Sunday, April 26

What, Meles Worry?

Image with apologies for comparing Alfred E. Neuman to such a ridiculous character

Witness the progression of Meles's wit and wisdom as he positions himself for a piece of the global economic crisis action (via Ethiomedia and Ethiopian Politics)(translations in italics)
"The International Monetary Fund should be allowed to sell some of its gold reserves to cushion Africa from the global economic crisis ... the sell-off could raise between $5bn and $15bn to be channeled through the IMF, World Bank and other multilateral institutions."

Channeled to my private accounts that is

"The crisis will more or less have little effect on the economy since our financial sector is not attached to the global system. Had it been the case, we would have suffered much."

The IMF and World Bank will report whatever growth figures I want them to based upon the numbers I order made up

"Some countries could go under and that would mean total chaos and violence. In the end the cost of violence is going to be much higher than the cost of supporting Africa."

I had better get paid or I will make Ethiopians suffer even more. You know I will and won't miss a meal or for that matter my deposit schedule in Swiss Bands

“We are seeking a much smaller stimulus package than is being spent bailing out the small and medium-sized banks in the west.”

If I don't get on this gravy train there will be hell to pay for Ethiopians. Just let a bit trickle down to me - look how I make Ethiopians suffer - do you really want them to suffer more?

"One of the problems at the moment is that the situation is so volatile,it keeps changing every week. It destabilizes everything, including one’s thinking. If we knew where the bottom was we could start thinking as to how to get out of it."
For once though Meles is perfectly right. His thinking is clearly destabilized. But ... it is also perfectly rational because the West has trained him to behave this way since 1991.

You see dear reader in Meles World the absolute absence of property rights & a free market, the corrupt, murderous and incestuous beast represented by his personal business empire, party conglomerates, government monopolies, his oppressive police state, tribal militias, ethnic / religious / regional divide & rule, siphoning of billions in aid, and even his own numbered Swiss accounts don't matter a bit.

What matters is getting ferenjis to pay up even more so he doesn't have to hurt the natives any more than he is already doing or to steal even more from them. Of course none of it is his fault. Know what? The ferenjis will pay up. Not the amounts he is talking about of course. That is just a negotiating position in the market of Ethiopian blood, sweat, and tears freely traded for dollars, euros, and yen.

He will get enough to keep him happy - which means enough to pay for his rule without the consent of Ethiopians and enough to put in foreign accounts against a rainy day. The fact that he is the main author of Ethiopian suffering doesn't matter. Meles flew to the G-20 summit alternately shaking his head and giggling in amazement at the nonsense his penchant for violence and ferenji willing blindness let him get away with.The way to get out of the state of permanent crisis is for ferenjis to worry about Ethiopians more than their very own destabilizing Man in Africa.

There was a political rally in Ethiopia this month. "These people are very brave" said one onlooker who declined to be named as Ethiopians demonstrated in Addis Ababa this month. He also said "the government have killed people who protest so I would not shout like this." That says it all. In Addis where ferenjis look on this was a show that allows Meles to pretend to have some tolerance for dissent.

Despite the bravery of those who took part nothing has changed and the demonstration should be viewed as a scripted moment in an ongoing public relations campaign. After all ferenjis like demonstrations don't they? So let them see one carefully controlled and coordinated one while the gears of Meles's infernal machine grind tens of millions into the dust just down the road.

Take the story of another peaceful demonstrator several years ago. Her name was ShiBire Desalegn.
She is the first person to be killed when Meles Zenawi unleashed his forces following a peaceful protest by Addis Ababa University (AAU) students on June 6. She was shot and killed by EPRDF troops as she and her friends tried to block the road in Kotebe that leads to the Sendafa torture camp.

She helped escape several AAU students from torture by helping them jump from the trucks that were taking them to Sendafa. She didn't have any weapon. But that didn't stop the EPRDF troops from shooting her to death.

A high caliber bullet pierced through her neck.

