Opinion Editorials, January 2008
US Eritrea Relations:Soured by Design
By Sophia Tesfamariam
ccun.org, January 10, 2008
On 4 August 2004, James Swan, Deputy
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs addressing the 4th International
Conference on Ethiopian Development Studies at the Western Michigan
University, in Kalamazoo Michigan took the opportunity to “discuss U.S.
policy and engagement in the Horn of Africa”, and leveled unwarranted
accusations against the Government of Eritrea and the people of Eritrea. As
if that was not enough, the vindictive, incompetent Secretary of State for
African Affairs sent out another one of her pitiful surrogates, James
Knight, Direct, Office for East Africa, Bureau of
African Affairs, for yet another campaign of misinformation and
deception. This time it was the
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego
that was used to disseminate her venomous and unsubstantiated allegations
against the Government and people of Eritrea.
Neither Jendayi E. Frazer, nor her
two surrogates, or even her boss Condoleezza Rice have ever been to Eritrea
and yet presume to tell others about Eritrea from “reports” and
“analysis” they have cut and paste from dubious sites and personalities
of ill repute. While deliberately exaggerating and fabricating issues
relating to Eritrea, these US officials insist on deceiving the American
public by covering up, downplaying and even denying Meles Zenawi’s
genocides in the Gambela and Ogaden regions of Ethiopia.
They have also emboldened the regime
to violate international law, reject the Final and Binding demarcation
decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission and for the last 10
years, Eritreans in the Diaspora have watched the emergence of certain
groups and individuals-Eritrea’s own Chalabis-groomed and financed by the
US State Department and its many tentacle organizations, as well as the
mercenary minority TPLF regime led by Meles Zenawi, US’ “staunch
ally”. By preventing the
expeditious demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border in accordance with
the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s 13 April 2002 Final and Binding
decision, Jendayi E. Frazer and her cohorts have emboldened the minority
regime in Ethiopia to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories for over 6
years, in violation of the African Union and United Nation’s Charters.
The record is clear, from
undermining Eritrea’s economic development, to sabotaging and manipulating
its nascent press, encouraging civil disobedience and more, the list of
illegal intrusions on Eritrea’s sovereignty by the State Department and
its many tentacled organizations (CIA, NED, USAID, VoA etc.) is long and
sordid. The State Department attempted to hijack Eritrea’s economic and
political development by funding groups and individuals who have worked
incessantly to destabilize Eritrea, isolate the Government and people of
Eritrea, undermine Eritrea’s peace, stability and security.
Allow me to address each of the
issues raised by these US officials for the record. The American public must
not be duped once again into supporting another senseless war. I will also
endeavor to educate the greater American public about the State Department
and its illicit activities in Eritrea that have contributed to the
deterioration of US-Eritrea relations since the Eritrea Ethiopia border
conflict in 2000. Bear with me, it is a long read.
Both officials told their audiences
“Eritrea has experienced economic decline”. Let us examine the
facts. During the armed struggle for independence in all the liberated
areas, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) now the People’s
Front for Justice and Democracy (PFDJ), set up schools and clinics, repair
shops and other small industries to provide for the people in the area.
It’s post independence goals and priorities included achieving food
sufficiency, providing universal health care, equal opportunity for
education, clean water for all, and making sure that there is equitable
distribution of the country’s resources. In order to do that Eritrea
embarked on an ambitious infrastructure development program, and the results
are remarkable, by any standards. Eritrea believes in a self-reliant
economy, for it is the only kind that can be sustained.
Here is a short list of what has
been accomplished, despite the situation that has prevailed for the last 10
years since the Ethiopian war of aggression and invasion in 1998-2000:
Massawa International Airport was built entirely by Eritreans and it
is now one of the most modern airports in the Horn of Africa. The airports
airside comprises a runway of a length of 3500 meters – enabling it to
comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Category
I standard, and can be used by large-capacity aircraft to take off and land.
Construction began in 1999 and is already providing service.
