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Ethiopia: Oromia: The leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress Professor Merera Gudina has been released. #OromoProtests January 17, 2018

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Professor Merera Gudina's speech after the court of Ethiopia denied him hearing. #OromoProtests

OMN: Dura Taa’aan KFO Dr. Mararaan Hidhaa Bahan (LIVE) Amajjii 17, 2018

Click here for Photos: Oromia erupts as Ethiopia govt frees Merera Gudina, Africa News.


Ethiopia releases opposition leader Merera Gudina | Africanews

Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina has been freed after more than a year in detention.

Merera becomes the first ‘political prisoner’ to be released since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced on 3 January that the government will pardon several convicted politicians and those with cases in court in a bid to foster national cohesion.

Prison authorities told his family that he was released on Wednesday morning and allowed to go back home.

Merera, the leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress, has been in prison since December 2016 and was facing multiple charges, including association with terrorist groups. He denied the charges.

Free at last! Jailed opposition leader in Dr Merera Gudina freed after more than a year in detention.

Influential media portal, Addis Standard tweeted a letter (issued in Amharic) which stated that the charges had been dropped ‘for the benefit of the public and the government’.

A letter announcing to discontinue the multiple criminal charges brought by federal prosecutors against Dr. has been issued by the attorney general Getachew Ambaye. It stated charges were dropped “for the benefit of the public and the government.” cc: @Belay_Ma

Earlier this month, the government said it would pardon and drop the cases against more than 500 prisoners.

The announcement followed more than two years of anti-government protests that have rocked the country, with demonstrators calling for political and economic reforms and an end to state corruption and human rights abuses.

Ethiopia had always denied that there were any political prisoners in the country, as alleged by human rights and opposition groups.


Prominent Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina has been released from prison after more than a year in detention. more at  aljazeera.com



Ethiopie, Merera Goudina libéré de prison


BBC: Merera Gudina, Ethiopia opposition leader, freed

Ethio
Image captionHuge crowds welcomed Mr Merera home

Jailed Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina has been freed after more than a year in detention.

The leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress was released on Wednesday morning and allowed to go home, where he was welcomed by thousands of people.

He has been in prison since December 2016 and was facing charges, including association with terrorist groups.

The Ethiopian government announced on Monday that it would drop charges against more than 500 suspects.

Human rights groups have long accused Ethiopia of refusing to allow opposition groups to operate freely.

The government has denied holding any political prisoners but says the releases will foster national debate and “widen the political sphere”.

Those being freed will first undergo two days of “rehabilitation training”, the government says.

At the beginning of January, Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn announced the government would close Maekelawi – a detention facility in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly used as a torture chamber.

Why was Mr Merera arrested?

Mr Merera was arrested in November 2016 at the airport in the capital, Addis Ababa, after he flew in from Brussels.

He had violated Ethiopia’s state of emergency by having contact with “terrorist” and “anti-peace” groups, state-linked media reported at the time.

That month, Mr Merera had criticised the state of emergency in an address to the European parliament.

The government imposed it in October 2016 to end an unprecedented wave of protests against its 25-year rule.

Map of protests and violence in Ethiopia in 2016

More than 11,000 people were arrested, mostly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which were at the forefront of anti-government protests.

Many in the two regions complain of political and economic marginalisation.

Who else will be freed?

It is still not clear which other politicians will be released.

Ethiopia says it will not free anyone convicted of using force to overthrow the government, destroying infrastructure, murder or causing physical disability.

However, it says it will pardon some of those convicted under the anti-terrorism law.

Critics and human rights groups have accused the government in the past of labelling its opponents, and some journalists, as terrorists.

Rights group Amnesty International says the release of Mr Merera and other prisoners should not be the last.

“Hundreds of prisoners of conscience continue to languish in jail, accused or prosecuted for legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression or simply for standing up for human rights,” Amnesty’s Netsanet Belay said.

Presentational grey line

Five more high-profile Ethiopian prisoners:

Bekele Gerbadeputy chairman of the OFC – arrested together with Dejene Fita Geleta, secretary-general of OFC, and 20 others in connection with the 2015 Oromo protests that resulted in the death of hundreds of protesters.

Andargachew Tsegeleader of Ginbot 7 (designated a terrorist group by Ethiopia) – arrested in 2014 while on transit in Yemen and taken to Ethiopia, where he faces the death penalty after being convicted in absentia. A British national, human rights groups have been pushing for his release.

Andualem Aragievice-president of the Unity for Democracy and Justice party – imprisoned since 2011, and now serving a life sentence on terrorism charges.

Eskinder Negajournalist and blogger – imprisoned since 2011 after criticising the use of anti-terror laws to silence the press. He was subsequently sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Woubshet Taye, journalist and editor – imprisoned since 2011 and sentenced the next year to 14 years in prison for terror-related offences.

 


Ethiopia govt had no business arresting Oromo leader Merera Gudina – E.U. MP

ETHIOPIA

A member of the European Parliament, Ana Gomes, has reacted to the the move by the Ethiopian government to drop charges against leading Oromo politician, Merera Gudina.

According to Gomes, who frequently comments on political ongoings in Ethiopia, Gudina “should never have been jailed.”

The university don who is leader of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has been under detention for a little over a year. He was arrested in December 2016 after returning from an European trip during which time he addressed the E.U. parliament on the political situation back home.

Upon his arrest, the government said he was picked in connection with having flouted an October 2016 state of emergency imposed to quell spreading anti-government protests predominantly in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

He was eventually charged with terrorism but the offense was later downgraded to multiple criminal charges. The case like that of other political elements has been traveling at a slow pace with prosecutors seeking extensions and introducing fresh evidence.

The MEP also commented on Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian journalist currently in jail. Eskinder Nega is a brave man, paying for freedom and justice for his country. He is still a political prisoner in Ethiopia. He must be liberated! She said in a tweet.

Nega and a Venezuelan writer and journalist Milagros Socorro have recently been honored by Oxam Novib (PEN Awards 2018). “Eskinder couldn’t receive the award because he is in jail for his journalism works,” blogger Befeqadu Hailu wrote.


Ethiopia has released a handful of prisoners – but nothing else has changed,  Mail & Guardian Africa

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WHO: Tedros Adhanom raised eyebrows with his appointment of Robert Mugabe and new recruitment policies. But the real shocker was his choice of a Russian to head up agency’s tuberculosis fight. January 17, 2018

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The Mugabe appointment “was stupid, but this is a disaster,” said Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group. Ahead of the appointment, TAG led an open letter from more than 40 civil society groups asking Tedros to use a transparent, competitive process to choose the next director of the Global TB Program, tasked with fighting the top infectious killer worldwide.

 #NoTedros4WHO

World’s doctor gives WHO a headache


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus raised eyebrows with his appointment of Robert Mugabe and new recruitment policies. But the real shocker was his choice of a Russian to head up agency’s tuberculosis fight.

 

Illustration by Eva Bee for POLITICO

 

Seven months into his tenure, the early moves of the WHO’s first African chief are stoking a backlash.

His supporters say Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus promised to shake the institution up. The critics, increasingly emboldened, say he’s undermining the World Health Organization’s effectiveness and putting its funding at risk.

The former Ethiopian health minister turned heads with his appointment of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador in October. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Tedros — as he prefers to be called by Ethiopian tradition — was eschewing the normal hiring process for U.N. agencies, looking to increase gender and geographical diversity as quickly as possible. That’s unsettled some in the Geneva headquarters and the constellation of activists and researchers who work with WHO, who fear an overly political approach is bringing a culture change at the cost of credibility.

The latest disruptive move is his appointment of a little-known Russian official to run the WHO’s tuberculosis program, using a fast-track process, one month after meeting with President Vladimir Putin at a major gathering on the topic in Moscow.

The Mugabe appointment “was stupid, but this is a disaster,” said Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group. Ahead of the appointment, TAG led an open letter from more than 40 civil society groups asking Tedros to use a transparent, competitive process to choose the next director of the Global TB Program, tasked with fighting the top infectious killer worldwide.

Reward for being retrograde

The December nomination of Tereza Kasaeva (an official at the Russian health ministry) prompted an editorial in the medical journal the Lancet, which described it as triggering a “potentially disabling controversy.”

“The domestic situation there is horrible. It’s probably one of the worst outside of Africa on TB infections” — Eduardo Gómez, King’s College London

“Russia has a poor record on TB and HIV,” write the editors of the journal, which is widely seen as the voice of the global health establishment. “Her appointment may be regarded as rewarding a country that does not deserve to be rewarded … WHO’s reputation — indeed, its political leverage — depends on the agency’s technical credibility.”

Russia is widely regarded as retrograde in its approach to treating the infectious disease, having developed a raging outbreak after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Since 2000 or so, overall incidences are down and survival rates are up, but Russia is still a world leader on the proportion of infections that don’t respond to antibiotics; a recent study predicted one in three cases would be antibiotic resistant by 2040.

Kasaeva replaces Mario Raviglione, a leading TB expert with more than 25 years of experience fighting the bacterial infection.

Tedros says he’s just keeping a campaign promise to overhaul the agency in the wake of its high-profile failure to respond quickly to the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa. He is the first African to run the WHO — and the first director general chosen with a vote open to all member countries in May, overcoming what he called a “colonial mindset” among backers of his British rival.

Tedros’ advisers have defended his decision to name Mugabe a goodwill ambassador for noncommunicable diseases less than four months into the job as just a misguided effort to build bridges with a regional giant who, despite human rights violations and a long embrace of the tobacco industry, recently expressed openness to new commitments on health.

The offer was quickly retracted, but not before it triggered international condemnation. An opinion piece in the Washington Post even speculated that it was payback to Mugabe for securing the African Union’s support in the WHO election, or to China for its backing.

Tedros’ first appointments have already transformed the gender and geographic balance within the top ranks, even as they have raised concerns about a closed selection that downplays conventional expertise.

Of eight new directors chosen largely through a fast-track process, including Kasaeva, all but one are women.

Tedros is trying change the recruitment system to eliminate “unconscious biases that make it unfavorable for women to get the positions,” a top Tedros adviser, Senait Fisseha, said in an email. Until that can be accomplished, she said, he had made “limited appointments of diverse and highly qualified women” to move his vision forward.

That’s music to the ears of those who see an endless game of musical chairs that circulates people from one U.N. or international development agency to another. Often that means wealthy Western countries dictating to poorer countries how to deal with their problems in order to receive aid.

Vlad in Geneva

Diversity is a worthy goal, said Global Coalition of TB Activists CEO Blessina Kumar. But it shouldn’t come “at the cost of effectiveness and competency. You can’t trade one for the other,” she said.

“Merit was the first criteria for all appointments, while secondary consideration was given to gender and geographical diversity,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said. “Dr. Tedros also sought to appoint qualified people with country-level experience, as a vital complement to the technical expertise that already exists within WHO. This will help to accelerate progress at the country level.”

Kasaeva’s appointment has proved politically volatile both for Russia’s speckled track record in combatting TB, and because it’s seen as playing into Putin’s hands, helping the Russian president project power on the global health stage while he neglects patients back home.

“The domestic situation there is horrible. It’s probably one of the worst outside of Africa on TB infections,” said King’s College London’s Eduardo Gómez, the author of “Geopolitics in Health: Confronting Obesity, AIDS, and Tuberculosis in the Emerging BRICS Economies.”

In 2012, Russia rejected a $127 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, stifling many of the groups on the ground. On top of that, the federal government cut domestic TB funding in recent years, according to Gómez.

Nonetheless, in mid-November, Russia pledged $15 million toward fighting TB worldwide during a major U.N. TB conference in Moscow. The foreign aid is a typical Putin move, said Gomez. “This is an opportunity to reassert Russia’s dominance in global health.”

Putin addressed the gathering and met with Tedros. A month later, on December 15, Tedros announced Kasaeva’s appointment in an internal WHO email.

“I can’t see what the upside is other than political payback,” Harrington said.

Backlash on Tedros

Defenders say Russia’s TB program is improving — driven in part by Kasaeva — and that she may be the best hope for getting the country to change.

Vadim Testov, a former WHO official now working on Russia’s TB program, said he’s seen the government’s commitment increase over time, and that it’s “ready to provide” financing to make Russia’s domestic TB fight successful. He noted that new regulations from Kasaeva’s team have led to a sharper decrease in TB cases over the last five years.

Kasaeva “will have influence on Russian officials” in her WHO position, Testov predicted.

Many aren’t sold on Tedros’ new approach and fear that global health will suffer — especially if the WHO’s biggest donors get spooked.

The backlash shows the risks from Tedros’ effort to upend the status quo. Defenders say the same-old same-old at the U.N. hasn’t served patients on Ebola, TB or a range of other issues.

“Whatever we’ve been doing for the last quarter century isn’t working that well,” said Salmaan Keshavjee, a Harvard TB expert who has worked on the ground in Russia with Partners in Health.

He argued that WHO recommendations have in the past been ill-suited to Russia’s circumstances and that homegrown experts from emerging, populous economies may be in a better position to solve their own problems and bring a new perspective to the global effort.

“If you want to hold the BRICS countries’ feet to the fire, they have to be involved in health architecture,” Keshavjee said.

Budget strings

But many aren’t sold on Tedros’ new approach and fear that global health will suffer — especially if the WHO’s biggest donors get spooked.

Though ultimately blocked, U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut back on foreign aid — announced on May 23, the same day Tedros was elected to lead the WHO — has alarmed many in the organization. The recent controversies drive some worry that other large donors like the U.K. or Germany might be tempted to draw the purse strings tighter.

The U.S. contributes almost a quarter of the WHO’s $4 billion-plus annual budget.

Tedros’ doctorate is in community health, and he served as Ethiopia’s health minister for seven years — winning wide praise for strides in expanding contraception, fighting malaria and, yes, controlling TB.

But it may be his experience as Ethiopia’s top diplomat from 2012 to 2016 that seems most apposite now. During that period, he kept his country in the West’s good graces (and the aid money flowing) despite growing concerns about the regime’s human rights violations, by stressing Ethiopia’s position as a stable, strategic partner in the war on terror.

Tedros’ team includes plenty of conventional choices; Jane Ellison, a Brit, served as something of an olive branch to the WHO’s No. 2 state donor after the U.K. strongly backed its own candidate in a campaign that turned nasty. Tedros also named a German to a long-sought top post after Berlin stepped up donations and raised Tedros’ profile by inviting him to the G20 summit.

A Moment Of Significance And Opportunity For Ethiopia January 15, 2018

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A Moment Of Significance And Opportunity For Ethiopia – OpEd

Graham Peebles, Eurasia Review,  14 January 2018


Since November 2015 unprecedented protests have been taking place in Ethiopia: angry and frustrated at the widespread abuse of human rights and the centralization of power in the hands of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) tens of thousands have taken to the streets. The ruling party’s response to this democratic outpouring has been consistently violent; hundreds have been killed and beaten by security forces, tens of thousands arrested and imprisoned.

In an attempt to gag the people, a highly repressive State of Emergency was imposed in August 2016. It failed, the protests continued, the movement strengthened. The regime then tried to inflame ancient ethnic differences amongst various groups by staging attacks using plain-clothed security personnel. In the border region of Oromo and the Ogaden Tesfaye Robela of the Ethiopian Parliament claims that over 10,000 people have been killed. ESAT News (the sole Ethiopian independent broadcaster) quotes the findings of a parliamentary report into the ethnic clashes, which concluded that: “based on interviews with victims of the violence, squarely puts the blame on Somali Region Special Police, local police and militia for perpetrating the killings.” The Liyu Police is controlled by the Ethiopian military.

Despite these attempts to extinguish the movement for change, the people of Ethiopia are continuing to demand freedom, justice and democracy; this time they will not be silenced. The minority powers within the ruling EPRDF coalition – The Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) have been empowered by the popular uprising and there are signs that they are at last standing up to the majority TPLF members. Under pressure from the OPDO and ASDM and in a further attempt to distract attention from the protests and undermine the protestors’ claims, on 3rd January the government put out a convoluted statement relating to political prisoners.

The Prime-Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that the regime would release “some political prisoners”, prisoners that for the last 27 years they have denied even existed. ESAT News (which is based in Europe and America) reports he went on to announce that, “members of political parties and other individuals would be released to widen the political and democratic space” and that “the government would review the cases of certain individuals affiliated with political parties, including party leaders, [and] in some cases, charges would be dropped or people would be released or pardoned, depending on investigation results.”

His words, which have been widely reported in mainstream media, were not only disingenuous they were ambiguous and inconclusive. He failed to acknowledge that those imprisoned for expressing political dissent had been falsely incarcerated; repeatedly stating they were behind bars because they were guilty of breaking the law.

Whilst the release of any political prisoners at all would be a move in the right direction, in its present form the policy, if indeed it is a policy and not simply a public relations exercise aimed at international benefactors, is an insult to the thousands languishing in prison for no other reason than they disagree with the ruling TPLF. The statement is inadequate and needs clarification: who will be considered for release and when? Does it include opposition politicians charged with fictitious terrorist offences under the universally condemned Anti-Terrorist Proclamation of 2009? Will this long-overdue gesture mean that politicians who have been forced to live in exile for fear of arrest and imprisonment can safely return home?

These and other pressing questions need to be raised by opposition groups and human rights organizations, and indeed Ethiopia’s major donors — America, Britain and the European Parliament, all of which have allowed the TPLF to trample on human rights and the people for decades. Intense pressure must be applied on the government to articulate its intentions and, for once in their tyrannical reign, do the right thing and release all political prisoners, including journalists, bloggers, protestors and activists of all kinds.

It was also announced by the PM that Maekelewi prison in Addis Ababa, which has been used as a torture chamber by the TPLF for years, will be closed down, and rather bizarrely, turned into a modern museum, unless common sense prevails and it is demolished. This is a positive development but is again short on detail, there has been no mention of what will happen to the inmates. All political prisoners held there should be released unconditionally, and an independent international monitoring group established to oversee the release and or transfer of all other detainees.

The current of change

Despite being enshrined as rights within Ethiopia’s liberally worded constitution, for over two decades all forms of freedom of speech and political dissent have been virtually outlawed. Anyone who openly disagrees with or questions the ruling party is seen as a threat, and persecuted, arrested, imprisoned and, commonly, tortured. The Anti-Terrorism Act, together with The Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP), both passed in 2009, are the primary tools of suppression within the regime’s Arsenal of Control.

Both laws have been widely criticized by Human Rights groups; responding to the CSP in 2012 Amnesty International said that, “The law has had a devastating impact on human rights work, both in terms of the practical obstacles it creates for human rights defenders, and in exacerbating the climate of fear in which they operate.” This is of course precisely what it was intended to do. Commenting on the Anti-Terrorist Proclamation when it was drafted, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that it provided “the Ethiopian government with a potent instrument to crack down on political dissent, including peaceful political demonstrations…It would permit [indeed has facilitated] long-term imprisonment and even the death penalty for ‘crimes’ that bear no resemblance, under any credible definition, to terrorism.”

For 27 years the TPLF group within the coalition have dominated all life in the country and like all such tyrannical regimes they have ruled through violence and fear. But we are living in new times; the days of tyrannical regimes is all but over, those that persist are sustained by the polluted energies of the past and are on their death bed. The people of Ethiopia sense that this is their time, that change is not only possible, but is coming.

The government’s half-baked move to release a few political leaders will not appease anyone, but should embolden many. It reveals a crack in the democratic facade presented by the regime, which must be split open under the force of sustained political activism, civil disobedience and public protest.

The minority members of the coalition — the OPDO and ANDM — now have an opportunity, indeed a responsibility to act boldly, to stand up and take a lead. As representatives of the two largest ethnic groups in the country they are in a position to do a number of things: demand The Anti-Terrorism Act, and The Charities and Societies Proclamation be immediately repealed, compile a comprehensive list of all political prisoners (working in cooperation with Amnesty International or The Ethiopia Human Rights Project), and vigorously press for their immediate release. Then, providing opposition politicians are released and political groups outside the country — including Ginbot 7 — are allowed to operate freely, work vigorously to campaign for fair and open elections (such a thing has never taken place in Ethiopia) to be held sometime in late 2019. This is a moment of significance in the country. There is an unstoppable force for justice and freedom sweeping across the world and Ethiopia is firmly within that current of change.


 

IRIN: Feature: Ethiopian Oromo refugees face bribes, harassment in Kenya January 12, 2018

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 NAIROBI, 12 January 2018


A freelance journalist, focusing on humanitarian and development issues

Ethiopian Oromo refugees fleeing to Kenya to escape persecution say they are finding life on the streets of Nairobi no better than the insecurity they left behind, as they are targeted by bribes and harassment and forced into vast camps with few prospects or protections.

The Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group but have long complained of political and economic marginalisation at the hands of the country’s ruling party, which is dominated by a minority ethnic group, the Tigrayans.

Following 2016 protests demanding political reform, which resulted in a state of emergency and the deaths of more than 600 in the security crackdown, thousands of Oromo made their way to neighbouring Kenya seeking asylum and refuge.

But they did not escape the Ethiopian authorities. Human Rights Watch has reported “numerous cases of harassment and threats” against Oromo asylum seekers in Kenya by Ethiopian government officials.

The rights group has also documented “confessions” by Kenyan police officers in which they admit to being offered bribes by the Ethiopian embassy to detain and intimidate Oromo refugees.

“When I came to Kenya I thought that I would be protected and would be able to start a new life,” said former Oromo politician “Tolessa”, who requested his identity be protected.

“[But] what I’m facing here is no different from what I was facing at home,” he told IRIN. “My future here isn’t very bright.”

Full of “spies”

Oromo refugees also reported attempts by Ethiopian officials to recruit them as informants in Nairobi’s Oromo community, promising land, protection, money, and even resettlement to the United States or elsewhere, Human Rights Watch noted.

“There are a lot of Ethiopian spies here in Nairobi,” one refugee, a former Ethiopian intelligence officer, alias “Demiksa”, told IRIN.

Now a senior dissident, “Demiksa” related what had happened to him back in Ethiopia.

He said that after refusing orders to torture prisoners held in Addis Ababa’s infamous Maekelawi prison, he was accused of being an opposition collaborator, detained, and then tortured himself.

“They tied my hands up and hung me up on the wall with nails and beat me with electric cables around my ankles and on my back,” he told IRIN, fighting tears. “I couldn’t walk for three months,” he added.

“Demiksa” said he was spared capital punishment on one condition: kill or be killed. Handed photographs of two prominent Oromo activists, he was given a loaded gun and told to get into a car.

He accepted the mission – “I had no choice,” he told IRIN – but was able to escape en route to the hit, and then fled Ethiopia.

When he arrived in Nairobi, “Demiksa” was told to register at the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya like all other Ethiopian exiles.

The long arm of Ethiopian security

But Oromo who fear being stalked by Ethiopian intelligence believe even Kakuma is not safe.

“Threats from Ethiopian security officials – working together with local [Kenyan] police – also extend to the refugee camps [in Kenya],” Human Rights Watch researcher Felix Horne told IRIN.

Horne said Oromo activists who have come from cities in Ethiopia fear camp life because of the lack of employment opportunities, the heat, and Kakuma’s physical proximity to Ethiopia.

But they have darker fears too.

Oromo refugees have reportedly been kidnapped from Kenya and taken back to Ethiopia, and there have been similar reports from Sudan, Djibouti, Uganda, and Somaliland.

“This is not unique to Kenya,” Horne said. “The patterns of pervasive Ethiopian security presence utilising local security officials is similar in other countries where Ethiopians flee to.”

Tariku Debela, a political refugee living in Kampala who fled Kenya in April 2016, still remains a target for Ethiopian security forces. He told IRIN that his scars bear witness both to the torture he received in Ethiopia and an attempt on his life in Uganda.

“Some people came to my hotel room, drugged me, and then beat me up,” he explained to IRIN over the phone. “People living nearby heard what was happening and came to my rescue. One of [the attackers] was arrested.”

A Ugandan police investigation revealed “that the men who attacked me were sent from Ethiopia to kill me,” he added.

After imploring the UN refugee agency several times to offer him protection, Debela now stays in a UNHCR safe house, but doesn’t get much else in the way of assistance.

“UNHCR haven’t even tried to help me process my case for resettlement,” he told IRIN. “Since I am a political refugee, I shouldn’t have to stay here for the rest of my life.”

UNHCR has a mandate to provide protection to refugees, including political figures like “Demiksa” and Debela.

“The documentation issued to them by the government and UNHCR gives them the right to reside legally in Kenya and protects them from deportation to their country of origin or expulsion from Kenya,” Yvonne Ndege, senior communications officer at UNHCR, told IRIN.“There are some high-profile cases, such as the Oromo; sometimes their cases are expedited through the registration process,” she added.

But some say this policy exists only in theory.

“In practice, there is very little protection afforded to Oromo refugees,” Horne told IRIN.  “Individuals with serious security issues – some of whom are high-profile individuals – often receive no practical protection whatsoever from these agencies.”

Bribes, harassment, and detention

Kenya has an encampment policy – refugees are supposed to stay in one of two vast refugee camps that house 489,000 people: Dadaab and Kakuma. That means those found in urban centres without proper documentation are vulnerable to extortion and intimidation by the police.

Refugees IRIN spoke to in Nairobi mentioned regularly having to pay bribes to avoid harassment. The going rate is up to $200 for a permit to avoid being sent to Kakuma.

Life for those who can’t afford to pay is bleak. “Because I don’t have my papers I stay at home so that I can be safe from police,” teenager Fozia told IRIN.

Fozia fled Ethiopia following a brutal crackdown on students in her hometown in Oromia. After student protesters dispersed, she says police followed her home, then raped and beat her. She decided to flee.

Despite coming to Kenya as an unaccompanied minor, Fozia hasn’t been helped by the authorities. Without the ability to bribe registration officers at Nairobi’s government-run refugee registration centre, Shauri Moyo, she can’t officially register with UNHCR for refugee status determination.

“I was given a movement pass to Kakuma, but I feared going there, especially as a young girl,” she explained.

Neither can Fozia afford to bribe officials to gain an all-important exemption permit that would allow her to legally avoid going to Kakuma.

“Without that, I’m told by UNHCR to either go to Kakuma or register for exemption at Shauri Moyo,” she said.

Many other refugees face the same hurdles.

“I still haven’t received exemption,” another former Oromo politician and victim of torture in Maekelawi who preferred to remain anonymous, told IRIN.

“I’ve been ordered to bribe officers with $200 to gain exemption from camp,” the former politician said. “I don’t have that sort of money. I also stay indoors to avoid having to pay police officers that harass me.”

Following registration with Shauri Moyo, refugees can then apply for a government of Kenya “alien card” for asylum recognition. But several refugees told IRIN that this process also entails under the table payments – ranging from $300 to $485.

Such allegations of corruption and extortion are denied by Kenya’s Refugee Affairs Secretariat, known as RAS.

UNHCR “concerned”

Once refugees are able to access asylum, their cases are referred to UNHCR for refugee status determination, which is necessary for official recognition as a refugee.