Because of ShiBire's actions, some AAU students escaped torture. But because of the action and inaction of others, thousands went through unspeakable brutality in the hands of the EPRDF security forces under the direct orders of Meles Zenawi. Thirty days later, Meles Zenawi was standing next to President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair at the G8 meeting in Scotland, looking proud of his barbaric actions.
Headlines talk of demonstrations and minds are always found to find comfort in them as though they mean something. After all they are in print or bytes so they must mean something. There is a report of some decision made by Ethiopia's faux parliament and pet judiciary and there are more headlines as though they mean anything.

All, like the business empire Meles runs in Ethiopia and abroad are just different heads of the snakes growing Medusa like out of Mele's own head. They are indeed all his very personal spokesman. His rule and monopoly are enforced by brute force. All thugs worry to some degree about public relations, Ethiopia's fake institutions exist just for that purpose - so that the lazy of mind and the willing to be gullible can pretend there is some, however minute, form of human civilization to be found shining through from Meles's earnest grin.

The day that onlooker above is not afraid is the day a demonstration will mean something. When demonstrations have occurred in the past hundreds have been shot on the streets that we know about. Like a tree falling in the forest only Ethiopian deaths that happen near ferenjis matter. We have no idea how many thousands were killed either in Addis or beyond where the foreign donors may not drive by bodies. How about the prison camps where tens of thousands were jailed and tortured?

Ethiopia is widely recognized as not only being ruled by a dictatorship but as having one of the most corrupt and brutal governments on earth. Genocide Watch has called on the United Nations to initiate prosecution of Meles on war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. But Meles left the recent G-20 summit with hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to spend as he likes.
Mr Meles said Africa’s voice had been heard partly thanks to the willingness of Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, to allow him and other African representatives to participate in preparations for the summit.

Bob Geldof, the aid campaigner, also welcomed the outcome. “The key point for the 50 per cent of the planet who live on less than two dollars a day must be that they have finally been brought in from the margins to the centre of the decision-making process,” he said.
So there you have it - ferenjis say Meles is alright and a representative of the people so he must be right? The answer for all practical purposes is YES. He might as well be as far as ferenjis as concerned because Ethiopians don't matter.

Note that this is the same Geldof (by the way has any body actually ever heard a song by the Boomtown Rats not to mention paid money for their albums - either in the 80s or in the past quarter century?) who said in a more lucid moment when he said this about the street massacres in Ethiopia
"No doubt, I'll get a briefing from the Ethiopian embassy: 'it wasn't like this, it was like that'. Grow up, they make me puke“.
Well uber rock star and humanitarian they are grown up and they kill people and you too have apparently grown up and accepted them again.

Let us take a look at another fake institution. The fabled Commodities Exchange ECX. Every commodity in Ethiopia from each coffee bean and handful of grain will have been in government / party hands from the moment the farmer labored over it in fields owned by the government / party through the local collection centers controlled by the government / party all the way to roads to foreign ports or domestic markets controlled by the government / party.

The whole economy and every commodity are subject to Meles Inc. control at every level and that control is based on lethal force. There is no way to access capital from anywhere without the government / party taking the choicest cuts along the way.

Building an Commodities Exchange in the Ethiopia of Meles Zenawi is like holding elections there - errant nonsense. Countries don’t develop because ferenjis pay for the computers and staff that go into pretty buildings that they call Commodities Exchanges.

Commodities Exchanges develop because the native people are allowed to develop and they eventually need a Commodities Exchange. There can be no confidence in any sort of economic truth or information about the current or future price of a commodity in Ethiopia that is sufficient to make the existence of a Commodity Exchange justified beyond propaganda value.

So what happened in that shiny new edifice with its bright new computers (all paid for by hopeful against hope ferenjis who knew better every step of the way) when Meles was looking for someone to blame and just plain wanted to squeeze more money out of coffee exports?
Ethiopia, Africa’s largest coffee producer, will start exporting beans itself after closing the warehouses of six of the country’s largest exporters, which it claims are stockpiling coffee and contributing to a shortage of foreign currency.


