The following is a statement posted by Ato Mesfin Mekonnen (Dr Taye’s agent) on the EEDN email list in response to Ethiopian Review’s expose of the egregious lies he told the Washington Post. Ato Mesfin insists that he and Hailu Shawel were in Congress on Tuesday, Oct. 3, when the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 2003. On the other hand, Ato Hailu told the Washington Post yesterday that he came to Washington DC on day earlier, Oct. 2, held a meeting with Congressman Smith and returned to Minnesota early Tuesday, Oct. 3 without going to Congress to witness the bill pass.
So who are we to believe here? Hailu Shawel? or Mesfin Mekonnen? As a matter of fact, both of them are lying.
Ato Mesfin’s statement is posted below unedited:
From: Mesfin Mekonnen
I am going to comment on the article by Elias Kifle of October 5, 2007 published by the Ethiopian Review. There were several errors of fact that were presented as corrections to my previous writings. For example this piece stated that “the Sept. 21 issue of The Hill newspaper falsely reported that Kinijit delegates Gizachew Shiferraw and Brook Kebede do not support H.R. 2003, while Hailu Shawel does.”
Engineer Shawel has repeated over and over in public discourse his enthusiastic support for passage and enactment of H.R. 2003. Please check this out with Congressman Chris Smith’s office for confirmation. So, this first assertion about Engineer Shawel is obviously untrue and the “blatantly false report” is that of the ethiopianforum.com. H.R. 2003 has received bipartisan support from Chairman Donald Payne and all the Democrats and Republicans on the House Subcommittee on Africa and in turn from the Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee Congressman Tom Lantos and all the Democrats and Republicans on the full committee.
I cannot speak for the EPRP, as I am not a member of that organization. We should focus our writings and activities on achieving Senate support for H.R. 2003. Then the piece goes on to say, “Yesterday, another false report appeared. This time it was in the Washington Post which reported that Ato Hailu Shawel and Ato Mesfin Mekonnen were at the Congress when the vote H.R. 2003 took place.”
The piece went on to add, “The fact is that Ato Hailu was and still is in Minneapolis getting medical treatment. Ato Mesfin was also not there on Tuesday.”
This statement is absurd on the face of it! Attendance at Congressional sessions are hardly anonymous affairs and the presence of Ato Hailu Shawel and myself was noted by dozens of members, staffers, press, and other interested persons. To state the contrary in light of such obvious proof is to act the buffoon — (for what end? Serving what purpose? to whose benefit?).
So, it continues, “Asked to correct the report, Nora Boustany, the Washington Post correspondent who wrote the report, responded ‘they were both sitting in the gallery and I reached them by cell phone while the session was going on. You can probably find out by contacting the office of Rep. Smith. You can check this out independently.'”
Who asked the distinguished journalist Nora Boustany, the chief Diplomatic writer for the Washington Post to ‘correct’ the report? Her response was quite clear and even directly quoted in the piece in ethiopianreview.com.
This is the verbatim quote from Ms. Boustany as published on that site:
“they were both sitting in the gallery and I reached them by cell phone while the session was going on. You can probably find out by contacting the office of Rep. Smith. You can check this out independently.”
What part of “both sitting in the gallery, reched by cell phone contact(ing) the office of Rep. Smith” is even discussable?
The only correct use of the word “correct” is the usage by Ms. Boustany politely requesting of the Ethiopian Review to correct its false assertion regarding Engineer Shawel’s and my attendance at the Congressional vote!
Not to end there with his double flip backwards – untruths, i.e. stating untruths, repeating the untruths, citing the Post for not having the facts, being corrected by the Post after publication. He dares to persist to demand that the Post correspondent
“correct” her truthful statement to further the goals of Ethiopian Review whatever they are.
He goes on to say, “This is the work of Ato Mesfin Mekonnen, an EPRP operative in Washington DC who is recruited by Taye to join the now defunct KIC (keysi).” Anyone who knows of my involvement over the years in the Ethiopian-American community knows that I am not now or ever have been a member of EPRP. KIC is far from
“defunct”; it is alive and well under the direction of Dr. Taye and placed at the service of Engineer Hailu Shawel.
He ends with a jaw dropping statement that can only be answered with: HUH??? That
“The misinformation can easily be discovered and disproved.”
Of course it can! I just did that!
Then he closes:
“misinform(ing) the American media the way he (Mesfin Mekonen) did acting as a representative of a major Ethiopian opposition party can have a negative impact on the whole Ethiopian community.”
I am almost at a loss for words as to how to describe the outrageous accusation here. It is as if Elias Kifle was really not in support of H.R. 2003, or democracy, human rights, and development in Ethiopia. Perhaps we should learn more about his position and motives. Just whom is he supporting — and — JUST WHO IS SUPPORTING HIM FINANCIALLY!