Sawa Airport-also built entirely by Eritreans
Ports and Jetties all along the Red Sea Coastline: Establishment of
Free Trade Zone in Massawa, refurbishing of the Ports of Assab and Massawa
and the construction of several jetties along the Red Sea Coastline to
enhance Fisheries and Tourism related development efforts.
Harena Boat Factory: Started in 1998 and produces different types of
boats ranging from 3-meter small open boats to 25-meter fishing and patrol
Health Services: In addition to the 200-bed Orota Referral Hospital
inaugurated in 2003, regional referral hospitals have been constructed in
Assab, Barentu, Dekamhare, Ghidae, and Mendefera. There are also health
clinics throughout the country. Eritrea has eradicated malaria, polio and
Maternal, child and infant mortality rates in Eritrea have all fallen by
about a third since 1995, a direct result of better access and healthcare
for pregnant women and ongoing nationwide immunization programs. In addition
to building clinics and hospitals the Government of Eritrea has trained
hundreds of health providers, has bought and installed modern equipment, and
continues to enhance its health care delivery system.
Eritrea’s ambitious health
program to combat communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, sexually
transmitted diseases and tuberculosis was set up to coordinate and improve
the treatment and management of these four communicable diseases. Eritrea's
first "free-standing" HIV testing facility represents part of a
nationwide campaign by the government to improve AIDS awareness as well as
care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHAs). At least 20
other such centers have been set up in hospitals around the country and
counselors have been trained. Eritrea is also one of only three countries in
sub-Saharan Africa that will meet the Millennium Development Goals in
Education: In addition to the many Kindergartens, primary and
secondary schools constructed all over the country. The Sawa Training Center
is now providing vocational training in catering, hospitality management,
computer skills etc. the Eritrean Institute of Technology (EIT) at Mai Nefhi,
College of Business and Economics in Halhale, Hamelmalo College of
Agriculture, Hagas Agricultural School, are just some of the many
educational facilities that have been built in addition to the many
satellite schools operating under Asmara University.
Dams and microdams have been built or are under construction all over
the country. Anseba, Gerset, Harenet, Mereb, Toker, Seled Tinkul, and Titri
to name a few of the big ones.
Embankments and terraces: In line with the soil and water
conservation scheme and with the full participation of the inhabitants in
Housing Projects-Throughout the country, the Government of Eritrea is
working to alleviate the housing shortages, especially in the urban areas
and through the Warsai-Yikaalo Program for development, large housing
projects have been completed.
Roads: There is not a single village that cannot be accessed by road
today in Eritrea. The most fantastic rides are the Massawa-Assab road and
the road through the Northern Red Sea Zone. Feeder roads connect all
villages and towns to the major highways, which have been expanded and
Railway: The old railway system has been revived and has become a
special treat for tourists and natives alike
Electricity- The Hirgigo plant in Massawa is providing electricity to
surrounding vicinities that did not have power. Eritrea’s electrification
project is continuing with more and more villages now having access to
electric power. Solar energy and wind energy have also been utilized for
wider distribution and usage of electricity.
Telecommunications- Mobile phones have been introduced and are now
widely used pretty much all over Eritrea.
Reservoirs and access to clean drinking water- More and more villages
are getting access to clean water, more wells have been dug and the effort
So, if this is a sign that Eritrea
is going backwards, in order to make a fair comparison perhaps these
officials can tell us what Ethiopia and others in the region have
accomplished in the last 10 years. Contrary to what they have been telling
their audiences, Eritrea’s economy is not heading backwards; the facts on
the ground speak otherwise. Mr. Swan’s and his neocolonialist colleagues
are upset because Eritrea has rejected the tried and failed World Bank and
IMF development models that have crippled African economies and sustained
poverty, as opposed to enhancing development in Africa.
