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Thursday 4 August 2011

Sarah McDermott | 10:31 UK time, Thursday, 4 August 2011

Newsnight tonight investigates allegations that billions of dollars of long-term development aid money is being used as a tool of political repression in Ethiopia.

Andrew Verity will be asking if the West is heading for a second economic slump.

And as the government's new e-petitions website crashes with people trying to sign a range of petitions including one calling for the return of capital punishment, we'll be asking if it is really time to reinstate the death penalty in the UK.

Join Kirsty for all that and more at 2230 on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    'considering if we should see the return of capital punishment just because more than 100,000 people have signed an e-petition saying they would support the move'

    I'm not a big capital punishment fan (lifemeanslife yes), so the arguments pro and con will be of interest.

    I just hope the twitterati can resist the temptation to go down the "public not as wise as 'we" are' route in any debate. Again (EU, AV referenda, etc).

    So who gets invited on and/or asked to 'consider' will, one is sure, be a treat.

    Especially if it transpires that enthusiasms for the power of 100k+ petitions can be variable depending on the degree of agreement with the premise, or not.

  • Comment number 2.


    IF! MPs were chosen for integrity, wisdom and HONOUR (rather than for the rosette worn, and war-chest funded party-advertising) then we might, reasonably, delegate to them the right to decide on judicial killing.

    As things stand, that bunch of cipher-ninnies, happy to kill Johnnie Foreigner in job-lots, while refusing to let caring relatives help their desperate old folk to die, are IN NO DOUBT that they 'shalt not kill'. What a witless charade.

    For the avoidance of doubt: knowing that our 'Justice' is currently as bent as all the other major functions of state, I will sit on the Capital Punishment fence yelling:


  • Comment number 3.

    No so much a second economic downturn as a continuation of the first one after a brief respite created by massive borrowing and money printing which are now reaching the limit of their effectiveness to delay the collapse.

    The fundamentals that caused the initial collapse have not been dealt with, only a surge in growth can prevent large scale default of endebted economies. That growth is nowhere in sight in any of them..a fact which is now becoming hard to deny or disguise / dress up in political rhetoric eh George ???

    The ones first in the crosshairs are of course peripheral European countries who, being hitched to the strong German economy via the Euro can not de-value to help themselves.

    They will be the first to fall, it remains uncertain if a further firewall can be put up between them and the global economy after they do fall (and they will) which effects nations in control of their own financial destiny. There may be another pause or it may flow on unchecked..I dont know.

    The UK would probably be the next on the list I would say as being the most vulnerable after peripheral europe and will probably represent the breaching of free market capitalisms last bulkhead that caused the whole ship to finaly sink when the history of this time is written.

    I guess there would be a kind of historical symmetry if that does indeed play out as I suspect it will, the USA flag will be the last to disapear below the waves before a new economic model is created. Certain countries which are already well balanced will survive relatively in tact while all this goes on but for those heavily relient on the continuation of the current status quo it will be a massive shock, there will be a collapse in living standards over a very short period to something akin to eastern europe levels I would guess.

  • Comment number 4.

    we'll be asking if the West is heading for a second economic downturn

    We are still in the waves from the earlier one. These things take years to work through and only historians will tell our children how long it lasted when we are long gone.

    When will there be some mainstream honesty about this together with some real advice on what individuals (rather than sovereigns and financial institutions) should be doing to protect ourselves?

  • Comment number 5.


    Money pundits who assure that "in the end, the overall trend is always up" are the financial equivalent of 'inventors' of perpetual motion machines.

    Their mantra caveat is as true for Life the Universe and Everything, as it is for investments.


  • Comment number 6.


    We are effete battery hens. If the infrastructure goes down . . .

    Douglas Adams had it covered. Paper bag over the head. That's more than millions of battery hens will get.

  • Comment number 7.

    Well the economic debate has disappeared from the order above. Things must be just fine after all, despite a FTSE fall of 6% in two days and other worrying matters in Europe.

    Move along.......

  • Comment number 8.

