Author’s Note: This commentary is aimed at the Diaspora Ethiopian media. It aims to accomplish two objectives. First, I aim to openly challenge the Diaspora Ethiopian media not to become unwitting parrots and dupes of the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation (T-TPLF), remain vigilant and expose T-TPLF disinformation campaigns. Second, I wish to urge the Diaspora media to be careful, mindful and precise in their use of language in reporting and blogging about the T-TPLF and actively oppose T-TPLF efforts to pass off itself as a legitimate government.
Disinformation is “false information deliberately and often covertly spread in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.”
Exposing T-TPLF disinformation should be the duty of all who oppose the reign of terror in Ethiopia today.
A “command post” by any other name is a “MERCENARY MILITARY COMMAND POST”
Shakespeare’s Juliet lamented that a name, a mere word, is what stands in the way of her marriage to Romeo. A name should not make a difference: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet…” That is indeed true for a rose.
But calling a MERCENARY MILITARY COMMAND POST by any other name does not stop it from stinking to the high heavens.
The T-TPLF wants to spray rose perfume on its stinking MERCENARY MILITARY COMMAND POST by giving it the soft label of “command post.”
The T-TPLF bosses think they can con the Ethiopian people and international community into believing that their military iron fist in a velvet glove is actually an open palm with sprinkled talcum powder. They really believe they can hoodwink, bamboozle, mislead, hornswoggle and dupe the people of Ethiopia and the international community that their “command post” is a little ole ad hoc group of civilians scurrying about to manage popular protests.
That, of course, is fresh horse manure from the T-TPLF stable!
But what irritates the hell out of me is the fact that many — far too many — in the Diaspora Ethiopian media allow themselves to be (un)witting victims and tools of T-TPLF disinformation and propaganda by repeating the phrase “command post”.
I am totally exasperated by the loose, uncritical and mindless use of the phrase “command post” in the Diaspora Ethiopian media (including satellite television, radio programs, foreign-government sponsored media, social media, internet chat rooms, blogs, commentaries and analyses and whatever is left) and by other human rights activists and advocates.
The T-TPLF disinformation machine has made the Ethiopian Diaspora media their echo chamber to parrot “command post” propaganda.
But my complaint goes beyond use of a single phrase to the generally passive and uncritical approach by many in the Diaspora Ethiopian media who unwittingly propagate T-TPLF disinformation ultimately legitimizing that criminal regime.
I will say it again. Far too many in the Diaspora Ethiopian media parrot the phrase “command post” without so much as asking, “What the hell is a ‘command post’ anyway?”
I have asked quite a few well-informed individuals in the Diaspora media to tell me what the “command post” is, the names of its leaders, its structure and how it operates. Suffice it to say that very few have even bothered to read the declaration creating the “command post”.
But I hear and read many in the Ethiopian Diaspora media ranting and raving about the “command post”.
The phrase is repeated so many times in the Diaspora media, to the average listener and reader, it seems to have the effect of that nonsensical magical incantation “abracadabra”.
The “command post” did this or that. “Command post” abracadabra.
I wonder if many in the Ethiopian Diaspora media have ever asked themselves why the T-TPLF has chosen to specifically use the English phrase, “command post”.
The reason to me is obvious, but I am afraid it eludes many!
The reason is that the T-TPLF uses the phrase “command post” to put a soft human face on a brutal and atrocious military regime masquerading as an ad hoc civilian administrative institution. It is smoke and mirrors to mask its brutal nature and manipulate domestic and international public opinion.
The T-TPLF rightly concluded that the unassuming phrase “command post” creates the psychological impression that some benign faceless, nameless and leaderless ad hoc group of civilian country bumpkins is overseeing the “state of emergency”.
The T-TPLF has also calculatedly chosen the phrase “command post” to ultimately avoid legal accountability for those involved in its command, control and operations.
But the so-called “command post” is actually and demonstrably a specialized “MILITARY COMMAND POST”.