On the issue of the G-15 or “the detained Government officials”
Neither Swan or Knight, or their
boss, Jendayi Frazier, know anything about the G-15 or the Eritrean
People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) or the history of Eritrea. I doubt that
the audience Mr. Swan was addressing or the media that Dr. Frazier was
addressing know about them either; but that does not matter, because the
intention is not to inform them of the truth, but rather to paint an ugly
picture of Eritrea by jumbling the issues and misrepresenting the facts. To
them, they are just political “sound bites”. But since they mentioned
them, allow me to shed more light on that issue.
They should know that, even though
the Government of Eritrea has not to date disclosed fully the information at
its disposal, there is ample evidence that shows how US intelligence
agencies were embroiled, at the height of Ethiopia’s third offensive in
May 2000, in instigating acts of sedition and treason, including attempted
liaison with Ethiopia, within a small ring of senior government officials
[known as G-15]. There is no need to shed crocodile tears for the
predicament of this group of Eritrean officials. The Government and people
of Eritrea are handling this delicate issue of national concern with great
care and magnanimity. It should be recalled that the State Department and
its hired guns labeled the coup makers “reformists” and launched a
vicious slanderous campaign against the Government of Eritrea and its
supporters inside the country and in the Diaspora.
Mr. Swan told his audience that the
“G-15” were missing. If he knew anything about them, he would know that,
out of the 15 original members, 11 are detained in Eritrea (for crimes
against the State), 3 are outside Eritrea-2 right here in the USA, and 1 is
living and working in Eritrea. Of the three in exile, Haile Menkorios is at
the United Nations (he was hired by Kofi Annan at the height of the Eritrea
Ethiopia conflict). The other is Adhanom Gebermariam and he earns his keep
by churning out anti-Eritrea articles on enemy sites such as Asmarino.com
and Awate.com for use in the annual reports produced by the State Department
and organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Mesfin Hagos is somewhere in Europe, trying to stay relevant by making
periodic appearances in cyberspace.
As far as those detained in Eritrea
are concerned, there is not a single foreign entity (much less the US State
Department who is primarily responsible for their predicament) that could
care more about their well being than the people and government of Eritrea
who are most saddened with the events that led to the detention of these
individuals. The Government and people of Eritrea will resolve this very
painful issue in their own way and do not need to be continuously harassed
by self-serving individuals and groups that contributed to their delinquency
in the first place. These folks are not in Guantanamo Bay or some unknown
secret CIA prison in some godforsaken place. They are in Eritrea, amongst
the magnanimous Eritrean people who have, for over 30 years, sacrificed
their own safety and security to provide these EPLF veterans, shelter from
ruthless western backed Ethiopian regimes.
Finally, I doubt that the detainees
would approve of the evil campaign against Eritrea that has been
orchestrated in their name.
The issue of the Independent Press in Eritrea
The Government and people of Eritrea
opted to close down the “independent press” that had mushroomed in
Eritrea in 1999 for two reasons: they had seized being independent and were
endangering the peace, stability and security in Eritrea and disrupting the
unity of the nation. In addition, they had violated Eritrea’s Press
Proclamation No. 90/1996. Internal and external groups and individuals
hijacked their “independence”. They ended up becoming mouthpieces for
forces that sought to destabilize Eritrea in time of war. The arrests of
these persons in Eritrea had nothing to do with them being
“journalists”. Eritrea has a rich history of journalism and do not need
to be lectured by those who abuse and use the Press as political tools.
For a better explanation of who they
were, I will refer to reports written by Neil Skene, an American journalist
hired by the State Department to conduct “training seminars” for
journalists in Eritrea between 1999-2001, during the Eritrea Ethiopia border
conflict, to give the readers a bit of background and facts that neither
Reporters Sans Frontiers (I call them reporters Sans Couth), or the State
Department ever mention. In a matter of 3 years, the budding journalists
turned from nationalists to enemies of the State. How did this happen? Well
let us take a look at what Neil Skene has to say.