    'billions of dollars of [ ] money is being used as a tool of political [ ] in [ ]'

    While I can empathise with the Ethiopians, currently what is happening to tax money at the hands of political sea cucumbers closer to home is frankly more a concern.

    And if the public doesn't have any more, even the state sector pensions may struggle to again get another injection to make up any shortfall.

  • Comment number 9.

    E-petitions are such a demeaning way for the subserviant lumpen proles to have to plead to the feudal lords to kindly consider this or consider that on our behalves.

    Let's cut out the middle men and DEMAND E-DEMOCRACY!

  • Comment number 10.

    Is the West heading for another economic slump?

    If you are in doubt, then read this...

    The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

  • Comment number 11.


    Are we heading for a second global financial crisis?

    (feral as in wild and out of control, without regulation, anarchistic, libertarian and anti-statist)

  • Comment number 12.

    Government's e-petition website crashes on first day

    Ha, ha, ha, ha…the poor plebs!

  • Comment number 13.

    "In Europe, there were two triggers for today's global selloff (or the "classic capitulation", as Knight Capital MD Peter Kenny has dubbed it), a stark warning from José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, and the monthly press conference from Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the ECB.

    Barroso's comments were the most stark, as he called for Europe's leaders to re-assess the financial stability mechanisms designed to hold the eurozone together. His comments, just a fortnight after a €109bn rescue deal for Greece, were ideally timed to alarm investors.

    If the head of the EC believes we don't have enough firepower to protect the eurozone, the theory goes, why should anyone else? Barroso's comments have gone down particularly badly in Germany."

  • Comment number 14.

    SPOILPARTYGAMES (separate words) E-PETITION LODGED (#12)

    Responsible department: Cabinet Office

    "The leader of any political party should be, personally, legally responsible, for any coercive deception, committed under the party name or logo, during a General Election."

    Just need a 100,000 signatures. Then Dave can veto it. It's in the rules.

  • Comment number 15.

    Muse # various.

    Its traditionally my job to berate the stock market parasites and we could easily be on the brink of a total global stock market meltdown, which will inevitably cause all the Banks to go bust, and with them lots of FTSE listed companies. Of course if we idly stand by and do nothing the result could end in serious civil unrest, but perhaps we need to take the following approach.

    1. Nationalise all the UK listed Banks, and then if the companies they have lent to can't stump up the cash, ( no asset stripping allowed ) nationalise them also.

    2. Introduce a Citizens Income at a level where everybody can afford to keep warm and dry and have a full belly.

    3. Introduce a tax system where it pays dividends in tax credits to employ people and prescribes a maximum wage for those not directly employing others.

    4. Established small business should be able to stand on its own feet, but the individual units of FTSE companies need to be converted over time into workers cooperatives.

    5. All mortgages which go into default converted into National Council Houses, and their occupier charged a suitable rent, ( no need to throw anyone on the street )

    By doing the above it should be possible to reach a position where all cash savings are valid up to the 85k bank limit, all National Savings accounts retain full value.

    In this way the National Bank will have money to invest in our future !

    Rough outline anyway, anybody else got any ideas ?

  • Comment number 16.


    Good start !

    A prerequisite to all of the above would of course be to drive out the infestation in Westminster as non of those guys would have a clue what to do when faced with a real crisis which required real leadership outside of the parameters discussed with their mates in the clubs in London and the yachts on the mediterranean.

  • Comment number 17.

    #15 brossen

    I'm on your wavelength

  • Comment number 18.

    "Andrew Verity will be asking if the West is heading for a second economic slump."

    Please try to get it through your heads that this is the very start of a repeat of the Long Depression - stagnation and slumps will be the rule fro a generation. Capital will be destroyed for over a decade. Everyone will get poorer, not just the poor - who by the way will do the worst! Your pensions will become progressively more and more worthless year after year. Your houses will fall in price year after year. These are the new normal - Get used to it.

  • Comment number 19.

    Family of albino Muslims terrorised after one of them marries a Christian man

    'There ARE too many immigrants in the UK', say seven in 10 Britons

  • Comment number 20.