There is a world of difference between a “command post” and a specialized “military command post”.
The T-TPLF’s “command post” is to civilian government as a wolf in sheepskin is to sheep. Those running the “command post” in Ethiopia are military commanders wearing civilian designer suits and running a private army consisting of death squads.
By calling it a “command post”, the T-TPLF bosses have rather successfully concealed the fact that its top military commanders operate and control a military within the military just like their state within the state.
The tragedy of it all is that many in the Ethiopian Diaspora media have not been able to figure it out.
So, every day they parrot the phrase “command post”. In doing so, they unwittingly legitimize a criminal MILITARY COMMAND POST as an ordinary civilian disaster emergency command post task force.
It is important to underscore the fact that the official T-TPLF declaration is described as “State of Emergency Command Post.” The T-TPLF uses the English phrase “command post” in all of its official communications.
It is also important to underscore the fact that the “command post” as an authority is not defined anywhere in the declaration. It has a secret command and control structure. The names of the leaders of the command post are not made public. In fact, the “command post” is shrouded in mystery and operates completely in the dark.
So, what is the “command post”?
What is evident in the declaration is the fact that the “command post” is deliberately set up to be a shadowy, nondescript organization created by the “Ethiopian Cabinet of Ministers” and given an absolutely unrestricted license to kill, jail, torture, persecute, prosecute and terrorize the civilian population of Ethiopia at will.
But for the Ethiopian people, the “command post” is a bugaboo, the equivalent of “aya jibo” (the scary hyena cackling in the night until it catches you in the night, in which case it will chew you up and swallow you.)
If we believe the emergency declaration that the so-called Cabinet has yielded and surrendered total and complete authority and power to the “command post”, then it necessarily means that the “command post” is not under civilian control.
That leaves two and only two options.
First, the “command post” is de facto a MILITARY COMMAND POST. The “command post” phrase is deliberately and conveniently used to mislead and mask the realty of martial law. The T-TPLF created the “command post” as a makeshift organization to compensate for the overstretched T-TPLF command and control structure bogged down fighting flaring revolts throughout the country. In such a case, the “command post” would be a military junta by another name.
Second, the “command post” is not connected to he regular military but directs and operates a vigilante private paramilitary force created by the “Cabinet” for the protection of the T-TPLF because the regular military, police and security establishments could not be trusted.
The weight of evidence supports the second formulation. In that case, the “command post” is organized to run and manage a mercenary corp of paid killers and hired guns.
According to Global Security,
Members of the regular law enforcement (comprised of mixed ethnicity) cannot be loyal and trusted by the top people in the Tigrain People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been ruling Ethiopia for the last 25 years. Agazi is a shadowy semi- autonomous paramilitary group accountable only to a select few senior echelon members of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The group is named after one of the founding members of TPLF called Zeru Gessesse nicknamed Agazi. The group in real conventional military standard could be categorized as a private army resembling a mercenary group that is hired by war lords to protect their interest. It’s operational command and control is outside of even the Tigray ethnic group dominated national defence structure. It’s main purpose of existence is to ensure the regimes hold on power remains unchallenged.
The Agazi are the T-TPLF’s “dogs of war”, mercenaries and hired killers.
I believe the T-TPLF “command post” is organized specifically to deploy, command and control the Agazi mercenary commando force in its war on the Ethiopian people.
The Agazi mercenary “command post” is militaristic in its organization, command and control and vigilante in its actions since it has complete license to kill, arrest and torture at will.
Since the T-TPLF uses the English phrase “command post” (and not some equivalent in Amharic or other local languages) to describe the entity holding ultimate power under the “state of emergency”, we must assume the T-TPLF means what that phrase means in English.
According to Merriam-Webster, a “command post” is “a post at which the commander of a [military] unit in the field receives orders and exercises command”. The Oxford Dictionary define it as “the place from which a military unit is commanded.” Other dictionaries define it as a “field headquarters used by the commander of a military unit”.