The country has earned $221.7 million from coffee exports over the period, short of a government target of $446.7 million. Last year, the government also blamed rising food prices on hoarding by traders.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin, chief executive officer of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange agreed absolutely with the stockpiling theory. You see the absence of private property and other economic rights has nothing to do with rising prices or availability - it is all the fault of whatever tiny private businesses are allowed to exist. Why are Ethiopia's coffee farmers and traders responsible for maintaining foreign exchange reserves anyway? Isn't the whole point to let businessman do their thing?
This happened after Prime Minister Meles Zenawi accused some coffee exporters in January of having been reluctant to sell stocks through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). He warned them of conspiring and disturbing the integrity of the ECX system by supplying and then buying back their own coffees to sell coffee meant for export on the domestic market, threatening to "cut off one of their hands" if they did not behave.


Coffee holds a strong political significance in Ethiopia because of its tremendous importance in the economy and its political purposes for the regime. The ruling party ensures the centralized collection and controlling of foreign currency in order to stay in power.
What kind of commodities exchange takes on as its own responsibility and public service the takeover of a whole sector of the economy? The integrity of the exchange never existed. What kind of exchange is mandatory and relevant to threats from a dictator / entrepreneur who controls his own party / personal / government monopoly and has an army to enforce his vision?

The hands whose behavior needs correcting are those of Meles's gang including Azeb Mesfin his wife, parliamentarian, and business mogul as Dagmawi points out in A Call for the Imprisonment of Azeb Mesfin. Aside from ferenji aid and foreign remittances coffee is the only way money flows into Ethiopia. The only way. The figure for coffee adjusted for inflation was about $2 billion in the 1970s every year and has shrunk every year until now it is about a quarter of that.

Meles already gets the lions share of that but wanted more and the 'independent' official responsible for the development of a market system is his cheerleader.
The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), a government owned central trading system, meant primarily for grains, began trading coffee in December 2008. Launched in May 2008, the trading platform was set up to replace the murky auction system often abused by market participants.

During the ECX rollout, which happened to coincide with the global economic turmoil where domestic and global prices were sharply rising, there was severe shortage of grains flowing through the exchange.

Although it is authorized to trade in both spot and futures contracts, ECX announced in April 2008 that it intends to start off with only spot contracts for immediate delivery (as a strategic driver of the ultimate futures trading) and impose compulsory delivery of grains.

In August 2008, the government swiftly enacted a new coffee law in order to provide ECX with the necessary legal framework that would enable it, among others, to impose compulsory delivery of coffees. This law requires all coffees to be traded through the ECX – the only outlet to international markets.
Things still seem rather murky and the terms abused and imposing are just the right words here. Foreign investors are expected to participate in this mess? Sure but of course they don't. That is why Ethiopia's per capita foreign direct investment is not only among the lowest in the world but lower than Somalia's.

The lack of participation in the commodities exchange has nothing to do with global turmoil it has to do with common sense. What rational person would participate in it if they weren't forced to? The whole thing set up in Ethiopia's corrupt system is obviously as crooked as the smiles Meles gave and got at the G-20. Legal framework? Yeah right.

Billions all over the world have seen their lives improve because of rational non-larcenous government policies, economic freedom, and the investment that attracts. Don't hold your breath expecting the same for Ethiopia. Begging for aid works far better for Meles's purposes of staying in power and getting even richer.
With the introduction of the new exchange system the auction centers are replaced by the ECX, while all other participants continue to function as is, but with one fundamental change: transparency. The previous auction system was marred with loopholes that seem to have allowed some exporters holding dual licenses to purchase back their own coffee in the auctions, thereby enjoying too much control over coffee prices.

Supposedly, ECX’ introduction of rules of trading, warehousing, payments and delivery, and business conduct principles will seal off those loopholes. This seems to have upset a few exporters and fired back at by the government accusing them of engaging in conflict of interest. But the government’s reactions were even more troubling. It not only confiscated coffee beans from the exporters but also tasked the state owned Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) with exporting of coffee.