But many refugees are having to wait years to even get an interview.

“I was supposed to have an appointment in March this year,” one woman complained. “You just turn up to their office [UNHCR], stand in line, and wait for your turn. Then they tell you that they can’t see you that day.”

She went on to explain how they typically just give you another appointment letter with a different date and year and tell you to wait.

“They didn’t even give me another appointment date last time – they just told me that they would call me,” she said. “I still haven’t heard anything yet [since her March appointment].”

Recognising these concerns, the UN refugee agency insisted it is committed to improving the registration system.

“UNHCR is concerned about the time being taken for asylum seekers and refugees to receive proper documentation,” UNHCR’s Ndege told IRIN, adding that it was working to streamline its registration processes.

But Horne from Human Rights Watch said neither UNHCR nor RAS are doing enough right now to protect vulnerable Oromo.

“Country guidelines on Ethiopia that officers use to assess asylum claims should be updated as they are over 10 years old and do not remotely reflect the current situation in Ethiopia,” he said.

Oromo opposition to rulers in Addis Ababa stretches back centuries. The current ruling party, the EPRDF, has used federalism to dilute that dissent, but it has persisted.

Charlie Ensor/IRIN
An Oromo activist in Nairobi, crosses his arms in an Oromo symbol of solidarity

In the unrest in 2016 and 2017, the Oromo were joined by the second largest ethnic group, the Amharas, in the demand for political reform – posing a significant challenge to the government.

Reform at last?

In a surprise announcement at the beginning of the month, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced that his government would close Maekelawi prison and release political prisoners in a move he said would advance political dialogue with opposition groups.

“The regime realises that the political landscape is shifting rapidly and that they have to find a way forward to deal with ethnic tension and communal violence,” Ahmed Soliman, associate researcher at Chatham House, told IRIN.

But this all depends on how sincere the government is on reforming and its willingness to admit the violations it has committed – including in neighbouring countries.

As Amnesty International researcher Fisseha Tekele put it after Desalegn’s announcement: “A new chapter for human rights will only be possible if all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment are effectively investigated and those responsible brought to justice.”

(TOP PHOTO: Eastleigh, Nairobi. Home to Nairobi’s refugees. CREDIT: Charlie Ensor/IRIN)

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Ethiopia’s decision on ‘political prisoners’ in context January 11, 2018

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Ethiopia’s decision on ‘political prisoners’ in context

By , Al Jazeera, 10 January 2018

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]

Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]


On January 3, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made two major announcements: his government will release political prisoners and close down a notorious detention centre at the heart of Ethiopia’s capital,widely known as a torture chamber for dissidents and government opponents. Desalegn announced the decision as part of a wider package of reforms aimed at fostering national reconciliation and widening the democratic space.

Rights groups welcomed the announcement as “an important step toward ending long-standing political repression and human rights abuse in the country” while others saw the move as a significant concession to the relentless protests of the last two years by the Oromos and Amharas – the two largest ethnic groups in the country.

As local and international media began to scrutinise the rationale, implications and consequences of the announcement, most of the commentary focused on Ethiopia’s perceived admission that there are political prisoners in the country. US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce even issued a statement praising Ethiopia for “finally acknowledg[ing] that it holds political prisoners.”

Shortly after the announcement, however, the government distanced itself from this interpretation by emphasising the fact that the prime minister never used the term “political prisoners” in his initial statement.

Indeed, Desalegn only referred to “political leaders and individuals whose crimes have resulted in court convictions or have resulted in their ongoing prosecution under the country’s law,” in his statement and never gave a clear indication as to which prisoners will be eligible for release.

Ethiopia’s political prisoners

The Ethiopian government has always denied consistent and widespread reports by human rights groups that it holds political prisoners. Like his predecessor, the late Meles Zenawi, who adamantly denied politicising the legal system to stifle dissent and opposition, Desalegn has also repeatedly dismissed the suggestion that Ethiopia is holding political prisoners.

Shortly after he took power in 2012, Al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton asked Desalegn if he intends to “confront” the legacy of political repression he inherited from Zenawi and take steps to release the “thousands of [political opposition] languishing in jail”. Desalegn said, “There are no political opposition that are languishing in prison.”

In May 2015, shortly before the country’s national election in which the ruling party won 100 percent of seats both at the national and regional levels, Al Jazeera’s Martine Dennisasked Desalegn about the imprisonment of “record number of journalists” to which he replied “these are not journalists …The moment you join a terrorist group, you become a blogger”.

There can be no justification to hold some political prisoners or journalists, bloggers and scholars while releasing high-profile leaders of political parties.

No sitting government would publicly admit to holding political prisoners, and – even after last week’s announcement – Ethiopian government still appears to be refusing to do so. But evidence suggests that very few governments in the world today hold more political prisoners than Ethiopia.

Since assuming power, the government frequently used the legal system to lock up members and leaders of the opposition. Indeed, the courts served as potent instruments of repression and power consolidation second only to the military-security apparatus.

Since the early days of the regime and particularly following the adoption of the country’s notorious anti-terrorism law in 2009, there has been a frightening politicisation of the legal system and the administration of justice. With or without disguise, Ethiopia used its courts and other institutions of justice to harass, intimidate, and eliminate political opposition from the political space.

In the early days of the regime, several members of opposition parties have been held in detention centres throughout the country without charges, particularly in the Oromia regional state. Actual or suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Front have been arrested in mass and detained without charges. More than two decades later, the whereabouts of several individuals including prominent Oromo politicians such as Nadhi Gamada and Bekele Dawano are still unknown.

Following the contested election in 2005, the government rounded up leaders of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) who made significant electoral gains that denied the incumbent its majority. Since the government adopted its notorious anti-terror legislation, more than 1,000 people including opposition political leaders, journalists, bloggers, activists, scholars, and religious figures, have been charged with terror-related crimes. It is estimated that tens of thousands of individuals are currently in jail because of the government’s intolerance to dissenting views.

What makes these individuals political prisoners is not their innocence or guilt but the fact that their arrest, prosecution, and conviction were purely motivated by political ambitions as opposed to normative concerns with the rule of law and justice. In other words, the legal process is set in motion not for the determination of guilt and innocence but for political expedience, to pursue the dual goal of delegitimising political foes and physically eliminating them from the political space.

While the Ethiopian government still appears to be refusing the mere existence of thousands of political prisoners in the country, last week’s announcement, however incomplete, is a step in the right direction.

The closure of the infamous torture chamber commonly known as Maikalawi is another welcome development that signals a departure from the repressive practices of the past. But it needs to be noted that the prime minister did not admit that his government used the prison as a torture centre. He instead noted that the prison will be closed and turned in to a museum as result of its role in past atrocities.

Yet there are many credible reports (pdf) showing that opposition politicians, protest organisers, journalists, suspected dissenters and other voices critical of the government are taken to Maikalawi and subjected to torture or other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment under the rule of the current regime.

The real reasons behind the announcement

The decision to release political prisoners and close down the detention centre is a compromise between the four political parties that make up the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition. But understanding the political considerations behind the announcement requires a proper understanding and appreciation of the two central issues: the constitutive and operational logic of the EPRDF and the nature of the crisis destabilising the country for well over two years.

EPRDF is the brainchild of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a Marxist-Leninist movement that fought to liberate the Tigray ethnic group, which comprise six percent of Ethiopia’s more than 100 million people. In the final days of Ethiopia’s civil war, the TPLF orchestrated the creation of three satellite parties – Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) – that ostensibly represent their respective ethnic groups.

The TPLF assembled these puppet organisations to consolidate its grip on power. They helped broaden TPLF’s appeal beyond Tigray and bolster its political legitimacy while also enabling it to smother real opposition from autonomous parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the All Amhara Peoples Organization (AAPO).

For 26 years, TPLF used this vassal configuration to dominate all aspects of the country’s political life, while mercilessly muzzling dissenting voices both from within and outside the party. The discontent and suffering that have been simmering underground for decades exploded into the open in November of 2015 when Oromos, the largest ethnic group in the country, took to the streets in protest.

In July of 2016, the Amharas, the second-largest ethnic group in the country, joined the protest, creating a nationwide protest movement that reconfigured the political landscape and brought the government to its knees.

The protests not only exposed the structural anomalies at the heart of Ethiopia’s political system, but also brought about a significant reconfiguration of the asymmetric relationship between the four parties that make up the EPRDF. TPLF lost its absolute power within the coalition as its junior partners began to reinvent themselves and side with their respective people.

This is particularly evident in Oromia, where the new leadership of the region refused to play second fiddle. OPDO began to flex its muscles, knowing full well that as the party with the most seats in parliament, and the largest population, it can cripple the government. In a major break, the new leaders of OPDO began protesting the disproportionate and indiscriminate policing, harassment, imprisonment, and torture of Oromos by security forces.

In a joint press statement of the four parties that make up the ruling coalition, Lemma Megersa, the leader of OPDO and the president of Oromia regional state, characterised Maikalawi as “a site in which our citizens have been castrated for years“. Megersa, a transformational figure with a distinct ability to appeal to people across competing nationalist narratives and fault lines that divide Ethiopian politics, went on to argue that “while it is one thing to close it down, it is important that we look at the justice sector more broadly, from investigation to prosecution, trial, and sentencing.”

While the proposed package of reforms are in the interests of the OPDO and ANDM, it is not clear to what extent the other parties, particularly the TPLF, which still controls the intelligence, the military and the federal police, is genuinely committed to enforcing measures, which, if fully implemented, would ultimately reduce its influence within the coalition, the government and the state more generally.

TPLF’s hegemonic status depends on fostering hostility and division, not national reconciliation and democratisation. Indeed, just three days after the announcement, the Federal Police announced a “deep investigation” into “Qeerroo Oromo” (Oromo youth) movement, a decision which collides head-on with the party’s stated goals of national reconciliation and democratisation.

The government acknowledges the unprecedented nature of the crisis facing the country and rightly identifies national reconciliation and widening the democratic space as two of the most significant policy objectives necessary to save the country from plunging into the abyss. However, the government cannot pursue these goals while at the same time proposing measures in conflict with these imperatives.

The government must come to terms with the transformations of the last two years and open up the political process for all voices that seek a hearing and bodies that seek visibility. This means adopting the broadest possible definition of political prisoners and releasing all those whose arrest, detention, prosecution, and conviction have been driven by political considerations.

There can be no justification to hold some political prisoners or journalists, bloggers and scholars while releasing high-profile leaders of political parties. If there is any lesson the government can learn from the protests of the last two years, it is that more repression will only escalate the crisis, not contain or avert it.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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Geneva press Club: Fear of State Collapse and Prospect of Democratic Transition in Ethiopia January 11, 2018

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Mohammed Al-Amoudi transferred to maximum security prison January 11, 2018

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Al Amoudi


Mohammed Al-Amoudi transferred to maximum security prison

Tesfa News ESAT News, January 10, 2018

The Ethiopian born Saudi tycoon, Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi and all the remaining detainees that were held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel have been transferred to Al-Ha’ir prison, a maximum security prison south of Riyadh.

The Middle East Monitor quoted the Arabic Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site as saying authorities have transferred the remaining detainees being held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel to Al-Ha’ir prison because they have refused to pay large payments, 70% of their wealth, to secure their freedom.

The report said nearly 60 detainees were transferred to the most high security prison in the Kingdom. The prisoners include Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal as Prince Turki Bin Abdullah and a number of government officials who refused to make the large financial payments for their release.

Among those transferred to the maximum security prison is Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi whose worth is 10.6 Billion dollars and owns businesses in hundreds of millions of dollars in Ethiopia. He works works closely with the TPLF oligarchy that granted him thousands of hectares of agricultural land and several prime plots in the capital Addis Ababa. He hit jackpot with gold in Ethiopia and has been mining gold for over two decades. His agricultural and construction projects stretch all across the country.

Early in November Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the arrest of about 200 princes and businessman accused of high level corruption.

But the purge was also seen as a move to raise money for the cash strapped Kingdom’s treasury. Authorities aimed at raising 100 billion dollars in return for the release of the suspects.

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah had been released after paying more than $1 billion for his release. And a few others had reportedly reached settlement for their freedom.

The Ritz-Carlton hotel is now available for booking starting next month, according to its website.


 

How to bring down a dictator | The Economist Film January 10, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistThe Economist on #OromoProtests

“Foreign government don’t have friends, only interests.”

“Democracy is like love you need to make it everyday.”

 

FT: Ethiopia regime caught between will to survive and call for change January 9, 2018

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Ethiopia regime caught between will to survive and call for change


Real reform unlikely as it would mean self-destruction for government, critics say

#OromoProtests at a point of no returns

After anti-government protests erupted two years ago, Ethiopia’s government adopted its traditional approach to dealing with dissent: hundreds of people were killed in clashes with security forces, tens of thousands were detained and a state of emergency was imposed. But the unrest continued to fester and has escalated in the five months since emergency rule was lifted, once more threatening the stability of the nation and the prospects of one of Africa’s best-performing economies. Now the rattled government is trying a different tactic — making conciliatory gestures to those who oppose its autocratic rule.  Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister, announced last week that the government would release political prisoners and close a notorious prison as the first steps in a process to “foster national reconciliation”.  Analysts say the highly unusual measure was prompted by a belated realisation in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front that the unrest posed a serious threat to its 26-year hold on power. But the way the crisis has been handled also exposes unprecedented cracks in the unity of the four-party ruling coalition. “[While] on the one hand . . . the situation of our country is delightful, the conflicts . . . pose serious danger to our national survival Regime executive committee press release “The EPRDF has always had divisions but it’s been very insular and everything has been contained,” says Ahmed Salim, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence. “For the first time we’re seeing some of these machinations play out publicly because of the anti-government protests.” The decision to release prisoners, which has yet to be implemented, was taken by the EPRDF’s 36-member executive committee at a 17-day retreat last month. In a rare bout of self-criticism, the executive committee blamed the crisis on poor leadership at all levels of the coalition and a lack of democracy. The EPRDF controls all the seats in parliament and all the main opposition parties have been outlawed or emasculated, the country has few independent civil society organisations and the media is muzzled. The committee concluded that while “on the one hand . . . the situation of our country is delightful”, according to an official translation of a press release, “the conflicts being ensued in different parts of the country . . . posed serious danger to our national survival”. The “conflicts” erupted in 2015 over opposition to government plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. They escalated into a more general anti-government movement as discontent rose, particularly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, where people complain about decades of marginalisation by the ruling Tigrayan elite. Ethiopia’s prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the move to free prisoners would ‘foster national reconciliation’.

More recently, the protests have centred on clashes between people in Oromia and the Somali federal state, prompting fears among analysts that the unrest could become increasingly ethnic. “It’s a realisation by the [EPRDF], perhaps a little too late, that they need to shift course in their approach to the growing anti-government sentiment,” Mr Salim says. “It’s a tacit acceptance they’ve got it all wrong.” After its meeting, the EPRDF committee expressed “its earnest remorse for putting the ongoing quarter century [of] development in jeopardy”. Over the past decade, Ethiopia, an impoverished nation of 100m, has recorded average economic growth of more than 8 per cent, while attracting billions of dollars in foreign investment as it positioned itself as a centre of low-cost manufacturing. Awol Allo, an Ethiopian political analyst at Keele University in the UK, describes the prisoner announcement as a “major step in the right direction for the EPRDF”. However, activists’ long-held scepticism of the regime’s reform promises would remain until there was tangible progress, he says. Arguably the greater threat to the coalition’s survival comes not from the streets but from within its ranks, he says, particularly the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organisation and Amhara National Democratic Movement parties. “These parties are becoming increasingly vocal and demanding greater democracy,” he says.   The Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups account for more than 60 per cent of the population, but the EPRDF is dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. Tigrayans comprise only 6 per cent of the population but the TPLF led the armed struggle that in 1991 toppled Mengistu Haile Mariam’s dictatorship.  The fourth party in the EPRDF is the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, which is led by Mr Hailemariam, the prime minister Mr Salim says the EPRDF is “clearly not united” but that it is premature to predict what will happen. “Complete collapse is the most unlikely scenario but they’re experiencing threats that are existential,” he says.  The coalition’s challenge is to find a balance between survival and satisfying demands for change, says Befeqadu Hailu, a prominent Ethiopian blogger. “If the EPRDF does real reform and introduces proper democracy it will perish, because it’s reated so many grievances in every citizen’s head it will either split or be voted out,” he says. “But if it doesn’t do reform, the crisis will get worse.”


 

Oromia: Crackdowns on Qeerroo? Good Luck Intimidating the Tiger! #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution January 8, 2018

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#OromoProtests, Oromo students movement for freedom

 

Click here to read more: Crackdowns on Qeerroo? Good Luck Intimidating the Tiger! 

Qeerroo: Hawwii Tazarraa New Oromo Music 2018 January 6, 2018

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Ethiopian Government’s Promise to Release Political Prisoners & Close Notorious Jail Meaningless Without Political Freedoms January 5, 2018

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“For years, while donor countries like the US have turned a blind eye, thousands of Ethiopians have languished behind bars simply for speaking up against so-called development policies and related human rights abuses, all perpetrated by the Ethiopian regime. The acknowledgement of these political prisoners, their release, and the closure of the horrific Maekelawi police station, if actually carried through, are all long overdue, but not enough.”

Ethiopian Government’s Promise to Release Political Prisoners & Close Notorious Jail Meaningless Without Political Freedoms

The Oakland Institute, January 4, 2018

Kibish, Ethiopia. Credit: The Oakland Institute.

Media Contact: Anuradha Mittal
amittal@oaklandinstitute.org
+1 510-469-5228

Oakland, CA—Until yesterday, the Ethiopian government refused to even acknowledge the presence of scores of political prisoners in the country. Then on January 3, 2018, the government announced that it would release all of its political prisoners and close the notorious Maekelawi police station. The surprise announcement came after years of political suppression that saw the deaths of over 1,000 people and the arrest of over 26,000 in 2016-2017 alone, as well as the imposition of a 10-month state of emergency.

According to Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, “For years, while donor countries like the US have turned a blind eye, thousands of Ethiopians have languished behind bars simply for speaking up against so-called development policies and related human rights abuses, all perpetrated by the Ethiopian regime. The acknowledgement of these political prisoners, their release, and the closure of the horrific Maekelawi police station, if actually carried through, are all long overdue, but not enough.”

The Oakland Institute has exposed human rights abuses linked to land grabs and failed development policies across Ethiopia for over a decade. This has included forced displacement, unlawful arrest, the stifling of basic human rights, and more. Journalists, opposition party members, religious and indigenous leaders, students, and land rights defenders have been imprisoned simply for speaking out against injustice in the country. The Institute has been closely involved in the cases of various land rights defenders and political prisoners, and has campaigned against Ethiopia’s draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.

“For years, the Ethiopian government has used its anti-terrorism law to criminalize basic human rights, stifle dissent, and lock up anyone who critiques its policies and actions,” explained Lewis Gordon, Executive Director of the Environmental Defender Law Center and editor of a joint report with the Oakland Institute about the law. “While today’s announcement has the potential to be a positive step forward for many in Ethiopia, it is also imperative that the government repeal the use of this repressive piece of legislation.”

While yesterday’s news has been heralded by many, questions remain about how the government intends to enact these sweeping changes.

“Who is considered a political prisoner? How and when will these releases take place and under what conditions? Going forward, what kinds of political freedoms will be allowed? The right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the media? How will the perpetrators of crimes that have been committed against Ethiopian citizens be held accountable? These are all details that have not yet been released,” Mittal stated. “In the absence of these details, we remain cautious about this announcement.  We will remain vigilant in the days and weeks to come, and hold the Ethiopian government accountable to swiftly and fully follow through on its promises.”

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Learn more about Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation in our report: Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Law: A Tool to Stifle Dissent.

Financial Times coverage of Mr. Okello’s sentence (registration required).

Obok’s letter to the Financial Times in response to their report.


Related (Oromian Economist sources):-

BBC: Ethiopia PM ‘misquoted’ over prisoners

Foreign Affairs Committee: Chairman Royce Statement on Ethiopia Political Prisoners Announcement,Press Release

The New York Times: Ethiopia Says It Will Close Notorious Prison and Free Some Inmates 

BBC Afaan Oromoo: ‘Nama malee manni nama hin dararu’ – Maa’ikalaawii

OPride: Ethiopia needs deeper reforms beyond release of jailed politicians and closure of Maekelawi

OPride: Here is what Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said and what he didn’t say

 

QZ: Ethiopia will have to do a lot more than release political prisoners to end repression

OP-ED: RACE TO THE BOTTOM: ETHIOPIA’S ACCELERATING CRISIS January 2, 2018

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An economy in free fall, ever-deepening repression, a deteriorating security, inter-ethnic violence, and a vicious infighting within the ruling party – Ethiopia is on the cusp of political explosion.


Addis Abeba, December 31/2017 – The Executive Committee of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) just concluded a high stakes meeting widely expected to offer a pathway out of the current crisis. The press release put out by the party after the 18-days long meeting is full of invectives, outrageous falsehoods, and deliberate reversal of historical facts designed to give an appearance of coherence and solidity to a regime in complete shambles.

Ethiopia has largely been seen in Western capitals as “an Island of stability in a troubled region”.  The inability and unwillingness of the government to address the popular demands of the protests of the last three years degenerated into a far more complex and dangerous turmoil, morphing into a wholesale political crisis.

According to the 2017 Fragile States Index by the US think thank Fund for Peace, Ethiopia is the 15th most fragile state in the world, down from 24th in 2016. And also according to the forthcoming 2018 Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI), which evaluates and analyses the political, economic, and governance transformations of 129 developing countries, Ethiopia is on a downward trend. It ranks 113th on the state of political and economic transformation, down from 111th in 2016. The country is teetering on the brink of a bottomless abyss. But what are the key reasons and how can this sharp increase in the vulnerability of the state to collapse reversed?

Since the sudden demise of its all too powerful Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, in 2012, the country has been in tumult, unable to deal with the political crisis generated by escalating levels of ethnic discontent, violent political repression, and crippling economic conditions. A strategic thinker known for being duplicitous, savage, and decisive, Meles was a master manipulator with an absolute grip on the country’s political and economic policies. His successor, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, had neither the adept strategic maneuver nor the far-reaching control Meles had over the party, the state, as well as the military and security apparatus.

Rupture in the Ruling Coalition

The ruling party, EPRDF, a coalition of four unequal ethnic based parties, is on the brink of unraveling. Alarmed by the pace of changes sweeping the political landscape and the central government’s increasing strategic and tactical incompetence, some of its members are beginning to publicly contradict each other, a rupture that marked a make or break moment for the party and the government. EPRDF is a vassal configuration held together through ideological machinations and a range of repressive tactics. Its members are: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), The Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), The Amhara National Democratic Movement, and The Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement.

The most dominant mother party, TPLF, used the vassals to bolster its legitimacy and squelch opposition from autonomous parties. While the vassal parties were allowed a measure of autonomy on internal matters, the mother party ensured the durability of the vassal configuration by ensuring that vassal parties do not build a social capital and internal party infrastructure that will one day allow it to free itself from this titular arrangement.

Since the death of Meles Zenawi, the vassal configuration has been in tatters, as former vassals began to assert themselves and demand a fair and equal distribution of political power within the party and the state. This is particularly evident within the Oromia regional state, where the region’s governing party, the OPDO, has been publicly expressing its disenchantment with the status quo.

The Violence on the Eastern Front

Elements within the TPLF who saw the OPDO as the greatest threat to their power turned to sabotage to reassert control of the vassal that is abandoning them to side with their sizable constituency. According to several sources, the violence along the border between Oromia and Ethiopian Somali regional state, while executed by Liyu Police, a paramilitary force with a dubious mandate, was indeed, instigated by TPLF generals. The border conflict has claimed the lives of hundreds and displaced more than half a million people.

For over a decade now, the government has been hiding behind the rhetoric of national security and narrative of development to shut down critical conversations of considerable political significance. These narratives have run out of steam and no longer provide the cement capable of holding together the crumbling social and political fabric in the country.

Nation-wide protests

As years of pain and suffering turned into rage, Ethiopians poured into the streets to demand that the government respects its own Constitution, and political repression. The Muslim community began protesting in December 2011 demanding religious freedom and an end to the government’s intervention in the affairs of their religion. In November 2015, the Oromos, the largest ethnic group in the country who make up around a third of the population, started one of the most consequential protests, essentially redefining the terms of engagement between the state and society. In July 2016, the Amharas, the second largest ethnic group in the country, joined the protest, intensifying the pressure against the government.

Although the nature of the grievances and the demands of these protest movements are not exactly the same, these protests were essentially reflections of decades of humiliation and hopelessness by their respective communities, exacerbated by the government’s contempt to long overdue questions of representation, autonomy, equality, and justice.

The government’s brutal response – complete with a show of force – was to securitize the demands and denigrate protesters as terrorists and anti-peace elements – a common tactic used by the Ethiopian government to justify violent suppression of peaceful opposition. As a consequence the tone and substance of the conversations on the Ethiopian streets suddenly shifted, with protesters demanding a radical transformation of the system. The ruling party has become the symbol of national decay and bankrupt hopes. Shaken to its core, it declared a state of emergency on October 8, 2016, to reassert control. By the time the emergency was lifted, in August 2017, hundreds of people were killed and tens of thousands were detained.

The Executive Committee Meeting

The highly anticipated Executive Committee meeting was widely expected to pass major decisions on the future direction of the party and the country by offering credible and tangible pathways for democratizing the party and the state. If the press statement is to be taken as an accurate reflection of what has been agreed in the meeting and where the party is headed, the status quo seems to have won the day.  The substance and tone of the statement is in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the Ethiopian people who have staged relentless protests for more than three years and paid a considerable price.

The country is on the verge of explosion and the government has now reached a turning point. It faces a choice between opening up the political process and tumbling into the abyss.

The West also faces a choice between supporting an all-inclusive transition or the complete unraveling of a geopolitically significant state with a colossal repercussion for its people and the region. Indeed, some diplomats with extensive experience of the country and the region have been moving away from the morally and politically questionable position they supported and defended for over two decades. Ambassador Herman J. Cohen, former US Assistant Secretary of States, who played a key part in the last political transition in Ethiopia, recently called on the government to “seriously consider requesting US Government mediation to organize a conference among all parties that will produce new democratic dispensation – before law and order collapse completely”.

Western governments who have been criticizing the government in private and behind closed-doors must take their criticisms a step further and demand concrete action. Most of all, they must demand that the government stops instigating inter-ethnic violence, release all political prisoners, listen to the plight of its people, and take radical steps to halt the race to the bottom.


ED’s Note: Awol Allo, is Lecturer in Law at Keele University, Great Britain. He tweets at @awol_allo and can be reached at a.k.allo@keele.ac.uk

 


 

DW: Ethiopia: Crisis in the land of the economic miracle January 1, 2018

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While a small number of government-connected oligarchs are accumulating more and more wealth, most Ethiopians are not experiencing the so-called economic miracle, with nearly six million people dependent on food aid.