On 24 April 2002 Neil Skene wrote
the following about the detained journalists:
“…I know most of them, because
they were my students in three weeklong training programs financed by the US
State Department over the past three years. What they lacked in experience
they made up for in dedication to learning to be journalists in a country
that had no experience with journalism. During breaks, we drank cappuccino
in a cafe downstairs from the American Cultural Center. They took me to
their favorite places for dinner and invited to me to their offices, which
were usually drab rooms with peeling paint, sparse furnishings, a couple of
computers and sometimes a single window …”
So far so good…there is more.
On 01 October 2001 Neil Skene wrote:
“…On my first visit, in
October 1999, the mood was very different. The journalists were novices.
Patriotism among them was high. They were eager to form a press association
to organize further training sessions…By my second visit a year ago, the
journalists were more skeptical about the failure of the government to
introduce democracy. They were still something of a ragtag band and retained
the mild manner endemic to their culture, but they were no longer naive.
They discussed continuing to meet informally…”
It was in May 2000 that the
Ethiopian regime launched its third offensive causing the displacement of
hundreds of thousands from their homes and villages. I suppose Neil Skene is
talking about the National elections, which were postponed, for obvious
reasons. Why would that raise the skepticism of these journalists, if they
were truly nationalists? What did Neil Skene discuss with his students in
their “informal” meetings? When two of the “journalists” in his
class, Milkeas Mehreteab and Semere Taezaz, escaped in 2001, they contacted
Neil Skene and within days, the State Department arranged for their entry
into the USA at a time when the country was still recovering from the
terrorist attacks of September 11. Soon after the arrival of the two
journalists Milkeas Mehretteab and Semere Taezaz, the anti-Eritrea media
campaigns began with CPJ in the lead and Neil Skene working in tandem with
them. Here is what he writes about Dawit Isaac, one of the detainees:
“…Dawit Isaac, was one of my
students. He worked for the largest and most pro-government of the papers,
Setit. It was his newspaper that most clearly signaled the end of naivete
about President Isaias' democratic intentions. The paper wrote an editorial
gently suggesting it was about time to implement the six-year-old
There was nothing naïve about Dawit
Isaac or the “journalists” courted and groomed by Neil Skene and they
are not detained for their “gentle suggestion” to implement the Eritrean
Constitution. He neglects to mention the role of the journalists in the
campaign against in by members of the G-15 and their sponsors in the
Diaspora, of which he is one. The Eritrean Constitution was ratified in
1997, shortly before the border conflict with Ethiopia began. The war did
not end until 2000 when the Algiers Agreements were signed. With hundreds of
thousands displaced from their homes, homes, schools, hospitals and vital
infrastructures destroyed, “implementing the Constitution” was not a
priority…Eritrea’s security, stability and sovereignty were.
Let us see what has become of Neil
Skene’s “journalism students” who managed to leave Eritrea under
-Milkias Mihretab, was awarded the
Percy Qoboza Award from the U.S.-based National Association of Black
Journalists and also Amnesty International’s 2002 Special Award for
Human-Rights Journalism Under Threat. He was issued a US visa in Sudan and
brought to the US just weeks after the September 11 attacks. He was the most
vocal “journalist” in exile and stayed in close contact with Nail Skene.
-Khaled Abdu, co-founder and former
editor in chief of Admas, became a recipient of Human Right Watch’s
-Aaron Berhane, writer and editor at
Setit, now living in Canada is also a recipient of Human Right Watch’s
-Kidane Yibrah Beyene, a reporter is also a recipient of Human Right Watch’s Hellman/Hammett grant.
-Semere Taezaz Sium, a reporter at
Keste Debena was brought to the US and was awarded Human Right Watch’s
What were they being rewarded for?
After all, they were not established “journalists” with any record to
speak of. What was Neil Skene teaching these Eritreans? How did the
“nationalists” turn into runaway defectors and informants? Whose
interests were they serving with their publications? A lot of unanswered
questions remain. If there is one thing that Eritreans have, it is patience.
We will wait to find out.