This measure throws privatization and domestic market liberalization out the window.

Ethiopia’s coffee market has always been a relatively private business, with the exception of limited government interventions to enforce quality standards, etc. This was true even during the days of the communist regime that “nationalized” almost every sector in the nation.

EGTE’s slated assignment marks a detrimental precedence in the nation’s history. The government’s engagement in exporting beans produced by smallholder families while it controls almost all means of production in the country, including the distribution of farm inputs, capital, and the land, is inconsistent with principles of a free market system.
Transparency and Meles mentioned in the same passage! Should we laugh or cry or both?

What Meles worry? Nah. His 'happiness index' is just rocking along just fine right now and it doesn't matter how ridiculous he is because he is always willing to lie and kill. He doesn't have to run a successful economy just to do whatever he wants and ferenjis will send him billions of dollars for his smile and the director of the ECX will "let" him do what ever he wants to.

The whole thing was a setup from the beginning just like Ethiopian democracy, justice, etc.The alleged coup attempt by Berhanu Nega should also be seen in the same light. This also goes for growth figures for the economy. Ultimately all the international authorities get their numbers from Meles to make their reports and predictions. Hearing the economy is down from more than 12% growth to more than 6% growth is only a way to make you believe the 6% figure to begin with or for that matter any growth.

Lies and more lies define Melesian government.


We wrote about the Commodities Exchange previously in Field of Screams.

Much of the above quotes are from an excellent and unusually insightful Bloomberg article via Ethiomedia: Ethiopia may prosecute coffee exporters.

Dagmawi 's Short Comment on Coffee Exports from Mengistu to Meles is a customary master work from that blogger. We recommend not only that article but everything he writes for a clear understanding of Ethiopian affairs.

One of the only real events at the G-20 summit: Abbay Media News visited a TPLF Embassy.

Wednesday, April 8

Cadre Cola

Given the recent drama about Coca-Cola stopping and re-starting operations in Ethiopia you may be tempted, dear reader, into thinking this post is about just that. No, this one is about another, not so famous, brand that has far greater global reach and larger profits with a miniscule consumer base and very little brand recognition.

In countries like Ethiopia it has absolute market share among those that matter. Folks are literally dying for it. Cadre Cola is the carefully distilled essence of Ethiopian blood, sweat, and tears. Like mushroom cultivation the manufacture of Cadre Cola can't abide light and thrives in ... well, you know exactly what.

Cadre Cola is what cadres consume. It is bottled by and for an exclusive clientele of government and quasi-government aid bureaucrats as well as third world dictators and their cronies. The taxpayers who finance it and the oppressed in whose name it is bottled either assume the Cadre Cola business is an obligation or something they can't live without.

Let us start with a definition. What does cadre mean? As usual (where none of many hundreds of millions of editors has an ax to grind anyway) Wikipedia is a good place to start:
Cadre (pronounced /ˈkɑːdreɪ/, from the French) is the backbone of an organization, usually a political or military organization. Because cadre are well developed in terms of knowledge, experience, and agreement with the organization's goals, they should be able to adapt and rebuild the organization's structure and ideological direction even if the organization has been weakened, through, for example, other members being killed or imprisoned. For professional revolutionaries the cadre consider themselves subject to the discipline and self-discipline of a political vanguard party model.

