Friday, June 13, 2008

In the Name of the Humanitarian

The Human Rights Watch report on Ethiopian war crimes committed in Somalia reveals the fruits of the American and British backed invasion of Somalia. Rape, torture, public executions, are just a few of the pleasant pastimes accomplished in the name of the continuing war against terror though it would seem that the war against terror is really a an act of terrorism itself one of the great ironies of an upside-down American government gone insane.

The Guardian

Ethiopia's government has committed extensive war crimes and crimes against humanity during a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the remote Ogaden region, a report says today.

Human Rights Watch accuses the Ethiopian military of extrajudicial killings, rape, torture, forcibly displacing thousands of civilians and using food as a weapon of war in its attempts over the past year to defeat the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which claims to seek self-determination for the eastern region.

Satellite images published in the 130-page report show how villages have been burnt down to deny the rebels a support base - a tactic more often associated with the Darfur region of neighbouring Sudan.

The watchdog accuses the US, UK and other EU countries, who give Ethiopia £1bn a year in aid, of ignoring the abuses, thereby increasing the risk of further "devastation, famine and impoverishment in a region that already knows these trends too well".

"We don't like to rank abuses in different parts of the world, but what is happening in the Ogaden is up there with the worst," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "We are talking about village elders being strangled, and women raped until the point of unconsciousness. And it is being done with complete impunity, and with a blind eye from the international community…"

…A 22-year-old female refugee who escaped to Kenya told what had happened to her and other women detained near a nomadic settlement outside Shilabo town by an army patrol.

"They beat me very hard until I fell to the ground. This time while lying on the ground I was raped. I don't know how many men raped me. Other women were raped too," she said.

The ONLF, which claimed this week to have launched a major military offensive against government forces, is also accused in the report of "serious violations of international law", including the indiscriminate use of landmines and execution of suspect government collaborators.

Human Rights Watch criticises the UK, which gives £130m in aid annually to Ethiopia, for its muted response over the Ogaden conflict, noting that only one paragraph in the latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office human rights report dealt with the crisis, and that it singled out abuses by "terrorist groups operating in this region".

The most severe criticism is reserved for the US, which is the biggest donor and regards Ethiopia as a key ally in the "war on terror". Having backed Ethiopia's incursion into neighbouring Somalia, which the US regards as a potential terrorist haven, Washington has "minimised and possibly actively ignored internal concerns and reporting on the situation" in the Ogaden.

The last paragraph reveals something quite important. All the blood letting, slaughter and rape are being carried out because Somalia is considered to be a “potential” haven for so-called terrorists. So you see in this brave new world of American super heroes one does not even have to prove that a given nation, person, or group of people are terrorists or harboring terrorists all one need do is say they are potentially terrorists in order to let loose the dogs of war. Something else is revealed when one compares the sparse to non-existent reporting between the all the news that is fit to print New York Times on the Somalia invasion carried out by Ethiopia for America’s war on terror with reporting done by other news media which is the noticeable white washing of facts by the New York Times in their article of the Human Rights Watch report on Somalia. The most glaring omission is that there is no mention of how this is a war by proxy paid for mainly by America.

The New York Times merely states…

The Ethiopian government has routinely rejected such claims. Calls and e-mail messages to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington were not returned.

If you didn’t know better the above sentence while no doubt true would leave one to believe that there was no complicity in the atrocities carried out by the Ethiopians with the U.S. backing of this criminal campaign. Apparently that little factoid was not considered fit to print by the New York Times.