    Excellent debate. Let's hear from Schiff and Griffiths more often, and Tett as much as ever. It's just a pity that Ed Balls or some other Keynesian fantasist wasn't there to be ripped apart. Well done Newsnight - a pleasant break from the establishment worldview.

  • Comment number 21.

    Finally you have a financial pundit on who is years ahead of the others: Peter Schiff. When you have Max and Gerald on as well, then I'll know the penny has finally dropped for the producers of Newsnight. There is no shame in waking up late.
    Well done. This show could still be saved from the axe.

    Suggestions in savinig Newsnight:

    The Warkster: 3 days a week
    Pax: 2 days a week
    Gavin and Hussain: Holiday cover

    Urban and the other fella whose name escapes me at present: They both do a good job. No changes there then.

    Smith: he should have his own show. Your lucky you got him.

    No more appearances from Prescott and Campbell.

    There you go Newsnight peps. Your already halfway to been saved if you implement my suggestions.

  • Comment number 22.

    #19 "'There ARE too many immigrants in the UK', say seven in 10 Britons"

    That's as nothing Kev, wait 'til Turkey join the EU!

  • Comment number 23.

    "VIBRANT ETHNIC MIX" (#22 link)

    I went to London with my dad once - probably 1951. I saw A black man - and stared. In those pre-vibrant days, dad worked for a London company his whole working life, and never once lamented lack of vibration. The firm he worked for never went broke for want of cheap labour, nor did the management tear their hair out for lack of ethnic food or variegated streets. When you asked the way . . .


    So someone tell me what is so good about a city flooded with Manglish speakers?
    Might 'vibrancy' be more of a burden than a plus, in the final analysis? We regard fish and chips as a national dish, but we got along fine before Sir Walter imported the first vibrant spud.

    Time we stopped talking rubbish we cannot afford. British vibrations for British indigenes.

  • Comment number 24.

    "...billions of dollars of long-term development aid money is being used as a tool of political repression in Ethiopia."

    What tonight's investigative journalism has shown is just the tip of the iceberg of the reality of the country. Things in Ethiopia are far worth than what has been mentioned in the Newsnight report. The tyrant Meles is terrorising his own people while the west plays the double standard game of treating him as an 'ally against terror'. The close circle of the tribal gang of Meles, including his wife and others from similar ethnic origin are having a complete control of all sphere of the countries political, military, economic and business lives. The recent international data released showed that $8.4 bln has left the country illegally to be deposited in foreign banks in the last decade. On top of the well documented human rights abuses, the regime has forcibly displaced tens of thousands people by selling their land to companies from India and China.

    As long as the politicians in the UK, whose ethics & morality were exposed during the expense scandal are not learning their lessons and continue to flirt with dictators, the witnessing of this appalling tragedy and shading crocodile tears will continue. Do you think the policy makers don't know these facts about Ethiopia? They were widely evidenced and documented for more than two decades by independent journalists, international human rights organisations and activists. I am sure you remember how some were quick to put pressure on the last brave BBC journalist, who researched the same subject going back to the times when the current leaders were rebels, and how they practiced the similar abuse of aid money inhumanly starving their own people.
    When is the west going to learn that setting foreign policies based on short term interests by propping despotic regimes would lead to paying back a heavy price to the long term interest of the people in their and other countries' concerned? Are there any lessons learned in this regard from the recent Arab uprising vis a vis Uk's foreign policy?

    Sooner or later the Ethiopian people will also rise and get rid of the tyrannical regime, but the UK is expected if not supporting people to win their freedom at least to stop elongating their suffering by being a life line to the brutal and dying regime of Meles Zenawi.

  • Comment number 25.


    Reading the posts on here, the more I understand of the true functioning of the world and its all encompassing extent, the less I want anything to do with it.

  • Comment number 26.

  • Comment number 27.

    '26. At 08:27 5th Aug 2011, brossen99 wrote:

    He said the Prime Minister’s hopes were ‘staggeringly far-fetched’ and warned that the subsidies will put people on the dole and lead to higher energy prices.