Ethiopia: Crisis in the land of the economic miracle

Unrest has plagued Ethiopia for the past two years. So what’s going on? The reasons are complicated.

Dire Dawa town in Äthiopien (Hailegzi Mehari)

Journalist Martin Plaut considers this to be the beginning of the problems facing modern Ethiopia. “The TPLF and Meles Zenawi were never prepared to allow democracy and real federalism,” he told DW. But the focus on ethnic differences in the constitution has not been without consequence:“As soon as you increase the focus on ethnicity and make ethnicity the basis of the state, you basically stoke up ethnic tensions,” said Plaut.

Ethiopia's Abay new motor show in Addis Ababa (Getty Images/AFP/J. Cendon)Ethiopia’s economy is booming with car assemblies like this one (pictured above) but many still live below the poverty line

Unequal distribution of economic resources

For some observers, the deadly clashes over the past few weeks would appear to be harbingers of an ethnically-motivated civil war. It seems like ethnic tensions are being expressed with increasing intensity. But the causes are complex.

Over the past few years, one issue in particular has repeatedly exacerbated the ethnic tensions in Ethiopia: the side effects of rapid economic growth. Since 2000, gross domestic product has increased almost tenfold, raising questions over who actually benefits from this increase in prosperity.

For example, the violent expropriation of many Oromo people following the spread of the economic boom in the capital Addis Ababa is considered one of the triggers for the ongoing unrest. While a small number of government-connected oligarchs are accumulating more and more wealth, most Ethiopians are not experiencing the so-called economic miracle, with nearly six million people dependent on food aid.

Read more:‘Ethiopia needs to open up civic space’, UN rights chief:

Although the economic boom has led to the emergence of a small, but growing, middle class, this hardly diffuses the situation. On the contrary, economic success and access to better education only increase the desire for political participation, which so far has been denied to those who wish to work their way up in the authoritarian system.

The consequence of these upheavals is conflict at all levels: civil society pushes back against the authoritarianism of national, regional and local rulers; regional populations want more independence from Addis Ababa and at the center of power, reformers fight against those who wish to defend the status quo. The military and regional police forces are becoming increasingly involved in political decisions.

Germany Berlin - Ethiopians demonstrate againt human rights abuse (DW/Y. Hailemichael)At the peak of protests, Ethiopians world over including those living in Germany called for political reforms back home

Pursing federalism as a solution

Is Ethiopia at risk of state collapse? Plaut thinks this kind of speculation is premature, because there is a clear solution available: “There is a way of solving it, which would be to genuinely allow a federal state.” For this to occur, however, the TPLF must be willing to give up their absolute hold on power and make way for a true multi-party system.

The vice-chairman of the Medrek coalition, Beyene Petros, also doesn’t think Ethiopia is likely to fall apart any time soon. “I am fully confident that Ethiopia will remain intact; this is by the desire and choice of the Ethiopian population,” he told DW. What is needed, however, is an overhaul of the political system: “The EPRDF regime is simply not compatible with the cultural and political situation in Ethiopia.”

What Ethiopia needs at this stage is a national conference involving all political parties and civil society. If so, the bad news coming out of the country could come to an end.


 

DW RECOMMENDS


Ethiopia’s remarkable education statistics mask a system in crisis December 28, 2017

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Ethiopia’s remarkable education statistics mask a system in crisis

By Tom Gardner, QZ Africa

 

Thomas Yilma didn’t last a day as a teacher in an Ethiopian government school. After graduating from university he was packed off to a small village in a remote corner of the Ethiopian highlands with scant electricity or phone signal, let alone internet connection, where he was to begin his career. “I felt like I was being abandoned in the middle of nowhere,” he says now. After one restless night he turned around and headed back to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, leaving the country’s state education sector behind him.

Thomas’s story—extreme though it is—sheds some light on the troubles plaguing Ethiopia’s rapidly expanding school system. Though he eventually found a job in an American-owned private school, this too proved only temporary. After six years he did what many of his colleagues—and thousands of teachers across Ethiopia—so often end up doing, and quit the profession entirely. “I never had any desire to become a teacher,” he says. “You could guess what their lives were like. I wanted to be a doctor or an engineer—like everybody else.”

 Few governments in Africa spend as much of their revenues on education as that of Ethiopia. At first sight this is surprising. Education in Ethiopia over the past decade is in some senses a success story. Government statistics are not wholly reliable—the ruling party does a good job of steering clear of most international surveys, making regional comparison difficult—but many of the headline figures are impressive regardless. Few governments in Africa—or elsewhere, for that matter—spend as much of their revenues on education as that of Ethiopia. In a continent which today directs a higher proportion of government expenditure towards the sector than any other—18.4%—Ethiopia has consistently been in the top rank for the past decade. Between 2000 and 2013 it almost doubled the share of its budget allocated to education, from 15% to 27%.

Measured in terms of access to primary education (which is now free), the results are striking. Ethiopia now has one of the highest enrollment rates in Africa, up from the nadir in the early 1990s when it had one of the world’s lowest. The number of primary schools almost tripled from 1996 to 2015, while student enrollment grew from less than 3 million to over 18 million within the same period—almost universalYouth literacy meanwhile jumped from 34% in 2000 to 52% in 2011.

According to the UN’s Education For All Development Index, which provides a snapshot of the overall progress of national education systems, Ethiopia came second only to Mozambique in terms of size of the improvement over the previous decade, and made fastest progress in terms of expanding universal primary enrolment. Between 2001 and 2008, the number of out-of-school children fell by more than 60%.Compare this to Nigeria, which at the same moment experienced a lost decade: the percentage of children out of school showed no improvement whatsoever by the end of it.

Teacher status

But all this masks a deep-seated malaise. According to the government’s own figures, for every 1,000 children who begin school, around one-half will pass uninterrupted to Grade 5 and only one-fifth to completion of Grade 8. Soaring enrolment at secondary level in Addis Ababa—statistical quirks mean the figure here is actually over 100%—contrasts with less than a tenth in the sparsely populated, largely pastoralist region of Afar, which stretches eastwards towards Eritrea and Djibouti.

Those who do manage to stick it out struggle, consistently under-performing what the curriculum expects of them. According to Belay Hagos, director of educational research at Addis Ababa University, students at various grades are learning on average only 40% of the material they are supposed to master. National Learning Assessments, conducted every four years, reveal a stubborn lack of progress. The average score for a Grade 4 student, for instance, dipped from 41% to 40% between 2010 and 2014, and remains stuck below 50% in all regions except Addis Ababa. Comparing 15-year-old children who correctly answered comparable maths questions in 2009 and 2016, Young Lives, a British charity, also found no overall improvement. “I think the education system is in crisis,” says Alula Pankhurst, the charity’s country director.

Why? Part of the answer lies in Thomas’s story. Ethiopia’s brightest and best don’t want to be teachers, and those that do rarely last long. The country’s teachers were once high status: in the northern region of Tigray, the word itself is a title, used to indicate social respect. But this respect has “declined over time,” says Hagos. The profession has been progressively been de-professionalized, ever since the days of the Marxist regime known as the Derg, during which teachers were either co-opted or purged.

Today, teachers are mostly selected from poor-performing students: those who graduate Grade 10 in the top 30% or so go on to Grade 11; those in the tier below join the police; the rest who pass can go to teacher training college. “This is not a good strategy,” says Hagos. “They can’t be good teachers because weren’t good students in the first place.” His latest research has uncovered what he calls a “professional identity crisis”. 70% of those surveyed reported feeling bad about the profession, while 98% said the pay was too low. “They are teachers but they don’t want to be called teachers,” he says. “They are ashamed of it.”

Language problem

Other problems specific to Ethiopia—beyond the obvious lack of financial resources—are compounding its teaching troubles. An especially tricky one is the country’s federal constitution, which devolves a great deal of education policy to the nine regional governments, in particular language of instruction.

 “The transition to English in some regions can be a very, very steep curve.” Even at university level standards can be shockingly poor. Regions tend to choose to educate their children at primary level in the local language, but after that instruction suddenly switches to English—a treacherous passage that few sail through easily. “It’s very worrying,” says Pankhurst. “The transition to English in some regions can be a very, very steep curve.” Even at university level standards can be shockingly poor.

The government knows it has itself in a bind: expanding educational access at such a fast pace was always bound to lead to a dilution in standards. “Ethiopia judiciously picked one route, which was students in rooms and bums on seats,” says Ravi Shankar of Accelerated, a company based in Addis Ababa that is working to improve teaching standards in Ethiopia and elsewhere on the continent. Now the government is making efforts to correct this: teachers wages, for instance, were increased sharply last year, and it has embarked on a large-scale program of skills training for teachers.

But whether it can ever follow in the footsteps of a country like Vietnam—whose single-minded focus on education the government has long sought to emulate—is uncertain. And what if it fails? “A crisis of expectation is a recipe for unrest,” says Pankhurst, noting that the anti-government protests which have swept across much of the country since 2014 were led by students with few prospects and even less hope.


 

OCHA Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 43 -11 – 24 Dec 2017 December 27, 2017

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Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 43 -11 – 24 Dec 2017

 

HIGHLIGHTS

• OCHA Director of Operations, Mr. John Ging, visited Ethiopia to review the status of the Government-led international humanitarian response to drought and conflictaffected communities, including internally displaced people.

• Humanitarian operators receive emergency logistics induction training to equip national emergency management authorities, staff from different agencies and humanitarian actors, with emergency logistics skills to ensure timely and efficient humanitarian response.

• Regional reports of the November-December national humanitarian needs assessment are currently being compiled. The humanitarian requirements for Ethiopia in 2018 will be determined once the compilation of all the regional reports is completed.

• Ethiopia continues to receive undocumented Ethiopian migrants repatriated from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

OCHA Director of Operations visited Ethiopia

On 12-14 December 2017, Mr. John Ging, OCHA Director of Operations, visited Ethiopia to first-hand review the status of the Government-led international humanitarian response to drought and conflict-affected communities, including internally displaced people. The director met and discussed with the federal and regional Government of Ethiopia, donors, humanitarian agencies and communities affected by drought and conflict. Mr.Ging acknowledged the strong partnership the Government of Ethiopia has established over the years with the Humanitarian Country Team. He said that his visit is “a reflection of the importance of that partnership.”

The director visited Hamaressa IDP camp with over 4,000 people internally displaced by the Oromo-Somali inter-communal disputes. Following a briefing by the East Hararge zone administration about the scale of the crisis, Mr.Ging reassured authorities that he is committed to advocating for appropriate response to the crisis. The zonal authorities requested for urgent food and non-food assistance to IDPs East Hararge zone.

Internally displaced Oromo People at Hamaressa camp, East Hararghe, Oromia State

Meanwhile subsequent intercommunal clashes were reported in West Hararge zone of Oromia region on the 12, 15 and 16 December resulting in more than 60 deaths. OCHA will continue to work with Government to verify access conditions and impact on humanitarian operations. Conflict has left close to 857,000 people displaced throughout the country.

Visit to Somali region

During the meeting with the Somali Regional Government authorities, the region requested Mr.Ging’s advocacy support to scale up the ongoing response, particularly amidst the growing IDP needs and called for development investment in durable solutions for predictable pastoralist needs. The region also asked for the speedy implementation of cashbased assistance in all targeted woredas/districts. Mr. Ging and the Somali regional authorities discussed the need to improve accountability mechanisms, including quality needs assessment and information management.


 

WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? – IDA, Africa Watch December 25, 2017

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WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY?
By Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard*, The Institute for Defense Analyses , Africa Watch


In mid-December, a series of violent clashes between ethnic Oromo and ethnic Somalis in the Oromia region of Ethiopia resulted in at least 61 fatalities. This outbreak of violence followed the deaths
of 16 protesters who were shot by state security forces on December 12 in Chelenko, located east of Mulu in [Eastern] Oromia. Ethiopia was previously under a state of emergency from October 2016 to August
2017 in response to waves of protest that originated in Oromia and swept the country beginning in 2014. What is driving the recent spate of violence in Oromia, and is it indicative of potential larger unrest?

Origins of Unrest

Despite commonalities in language, religion, and culture, Oromo and ethnic Somalis have experienced
intermittent conflict for at least the past 25 years. Their two regional states, Oromia and Somali, share a border that is poorly demarcated. Much of the conflict between the Oromo and Somali groups has historically centered on access to resources and land.
Both ethnic groups complain about being marginalized by the Ethiopian government, which has been
dominated by the Tigray ethnic group. Ethiopia is ethnically heterogeneous, with more than 80 recognized ethnic groups. The Tigray are one of Ethiopia’s smaller ethnic groups, representing about 6 percent of the total population.
The members of the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, which comprises an estimated 35 percent to 40 percent of the population, feel particularly underrepresented by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
Although tensions between the Oromo and ethnic Somalis are long-standing, the most recent conflict needs to be contextualized against the backdrop of previous unrest in Oromia that began in 2014. After the announcement of a development scheme in 2014 (detailed in the August 25, 2016, issue of Africa Watch) that would have enabled the government to incorporate parts of Oromia into the capital city, Addis Ababa, protests broke out across Oromia.
During the initial phases of the project, Oromo leaders accused the government of taking over land and forcibly evicting families. Protests continued and the grievances expanded to include concerns over human rights abuses, political representation, and limitations placed on freedom of expression. The government ultimately abandoned its expansion plan in January 2016 in response to the unrest, but anti-government protests continued to spread to the Amhara community, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group, and the capital. The government imposed a state of emergency in October 2016.
Current Conflict Details are sparse about the most recent clashes, but reports indicate that members from the Oromo ethnic group were killed first, which then triggered reprisal killings of ethnic Somalis. The clashes are alleged to involve the Somali Special Police, the Liyu. The Liyu are a paramilitary group created by the government in the mid-2000s to deal with a previous secessionist group located in the Somali region, the Ogaden National Liberation Front. The Liyu have been accused of using excessive force and engaging in extrajudicial killings. Coincidentally, in October, government forces
were accused of killing four people in Oromia who were protesting the delivery of a shipment of arms to the Liyu.
While some are attempting to define the recent clashes as primarily ethnic in nature, activists in Oromia claim that the involvement of the Liyu indicates that it is actually state-sponsored violence.
The opinions expressed in these commentaries are those of the authors and should not be viewed
as representing the official position of the Institute for Defense Analyses or its sponsors.
Links to web sites are for informational purposes only and not an endorsement.
The December 2017 clashes appear to be part of an escalation of violence and protest in the region. From
October 1 to November 30, around 118 violent events took place in Oromia, almost 50 percent of which were protests.
An estimated 200 fatalities occurred and tens of thousands are believed to have been displaced. This increase in violence follows a lull from April to July. Roughly 30 percent of all conflict activity in 2017 has involved the Liyu in some capacity; almost 50 percent has involved state security forces
(military or police).

Government Response to Unrest

The Ethiopian government responded to the 2014 Oromia security situation with a heavy hand. Ethiopian police were responsible for hundreds of deaths during protests from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, at the height of the conflict, more than 1,000 fatalities were reported in Oromia. The government arrested protesters en masse and attempted to control the flow of information into and out of Oromia. During the state of emergency, at least 29,000 persons were arrested, many of whom are still awaiting trial. The government arrested scores of journalists and frequently jammed nonstate news sources to prevent them from broadcasting. According to Human Rights Watch, the government also routinely cut cell phone service in areas where the military was deployed, presumably to prevent information about the military’s actions from being publicized widely.

Conclusion

The Ethiopian government announced in August 2017 that it was lifting the state of emergency due to an
improved security situation, but recent events suggest a resurgence of violence and protest in Oromia. The uptick in violence may signal the beginning of renewed unrest in Ethiopia. This should serve as a reminder that the core issues underlying the previous unrest, namely state repression and political representation, were never adequately addressed.

Click here to read more in PDF: WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? Africa Watch, December-21-2017-vol17 (1)


*Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard is a Research Staff Member in the Africa Program at the Institute for Defense Analyses.

 


 

Genocide in plain sight: TPLF’s (mass-) red-terror against the Oromo people. #Prevent #Genocide December 25, 2017

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Genocide in plain sight: TPLF’s (mass-) red-terror against the Oromo people

 By Aba Orma

The Ethiopian Somali state liyuu police force well trained by TPLF to kill Ogaden and Oromo civilians

The TPLF/EPRDF government has orchestrated genocide against the Oromo people with the help of TPLF’s Janjaweed, the Somali para-commando known as the “Liyu Police”. Even the ruling party admitted to that. Then why is the world community silent and allowed the regime to commit genocide after genocide against the peoples in Ethiopia?  Are they afraid that declaring such will collapse the TPLF/EPRDF government and that in turn will bring chaos to the country like that of South Sudan? America is once again knowingly or unknowingly failing to stop genocide in Ethiopia. The alternative to America’s inaction is even much costly in human lives and stability of the Horn of Africa. Whether they like it or not, it is paramount to address and redress the Oromo quest for self-determination to bring peace and stability in the region.

TPLF spokpersons and representatives always represented the Oromo killings and genocide in simplistic terms as ethnic/border conflicts whereas the truth is they are the instigators. Under normal circumstances, governments spin and twist facts to fit their narratives. Medias and observers seek facts and correct spins toward justice. In the Oromo case, the TPLF government spins and the West accepts that as facts and spread it further and provides financial and military supports.

“Genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group”. The violence in Oromia meets the criteria of genocide because it is racially based. The Liyu Police that TPLF generals trained, armed and advised from Somali ethnic group massacred, burned houses, confiscated properties, and displaced more than 700,000 Oromos from their homes in an ethnic cleansing. The West has spoken for much less scale of displacement and massacre as genocide.

The Oromos should not expect Colin Powel of South Sudan to rise for them or actor George Cooney to speak up on behalf of Oromos. They have only themselves and heroes like athlete Feyisa Lelisa and artist Hachalu Megersa amongst us who are willing to risk everything and speak up heroes.

If the Oromo activism we see today had started five years ago, it would have matured, crystalized and would have made a larger impact today. But we are where we are and the time is short. Without any more delay the Oromo activists put aside their difference must come together and have a unified voice to speak up for their brothers and sisters in peril.

The Oromo people had had enough and are rising up in Unisom from all corners of Oromia. From East Oromia to West Oromia, from South Oromia to North Oromia to central Oromia to change this rotten system and replace it with a bright, tolerant, and democratic system.   The OPDO seems to have discovered its voice and forced by people’s fundamental human rights question started to challenge the TPLF supremacy. We should all applaud for the courage they have shown us so far and at the same time make it clear to them that the relative support they are getting from their people is not here to stay if they don’t continue to stand up for the people and stop the genocide against their people, stop the exploitation of Oromia to build and rebuild Tigray, and restore the fundamental rights of the Oromo people: the right to self-determination.

The usual TPLF machination is not acceptable. Any cosmetics changes are not acceptable to the Oromo people. Expelling and courting few corrupted TPLF members in the name of reform is not acceptable. The acceptable outcome is a total and complete accountability for each and every innocent life taken away under their command, complete and total surrender of Oromia to the Oromo people.

Any short-hand settlement with the TPLF group will not solve the problem except exposes the inferiority of OPDO to the minority Tigray group with super-size power over the Federal government. It will ignite intensified resistance to the regime and OPDO. The rank-and-file of OPDO who witnessed the horror against their people closely are echoing the Oromo people’s question. Lemma and his young team of leaders have only one choice, to stand with their people to the end. Capitulating to this group with the push of the old guards that spoiled TPLF brats and got them to where they are today is a gigantic mistake of historical proportion.

The Oromo people expect to the minimum, in order of importance, the following condition to be met before any kind of arrangement or agreement with the TPLF group:

  1. Prime Minster H/Mariam Desalegne is incompetent and no more viable to lead the federal government and must resign from his post immediately. He failed the Oromo people when he intentionally chose to ignore the genocide against them and choose to speak selectively on the wrongful death of 31 Somali. The Parliament appoints a new prime minster with its full power.
  2. Every non-Oromo TPLF/Agazi army should leave Oromia and the internal security must be left to the Oromia police. The Oromo members of the army are organized under the command of Oromo generals. Agazi and its TPLF generals led genocide against the Oromo people.
  3. Immediate resettlement of the more than 700,000 Oromos displaced by the “Liyu Police”.
  4. Oromia state government must form an independent commission to investigate and bring to justice the people responsible for the Irreechaa Massacre, the Cheelenko Massacre, and TPLF’s Janjaweed, the Liyu Police.
  5. The composition of the country’s army and its leaders must be proportional to the population
  6. All illegally appropriated lands in the name of investment back to the people.
  7. All political prisoners must be released without any precondition
  8. The Oromia state must take charge of all prisons in Oromia. No Oromo should go to prison outside Oromia.

Any machination and hand twisting will only expose the true power of OPDO as a representative of the largest people in the country and consolidates the struggle in one and only one direction. The independence of Oromia!

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition sweats over insecurity as Oromo, Amhara MPs protest. TPLF’s Finfinnee Card Disqualified. December 22, 2017

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Kaardiin Finfinnee Woyyaanee harkatti gubate

Itoophiyaa keessatti wanti Oromoon afoo dhaabate kamuu hin milkaayu.

Woyyaaneen tibbana Oromoo kallattii fi xiyyeeffannaa dhabsiisuuf ni hojjata, hariiroo Oromoo fi Amaaraa jiddutti uumamaa dhufe booressuudhaaf furmaata jettee kan yaadde kaardii Finfinnee qabattee gadi baate. Kaardiin isii kuni guyyaa haraa harkatti gubateera, garuu. Kunis kan ta’e siyaasa bilchina qabu, isa fageessuu yaadu Oromoon geggeessuu isaatiin. Kaardiin Finfinnee kan harkatti gubate, wolhubannaan OroMara kan abshaalummaa isii harkaa fudhate, sa’aa kanatti  Woyyaaneen taasiyaa irra jirti.
Barana Woyyaaneen hedduu rakkatte.  Hallayyaa siyaasa hamatti dhidhimte. Qilee itti badde keessaa harkisee nama baasa jettee waan ol’kaayatte keessaa inni tokko kaardii Finfinnee ture. Dhimmi Finfinnee dhimmi miira Oromoo tuqu akka ta’e beekti. Dhimmi Finfinnee saboota (keessatuu Amaara) birattis bifa addaan ilaalama. Yeroo irreen Oromoo fi Amaaraa hudhee isii qabe kanatti abdiin Woyyaanee dhimmi Finfinnee Oromoo fi Amaara wolnyaachisa, haariiroo amma isaan lamaan jiddutti uumame ni balleessa, qilleensa wolhubannaa biyyaa fi biyyaan alattis mul’ataa jiru ni summeessa jettee amanti ture. Kan ta’e faallaa waan silaa isiin ni ta’a jettee eegaa turteedha. Kaardiin isii himtuu mardoo malee funyoo gaafa rakkoo isiif ta’uu hin dandeenne.
Woyyaaneen ummanni bakkuma durii (diina woloo dhiisanii wolitti wocuu fi wolitti qoxxisuu) jira jettee yaaddi. Woyyaanetu bakka dhaabattetti gogee hafe malee ummanni, sakallaanis ta’u, hedduu tankaarfateera. Woyyaaneen akkanatti yaadaa, siyaasa biyyattii bifa kanaan hubataa yoomuu ariitee ummata kana kan dhaqqabdu hin fakkaatu; hanga ummanni dhaabatee hin eeginitti. Ummanni foollii bilisummaa argu eegale kana booda wolqabatee yoo hedduu funduratti saffise malee carraan wolsakaaluu jira hin fakkaatu. Woyyaanee fi kittillayyoonni isii #Oromaaraa hin dhaqqabdanii abdii kutadhaa.

 

በስብሰባው ላይ የተገኙትና የመጀመሪያውን የተቃውሞ ደምጵ ያሰሙት የኦሮምያ ኮምኒኬሽን ጵ/ ቤት ሀላፊ አቶ አዲሱ አረጋ ባደረጉት ንግግር ከ600 ሺህ በላይ ህዝባችን በኦሮምያና ሶማሌ ግጭት በተፈናቀለበትና በየቦታው ግጭቶች በቀጠሉበት፣ ረቂቅ አዋጁም ህዝባችን ባልተወያየበት ሁኔታ ይህ ስብሰባ መጠራት እንደሌለበት በመጥቀስ ለሌላ ግዜ እንዲተላለፍ ጠይቀዋል። ይህን የአቶ አዲሱ ንግግር አብዛኛው የኦህዴድ የፓርላማ አባላት በጭብጨባ ድጋፍ ሰጥተዋል።

 

 

Ethiopia's ruling coalition sweats over insecurity as Oromo, Amhara MPs protest

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Front (EPRDF), the country’s ruling coalition is facing an internal crisis which has led to Members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to two main blocs – the Amhara and Oromia, boycotting parliament, the BBC Africa Live page has reported.

The coalition in a statement released on Wednesday admitted that it was facing gradual ‘mistrust and suspicion’ among the four main blocs. OPDOANDMTPLFand SEPDM.

Twenty four later, members of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) boycotted parliament calling for Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to give an explanation on escalation in recent deadly violence.

The statement according to local media sources went on to assert that a weakness of the executive arm was responsible for the current state of affairs. It said the ‘weakness of the executive’ had contributed significantly to the deteriorating security across the country.

The other two EPRDF parties are the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). The coalition holds 100% seats of the parliament.

Ethiopia speaker of parliament quits over govt handling of recent clashes http://bit.ly/2wESpfi 

Ethiopia speaker of parliament quits over govt handling of recent clashes

The government deployed Federal security forces to bring the deadly situation under control, a decision that is said to have led to Gemeda’s …

africanews.com

Ethiopia’s three-pronged security crisis

The security situation in Ethiopia is a mix of anti-government sentiment on one hand, ethnic clashes affecting two major regions and a deadly turn of events across some universities in the Horn of Africa country.

Most universities affected by serial deaths of students have closed down due to a lack of conducive atmosphere for studies. The government has said that the deaths were politically inclined and that it was doing everything possible to remedy the situation.

Then last week, sixteen people were reportedly shot in the town of Chelenko in the Oromia region. The regional communications chief blamed it on federal security forces who opened fire on protesters unhappy about the killing of a resident. The government says it has opened a probe.

Then there is the border tensions between the Oromia and Ethiopia-Somali regional states. An escalation in the age-long tension late last week led to the deaths of 61 people on both sides. Scores were also reported to have been injured, houses burnt and hundreds internally displaced.

ONLF and OLF Holds the Ethiopian government and its ruling Coalition Parties as solely responsible for the mass killings of Oromo and Somali peoples December 22, 2017

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ONLF and OLF Holds the Ethiopian government and its ruling Coalition Parties as solely responsible for the mass killings of Oromo and Somali peoples

Joint Statement by Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

December 21, 2017

The Ethiopian government has been systematically instigating conflict between and within nations in Ethiopia to divert the attention of the stakeholders from its failing rule for the last two years. Although, the Ethiopian government has continually employed divide-and-rule tactics across the country by systematically instigating and promoting civil war among the nations; such war is specifically orchestrated between the Ogaden Somali and the Oromo nations, under the stage management of both Federal government security apparatus, and agents of both regional states.