Why do the T-TPLF bosses insist on using an English phrase to describe their command and control structure managing the Agazi mercenary commando units?
Did the T-TPLF bosses consult an English dictionary in choosing the phrase “command post”?
Did they intentionally omit the words “military”, “Agazi” and “commando” (mobile infantry regiment) in their “command post” phraseology?
The fact of the matter is that command posts are quintessentially military organizations anywhere in the world.
A command post “exercises authority and direction by an appointed commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of a mission. Command and control tasks are performed through a collection of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities, and procedures which are employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of that mission.”
A command post is the facility from which command and control is exercised.
There is little doubt that the T-TPLF “command post” is in place to serve as the tactical command and control nerve center of Agazi forces unleashing death and destruction on the Ethiopian people.
That is the real reason for all the secrecy surrounding the T-TPLF “command post”.
The T-TPLF does not want anyone to know that its “command post” is set up to deploy, command and control Agazi forces, a mercenary military force created within the military.
The T-TPLF command post directs, controls and supervises Agazi forces in the field and ensures they accomplish their objectives of suppression of all opposition.
That is exactly what the “command post” directed the Agazi forces to do in the southern town of Moyale last week. Agazi mercenaries went to the town of Moyale and indiscriminately fired on civilians killing and wounding untold numbers and making 50 thousand citizens refugees.
Duck Test for the T-TPLF mercenary Agazi commando “command post”
Suppose you see a bird walking around in a farm yard. This bird has no label on it that says ‘duck’.
But the bird certainly looks like a duck.
In the pond, you notice the bird swims just like a duck.
The bird opens its beak and quacks like a duck. The bird gets out of the pond and walks like a duck. But it is not wearing a label that says “duck”?
Is the bird a duck? Is it an eagle? Is it a chicken or turkey?
Suppose you see a regime that declares a “state of emergency” managed by a “command post” operating in total secrecy and in the dark.
Suppose the “command post” has full powers to massacre and kill at will, make arrests and detentions without any legal accountability and guarantees of future immunity from prosecution, commit torture, crimes against humanity and genocide at will and decommission all civilian laws and trash the constitution.
Is the “command post” a civilian emergency task force or the command and control structure of a mercenary commando death squads?
Such is the state of facts in Ethiopia today!
Part of the T-TPLF disinformation campaign surrounding its “command post” designation is to create a “bandwagon effect”.
The T-TPLF bosses believe that generally speaking many Ethiopians are susceptible to “group think” and “herd mentality”.
The T-TPLF will coin words and phrases that are inherently meaningless and vague and hope through repetition to create and validate a desirable meaning for it.
In coining the phrase “command post” , the T-TPLF bosses hoped few will pay attention and inquire and the vast majority of people will simply repeat the phrase mindlessly.
My message to Diaspora Ethiopian media is this: “Y’all are allowing yourselves to be victims of T-TPLF disinformation. You repeat unquestioningly T-TPLF characterizations of the state of political facts in Ethiopia often hook, line and sinker. Stop it. Wake up. Be critical in analyzing the disinformation and propaganda generated by the T-TPLF. Question every word, phrase and sentence the T-TPLF puts out. Challenge T-TPLF propaganda not only for its truthfulness (that is very easy to do) but for the incalculable psychological damage its disinformation does to the people of Ethiopia. Just be aware that every time you use the phrase “command post” to describe the T-TPLF’s Agazi MILITARY COMMAND POST, you are being played.”You be singing the T-TPLF song.”
The T-TPLF “command post” should uniformly be referred to in the Diaspora Ethiopian media as the “Agazi Mercenary Military Command Post” (AMMCOM).
“Command post” command responsibility and war crimes
Why should it matter calling an Agazi mercenary MILITARY COMMAND POST a “command post”?
Crimes committed directly and indirectly by authority of a military command post are subject to prosecution for war crimes.