    Whilst appreciating the majority of the £4Bpa national news broadcaster are on extended school hols and could not manage holiday cover, along with our government, as this is a person whose policies do seem to be often analysed very carefully by the BBC, perhaps this aspect is worthy of further investigation?

    Or is it an area where watertight oversight is deemed more appropriate in the circumstances? Some truths can be more inconvenient than others, and the edit suite is a useful tool.

    Unemployment, energy prices and blackouts are sooooo last season when the prospect of a Prescott vajazzaling (bikini lines can be very telling when grabbing a few moments atop a 5* hotel whilst 'rapporteuring' climatically) can excite the pre-production team so much more.

  • Comment number 28.

    IMPOSTOR! (#26)

    That is NOT the Dave Cameron who saved the NHS. This is:

    There is a LAW against FALSE INTRUMENTS intended to apply UNDUE INFLUENCE to the voter-mind.

    Dave would not break the law to gain votes - would he?

    Perhaps there are TWO DAVES! After all, we now know 'Tony 2' rather well - No 2 doesn't 'smile' like No 1 did. Can it be that


  • Comment number 29.


    Your final paragraph pure poetry Junkk. A 'paste gem'.

    "Unemployment, energy prices and blackouts are sooooo last season when the prospect of a Prescott vajazzaling (bikini lines can be very telling when grabbing a few moments atop a 5* hotel whilst 'rapporteuring' climatically) can excite the pre-production team so much more."

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 30.


    The Bible (being spin) does not record how Noah spun The Ark, to God, but clearly he did.

    God intended to cleanse the world, yet Noah managed to fill a boat with all the old rubbish - including a bunch of Noahs!

    Don't look now - but we are ALL descended from a deceitful illusionist, and the most adroit become politicians. Does it show?

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 31.


    Clear suggestions for how to get to a better Britain. They would certainly comprise a very different country from this one. But how do we displace the underlying, entrenched, perverse, nihilism of post-industrial political motivation, from the lever-room of governance?

    Just WATCH the higher practitioners of power - at home - Europe - America - in Machiavellian action, WITH YOUR SENSITIVITY CONTROL HARD OVER TO 'RIGHT' and all is revealed. (See 'Noah' above.)

    It is deeply poignant that St Tony thought (past tense advisedly) he was fighting the last battle between GOOD and EVIL. But he totally failed to realise which side he was on. The world is an a very deep hole, and digging like MAD.

    See you at Milliways guys.

  • Comment number 32.

    Just had a look at e-petitions, it's not working is it?

    One of the most popular petitions, "keep formula 1 on the beeb", very political that!

  • Comment number 33.


    Blimey, not even a long dead AND ficticious individual metaphor can escape your bile today.

    What did the non-existent ever do to you?

  • Comment number 34.


    None escape! (:o)

    PS Cracking Koan Gromit!

  • Comment number 35.

    #23 "Time we stopped talking rubbish we cannot afford. British vibrations for British indigenes."

    Won't be long Barrie before we cease to be english.

  • Comment number 36.

    Looks as though the systems working well, taking us back to live like peasants! : (

  • Comment number 37.


    If the site were ever going to work Lizzy, my submission would have been found unacceptable. Does government I-T ever work?

    I wonder if anyone is writing the book that tells how we went from English to Manglish - step by step - all the decision-takers and promoters, NAMED. We shall need those when the revolution comes. . . Was this plan in any manifesto?

    Not sure Nick'll fix it now. And impostor Dave (the less pretty Dave) having buried his beautiful NHS-saving alter-photo, looks set to make a phenomenal mess of everything.

    Now we see why all you need on the voting slip is 'X'. Who needs English!

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 38.

    May cramp future 'guest lists'.

    Or maybe not.

    It can all be sorted in post.

    'Questions only 'might' be asked, depending'.

  • Comment number 39.

    Bubble Deflates

    There is a reason for the markets to exist , that is to find the true value of a commodity , a company , a currency or even a contract.
    What is the true value of something ?
    What is its worth ?
    That is its purpose of the markets.

