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Martin Plaut: allergic to truth about Eritrea

Hirgigo Power Plant is receiving a multi-million dollar extension project that will be completed soon. Minor glitches at the plant caused Martin Plaut to lie and say power is out in Asmara for the last two weeks.

Martin Plaut: allergic to truth about Eritrea

Martin Plaut, a former BBC correspondent, and longtime supporter of the Ethiopian regime, has made another wild claim about Eritrea. In his recent blog post, he says, "It has been almost two weeks since there has been any electricity supply in Asmara". This surprised many people, considering dozens of Eritreans, politicians and tourists tweet from Eritrea on a regular bases. In pointing this out, Milena Bereket, an Eritrean living in Asmara, tweeted:

It is not uncommon for power supplies to go out from time to time for various reasons (critical parts wearing out, natural calamities, human error, etc) in developing countries. They happen regularly even in the most industrialized countries, too. But when such incidents take place in Eritrea, this is when former journalists like Plaut gleefully turn a semi-truth into an exaggerated lie.

According to Yemane G. Meskel, a senior Eritrean official, the Hirgigo Power Plant experienced 'technical and logistical glitches' that did cut off power supply. However, these glitches certainly did not last for two weeks and were sporadic in nature. The official also mentioned SFECO, a Chinese company based in Shanghai, is conducting a multi-million dollar 2*23MW extension project of the power plant, and according to Yemane, will be completed 'soon'.

Of course this isn't the first time Plaut smudged the facts for political consumption. Over the years, Plaut has made a number of ridiculous exaggerations and outright lies about Eritrea. It should be recalled, during the fake coup drama in Eritrea, in which Plaut was heavily involved in spreading disinformation, he tweeted a number of 'unconfirmed' tweets in the hope of causing panic and mayhem in Eritrea.

It seems Plaut doesn't really care about ethics and facts; he just wants to sell a lie about Eritrea. This point was made clear during the sixty-seventh General Assembly, in which member states were to vote on Palestine obtaining a non-Member Observer State status at the UN. During this event, Plaut went ahead and tweeted Eritrea voted against Palestine, well before the voting even took place. For the record, Eritrea voted in favor of Palestine obtaining a non-Member Observer State status.

Martin Plaut caught lying once more

So why is Plaut obsessed with demonizing Eritrea?

To answer this question, you have to know who Plaut's close friend (Patrick Gilkes) is. Gilkes, who is a British citizen and a former freelance journalist, was infamous for spreading disinformation and slanderous news about Eritrea in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, Gilkes did such a good job at defaming Eritrea in the media that the Ethiopian regime even hired him as a strategic planning advisor for the Ethiopian Foreign Minister in 2004.

According to UK citizen Patrick Gilkes (strictly protect) who is now a strategic planning advisor to the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, in the summer 2008 TPLF party Congress, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi did not receive the most votes for party Chairmanship.  Allegedly, former Mayor of Addis Ababa and currently the State Minister for Works and Urban Development Arkebe Equbay, long a TPLF Politbureau member, received more votes than both Meles and Seyoum Mesfin, the Foreign Minister and TPLF Vice Chairman. Gilkes argues that, recognizing the center of gravity surrounding Meles, Arkebe declined the party Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship.  Gilkes reported that the vote of dissent stemmed largely from lingering frustrations among the party over the still-unresolved territorial dispute with Eritrea over Badme (which the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission awarded to Eritrea in 2002, but Ethiopia continues to claim and occupy) as well as over the economic down turn which has taken a huge toll on the Tigray region. - Source: U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, via Wikileaks

In addition to being close friends, both Plaut and Gilkes have written dozens of articles and a few books about Eritrea and Ethiopia; and not surprisingly, all were biased in favor of Ethiopia. So from a business point of view, it pays to demonize Eritrea and praise Ethiopia.

What separates Plaut from journalists in the region is his constant loathe of Eritrea. Despite Plaut writing about the Horn of Africa for over a decade, he has yet to say one positive thing about the country or its leadership. Keep in mind, this is a man who praised Meles Zenawi, the late Ethiopian despot, as a "towering intellect", even though he is responsible for deaths of tens of thousands of his own citizens.

But this is to be expected of Plaut. As the saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Demonizing Eritrea has become his comfort zone. After all, for him to seriously criticize the despotic Ethiopian leadership would be treason to his friendship with Gilkes, since his job security would be called into question for not keeping his close friend on an even closer leash.

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Martin Plaut: allergic to truth about Eritrea Reviewed by Admin on 11:48 AM Rating: 5


  1. Whether martin or Satin or Gergish said it doesn't matter but are we claiming that Asmara is getting its daily electricity supply this time ..I am not trying to help the journalist "martin" or who ever you call him but what about you guys who only report half part of the truth.

  2. This is called the straw man argument. According to wiki, a straw man argument "is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

    The author(s) of this post acknowledged a power outage had occurred, and backed it up by giving a direct link to Yemane G. Meskel, who is a presidential advisor. So it makes no sense to accuse them of speaking part of the truth when they told the entire story; both the good and the bad. What Martin did was exaggerate this outage by stating it lasted for two weeks, which it did not.

    How do we know Martin is lying? Because called Eritrea four days ago and had an hour conversation with my sister who is visiting the country for the entire summer, which is exactly when Martin is claiming electricity in Asmara was/is down. I know Martin is lying because we used electricity to communicate and not smoke signals.

    IMO, this post gives a complete picture, and provides credible sources for its claims. Martin on the other hand, provides no sources, no hard evidence, just a one way exaggerated lie.

  3. Ermias I understand your argument ,Nevertheless check again ,In places sembel,Godaif,gejeret at least the places I have been calling they all told me Electricity have been around 1 hour per day ,which according to my friends is if you don't charge your mobile at that hour,then you have to do it in some electronics shops who have generator.
    Any way ,lets forget that Martin or any other we Eritreans dont need an outsider telling us how we are performing,but lets be truthful to our selves too.
    Have you seen articles about constitution ,rule of law ,justice,the unlimited national service,about why Eritreans flee from their beloved home crossing the boarder (taking big risk) and again to the deserts ?
    I believe we are only talking half (one side) of whats happening in our country,

  4. To madote.

    Please block Das Hawya because he has changed the topic of the article written about in order to peddle the 10 year old anti Eritrea talking points.

  5. Correction.

    *Written above" the word about was a typo.

  6. @Daniel ... whats the problem with giving an honest opinion.Did I comment with a derogatory words or with disrespect. You know Daniel if my opinion or the questions I raised is incorrect and if you can correct me with a reason I would gladly accept.

  7. I agree all you have said.

  8. Das hawya, the article is not reporting "half lies" - they admitted that there has been power outages but not to the extreme that Plaut is saying.


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