Paul Bernard Henze, a CIA Operative and Journalist's Advice to Meles to Destroy OLF

Published Jan. 21, 2024, 4:27 a.m. by FNN


Declassified Letter Reveals Journalist and CIA Operative Paul B. Henze's Strategic Advice to Ethiopian Leader on OLF.
In a recently declassified letter, Paul Bernard Henze, a seasoned journalist and former CIA operative, has emerged as a key figure in advising Ethiopia's then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on dealing with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The contents of the letter shed light on Henze's perspective, describing the OLF as a diffuse and amateurish movement lacking a clear political or economic ideology.

Henze's detailed account, addressed to Meles Zenawi, narrates his observations and interactions with the OLF during a critical period in 1992. According to the letter, a friend of Henze, who had traveled to Wallaga as an observer, described the OLF as "favorable, broad as a river, and about one inch deep." This characterization portrayed the movement as lacking substance and depth.

One striking aspect of Henze's letter is his assertion that efforts to make concessions with the OLF were futile. He accused the OLF of destroying infrastructure in Oromia, drawing a sharp contrast with the TPLF and EPLF. Henze went on to criticize former OLF ministers seeking asylum in the U.S. and Western nations, claiming they acted as martyrs but were unable to provide intelligent answers regarding OLF policies.

The journalist and operative advised Meles Zenawi to focus on the economy, suggesting the inclusion of OLF members in the government to sow internal discord. Additionally, Henze recommended weakening the regional status of Oromia as a strategic move.

Henze's letter suggests a self-declared enmity towards the Oromo struggle and the OLF, with a clear intent to undermine and destroy the movement. Remarkably, some of the advice provided by Henze to Meles Zenawi appears to have been implemented by the current regime, the Prosperity Party (PP). The regime absorbed some of the weaker high ranking OLF leaders while stranging and subjecting the unwavering leaders to lengthy imprisonment. 

As this declassified document comes to light, it raises questions about the role of external actors in shaping the political landscape of Ethiopia and influencing government decisions. The revelations underscore the complex dynamics at play during a crucial period in Ethiopian history, with implications for understanding the ongoing challenges faced by the Oromo people and the legacy of external interventions in the region.
Read the whole letter below. 


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