Such Machiavellian policies of the ruling regime and its regional collaborators has costed both communities, countless lives, and it is affecting not only Oromo people and Somali people in Ethiopia, but also spreading across borders in the Horn of Africa, from Djibouti to Somalia and Kenya. Today, the situation is rapidly deteriorating as hundreds of civilians are massacred. Left unaddressed, the conflict will undoubtedly lead the two fraternal communities to a horrific civil war. Furthermore, if the
Ethiopian regime is left to succeed, such a war inevitably will cost millions of lives with dire consequences for both communities and the communities of wider Horn of Africa.

Cognizant of the fact that, the unfolding tragedies are meticulously masterminded and implemented under the leadership of the regime with the objective of staying in power, employing divide and rule methods as means of governance; the ONLF and OLF holds the Ethiopian regime and the ruling EPRDF party as solely responsible for the crimes committed against both peoples and the wider peoples of Ethiopia. Therefore, we urge the regime to unconditionally and immediately stop such criminal practices.

Furthermore, both fronts request the AU, EU the UN and the international community to urgently start an independent international investigation into the unfolding tragic and continuous massacres of civilians in both sides; that is to date worsening in the entire Somali-Oromia borders including, the other parts of Ethiopia; to be able to bring those responsible for such abhorring crimes to an international tribunal.

The OLF and ONLF call upon the Somali and Oromo people, to stop being used as agents of EPRDF regime to aide it to commit crimes against each other. ONLF and OLF further call upon the traditional elders, civil society, religious leaders, political organisations and intellectuals of both communities to come together and fight this menace against the wellbeing of both nations. ONLF and OLF also call upon all organisations, civil societies and communities in Ethiopia to condemn the current barbarous acts and desist from talking part in it.

OLF and ONLF also call upon media sources to both locally and internationally to expose this heinous crime and avoid fanning the conflict further and report responsibly.
The Oromo, Somalis and the other nations of the Horn of Africa will always remain neighbours; hence those who want to destroy the centuries old fraternal relationships between all communities in the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia are doomed to fail.

Finally, instigating ghastly killings and decapitation of the Civilians in Ogaden Somali and Oromia will never compromise our fraternity and never deviate us from our struggle for Freedom and Self-Determination.

Peace shall prevail!
Issued by The OLF and ONLF on December 21, 2017


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Ethiopian government’s attempt to blame the victims (the Oromo people) unravels TPLF’s war plans on Oromo people


It has now been more than a year since the Ethiopian government, controlled by the Tigrai People Liberation Front (TPLF), clearly and openly declared a war on Oromo people. In addition, the TPLF government has also promoted conflict between the Oromo people and its neighbors, which have lived together in peace, love and mutual respect for decades.

This TPLF orchestrated conflicts has caused a huge crisis on the life, property and overall wellbeing of hundreds-of-thousandth of Oromo people. In fact, the Ethiopian military generals and leaders have planned, trained and deployed the Somali special forces (aka Liyu Police) to carry-out the killings of the Oromo people and destruction of their homes. As a result of this war, hundredthof-thousandth of Oromos were either killed, wounded, their homes and properties were completely destroyed or displaced. While these all heinous acts have been taking place on Oromo farmers, the TPLF government has never had any saying.

The war currently declared on the Oromo people by TPLF and the Somali regional government is a well-researched and planned war for a long time. To make sure that their plans are being executed, first, they disarmed the Oromo farmers and made them defenseless. After they disarmed the Oromo farmers, TPLF ordered their well-trained and armed Liyu police to carry-out the killings, including kids and women, destroying their homes and confiscating their properties.

As one might recall that Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has exposed the secret plan of TPLF to open war on Oromos from Eastern to all the way to the Southern Oromia border, which covers a
distance of over 1000km. Not only OLF exposed TPLF’s plan, it has also warned those who were playing political games to stop their evil act before it resulted in such a tremendous crisis. We have also pre-informed the secret plan of TPLF to the world community as well as to the Ethiopian people.

The main purpose of TPLF’s current war is to weaken the Oromo, stop the Oromo Youth-led movement for freedom and overall the Oromo people’s struggle for Freedom and justice. In addition, this is a strategy to divert the real demand of the people and maintain their power and continue their exploitation. Therefore, TPLF and their agents are the main actors of these conflicts. Nonetheless, TPLF’s strategy of promoting conflict between the regions will neither bring a shortterm nor a long-term peace to the country as well as to the region.

While conflicts were taking place in the Eastern, South Eastern and Southern Oromia for over a year, the Ethiopian government has never taken any action to resolve the issue. Contrary to this, TPLF government has trained, armed and deployed the Somali region special forces to perpetrate havoc on the Oromo farmers along the border. Though the Oromo People living along the border have requested the government to secure their peace and defend them against the perpetrators, the Ethiopian government instead continues to support Liyu police with military equipment as well as logistics. As a result, over 700,000 Oromos were displaced from their lands and their homes were burned down. The Ethiopian government did not offer any support to these displaced people.

Perhaps, the burden was left to the Oromo people themselves. Similarly, when many Oromo were massacred at Calanqo, Daaroo Labuu at a place called Hawwii Guddinaa and in many more places, we haven’t heard any press release or any condemnation of the perpetrators from the Ethiopian government, further confirming that the life of the Oromo people worth nothing for the Ethiopian government.

Contrary to these war crimes taking place on Oromo people, we have observed when the Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariya Dessalegn in his December 17, 2017 press statement, trying to make the Oromo people accountable for the crimes that their military force and Liyu police have done. The Prime minister’s attempt to blame the victims here instead of the killer, Liyu police and military forces, is rather disgraceful. The prime minister would have asked himself, before reading his shameful statement, questions such as who started this war? Where was the war started and why? and try to get the answers.

As head of a state, the prime minister should have rather admitted the crisis and assure the people that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. At the same time, he should have also assured the Oromo people that his government will maintain their peace. But the prime minister’s statement was completely the opposite, trying hard to make the Oromo people accountable for the heinous crime done by the Liyu Police. Such Ethiopian government’s betrayal of the Oromo people has been observed on multiple occasions and thus, we should expect neither any justice nor any support from the Ethiopian government.

Therefore; The Oromo people must understand that it is their right to defend themselves from the war currently declared on them from multiple fronts by TPLF government and its agents. While admiring the generous support that the Oromo mass was giving to its fellow citizens, OLF wants to stress that there is no one for Oromo other than Oromo and nothing is more evident for this than what is currently happening in Oromia. Therefore, such support for our people must be strengthened and continue.

OLF also call upon all Oromo in diaspora to feel the pains and the crisis that the Oromo people are going through in Oromia and work hard to expose the evil acts of TPLF to the international community, and also continue to support our people. It is equally important to make sure that the support that you contribute is in fact reaches the people in need.

The Oromo people and the Somali people have lived together for so long without any issues. However, now the Liyu police and the TPLFgovernment are orchestrating a conflict between these people. We want to renew our call to our brotherly Somali people to let work together to thwart the TPLF’s evil plan.

Lastly, trying to blame the Oromo people, victims of the Liyu police, instead of the perpetrators will never solve the problems. Furthermore, the heinous killings and displacement taking place on Oromo people will not stop by simply blaming on the so-called corruption and illegal trading (contraband) that is taking place in the country. These excuses will never let the Ethiopian government be free from accountability. OLF strongly condemns those who are involved in planning, organizing, and commanding the military and Liyu police forces to open war on Oromo people, those who involved in the killings and displacement of peaceful Oromo and the Somali people. 

In addition, the international community should know that ethnic cleaning is taking place in Oromia by the Ethiopian government and its surrogate Somali National government. Keeping silent, in another term, is giving a license for the Ethiopian government to continue killing and displacement of the Oromo people. Thus, OLF call upon the international community to immediately take appropriate action to stop the ethnic cleaning, establish independent enquiry to the killings and attacks that is taking place right now in Oromia-Ethiopia before it is too late.

Victory to the Oromo People

Oromo Liberation Front

December , 2017


 

EU: INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE RECENT VIOLENCE IN ETHIOPIA ESSENTIAL December 20, 2017

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In a statement by spokesperson released this afternoon regarding the current situation in Ethiopia, the European Union (EU) said it was “essential that independent investigations on all acts of violence are conducted.”

The statement from the EU came in  the wake of increasing numbers of violence, including ethnic-based in nature, seen in various parts of Ethiopia as a result of which at least eighty people were killed in just one week

At least 61 people Ethiopian Somalis and Oromos were killed in the latest spate of violence in eastern Ethiopia, Oromia regional state. More than 800 houses were also burned and 14, 000 people were internally displaced.

In the previous week sixteen civilians were killed by  the federal army in Chelenko, eastern Hararghe zone of the Oromia regional state in eastern Ethiopia, bringing the death toll higher.

Residents of Nekemte, western Ethiopia, staging peaceful protest against the Killing in Chelenko last week.

“Recurring reports of violence in several universities and clashes in different parts of Ethiopia are deeply worrying” said the statement, adding, “in particular as regards their increasingly ethnic nature. This includes the recent incidents in Oromia-Somali regions, causing many casualties and the destruction of properties. The European Union extends its condolences to the families of the victims.”

Teaching learning processes in many universities have been disrupted following ethnic clashes in universities located in Oromia, Amhara and Tigrai regional states in which at least a dozen students were killed. Some universities are gearing up to open while other remain closed.

According to a local newspaper, Ethiopian ruling party dominated  members of parliament have requested PM Hailemariam Desalegn to appear in parliament to give explanations on current pressing issues related to ethnic based violence & growing political crisis. Representatives of OPDO & ANDM, the two parties representing Oromia and Amhara regional states and are members of the ruling EPRDF were at the forefront of the request, according to the report.

“The setting up by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne of a task force to investigate the most recent killings is a welcome step. All sides, including regional and federal police forces, should show restraint to ensure full protection and safety of all citizens,” the EU said in the statement.

It also said that the conflict resolution mechanisms enshrined in the Constitution “should be activated swiftly in order to allow for a peaceful settlement of the issues” and called for inclusive political dialogue. “We remain convinced that only an inclusive political dialogue with all stakeholders will address the grievances of the population in a peaceful and constructive manner.”

Protests have continued in various places as residents and students keep taking to the streets denouncing these killings. AS


Photo credit : Social media

ETHIOPIA MAKES AMONG THE WORST 11 COUNTRIES IN 2017 WORLD HEALTH SYSTEM RANKINGS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION December 19, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

ETHIOPIA MAKES AMONG THE WORST 11 COUNTRIES IN 2017 WORLD HEALTH SYSTEM RANKINGS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION:

180 Ethiopia
181 Angola
182 Zambia
183 Lesotho
184 Mozambique
185 Malawi
186 Liberia
187 Nigeria
188 Democratic Republic of the Congo
189 Central African Republic
190 Myanmar

ETHIOPIA MAKES AMONG THE WORST 11 COUNTRIES IN 2017 WORLD HEALTH SYSTEM RANKINGS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

World’s excellence in health care delivery:

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway

On Ethiopia: The political leaders of the Ethiopian Government have a policy of killing all opponents who take to the streets to demonstrate against them December 19, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Hank Cohen’s Africa Blog   On Ethiopia



The political leaders of the Ethiopian Government have a policy of killing all opponents who take to the streets to demonstrate against them. Other opponents who do not demonstrate but make public statements instead, are sent to jail for long periods.

I fail to understand why the Ethiopian regime feels it necessary to exercise such extreme control to the point of committing murder periodically against their own citizens.  The government is receiving good marks from the international community for its investments in infrastructure and agriculture.  If it could relax and loosen up its controls, it could become popular.

For example, the Ethiopian constitution establishes a federal system with “independent” states.  Indeed, the constitution allows the individual states to secede from the federation if the population so desires.  If the government would allow the people of the individual states to govern themselves, I am sure that none of them would vote to secede. At the same time, their self-government would attract the investments of their own business communities.  At the same time, the current regime could continue to rule at the federal level.

With decentralized power, the requirement for the Ethiopian government to kill citizens in order to remain in power at the Federal level would disappear.

My message to the Government of Ethiopia is, “relax and loosen up. Let the people govern themselves at the state level. The more citizens you kill for no reason, the more difficult it will be for you to govern in peace.”

#OromoProtests: Ethiopia: Oromia continues with protests against fascist TPLF regimes’s mass killings and demanding immediate withdrawal of armed forces December 18, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomistCalanqoo Massacre, fascist TPLF conducted mass killings on Oromo people in Calanqoo, Eastern Oromia on 11 December 2017#OromoProtests continues with protests against fascist TPLF regimes’s mass killings and demanding immediate withdrawal of armed forces.

#OromoProtests: Political Uncertainty as Protests Spread in Ethiopia

Africa News: [Photos] Ethiopia students stage peaceful protest over Oromia deaths

[Photos] Ethiopia students stage peaceful protest over Oromia deaths

ETHIOPIA

An influential news portal in Ethiopia, Addis Standard, has shared photos of students in Oromia region’s town of Nekemte, staging what has been described as “a mass mourning” and silent protest over recent civilian deaths.

Students in Nekemte lead mourning procession for victims of Chalanko Massacre

The nature of the protest which took place late last week, was of the students marching with their hands up, photos showed then also kneeling with their heads bowed and at a point sitting on streets of the town of Nekemte located in western Ethiopia.

Addis Standard said that the protest was directly linked to the deaths in Chelenko located in the country’s East Hararghe zone. Federal security forces are said to have opened fire on protesters leading to about 16 deaths.

Oromia region communications Bureau chief, Addisu Arega Kitessa, said members of the the national defense force were responsible for the deaths, adding that a probe was underway to ascertain how peaceful civilians had been killed.

Adissu Arega said people in the region’s east Hararghe zone had hit the streets to protest the killing of an individual leading to the latest clashes that have claimed more lives.

The Oromia region was the heartbeat of anti-government protests that hit Ethiopia in late 2015 through the better part of 2016. The protests spread to the Amhara region leading to deaths after a violent security crackdown.

The widening protests led to the imposition of a six-month state of emergency in October 2016. It, however, lasted 10 months after the parliament voted an extension after the initial expiration in April this year. It was eventually lifted in August 2017.


 

#OromoProtests (students and the public) in Haawaa Galan, Malkaa Roobii town, Oromia, 18 December 2017. Aanaa Haawwaa Galaan magaalaa gabaa roobii hiriira guyyaa har’aa barattootaaf uummata.

#OromoProtests (students and the public) in Haawaa Galan, Malkaa Roobii town, Oromia, 18 December 2017.png

#OromoProtests (students and the public) in Haawaa Galan, Malkaa Roobii town, Oromia, 18th December 2017.png

Ethiopia: The TPLF regime’s military in addition to being killers they are also looters! December 18, 2017

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The TPLF regime’s military in addition to being killers they are also looters!

 

 

 

The TPLF regime’s military in addition to being killers they are also looters!
They are looting the entire country in especial Oromia, which is the richest and largest region of Ethiopia.


“Magaalaa Bishooftuu keessatti gaafa guyyaa 9/04/2010 ganamarra konkolaataan makalakayaa ooralin lakk.gabatee isaa 05935 kan ta’e kasala konkolaata guutu osoo lafa dhoksaatti gurguraa jiru tumsa qeerroo fi poolisii Oromiyaan to’annaa jala oolera.”

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TPLF’s military is deeply involved in contraband trades of wood charcoal, particularly in Oromia. They use military vehicles to transport charcoal. This military is responsible for the deforestation and environmental degradation in . This was apprehended in Adama today.


Oduu hattuu
Namtichi dhalataa Tigree ta’e tokko kan maqaan isaa Kassete Ababe jedhamu magaalaa Mattuu keessatti qarshii milliona 2.3 dabalatee cheekii baankii adda addaa kan namoota irra wolitti qaberuuf meeshaalee gaatii guddaa baasaan faaya adda addaa kanneen akka worqiif kanneen biroo qabatee osoo miliquuf yaaluu hirmaana qeerroof poolisiin Oromiyaa taasisaniin too’anna jala olee jira.Essa akka fideef essa akka geessuuf deemaa jiru dhimmi isaa qoratamaa jira.

Via QM

 Muddee 09/2010
Kontiroobandistoota saaxiluun ammayyuu cimee itti fufeera.
Godina Iluu Abbaa Boor Aanaa Bureetti Konkolaachisaan Miseensa Raayyaa Ittisa Biyyaa ta’e Zayita Seeraan alaa Mootummaa Naannoo Gambeellaarraa fe’uun otoo Gara Magaalaa Goreetti imaluu eeruu hawaasni Magaalaa Buree Poolisiif kenneen to’annoo jala oole hidhaa fi addabbii maallaqaan adabame.
Zayitichis hawaasa Aaanichatti gurguramee Galiin isaa Lammiilee keenya qe’ee fi qabeenya isaaniirraa buqqa’aniif akka oolu Manni Murtii Aanichaa murtee dabarseera.
Himatamaan kun Ajajaa Dhibbaa Melkineeh Haayiluu Konkolaachisaa Raayyaa Ittisa biyyaa yoo ta’u seeraan ala Konkolaataa Raayyaa Ittisaa lakkoofsi Gabatee isaa መ.ከ 04817 ta’een Zayita seeraan alaa baay’inni isaa jaarikaana 320/Liitirii 6400 ta’uu Magaalaa Gambeellaa irraa fe’uun Gara magaalaa Goree geessee faayidaa hin malle argachuudhaaf (qarshii 20,000 fudhachuuf) wayita imalaa jirutti Aanaa Buree iddoo addaa kellaa jedhamutti hirmannaa hawaasaa taasifameen Poolisii fi Korri bittinneessaa waliin ta’uun gaafa 06/04/2010 halkan keessaa naannoo tilmaama sa’a 5:20 ta’utti to’annaa jala olchaniiru.
Manni Murtii Aanaa Burees galmee RTD/Murtoo ariifachiisaa jedhamuun beekamuun dhaddacha gaafa 07/04/2010 ooleen dhimmicha irratti raga bitaa fi mirgaa ilaaluun himatamaan himanni itti dhiyaate waakkii tokko malee waan amaneef hidhaa waggaa lamaa fi baatii lamaa fi qarshii kuma digdamaan adabeera.
Zayitni qabame tilmama qarsshii 153,600 kan baasu wayita ta’u,Zayitichi Hawaasa Aanaa Bureetti gurguramee qarshiin isaa Lammiilee keenya Soomaleerraa qe’ee fi qabeenya isaaniirraa buqqa’aniif akka oolu Manni murtii Aaanichaa murteesseera.
viidiyoo kunis zayitii qabame agarsiisa
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#OromoProtests: Political Uncertainty as Protests Spread in Ethiopia December 16, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

 

Political Uncertainty as Protests Spread in Ethiopia

At least 15 people were killed on December 11, 2017, when members of the Ethiopian Defense Force fired on peaceful protesters. The demonstration was prompted by the killing of an individual by members of security forces of Ethiopia’s Somali Region, in the latest chapter of a longstanding border dispute between Ethiopia’s two largest states — Oromia and Ethiopian Somali in Eastern Ethiopia.

According to reports from local authorities, one person died after being transferred to the hospital following the attack, and more than 12 were injured in the violence which began in Chelenko, a district town in eastern Oromia:

As journalists managed to get more details, this news from the BBC Afaan Oromoo says five people of the same family were among the  victims in east Hararghe of  region who were shot dead by members of the national defense forces on Monday http://www.bbc.com/afaanoromoo/42348773 

Reports on social media said that members of the Ethiopian Defense Force fired live bullets on peaceful demonstrators. The Ethiopian government has released a belated statement on the incident, but in an unusual move, the party governing Oromia — the Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), a member of Ethiopia’s governing coalition, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) — released a strong statement accusing members of the Ethiopian Defense Force of violating the Ethiopian Constitution and vowing to investigate the killing of peaceful protesters:

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In a single presser, Oromia regional communication bureau slams PM Hailemariam and defense force for causing Chelenqo massacre. The bureau has called the Oromia region’s security forces to prepare for any kind of sacrifice. 

Some suggested that the statement is merely a symbolic initiative. Others considered it as a signal of the power struggle raging within the multi-ethnic governing coalition, the EPRDF, which comprises four ethnic-based parties: the Tigrayan People Liberation Front (TPLF), the Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM):

TPLF’s sham coalition EPRDF in disarray—OPDO walked out of the CC meeting, ANDM also followed today. This TPLF machination has certainly run out of steam. TPLF must go! The country needs orderly transition before it’s too late.  

The power struggle involving the four EPRDF parties has been simmering since last summer. The row between the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), was exposed when Abdula, the speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament and a prominent member of the OPDO, resigned from his position in October:

The TPLF apartheid like regime propagandist redefines the English definition of a ‘minority’. To misquote the famous saying, “two things are infinite: the universe and TPLF’S stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

Power is heavily concentrated among members of the TPLF. However, there is some fear that if the OPDO continues down this road, it will be looking to defend itself using weapons, which could plunge Ethiopia into a civil war that will make the current conflict seem like just fisticuffs:

‘s TPLF leadership should seriously consider requesting US Government mediation to organize a conference among all parties that will produce new democratic dispensation – before law and order collapse completely.

Despite the fact that the Oromo and Somali people who live along the border of Oromia and the Ethiopian Somali regions share close familial, religious and cultural ties, tensions are high along most of the disputed 1,000 km border. A brutal crackdown on the Oromo community living in Ethiopia’s Somali region has triggered a massive humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Ethiopia. By now, roughly 50,000 Oromos have fled into Ethiopia’s historical town, Harar, since last August.

Protests raged elsewhere in Ethiopia as well. A clash between followers of two football clubs from Ethiopia’s northern states, Amhara and Tigray, led to the death of a football fan from Tigray, which in turn caused episodes of violence in three universities located in the Amhara, Oromia and Tigray regional states. Last week saw one particularly violent night at Adigrat University (situated in the Tigray region), where a student from the Amhara region was killed. Gruesome images of the victim subsequently went viral on social media:

Political uncertainty in  as fresh  spread in response to state-sponsored killings of civilians in Oromia and student clashes in parts of the Amhara state. https://twitter.com/i/moments/940570435296604160 

Embedded image permalink

Political uncertainty in #Ethiopia amid fresh Amhara, #OromoProtests

 Mohammed Ademo  @OPride

Over a dozen civilians, including a 10-year-old boy, and a father and son, killed by Ethiopian Defense Forces and many wounded across Oromia and in parts of Amhara state. Renewed protests reportedly…

Moments

In what appears to be reprisals, two students from Tigray were reportedly killed at Welega University, located in the Oromia region. The number of incidents and casualties, as well as the number of people involved and the ethnic tone of the conflict over the past few days, has raised the prospect of even greater violence in Ethiopia, according to analysts. The Ethiopian government grudgingly characterizes the recent unrest as ethnic conflict, but also points the finger at diaspora-based activists and social media. However, opposition groups argue that Tigrayan politicians instigatedthe violence as a tool to maintain the status quo:

He also said that the national security council will be investigating the killings and “appropriate measures will be taken.” The public should also not reflect on such incidents emotionally. He added that legal measures will be taken based on the findings of the security council pic.twitter.com/TuYYYJ3xvJ

Commenting on the recent clashes inside univ. campuses he said they were different from previous demands of univ students that were attended to by the gov. The recent clashes have taken a clear ethnic dynamics & have resulted in the killings of students, Dr. Negeri further said. pic.twitter.com/GCtAeQiNJs

On December 13, mobile internet services and social media services were cut off in most parts of the country in an attempt to avert the deepening crisis.

The TPLF army continues to cause death and destruction in Oromia December 16, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

 


 

‘The TPLF is playing with the souls of Oromo and Somali civilians to ensure its grip onto power. Killing of civilians by any force must be condemned in the strongest of terms possible. As TPLF has pulled its last card of instigating a civil war among different ethnic groups, authorities in all regional states’ in Ethiopia must beef of their internal security to protect all communities. Oromia regional government in particularly must step up protecting of the diverse communities under its jurisdiction. It must continue to set an example by investigating, apprehending and punishing any and all who are involved in instigating and attacking civilians of any background.’

The TPLF army continues to cause death and destruction in Oromia,  

 #CalanqooMassacre, Calii Calanqoo 2ffaa

ኦሮሚያ ዛሬ ግድያና የተቃውሞ ሰልፍ ማስተናገዷን ነዋሪዎችና የክልል ባለሥልጣናት ተናገሩ

በምዕራብ ሐረርጌ ዞን በሐዊ ጉዲና ወረዳ በሁለት ቀበሌዎች ውስጥ የሶማሌ ክልል የታጠቁ ኃይሎች ገብተው ከ80 በላይ የአርሶ አደር ቤቶች ማቃጠላቸውንና እስካሁን ቦታውን ተቆጣጥረው መያዛቸውን የዞኑ የኮሙዩኒኬሽን ጉዳዮች ጽ/ቤት ኃላፊ ተናገሩ። በሌላ በኩል ጋዱሎ በተባለ ቀበሌ ላይ በዚህ የተበሳጩ የሟች ቤተሰቦች የኢትዮጵያ ሶማሌዎችን ማጥቃታቸውን መረጃ እንደደረሳቸው ተናግረዋል።

Political Uncertainty as Protests Spread in Ethiopia

Freedom.Democracy.blog

The TPLF army continues to cause death and destruction in Oromia

A few weeks ago, a contingent of the TPLF military were deployed in Hawi Gudina District of West Hararge without the knowledge of the local administration or providing an explanation on the purpose of the deployment to any of the local authorities. Upon their arrival clashes erupted between the Oromo and Somali armed local militia along the border villages of the Hawi Gudina district. The newly deployed military then arrested several officials of the local administration and businessmen. They also forced the Oromia police contingent stationed there to leave the district. They then gathered Somali residents of Gadulo town ( district capital) and instructed them that they were in danger and forcefully placed them in a warehouse facility.

Two days ago, the newly deployed army members have left unannounced, leaving the Somali civilians in the warehouse where they instructed…

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Ethiopia: Due to shortage of hard currency the government defaults to settle millions of dollars international payments. Airlines flying to Ethiopia are facing difficulty in repatriating their sales to their countries. December 16, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Forex crunch compels gov. to delay payments

The dearth of foreign currency is compelling the Ethiopian government to delay payments that should be made to international companies in US dollars.

The Reporter has learnt that the government has been unable to settle payments to oil companies that delivered petroleum products to the country in 2015-2017 according to schedule. Vitol Oil supplied diesel and gasoline to the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise in 2015 and 2016 after winning the international tenders put up by the enterprise in two consecutive years. Vitol Oil’s second contract was terminated in December 2016.

Reliable sources told The Reporter that EPSE now owes Vitol Oil 20 million US dollars. “Though the company’s petroleum supply contract expired on December 2016 EPSE is unable to settle the remaining 20 million dollars due to foreign currency shortage. The National Bank of Ethiopia has not been able to provide dollars to settle the payment,” sources said.