Radical Left movements in particular have maintained their minimum program of survival and growth very effectively through the strength of a cadre system. Basic success within a movement in which cadre are the vanguard comes when one core of cadre has gradually recruited and trained another group of cadre to ensure the perpetuation of the movement. This, in theory, both strengthens the movement politically and promotes a culture of emulation over that of competition. The drawback of the cadre system is the inevitable ossification of the ideology as competition is eliminated, and the cadre becoming a separate caste, "a state within a state".
We take issue with the 'Radical Left movement' bit though. In as much as left - right distinctions matter the Radical Right owes just as much to the cadre system as do groups as seemingly diverse as organized crime and terrorist movements. The part about being well developed is wrong too unless we are talking about man's more canine characteristics. Merriam Websters has a shorter definition that is just as descriptive
a cell of indoctrinated leaders active in promoting the interests of a revolutionary party
Exactly. Don't get us wrong here. We aren't talking about loyalty here or dedication which can be admirable qualities. Rather we are talking about people who are frankly for sale or with so little sense of self or shared humanity that they are giving themselves away. Just aching and willing to exact pain on others for the slightest gain. Imagine a village dog who bolts when someone makes a movement remotely like they might be reaching for a rock - the dog then tucks its tail in to come ask for anything at all besides a kick - another dog to bite even - anything at all to make any of a thousand masters happy.

You get the idea.

Ethiopians are familiar with the type who passionately served, lied, and spied for the Dergue when the time was right and then came to see Meles himself as their personal savior - on and on to presumably transferring their souls to whoever else is in charge from a resurrected Mussolini to invading space aliens. Even when they didn't change sides the idea holds - they were just cadres of a competing vanguard parties.

We know some cadres uncomfortably well (genetically even) who made it out of Mengistu's Scientific Socialist gulag, walked across deserts to get to the USA, and eagerly opened up franchises of Meles's Revolutionary Democratic kebeles (just as bad, actually worse, if it only happened in their own minds). The amazing thing about the cadres of Meles Inc. in Ethiopia and outside it today is that they could not exist without a group of powerful cadres just as twisted as they are to exist.

You know where this is heading of course - we are talking about ferenji cadres whose avowed aims are service to their fellow man but whose real interests revolve around getting along with dictators of poor nations, pumping billions to them, getting paid, and making up stories of their success. All with no oversight from anyone.

Aid Watch is the blog of William Easterly, the author of The White Man's Burden : Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good.(The book is summarized in this post So Much Ill and So Little Good.) He begins that book stating that there are two tragedies for the world's poor.

First, that so many suffer because they lack access to existing inexpensive solutions and second, that the $2.3 trillion (that is $2,300,000,000,000 in cash money / 23 followed by eleven zeros or 2.3 thousand billion bucks!) spent on foreign aid over the last five decades has still not managed to get those existing inexpensive solutions to the poor. Indeed, foreign aid often makes the lives of the poor far worse.

This point of view is a far cry from the Jeff Sachs (see this post Sachs & Violence) school of "throw so much money at the third world that even the most rapacious elites can't manage to steal it all ... then maybe something good will happen ... maybe - and if it doesn't why heck, it sure is a fantastic little academic exercise.". Or how about the Joseph Stiglitz school of just plain liking Meles personally because Meles so neatly parrots the scholar's words and theories back at him (see this post Intellectuals and their Discontents).

Dambisa Moyo the author of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa has this to say about Africa in particular
the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse—much worse.
The Easterly and Mayo books manage to actually judge and evaluate human reality and the results of aid, accountability, institutions and governance. Easterly and Mayo are the anti-cadres being heard increasingly more to the great dismay of the Lords of Poverty or the Ferenji Aid Raj who run the the multi-billion dollar Cadre Cola brand. The term Lords of Poverty comes from a book by Graham Hancock titled, The Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business. The introduction and first sections of the Lords of Poverty is available on line.

It begins thus
This book is an attack on a group of rich and powerful bureaucracies that have hijacked our kindness. The bureaucracies I refer to are those that administer the West's aid and then deliver it to the poor of the Third World in a process Bob Geldoff once described as 'a perversion of the act of human generosity'.


Official aid also involves the transfer of very large sums of money - so large in fact, that the resources of the private sector look puny and insignificant by comparison. It would thus be sensible, at the very least, for the official agencies to be directly accountable to the public - to be 'transparent', open, and honest in their dealings.

