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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


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[Hunt for al-Qaida overshadows repression in Ethiopia, some fear] - [AFP: Heavy fighting rocks Mogadishu as thousands flee] - [ETHIOPIA: Trial of opposition activists adjourned] - [New Somalia govt restricts radio coverage of violence and refugees]

International: [Bush swears in new intelligence chief] - [3,000-year-old tombs are found in Egypt] - [Syria Rejects Limited Talks With U.S.] - [Asteroid Has Fairly Good Chances Striking Earth in 2036] and more of today's top stories!

Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam in association with the coalition for HR5680 is calling on Ethiopian Americans and Ethiopians throughout the world to begin a campaign to deliver 100,000 letters in the next 10 days to the White House. You can send your own letter to the White House, or endorse Prof. Alemayehu’s letter with your signature and send it. Everyone who wishes to see human rights flourish in Ethiopia is encouraged to participate in this campaign. (More on this below)

International Ethiopian Women Organization (IEWO) will hold its 1st Public Meeting in Washington D.C. on March3, 2007.

The event will commemorate International Women's Day by celebrating the Adwa victory and honoring our heroic Ethiopian mothers and sisters from Taytu to the Present. (More...)



Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam today called Ethiopian Americans and other Ethiopians throughout the world to begin a campaign to deliver 100,000 letters in the next 10 days to the White House and express appreciation to President Bush for his promise: “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.” He also urged all freedom-loving Ethiopians to ask the President to support H.R. 5680 in their letters.

In a passionate letter to the President, Prof. Alemayehu described the dire human rights situation in Ethiopia. He suggested to the President that there are two kinds of Ethiopians in the world today, “those who live with dignity, respect and hope in the free world, and millions who live in their homeland seared in the flames of withering tyranny and oppression.”

He told the Coalition for HR 5680 that “Ethiopian Americans have a special duty to stand up for human rights in Ethiopia because they have the constitutional right to demand their tax dollars not be used to support a ruthless dictatorship.” He asked, “if we in America, with all our liberties fail to stand up for the human rights of those we left behind in Ethiopia, who will stand up for them? It is not fair to expect Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the other human rights organizations do the heavy lifting while we stand on the sidelines with folded arms. The old saying is still true: ‘God helps only those who help themselves.’”

Commenting on the supposed relationship between terrorism and human rights that the Ethiopian regime has been trying to establish, Prof. Alemayehu wrote the President, “You should rest assured that Ethiopians will never abandon America in its struggle against global terror. Never! Never! Never! But, Mr. President, America must also never, never, never abandon the cause of human rights in Ethiopia.”

Asking the President to support H.R. 5680, Prof. Alemayehu wrote, “Mr. President, in the words of the great American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, in H.R. 5680, America offers Ethiopia a promissory note for $20 million in down payment to promote freedom, democracy and human rights. But instead of accepting and cashing this note in the bank of democracy and human rights, the present rulers in Ethiopia have hired a mighty army of lobbyist to defeat the bill, thereby extinguishing forever the yearning for freedom of the Ethiopian people.”

Prof. Alemayehu asked every freedom-loving Ethiopian Americans and Ethiopians to write a personal letter and ask President Bush to support H.R. 5680. He urged all Ethiopians committed to justice and human rights to write letters of their own, or endorse his letter with their signatures and send it to the President.

He concluded by stressing the importance of engaging the American people: “I make a personal plea to all Ethiopians throughout the world to write the President a letter, but I plead with Ethiopian Americans to get their friends, neighbors, friends, church members, co-workers, classmates and others to join in our struggle for human rights in Ethiopia. Let us ask them to write letters of support on behalf of our cause -- the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights.”


The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam's letter to president George W. Bush

Hunt for al-Qaida overshadows repression in Ethiopia, some fear

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Journalists here don't criticize the government much anymore, perhaps because doing so has landed at least 15 of them in prison on treason charges.

Since a bloody crackdown after elections in 2005, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi also has tried dozens of opposition leaders on treason charges, blocked anti-government Web sites and attempted to muzzle an independent inquiry into the post-election violence, which found that government security forces had killed 193 civilians.