    When governments interfere with the markets by politically | ideologically driven regulation or by extraordinary methods (QE for example), they distort this market function by creating incentives for mal-investments to become profitable.

    So with the above said.

    The Keynesian economists are in retreat , with funny money turned off in the UK , the End of QE is in sight in the USA and with the 750 billion Euro fund still tightly locked away in a German safe, there is little to distort the markets with now.

    So I say let the markets readjust, let them establish the true unmanipulated value of commodities , shares , currencies and contracts.

    Great to see Mr Schiff on NN :)


    Didn't Mr E . Burke go on to lose his seat and thus ended up becoming the MP for a rotten borough, Dunnewold on Sea ?

    On the EU matter.
    MPs can not have it both ways ,claiming that they are sent to Parliament to use their best judgement to make laws for the land , then to only abdicate those responsibilities by handing it to over to a even more unaccountable body to make the laws instead.
    Sir, that is a argument for a unaccountable government, as unacceptable today as rotten boroughs would be.

  • Comment number 40.

    Finally the Office for Budgetary Responsibility has started to bite the hand that feeds it - Mr Chote has admitted the Austerity Plan's essential ingredient - economic growth - isn't going to deliver at the essential level for the plan to work, so the government's whole strategy of reducing the deficit has had it.

    That's not to say that we shouldn't TRY to reduce it - the problem is that we now know the existing plan won't work - indeed if you factor in today's meltdown all the indicators suggest it will MAKE THINGS WORSE.

    But we have Treasury Ministers saying that the austerity plan is still in place and they will press on regardless. Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely given the meltdown today and the deepening crises in Euroland & the USA, who in their right mind would even consider taking up to a TRILLION POUNDS IN AGGREGATE DEMAND out of thev UK economy, when there is no possible source of growth in demand left out there to simulate our economy and the impact of the sell off and potentially Credit Crisis II any moment?

    Consumers are out of their depth in existing debt, falling real wages and trying to make ends meet with price increases caused by the devaluation of Sterling - and the government is now proposing to add the additional load of extra taxes and reductions in services?

    This is LUNACY - IT CANNOT POSSIBLY WORK - a teenager doing GCSE economics can see that the figures won't add up.

    We are now in the same situation as the Irish government was immediately after the credit crisis broke - having a large deficit and a knee jerk reaction to it - austerity - except the UK is not in the Euro and is a much bigger economy with a lot further to fall.

    The Irish austerity plan caused a rapid and deep recession, which shank tax revenue and swelled welfare costs - and left the Irish government unable to finance its debt - the shrinkage in their economy effectively locked them in.

    We are about to commit the same mistake - the collapse in confidence and growth globally leaves the UK in a much worse position than the Irish faced.

  • Comment number 41.

    'UK not immune to eurozone debt crisis'

    Justine Greening, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury insists it is vital that the government press ahead with its deficit reduction plans despite fears of a slide back into recession as the eurozone debt crisis grips the world's stock markets.

    Ms Greenway simply cannot be allowed to get away with this oxymoron.

    The deficit reduction plan is based on some hard numbers and those numbers include a minimum level of growth - if the tax receipts don't hold up and the welfare bill rises due to unemployment rising etc, then the gap between income and expenditure widens, AND THE DEBT RISES.

    Mr Chote from the government's own Office for Budgetary Responsibility has now gone public ahead of his next formal report to admit there is now no way the government will come within a country mile of this growth target, whilst the IMF who support the principle of deficit reduction also do not believe the UK will achieve it on the current stagnant economy performance.

    This is EXACTLY what Mr Osborne's allies in Fianna Fail did in Eire - press on with austerity, kill off growth and drive their economy into recession - tax take fell - welfare spending ballooned out of control - they were then trapped between the debt servicing costs and their ever-reducing ability to pay it.

    The devaluation of Sterling has not produced growth via exports, but it has led to imported inflation via energy, fuel and manufactured good prices, already hammering demand whilst real incomes are falling heavily - now to press on with taking a further £110 Bn out of the economy which translates into up to £1 Tn in aggregate demand is so breathtakingly stupid it beggars belief.