This unfortunately is not the case. Indeed, critical study is sharply and effectively discouraged. Those of us, for example, who wish to evaluate the progress , effectiveness, or quality of development assistance will soon discover that the aid bureaucracies have already carried out all of the evaluations that they believe necessary, and are prepared to resist with armor plated resolve, - the ignorant or biased or hostile attentions of outsiders.

Even the few apparently independent studies have been financed by one or other of the aid agencies or by institutes set up with aid money.
Keep this last bit especially in mind for later on. Now finally let us pay a visit to the Easterly blog to see the poverty cadre in action. The story starts with this Aid Watch post Why Does British Foreign Aid Prefer Poor Governments Over Poor People?.
European donors are moving towards increasing direct budget support to governments of aid-receiving countries. Leading the charge is the UK, which gives the largest percentage of direct budget support of any bilateral or multilateral donor (although the World Bank, the European Commission, the US and France also give substantial budget support).


Of this list [of nations British aid flows to], only Ghana and India were classified as “free” by the annual Freedom House ratings on democracy (according to either the 2007 or 2008 rating). For the 11 other countries that did get British budget support, how much is there “country ownership” when the government is not democratically accountable to the “country”?

Moreover, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused some of these governments of serious human rights violations. Ethiopia’s autocratic government, which is inexplicably the largest recipient of UK budget support in Africa, won 99% of the vote in the last “election.” The government army is accused by HRW of war crimes in the Somali region of Ethiopia. Nor is this brand new -- neither army officers nor civilian officials have been “held accountable for crimes against humanity that ENDF (Ethiopian National Defense Force) forces carried out against ethnic Anuak communities during a counterinsurgency campaign in Gambella region in late 2003 and 2004.”

HRW also notes that today: “Credible reports indicate that vital food aid to the drought-affected [Somali] region has been diverted and misused as a weapon to starve out rebel-held areas.” Ironically, Ethiopia’s autocratic ruler, Meles Zenawi, was the Africa representative at the recent G-20 meeting campaigning for more aid to Africa during the current crisis, because, among other reasons, Meles said “people who were getting some food would cease to get it and … would die” (from an article in Wednesday's Financial Times.)
The good Professor has this wrong - there was no insurgency among the Anuak then and there never has been. The government just wanted the locals, who they had previously neglected to terrorize because of their remote location, to understand who was in charge and the price of even possible defiance that might interfere with drilling for oil. (See the post Blood, Oil and Ethnic Rule in Gambella.)

Back to the story at hand, the Addis Ababa-based director [chief cadre] of (allegedly an initiative to accelerate poverty reduction by making aid more transparent. Aidinfo is part of Development Initiatives, a UK-based development consultancy) wasn't having any of this. You see according to that wonderful Amharic expression Easterly is "touching his injera" i.e. "upsetting his gravy train" i.e. "narcing him out".

After all how could he continue to pretend to monitor corruption in aid in Ethiopia if the corrupt government thought him disloyal for not responding to Easterly's stubborn refusal to accept the party line? His more immediate bosses in Development Initiatives would also appreciate a stirring defense of their no doubt very profitable enterprise. The aid agencies who pay for the whole aid daisy chain would appreciate a strong defense too.

Hell, the chief cadre probably thought to himself, "if folks listen to the Easterly types of this world who are to proud to shut up and get on the short list for phat consultancies then I might just have to get a real job some day." So he gamely put down his real human skull goblet (a gift from Meles himself), carefully lest a drop of that sweet nectar Cadre Cola spill, stiffened his spine in prospect of a horrid real job (insert dramatic shudder here) where results were actually expected and wrote to Easterly ... his response was posted on Aid Watch.

The aid cadre had this to say in support of business as usual.
according to the official results of the 2005 election, the ruling party won 59.8% of the votes.
Note the absurdity of both parties even referring to 'official results' of an Ethiopian election with straight faces. Easterly's response.
I guess we really left you with a poor impression if you think we can’t even count votes! We were referring to the local elections of April 2008 (the more recent, and hence ‘last’). Human Rights Watch (the source of our original assertion) found, during two weeks of field research in the lead up to the elections, “systemic patterns of repression and abuse that have rendered the elections meaningless in many areas.

