his concerns.

No Promises on Liberalizing Telecoms, Banking


14. (C) U/S Otero and A/S Carson encouraged Meles to hasten steps to 
liberalize the telecommunications and banking industries in Ethiopia, 
and highlighted both the micro- and macroeconomic benefits of 
liberalization. Meles offered no substantive response to A/S Carson's 
query whether any progress had been made toward liberalizing or 
otherwise improving telecommunications, joking that Americans' concept 
of time was much faster than Ethiopians'. In response to U/S Otero's 
recognition of the important role of private banks in microfinance 
projects that directly benefit the poor, and assurance that private and 
state-owned banks could thrive side-by-side, Meles said he would be 
happy to discuss the issue in the future. YATES


/Politics of Climate Justice: Paralysis Above, Movement Below 
/(University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2012)

The continent's main negotiating body, the African Union (AU), was 
twisted and U-turned from what, in the period June--November 2009, was a 
militant position, into capitulation. The two facilitators were Zuma and 
the Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi. In September, the latter 
proclaimed: 'If need be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations 
that threatens to be another rape of our continent.'[i]

       But Zenawi did not walk out. He walked off his plane in Paris on 
the way to Copenhagen, into the arms of Nicolas Sarkozy, who persuaded 
Zenawi to relent.[ii] The side deal, according to Mithika Mwenda of the 
Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, had the effect of 'undermining the 
bold positions of our negotiators and ministers represented here, and 
threatening the very future of Africa'.[iii] Not only did Zuma and 
Zenawi surrender on emissions cuts, but also on demanding full payment 
of the North's climate debt to the South. 'Meles wants to sell out the 
lives and hopes of Africans for a pittance,' said Mwenda. 'Every other 
African country has committed to policy based on the science.' On 8 
December, protesters from the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance 
chanted in the main Bella Centre auditorium: 'Two degrees is suicide! 
One Africa! One Degree!'[iv]

       In one Copenhagen session, the lead G77 negotiator, Lumumba 
Di-Aping, 'sat silently, tears rolling down his face', according to a 
South African report. Di-Aping said simply: 'We have been asked to sign 
a suicide pact,' explaining that in his home region, it was 'better to 
stand and cry than to walk away'.

/Speaking in measured tones, Di-Aping first attacked the 2 degrees C 
warming maximum that most rich countries currently consider acceptable. 
Referring continuously to science, in particular parts of the latest 
IPCC report (which he referenced by page and section) he said that 2 
degrees C globally meant 3.5 degrees C for much of Africa. He called 
global warming of 2 degrees C 'certain death for Africa', a type of 
'climate fascism' imposed on Africa by high carbon emitters. He said 
Africa was being asked to sign on to an agreement that would allow this 
warming in exchange for $10 billion, and that Africa was also being 
asked to 'celebrate' this deal.
     He then went on to forthrightly address the weakness of many 
African negotiating delegations, noting that many were unprepared and 
that some members were either lazy or had been 'bought off' by the 
industrialised nations. He singled out South Africa, saying that some 
members of that delegation had actively sought to disrupt the unity of 
the bloc. He said that civil society needed to hold its negotiators to 
account, but warned of a long and difficult struggle for a fair climate 
deal (words to the effect of 'you have no idea of the powers that are 
arrayed against you', spoken in the tone of someone who has spent years 
interacting with these powers).
     He said that people all over the world had to be made aware of what 
a bad climate deal means for Africa ('I am absolutely convinced that 
what Western governments are doing is NOT acceptable to Western civil 
society'). He explained that, by wanting to subvert the established 
post-Kyoto process, the industrialised nations were effectively wanting 
to ignore historical emissions, and by locking in deals that would allow 
each citizen of those countries to carry on emitting a far greater 
amount of carbon per year than each citizen in poor countries, would 
prevent many African countries from lifting their people out of poverty. 
This was nothing less than a colonization of the sky, he said. '$10 
billion is not enough to buy us coffins.'[v]/

Di-Aping asked, poignantly: 'What is Obama going to tell his daughters? 
That their relatives' lives are not worth anything?' And agreeing with 
leading US climate scientist James Hansen that the Copenhagen deal on 
offer was 'worse than no deal', Di-Aping concluded: 'I would rather die 
with my dignity than sign a deal that will channel my people into a 
furnace.'[vi] In the final plenary session, Di-Aping called the 
Copenhagen Accord 'an incineration pact in order to maintain the 
economic dependence of a few countries. It's a solution based on values 
that funnelled six million people in Europe into furnaces.' He was 
strongly condemned by Europeans including UK Labour Party politician Ed 
Miliband for losing his diplomatic cool.[vii] Given the scenarios faced 
in his part of the world, and indeed across the G77 -- for a quarter of 
the Chinese people and 12 per cent of Indians will be adversely affected 
by annual extreme weather events by 2015, according to Wheeler's 
estimates[viii] -- how could Di-Aping not express such anguish? And why 
won't other delegates lose their cool, too?

