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Friday, May 04, 2007

Monitoring Group on Somalia and the Associated Press; they have it wrong

October 2006 the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia reported to the Security Council Committee on Somalia that that the OLF was fighting on the side of the Islamic Courts Union. At the time the OLF rejected this baseless Ethiopian propaganda that turned into UN news stating as a matter of policy the OLF does not interference in neighboring states internal affairs, and that Somalia is no exception. The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia simplyCopied Ethiopian propaganda without any legitimate substantiation and converted it to "news". The occupying forces of Ethiopia in Somalia have captured thousands of Ethiopian refugees who lived in Somalia for years, killed many of them, and tortured even more to submission and admission of guilt. These individuals are then used through state owned Ethiopia massmedia as evidence of OLF armed presence in Somalia. Because of the track record of the Ethiopian regime, this propaganda should not have been trusted. For example, in a letter dated March 22, 2007, the Human Rights Watch, in its letter to Kenyan Director of Political Affairs, Mr. Thomas Amolo, wrote the following:"Human Rights Watch fears that many of the detainees will face mistreatment and possibly torture or execution in Ethiopian custody. Human Rights Watch has previously documented that Ethiopian forces routinely engage in torture of criminal, political and military detainees, and in its recent human rights country report on Ethiopia, the US State Department noted that inEthiopia "There were numerous credible reports that security officials often beat or mistreated detainees. Opposition political parties reported frequent and systematic abuse of their supporters by police and regional militias. . . . in detention centers police often physically abuseddetainees... Ethiopian security services may suspect some individuals of having connections to Ethiopian insurgency movements, in which case they may face torture or even summary execution if delivered into Ethiopian custody."The OLF is an Oromo secular political organization rooted inside Oromia, and has no military objectives in any other country than Oromia. It boasts diplomatic presence around the world, including the USA. The OLF abides by international laws and standards, and rejects targeting civilians and terror as a means of achieving its objectives.In a more recent incident, the Associated Press has attempted to connect an Ethiopian-born U.S. citizen named Sisaye Dinssa, recently convicted of currency smuggling as an "OLF financier". The said culprit is neither a member of the OLF; neither do we have any record of his financial support to the OLF. We regret that AP sensationalized such news item to the extent oflabeling and defaming a legitimate political organization. The OLF channels all its business in North America, financial included, legally, through its bureau in Washington DC. We see no reason to resort to illegal smuggling or use of one.
Ma y 5, 2007 -

Oromo Liberation Front - Division of External Information - P.O.BOX - 73247Washington DC 20056 - Tel. (202) 462-5477 - Ext. 202Fax. (202) 332-7011- olfinfodesk@earthlink.net - www.oromoliberationfront.org

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fabricated Propaganda Against the OLF - OLF Statement

It has been a fashion for the TPLF controlled Ethiopian regime to falsely label the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) with anything that might give the OLF a bad image. In recent past there has been a consorted propaganda effort to falsely associate the OLF with the ongoing movements in Somalia not only by the Ethiopian tyrannical regime but also by some ill-informed individuals and organizations. Indeed it is inexplicable why some so called experts on the region and a few news outlets in the West act as a mouth piece for Ethiopian regime’s malicious propaganda against the OLF.

The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia, in its October 2006 report to the Security Council Committee on Somalia, falsely alleged that the OLF was fighting on the side of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The OLF totally rejects this baseless accusation. OLF’s policy is that of non-interference in neighboring states internal affairs and Somalia is no exception. At the time of the release of the above report we had categorically denied the allegation. However the false information created by the Monitoring Group on Somalia continues to spread unabated (see Reuters April 25, 2007). The Monitoring Group or its source, which we suspect to be the Ethiopian regime, had purposely concocted this story to taint the OLF’s reputation and image.

The OLF is a secular political organization that endeavors to empower the Oromo people to freely exercise their inalienable rights to national self-determination, a right guaranteed by international law to all people seeking to freely choose their own future. The OLF doesn’t employ terror as a means to achieve this political goal. In fact, the OLF has a longstanding anti-terrorism policy. The OLF clearly sees terrorism as a danger and menace to peace and joins the international community in fighting against extremism and terrorism.

It is devious to falsely implicate the OLF in activities of other forces in the region or elsewhere. Such false accusation of the OLF doesn’t serve the cause of peace. The OLF has a long history of fighting all forms of religious extremism in the region. Besides, in the Oromo society, people of all religious faith and background live in peace and harmony.

On the other hand, it should be clear that the real culprit for the problems in the Horn of Africa is the Tigrean led minority Ethiopian government. This autocratic regime has frequently violated international boundaries of neighboring states like Somalia, Eritrea, and Kenya. Currently the Ethiopian army is occupying Somalia illegally. It should be abundantly clear that as long as Ethiopia’s internal perennial political problems are not rectified; Somalia’s and other regional problems could not easily find a resolution. Those who desire peace for the region should be aware of this and cooperate with the OLF in remedying Ethiopia’s internal political crisis.