Similarly the government is unable to settle a 170 million US dollars payment that was supposed to be made to Petro China, the Chinese oil company which has been supplying petroleum products to the country since January 2017. Petro China won the international bid floated by the EPSE in September 2016 and won the tender to supply diesel and gasoline for the 2017 fiscal year. Petro China’s contract will expire on December31, 2017.

Sources told The Reporter that the government now owes Petro China 170 million dollars for the petroleum products it supplied in the fiscal year. Usually payments should be settled within 90 days after the petroleum products have been delivered. According sources, the payment arears are now more than one year old.

Meanwhile international airlines flying to Addis Ababa are facing difficulty in repatriating their sales to their countries. Foreign carriers sell their tickets in the local currency Birr and repatriate their sales revenue in US dollars to their respective countries.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) told The Reporter that Ethiopia has joined the list of African nations where international airlines face difficulties in repatriating their funds. According to IATA, Ethiopia owes foreign carriers 22 million dollars.

In an interview in his office in Geneva, Switzerland Alexander de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA, said that nine African countries have a total of 1.1 billion dollars in airlines’ blocked funds. Angola has the largest airlines blocked fund-507 million USD, Algeria-146 million, Sudan-125 million, Nigeria-121 million, Eritrea-64 million, Zimbabwe-52 million, Mozambique-33 million, Ethiopia 22 million and Libya 20 million.

Juniac told The Reporter that most of the countries faced shortage of foreign currency due to the drop in oil price while others have their own economic challenges. “We have been working with African governments to get the airlines blocked funds released and we are successful in releasing most of the funds in Egypt and Nigeria,” Juniac said.

The Ethiopian government officials explain that the country is facing the foreign currency crunch due to the commodity price decline in the international market stunting the foreign currency earnings. The increasing fuel imports and hefty expenditures on mega infrastructure projects are among the long list of contributing factors to the foreign currency shortage. The government is taking various measures to stimulate the weakened export. 


ESAT, 7 December 2017: According to a well-placed source, the foreign currency reserve in the coffers is only about 700 million dollars that could only run for three weeks.

Several mega projects have already been put on hold. Prominent among the projects is the 550 kms gas pipeline that stretches from the port of Djibouti to well inside Ethiopia.

The import of petroleum and medicines were seriously affected and businesses engaged in export trade had to wait upto a year to obtain foreign currency from banks.

The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise was unable to withdraw the 100 million dollars deposit it has with National Bank of Ethiopia.

The source also revealed that about 2000 containers were on hold at the port of Djibouti due to unpaid port fees.

The country’s annual debt payment has reached 2 million dollars of which a significant amount is due to be paid to the Chinese import export bank, China EximBank.

Meanwhile, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde is due to visit the country and is expected to talk on possible loans to help the country ease the shortage of hard currency. But the IMF, according to the source, demands the regime to halt the progress of mega projects. The IMF also requires the country privatize state-owned enterprises like Ethio-Telecom, according to the source.

A recent effort by regime officials to rekindle relationships with Qatar in hopes of getting some hard currency from the oil rich country has resulted in unintended and bad consequences. Irate over the developments, the United Arab Emirates, one of the gulf states that loves to hate Qatar, had demanded Ethiopia to pay 400 million dollars for petroleum that it had bought in loan. The UAE has for a long time been lenient on requiring Ethiopia pay the loan, the source said.

Kids around the world are suing their governments for ruining the planet — Quartz December 16, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

What’s the point of inheriting the Earth if it’s only going to burn (or drown)? Kids around the world are asking governments this question and demanding answers in court. For example, on Dec. 11, Juliana v. US pitted the president and American lawmakers against the very children whose future they so often invoke when seeking…

via Kids around the world are suing their governments for ruining the planet — Quartz

DISPLACED ETHIOPIANS: ESCAPED BUT TRAPPED IN A BLEAK PROSPECT December 16, 2017

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 By Etenesh Abera

Addis Abeba, December 15/2017 – September 2017, the start of the Ethiopian New Year of 2010, had a devastating beginning, the level of which was previously unseen for at least two and a half decades. More than half a million innocent Ethiopians (mostly from the ethnic Oromo background – and to a smaller extent Ethiopian Somalis) were brutally uprooted from their homes and their ways of lives. Only a few weeks before September  they all called the villages and towns bordering the Ethio-Somali and Oromia  regions – in eastern, southern and south eastern part of the country – a home for decades.

This is what they now have as “home” away from home

Their displacement didn’t come alone; hundreds of men and women were killed in the process; women and girls were raped; and children were separated from their families. This violence has since long been a military violence more than an “ethnic clash” that the international media were busy calling it.  It was all laid bare for the world to see in just few weeks.

But laid bare as it were, for the following months since, Addis Abeba, the capital and the center of the federal government’s power, remained as far removed emotionally as it is physically, save for few exceptions. The Oromia regional government’s effort to raise money via an SMS campaign using the country’s telecom monopoly was quickly put off , perplexing the authorities of the regional government and Ethiopians willing to support the effort. But Addis can no longer remain unaffected as more than 2,000 families of who are the victims have made the perilous journey to seek for shelter and safety are now camped inside the Rift Valley university premises located in Nifas Silk Lafto Sub-city, at the heart of the city. They are being sheltered and fed by Dinku Deyas, the owner of the university and volunteers.

 

Taking care of one another. A group of women cooking for a camp full of internally displaced fellows

This are their stories…

“I was celebrating the New Year with my family when suddenly some members of the Liyu Police broke in to our house,”  Deyasa Dengeya, who used to a businessman in the town of Jigjiga, the capital of the Ethio-Somali region, for the last 18 year told Addis Standard. He estimated his capital to be around 3.8 million Birr. “I couldn’t save anything else but my wife and four kids; we left right away, but I wasn’t able to save my kids from the trauma they had to go through.  We managed to reach to the military personnel who were around there but they told us that they couldn’t interfere as they don’t have any order.”

At the university’s compound , businessmen and women and different professionals such as teachers, doctors, engineers and more than 30 university lecturers are temporarily sheltered, as was recounted by a Jigjiga university lecturer who didn’t want to tell us his name, not his story. He escaped the attack by hiding in a toilet for five days.

Another woman, who also wanted to remain anonymous, says hat organizations such as the UNICEF and UNHCR had had their workers, whose ethnic backgrounds were Oromo, leave the area for fear that it was beyond their capacity to stay safe and didn’t want to take the risk. “My husband, who was an employee of Save the Environment Ethiopia, survived the attack and death because I locked him in the house,” she said, adding that although the organizations are now calling their employees back to their works places no one wants to go back as they don’t have a guarantee for their safety.

Among those who are now sheltered in Rift Valley University Gerji premises are those, a few years ago, used to live in the outskirts of Addis Abeba but were displaced due to the city expansion projects. Birhanu Girma is one of the people who left Addis Abeba to settle in Jigjiga because his home located in Yeka Sub-city Kotebe area was demolished for a development reason. Displacements has haunted him back.

Men like Dereje Getachew, who were once a productive part of their society, are now sitting jobless, playing cards

The story of Dereje Getachew, a father of two who owned an electronics business for the last two years, is no different. “I never thought this would happen when I started my business there. I even created some job opportunities for the locals but now I’m looking for help myself,” he told Addis Standard.

A committee of misery

Zenebe Degefew is a member of the refugees’ committee formed inside the university shelter. According to him, the committee has reached out tothe Addis Abeba city administration and the surrounding towns requesting for a permanent resettlement. They are waiting for a response, hoping all the same that their please would fall into compassionate ears. But he fears all the same that the mass killings they have seen, the disappearance of families and the large number of rape victims, (seven of those are still getting medical treatment in Sebeta town), is more than what can be compensated.

“There was this bride we have seen, they raped her on her wedding day and killed her groom right in front of her. She then took her dead groom to a place called Gara Muleta, which later became another reason for a rally in Awoday and the surrounding,” a brokenhearted Zenebe told Addis Standard. 

There are currently more than 2,000 families living at this temporary camp since they first began arriving on September 22, 2010. “We have been getting supports only from volunteers since the first day we came here and we didn’t receive any meaningful support from the concerned government body,” say other members of the committee who were interviewed by Addis Standard. The lack compassion, political and material support to the victims from the federal government has been a point the authorities of the Oromia regional states have been unhappy about and have stated criticized publicly time and again.

Lack of Hygiene is the next horror awaiting them all 

Escaped, just alive

Those who escaped alive and are now sheltered in the university campus are in tern haunted by lack of access to hygiene, including clean living areas, kitchen and toilets, as well as access to medical care, which could have easily been met if the federal government showed the will, according to Ebisa Tamene, a nurse by training who is working in the temporary clinic center at the camp. Ebisa is deeply worried about the dangerous possibilities of an outbreak of a disease or two. According to him, one person was recently infected by skin rash, which immediately transmitted to some 20 other people; “luckily we managed to control it. But if an outbreak such as cholera happens here, I’m afraid it’ll even spread rapidly to the local communities outside the camp,” Ebisa told Addis Standard.

Ebisa sits in this temporary clinic, unable to provide what a clinic is supposed to provide 

Ebisa and his colleagues are themselves victims who escaped alive from Chelenko, a scene of another atrocity last Monday. They are now volunteering to take care of their victim friends and camp neighbors. “The Addis Abeba City Administration Health Office has promised to give us an ambulance and free medical treatment at Zewuditu Hospital, but we haven’t seen any of it so far and the refugees are paying half of their medical cost by themselves,” he added.

The refugees are currently being asked to go return to the towns and villages they have left behind. But according to the committee members many are saying they will never go back unless they first see justice served for the wrong done to them. AS


Related:-

Click here to read Oromian Economist article: #Prevent #Genocide! 

Click here to read OSA’s statement on displaced Oromos.

Konsarti Lammiin Lammif

#CalanqooMassacre, Calii Calanqoo 2ffaa

Continuing TPLF massacres

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa: The Ethiopia’s regime Crimes Against Humanity in Oromia Needs Urgent World Community Action. #Prevent #Genocide December 13, 2017

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Ethiopia: Crimes Against Humanity in Oromia Needs Urgent World Community Action

HRLHA  Urgent Action

Dec 13, 2017

For Immediate Release


The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) strongly condemns the brutality of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front / Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (TPLF/EPRDF) Government’s military force who massacred 15 Oromo farmers who were harvesting their crops on 10 Dec, 2017 in Chalanko district, EasternHararge zone. This comes after two weeks of the TPLF/EPRDF  commanders restarting fresh attacks on Oromos living in border areas near Somali State in which over sixty Oromos were killed  in two weeks- since the last week of Nov 2017 to the present- in Arero district (Borana zone), Cinakseen (Easter Hararge zone) ,and Bordode(Western Hararge zone).  Currently the TPLF/EPRDF led Ethiopian government has deployed thousands of heavily armed military forces all over Oromia regional, state zones and committed extrajudicial killings, and detentions in Kelem and HoroGuduru, western Oromia zone, in Bale, Arsi, Guji and Borana in southern Oromia zones and in Ambo, Walisso,  and Yaya Gullale Central Oromia, Shewa zones.

Among the recent Victimsof  theTPLF/EPRDF military forces:

# Name Zone/District Date of Attack Status
1 TajuYasy East Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
2 AbdiSaliIbro Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
3 Mhamed Abdela Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
4 SaniYuya Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
5 AbdelaYisak Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
6 Abdumalik Uso Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
7 Haru Hasen Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
8 Fesal Yisak Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
9 Michael Abdo Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
10 Mumeadam Hasen Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
11 Tofik Abdo Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
12 Sali Hasen Hararge/Chalanko Dec 10, 2017 Killed
13 Sabaoy Haji Sani, (7th grde student) West Harage/ Hawigudina district Dec 7, 2017 Killed
14 Jamal Hasan  (Milicia) West Harage/ Hawigudina district Dec 7, 2017 Killed
15 three people, no names Borana/Moyale Dec 7, 2017 Killed
16 Hasan Basaa Guji/BuleHora Dec 6, 2017 Killed
17 Kadiro Geda Guji/BuleHora Killed
18 13 people Borana/Arero Nov. 24, 2017 Killed
19 Dejen Belachew Shewa/Yayagullale Nov, 23, 2017 Killed
20 Dirriba Hailu Shewa/YayaGullale Nov, 23, 2017 Killed
21 Girma Shifera Shewa/Yayagullale Nov, 23, 2017 Injured
22 Adane Tibabu Shewa/Yayaullale Nov, 23, 2017 Injured
23 Insa Megersa Shewa/Yayagullale Nov, 23, 2017 Injured

HRLHA has expressed its concerns several times to the world community in general, to Western donor governments (the USA, the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden), governmental agencies (UN, EU & AU) in particular regarding the  systematic and planned killings targeting educated  Oromo men and women, outstanding university students, Oromo nationalists by the Ethiopian government killing squad, Agazi force which has been deployed by the government deep into community villages  of Oromia.

Advancing its plan of systematic killings of Oromos, the TPLF/EPRDF  government trained another group of killers,  the Liyu Police in Somali Regional State, Eastern neighbor state of Oromia  and deployed them along the border between Oromia and Somali State where they have killed thousands of innocent Oromo  farmers-since 2011 to the present- invading the border Oromo areas. The well trained and armed Liyu Police led by TPLF/EPRDF commanders entered into the OromiaState territory from East and West  Hararge, Bale, Borana, Guji Zones and killed, evicted, abducted Oromos and occupied some areas in Bale, Hararge, Borana and Guji areas permanently. Oromos and Somali are, respectively, the two largest regions in the country by area size, sharing a border of over 1,400 km (870 miles). The attacks of the Liyu Police on Oromos took place not only across the border, they also killed many Oromos living in Somali Regional State towns of Jigjiga, Wuchale, Gode, forcefully disappeared over two hundred Oromo business men and women and displaced over seven hundred  thousand (700,000) others including women, children and seniors.

The  700,000 evicted Oromos from the Somali Regional Statepushed out by the government of Somali state have been deported to Oromiaand are currently suffering in different concentration camps, including in Hamaressain Harar town, Dirredawa and other areas. They are mostly without shelter, and food and are in poor health.

Sadly enough, these displaced Oromos did not get the attention of the TPLF/EPRDF government and did not  receive any humanitarian aid from the federal government of Ethiopia and other sister federal states or from international donor governments and organizations in the past over six months. They depended only on their fellow Oromo brothers and sisters. The Federal Government of Ethiopia which highly depends on Oromia resources (about 70%) for its annual income has failed to provide even emergency  funding to Oromos who have been displaced and chased from Somali Regional State leaving behind their all belongings. The TPLF/EPRDF government and the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO),  the  member  of ruling party, the EPRDF deliberately hides the suffering of 700,000 displaced Oromos from the world society, a move equal to genocide.

Based on the violations against the Oromo nation by the Ethiopian government  over the past twenty-five tears, the HRLHAhas found that the serious gross human rights violations committed by the Ethiopia Government against the Oromo nation since 1991 to the present constitute  crimes against humanity under international law. Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack or individual attacks directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The crimes against humanity act include: a) forced population transfers and deportation, b) murder, c) rape and other sexual violence, and d) persecution as defined by the Rome Statute  article 7 of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the ad hoc international criminal courts.

Background:

The World community has witnessed in the past four or more years, since the Oromo mass movement had begun in 2014 to the present,that the Ethiopian people in general and the Oromo people in particular have suffered or are still suffering  under the EPRDF government:

  1. Over4500 Oromos, from young to old, have been brutalized, tens of thousands have been incarcerated and other thousands have been forcefully disappeared during the Oromo protests and over 700 hundred were massacred on October 2, 2016 at the Irrecha Oromo thanksgiving Festival
  2. For the past 26 years, the world has seen that this Ethiopian government does not believe in finding peaceful and sustainable solutions through negotiations with opposition political organizations or in finding solutions for the grievances of the people.
  3. The EPRDF government pretends in front of the world community it is practicing democracy, while the facts on the ground show that the Ethiopian government is committing a crime, a systematic campaign against Oromos that causes human suffering, or death on a large scale-a crime against humanity.

Therefore, the HRLHA urges the international community to act collectively in a timely and decisive manner – through the UN Security Council and in accordance with the UN charter on a case-by – case basis to stop the human tragedy in Oromia, Ethiopia.

The international communities and agencies (AU, EU & UN) can play a decisive role by doing the following:

  • Provide humanitarian aid to the displaced 700,000Oromos immediately to save the life of the people before it is too late
  • Put pressure on the TPLF/EPRDF government to allow neutral investigators to probe into the human rights crisis in the country as a precursor to international community intervention
  • Put pressure on the Ethiopian government to release all political prisoners in the country
  • Intervene to stop crimes against humanity by the Ethiopian military force using the principles of R2P adopted in 2005 by the UN General Assembly
  • Demand thatthe Ethiopian government return its military forces back to their camps from Oromia villages and towns

Copied To:

  • UN Human Rights Council
    OHCHR address: 
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson
    52 rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Africa Union (AU)
    African Union Headquarters
    P.O. Box 3243 | Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) | W21K19 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44Webmaster: webmaster@africa-union.org
  • The US Department of State
    WASHINGTON, D.C. HEADQUARTERS
    (202) 895-3500
    OFMInfo@state.gov
    Office of Foreign Missions
    2201 C Street NW
    Room 2236
    Washington, D.C. 20520
    Customer Service Center
    3507 International Place NW
    Washington, D.C. 20522-3303
  • UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
    Parliamentary
    House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
    Tel: 020 7219 4055
    Fax: 020 7219 5851
    Email: hammondp@parliament.ukDepartmentalStreet,(DepartmentalStreet???)
    London, SW1A 2AH
    Tel: 020 7008 1500
    Email: fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway)
    His Excellency BørgeBrende
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    E-mail: post@mfa.no
    Phone: + 47 23 95 00 00
    Address: 7. juniplassen 1, N-0032 Oslo


    Related articles (Oromian Economist Sources):

 

Oromia: #CalanqooMassacre, Calii Calanqoo 2ffaa: The number of  civilians killed by fascist Ethiopia’s (TPLF) security forces in Calanqoo (Chelenko) town, Meettaa district in east Haraghe zone of Oromia state has risen to 20;  more than a dozen were also wounded, many of whom are in critical condition

Democracy Now: Reports: Ethiopian Forces Crack Down on Oromo Protests, Killing up to 15

Opride: Ethiopia: Oromia hit by fresh #OromoProtests in response to state-sponsored killings

Ethiopia faces social media blackout after new ethnic unrest

U.S. Embassy Statement Following Deaths at Chelenko and Universities

 

Ethiopian government used spyware against dissidents: report December 13, 2017

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It's never been easier for governments to keep track and spy on dissidents, but now that spyware software can be bought virtually off-the-shelf, any country can get in the game.

It’s never been easier for governments to keep track and spy on dissidents, but now that spyware software can be bought virtually off-the-shelf, any country can get in the game. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

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In October 2016 at the Irreecha religious festival in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, at least 55 people were killed in a stampede after police fired tear gas into the crowds.

The deaths sparked nationwide protests and within days, a different kind of countermeasure got underway: cyberattacks.

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Festival goers flee during a deadly stampede in Bishoftu. Several thousand people had gathered at a sacred lake to take part in the Irreecha ceremony, in which the Oromo community marks the end of the rainy season. (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

‘The government was very nervous, the population was angry. So it was this time that they tried to hack me.’–  Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed

Given the work activist Jawar Mohammed does with the Oromia Media Network (OMN) and his profile online, he figured he’d be an obvious target, but it was how he was targeted that surprised him.

“When this suspicious email came, I did not open it. I passed it to our IT department. They looked at it, and they suspected it might be spyware,” he tells The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti

“We in the media were providing the domestic and international community with updated information from every village. So the situation was extremely intense. The government was very nervous, the population was angry. So it was this time that they tried to hack me.”

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Residents of Bishoftu crossed their wrists above their heads as a symbol for the Oromo anti-government protesting movement during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in Bishoftu, October 2, 2016. (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

Even before the protests, Mohammed says the government was using different hackers from Russia and China to get into his email and attack OMN’s website.
What made the email suspicious?

Mohammed says the email looked like it came from people he knew. There was also a link provided and when clicked, prompted an Adobe software download.

“That was quite strange so I stopped there and contacted our IT people,” he says.

Then the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab that studies surveillance and content filtering on the internet was contacted to investigate this email.

Computer search engine

Bill Marczak at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab says rules and oversight regarding lawful intercept are lacking. (Getty Images)

Bill Marczak, senior research fellow at the facility, says upon looking at Mohammed’s email, a link that looked like it was going to a website called EastAfro.com, which is an Eritrean online video portal, was not what it seemed.

“When we looked at the link, it actually appeared that someone had registered a website to look like EastAfro.com which was called EastAfro.net. So it was a lookalike website which was our immediate clue that something was suspicious,” Marczak tells Tremonti.

A virtual machine in the lab determined that when the link in Mohammed’s email was clicked and the software downloaded and installed, “it would have started sending information from the computer back to a server on the internet which is a telltale sign of spyware,” Marczak says.
Is this illegal?

While it’s typically illegal for a private individual to use spyware against someone else, Marczak says when it’s a government following this procedure, they can often use local law as a defence.

“But the problem is that governments like Ethiopia and other places, the rules and oversight regarding lawful intercept are lacking,” he says.

‘We found an IP address traced to Ethiopia.’– Bill Marczak

Marczak says the lab was able to trace a sample of the spyware from Mohammed’s email to a fake Adobe Flash update used by computer security researchers who investigate suspicious files.

“We noticed the second sample was signed by this company Cyberbit. And from there we looked at its website and found out that this is the company that claims to sell exclusively to governments,” he explains.

The spyware was traced to Ethiopia because the server attached to it had a publicly accessible log file, according to Marczak.

“This is not typically something that you want to have on your spyware server if you’re running a secret operation,” Marczak says, adding that the company probably forgot that this feature existed.

“The log file showed who was logging in to check the results of the spyware. In other words, who was logging in to download the data that was being uploaded by infected computers, and we found an IP address traced to Ethiopia.”

The Current did contact Canada’s privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, for comment on this story. A spokesperson replied that online surveillance by foreign governments is outside the commission’s jurisdiction, and directed The Current’s producers to Global Affairs. We contacted that department, but no one got back to us. 

The Current also contacted the Ethiopian embassy in Ottawa. A spokeswoman there said no one was available to speak to this issue today. 


Listen to the full conversation above — including Dmitri Vitaliev, co-founder and director of eQualit.ie, a Montreal-based nonprofit that provides support, training, and digital protection for journalists activists and civil society workers worldwide.


This segment was produced by The Current’s John Chipman and Susana Ferriera.

Oromia: #CalanqooMassacre, Calii Calanqoo 2ffaa: The number of  civilians killed by fascist Ethiopia’s (TPLF) security forces in Calanqoo (Chelenko) town, Meettaa district in east Haraghe zone of Oromia state has risen to 20;  more than a dozen were also wounded, many of whom are in critical condition December 12, 2017

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Two students were also killed last night at Shambu campus of Wolega university as student protests continued in several universities  

By Addis Standard staffs

December 12/2017 – The number of  civilians killed by security forces in Chelenko town, Meta woreda in east Haraghe zone of the oromia regional state has risen to 15;  more than a dozen were also wounded, many of whom are in critical condition.

According to Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia region communication bureau, authorities at the highest level in Oromia region were investigating why and how these killings were “taken against peaceful civilians”. Addisu implicated the role of members of the national defense force but the locals say the killings were also committed by members of the Liyu Police operating in Ethio-Somali regional state and is accused of committing perpetual violence against civilians. According to Abdulatif, a nurse in Dire Dawa hospital who only wanted to be identified by his first name, many of the wounded who are currently being treated at the hospital have “are being treated for gun shots, some of which were from a close range,” he told Addis Standard by phone.

According to Addisu Arega, the protesters in the city have went out to the streets yesterday to denounce the killing of an individual called Ahimaddinnn Ahimad Asaasaa, by members of the Liyu Police.  Ahimaddinnn died on the way to a hospital, which led the town’s people to come out to the streets to protest.

Abdulatif told Addis Standard quoting “some of” the family members of the victims that the “protests were happening with the people of the town chanting ‘enough with the killings by [the] Liyu police’ when all of a sudden shots began to be fired.” According to him, protesters in other parts of the city have then begun blocking roads “to prevent the security forces access to protest areas, but the security forces have dismantled the road blocks using heavy military vehicles while at the same time shooting at the protesting civilians.”

Six people killed on the spot yesterday, according to Addisu. But that number has now risen to fifteen. Abdulatif said  many of the wounded admitted at the hospital “may not survive due to the severity of their wounds.”  Among them were women and children. Abdulatif couldn’t tell the exact number of civilians admitted to the hospital, but Addisu said yesterday that 14 people were wounded, six of whom seriously. On December 09/2017 residents of Babile and Moyale towns in east Hararghe and southern Ethiopia respectively have told the VOA Amharic that there were everyday killings committed by members of the Liyu police. Several pictures showing wounds of gun shots and dead bodies are circulating in Ethiopia’s social media space.

The burial of those who were killed yesterday is expected to take place today and security in the area remain tense.

University students protesting 

Meanwhile, two university students were killed last night at Shambu campus of the Wolega University, 305 km west of Addis Abeba, following “fights between the students,” according to Addisu Arega. He said several suspects were detained and were under investigation. Addisu provided no further detail but said he would release further information is due course.

The news comes as students in universities of Gonder & Woldiya in Amhara regional state and Ambo and Haremaya in Oromia regional state began protesting since yesterday in the wake of the killing of a student in Adigrat University in Tigrai regional state over the past weekend as a result of a fight between two students. Officials have not released adequate information surrounding the clear circumstances of the killing of student Habtamu Yalew Sinashaw, a second year management student who was from West Gojam Zone, Dega Damot Woreda, Dikul Kana Kebele of the Amhara regional state. But the news has stirred ethnic tensions in several university campuses. Protesting students also claim that the number of casualties is more than what is admitted by authorities.  A video allegedly showing the protest by Gonder university students has also surfaced.

The protests have continued until today and security forces are being dispatched to the university campuses.



 

Related:


Jiraattonni hedduun immoo haleellaa kanaan madaa’anii gara Hospitaala adda addaatti geeffamuu ibsamee jira.Kanneen daangaa irratti wal waraanaa jiraniif raashinni ykn nyaati haa ergamuu jechuun waajiira bulchiinsaa duratti hiriirree ituu jirru haleellaan kun nu irratti gaggeefamee jedhu Jiraattonni.

Bulchiinsi Godinaa Harargee Bahaa Obbo Jamaal Ahmadee walitti bu’iinsi kun uummauu mirkaneessee jiran.Walitti bu’iinsa kana dura daangaa anaa meettaa araddaa Sarkamaa irratti guyyoota darban lamaa fi sadiif Oromiyaa fi Naannoo Somaalee giddutti walitti bu’iinsa tureen gam lameen irraa namnii tokko tokko ajjefamuu ibsan.

