Oh. Oh, Timmy. It had to happen eventually.
Some really awfully written, badly punctuated Ethiopian government run newspaper called Eftin has EU Ambassador Tim Clarke in its crosshairs.
After a very awkward courting of the EPRDF and systematic turning a blind eye to the massacres and overall thugishness of a government run by semi-literate warlords in silk ties, the EU is finally realizing that maybe it should have taken the Ana Gomes route in handling Ato Meles. Alas, we all have to learn our lessons at our own pace.
To catch you up, Ethio-Zagol broke the story a couple of days ago that two EU diplomats and two Ethiopian human rights campaigners were arrested as they tried crossing the border in to Kenya. The Ethiopian government is claiming the two Ethiopians had warrants for their arrest for… well, “serious crimes.” If you are new to the Ethiopian government’s sense of judiciary, “serious crimes” could mean anything from “you breathed with the wrong nostril” to “you exercised your constitutionally guaranteed right to speak freely.” Pick anything in between.
So now the EU is outraged, outraged we tell you, that a government capable of holding a magnificently obtuse ‘genocide’ trial of 111 opposition leaders, MPs, journalists and civil society leaders, is turning its fangs on its “development partners.”
Oh, EU. Haven’t you supported, cozied up to, appeased and dealt with enough despots to realize that in the end, breaking up with megalomaniac Marxists is hard to do? You don’t listen.
So now, because the Ethiopian government loves the crazy, the two EU-sians are being deported, and the two Ethiopians have been arrested on aforementioned “serious crimes.”
Monsieur Louis Michel, EU Development Commissioner… any vague, diplospeak threats you can volley?
[Michel] said he had called Ethiopia's envoy in Brussels for an explanation. Mr Michel did not name the diplomats but said they were Italian and Swedish nationals working for the European Commission's delegation in the capital, Addis Ababa.
"There will be repercussions," he said.
Ah, but of course.
It should be noted that in February Mr. Michel was in Ethiopia to meet with Ato Meles. To Mr. Michel’s credit he visited the opposition leaders in Qality. The offshoot of that visit was… basically, “you two kids play nice. Democracy good. Now I gotta get the hell out of here.”
Continued the BBC:
[Michel] also said he had been trying since Thursday to contact Mr Meles about the incident, without success.
"Usually I can make contact quite easily with Prime Minister Meles," he said.
Yeah. Ato Meles is like that. He’s so-so about retuning phone calls when he is in the middle of a schizophrenic episode which puts him in no mood to “strengthen political dialogue, aiming at fostering the process of democratization.”
So EU is pissed. What else is new?
Brace yourselves, boy and girls. Whatever this creepy Eftin is (is it a newspaper? Seriously? The kind that has editors and thinkers?), its quivering with some kinda souped up lunacy sure to bum out EU Ambassador Tim Clarke.
Tim Clarke, God bless him, has been a fascinating subject in pre and post Election 2005. Our impression is that all he wanted was the damn thing to go through, the opposition to win a few seats, the EPRDF to be legitimized and be the first to celebrate the great European democracy experiment by doing an Irish whiskey body shot off of a nublile TPLF spokesmodel. Was that too much to ask?
Berhanu Nega tells a fascinating story in one of his speeches (London or Stockholm) where he invited Mr. Clarke to lunch and asked him what the contingency plan of the EU was in case the opposition won the elections. Mr. Clarke was like, yo, dude (or more accurately, “pishposh, my dear fellow”), the EPRDF was not going to lose these elections.
With that historical background, today Mr. Clarke is faced with a new set of realities because according to the brain surgeons at whatever Eftin is:
... Commenting further on the involvement of other European Commission personnel, our sources said, the trail of evidence and facts irrefutably point to others, and, particularly the top diplomatic brass of the institution i.e. Ambassador Timothy Clarke.
Timmah! Um… Timmah?
Remember the good old days when the most foreign diplomats would be involved in were prostitute rings and drunken fests? Now they’ve graduated to smuggling hunted down human rights activists out of the country.
They do grow up so fast.
