FBI aware of TPLF's terrorist activities: Genocide Watch

By Abebe Gellaw / January 23, 2013
(ESAT News) -- Genocide Watch, the Global coalition to end genocide and mass atrocities, says that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is well aware of the fact that the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) is a terrorist organization that the United States should label as such.

In an exclusive interview with ESAT, President of Genocide Watch, Prof. Gregory Stanton, said any specific threats from TPLF agents and operatives in the United States should be reported to the FBI right away. "The FBI has got the TPLF already in its sights. It knows very well that the TPLF is a terrorist organization," he said.

He also pointed out that the U.S. should declare the TPLF a terrorist organization and made clear that efforts would be exerted to bring that to the attention of the concerned authorities. TPLF is already registered in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), kept by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, a center of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

He noted that TPLF's assassination plots and criminal activities in the United States would have serious ramifications on the questionable relationships it has with the Government of the United States. "First of all, FBI will try to hunt them down, arrest them and put them in prison. Secondly, it will have ramifications on the foreign policy of the United States towards Ethiopia because the TPLF is still in charge of the government there."

He urged the government of the United States to seriously review the assistance it gives to Ethiopia in light of the criminal activities of the TPLF. "Our government should have a hard look at the kinds of assistance we are giving to Ethiopia since it has a criminal regime in charge of the government."

Special FBI Agent Greg Comcowich told ESAT that the agency would take seriously any criminal activities that violate not only the civil rights of individuals but also the constitution of the United States.

“Anybody who threatens people’s lives because of their political views or attempt to usurp one’s constitutionally protected First Rights Amendment will be dealt with appropriately. That is not the way America works,” he said.

He also noted that the FBI takes allegations of being agents of a foreign government very seriously. He encouraged Ethiopians who feel threatened to contact their local FBI branches.

Prof. Stanton advised that Ethiopian exiles should not take any inkling of threats lightly. "The justice department has never declared the TPLF a terrorist organization the way it should but it is clearly the arm of a criminal government, which is the TPLF government in Ethiopia. The FBI needs to be aware of any inkling of threats against anybody, any Ethiopian. If they are threatened they need to report to the FBI."

He pointed out that it is outrageous to try to persecute and threaten anyone for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech in the United States. "We have perhaps the freest speech in the world here. It is not free speech to conspire to commit a murder. That is a violation which is not protected by our First Rights Amendment," he noted.

The Genocide Watch chief underlined the need for Ethiopians to get organized to fend off terrorist threats by the TPLF and its agents that are illegally trying to violate the civil rights of Ethiopian exiles by spying and intimidating them into silence. "It is helpful to organize to challenge an organized group like the TPLF. That is why we need organizations like FREE and solidarity movement...The best antidote to a criminal organization like the TPLF is a legal organization," he said.

The Forum for Rights and Equality in Ethiopia (FREE), a coalition of 18 international and local advocacy groups, is under formation to make a global effort to press for change in Ethiopia. Genocide Watch is among the founding members of the new international front that will be launched once all the groundwork is complete, it was learnt.

Regarding members and supporters of the TPLF that claim political asylum in the U.S. under false pretense of facing persecution in Ethiopia, he pointed out that if anyone becomes a member and supporter of the TPLF in the U.S., the main political persecutor and tormentor in Ethiopia, that person would lose his or her claim to political asylum in the Unites states. "That person should be sent back to Ethiopia because they would not be under any political persecution at all as members of the party that carries the persecution out." In his message to Ethiopians, Prof. Stanton called on them to be steadfast in their struggle for freedom and justice and never lose hope. "Eventually the TPLF will fall. Those who are committing these kinds of acts of terror should also be aware that they are eventually going to be held accountable for their crimes. We are keeping their names. So don't ever be under the illusion that we will forget them," he said.

Professor Stanton, who was a Yale-educated lawyer, is globally recognized for successfully leading an international effort to bring leaders of the Khmer Rouge to justice for committing genocide and mass atrocities in Cambodia. He founded Genocide Watch in 1991 with a mission to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder. Genocide Watch has already identified Ethiopia under the TPLF as one of the few countries in the world facing serious risk genocidal conflicts.

In his message to Ethiopian across the world, Prof. Stanton called on Ethiopians to be steadfast in their struggle for freedom and justice and never lose hope. "Eventually the TPLF will fall. Those who are committing these kinds of acts of terror should also be aware that they are eventually going to be held accountable for their crimes. We are keeping their names. So don't ever be under the illusion that we will forget them."

Meanwhile, a coalition of political and rights groups fighting for justice have issued a strong-worded press release condemning the recent alleged assassination plot in Boston. The group, Joint Actions Coordinating Committee of Ethiopian Political & Civic Democratic Forces, demanded the U.S. government to take appropriate measures against the terrorist regime in Ethiopia which has been committing gross human rights violation and extrajudicial killings.

“We also ask the FBI to investigate and expel agents of the Ethiopian government whose sole purpose is intimidating and spying on the Diaspora, and indulging in illegal activities including transfer of funds for top government officials to the U.S. and to offshore accounts,” the released said.