Dargaggonnis ajjechaa Oromoo irratti gaggeeffamuun mufannaa qabaniin daandilee dhagaan cufanii yeroo hiriiranti raayyaan ittisaa daandii bansisuuf yaalii godheen walitti bu’iinsa ka’een namonin ajjefaman akkasumas mada’an akka jiran dubbatan.

Garu lakkoofsa isaanii hin qulqulleeffanne jedhan.Haala jiru adda baafatanii deebii akka nu kennan Obbo Jamaal Ahmedee waadaa nu seenanii jiru.

Gaaffii fi deebii gaggeeffame Caqasaa


Mass unrest in state of Oromia, federal forces blamed for killings, for more click here to  read at Africa news.

NEWSWEEK: DID ETHIOPIA ‘SPY ON OROMO DISSIDENTS’ LIVING IN THE UK? December 11, 2017

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“The solution for Ethiopia is not in spying over political dissenters like us, it is in listening to the people and meeting their demands” Habte said.

DID ETHIOPIA ‘SPY ON OROMO DISSIDENTS’ LIVING IN THE UK?

The Ethiopian government has allegedly carried out a spyware campaign targeting dissidents living abroad, including in the U.K., a report has claimed.

Canada-based research group Citizen Lab alleged that Ethiopian dissidents were targeted with emails containing “sophisticated commercial spyware posing as Adobe Flash updates and PDF plugins”.

The report further claimed that Ethiopia used a commercial spyware product manufactured by Israel-based Elbit Systems Ltd to spy on dissidents.

Those targeted included dissidents from the Oromo community, one of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, the U.S.-based media outlet Oromo Media Network as well as one of the researchers conducting the investigation.

Etana Habte, an Oromo activist and PhD candidate and Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS, University of London, was also targeted.

He believes the government allegedly targeted him to identify people behind protests in Ethiopia’s Oromia state, which was rocked by months-long demonstrations, some of which turned deadly.

“By spying over us they mainly want to identify a wide circle of people who communicate with us on the movement at home,” he told Newsweek.

“They wanted to break into our privacy, collect information from our communications with one another, because they believe the leadership of Oromo Protests communicates with us.

“The solution for Ethiopia is not in spying over political dissenters like us, it is in listening to the people and meeting their demands” Habte said.

The Ethiopian embassy in London has not responded to a request for a comment on the allegations.

Ethiopian Communications Minister Negeri Lencho declined to comment on the report, according to Reuters.

Researchers said their findings raised questions on Elbit’s human rights due diligence practices.

The company said in a statement: “The intelligence and defenses agencies that purchase these products are obligated to use them in accordance with the applicable law.” It added that it only sell products to defense, intelligence, national security and law enforcement agencies approved by the Israeli government.

Deadly protests explained

Oromia protests
People mourn the death of Dinka Chala who was shot by Ethiopian forces in the Yubdo Village, about 100 kilometers from Addis Ababa in the Oromia region, on December 17, 2015. Dinka Chala was accused of protesting, but his family says he was not involved. Oromia was rocked by months-long protests, some of which turned deadly.ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Demonstrations started in Oromia in late 2015, where people initially protested over government plans to expand the territory of the capital Addis Ababa, with farmers raising concerns that increasing the size of the city would lead to forced evictions and loss of farming land.

The government later scrapped the plans, but protests continued. Oromo people argued for a greater inclusion in the political process and the release of political prisoners.

The protests, labelled as the biggest anti-government unrest the country has witnessed in recent history, later spread to Amhara and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) region.

The unrest continued throughout 2016.

Last October, the government implemented a six-month-long state of emergency, which was further extended by four months in March, to tackle the unrest.

Critics of the state of emergency claimed the government was trying to quell protests by, among other things, restricting freedoms and banning certain media outlets, including the Oromia Media Network. The government denied the allegations.

Rights groups have criticizied Ethiopia for the way it handled protests, accusing the military and the police of using excessive force to quell demonstrations.

The response to the unrest resulted in the death of at least 669 people, a figure the government confirmed in a report released in April.

While the country’s Human Rights Commission recommended prosecution of some police officers, it maintained that the overall response by security forces was adequate.


 

​They Stood Silent; We knew What That Meant. December 11, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

 

Sirba Giddii ; it is an axiom of Afaan Oromoo that states if someone isn’t too much into dance, but has to do it just to pass the unwelcomed invitation. 

via ​They Stood Silent; We knew What That Meant.

Oromia (Finfinnee): Konsarti Lammiin Lammif. Fundraising Concert for humanitarian assistance for over 700,000 Oromo nationals displaced by Ethiopia’s TPLF forces (Liyu Police) December 10, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomistThe UN is silent as over 45 million Oromo people are subjected to genocide

Click here to read Oromian Economist article: #Prevent #Genocide! 

Click here to read OSA’s statement on displaced Oromos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE THIRD OROMO LEADERSHIP CONVENTION, DECEMBER 1-3, 2017 December 7, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomistOromo Leadership Convention 10-12 March 2017

 

THE HOUSTON STATEMENT OF THE THIRD OROMO LEADERSHIP CONVENTION

ON THE CRISES IN ETHIOPIA

The Third Oromo Leadership Convention was held in the City of Houston, Texas December 1-3, 2017.  The delegates participated in extensive discussions concerning the situation in Ethiopia based on analyses presented by several scholars. The delegates established that the Oromo Protest that started in 2014 has opened new possibilities for transformative change in Ethiopia.  They also recognized that, because of the protests, the historic Oromo struggle has advanced from resistance against oppression to reconstruction in preparation for the imminent political transition in Ethiopia.

The country is in throes of deepening multidimensional crises.  This is the conclusion of an assessment jointly prepared by Ethiopian intelligence and defence officials otherwise known as the National Security Council.  There is a historic opportunity for transition to a genuinely participatory democracy that emerges from below. There is also the danger that the opportunity could be squandered. To protect the gains made and to soldier on towards ultimate victory, we urge all Oromo nationalists to do their part to deny the forces of reaction the chance to launch a counterrevolutionary offensive against the Oromo struggle.

We issue this statement as the consensus of the delegates to the Third Oromo Leadership Convention calling on all those who support the longstanding goals of the Oromo national movement to facilitate a peaceful transition to a new political dispensation of a participatory democracy.

IMMEDIATE MEASURES

Immediate steps need to be taken to reverse the deepening crisis by asserting the legitimacy of any existing constitutional body. A peaceful and democratic transition addresses the current crisis of legitimacy and sets the stage for the restoration of democratic-constitutional state.  The following can be taken as steps for action.

Legislative Authority

  1. Reasserting authority. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the core of the governing party, now admits that it is responsible for the deepening political and economic crises in Ethiopia. Because of its culpability in precipitating the crisis, the TPLF incapable of addressing the profound problem of lacking of a visible, authoritative, and widely acceptable leadership that has paralyzed the country for some time must be addressed. The federal legislature is the only body where the voices of all constituencies are said to be represented on a proportional basis. It must reassert its authority to prevent harmful laws from passing.  This would constitute a major step towards a smooth transition to a genuine participatory democracy.
  2. Transparent Debate:  Responding to demands of the people should be the focus of the elected representatives of the people. Parliament should debate the ongoing crisis and take steps to restore order based on the wishes of all constituencies. The parliamentary deliberations should be done publicly in order to win the support to all constituencies.
  3. Critical First Steps: The federal parliament can institute the following confidence-building measures to give chance to an orderly transition.a.       Repeal unconstitutional laws: The Anti-Terrorist Law, the Press Law and the Civil Society and Charities Law are designed expressly to prevent citizens from exercising the human rights enshrined in the constitution. They are unconstitutional and should be repealed. The law for registration of political parties, the electoral law and the various regulations and directives issued under it, and the law on public political meeting and peaceful demonstration must be revisited with a view to allowing the people maximum freedom to associate, organize, assemble, demonstrate, and express their political views, interests, and petition for their rights within the ambit of their constitutional human rights.

    b.       Release all political prisoners: Opposition leaders who now languish in prison are victims of these unconstitutional laws. With the repeal of these laws, it then follows that they should be released unconditionally.

    c.        Reform the System: The instruments of “dominant-party rule” are: a justice system that is subservient to the will of the ruling party; a security system that operates to eliminate opposition and resistance; and a national election commission whose reason for existence is to declare the ruling party’s election victories without counting the votes. Parliament must engage in a genuine and sustained justice sector reforms, security sector reforms, electoral system reform, reform of all democratic institutions of representation (House People’s Representatives), inclusion (House of Federation), human rights (Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and  the Institute of the Ombudsman), and accountability (Auditor general and Anti-corruption Commission).

  4. Outlawing Illegitimate Authority: There is widespread perception that there is a private source of power behind the public institutions. Decisions are first hammered out in private and then forwarded to the public legislature for enactment. Rendering the parliament functional can obviate the dangers that the private centres of power are likely to pose to protect their ill-gained power and privilege.

Executive Authority

There is only one way out of the present crises: the legislature should act as the true and supreme source of power [as per art 50(3) cum 54(4) of the Constitution] and stop waiting for somebody to give it direction. The incumbent executive entity has no credibility or legitimacy.  Parliament must institute a governing structure that observes the rule of law.

  1. Reformed Executive: Parliament must do everything to resuscitate the civilian governing bodies and end rule by the security organs of the state. To do this, Parliament must form a new, more inclusive, more credible, more functional, and more representative government in such a way that expresses the wishes of the people as manifested in the protests.
  2. Marshall Support: Following the adoption of this process of peaceful and systematic transition, the legislatures of the regional states should pass resolutions in support of the reform agenda. And the residents of these administrations should be mobilized to support the actions of their legislatures.
  3. Re-establish Security: There is increasing reliance on coercive means and institutions, which is eroding the effectiveness and legitimacy of civilian institutions. We believe the Ethiopian Defence Force (EDF) is responsible for the deteriorating security situation characterized by a “breakdown of the rule law,” “apparent lawlessness” and “episodic conflicts” and it at least complicit in the death and mayhem that is still creating havoc throughout Oromia. The legislature must assert civilian control over the EDF and arrest the deepening political and economic crises.
  4. Internally Displaced Persons:  We condemn the massive displacement of Oromo from the Somali regional state.  The deliberate act of organizing the eviction of a group of people because of their identity is crime that must be investigated and the perpetrators of the crime brought to justice. The president of the Somali regional state, Abid Mohammed Omer aka Abdi Illey, should be brought to justice for the crime against humanity his forces committed against innocent Oromos. Parliament must immediately conduct inquiry into the source of funding and the legal basis for its operation. Parliament should also work towards disarming and disbanding this unruly paramilitary forces such as the Liyu Police that the regional president uses to advance his egregious agenda of ethnic cleansing and replace it with a properly recruited and trained State Police.
  5. Reassuring stakeholders: Interested foreign powers need to be reassured that their interests would not be negatively affected. In particular, legitimate foreign investors should be reassured that their outlay is safe. It should be made abundantly clear to these parties that a sort of internal stability drawing on democratic legitimacy would render it a better guarantor of regional stability than an order that is internally challenged.  This should in fact make the donor countries evaluate their uncritical support for the regime and push for a transition to a democratic order.

OROMO POLITICAL COMMUNITY

We affirm our ultimate national objective is belief stated in the OLC Charter, An Oromo Covenant, that the Oromo people shall always draw inspiration from their gadaa democratic heritage and shall remain a self-governing, participatory democracy founded on respect for fundamental human rights.

In this Convention, we concluded that a true democratic transition in Ethiopia can only be viable if it addresses the long standing demands of the Oromo national movement as expressed in our time by the Oromo protests. While they are expressed in multiple ways, the Oromo demands are captured in the all-encompassing expression, abbaa biyyummaa, which is the demand for sovereignty over the governance, the resources and the ownership of our homesteads, land and country.

As we anticipate ushering in this new political dispensation, we urge all Oromo political parties to deliberate on the current situation carefully and systematically and offer a clear roadmap for what will be implemented in the wake of the inevitable collapse of the regime in power.

CIVIL SOCIETY FORCES

The revival of the Abba Gadaa institutions is evidence of Oromo cultural renaissance and revitalization of Oromo indigenous political heritage. The Abba Gadaa councils are a genuine Oromo institution that must be strengthened. In this respect, we support the councils’ work and express our wishes for the following.

  1. The Union of the Oromo Gadaa Council is urged to call the Oromia gadaa assembly to consider national issues once a year.
  2. The different regional gadaa councils established at the many former gadaa assemblies should begin to legislate rules that will strengthen the functions of the gadaa institutions.
  3. The regional gadaa councils should take measures to create institutions that take account of their adaptability to the present generation’s needs and demands.
  4. The councils must continue to build civil society institutions, particularly the inclusion of women into gadaa structures.
  5. Oromo communities and other peoples find the indigenous institutions of conflict resolution more expeditious and judicious than the lengthy litigation handled by formal institutions. We urge the regional gadaa councils to begin to take measures to relaunch alternative dispute resolution processes and institutions to complement the functions of formal institutions.

 

DONE IN HOUSTON, TEXAS, ON THIS 3rd DAY DECEMBER 2017.

 


 BACKGROUND


The first Oromo Leadership Convention (OCL) held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 11 – 13, 2016, took place at a time of heightened risks for the Oromo protests. There was pent-up anger in the country over the Ireecha Massacre and deep apprehension concerning the just declared state of emergency in Ethiopia. The second was held in an atmosphere profound uncertainty with many Oromos wondering whether the protests movement had atrophied. There was concern that Command Post, the military unit in charge of the state of emergency had succeeded in arresting the momentum of change the Oromo protests had unleashed.

OLC_3rd_convention.jpg

The situation today is very different. We can be more confident that the struggle has moved on to a more hopeful stage. We are on the cusp of becoming free but that outcome is not assured. It is a critical period in the history of our nation and out longstanding struggle. At this stage, the OLC needs to aim to address current challenges continue to assist the struggle at home and complete the struggle with triumph.

To contribute our part to the current phase of the Oromo national movement, the OLC Coordinating Committee to affirm the decision that was made at the Washington Convention and announce that the third convention will be held in the City of Houston from December 1-3, 2017.

AGENDA

We believe that the Oromo national movement has entered a decisive, if uncertain, stage. The OLC was organized to nudge the Oromo struggle forward, affirm the unity of the nation and organize its national politics. At this stage of the struggle, we maintain that Oromo nationalism has moved from a defensive posture to an assertive model. The delegates will evaluate the road we have traveled and chart course for the future of our nation.

1.      Envisioning a Pluralistic Society: Oromo is a unified nation with a social organization that recognizes differences of age, kinship, gender, religion and region. Historically, these differences have served the purpose of organizing the society into unity. In our time, we must begin to recognize that the unified Oromo nation contains diverse groupings and must take steps to begin to live as a free, open and pluralistic society and practice a cultural of pluralism which contains the values of diversity, tolerance, commitment and communication. The Houston Convention envisages kicking off a national convention on pluralism in the Oromo context.

2.      Forging of political solidarity: At this stage, the Oromo movement has overcome the distractive political divisions within the Oromo society while deepening a culture of pluralism. The Oromo movement needs to overcome divisions that obstruct cooperation and strengthen solidarity with other groups. OLC will invite Oromo scholars to discuss ways of strengthening internal diversity and external solidarity with non-Oromo groups.

3.      Recognize the contribution of artists: Throughout the Oromo struggle, artists have helped inform the larger Oromo society about social issues, harmonize social activists within the movement; informed the movement ideals and goals to people outside the movement; dramatized movement goals directly to historicize, tell and retell the history of the Oromo movement.  The OLC will highlight these contributions and encourage artistic expressions to advance the struggle across the finish line.

OUTCOME

The Houston convention will issue a manifesto that will reaffirm that Oromo unity is built around gadaa principles and Oromo aspirations are shaped by gadaa values; declares the principle of living together in a pluralistic society; and underscores the importance of solidarity calling for cooperation based on common purpose and common interest and establishing ways of resolving differences.

 

VENUE

The leadership convention will take place in Houston, Texas, December 1-3, 2017 at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas, 77079. Click here to Book your Hotel : https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/houston-westside/meetings/olc-2017-oromo-leadership-convention                            

Click Here to register  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-third-oromo-leadership-convention-tickets-39790792331

CONVENER

The Oromo Leadership Convention Coordinating Committee

OFFICIAL DOCUMENT

 

The Citizen Lab report: A campaign of targeted malware attacks apparently carried out by Ethiopia’s regime from 2016 until the present with new commercial spyware, PC Surveillance System offered by Cyberbit December 6, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

HRW: Ethiopia: New Spate of Abusive Surveillance

Spyware Industry Needs Regulation


CHAMPING AT THE CYBERBITETHIOPIAN DISSIDENTS TARGETED WITH NEW COMMERCIAL SPYWARE

Key Findings

  • This report describes how Ethiopian dissidents in the US, UK, and other countries were targeted with emails containing sophisticated commercial spyware posing as Adobe Flash updates and PDF plugins. Targets include a US-based Ethiopian diaspora media outlet, the Oromia Media Network (OMN), a PhD student, and a lawyer. During the course of our investigation, one of the authors of this report was also targeted.
  • We found a public logfile on the spyware’s command and control server and monitored this logfile over the course of more than a year. We saw the spyware’s operators connecting from Ethiopia, and infected computers connecting from IP addresses in 20 countries, including IP addresses we traced to Eritrean companies and government agencies.
  • Our analysis of the spyware indicates it is a product known as PC Surveillance System (PSS), a commercial spyware product with a novel exploit-free architecture. PSS is offered by Cyberbit — an Israel-based cyber security company that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems — and marketed to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
  • We conducted Internet scanning to find other servers associated with PSS and found several servers that appear to be operated by Cyberbit themselves. The public logfiles on these servers seem to have tracked Cyberbit employees as they carried infected laptops around the world, apparently providing demonstrations of PSS to the Royal Thai Army, Uzbekistan’s National Security Service, Zambia’s Financial Intelligence Centre, the Philippine President’s Malacañang Palace, ISS World Europe 2017 in Prague, and Milipol 2017 in Paris. Cyberbit also appears to have provided other demos of PSS in France, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Serbia, and Nigeria.

1. Executive Summary

This report describes a campaign of targeted malware attacks apparently carried out by Ethiopia from 2016 until the present. In the attacks we document, targets receive via email a link to a malicious website impersonating an online video portal. When a target clicks on the link, they are invited to download and install an Adobe Flash update (containing spyware) before viewing the video. In some cases, targets are instead prompted to install a fictitious app called “Adobe PdfWriter” in order to view a PDF file. Our analysis traces the spyware to a heretofore unobserved player in the commercial spyware space: Israel’s Cyberbit, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems. The spyware appears to be a product called PC Surveillance System (PSS), recently renamed PC 360.

The attacks we first identified were targeted at Oromo dissidents based outside of Ethiopia, including the Oromia Media Network (OMN). Oromia is the largest regional ethnic state of Ethiopia by population and area, comprised mostly of the Oromo people.


Figure 1: Oromia Region, Ethiopia

We later discovered that the spyware’s command and control (C&C) server has a public logfile that appears to show both operator and victim activity, allowing us to gain insight into the identity of the operators and the targets. Based on our analysis of the logfile, it appears that the spyware’s operators are inside Ethiopia, and that victims also include various Eritrean companies and government agencies.

We scanned the Internet for similar C&C servers and found what appear to be several servers used by Cyberbit. The public logfiles on those servers seem to have tracked Cyberbit employees as they carried infected laptops around the world, apparently providing demonstrations of PSS to various potential clients. The logfiles appear to place Cyberbit employees at IP addresses associated with the Royal Thai Army, Uzbekistan’s National Security Service, Zambia’s Financial Intelligence Centre, the Philippine President’s Malacañang Palace, ISS World Europe 2017 in Prague, and Milipol 2017 in Paris. Cyberbit also appears to have provided other demos to clients we could not identify in France, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Serbia, and Nigeria.


Figure 2: Countries with Ethiopian Cyberbit targets.

This report is the latest in a growing body of work that shows the wide abuse of nation-state spyware by authoritarian leaders to covertly surveil and invisibly sabotage entities they deem political threats. After FinFisher, Hacking Team, and NSO Group, Cyberbit is the fourth vendor of nation-state spyware whose tools we have seen abused, and the second based in Israel.  Cyberbit’s PSS is also not the first spyware that Ethiopia has abused outside of its borders: in 2015, we discovered that Ethiopia’s Information Network Security Agency (INSA) was using Hacking Team’s RCS spyware to target US-based journalists at the Ethiopian Satellite Television Service (ESAT). Ethiopia has also previously targeted dissidents using FinFisher’s FinSpy spyware.

Citizen Lab has published a companion post outlining some of the legal and regulatory issues raised by this investigation. We also sent letters to Cyberbit and Adobe concerning the misuse of their respective products. Cyberbit responded on December 5, 2017, stating in part: “we appreciate your concern and query and we are addressing it subject to the legal and contractual confidentiality obligations Cyberbit Solutions is bound by.” Adobe respondedon December 6, 2017, stating in part: “we have taken steps to swiftly address this issue, including but not limited to contacting Cyberbit and other relevant service providers.”

2. Background

2.1. Oromo Protests and Diaspora Media Outlets

Largely peaceful protests erupted in the Ethiopian state of Oromia in November 2015, in response to a government decision to pursue a development project involving the razing of a forest and football field. Protesters coalesced around opposition to a larger plan, the Addis Ababa Master Plan, which they feared would displace some of the 2 million Oromo residents living around Addis Ababa. The government labeled the protesters terrorists and responded with lethal force and arbitrary arrests. Over the next year, security forces killed over 1000 people, many of them from Oromia, during anti-government protests. This culminated in a state of emergency that was called in October 2016 that lasted over 10 months.

Oromia Media Network (OMN) is a US-based media channel that describes itself as an “independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit news enterprise whose mission is to produce original and citizen-driven reporting on Oromia, the largest and most populous state in Ethiopia.”  OMN broadcasts via satellite, and also has an Internet and social media presence. According toHuman Rights Watch, OMN “played a key role in disseminating information throughout Oromia during the protests.” The government has “reportedly jammed OMN 15 times since it began operations in 2014” and arrested individuals for providing information to OMN or displaying the channel in their businesses.

2.2. Cyberbit and PSS

Cyberbit is an Israel-based cyber security company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Israeli defense and homeland security manufacturer and contractor Elbit Systems. Cyberbit was established in 2015 in order to consolidate Elbit Systems’ activities relating to the Cyber Intelligence and Cyber Security markets.” Cyberbit merged with the NICE Cyber and Intelligence Division in 2015 after Elbit acquired that entity for approximately $158 million, with Cyberbit reportedly taking on the division’s employees. Elbit had previously acquiredC4 Security in June 2011 for $10.9 million; C4 described itself as “specializ[ing] in information warfare, SCADA and military C&C systems security.  According to one employee’s LinkedIn page, C4 also developed a product called “PSS Surveillance System,” billed as a “solution[] for intelligence and law enforcement agencies.” Cyberbit marketing materials1 refer to what appears to be the same system: “CYBERBIT PC Surveillance System (PSS).” PSS is also referenced on Elbit’s website as a solution “for collection from personal computers.” Elbit reportedly will be reorganizing Cyberbit, effective as of 2018, to separate its defense and commercial businesses, with Cyberbit continuing to operate the “C4i division and commercial cyber business.” Elbit’s major subsidiaries are located in Israel and the United States, and Elbit is listed on the NASDAQ and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.


Figure 3: Screenshot of PSS Console (Source: 
Cyberbit Marketing Materials).

Cyberbit is the second Israel-based nation-state spyware vendor we have identified and analyzed, the other being NSO Group. The two companies operate in the same market and have even been connected with the same clients. In an extradition request for former Panamanian President Martinelli, Panama alleged that Martinelli had directed the purchase of two spyware products: PSS and NSO Group’s Pegasus. Additionally, a leaked Hacking Team email about NSO claims that: “NSO only has mobile agents … Apparently the pc part is handled by another company, PSS.”

Cyberbit describes PSS as “a comprehensive solution for monitoring and extracting information from remote PCs.” As is standard in the marketing materials for spyware companies, Cyberbit represents that their design “eliminat[es] the possibility that the operation will be traced back to the origin.”


Figure 4: Data exfiltrated by PSS (Source: 
Cyberbit Marketing Materials).

Cyberbit says that PSS “helps LEAs and intelligence organizations to reduce crime, prevent terrorism and maintain public safety by gaining access, monitoring, extracting and analyzing information from remote PCs.”  Information that PSS can monitor and extract includes “VoIP calls, files, emails, audio recordings, keylogs and virtually any information available on the target device.”

3. Targeting of Jawar Mohammed

Jawar Mohammed is the Executive Director of the Oromia Media Network (OMN). He is also a prolific activist, with more than 1.2 million followers on Facebook. October 2, 2016 was the annual Irreecha cultural festival, the most important Oromo cultural festival. Millions of people each year gather at the festival site in Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa. In 2016, “scores of people” died at the festival “following a stampede triggered by security forces’ use of teargas and discharge of firearms in response to an increasingly restive crowd.” Jawar was active at the time on social media in stoking the passions of Oromo on the ground, circulating both verified and unverified information. On October 4, 2016, while in Minneapolis, USA, Jawar received the email in Figure 5.  He forwarded the email to Citizen Lab for analysis.

From: sbo radio <sbo.radio88[@]gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2016 16:50:13 +0300
Subject: Fw: Confidential video made publicWhat do you think of this video ? In case you don’t have the right version of adobe flash and can’t watch the video, you can get the latest version of Adobe flash from Here
http://getadobeplayer%5B.%5Dcom/flashplayer/download/index7371.html.———- Forwarded message ———-
From: sbo radio <sbo.radio88[@]gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 10, 2014 at 4:23 PM
Subject: Video hints Eritrea and Ethiopia war is highly likely to continueDear Excellencies,Video : Eritrea and Ethiopia war likely to continue
http://www.eastafro%5B.%5Dnet/eritrea-ethiopia-border-clash-video.html

regards,Sbo Radio
Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Figure 5: An email sent to Jawar on October 4, 2016. The sender most likely crafted the email to make it appear that this was a forwarded message.
The site eastafro[.]net appears to impersonate the (legitimate) Eritrean video website eastafro.com. When a target clicks on an operator-generated link to eastafro[.]net, JavaScript on the site checks to see whether the target is using Windows and whether their Adobe Flash Player is up to date. If the script detects a Windows user with an out-of-date Flash Player, it displays a message asking the user to update their Flash Player. If clicked, or after 15 seconds, the user is redirected to a page on getadobeplayer[.]com, which offers the user a real Flash Player update bundled with spyware.
Figure 6: Message displayed when a target clicks on a link to eastafro[.]net.