The advent of the Internet, and
opportunity it allows for all citizens to play an active role in the process
of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information
has diminished the role of the mainstream media, as we know it. In my
opinion, the issue of the independent press in Eritrea neither warrants the
attention of nor is it of any concern self serving organizations who have
contributed to its closure in Eritrea. Eritrea is a very young nation and
for those who have been watching the institution building process in Iraq
and Afghanistan, at a cost of several billions, will appreciate the growth
and progress in Eritrea, considering its limited financial and human
resources, not to mention the incessant interference by those seeking to
destabilize the young nation.
William Blum, who left the State
Department in 1967, noted that amongst America's prison population of more
than two million, there are probably at least a few hundred who have
practiced journalism at one time or other, in one manner or other. Can we
then say that the USA has imprisoned hundreds of “journalists”? I hope
Mr. Swan and others will understand, once and for all that the
“journalists” in Eritrea were not detained for their “criticisms” of
the government. It serves no purpose to continuously state otherwise when
the State Department itself is complicit in that sordid affair. The State
Department and its hired mercenaries should stop insulting the Eritrean
On the issue of the implementation of the Eritrean Constitution
In Eritrea a very conscious and
healthy democratic attitude has been cultivated over the long and bitter
struggle for independence. There is also no connection between democracy and
having a written Constitution. Britain and New Zealand stand out as strong
democracies and yet do not have written Constitutions. Where citizens of a
country have no sense of democracy, a written Constitution, however
eloquently it proclaims democracy, will be insufficient to guarantee it.
Democracy depends on certain values such as tolerance and trust, which
cannot be secured in a Constitution.
I am by no means implying that
Eritrea should not fully implement the 1997 Constitution, nor do I have
doubt that it will. I say fully because most of the articles in the
Constitution are being implemented. The one that has the destructors and
defectors up in arms is the one that deals with the national elections.
Suspending certain Constitutional rights during war is not unique to
Eritrea. The fact that national elections have been postponed does not mean
that Eritrea is not implementing the other articles in the Constitution.
There are articles that call for the defense and security of Eritrea, for
equal opportunity for health care and education for all Eritreans, for
developing Eritrea’s infrastructures and developing laws and structures in
support of the Constitution are ongoing and cannot be achieved overnight
etc. etc. all of which are being implemented Conducting elections is not a
determinant of a democratic system. We need not go further than Ethiopia to
see that an election every 5 years does not produce a democratic state.
The process of adopting a
Constitution is as important as its substance. The process must be
legitimate, and in order for it to be legitimate, it must be inclusive. With
thousands of Eritreans in the frontlines defending Eritrea’s sovereignty,
and the country held politically hostage in a no peace, no war situation,
holding national elections cannot be a priority. The stability and security
of the State is. Elections are not new to Eritreans who have held democratic
elections for various positions within the EPLF during Eritrea’s long
struggle for independence. Eritrea has, since independence, conducted
several local elections for the people’s assemblies, local courts etc.
etc. not to mention the worldwide referendum on Eritrea’s independence.
When Eritrea conducts its national elections, it will be all-inclusive, free
and fair, just as it has been in the past.
Eritrea’s role in the region
Jendayi E. Frazer and her surrogates
are telling their audiences that Eritrea was destabilizing the Horn region.
Eritrea’s record is clear.
Eritrea has been instrumental in the
Sudan achieving peace after the decades long war between the North and
South. Eritrea has also helped resolve the Eastern Sudan problem, which
culminated in the signing of a peace agreement in Eritrea on 14 October
2006. Today Eritrea is involved in the Darfur issue and is seeking to find a
lasting solution to that problem at the invitation of the Government and
people of Sudan.
In Somalia, Eritrea has called on
the international community to respect the rights of the Somali peoples.
Eritrea has provided a peaceful venue for Somalis to engage in dialogue to
resolve their issues. Eritrea is promoting peace and stability in the region
while the US backed minority regime in Ethiopia is working day in and day
out to destabilize the region by waging aggressive wars of expansion and
invasion. The TPLF regime is also militarily occupying sovereign Somali
territories as well as sovereign Eritrean territories.