It appears that the goals of the oppressive Ethiopian regime and its supporters are to isolate the Oromo people’s genuine national liberation struggle and also create impediments to the Ethiopian peoples’ desire for peace and harmony. In these they should not be allowed to succeed.

Oromo Liberation Front
May 2, 2007

Ban Ki Moon proposal must be defeated

By Salim Lone-This is the most lawless war of our generation. All wars of aggression lack legitimacy, but no conflict in recent memory has witnessed such mounting layers of illegality as the current one in Somalia. Violations of the UN Charter and of international humanitarian law are regrettably commonplace in our age, and they abound in the carnage that the world is allowing to unfold in Mogadishu, but this war in addition has explicitly violated two Security Council resolutions. To complete the picture, one of these resolutions contravenes the Charter itself. The complete impunity with which Ethiopia and the transitional Somali government have been allowed to violate these resolutions explains the ruthlessness of the military assaults that have been underway for six weeks now. The details of the atrocities being committed were formally acknowledged by a western government for the first time when Germany, which holds the current EU presidency, had its ambassador to Somalia Walter Lindner write a tough letter, made public Wednesday, to Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf. The letter condemned the indiscriminate use of air strikes and heavy artillery in Mogadishu’s densely populated areas, the raping of women, the deliberate blocking of urgently-needed food and humanitarian supplies and the bombing of even hospitals. This is a relentless drive to terrify and intimidate civilians belonging to clans from whose ranks fighters are challenging the occupation There was a time when Security Council resolutions were hallowed for most of the world, as for example Resolution 242 demanding the return of occupied Palestine territory in exchange for peace. But in our new world order, the powerful decide which UN resolutions are passed, and then determine whether they need to be honoured. So the United States, which was violating the UN arms embargo on Somalia, rushed through another resolution in December that it thought would better serve its goals – and then proceeded to violate that one as well. The new resolution specifically forbade neighbouring countries from being part of the regional peace-keeping force the Security Council authorized for Somalia, but Ethiopia went much further than even that and unilaterally invaded, with the full covert assistance of the US, which also openly joined the war by bombing Somalia. This December resolution actually contravened the Charter itself, because it made the Security Council the aggressor and turned a clearly peaceful situation to war. The resolution linked the Islamic Courts to international terrorism and mandated a Chapter VII peace-keeping force to address the “threat to international peace and security” that Somalia posed - when by every independent account, including Chatham House’s on Wednesday, indicated that the country was experiencing its first peace and security since 1991 under the Islamic Courts Union. The resolution paved the way for the Ethiopian invasion which led to the bitter conflict that many independent analysts, including at a high-level meeting in Addis Ababa organized by Ethiopia’s Inter Africa Group, had warned would be the inevitable result. A government put in place by for force by archenemy Ethiopia was never going to hold sway. The long silence, and the refusal even now to announce measures that might arrest this civilian slaughter, marks the lowest point in the big powers’ abdication of the Responsibility to Protect mandate that was adopted, with British leadership, at a summit-level meeting of the Security Council two years ago. The world’s most impoverished people are now being ripped to shreds with no effort whatsoever to get the perpetrators to desist. A huge campaign must be launched to press western governments to end this slaughter, which is almost entirely the work of those in control of the country. The European Union warned a month ago that war crimes might have been committed in an earlier assault on the capital last month, in which the EU could be complicit because of its large-scale support for those accused of the crimes. Human Rights Watch has documented how Kenya and Ethiopia had turned this region into Africa’s own version of Guantanamo Bay, replete with of kidnappings, extraordinary renditions, secret prisons and large numbers of “disappeared,” a project that carries the “Made in America” label. Allowing free rein to such comprehensive lawlessness is a stain on all those who might have at a minimum curtailed it. Subsequently, work must begin to derail the astounding proposal by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to be discussed by the Security Council in mid-June. Mr. Ban would like then to mount a UN-sanctioned “coalition of the willing” peace-enforcement force to restore order in Somalia – in other words, the UN would help Ethiopia and the United States achieve what their own illegal military interventions have failed in accomplishing, the entrenchment of a client regime which lacks any popular support. Such an operation would not succeed in any event, and could further threaten the turbulent Horn of Africa, which is already teetering on the brink. The Somali government is busy crying “Al Qaeda” at every turn, and offering lucrative deals to oil companies, in a bid to entice greater western support. But this war was lost long ago. In turning to Ethiopia, an arch enemy, the transitional government’s fate was sealed: the nation will not abide an Ethiopian-US occupation. Only a political solution will resolve this crisis. Africa must step up to the plate and show spine and leadership in a drive to protect its civilians, and work with Europe and the United Nations to convince the US to swiftly terminate its latest destabilizing adventure. By Salim LoneSalimlone@yahoo..com

Salim Lone, who was the spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq immediately after the 2003 invasion, is a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya.

Map of oromia

Map of oromia