If the user downloads and installs the malicious Flash update, their computer is infected. It is clear that this is a targeted attack: if a user simply types in eastafro[.]net into their browser’s address bar, they are redirected to the legitimate site, eastafro.com. If a user does the same with getadobeplayer[.]com, they are served a “403 Forbidden” message. Both sites have robots.txt files instructing search engines not to crawl them. Access to the spyware is granted only if the user clicks on a link sent by the operator.

In all, Jawar received eleven emails between 5/30/2016 and 10/13/2016, and one more than a year later on 11/22/2017. Each email contained links to what were purportedly videos on eastafro[.]net, or Adobe Flash Player updates on getadobeplayer[.]com. The 11/22/2017 email contained a link to eastafro[.]net that asked the target to install “Adobe’s PdfWriter,” a fictitious product. The download contained the same spyware as the malicious Adobe Flash Player updates, but was packaged with CutePDF Writer, “a proprietary Portable Document Format converter and editor for Microsoft Windows developed by Acro Software,” with no connection to Adobe.


Figure 7: “Adobe PdfWriter” Installation Prompt.

In many cases, the operators appear to have registered their own accounts to send the infection attempts. However, the email address sbo.radio88[@]gmail.com used by operators to target Jawar is associated with the radio station of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The account may have been compromised.

Table 1: Malicious emails received by Jawar.

Date Subject Sender
5/30/2016 Ethiopia Struggling with inside Challenges! eliassamare[@]gmail.com
6/15/2016 Tsorona Conflict Video! eliassamare[@]gmail.com
6/29/2016 UN Report and Diaspora Reaction! eliassamare[@]gmail.com
8/4/2016 Ethiopia and Current Options! eliassamare[@]gmail.com
8/15/2016 Fwd: Triggering Ethiopia Protests! eliassamare[@]gmail.com
9/5/2016 Saudi-Iran and the Red Sea! eliassamare[@]gmail.com
9/6/2016 Congrats – የኢሳት ፍሬዎች wadewadejoe[@]gmail.com
9/22/2016 Is Funding Ethiopia the Right time Now? eliassamare[@]gmail.com
10/4/2016 Fw: Confidential video made public sbo.radio88[@]gmail.com
10/10/2016 Egypt-Ethiopia new tension! awetnaeyu[@]gmail.com
10/13/2016 Confidential Videos made public wadewadejoe[@]gmail.com
11/22/2017 Gov official interrogated following leakage of national security meeting minutes lekanuguse2014[@]gmail.com

The Ethiopian Government charged Jawar with terrorism in February 2017 under the criminal code; Jawar and OMN denied all charges.

4. Investigation to Find Additional Targets

We set out to find additional targets. We conducted targeting testing of members of the Oromo community using Himaya, our email scanning tool, to determine whether they had received any similar malicious messages. We also found a public logfile on the spyware’s C&C server (Section 5.2); the logfile listed IP addresses of infected devices and we were able to identify additional victims based on their IP.

4.1. Other Targets

Etana Habte is a PhD student at SOAS University of London. He is a frequent commentator on Ethiopian issues and appears regularly on OMN.

Table 2: Malicious emails received by Etana.

Date Subject Sender
12/9/2016 Let’s stop EU & the World Bank from funding $500 m to Ethiopia shigut.gelleta[@]gmail.com
1/11/2017 Fwd: MONOSANTO (A multinational company)’s plan on Oromia networkoromostudies2015[@]gmail.com

The address shigut.gelleta@gmail.com appears to be an account created by attackers designed to impersonate Shigut Geleta, a member of the OLF.

Dr. Henok Gabisa is a Visiting Academic Fellow who teaches at Washington and Lee University School of Law and is the founder of the Association of Oromo Public Defenders (Public Interest Lawyers Association) in Oromia.

Table 3: Malicious emails received by Henok.

Date Subject Sender
3/6/2017 Why did MONOSANTO target the Oromiya region? networkoromostudies2015[@]gmail.com
3/13/2017 Democracy in Ethiopia: Can it be saved? networkoromostudies2015[@]gmail.com

Bill Marczak is a researcher at Citizen Lab and an author of this report. Marczak was targeted after he asked another target to forward an email sent by operators. At the time, the target’s email account was compromised (the target had been previously infected with this spyware).  On March 29, 2017, while in San Francisco, USA, Marczak received a message entitled “Martin Plaut and Ethiopia’s politics of famine,” from networkoromostudies2015[@]gmail.com. The email contained a link to eastafro[.]net.


Figure 8: Message received by Citizen Lab Senior Research Fellow Bill Marczak. The use of the Comic Sans font is due to the attacker’s font selection.

Other Targets: Several malicious emails we found were sent to multiple receipients, according to their headers.  We found 39 additional email addresses of targets using this method; at least 12 addresses appear to be linked to targets active on Oromo issues, or working for Oromo groups.

4.2. Logfile Analysis

Peculiarly, we found a public logfile on the spyware’s C&C server; the logfile recorded activity that allowed us to geolocate (or in some cases, identify) victims. We analyzed more than a year of logs showing victim (and operator) activity. Each logfile entry contains a unique identifier (a GUID) associated with the infection, a value indicating whether the entry records victim or operator activity, the IP address that the infected device (or operator) connected to the C&C server from, and finally a timestamp showing when the communication took place (for more details on the logfile, see Section 4.3). The format of the logfile allowed us to track infections as they moved between different IP addresses, such as when an infected target carried their laptop between home and work, or while traveling.

During more than a year of monitoring the server’s logfiles, we observed 67 different GUIDs.  All infections were operated by the same operator, who only ever used one IP address, which belongs to a satellite connection (except for a three hour period on a single day when the operator’s activity “failed over” to two other IP addresses, one address in Ethiopia and one VPN, perhaps due to transient satellite connection failure). We identified 11 of the 67 GUIDs as likely resulting from testing by the operator, or execution by researchers, based on their apparent short duration. Further, we noted that some GUIDs likely referenced the same infected device, as they represented consecutive, non-overlapping infections whose IP addresses corresponded with the same Internet Service Provider (ISP). This was the case for two GUIDs in the UK, two in South Sudan, and 12 in Uganda.

We arrived at 43 GUIDs that we believe represent distinct infected devices. We then sought to geolocate each infection to a country. We first ran the MaxMind GeoLite 2 Countrydatabase on each IP and associated a set of countries with each infection. For each infection that had only one country associated with it, we examined a small number of IP addresses from the infection, to see whether those IPs looked like they were actually in that country, or whether geolocation may have been incorrect due to the IP being associated with a VPN or satellite connection.

For infections that MaxMind associated with multiple countries, we determined the dominant country, based on the country with the largest number of logfile entries for that infection. For the dominant country, we checked a small number of IP addresses to make sure the geolocation was correct. For the other countries, we checked each IP in an attempt to eliminate incorrect geolocation. We noted four infections that predominantly connected from satellite connections, which MaxMind geolocated to UK or UAE; we changed the geolocation of these devices to Eritrea, as the infections either “failed over” to IPs registered to EriTel, or shared the same satellite IP address as other infections that “failed over” to EriTel IPs.

Table 4: Number of infections we geolocated to each country, for countries where we geolocated more than one infection.

Country # Infected Devices
Eritrea 7
Canada 6
Germany 6
Australia 4
USA 4
South Africa 2

Other countries in which we saw only a single infected device were: Belgium, Egypt, Ethiopia, UK, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Norway, Qatar, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen.

After we eliminated VPN IPs, and geolocated the four infections that predominantly connected from satellite connections, we found that 40 of 43 infections only ever communicated from a single country. The remaining three devices appear to have travelled between several countries. The three infections that traveled internationally are as follows:

  • A device that twice travelled from Eritrea (via Germany) to the United Nations in Geneva.  We geolocated this device to Eritrea.
  • A device that predominantly connected from the University of Tsukuba in Japan that travelled to Eritrea. We geolocated this device to Japan.
  • A device that predominantly connected from York University in Canada that travelled to Eritrea. We geolocated this device to Canada.

We were able to trace six of the infections (five in Eritrea, one abroad) to Eritrean government agencies or companies, suggesting that operators are likely targeting members of the Eritrean government in addition to Ethiopian dissidents.

4.3. Other Attacker Sites

During our analysis we, identified two other websites sharing the same IP address as getadobeplayer[.]com, which also appear to have been used by the same attackers to target victims with the same spyware: diretube.co[.]uk (impersonating diretube[.]com, an Ethiopian video site), and meskereme[.]net (impersonating meskerem[.]net, an Eritrean opposition website).

The diretube.co[.]uk site used the same Adobe Flash update ploy to direct users to malware on getadobeplayer[.]com, whereas the meskereme[.]net site displays a message saying “Problem reading Tigrinya? Install these fonts,” with links to the fonts bundled with spyware.  The legitimate website, meskerem[.]net displays the same message, but links to fonts without the spyware.

5. Attribution to Cyberbit and Ethiopia

This section describes how we attributed the spyware to Cyberbit and Ethiopia.

5.1. Digital Signature Points to Cyberbit

By monitoring getadobeplayer[.]com, we found and analyzed five samples of the spyware as it was updated over time.

Table 5: The samples from getadobeplayer[.]com that we analyzed.

MD5 Name
568d8c43815fa9608974071c49d68232 flashplayer20_a_install.exe
80b7121c4ecac1c321ca2e3f507104c2 flashplayer21_xa_install.exe
8d6ce1a256acf608d82db6539bf73ae7 flashplayer22_xa_install.exe
840c4299f9cd5d4df46ee708c2c8247c flashplayer23_xa_install.exe
961730964fd76c93603fb8f0d445c6f2 flashplayer24_xa_install.exe

Each sample communicates with two command and control (C&C) servers: time-local[.]comand time-local[.]net.

We found a structurally similar sample (see Section 7 for details on structural similarities) in VirusTotal:

MD5: 376f28fb0aa650d6220a9d722cdb108d
SHA1: c7b4b97369a2ca77e916d5175d162dc2b823763b
SHA256: c76d2a8c1c8865b1aa6512e13b77cbc7446022b7be3378f7233c5ca4a5e58116

That sample communicated with a C&C server at the following URL: pssts1.nozonenet[.]com/ts8/ts8.php (note the use of “PSS” in the URL). The sample also drops an EXE file containing a digital signature (valid as of the date submitted to VirusTotal) produced by a certificate with the following details:

CN = C4 Security
O = C4 Security
STREET = 13 Noach Mozes St
L = Tel aviv
S = Gush Dan
PostalCode = 67442
C = IL
RFC822 Name=tal.barash@c4-security.com

Note that c4-security.com was the official website of C4 security, according to a brochureposted on the website of the Israeli Export Institute.

5.2. Public Logfile Analysis Points to Ethiopia and Cyberbit

While monitoring additional PSS C&C servers that we discovered during scanning (Section 6.1), we found that one of these servers temporarily exposed a directory listing in response to a normal GET / HTTP/1.1 request (Figure 9). The directory listing contained the text: “Apache/2.4.7 (Ubuntu) Server at cyberbitc[.]com Port 80,” indicating that the server was associated with Cyberbit. The website cyberbitc[.]com is owned by Cyberbit and was used by Cyberbit before they acquired cyberbit[.]com in March 2017.2


Figure 9: Directory listing on one of the servers that earlier matched our fingerprint.

This directory listing also revealed the existence of several files, including a file called rec.dat, which at first glance we noticed was encoded in binary format. We suspected that rec.dat might be a logfile, as it appeared to be constantly updated on the C&C servers. We noticed that rec.dat existed on all of the C&C servers we detected in our scanning and were able to test (Section 6.1), including on time-local[.]com and time-local[.]net, the C&C servers associated with the spyware samples sent to Oromo targets.

5.2.1. Logfile Analysis Shows Ethiopian Operator

To verify our logfile hypothesis, we performed a test infection of a virtual machine using one of the samples sent to Oromo targets and we allowed the virtual machine to communicate with the C&C server. The traffic comprised HTTP POST requests (Section 7.7), each of which contained an agentid, a GUID initially {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000} and later nonzero.

After the infection, we downloaded rec.dat and found that it contained a series of records, several with our IP address, and our agentid GUID, in binary form. Each record of the logfile is delimited by the string \x41\x41\x41 (‘AAA’) and can be parsed with the following regular expression:

‘(.{4})\x00\x00(.)(.{4})(.{16})AAA’

The first group of four bytes is a UNIX timestamp, the second group of 1 byte is a type value (which, in our testing was always 2, 17, 21, 33, or 37), the third group of 4 bytes is an IP address, and the fourth group of 16 bytes is a GUID. The file appears to be a circular (i.e., size-capped) logfile stored in binary format whose maximum size is defined in config.ini to be 10MB. Old entries are removed from the front of the file as new entries are written to the end.

Peculiarly, we noticed additional entries in rec.dat with our GUID but with a different IP address, 207.226.46.xxx. We noticed that 207.226.46.xxx was also associated with every other GUID in rec.dat. We determined that this IP address is associated with a satellite connection.

Over a period of more than a year, we downloaded and analyzed this file at regular intervals, obtaining a total of 388 rec.dat samples from each of time-local[.]com and time-local[.]net (we also began pulling samples of rec.dat from new servers we detected in scanning). Our rec.dat files from time-local[.]com contain more than 32 million entries (more than 28 million entries are operator interactions and approximately 4 million are victim interactions).

In all of our rec.dat samples from time-local[.]com and time-local[.]net, we noted that entries in the logfile for all GUIDs with types 2, 21, and 33 only ever involved the IP address 207.226.46.xxx (except for a brief period of three hours on a single day, where we saw the activity “fail over” between 207.226.46.xxx and two other IP addresses, one VPN address, and one address in Ethiopia). Thus, we suspect that types 2, 21, and 33 represent interaction by the operator. We suspect that types 17 and 37 correspond to interactions by infected devices.

Table 6: IP addresses that the Ethiopian operator connected from.

IP Provider
207.226.46.xxx Satellite Connection
197.156.86.xxx Ethio Telecom
192.186.133.xxx CyberGhost VPN

That the attacker’s activity “failed over” between their satellite IP and an Ethio Telecom address suggests that the operator is inside Ethiopia.

5.2.2. Thirteen Servers Show a Cyberbit Nexus

Our scanning found 15 PSS C&C servers in all. Of those, two were the Ethiopia servers. Of the remaining 13 we found, we suspect all are operated by Cyberbit, perhaps as demonstration or development servers. Ten of the servers’ logfiles included the IP address 37.142.120.xxx, which is pointed to by a subdomain of cyberbit[.]net. Two other servers’ logfiles included the IP address 64.251.13.xxx, which also appeared in the logfile of one of the seven servers, as an operator of infections connecting back from 37.142.13.xxx, an IP address pointed to by a subdomain of cyberbit[.]net.

One of the servers, pupki[.]co, was unavailable when we tried to fetch rec.dat. The domain name was registered to a “Yevgeniy Gavrikov”. An individual by this name currently works as an “integration specialist” for Cyberbit, according to LinkedIn.

6. Other PSS Activity

6.1. Scanning for More C&C Servers

We fingerprinted the command and control (C&C) servers used by the spyware, time-local[.]com and time-local[.]net, based on the fact that they typically returned the following distinctive message upon a normal GET / HTTP/1.1 request:

PHP Configuration Error. Can not fetch xml request string

Over the course of our scanning, we found a total of 15 IP addresses matching this same fingerprint.

Table 7: PSS C&C servers we found in IPv4 scanning.

C&C IP Address Domain Name3
51.15.48.xxx
80.82.64.32 time-local[.]com
80.82.67.xxx
80.82.79.44 time-local[.]net
89.248.170.xxx
93.174.89.xxx
93.174.91.xxx
93.174.91.xxx
94.102.53.xxx
94.102.60.xxx
94.102.63.xxx
104.236.23.3 pupki[.]co
111.90.147.xxx
185.125.230.xxx
185.125.230.xxx

6.2. Demonstration Websites

By examining sites on the same IP address as eastafro[.]net, we found two additional sites: one site impersonating Download.com and one website impersonating the homepage of Avira Antivirus. These sites contained versions of several apps bundled with PSS, including Avira Antivirus, Ventrilo, Avast AntiVirus, and CCleaner. The versions of PSS we found talked to C&C servers in the list above that we identified as Cyberbit-run servers.

6.3. Public Logfile Analysis of Other Servers

In addition to the Ethiopia servers (Section 5.2), we analyzed the logfiles of 12 of the 13 other servers. We were able to identify what we believe are several product demonstrations to various clients around the world. Most of the demonstrations show similar patterns: activity during business hours from IP addresses that appear to belong to potential clients and activity off-hours at IP addresses that appear to belong to hotels. In a few cases, the activity is preceded or followed by activity from what appears to be airport Wi-Fi access points.


Figure 10: Cyberbit product demonstrations suggested by C&C logfiles.

In our analysis here, we introduce a notion of a period of activity to try and abstract away gaps between logfile entries that may be uninteresting. We say that a spyware infection is active between two logfile entries (we only include activity from the infected device here, i.e., types 17 and 37) if there is no more than an hour in between the entries. We omit periods of activity that are less than one minute from our consideration (except if they provide evidence that the infected device has moved). In each country case we present here, we are listing all the activity we found across the nine Cyberbit-operated C&C servers (perhaps excluding periods of activity less than a minute).

6.3.1. Timeline of Suspected Demonstrations

3/2016: Thailand (2 days). We found infections in Thailand from the IP 202.29.97.X, in AS4621, which appears to be an ASN used by various Thai universities. Tracerouting to 202.29.97.X yields the hop (royal-thai-army-to-902-1-5-gi-09-cr-pyt.uni.net.th). The IPs 202.29.97.(X-3) and 202.29.97.(X-1) return a TLS certificate whose CN is a subdomain of signalschool[.]net, which is registered to the Royal Thai Army’s Signal School. We did note that 202.29.97.X also appears to be a VPN. Nevertheless, it seems that the IP is under the control of the Royal Thai Army. We also observed each infection changing between several IPs that appear to belong to various mobile data providers.

The table below lists periods of activity for each infection; the first column (#) indicates the number of the infection; the second and third columns provide the minimum and maximum date and time of the period of activity (in the country’s local time, accounting for DST); the fourth column provides the duration of the period of activity (H:MM:SS); and the fifth column lists the location where the activity took place (or the likely identity of the agency receiving the demonstration).

Table 8: March 2016 suspected demo to Royal Thai Army.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 09:22:17 Day 1 10:07:05 0:44:48 Royal Thai Army
2 Day 1 14:52:10 Day 1 15:38:13 0:46:03 Royal Thai Army
3 Day 2 14:45:51 Day 2 17:01:11 2:15:20 Royal Thai Army

3/2016: Uzbekistan (3 days). We found four infections in Uzbekistan. The first two were from an IP address pointed to by a subdomain of rdhotel[.]uz, which is registered by an individual who is listed on LinkedIn as the manager of the Radisson Blu in Tashkent. The latter two were from an IP address linked to Uzbekistan’s National Security Service by the leaked Hacking Team emails.

Table 9: March 2016 suspected demo to Uzbekistan National Security Service.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 23:26:52 Day 2 00:10:00 0:43:08 Radisson Blu Tashkent
2 Day 2 08:46:20 Day 2 09:06:36 0:20:16 Radisson Blu Tashkent
3 Day 2 15:40:02 Day 2 15:45:52 0:05:50 National Security Service
3 Day 2 17:16:32 Day 2 18:24:42 1:08:10 National Security Service
4 Day 3 12:09:17 Day 3 12:41:35 0:32:18 National Security Service
4 Day 3 14:27:04 Day 3 14:53:39 0:26:35 National Security Service

10/2016: France (1 day). We found two infections in France on the same day in October 2016.  The first appeared to be from an IP address associated with the airport Wi-Fi at Paris’s Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airport. The second was from what appeared to be a landline IP address in Paris, which we could not attribute.

Table 10: October 2016 suspected demo to unknown clients in France.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 11:19:15 Day 1 11:24:04 0:04:49 CDG Airport Wi-Fi
2 Day 1 15:24:55 Day 1 16:08:03 0:43:08 86.245.198.xxx

11/2016: Vietnam (2 days). We found three infections in Vietnam. One was linked to an IP address that is numerically adjacent to another IP address that returns a web interface for an “HP MSM760 Controller” that displays the following information:

System name: Hilton Gardent Inn-HANOP
Location: Hanoi

We suspect that this activity is associated with the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Hanoi. The other activity appears to be from mobile broadband IP addresses; the identity of the potential client is not indicated by the data.

Table 11: November 2016 suspected demo to unknown clients in Vietnam.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 16:34:36 Day 1 18:52:09 2:17:33 Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi
1 Day 1 18:52:48 Day 1 19:01:12 0:08:24 (Mobile Broadband)
1 Day 1 19:35:50 Day 1 19:41:14 0:05:24 Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi
2 Day 2 11:34:24 Day 2 12:12:26 0:38:02 (Mobile Broadband)
3 Day 2 15:32:15 Day 2 17:13:41 1:41:26 (Mobile Broadband)

12/2016: Kazakhstan (1 day). We found an infection from an IP address registered (according to WHOIS information) to “Saad Hotel LLP” with an address matching the Marriott Hotel in Astana.

Table 12: December 2016 suspected demo to unknown clients in Kazakhstan.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 14:20:07 Day 1 14:35:39 0:15:32 Marriott Hotel Astana

12/2016: Zambia (2 days). Most of the activity was from mobile broadband IPs. However, the second infection was from an IP pointed to by a subdomain of fic.gov[.]zm, the website for Zambia’s Financial Intelligence Centre.

Table 13: December 2016 suspected demo to Zambia Financial Intelligence Centre.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 21:23:21 Day 1 21:57:52 0:34:31 (Mobile Broadband)
1 Day 2 05:20:05 Day 2 05:43:38 0:23:33 (Mobile Broadband)
2 Day 2 11:00:52 Day 2 11:29:37 0:28:45 Financial Intelligence Centre

1/2017: Rwanda (2 days). We could not attribute any of the IPs in Rwanda.

Table 14: January 2017 suspected demo to unknown clients in Rwanda.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 17:10:48 Day 1 18:28:47 1:17:59 (Unknown Loc 1)
1 Day 1 22:49:12 Day 1 23:27:30 0:38:18 (Unknown Loc 2)
2 Day 1 23:30:16 Day 2 04:18:06 4:47:50 (Unknown Loc 2)
3 Day 2 09:14:59 Day 2 09:27:34 0:12:35 (Unknown Loc 1)
4 Day 2 09:54:15 Day 2 10:51:47 0:57:32 (Unknown Loc 1)
5 Day 2 10:01:45 Day 2 12:54:13 2:52:28 (Unknown Loc 1)

2/2017: Philippines (5 days). We found an infection in February 2017 at 116.50.244.15. The IPs 116.50.244.10, 116.50.244.7, and 116.50.244.8 are pointed to by manila.newworldhotels.com or subdomains thereof. 116.50.244.7 is a Cisco VPN login page, which lists the “Group” as “New_World_Makati.” We assume that the Manila New World Makati Hotel is also the owner of 116.50.244.15.

This was followed by an infection one day later at an IP address pointed to by a subdomain of malacanang.gov[.]ph, which is the website of Malacañang Palace. The palace is the primary residence and offices of the Philippine President (Rodrigo Duterte as of the date of the demo).  The Malacañang Palace infection was followed by an infection from two other IP addresses in the Philippines.

Table 15: February 2017 suspected demo to Philippines Presidency.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 18:40:13 Day 1 18:55:01 0:14:48 New World Makati Hotel Manila
2 Day 2 12:01:08 Day 2 12:25:50 0:24:42 Malacañang Palace
3 Day 3 11:32:08 Day 3 11:53:13 0:21:05 112.198.102.xxx
3 Day 5 21:52:32 Day 5 22:28:55 0:36:23 202.57.61.xxx

3/2017: Kazakhstan (1 day). We found an infection from an IP address pointed to by kazimpex[.]kz. According to an article on IntelligenceOnline, Kazimpex is said to be closely linked with the “National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan” (KNB), an intelligence agency in Kazakhstan.

Table 16: March 2017 suspected demo to Kazimpex in Kazakhstan.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 11:29:55 Day 1 12:03:32 0:33:37 Kazimpex

3/2017: Serbia (2 days). We found activity from Serbia on a single IP address registered to “NBGP Properties Doo,” which is the trading name of an apartment complex and business centre located adjacent to the Crowne Plaza in Belgrade. Both NBGP and the Crowne Plaza are owned by Delta Holding, a major Serbian company. It is possible that activity from the IP 79.101.39.101 includes activity from both NBGP and the Crowne Plaza.

Table 17: March 2017 suspected demo to unknown clients in Serbia.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 12:20:42 Day 1 12:55:11 0:34:29 Delta Holding Complex
1 Day 2 00:15:30 Day 2 00:33:06 0:17:36 Delta Holding Complex
2 Day 2 00:51:04 Day 2 01:15:15 0:24:11 Delta Holding Complex
2 Day 2 06:58:53 Day 2 07:41:58 0:43:05 Delta Holding Complex

3/2017: Nigeria (2 days). We found one infection in Nigeria from two IPs. We could not identify the IPs.

Table 18: March 2017 suspected demo to unknown clients in Nigeria.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 16:38:52 Day 1 17:11:57 0:33:05 (Unknown Loc 1)
1 Day 1 18:21:41 Day 1 19:13:24 0:51:43 (Unknown Loc 1)
1 Day 2 10:26:20 Day 2 11:43:28 1:17:08 (Unknown Loc 2)

4/2017: Kazakhstan (1 day). We found an infection from the Marriott hotel in Astana, followed by an infection from an IP pointed to by a subdomain of mcmr[.]kz, the website of “Mobil Realty,” a commercial real estate management company.

Table 19: April 2017 suspected demo to unknown clients in Kazakhstan.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 12:26:04 Day 1 12:37:55 0:11:51 Marriott Hotel Astana
2 Day 1 18:09:50 Day 1 18:21:54 0:12:04 Mobil Realty

6/2017: ISS World Europe (2 days). We saw four infections between 6/14/2017 and 6/15/2017 from IP address 82.142.85.165 in the Czech Republic. ISS World Europe 2017 was held in Prague, Czech Republic from 6/13/2017 – 6/15/2017, and Cyberbit gave a presentation on 6/13/2017, according to the schedule. This same IP address appears in the headers of leaked Hacking Team emails sent by two employees on 6/3/2015 and 6/4/2015. These employees mentioned that they would be attending ISS World Europe on 6/3/2015, held at the same venue as the 2017 ISS World Europe. The IP address 82.142.85.165 may be associated with the Clarion Congress Hotel in Prague (the ISS World Europe venue).

Table 20: June 2017 suspected demo at ISS World Europe in Prague.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 2017-06-14 13:17:46 2017-06-14 13:52:04 0:34:18 ISS World Europe
3 2017-06-14 16:45:04 2017-06-14 17:27:33 0:42:29 ISS World Europe
3 2017-06-15 07:18:23 2017-06-15 07:19:38 0:01:15 ISS World Europe
4 2017-06-15 08:17:18 2017-06-15 09:36:03 1:18:45 ISS World Europe

6/2017: Zambia (2 days). Most of the activity was from mobile broadband IPs.

