Meles Zenawi, Corruption, Blood Money, and USAID

We ask you as Ethiopians and Americans please stop supporting tyranny in Ethiopia and corruption in America by Ethiopians.


July 29, 2012 (Brown Condor) – September 11th did not occur on September 11th 2001.  Rather, the day of monumental mourning and the death of thousands of Americans was decades in the making.  September 11th occurred the moment America decided to coddle a supposed “freedom fighter” by the name of Osama bin Laden and armed him to the teeth with weapons and knowledge.  September 11th was a blowback, a result of unexpected yet foreseen set of events that led ultimately to the Twin Towers being reduced to rubble and the Pentagon morphed into a hollowed out testament to US foreign policy.  I am not a conspiracy theorist; I put all blame for September 11th on Osama bin Laden and his band of blood thirsty terrorists.  However, it would be ludicrous if we as Americans do not realize that the Clinton and Bush administration—and prior administrations —do not bear the responsibility for creating a monster who would eventually murder over 3,500 innocent Americans.

It is with this reminder that I am about to take you on a journey of another blood thirsty terrorist that the current administration is coddling by the name of Meles Zenawi—the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Meles Zenawi is no different than most African dictators, he is a ruthless tyrant who has butchered and terrorized his way to power and consolidates his grip on power by endlessly silencing dissidence.  He has shuttered free speech by killing hundreds of college students in the run up of the Ethiopian elections in 2005.  He has silenced the press by jailing and murdering journalists like Eskinder Nega.  Meles Zenawi is the African Osama bin Laden, yet here we are again replaying September 11th as the Obama administration coddles this ruthless dictator by welcoming him as a role model for Africa and inviting him to Camp David asAmerica’s guest of honor.

The fact that Obama treats a war criminal and a man, who is at this exact moment enacting ethnic cleaning in Gonder Ethiopia, like a welcome hero is sad enough on its own; add on top of this insult that Barack Obama is a son of a Kenyan and this story morph from tragedy to an all-out heartbreak.  Tens of thousands of Ethiopians registered for the first time in 2008 and voted for Barack Obama thinking that Obama would reset the Bush policy of embracing tyrants in Africa and set a course of liberating Africa.  The result has been downright depressing; instead of liberating Africa from tyranny and oppression, Obama has hugged Meles Zenawi even closer and showered him with weapons and cash.  This is not what Ethiopian-Americans expected, this should not be what Americans as a whole should expect.

Abetted by a feckless media in America, lawmakers in the pocket of dictators in Africa, and high priced law firms like DLA Piper—where former Congressmen and Senators like Dick Gephardt and Dick Armey are employed—Meles Zenawi is pillaging Ethiopia to the hilt with the help of billionaire Al Amoudi as he doles out millions of dollars in America to influence US foreign policy and purchase law makers and media outlets as though he was purchasing Ethiopian coffee at Starbucks.  This is America, we are a land of the free and the home of the brave; we are have a long and proud history of backing the small guy and standing against tyranny wherever it exists.  America is the shining city on the hill that has for decades thwarted dictators and spoke on behalf of oppressed people throughout the world.

This is why Ethiopians and countless millions of Africans, Europeans, Asians and Latin-Americans immigrate to the United States.  We come here in hopes of a life unencumbered by repression and rank corruption.  We expect better from America, we expect more from President Obama—we demand a foreign policy that is just and a politics that is able to speak out against torture, rape, abuse, and ethnic cleaning.  Instead, what we are getting is a US government apparatus that is enabling tyrants in Africa and giving leeway to ethnic cleaning and mass killings while turning a blind eye to children dying of hopelessness and malnutrition on a minute by minute basis.

I guess we should be thankful that America spends billions a year in AID money in Ethiopia and other impoverished countries throughout the world.  But we as Ethiopians do not want a hand out, we want a hand up. We don’t want a beggar Ethiopia, we want a better Ethiopia. Besides, most of the money that the United States and the Obama administration spends goes directly into the Ethiopian military and into the pockets of fat cats like Al Amoudi and Addis Alemayehu while children are left drinking from sewer systems that drip out of the mansions and posh hotels of these very same fat cats.  Ethiopia does not want AID money; we simply want you to stop investing in tyrants and instead invest the money in giving us tools we can use to farm our lands.  We don’t need another AK47 that will only entrench Meles Zenawi for another decade, give us tractors and plows and Ethiopia herself can feed the entire continent.

