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.

<< Home