Table 21: June 2017 suspected demo to unknown clients in Zambia.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day 1 19:00:54 Day 1 19:38:34 0:37:40 (Mobile Broadband)
2 Day 2 09:44:48 Day 2 10:22:28 0:37:40 (Mobile Broadband)
3 Day 2 14:36:18 Day 2 15:00:00 0:23:42 (Mobile Broadband)
3 Day 2 21:59:59 Day 2 22:19:09 0:19:10 (Mobile Broadband)

11/2017: Philippines (6 days). In November 2017, we observed what appeared to be two different Cyberbit employees travelling together from Israel to the New World Makati Hotel in Manila.

The infections started out in Israel, one on 10/15/2017 and one on 11/2/2017. While in Israel, and during the workweek (Sunday to Thursday), both infections connected from what appears to be Cyberbit’s office (37.142.13.xxx, pointed to by two subdomains of cyberbit[.]net) during business hours (roughly 09:00 – 18:00 local time). After hours, the infections connected back from what we believe are home IP addresses of the employees. Each infection connected back from different home IPs during overlapping periods, which leads us to believe that the two infections represent different Cyberbit employees. It appears that each employee was carrying an infected laptop between home and the office each day (perhaps for spyware development and testing purposes).

After they last connected from Israel, one infection connected 15 hours later from Hong Kong for six minutes, between 14:52 and 14:58 local time. The infections then connected from the Philippines (116.50.244.xxx) as early as 22:41 local time, suggesting a flight itinerary from Tel Aviv to Manila, by way of Hong Kong.

Table 22: Employee #1 traveling from Israel to Manila; suspected demo to unknown clients.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
1 Day -1 15:46:24 Day -1 15:46:24 0:00:00 (DSL IP in Israel)
1 Day 1 14:52:15 Day 1 14:58:04 0:05:49 (Hong Kong)
1 Day 1 23:00:03 Day 1 23:56:11 0:56:08 New World Makati Hotel Manila
1 Day 3 20:19:20 Day 3 21:01:09 0:41:49 New World Makati Hotel Manila
1 Day 4 14:42:43 Day 4 14:44:39 0:01:56 (Mobile Broadband)
1 Day 4 16:14:21 Day 4 18:31:40 2:17:19 (Mobile Broadband)
1 Day 4 20:54:47 Day 5 08:00:09 11:05:22 New World Makati Hotel Manila
1 Day 9 09:05:14 Day 9 12:59:54 3:54:40 Cyberbit

 

Table 23: Employee #2 traveling from Israel to Manila; suspected demo to unknown clients.
# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
2 Day -1 15:00:24 Day -1 17:32:38 2:32:14 (DSL IP in Israel)
2 Day 1 22:41:32 Day 2 00:00:08 1:18:36 New World Makati Hotel Manila
2 Day 3 20:49:07 Day 3 21:07:51 0:18:44 New World Makati Hotel Manila
2 Day 4 10:30:03 Day 4 18:24:22 7:54:19 (Mobile Broadband)
2 Day 5 10:32:42 Day 5 10:56:48 0:24:06 (Mobile Broadband)
2 Day 5 13:04:42 Day 5 15:43:05 2:38:23 (Mobile Broadband)
2 Day 6 15:56:27 Day 6 17:47:18 1:50:51 New World Makati Hotel Manila
2 Day 9 09:13:20 Day 9 18:56:35 9:43:15 Cyberbit

11/2017: Milipol Paris (4 days): From 11/21/2017 – 11/24/2017, we found an infection active from an IP address 185.113.160.20, which appears to be associated with the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition center. The IP is pointed to by several subdomains of villepinte2017.dynu[.]net and also by pnv.vipnetwork[.]fr. The Milipol Paris 2017 exhibition was held between 11/21 and 11/24 and the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition center. Thus, it appears that Cyberbit employees were performing demos there.

Table 24: November 2017 suspected demo at Milipol Paris.

# Activity Start (Local) Activity End (Local) Duration Location
3 Day 1 08:15:24 Day 1 09:18:21 1:02:57 Milipol Paris
3 Day 1 10:44:02 Day 1 13:21:09 2:37:07 Milipol Paris
3 Day 1 14:50:25 Day 1 15:32:46 0:42:21 Milipol Paris
3 Day 2 08:29:27 Day 2 17:01:11 8:31:44 Milipol Paris
3 Day 3 08:10:28 Day 3 09:34:09 1:23:41 Milipol Paris
3 Day 3 13:02:05 Day 3 14:59:37 1:57:32 Milipol Paris
3 Day 3 15:43:03 Day 3 17:02:29 1:19:26 Milipol Paris
3 Day 4 08:31:07 Day 4 10:43:35 2:12:28 Milipol Paris

6.3.2. Suspected Researcher Activity

We found several short-lived infections on Cyberbit-operated servers that seem less likely to be purposeful infections and more consistent with activity by cybersecurity researchers or other testing activity. We group activity that is temporally similar below, though it is unclear if this activity is related.

We found one infection in the UK on 11/10/2016 lasting ~15s.

We found one infection from Google on 2/7/2017 (lasting 11m), followed by three infections in Germany on 2/7/2017 and 2/8/2017. In Germany, there was one initial infection 14 minutes after the Google infection, with a single pingback. 2h10m later, there was an infection lasting 1 minute. 13h later, there was an infection with a single pingback.

We found an infection with a single pingback from an IP address in Everett, Washington, USA on 10/17/2017. We found two overlapping infections in Russia on 10/18/2017 (~2m each), followed 20 minutes later by two infections in China, 45 minutes apart (~30s each). We found a ~20s infection in Canada on 10/19/2017.

We found an infection with a single pingback from an IP address registered to Brandon University in Canada on 10/31/2017. We found two infections in Norway on 11/1/2017 (one infection with a single pingback, and one infection 3m30s later lasting for ~20s).

6.3.3. Unexplained Activity

We found several infections on the Cyberbit-operated PSS C&C servers that were long-running, and not from VPN connections or from countries where Cyberbit has a known presence. Thus, this activity did not immediately seem to represent demonstrations or development activity. We found one infection in Iran between 9/20/2016 and 11/22/2016. We found one infection in Canada between 3/7/2017 and 11/22/2017. We found one infection in Finland between 5/26/2017 and 11/28/2017. We found one infection in Indonesia from 10/28/2017 to 11/10/2017. We found one infection in Slovakia from a single IP address active between 11/1/2017 and 12/1/2017. We found one infection in Ethiopiafrom 10/25/2017 to 12/1/2017, with no known overlap with the Ethiopia client’s IP address space.

6.4. Spoofed Code Signing Certificates?

We identified several cases where we suspect that the spyware operators, or Cyberbit themselves, obtained digital certificates in the names of real companies, including an Israeli intellectual property law firm.

One malicious Adobe Flash executable we found used by the Ethiopian operator was signed by an authenticode certificate issued by Comodo to a named entity called “Flashpoint IP.”

CN = Flashpoint IP
O = Flashpoint IP
STREET = 2nd Raban Gamliel
L = Elad
S = Israel
PostalCode = 40800
C = IL
RFC822 Name=ben.wiseman@flashpoint-ip.com

We found a company called “Flash Point IP,” with the same street address as in the digital certificate, included the Patent Attorneys Ledger published by Israel’s Ministry of Justice. The website listed by the Ministry of Justice for the firm is flashpointip.com. However, the website in the certificate’s RFC822 name appears to be a lookalike domain that is subtly differentflashpoint-ip[.]com.

We examined the WHOIS registration of the lookalike domain flashpoint-ip[.]com:

Registrant Name: BEN WISEMAN
Registrant Organization: FLASHPOINT IP LTD
Registrant Street: RABAN GAMLIEL 2
Registrant City: ELAD
Registrant State/Province: SHOMRON
Registrant Postal Code: 40800
Registrant Country: IL
Registrant Phone: +972.525649427
Registrant Email: BENWISEMAN99@GMAIL.COM

The firm’s website, flashpointip.com, has a New York registration address, a different registrant name, and a @bezeqint.net contact address.

We found one additional domain, cd-media4u[.]com, registered with the same phone number as flashpoint-ip[.]com. The WHOIS information is:

Registrant Name: DAN WISEMAN
Registrant Organization: C. D. MEDIA LTD
Registrant Street: BEN YEHUDA 60
Registrant City: TEL AVIV
Registrant State/Province: TEL AVIV
Registrant Postal Code: 6343107
Registrant Country: IL
Registrant Phone: +972.525649427
Registrant Email: DANWISEMAN99@GMAIL.COM

Note the similar names Dan Wiseman and Ben Wiseman and the similar email addresses danwiseman99@gmail.com and benwiseman99@gmail.com. We found one reference to “CD Media Ltd” which appears to be an Israeli software publisher (http://www.cd-media.co.il/).

Given that we found two instances where the same entity (WHOIS phone number +972.525649427) registered what appear to be lookalike domains for two different Israeli companies, it is possible that these certificates may have been improperly obtained. This is not the first instance in which improperly obtained digital certificates may have been used with commercial spyware. Hacking Team appears to have obtained several digital certificates in the names of people whose passport photos appeared on a now-defunct site, thewhistleblowers[.]org.4

We identified two further digital certificates used by the operators, in the names of “Etefaq Consulting Ltd,” and “Emerging European Capital.” These certificates were on samples we downloaded from getadobeplayer[.]com, as well as samples from the Avira Antivirus and Download.com impersonation websites (Section 6.2). Unfortunately, the signatures did not contain the RFC822 Name field, so we do not have any indications as to their legitimacy.

CN = Emerging European Capital
O = Emerging European Capital
STREET = Svaetoplukova 12
L = Bojnice
S = Slovakia
PostalCode = 97201
C = SK

We found what appears to be the website of “Emerging European Capital” (http://ee-cap.com), which is described as a company offering “Private Banking services to High Net Worth Individuals in Central and Eastern Europe.” The address in the digital certificate matches an address listed on the website. The individual mentioned on the website, Martin Masar, appears to be a real individual, and is listed as serving on the Supervisory Board of Petrocommerce Ukraine Bank. However, without more information, we cannot know whether the digital certificate is legitimate or not.

CN = ETEFAQ CONSULTING LIMITED
O = ETEFAQ CONSULTING LIMITED
STREET = 1 MYKONOS STREET
L = NICOSIA
S = NICOSIA
PostalCode = 1045
C = CY

We found an “ETEFAQ CONSULTING LIMITED” in the Cyprus corporate registry (# ΗΕ 329071). However, the registered address did not match the address in the digital certificate. The company’s line of business is unclear, and it appears to maintain a simple (hacked) website with a “Contact Us” form (http://etefaqconsulting.com/).

7. Technical Analysis of the Spyware

Altogether, we analyzed nine samples. This includes the sample from VirusTotal signed by the “C4 Security” certificate (Section 5.1), as well as five samples gathered from getadobeplayer[.]com, and three samples gathered from the Avira Antivirus and Download.com impersonation websites (Section 6.2).

Based on strings found during our analysis of configuration files used by the spyware, these samples cover versions of PSS ranging from v4.3.3 to 6.1.0. Major version changes contain changes to obfuscation techniques, overall structure, and general functionality, while minor version changes seem to contain smaller, less noticeable changes. The following analysis covers the general behavior and characteristics of PSS, with version-specific differences noted where appropriate.

Table 25: Versions of PSS we analyzed

MD5 Source PSS Version
376f28fb0aa650d6220a9d722cdb108d VirusTotal 4.3.3
568d8c43815fa9608974071c49d68232 getadobeplayer[.]com 5.7.5
80b7121c4ecac1c321ca2e3f507104c2 getadobeplayer[.]com 5.1.0
8d6ce1a256acf608d82db6539bf73ae7 getadobeplayer[.]com 5.9.7
840c4299f9cd5d4df46ee708c2c8247c getadobeplayer[.]com 6.0.0
961730964fd76c93603fb8f0d445c6f2 getadobeplayer[.]com 6.0.0
0488cf9c58f895076311bf8e2d93bf63 Avira Antivirus Impersonation Website 6.0.0
ca782d91daea6d67dfc49d6e7baf39b0 Download.com Impersonation Website 6.0.0
f483fe294b4c3af1e3c8163200d60aae Download.com Impersonation Website 6.1.0

7.1. Overview

Overall, the samples we analyzed are made up of four main components: the AgentLnkProxyPayload DLL, and Pipeserver. The Agent is the main program responsible for providing operators remote access to an infected machine and carries out most activity after infection. If the Agent is not installed with administrator privileges, then the LnkProxyfacilitates the replacement of shortcut (lnk) and executable (exe) files with malicious versions that will try to trick the user into granting administrator privileges to the Agent. The Payload DLL is a small DLL file that is used to infect certain whitelisted DLLs as a persistence mechanism, to ensure that the Agent is running. Finally, the Pipeserver is used to coordinate access to global handles and perform network communication.

Each of these four components is packed and stored inside the initial spyware payload. The earliest version we analyzed (4.3.3) stored these files as either plaintext or as zlib compressed data. Later versions added AES-256-CBC encryption and the use of different keys per dropped component for additional obfuscation (Section 7.3).

7.2. Installation and Persistence

Once a victim executes one of the initial payloads (e.g., a fake Adobe Flash update), the spyware unpacks the Agent component (described in Section 7.4) and saves it to %TEMP%\Profile. Then, the spyware checks to see if it is running with administrator privileges.  If so, then the spyware executes the dropped Agent; if not, then the spyware unpacks and installs the LnkProxy component (described in Section 7.5) in an attempt to trick the user into giving it administrator privileges.

Once the dropped Agent has been executed with administrator privileges, either via the main installer or by tricking the user via the LnkProxy technique, the Agent unpacks its configuration file into memory. Next, the Agent checks to see if there is already a version of PSS installed on the victim’s system by checking for the existence of the storage directory used by the spyware. Depending on the configuration of the current and previous Agents, the Agent may either replace the existing agent or attempt to upgrade the old version. If PSS is not already installed, then the Agent begins installation.

The Agent creates its main storage directory at %CommonAppData%\Profile. Then, it writes its configuration file into the storage directory, using a name defined in the configuration file (versions 4.x and 5.x use the filename diskdrv.dll, while version 6.x uses igfxcls.cfg). The Agent then copies itself into the storage directory (versions 4.x and 5.x use the filename crisvc.exe for the agent, while version 6.x use the filename igfxcri.exe) while deleting the dropped copy from %TEMP%\Profile.

Next, the Agent unpacks and drops 32- and 64-bit versions of the PipeServer component into the storage directory. These files are named mssvt.dll and mssvt64.dll across all versions of PSS that we have analyzed.

After it has created the necessary files, the spyware sets up its persistence mechanism by infecting copies of certain DLLs on the system with the Payload DLL (which is not saved to disk as a standalone file). The infected copies are placed in the same folder as the executable that will load them, ensuring that the infected DLLs are loaded instead of their legitimate counterparts that may be in other folders (Windows will search the folder containing the application first). The DLLs we saw chosen for infection are related to common web browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Since web browsers are some of the most commonly used applications on computers, these DLLs are a good choice to ensure that the spyware is running most of the time that the target device is being used.

Finally, the spyware initializes the appropriate PipeServer component by creating a new Desktop, referred to as a “HiddenDesktop” by the spyware and launching one or more of the EXEs whose DLLs have been replaced with infected versions on this new desktop. When an infected DLL is loaded (Section 5.6), it launches the PipeServer if not already running; the PipeServer in turn launches the Agent if not already running. The Agent then enters into its main command handling loop.

7.3. Obfuscation

The first version of the spyware we analyzed (4.3.3) stored most components as either plaintext data or as zlib compressed binary data. Version 5.x of PSS introduced the additional use of AES-256-CBC encryption for the components. Components obfuscated in this manner contain a short header struct followed by the AES-256-CBC encrypted, zlib compressed data:

struct HEADER {
char[6]: magic_number
uint32:  iv
uint32:  checksum
uint32:  length
}

In this header struct, magic_number is the magic_number for a 7z file [0x37, 0x7a, 0xbc, 0xaf, 0x27, 0x1c], iv is the first 4 bytes of the initialization vector used in the AES cipher, checksum is a CRC32 checksum of the data, and length is the length of the encrypted data. The initialization vector is padded with null bytes to the correct length for the AES-256-CBC cipher. Version 6.x added an additional data format for AES-256-CBC encrypted data that removes the magic_number. For all versions, the AES key is hardcoded in the executable performing the decryption. Beginning with version 6.x, the spyware additionally began to obfuscate strings, deobfuscating them only when needed.

Version 4.x drops all of its various components directly to disk in an unpacked form when installed. Starting with version 5.x, the spyware began to drop intermediate loader executables instead of final components. These loader executables store a component, often the Agent, in the same AES-256-CBC encrypted, zlib compressed format as above. When executed, these loaders mimic the Windows executable loader by unpacking their stored payload, mapping the unpacked PE file’s sections into memory, and resolving any imports before jumping to the PE’s entrypoint. This technique of storing the unpacked component only in memory is likely an attempt to evade static, file-based analysis and detection techniques.

Within the Agent component, the configuration file is an SQLite database obfuscated using bzip compression, followed by XOR encryption using both the current and previous bytes, along with one byte from the key. This obfuscation format, and an unusual 36-byte XOR key, the string DC615DA9-94B5-4477-9C33-3A393BC9E63F, are shared across all the samples we analyzed.

7.4. The Agent

The Agent is the central component of the spyware and is responsible for carrying out most of the behavior of PSS. The Agent is a feature-rich spyware capable of a wide range of behaviors. Across all samples we analyzed, we have seen the following capabilities:

  • Audio/Video recording including scheduling recordings for a later time
  • Reading browser history and stored passwords
  • Filesystem operations including creating, deleting, moving, renaming, uploading, and downloading files
  • Editing/Querying registry keys
  • Geolocation based on available wifi networks
  • Accessing Skype databases, call logs, and contacts
  • Listing network connections and devices
  • Starting/Stopping processes
  • Taking screenshots
  • Keylogging
  • Accessing clipboard data
  • Accessing recently used file list

7.5. LnkProxy

The LnkProxy component is only used when the spyware is initially installed without Administrator privileges. In this scenario, the spyware searches through the Windows Desktop, Start Menu, and Quick Launch folders looking for lnk and exe files. Any files it finds are replaced with malicious copies designed to request administrator privileges, launch the legitimate application, and then launch the spyware. This process is designed to trick the user into giving PSS administrator privileges.

The LnkProxy makes a backup of all replaced files, which are restored upon spyware uninstallation or when the user unwittingly grants the spyware administrator privileges.

7.6. Payload DLL

The Payload component of the spyware is a short DLL that is used to infect whitelisted DLLs on the victim’s system as a persistence mechanism. During installation, the spyware searches the victim’s computer for targeted DLLs and for each that it finds it appends the Payload component to the targeted DLL’s .text section. The entrypoint of the DLL is then changed to point to this appended code and the infected file is copied to the same directory as the application that uses the DLL. This ensures that the infected DLL is loaded by the application instead of the original, uninfected version. Figure 11 shows an example of a modified binary infected with the Payload component.


Figure 11: Comparison of entrypoint before and after Payload infection.

The infected DLL starts by checking to ensure that the infected DLL is being loaded by the target program only. It does this by calling the original entrypoint for the infected DLL to get the ImagePathName field of the ProcessParameters struct in the Process Environment Block (PEB). The ImagePathName contains the path of the currently running executable. This is then compared to a hardcoded checksum value stored in the DLL as part of the infection process.

If this check succeeds, the Payload then performs its functions. It first checks to see if the PipeServer is currently loaded. It does this by decrypting an XOR-encrypted string in the DLL containing the location of the PipeServer component, calculating a checksum of this string, and then walking the InMemoryOrder list of loaded modules, checksumming the ImagePathName of each and comparing it to the checksum of the PipeServer’s path. If the PipeServer is not currently loaded, the infected DLL loads the PipeServer component and transfers execution to it.

7.7. PipeServer

The PipeServer component starts by unpacking and loading a small configuration file. This is a small file containing ASCII strings separated by \x00’s that define various config options used by the PipeServer. In version 6.x, this file is zlib compressed and encrypted using AES-256-CBC. After loading the configuration file, the PipeServer creates a series of threads, global events, and mutexes that are used to synchronize actions between components of the spyware, log messages, and communicate with the command and control server. Next, the PipeServer creates a named pipe for communication with running Agent components. Finally, the PipeServer starts an instance of the Agent if one is not already active before entering a main command handling loop. The spyware uses a XML-based networking protocol for command and control communication. Each request and response is sent as a “transaction.” An example of the XML format used is given below.

<?xml version=”1.0″>
<transaction
type=”fromagent”
agentid=”<ID>”
sn=”<NUM>”
crc=”<CRC>”
encoding=”base64″
encryption=”aes-256″
compression=”<zip|none>”>
<DATA>
</transaction>

DATA is the information to be communicated and is compressed, encrypted, and encoded as described in the response attributes. The AES key used can be either a master key included in the Agent’s configuration or an individual private key created after the malware has been installed and initialized. The master key is hard-coded and is the same across all samples we analyzed.

8. Conclusion

We have uncovered the use of PC Surveillance System (PSS) spyware by what appears to be agencies of the Ethiopian government to target dozens of individuals. Our investigation shows these targets include an Oromo media outlet based in the United States, OMN, a PhD student, and a lawyer who have worked on Oromo issues, as well as a Citizen Lab Research Fellow, Bill Marczak. Our analysis also indicates apparent demonstrations of the spyware in several other countries where leaders have exhibited authoritarian tendencies, and/or where there are political corruption and accountability challenges, such as Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Uzbekistan, and Zambia.

The habitual misuse of spyware by the Ethiopian government against civil society targets is testament to the lack of repercussions for such behavior by states and complicity within the commercial spyware industry that supplies them. Evidence indicating the Ethiopian government’s misuse of spyware (including Hacking Team’s RCS and Gamma Group’s FinSpy) against journalists, activists, and others has been laid out in prior research over multiple years, as well as in a lawsuit filed in US federal court. In a portentous ruling, that suit was dismissed on grounds that a tort is not committed entirely in the US — a showing of which was required to obtain jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign — when a government’s digital espionage is conceived of and operated from overseas, despite the fact that the infection occurs and harm is experienced within the US. The digital nature of the tort essentially allowed a foreign government to violate US laws with impunity. Unsurprisingly, as this report makes clear, the extraterritorial targeting continues, as do spyware sales to Ethiopia.

This report also uncovers another player in the nation-state spyware business: Cyberbit, the company that provides PSS. As a provider of powerful surveillance technology, Cyberbit has the responsibility under both Israel’s export control regime as well as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to concern itself with the potential for human rights abuses facilitated through use of its product. The fact that PSS wound up in the hands of Ethiopian government agencies, which for many years have demonstrably misused spyware to target civil society, raises urgent questions around Cyberbit’s corporate social responsibility and due diligence efforts, and the effectiveness of Israel’s export controls in preventing human rights abuses. The apparent locations of PSS demonstrations reinforce those concerns. Moreover, the manner in which the PSS spyware operates suggests that, to achieve infection, the spyware preys on user trust in legitimate third-party companies and software, such as Adobe Systems, or the code-signing certificate verification process. These techniques undermine security in the larger digital ecosystem and contravene terms of service as well as clear legal standards that exist in many jurisdictions to prevent appropriation of intellectual property. If spyware companies themselves incorporate such techniques in order to build a successful product, action is necessary to address the negative externalities that result. We have sent a letter to Cyberbit regarding these issues and received a response.

As we explore in a separate analysis, while lawful access and intercept tools have legitimate uses, the significant insecurities and illegitimate targeting we have documented that arise from their abuse cannot be ignored. In the absence of stronger norms and incentives to induce state restraint, as well as more robust regulation of spyware companies, we expect that authoritarian and other politically corrupt leaders will continue to obtain and use spyware to covertly surveil and invisibly sabotage the individuals and institutions that hold them to account.

9. Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity (CLTC) at UC Berkeley. Thanks also to Erik Zouave, Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Lex Gill, Etienne Maynier, Adam Senft, Miles Kenyon, Jawar Mohammed, Etana Habte, Henok Gabisa, and Felix Horne and Cynthia Wong from Human Rights Watch.

Footnotes

  1. We found these materials in a Google search. The materials are hosted in an Amazon S3 bucket whose name is cyberbit. Inspecting the source code of Cyberbit’s website (https://web.archive.org/web/20170930094240/https://www.cyberbit.com/) yields several references to the same S3 bucket.  Thus, we assume Cyberbit controls the S3 bucket named cyberbit and that the marketing materials are Cyberbit originals.
  2. In January 2016, Cyberbit attempted to convince the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center to transfer the domain to it from Cyberbit A/S, but the panel refused and declared that Cyberbit had engaged in reverse domain name hijacking by bringing its complaint in bad faith. However, Cyberbit apparently purchased the domain in March 2017, judging by WHOIS records.
  3. We redact the domain names of non-Ethiopia servers that are still online.
  4. e.g., https://web.archive.org/web/20150710202350/http://www.thewhistleblowers.org:80/?cat=3874

EGYPT: MPs submit memorandum rejecting Ethiopian PM’s visit to Egyptian parliament December 5, 2017

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Egyptian MP, Abdel Hamid Kamal, along with 18 other MPs submitted an urgent memorandum to the Parliamentary Speaker, Ali Abdelaal, rejecting the scheduled visit of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia to the Egyptian Parliament, in order to discuss the potential dangers of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

“Due to the seriousness of the anticipated visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister to the House of Representatives, which he [plans] in the month of December, we have reservations against the visit.”

The MPs’ memorandum went on explaining their reservations and concern about the Ethiopian PM piling pressure against Egypt, claiming he will “spare no effort against Egypt in all international forums,” in pursuit of gaining support and continuing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The memorandum then explicitly warned that Ethiopian pressure will involve spreading “legal, political, and economic lies that negatively affect our national cause of the Nile waters.”

The water of the River Nile is an integral part of Egypt’s national security, labeling it a “red line,” before asserting “we announce our rejection to the [Ethiopian PM’s] visit.”

Additionally, the memorandum called for meetings between MPs and ministers for agriculture, irrigation, and foreign affairs, as well as national experts, to discuss the ongoing issue of the dam.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm


 

“We Have Wounded the Beast, and That Isn’t Enough” (Lemma Megersa). December 5, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

It is clear who has been orchestrating and and abusing the land and resource of Oromia so far. It has been done in the name of investment, development corners and mining, all being incepted out of ignoble and greedy motives of the thieves and robbers.
Obbo Lemma Megersa also asserts that after his administration has started against this illegal land grab and illicit trades that drained the land resources of Oromia, “those thieves and robbers launched war against Oromia and and his administration.

via “We Have Wounded the Beast, and That Isn’t Enough” (Lemma Megersa).