By the way, we realize a lot of journalists working for government papers have defected, but someone needs to get Eftin-tin better, what do you call it… writers, and perhaps also less windbaggy ‘sources.’ Oh jeezuz. Eftin is still talking:
Both recent and past post election deeds, such as the intentional leak of a preliminary election assessment from the desk of the "infamous EC "observer mission'' chief, Anna Gomez; the similarly orchestrated leak of a yet to be released inquiry report that followed a ''trafficking'' of a member of the inquiry commission to Germany via Bole; the sheltering of Kinigit's ex-leadership after the elections and yet without the presence of any threat or danger (the purpose being creating an image of crises and non existent abuse not to mention the arrogance of acting as if beyond the laws of a sovereign country) plus a similar sheltering of a suspect wanted by the law for offenses, and not for political conviction, as it took place very recently etc... clearly show the track record of the EU as well as some of its delegates in Ethiopia. Thus establishing the facts constituting the trail mentioned, commented the sources.
… Oh, STFU.
But here is the coup:
Additionally our sources mentioned specific instances where by Ambassador Timothy Clarke has been seen involved in relation to this present illegal exercise.
In case the Ethiopian government tries Mr. Clarke on charges of treason or “serious crimes”, we hope it will be a “fair and speedy trial” and that the Europeans will wait patiently as the Ethiopian judiciary "takes its course” while Mr. Clarke languishes in an atrocious jail cell. After all, “rule of law has to be respected.”
Of course, there is subtext to all of this EPRDF posturing. According to Ethio-Zagol, Ato Meles was terribly vexed by an observational report presented to him by an EU team about the trials of the prisoners, which anyone vaguely acquainted with reality understands is a total farce. And guess who was present at this presentation, irritating the hell out of Ato Meles? Guess.
In a meeting with the Ambassadors of the EU Troika and the commission's representative here in Addis, Timothy Clark, Meles lambasted the observation report as biased and unfounded on facts. The observer had criticized the way the court conducted the trial as unfair. Meles who rejected the report of the European Election Observers Mission last year requested to meet Mr. Elman, a renowned British human rights lawyer to make his case against the report.
When the election report by EU's mission went against him, Meles started a personal assault against the head of the mission, Ana Gomes.
Sounds about right. And what happens when Ato Meles disagrees with you? Well, if you are Ethiopian you are either killed or charged with genocide; if you happen to hail from the outside you get the honor of being called a “self-appointed colonial viceroy” or accused with running a human trafficking outfit.
Also playing into all this is a damning report the world press has picked up on (BBC, New York Times, Washington Post) that the Meles administration shot, beat and strangled unarmed citizens in post-election massacres.
So how does the Ethiopian government deflect attention from the inconvenient truth that Ato Meles is neither a reformer nor in the least bit interested in anything other than holding on to power by the barrel of the gun? Ah, yes. Ato Meles “admits” what the world has known for a while because the world has an IQ larger than 20: that there are Ethiopian troops (um, we call them ‘trainers’ now) in Somalia.
The people who should most be alarmed by what is happening in Ethiopia should be the appeasers of the EPRDF. Ato Meles has proven time and time again that he makes no allowances for criticism and straying from his talking points is tantamount to political heresy. He has proven that if it serves his purpose, he will turn on anyone at any time. He is an unreliable ally with the petulance of an adolescent, and those of you appeasing him have ample evidence that when your time is up, when you are no longer useful, when you are seen as anything but a dispensable apparatchik you will be disposed of without hesitation or ceremony. The time to jump ship is fast running out.
This blog has made two predictions: a) that Ana Gomes will the be one to blow the lid off of the whole “we did not steal these elections” bullshit, b) that Tim Clarke will be the next to have his patience tested.
It was back in December 2005 that the report of a concentration camp in Dedessa hit the news. Then Mr. Clarke was quoted as saying:
There comes a point where our patience as an international community is running out. We would like to see tomorrow, the media open up. Tomorrow, the political detainees being released. Tomorrow, the prisoners who’ve been taken without charge released. Tomorrow, the families and legal counsel get access. This, for us, is normal.
Well, tomorrow arrived today.
And even further back in September 2005 Mr. Clark told the Australian Dateline SBS program that:
It would be a major mistake for [the opposition] to pull out because there is no other way forward. … Of course, they may not be happy with the results, and they will be discontent, and they will have difficulty with their supporters perhaps, but this is the only game in town.
That’s the kind of appeasement that emboldened Ato Meles.
We wish Mr. Clarke well. We wish he had the moral clarity of Ana Gomes. But we hope he will not level any more platitudes on Ethiopians who will suffer a worst fate than resigning from an Ambassadorship.
The next one to fall will be the Ethiopian ambassador in Washington DC.