I suspect one of the reasons the T-TPLF bosses are using the Agazi mercenary forces, in addition to the fact that they do not trust and fear the multiethnci armed forces, is because they believe they could avoid war crimes charges in the future.
If the massacres, killings, deportation of civilians and other crimes against humanity committed in Oromia and Amhara regions are attributable to the actions or omissions of the T-TPLF’s Agazi mercenary military command post, could those responsible T-TPLF officials be held accountable for war crimes under the Geneva Convention?
There is the 1989 “International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries”, but Ethiopia has not ratified or acceded to the convention.
But Ethiopia is an original signatory to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention on 9 December 1948. Ethiopia signed it two days later and ratified it on July 1, 1949. It is said that Ethiopia is the very first nation to ratify the Genocide Convention.
Ethiopia was once known as an upholder of human rights. Today, Ethiopia is the poster child for government wrongs.
But could command responsibility for war crimes be avoided for war crimes committed by mercenary forces used by a regime?
The genocide that the T-TPLF is committing using its Agazi mercenary military “command post” in Oromia and Amhara regions will one day be held accountable not only under domestic law but also international law.
It is customary international law that “commanders and other superiors are criminally responsible for war crimes committed by their subordinates if they knew, or had reason to know, that the subordinates were about to commit or were committing such crimes and did not take all necessary and reasonable measures in their power to prevent their commission, or if such crimes had been committed, to punish the persons responsible.”
That is why it matters to call the T-TPLF “command post” an “AGAZI MERCENARY MILITARY COMMAND POST”.
“The Ethiopian Government”, pa-leeese!
Here is another phrase that annoys me infinitely when I see it in the Diaspora media: “The Ethiopian government”.
I ask myself:
When the Diaspora media use the phrase “Ethiopian government”, are they referring to the “government” that claimed to have won the 2015 ‘election’ by sweeping 100 percent of the seats in ‘parliament’, or the one that captured 99.6 percent of the seats in 2010?
Are they referring to the ‘Ethiopian government’ that has massacred, tortured, jailed and exiled hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians over the past 27 years?
Are they referring to the “command post government” that is licensed to massacre, jail and torture citizens at will?
Are they referring to the “Ethiopian government” that handed over the port of Assab and made Ethiopia a landlocked country?
Are they referring to the “Ethiopian government” that handed over Badme in arbitration which tens of thousands of young Ethiopians shed their blood to defend?
Are they referring to the “Ethiopian government” that sold hundreds of thousands of acres of Ethiopian land for pennies to a fly-by-night Indian investor?
Are they referring to the “Ethiopian government” that let millions of Ethiopians die in famines while spending millions on fat cat lobbyists in Washington?
Are they referring to the “Ethiopian government” that created ethnic homelands (Bantustans) called kilils for the people of Ethiopia?
Are they referring to the “Ethiopian government” that “mistakenly” massacred and wounded hundreds of people in the town of Moyale in Southern Ethiopia and drove 50 thousand Ethiopian as refugees in Kenya last week?
If the reference to the “government of Ethiopia” in many parts of the Ethiopian Diaspora media pertains to the group of criminal gangsters who cling to power by stealing elections, massacring, jailing and torturing innocent Ethiopians, then I have to say y’all legitimizing and validating a gang of criminals against humanity as a “government”.
Political scientists make a distinction between democratic governments and authoritarian regimes (dictatorships).
Today T-TPLF operates a garrison state (police state) in Ethiopia.
The T-TPLF state controls and dominates Ethiopia using its security, police and military institutions to cling to power, to plunder the economy and fragment the country to maintain its ethnic apartheid system.
The T-TPLF should never be referred to as a government. It should be properly called a regime with clear reference to the fact that it is a dictatorial, despotic, authoritarian, autocratic, totalitarian and thugocratic.
I have coined a bunch of words and phrases to specifically and accurately describe the TPLF “government” over the past 27 years.