HRW concluded that the 2008 elections “provided a stark illustration of the extent to which the government has successfully crippled organized opposition of any kind—the ruling party and its affiliates won more than 99 percent of all constituencies, and the vast majority of seats were uncontested.” An Associated Press article from April 20, 2008 told the same story: “opposition parties said a systematic campaign of beatings, arrests and intimidation forced out more than 17,000 of their candidates.”
The cadre went on to say
the UK does not give budget support to the Federal Government of Ethiopia. Through the Protection of Basic Services scheme, which was introduced after worries about the election, the UK Government provides finance to local government (albeit through the existing financial transfer mechanism via central government). As well as funding health and education, the project includes significant components to increase transparency and accountability of federal and regional parliaments.
The cadre must be going for a laugh here. But sadly probably not. He just doesn't take the organizational mission statement 'making aid more transparent' that seriously does he? Well the founders probably don't either - the whole thing is sounding like a fig leaf for the Lords of Poverty. We've written about this bit of nonsense wrapped in a fig leaf in the post It's Not a Magic Solution. Our point was that paying off Mafia Capos Peter Clemenza or Salvadore Tessio and feeling all noble about not giving money directly to Don Corleone was not only dumb it was an obvious lie.

The fact that Transparency International views Ethiopia as one of the most corrupt nations on earth doesn't matter to the cadre. Somehow the central government run by Meles just might be corrupt you see but such slander can't be extended to even one mini-meles that Meles owns. Easterly responds
But wait, aren’t those the same local governments that just had the rigged elections? A recent article by Aalen and Tronvoll in the journal African Affairs points out that one of the reasons why the ruling party bothered to fix the local elections so thoroughly was precisely because international donors had cut off budget support to the federal government (in the political mayhem following the 2005 elections) and started channeling it to local government bodies instead. (Anyway, we never made any assertion about which level of government received budget support.)

You don’t think we developed our case enough that budget transfers to corrupt autocrats are bad. Fair enough, cases should always be developed more. But for now, which is more intuitive: your claim that aid to kleptocrats is “a way to make the government more accountable to its own citizens,” or our claim that aid money given directly to corrupt dictators is unlikely to reach poor people?
The cadre digs himself in deeper
The British Government's approach of giving some aid in the form of budget support (too little, in my view) is motivated by evidence that in some circumstances this is an important way of building more effective, responsive and accountable institutions.
Easterly rubs it in
“Effective, responsive and accountable institutions”—wouldn’t that include democracy and freedom from corruption? The “evidence” you cite in your post is from a report commissioned by the donors to evaluate themselves. While self-evaluation raises suspicions of bias, even so the support for your claims from this report is a tad on the weak side: “Where a separate governance matrix has been developed, progress is slow…or donors are not satisfied with quality of dialogue…or implementation is weak.”

As for corruption, the same study said that “corruption, and anti-corruption measures, have featured explicitly in the performance matrices and prior actions linked to PGBS. Most often, prior actions related to legal measures, policy development and administrative actions, but, even when formally complied with, such measures have not been conspicuously effective.” Not too surprising—isn’t giving aid to corrupt officials for anti-corruption strategies kind of like giving aid to burglars to install burglar alarms?
The cadre signs off with this supposed to be withering finish
If Aid Watch want to be taken seriously as an aid watchdog, then (a) they'd better get their facts straight and (b) they need to do some proper analysis of the costs and benefits of different choices for aid delivery in different contexts, rather than simply asserting that it is wrong to give aid to and through governments of which they disapprove.
Easterly finishes off
Thanks for your helpful suggestions on how to ingratiate ourselves with the aid establishment by toning down our criticism of bad aid-receiving governments. However, what really matters to us is not whether WE disapprove of a country’s government but whether the CITIZENS of that country disapprove of their own government—and have the right to express it. Judging from recent election practices by the government of Ethiopia, most Ethiopians don’t have that right.
Right On Professor Easterly! He gets it doesn't he? So why aren't people like him running aid programs? Because all of the characteristics required to be a Lord of Poverty, though they are legion, do not include making conclusions from facts, telling the truth, not being deceitful or at least not so desperately internalizing deceit, and taking pride in what you actually accomplish.