    There is a HUGE HOLE in the government's economic strategy - no one can seriously claim that the figures add up anymore - to press on regardless of the sea of icebergs on the horizon is stupiity, irresponsibility or politically motivated dogma - i.e. to grab the opportunity to slash & burn government spending regardless of how much long term damage it does to the economy.

    Perhaps Ms Greenway would care to tell us precisely what economic event would prompt the government to review its economic policy?

    A global meltdown in stock markets? Just happened.

    Another major crisis in thr wolrd financial system? On the horizon.

    Our main exports markets in trouble? They are already.

    A global crisis in bond markets? Under way.


  • Comment number 42.


    I dont know what you are talking about.

    Positive US job figures just released and house prices are on the up again.


    Just joking of course.. you are right, heck we have been saying this for years.

    Here is another oxymoron which seems to get mentioned a lot nowadays by very influencial people.

    'Sustainable Growth'


    I wish journalists would have the courage to ask the simple questions sometimes instead of feeling the need to ask complicated ones within the framework of an ever more complicated fantasy financial world.

  • Comment number 43.


    I have reported, in some detail, that the Conservatives broke election law in 2010, but that it was not picked up, because no watchdog authority exists so to do. (The Police were busy elsewhere.)

    I am now (in addition to pursuing the Liar Flyer) investigating the applicability of 'Misconduct in Public Office'; a bit of Common Law that applies VERY STRICTLY to any MP who arrogantly brushes aside information of a political act, THAT IMPINGES TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE PEOPLE GENERALLY. (An example might be refusal to take seriously, notification of a conservative Liar flyer, and to proceed on information received with integrity.)

    Bizarrely: I can find nothing in the various codes of conduct for Westminster Creatures, that warns them they (technically) risk life in prison, if they commit MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE!

    Westminster was surely perverse in allowing the 'Representation of the People Act' ever to see light of day (although Con/Lab later killed a strengthening amendment). It is, perhaps, significant that the COURTS, THEMSELVES, generated this Misconduct law.

    I guess Westminster is in a sort of Freudian denial; hence no warning to MPs.

    Interesting times.

  • Comment number 44.


    Priceless. (Is that axiomatic?)

    Annie Machon's favourite is: 'Military Intelligence'.

  • Comment number 45.


    Just set me off on a train of though as to the origins of the 'sustainable growth' oxymorons drift under the radar of what is possible and into the domain of the 'accepted impossible' without question.

    I guess at the turn of the last century and, until quite recently, the expectation was that we would be so clever by now that we would have colonies on the moon (remember Space 1999? Buck rogers in the 21st century and its ilk) etc etc.

    I guess, similar to the expansion of the universe, if you make the universe our playground, then, to all practical intents, purposes and timescales 'sustainable growth' is possible and maybe that optimistic technological society vision in the 50s,60s and 70s allowed this idea to become entrenched in the psychy and the economic model.

    More recently, in the last 30 or so years I would say, it has become obvious that we will not be colonising the moon or travelling by anti gravity personal transporters to Alpha Centuri any time soon. We are pretty much stuck here and making more and more copies of ourselves consuming more and more stuff we cant replace more and more order to ... well ... grow ! Oxymoronic indeed!

    Language has alot to answer for, few people actually realise what they are saying, relying on convention to shape their understanding of the words coming from thier minds.

    So, the next time George Osbourne says 'sustainable growth' (and he will) can a lonesome journalist pipe up...

    ' George, isnt that an Oxymoron' ?

    See what he says.

  • Comment number 46.


    An excellent ponder Jericoa.

    Have you noticed that George does the blank stare, identically to Limited Ed? If it spreads through all 640-odd, we will know 'they' are among us.

    In the meantime, I shall put it down to their being 'Honourable Members'.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 47.

    oh please not the hang 'em and flog 'em brigade....enough already....

  • Comment number 48.