[i]. A. Ashine, "Africa threatens withdrawal from climate talks," The 
Nation, Nairobi, 3 September 2009.
[ii]. John Vidal, "Copenhagen: Head of African bloc calls on poorer 
nations to compromise over climate funding," The Guardian, 16 December 2009.
[iii]. Trusha Reddy, "From African walk out to sell out," Climate 
Chronicle, December 18, 2009.
[iv]. Friends of the Earth International, "Report from Copenhagen: 
Africa demands that wealth nations step it up," 8 December 2009, 
[v]. Adam Welz, "Emotional scenes at Copenhagen: Lumumba Di-Aping @ 
Africa civil society meeting -- 8 Dec 2009," blog post, 8 December 2009,
[vi]. Tamra Gilbertson and Ricardo Santos, "Confronting the climate 
circus," Red Pepper, 12 December 2009, 
[vii]. Wikipedia, Lumumba Di-Aping, 



Zenawi conspired with George W. Bush to invade Somalia in 2007, with the 
connivance of Mbeki; this, after the senseless war over a strip of sandy 
land on the Eritrean border between 1988-2000, which killed at least 70 
000 combatants and civilians. According to the lobby group Ethiopian 
Americans for Justice, Zenawi's government
hosted the 'African Guantanamo,' participating in the illegal 
kidnapping, imprisonment and torture of Africans. In return for its 
services for the 'war on terror,' the Bush Administration rewarded the 
Zenawi group both financially and diplomatically. Most importantly, the 
Bush administration looked the other way when Ethiopia's rulers stole 
elections, tortured and killed many innocent people... Mr. Zenawi stole 
the 2005 elections, destroyed all opposition, muffled the press, banned 
advocacy for human rights and made a mockery out of the rule of law. 
Following the elections, his troops shot and killed 193 people who 
protested electoral fraud, massacred innocents in Gambella and the 
Ogaden. They had also bombed civilians in Somalia on many occasions. Mr. 
Zenawi's government has been one of the worst violators of human rights 
in Africa.5 /

Still, Zenawi was unanimously chosen as Chairperson of NEPAD in 2007, 
and also as Chairperson of the Committee of Heads of State and 
Government of Countries Participating in the APRM. At the same moment in 
early 2009 that his parliament was passing the Charities and Societies 
Proclamation law -- 'designed to strictly control and monitor civil 
society in an atmosphere of intolerance of the work of human rights 
defenders and civil society organizations,' according to Amnesty 
International6 -- Zenawi was writing in the APRM's 2008 Annual Report of 
the mechanism's ability to support "countries in improving their 
policy-making processes, adopt best practices from other countries, and 
comply with ratifi ed standards and codes, while involving all 
stakeholders in the country." 7

5 Ethiopian Americans for Justice, 'Letter to The Honorable William 
Jefferson Clinton,' New York, 11 February 2009.
6 Amnesty International, 'Ethiopian parliament adopts repressive new NGO 
law,' 8 January 2009, London.
7 M Zenawi, 'Foreword by the Chairperson of the African Peer Review 
Forum,' in African Peer Review Mechanism Annual Report 2008, Midrand, 2009.


Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, country's longtime ruler, dies at 
age 57, state TV says

By Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia --- Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's long-time ruler who 
held tight control over this East African country but was a major U.S 
counter-terrorism ally, died of an undisclosed illness after not being 
seen in public for weeks, Ethiopian state television said Tuesday. He 
was 57.

Meles died Monday just before midnight after contracting an infection, 
state TV announced Tuesday. Hailemariam Desalegn, who was appointed 
deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in 2010, is now in 
charge of the Cabinet, state TV said.

Meles hadn't been seen in public for about two months. In mid-July, 
after Meles did not attend a meeting of heads of state of the African 
Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, speculation increased that his 
health problems were serious.

Ethiopian officials gave no details and said the prime minister was in 
"very good" health and would return to office soon, but international 
officials said quietly it was unlikely he would recover.

State TV on Tuesday showed pictures of Meles as classical music played 
in the background.

Born on May 8, 1955, Meles became president in 1991 and prime minister 
in 1995, a position that is both the head of the federal government and 
armed forces.

The U.S. has long viewed Meles as a strong security partner and has 
given hundreds of millions of dollars in aid over the years. U.S. 
military drones that patrol East Africa --- especially over Somalia --- 
are stationed in Ethiopia.

Though a U.S. ally, Ethiopia has long been criticized by human rights 
groups for the government's strict control. Dissent is met with a strict 
government response.

During Meles' election win in 2005, when it appeared the opposition was 
likely to make gains, Meles tightened security across the country, and 
on the night of the election he declared a state of emergency, outlawing 
any public gathering as his ruling party claimed a majority win. 
Opposition members accused Meles of rigging the election, and 
demonstrations broke out. Security forces moved in, killing hundreds of 
people and jailing thousands.

In 2010 Meles won another five years in office while receiving a 
reported 99 percent of the vote. Meles is the longtime chairman of the 
Tigray People's Liberation Front and has always identified strongly with 
his party.

"I cannot separate my achievements from what can be considered as the 
achievements of the ruling party. Whatever achievement there might have 
been, it does not exist independent of that party," Meles once said when 
asked what he thought would be his legacy.

Meles grew up in the northern town of Adwa, where his father had 13 
siblings from multiple women. He moved to the capital, Addis Ababa, on a 
scholarship after completing an eight-year elementary education in just 

State TV said funeral arrangements would be announced soon.

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