Along with Legesse we know many of the aid crowd in Addis read this blog. Well, Nous Accusons! You are cadres. And note that it is not a nice thing to say about someone.

What you do, unless it is purely humanitarian aid, not only helps but is absolutely vital to keeping the dictatorship of Meles in business and to the formation of an Ethiopian civil contract that includes ferenjis and Meles but excludes Ethiopians.

Meles Inc. is inconceivable without the active complicity of otherwise absolutely decent people like you in public and private bureaucracies and think tanks and international organizations every where.

Just like sex tourists, many international aid cadres are people who obey the conventions of law, common sense, and morality at home but seem to lose touch with them all when they have a willing government(to them anyway), natives (who cares if they are willing or not?), and Biblical level poverty to which they can apply their pet theories (which always fail) while getting promoted, getting a fat expense account, and living like Lords in the Ferenji Aid Raj.

With absolutely no accountability.

They just seem to get an itch to just 'try out and idea' every now and then at the expense of relatively rich taxpayers who are hidden from the truth but who instinctively know it is all nonsense and poor natives who just need a healthy dose of good old fashioned capitalism and liberal democracy to do just fine and to no longer need aid.

Anyone anywhere who says different is really saying that they don't want Ethiopians to have the very same opportunities that have let billions of lives on planet earth escape 'poor nasty brutish and short' fates in the span of even a generation.

It is that simple. In a just world it would be the Cadre Cola brand and not the Coca Cola brand that was in danger of leaving Ethiopia.

Wednesday, April 1

Everybody Knows I'm the Heir to the Mengistu Dynasty

Ethiopia's dictator Meles Zenawi is to be Africa's representative at the G-20 summit ... and this is his theme song:
I'm talkin' ta you, Ethis
I’m the African Advocate, y’all thought you had me
Ferenjis brought me back from the dead, business in Somalia

Bouncin' in London throwin' up Weyane, man
Rulin' another 18 years? YES I AM
Y’all like damn, this cadre did it again
Hundred million in just one bank, Lenin above the brim

Ferenjis on the right side
Gun on the left side
Cadres from Addis to New York, know how to throw up the TPLF side

[Chorus - Spill blood, Spill blood, Spill blood - repeat X 2]

Word to the Ethis
I'm so ill, believe me, I’ll kill you all
Fly direct to the White House, next to Bush or Obama 'n' stand tall

Better be glad you breathin'
All I need is one reason
I'm the king, and ferenjis say it Africa need me

Don't care if you Tigray, Oromo, Amhara
Ethis step to me, I don't never say holla
All y'all punks bleed the same color
Make room for Bereket and Li'l Sammy - if they behave
The rest of you Ethis goin' live as my slaves

I don't know why you Ethis keep tryin' me
Everybody knows I'm the heir to the Mengistu dynasty
I ain't got beef with Issias, no beef with Bashir
What's beef when you gettin' paid billions right here?

[Chorus - Spill blood, Spill blood, Spill blood - repeat X 2]

The starving Ethis, I keep 'em on display
Ferenjis pay up so I won’t hurt ‘em again
We play that game laugh then I do it my way

You Ethis better make up a dance and try to get radio play
Keep on snappin' your remotes, I ain't going away
I don't regret what I spit, ferenjis believe every word I say

And Ethis keep talkin' about me, they don't know when to stop
I’m Mao, I’m Botha, I’m Che, I’m Pol Pot
This ain't sh** but a warnin' 'til my Agazi drop
Image & video on You Tube with sincere apologies to The Game.