Since at least 2010, I have referred to the “Ethiopian government” as the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front.
The TPLF is a thugtatorship, a dictatorship of thugs.
If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugocracy is a government of thieves, for thieves, by thieves.
The T-TPLF is a thugtatorship of a gang of ruthless bush thieves, robbers and cut-throats in designer suits.
As I have always said, you can take the thug out of the bush and dress him up in a designer suit. But you can never take the bush out of the thug. That is the way it is. That is thug life!
The TPLF has pretension to democracy and always win by 99.6 or 100 percent.
That is why I coined thugmogracy (a form of “government” in which the facade of representative electoral democracy is used to maintain and perpetuate the iron rule of a gang of bush thugs who use state power to line their pockets and their cronies’ pockets) to describe them.
Thugocrats provide the bureaucratic support for thugtatorships and thugmocracies.
Calling a “government” of thugs a thugtatorship is not hyperbole or exaggeration.
It is stating an objective and demonstrable state of facts. Thugs use power to kill, intimidate, torture and steal on an industrial scale.
Thugs believe and act as if they are unaccountable to anyone. That is why the TPLF thugs massacre, jail and make refugees of untold numbers of innocent Ethiopians. Thugs do not believe they will ever be brought to the bars of justice.
That was what the Nazi thugs Martin Bormann, Karl Doenitz, Hermann Goering, Rudolph Hess, Alfred Jodl, Joachim Ribbentrop, Albert Speer, Fritz Sauckel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and many others like them believed. They were wrong and in the end they were held accountable.
The T-TPLF is run by by a gang of military and civilian thugs who pretend to be legitimate authorities and officials.
Dressing a hyena in lion’s mane does not change the fact that the hyena is a scavenger; nor does calling a vulture an eagle conceal the true fact.
What I find totally amazing is that the Diaspora media has rarely questioned whether the TPLF regime deserves to be described as a “government”. I am not sure what the problem is. I cannot imagine the Diaspora media calls the TPLF thugtatorship “government” out of some sort of cultural respect.
One need not be a student of linguistics to appreciate manipulation of language in political discourse, indoctrination and thought control.
George Orwell warned that “political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” So, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
In the tradition of Orwell, I coined a new word to describe the political crapola and manufactured in the TPLF Lie Factory, “liestruth” (lie is truth). The LF in TPLF stands for Lie Factory.
“Liestruth” describes the T-TPLF habit of impudently claiming lies are truth in contradiction of the plain facts. Liestruth ignores inconvenient truths. Thus, dictatorship is democracy. Corruption is integrity. State terrorism is rule of law. State of emergency is state of peace. Dictatorship is democracy. Tyranny is liberty. Poverty is wealth. Famine is plenty. Censorship is press freedom. Brutality is civility. Mendacity is veracity. Opacity is clarity. Shadow is reality. Depravity is morality and greed is good.
In liestruth, political prisoners do not exist, but if they do, now you see them, now you don’t.
Calling the TPLF the “government of Ethiopia government” is like saying war is peace; state terror is the rule of law and a state of emergency is a state of peace.
Those who oppose the reign of terror in Ethiopia must NEVER use the word “government” in connection with the gang of thugs clinging to power.
We should NEVER validate the political claims of the TPLF as a “government”.
We should NEVER become unwitting accomplices of the TPLF by calling it a “government” and legitimizing it by repeating that word in mass communications.
Someone, I am not going to say who, once asked me not to use the word thugtatorship in describing the TPLF. That person never gave me a reason. The lesson I learned was that some people will circle the wagon and in the process reveal who they truly are. There are those amongst us who wear two faces.
I like calling a spade, a spade; a cat, a cat; a hyena, a hyena; a monkey court, monkey court; a thug, a thug even if he is dressed in a designer suit and carries a briefcase (full of cash) and calls himself a “prime minster”, “president”, “general”, “doctor” or whatever bogus title he attaches to his name.
