The CIA in Ethiopia
Tales of the American Empire

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a presidential “finding” under the National Security Act authorizing the CIA to conduct a nonlethal campaign to support democratic resistance to the communist Dergs and the CIA budgeted 500,000 dollars a year to help the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Alliance conduct a worldwide propaganda war against the Marxist government. This group was led by wealthy Ethiopian landowners who had fled their nation after the communists seized their property.

Reagan labeled Ethiopia a threat to the world, and was one of four nations he targeted for regime change. Reagan wanted to arm Ethiopian “freedom fighters” as part of the “Reagan Doctrine,” a concerted effort to roll back Soviet gains in the Third World, but the US Congress refused to provide funds. As a result, the CIA raised funds itself.

It is unknown if the CIA wrked with its friends in Hollywood to create the 1985 “We Are the World – Live Aid” fundraiser, or just diverted the money flow. Most evidence comes from a March 3, 2010 report by Martin Plaut of the BBC that published evidence millions of dollars worth of aid for the Ethiopian famine were diverted to buy weapons by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, a CIA backed group trying to overthrow the Ethiopian communist government. Rebel soldiers said they posed as grain merchants to receive cash they used to buy arms. The report cited a declassified CIA document saying aid was “almost certainly being diverted for military purposes.” One rebel leader estimated 95 of the 100 million dollars raised by the charity effort was used to buy weaponry.


Related Tale: “The Sordid History of the CIA”;    • The Sordid History of the CIA  

“Ethiopian Famine Aid Spent on Weapons”; Martin Plaut, BBC; March 3, 2010; this is the “corrected” article from months later after the BBC editorial board reacted to threats for printing the truth;…

Audio of the original report can be heard here:…

“Ethiopia’s Contras”; MERIP; March 1987;…

“Ethiopian Security Police Seized, Tortured CIA Agent”; Patrick Tyler; The Washington Post; April 25, 1986;…

Related Tale: “The American Empire Invades Africa”;    • The American Empire Invades Africa  

Related Tale: “The Empire’s 2021 Coup in Guinea”;    • The Empire’s 2021 Coup in Guinea  

“Americans are WILDLY Misled About Ethiopia”; Jimmy Dore Show; January 29, 2023;    • Americans Are WILDLY Misled About Eth…  

“UN agency suspends food aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray amid theft”; AP; May 1, 2023;…

Related Tale: “The CIA in Angola”;    • The CIA in Angola


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UK government accused of sponsoring human rights abuses in Ethiopia

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