    The allegations about the supposed misuse of development aid to Ethiopia in Newsnight of 4 August were dishonest and intellectually slippery to the point of being dishonest. The programme asserted a connection between allegations of human rights abuses and western development aid without a shred of evidence that the two issues are in any way connected. Allegations of discrimination against opponents of the Ethiopian government on political grounds were reported as fact, with virtually no attempt to subject them to critical scrutiny. The presenter's definition of the purposes of UK development aid at the end of the segment -- all about promoting democracy -- was fatuous, obviously invented to enable the programme to assert that UK aid was a failure. There was a bland, unstated assumption that development aid targeted at improving the lives of the desperately poor is a legitimate instrument for punishing human rights abuses, implying that rights such as freedom of expression and free trade unions are more important than giving the poorest people access to safe drinking water, medical care and education: a proposition that is morally repulsive. There was also an unspoken implication that if Ethiopia had not received development aid from Britain and other western countries, its government would not have been able to adopt measures to discriminate against opposition parties at elections, which is palpably ridiculous.

    The opportunity given to the deputy head of the Ethiopian embassy in London to reply to this hotchpotch of unsupported allegations, based for the most part on false assumptions, was derisory to the point of being insulting. It would have required at least half an hour to disentangle this hopeless mishmash of accusations and innuendo in order to rebut them. Buried in the mess were some serious questions about human rights abuses in Ethiopia that would have been worth pursuing. But using them to try to discredit development aid to one of the poorest countries on earth was inexcusable.

  • Comment number 49.

    that Ethiopian diplomat made me sick. He could have not been more obviously corrupt, unable to answer many questions put to him at all, but changing topics in the reply as many UK-University educated British politicians still try to do - less so, in recent years.

    ethiopia is a country that spends vast amounts on its military, whilst being ruled by a small 'elite' - very similar to North Korea, but without as much of the advanced totalitarian infrastructure, relying more on tribal loyalties, and fundamentalist Christianity. It has been recognised for *many* years that food aid was being used for internal political advantage, even to the point of starvation for entire areas, who had differing political allegiances from the current elite. It seems clear that with tWoT, the Bush Regime deliberately allowed the Ethiopian Regime to use "anti-terrorism" as an excuse to commit political repression, and even wholesale ethnic cleansing - and the pay-back for Bush was having the Ethiopian army invade Somalia, to crush the popular, and respected, Islamic Courts Union - leaving Somalia to once again fall back into violent anarchy (peaceful anarchy is usually called "democracy"), and the splinter group Al Sabab to become ever more fundamentalist and extremist. And the people of Somalia without a central State to organise food distribution, agricultural investment, and food storage for bad harvest years.

    the events in Somalia are in large part the direct responsibility of the Ethiopian dictatorship, and its enthusiastic supporters in Washington.

    Ethiopia is the local mini-superpower, preventing development in neighbouring states, spending vast sums of money on arms and quelling domestic political/ethnic/religious groups, its leadership corrupt, wealthy and uncaring about the people - but always ready with a NewSpeak platitude. Sort of like a weaker version of Israel, but in East Africa.

    it would be a lot easier to debunk these political-lizards if there was a transcript of the show each night. Surely there might be a handful of stenographers who might be interested, perhaps on the NN facebook page, a collective effort?? (i'm lousy at organising such things, but i'm completely certain it would become an instant hit with bloggers/twitterati!!).

    despite what the p-poor-propagandist says above, in fact Kirsty gave the diplomat far too EASY a ride, if she had used that well-respected tactic of repeating questions until they get answered and not fobbed off, he would probably have broken down, he was clearly unused to even that mild level of criticism and actual research. However, what she DID do, was allow us the viewers to see that politicians in other countries are just as slimy and corrupt as many of OUR worst ones, without causing the offence that could have resulted both in a severe diplomatic spat, and also led to further Ethiopian Regime restrictions on the delivery of food and aid to those most needing it.

    its a very difficult tightrope to walk, one might imagine.

  • Comment number 50.

    muse, something you'll like, but bounces all over the place. Much of current events in there, at various places. :)

    (i didn't actually get my [bleep] handed to me on the second page, i knew everything he said already, just didn't reply in that thread. True! ;) )


    more on the recent history of Somalia, why it is in such a mess, especially regarding the warlords:

    - the first link on that page, to the BBC, has changed, and i *think* this was probably the same article elsewhere:


    #15: AWESOME post, brossen!