Of course, Ethiopians saying this will be ignored by the mass-media, lawmakers, policy experts and President Barack Obama.  We are nobodies in the eyes of the elite in America, we are given token letters and the occasional photo op because we are not as powerful as Jewish-Americans, Gay Americans, or Latino Americans.  Thus I ask the various powerful constituencies in America to please join our cause, you know how it feels to be oppressed and subjugated.  Jewish-Americans know the sting of being tormented by a Pharaoh—meet our Pharaoh by the name of Meles Zenawi.  Gay-Americans know full well how it feels to be subjugated by bigots who would deny you the right to exist—meet our bigots by the name of Woyanes (TPLF) who have implemented a systematic program to make all but one ethnic group in Ethiopia permanent third-class citizens as they market Apartheid by another name called “Federalism”.  Latin-Americans know full well how it feels to have the home of your forefathers become an exclusive club for non-Hispanics only and being told to show your papers on a daily basis—meet our version of “papers please” as the TPLF government literally asks children for their ethnicity before giving them jobs.

But it is not enough for us to plead to do the right thing; the media and the policy elite in America only pays attention when a non-minority is damaged the same way hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have been damaged and driven to depression.  It is with that fact in mind that I am going to introduce you to a Jewish-American—a blue blood New Yorker—who has been victimized and abused to such a cruel extend that he too was driven to depression at the hands of Meles Zenawi, Lily Bertu, Addis Alemayehu, and ultimately USAID.  This man is an avowed philanthropist and a humanitarian who has given to the less fortunate for half his life because he too knows how it felt to be hopeless.  He gives as he is given; he has invested his personal fortune so that children in China and Ethiopia have a hope for a better life.  He is a man who believes in the best of people, he has a pure heart and a successful businessman—he has the rare ability to mix enterprise with altruism.  His life story leading up to Ethiopia is awe-inspiring; his life after vising Ethiopia is depressing and the essence of melancholy.

In the 21st century, any third-world country is but a microwave button away from being transformed into an oasis of prosperity.  That is unless that third-world country happens to reside in Africa; only in this content will one find permanent poverty and endless cycles of violence.  Some of the blame can be put squarely on African tyrants like Meles Zenawi who would rather suffocate Ethiopia with tribal warfare instead of investing in his people.  In Ethiopia, more than 14% of the GDP is wasted on purchasing arms and “national defense” while less than 4% is invested in healthcare sector (in America, health care accounts for over 30% of the US GDP).  As hundreds of thousands of people are dying from lack of potable water and food, Meles Zenawi kills thousands more with the very same arms he purchases from America to start wars with neighboring countries.  But I don’t blame Meles as much as I blame countries like America, Great Britain, and France for ignoring this calamity while giving billions of dollars in “AID money” as that same money is laundered to purchase mansions with gold faucets and private airplanes.  Do you know some of the food that is dropped from UN helicopters meant to feed starving children in Ethiopia is at this exact moment behind gated mansion and is feeding fat cats in Addis Ababa instead?  You don’t have to take my word, take it from Victor, the very man who resided in Ethiopia for years as he tried in vain to transform Ethiopia from an impoverished country to a thriving nation.

With that I transition to Victor.  After Victor made his millions in China, he became passionate about repeating the same outcome for other third-world countries.  Upon his completion of his “China phase”, he fixed his aims on Ethiopia.  He traveled to Ethiopia and adopted a girl who had less than one year to live. He brought her back to America, took a dying girl and restored her to health.  From that moment on, he fell in love with Ethiopia.  Victor witnessed all the misery and hopelessness in Ethiopia—especially in Addis Ababa—and trained his passion into making a difference any way that he could.  He reached out to his network of entrepreneurs and convinced them to invest in Ethiopia so that Ethiopia could develop the same way that China did only a few decades prior.  He disregarded the counsel of his friends and advisers and made plans to move to Ethiopia.