“I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em.” I don’t like to beat around the bush.
Diaspora Ethiopian media and the T-TPLF state of emergency
I see much in the Disapora media about the the “state of emergency” in Ethiopia.
Is Ethiopia in a “state of emergency”?
The T-TPLF declaration that “Ethiopia is under a state of emergency.” is both true and false. Some logicians call such “two-way truths” “dialetheia”.
In my dialethical assertion, the T-TPLF statement that Ethiopia is in a “in a state of emergency” is both true and false.
It is true that Ethiopia has been under a state of emergency since May 28, 1991, the date the T-TPLF rebels marched from the bush and grabbed power. Ethiopians have been under an undeclared, de facto state of emergency police state for the past 27 years.
In 2018, Ethiopia is not under a state of emergency.
The T-TPLF is!
That is exactly what the Ethiopian Diaspora media should be saying.
In 2005, following the election that year in which the T-TPLF lost, the late T-TPLF thugmaster Meles Zenawi declared a state of emergency and imprisoned nearly all leaders of opposition parties and groups, critical journalists and human rights advocates.
In 2009, the T-TPLF issued its so-called anti-terrorism law (Proclamation No. 652/2009) and imposed a thinly veiled de jure (by law) state of emergency.
Under the 2009 “Proclamation”, the T-TPLF has been able to do exactly what it is doing today under its “state of emergency” decree.
That “Proclamation” criminalized as a terrorist act publication of “a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public as a direct or indirect encouragement or incitement to violence.” It authorized warrantless searches and seizure of homes and offices, interception and surveillance on the telephone, fax, radio, the internet, electronic communications. The T-TPLF authorized the admission at trial of unverified intelligence reports, hearsay or indirect surveillance evidence including those gathered by “foreign law enforcement bodies” and “confessions of suspects” including coerced confessions.
The current “state of emergency” decree allows the same thing.
So, is Ethiopia or the T-TPLF under a state of emergency?
The T-TPLF is under a de jure state of emergency today because the people of Ethiopia have been under a 27 year-old de facto state of emergency.
The T-TPLF state of emergency has been a macabre dance of the T-TPLF and the people of Ethiopia. It could be best explained by President John Kennedy’s metaphor of those riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
The T-TPLF has been riding the Ethiopian tiger for over a quarter of a century. The hard truth the T-TPLF learned over the past couple of years is that the day for the T-TPLF to dismount the tiger is at hand.
The T-TPLF can try and prolong riding the tiger by a “state of emergency” decree, an Agazi mercenary commando force or whatever it wants.
But the die is cast: The T-TPLF’s days of riding the Ethiopian tiger is fast coming to an end.
When the T-TPLF dismounts, by hook or crook, it will be looking at the sparkling eyes, gleaming teeth and pointy nails of one big hu(a)ngry tiger!”
So, the only way the T-TPLF can remain in power from day to day is by running its killing machine 24/7/365 and by dividing the people along ethnic, religious, linguistic, regional and other lines.
The T-TPLF today is gripped in a “siege mentality”, a psychological state of emergency. The T-TPLF leaders believe they are completely surrounded by enemies. They feel they are in constant danger from everything and everyone. They are frightened to death by the very people they rule with an iron fist with a trigger finger.
As Robert Holmes argued, “power dissolves when people lose their fear. You can still kill people who no longer fear you, but you cannot control them. Political power requires obedience, which is fueled by the fear of pain to be inflicted if you refuse to comply with the will of those who control the instruments of violence. That power evaporates when the people lose their fear.”
Deep anger and loathing have replaced the people’s fear of the T-TPLF.
That is why the T-TPLF Agazi Mercenary Military Command Post government is under a state of emergency.
The Disapora Ethiopian media UNITED can never be defeated by a T-TPLF Agazi Mercenary Military Command Post!!!
(To be continued…)