Urge your congressperson to cosponsor HR 4423. And sign this petition.

Here's something good we can do. The U.S. is propping up a murderous dictatorial regime in Ethiopia and has been giving the dictator, Meles Zenawi, over a billion dollars a year in military aid since he came to power fourteen years ago. He is the biggest recipient of U.S. military aid in the Sub-Sahara. The house is now in the process of reviewing this "aid" as part of HR 4423. This nascent bill needs your support. Urge your congressperson to cosponsor this bill. And sign this petition. You can read about the human rights violations that are being committed with your US tax dollar, but here's a little bit from the Human Rights Watch Ethiopia overview page.

The Kingdom of Sunshine
Roger Stahl, Asst. Prof. of Speech Communication
Location:Athens : Georgia : United States
Saturday, June 24, 2006

I'm here in Sioux Falls, SD at a coffee shop called Black Sheep listening to my lovely Kate Morrissey do a little show (see link on right). We are making our way across the U.S. to Palo Alto, CA for the summer to teach at a Stanford program for gifted high schoolers. Sioux Falls is a very cosmopolitan town. The Ellis Island of the Midwest. A big Ethiopian population, and good Ethiopian food.
Here's something good we can do. The U.S. is propping up a murderous dictatorial regime in Ethiopia and has been giving the dictator, Meles Zenawi, over a billion dollars a year in military aid since he came to power fourteen years ago. He is the biggest recipient of U.S. military aid in the Sub-Sahara. The house is now in the process of reviewing this "aid" as part of HR 4423. This nascent bill needs your support. Urge your congressperson to cosponsor this bill. And sign this petition. You can read about the human rights violations that are being committed with your US tax dollar, but here's a little bit from the Human Rights Watch Ethiopia overview page.

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Key International Actors
Ethiopia is considered an essential partner of the United States in its "war on terrorism," and Washington has generally been unwilling to apply meaningful pressure on the Ethiopian government over its human rights record. The U.S. suspects Islamic extremist groups are hiding in bordering areas of Somalia, and sometimes inside Ethiopia itself. The U.S. military, operating primarily out of a base in Djibouti, cooperates closely with the Ethiopian armed forces in counterterrorism efforts and capacity building work. The United States is also the largest donor of bilateral aid in Ethiopia.

Political Repression
Government officials and security forces in much of Ethiopia make routine use of various forms of human rights abuse to deter and punish dissent. For more than a decade, authorities in the country’s vast Oromia region have used exaggerated concerns about armed insurgency and “terrorism” to justify the torture, imprisonment and sustained harassment of their critics and even ordinary citizens. Student protests in 2004 at Addis Ababa University and in secondary schools throughout Oromia led to the arrest of hundreds of students, many of whom were mistreated while in custody. Ever since the protests and throughout 2005, regional officials in Oromia have gone to oppressive lengths to monitor and control the speech and conduct of students and teachers alike.

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Of course, the Bush administration rhetoric about aiding democratic movements in the world is nonsense. The empire much prefers a dictator like Zenawi to true democratic self rule. Ethiopia is virgin territory for the mining, and Zenawi is happy to enrich his regime and Western transnational companies. All he asks in return is military aid so that those who think that the Ethiopian people should claim their own wealth can be terrorized into submission. Last time they checked with an election, in 2005, this was about 90% of the population. Zenawi did not like this and decided to chase the independent election overseers out of the country and burn all the ballots. Nearly the entire print, radio, and television media apparatus was thrown in jail along with the winning candidates. Not very democratic, one would think. Yet, for the U.S., Ethiopia remains a vital ally in the war on terror. Hmmm.

Roger Stahl's blog- http://apocalicious.blogspot.com/2006/06/kingdom-of-sunshine.html

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at4:04 PM

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