While the fact that the minority
regime in Addis has been financing various Eritrean “opposition” groups
including the Eritrean Islamic Jihad is well known and documented, little is
said about the role of the State Department sponsored groups and individuals
who have been working to destabilize Eritrea. For the record and for
brevity’s sake allow me to mention a few known and verifiable facts.
The State Department has been
funding Paulos Tesfagiorgis’ illicit activities against the State of
Eritrea and its people (see http://www.ned.org/dbtw-wpd/exec/dbtwpub.dll)
for years. This individual’s history of betrayal is too long to be
detailed in this one piece. Suffice it to mention that he is considered one
of Eritrea’s most notorious traitors. His dubious activities before
Eritrea’s independence in 1991 and his activities after independence are a
matter of public record and known to all Eritreans. It is no wonder then
that he would be the person leading the anti-Eritrea campaign in the
In western capitals, betraying the
trust bestowed upon them by the people of Eritrea, Paulos Tesfagiorgis
partnered with runaway disgruntled diplomats such as Hibret Berhe, Adhanom
Gehbremariam, Haile Menkorios (hired by Kofi Annan ), Mesfin Hagos and
others, he set out to blemish and tarnish Eritrea’s image and present
Eritrea as a pariah in the international arena. While the Eritrean Diaspora
overwhelmingly rejected Paulos and his coterie, they were welcomed and
cuddled by the State Department. These mercenary individuals, Eritrea’s
“Chalabis”, set out to wreck Eritrea’s international image and are
today shamelessly (not surprisingly) celebrating the latest assault by the
State Department on Eritrea and Eritreans living in the United States.
In 2001, encouraged by their
handlers, Paulos Tesfagiorgis and his coterie called on all Eritrean
“…to organize and petition the
US, EU, other governments as well as non-governmental organizations,
including Amnesty International, as part of a sustained political,
diplomatic, and economic campaign…For Eritrean-Americans, a good place to
start with respect to the new struggle is the Asmarino.com [an anti Eritrea
website] database that houses contact information of the approximately 5000
individuals …will need to build an informal and consequently formal
network that is action-oriented… Through this network, letters will need
to be drafted, finalized, and distributed to US government representatives,
World Bank, IMF, Amnesty International and other organizations…will need
to be disseminated electronically, i.e. inside popular Web-sites, as well as
physically, i.e. attending forums… Diplomatic efforts should result in the
total alienation of the regime, leading to the imposition of sanctions and
freezing of development aid…”
While the State Department funded and courted the “opposition” and plastered their names and pictures on a flurry of “alerts” and posters, and provided them with airtime on Voice of America and the BBC, the Eritrean Diaspora turned away in disgust.
The frenzied western media led by
VoA and BBC, recycled and amplified the unverified reports laundered by the
above-mentioned individuals and groups. Their pages were filed with stories
of “dissent”, “crack’, “reform”, etc. etc. Economic and
humanitarian aid to Eritrea was stopped. US led western governments, who
were looking for ways to subdue independent Eritrea, found a way.
Eritrea’s own children, encouraged and funded by NED and others, served
their cause, by inventing the most brazen lies about the Government of
Eritrea and especially the People’s Front for Justice and Democracy (PFDJ).
Their camping in the Diaspora was categorically rejected and it failed
Today, most of the defectors and runaway disgruntled diplomats and members of the “opposition” are eking a living hiding in western capitals doing menial jobs and living on handouts, cursing the darkness and hiding their shame. Talk about fall from grace!
Adding insult to injury, the Thorolf
Rafto Foundation awarded Paulos Tesfagiorgis in 2003 for his efforts against
the government and people of Eritrea. Paulos has been fleecing NGO funds
throughout his adult life and is still doing so today raising the “human
rights” and “democracy” mantra. Today, the anti Eritrea campaigns have
intensified and the “opposition” is working closely with the TPLF regime
as it prepares to launch another ill-advised attack on Eritrea.