It was at this juncture that fate intersected with the cruel realities of Ethiopia.  You see, in Ethiopia, kindhearted souls attract the bottom feeders and jackals.  Shortly thereafter, a man by the name of Addis Alemayehu reached out to Victor under the auspices of USAID and convinced him to “invest” in Ethiopia and open up a “borsa (handbag) factory”.  Inspired to make a difference and believing in the kindness of Addis Alemayehu, Victor moved to Ethiopia to open up the factory.  Shortly thereafter, Victor partnered up with a lady by the name of Lily Bertu and they opened up a handbag factory.  Things were going smoothly for a year or so, Victor trained more than 20 kids on how to be mechanics and paid good wages to lift them out of hopelessness.  Victor was promptly the man of the hour, he met Meles Zenawi’s wife Azeb and he had access to Menelik Palace as through he was a head of state.  Lily Bertu is a powerful mover and shaker in Ethiopia; she introduced him to heads of agencies and provided him the credibility to move about Ethiopia freely in order to open up factories and convince other companies like Guess to invest $1.3 million dollars of seed money.  In Ethiopia, nothing is accomplished without a government handler, Lily Bertu was his handler and with Lily by his side Victor was accomplishing exactly what he envisioned.

Alas, that $1.3 million in seed money became too much of a target. Once Victor started to make progress on his endeavors and he attracted the money to follow, people like Lily and her cabal soon set out to defraud him and his non-profit.  You can hear the Brown Condor Radio interview I conducted with Victor this morning to hear the full story by clicking on the Youtube link below, but in short order Lily set Victor up and landed him in jail under the false pretense of “child endangerment”.  Without a trial or habeas corpus, Victor was imprisoned against his will and soon found himself isolated in a third-world country.  His own United States government did not lift a finger to help Victor, he had to feign a heart-attack in order to flee back to America.  A man who traveled to Ethiopia to help street children had his image tarnished and his reputation besmirched.  Moreover, Victor lost a fortune as he was banned from traveling back to Ethiopia.  Lily Bertu made off like a bandit—enabled by her son Mickey—and is currently living in a posh mansion in Ethiopia while children that Victor could have helped are dying one by one on the streets of Addis.

Victor was dejected and soon enough entered into a state of depression.  This is a rite of passage of Ethiopians, most Ethiopians suffer depression after being repressed and pillaged for over two decades even if most deny the very existence of depression.  Victor was helpless to right a wrong, he reached out to the US Embassy to recount his horrors and was told promptly that USAID does this all the time—that USAID enables Ethiopians to pillage Americans—and that there was nothing that could be done for him.  He reached out to Addis Alemayehu for some type of relief since Addis was the man who partnered him up with Lily only to see Addis disavow him and slither away into the darkness.  This is the way of Addis Alemaeyhu, there is a cabal of Ethiopians who profit at the expense of dying children in Ethiopia by luring hopeful investors only to leave them hopeless and depressed.  Victor though was not left without his hope, he was able to secure two Ethiopian children he adopted and took them back to America.  He lost his hope in Ethiopia, but he still has his love of Ethiopians each time he sees his two adopted Ethiopian children that he takes care of.

This is the game; this is how Ethiopia is savaged and bled dry.  People like Meles Zenawi, his wife Azeb Mesfin, Lily Bertu, Addis Alemayehu, and Manny Amera enabled by USAID and aided and abated by their US handlers are killing hope in Ethiopia and seeping the blood of Ethiopian children as they go around America espousing investment in Ethiopia.  All of these people named above are wealthy beyond recognition—some are millionaires—as they pillage and ransack Ethiopia one block at a time.  This week alone, Addis Alemayehu, Henok Assefa, and Yohannes Assefa are having an “Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum” right in Washington DC at George Washington University to pluck new victims and identify the next American to brainwash into seeing hope for Ethiopia only to find themselves locked up in prison a year later and swindled out of their hard earned money.

Barack Obama and US policy makers espouse “development” in Ethiopia as a sign of progress.  But that is all a chimera, development does not mean progress.  The only people that are developing in Ethiopia are a tiny sliver of the society—most from only one tribe—while the rest suffer in despair and dejection.  Development is not felt equally nor is prosperity enjoyed by all, what we have in Ethiopia is a sectarian enrichment plan. It is said often that the first person to use a Hitler analogy is the first person to lose, but in this case, what Meles is creating in Ethiopia is akin to a Nazi super race—an African version of Aryans—and leaving the rest of the population to fend for themselves as they hear their children crying from empty bellies and even emptier hope.

Meles Zenawi, please get to know him well, he is the man that Barack Obama embraces as the visionary leader of Ethiopia.  And I say this without any axe to grind against our President Barack Obama, I was myself an Obama supporter in 2008, I traveled to over 14 states on his behalf, and was invited to Chicago in 2008 for an “organizer” convention because of the hard work that I did in 2008 on his behalf.  However, I am an Obama supporter but I am not an Obama loyalist.  I will not stay silent as Obama supports a dictator in Ethiopia that is destroying hope and thwarting investment in Ethiopia as his henchmen lock up investors and make off with their money in the dark of the night assisted by USAID and US policy makers.