Once hailed as a hope for democracy in Africa, Meles increasingly is whispered about in this cagey capital as a dictator. But he has a powerful ally in the United States, which is drawing on Ethiopian troops and intelligence in a shadowy hunt for al-Qaida operatives in neighboring Somalia.(More...)

Heavy fighting rocks Mogadishu

Mail & Guardian

Mortar bombs hit several parts of Mogadishu before dawn on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people in one of the fiercest bombardments since an Islamist movement was chased from Somalia's capital last month.

The hilltop presidential palace, Villa Somalia, and the coastal city's defence headquarters were among the targets hit.

"They showered us with rockets and a mortar also hit the compound. Luckily no one was hurt," said a government soldier who was in Villa Somalia during the attack but declined to be named for fear of reprisal.(More...)

Also see:
-Agence France-Presse: Somali capital clashes kill 12 as thousands flee
-Associated Press: 12 killed in heavy shelling in Somalia’s capital
-CBS news: 12 Killed In Somalia Shelling

ETHIOPIA: Trial of opposition activists adjourned again

ADDIS ABABA, 20 February 2007 (IRIN) - The Federal High Court in Ethiopia has once again adjourned the trial of 111 opposition activists and journalists, including more than 70 defendants who have been held in custody since November 2005 on charges of instigating unrest to overthrow the government.

Federal High Court Judge Adil Ahmed on Monday adjourned the trial until 5 March, saying a speech allegedly made by one of the defendants - the leader of the country's main opposition party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), Hailu Shawl - in the US Congress before his arrest needed to be translated from English into Amharic, Ethiopia's official language.

The trial has been adjourned several times before.

Seventy-eight of the accused were in court on Monday. Twenty-five are being tried in absentia because they are in exile.

Some of the defendants - 54 CUD officials and 15 journalists - face charges of attempting to "overthrow the constitutional order through violence" and "outrages against the constitution". Other charges include high treason and attempted genocide, which are capital offences under Ethiopian law.(More...)


Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who is on an 11-nation tour of Africa said on Tuesday February 13 at the Sheraton Addis that he is hopeful to see the trial of Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) members would see an end in the coming weeks.

Carter at a press conference after concluding his mission in health training and sanitation in Jimma, availed his optimism that the 111 defendants, amongst which are opposition members, journalists and civic society members accused of charges ranging from treason to forcefully violating the constitution after the out come of the 2005 elections when more than 90 people died after security forces clashed with demonstrators.(More...)

Somalia govt restricts radio coverage of violence, refugees

MOGADISHU, Somalia Feb 19 - Somali security officials in the capital Mogadishu summoned representatives from three independently-owned FM radio stations to disclose new government restrictions on their programs.

The Monday meeting, chaired by national security official Gen. Nur “Shirbow” Mohamed, presented to radio operators severe restrictions imposed on the independent broadcasters’ radio programming.

According to government documents, the three broadcasters – Radio Shabelle, HornAfrik Radio and Radio Banadir – were accused of “exaggerating” news reports about daily violent attacks in the capital, interviewing refugees fleeing the violence and civilians who accused Ethiopian soldiers of bombarding their homes in response to insurgent attacks.

The radio operators were specifically asked not air reports on security operations against insurgents or air the voices and concerns of civilians caught in the crossfire.(More...)

Also see:
-Shabelle Media Network shocked at the restrictions and threats directed at the freedom of local media by the transitional federal government of Somalia

Today's Top Stories

-The growing power of Nigeria's gangs
-Bush swears in new intelligence chief
-Cheney to Talk Security on Japan Visit
-Asteroid Has Fairly Good Chances Striking Earth in 2036(U.N. urged to take action)
-Jordan Urges U.S. to Chase Mideast Peace
-Syria Rejects Limited Talks With U.S.
-Russian missile "blackmail" won't work, Czechs say
-3,000-year-old tombs are found in Egypt
-Islamic spies to snoop on lovers