As if all that was not enough, in
2005, the State Department turned its attention on Eritrea’s youth. Again
through NED, it funded a group calling itself the Eritrean Movement for
Human Rights and Democracy (EMHRD) to translate and distribute manuals on
civil disobedience. This group comprises of young Eritreans who were sent to
Universities in South Africa for higher education. The Government and people
of Eritrea borrowed 50 million dollars in order to give young Eritrean men
and women an opportunity for higher education outside the country in South
Africa, UK, US and other places.
These young men, wooed by Paulos
Tesfagiorgis and Dan Connell, are now engaged in anti-Eritrea activities in
the Diaspora. While the Government and people of Eritrea are left to pay the
debts incurred for their education, these young men are gallivanting in
western capitals maligning the Government of Eritrea through State
Department sponsored and funded “seminars”, “youth forums” etc. etc.
Dan Connell, known to many Eritreans for his book “Against all odds”, in
which he chronicled the Eritrean people’s long and bitter struggle for
independence, was now working to reverse it by funding and teaching young
Eritreans subversive techniques he learned (from the CIA).
According to the NED site, the young
Eritreans are “developing a manual for non-violent resistance, which they
will print in several Eritrean languages”. These manuals according to NED,
are to be distributed throughout Eritrea and the Eritrean Diaspora. I got a
copy and read the manual, it neither promotes “human rights” nor
“democracy”, and it encourages anarchy and lawlessness. It says a lot
about Dan Connell and his real reasons for spending so much time in Eritrea
in the years leading up to independence. It is an open secret that he was
there, not to tell Eritrea’s story, but to plant the seeds for future
discord, hence his obsession with the G-15 and now Eritrea’s youth in the
On the issue of USAID being kicked out of Eritrea
Neither Jendayi E. Frazier nor her
surrogates bothered to tell their audiences why USAID had to leave Eritrea.
She didn’t bother to tell them about Kevin Turner, a fundamentalist
Christian, Todd Nettleton, another extremists and others who entered Eritrea
posing as “humanitarian NGOs” and “journalists”, recruited and hired
by the State Department through USAID. The activities of these
“Christian” fundamentalists in Eritrea are a matter of public record.
The Government of Eritrea did not ask USAID to leave for no reason; it told
the US Ambassador that it was not “comfortable with its activities in
Eritrea”. Any sane person can see why.
These individuals and groups using
“religious freedom” as a pretext, encouraged civil disobedience,
provoked conflicts within long established religions in Eritrea,
“harvested” new churches etc. etc. forcing the Government to take action
to protect its citizens. It passed a new law requiring the registration of
all Churches including a submission of their funding sources etc. In
February 2004, the State Department put Eritrea on its list of “Countries
of Concern” for taking actions to protect the people of Eritrea from those
who were working hard to disrupt its harmonious and exemplary religious
institutions that have thrived in Eritrea for over 1500 years.
The State Department’s activities
in Eritrea are not indicative of those who want healthy and good relations,
quite the contrary. The increasingly hostility and negative propaganda
against the Government and people of Eritrea is not winning the hearts and
minds of Eritreans. There is little confidence in the US Administration’s
ability to use its influence to bring peace, stability and security to the
region. On the contrary, it is seen as a destructive force bringing with it,
more misery, more chaos and destruction.
The State Department must respect
Eritrea’s sovereignty and stop meddling negatively in the internal affairs
of Eritrea. It should promote the rule of law and respect Eritrea’s
national laws. US-Eritrea relations can improve with positive and with
continued constructive and informative dialogue, not by disseminating
distorted information through its many institutions of higher education or
think tanks. Undermining Eritrea’s economic, political and social
development will not help mend US-Eritrea relations and will not secure US
interests in the Horn of Africa.
The Government and people of Eritrea
have remained silent throughout the past six years hoping that the State
Department would mend its ways, but to no avail. It is time to speak up and
divulge the sordid facts and let the American public know the facts about
the State Department and what is being done in their name.
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!
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