So this weekend, when you see the “Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum” at George Washington University, realize what is taking place is a Ponzi scheme that even Bernie Madoff would be ashamed of.  Right in the heart of our capital, a useless media ignores it, bought out politicians clap for it, and duplicitous policy makers laud it.  This is not a business forum, this is a swindlers’ conclave and it is a shame that an everyday citizen like me is the one to shine the light on the nefarious intentions of Addis Alemayehu, Henok Assefa, Manny Amera, Yohannes Assefa and the rest of the bandits as USAID gives them more seed money so they can steal the seeds of hope for Ethiopia.  Most likely, this article will draw a law suit from DLA Piper—Meles Zenawi’s lobbyist in DC—which I welcome with opens arms and an even more open heart.  Moreover, if anything happens to me in the next couple of days—if you stop hearing from me on Facebook and twitter—I want you to understand that my health and well-being, or lack thereof,is tied directly to the people I exposed in this article.

It is my hope that US law makers, policy analysts, media outlets, and most especially President Barack Obama pays attention to this injustice and promptly cleans house to restore hope to Ethiopia and give assurance to Americans that our tax money is not being used to enrich Ethiopians in DC and back in Ethiopia as folks like Addis Alemayehou go around peddling change while destroying hope.  It is my hope that the United States reverses years of coddling dictators in Africa and promptly ties AID money to Ethiopia based on investment in the people.  I hope American tax payers notice the waste, fraud and abuse as Meles Zenawi and his cohorts travel the world in expensive private jets while the rest of Ethiopia languishes in despair.  Most important, it is my hope that Americans of conscience who care deeply about the plight of improvised children in Ethiopia specifically and Africa as a whole—people like Victor Ozeri—pressure lawmakers and President Obama to do the right thing by Ethiopia and the rest of Africa and plead with them to stop sponsoring state terrorists like Meles Zenawi as guests of honor in America.

September 11th should have taught us all a lesson. We are not disconnected from the ways of the world.  The actions, or inaction, of the United States will emanate from America and arrive back in America in the time it took me to write this article.  Refugees flow to America by the thousands from Ethiopia because they are denied relief in Ethiopia. All Ethiopians love being in America, however, if opportunity was available in Ethiopia without regard to tribe, a large swath would gladly return to Ethiopia to start life again—especially the Ethiopians who are struggling to make ends meet in America.  This outcome would be a net-net win for America and Ethiopia; Ethiopians would prosper in their homeland instead of struggling in America as some Ethiopians who might be otherwise taxing the United States social safety net would go back to Ethiopia and start a new life back home.  Moreover, besides saving American tax dollars, you would help to restore hope and life in a country that is dying on a minute by minute basis.

We need your help America, we do not need a hand out, and we just need a hand up.  None of us want a beggar Ethiopia; we all want a better Ethiopia.  This hope—our collective aspirations—cannot be fulfilled as long as tyrants like Meles Zenawi are showered with AID money and welcomed in America as enlightened Africans.  Ethiopia will never change as long as events like “Ethiopians Diaspora Business Forum” are allowed to operate at George Washing University this weekend.  It is high time to stop the pillaging of Ethiopia by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, billionaire Al Amoudi, scoundrels like Addis Alemayehu and his cohorts at the “Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum” and handlers like Lily Bertu.  Moreover, we need you—decent Americans—to put pressure on USAID and other government entities to stop blessing nefarious individuals while they suck the hope right out of Ethiopia and her children.

I ask you, the Ethiopian people ask you, more importantly, helpless Ethiopian children beg you—please don’t let another child die in the name of naked greed and wonton pursuit of self-enrichment.  Please stop using American tax dollars to enrich Ethiopian fat cats in Ethiopia and in America, please pay attention to the plight of Victor Ozeri, and most importantly, heed your mind and your heart as children drop like flies while some Ethiopians eat from their graves.  We ask you as Ethiopians and Americans please stop supporting tyranny in Ethiopia and corruption in America by Ethiopians.  We ask you to live up to the spirit of America—we ask you simply to be that shining city on a hill.

Brown Condor