    #24 ealemu: absolutely spot on, hope you continue posting here.

    #26/#27: from your article:

    "It says the UK’s £5billion subsidy to renewable electricity generators in the eight years to 2010 was the equivalent of paying every worker in the wind industry £230,000. Each job in the wind industry was subsidised to the tune of £54,000 last year."
    "The Commission’s study suggested that Spain would gain 120,000 jobs under current green policies, rising to more than 150,000 if subsidies are increased, the report said.
    "But Britain stands to lose 10,000 jobs under the current anti-global warming regime, potentially rising to 30,000 if policies are speeded up"
    "A spokesman for industry body RenewablesUK said the figures used by Mr Constable were not a reliable guide."

    i suspect non-kkkorporate, locally-owned SMEs would have required less 'subsidy', and made less large political donations. The UK needs low-carbon, renewable, locally-owned energy production, it doesn't need more kkkorporate control over essentials - especially when kkkorporates are incredibly inefficient, ...except at nobbling politicians, reducing oversight and accountability, and misdirecting Govt investment into their own bottomless tax-haven accounts.

    i don't know if it just me, but when these tabloids run stories like this, why don't they add the links to the mentioned articles? Could it be perhaps because we would then easily realise how/what they are spinning? Take that article: reading it, is there ANY explanation in there what is so unique about the UK that Spain will get nearly 150,000 new jobs through Green investment - but somehow the UK *loses* 30,000 jobs? In fact, *every* other county is looking to gain jobs through such investment - yet only the UK and US will "lose" jobs by this. Can someone explain WHY this is?? Because the only common element *i* can see is that both countries have wing-nut media...


    this is a very interesting link:

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course it comes as no surprise that Ethiopia's corrupt, oppressive and violent government uses foreign aid money to commit genocide and wanton maimings and assaults. That's the modus operandi of many such countries, as is both obvious and well-known. Many such countries also routinely include most foreign aid money in their annual budgets as pure slush, a big bucket for their own enrichment and/or finance of mass murder, and have done so for a very long time. Once again, no surprise there. This is what you get when the standard practice is to hand aid cash over to the thieves and killers (and, judging from the interview with the Ethiopian official, bald-faced liars as well). This donation protocol is a precise madness, being the one thing you should not do. The ultimate in stupidity also describes it well. The donor countries could just as well set the cash afire for all the good it'll do, and they know it.
    And now the horror and realities of the Ethiopian regime are dragged out into the open for all to see, and the other governments start listing their excuses to do nothing; the state of the world's precious money further contributes to the dynamic, and the never-changing cycle of humanity goes on.
    It's tragic (and darkly fascinating, really) that what with world currency and the weather and the pointless grind of Afghanistan, the dynamic becomes one of fear, jadedness and collective cowardice..... and the world can sit on its hands in the face of the unthinkable, the absolutely intolerable. This indifference of man for man is the greatest horror of all; it is the seed of self-destruction.

  • Comment number 52.

    'Development aid money used as a tool of political repression in Ethiopia'

    Another hatchet job by BBC, minus mention of Bob Geldof who held BBC's feet to the fire only recently over another groundless report on Ethiopia, for which BBC apologized.

    To interview hand picked Somali Ogaden rebel supporters in Kenyan refugee camp about Ethiopian human rights abuse, is like interviewing Al-Qaeda supporters in Afghanistan on U.S. and British human rights abuse…Any reporter who did the latter would be laughed out of a job, but a racist double standard persists when reporting on non-Western people.

    BBC’s report never once mentioned ethnic Somali rebel (ONLF) machine gun massacre of 75 Chinese and Ethiopian oil workers asleep in their beds, easily found in BBC archives. Nor did BBC mention murder and kidnapping of UN workers by same rebels, all part of government’s reason for conducting counterinsurgency in Somali border region.

    BBC aired yet another lazy report masquerading as objective thinking, Rupert Murdoch would be proud.


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