Rebels with a grudge and the anatomy of a damning smear – Independent

March 5th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

The BBC’s claim this week that $95m of aid to Ethiopia had in fact been spent on weapons was incendiary, threatening to undermine future aid efforts. But, says Paul Vallely, it does not stand up to scrutiny. (more…)

The BBC’s claim this week that $95m of aid to Ethiopia had in fact been spent on weapons was incendiary, threatening to undermine future aid efforts. But, says Paul Vallely, it does not stand up to scrutiny.

Live Aid millions spent on arms,” headlines have said all over the world in the past few days after a year-long BBC investigation announced it had found evidence that millions of dollars earmarked for victims of the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 went to buy weapons.

It was, on the face of it, a highly damaging story which could undermine the extraordinary generosity of the public to give to the appeals launched whenever a major disaster strikes, as it has in Chile and Haiti in recent weeks. But examine the BBC report and it slips like sand through the fingers. What follows is the anatomy of a slur.

The story, by the BBC World Service’s Africa analyst, Martin Plaut, said that in 1985 the rebels of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front diverted 95 per cent of the aid sent to the north of Ethiopia into its fight to overthrow the government of the time. He quoted two senior rebel soldiers as saying that rebels had dressed up as merchants to trick aid agencies into handing over large amounts of cash, purportedly to buy food. To back up the claims he cited recently released CIA documents and quoted a senior US diplomat as saying that at the time they had believed that aid was “almost certainly being diverted for military purposes”. It all sounds incredibly damning – until you ask who is making these allegations.

The most senior rebel is Aregawi Berhe, once a commander in the rebel army. Or at least he was until the mid-80s when he fell out with the other leaders of the TPLF, most particularly with Meles Zenawi, the rebel who went on to become the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and who – revealingly enough – is facing a general election in Ethiopia next month.

Aregawi fled to Holland, from where he has for years conducted vehement attacks on his erstwhile colleagues, Meles Zenawi in particular. “Not only did he defect under very political circumstances,” said one Western aid monitor who spent years in Tigray at that time, “but he was in a different part of the country during much of this time.” Indeed one partisan Ethiopian website has claimed, Aregawi left the TPLF before the clandestine cross-border import of food from Sudan even began.

There are doubts about the good faith of the other rebel official quoted in the BBC story. Gebremedhin Araya was a senior figure in the TPLF’s finance department. He was photographed dressed as a Muslim merchant counting the money after selling sacks of grain which were really, he said, filled with sand. But Gebremedhin too was purged by the TPLF and fled to exile in Australia.

So the core of the BBC story rests on the claims of two individuals with a grievance against the current Ethiopian government and a track-record of attempts to discredit it – and it comes at a time when it might do maximum damage to the Ethiopian prime minister just ahead of elections. That does not mean they are wrong, but it sets up reasonable doubts. Alarm bells ought to have begun ringing at that point.

They ought to have rung louder at some of the discrepancies in detail. Aregawi Berhe claimed that the British aid worker in the photo, Max Peberdy of Christian Aid, had handed over $2m. But the charity insists that Peberdy had only $500,000 for his entire grain-purchasing mission. Yesterday Pederby said that the deal in the photograph involved only $60,000.

“We bought from different merchants each time,” said Nick Guttmann, director of emergency relief operations at Christian Aid . “We paid in Ethiopian birr, not dollars, which is what international arms traders demand from those who want to buy guns. We checked the grain – not every bag – but random sampling in the techniques used by professional port surveyors. We went to see the grain distributed. The idea that we just handed the money over and then walked away is preposterous. We had proper systems in place and we always do.”

The BBC report gave added credence to the rebels’ claims by quoting a recently released CIA document which suggested some aid was “almost certainly being diverted for military purposes”. But close scrutiny of the document shows it is dated April 1985 – three months before the Live Aid concert even happened. A later CIA document, dated July 1985, after Live Aid, makes no mention of aid cash going on arms in rebel areas.

Finally the BBC programme quoted Robert Houdek, the most senior US diplomat in Ethiopia in 1988, the year after the TPLF overthrew the Mengistu dictatorship in Addis Ababa, as saying that the former rebels told him that “some of the food coming in through the Sudan was being sold for cash”. But, again, Houdek offered hearsay, not evidence. He gave no facts or figures.

So what was the truth?

Ironically, despite the lurid headlines of recent days, the money from the Band Aid Trust was perhaps the best monitored. “We put so many checks in place precisely to stop that kind of thing,” said Penny Jenden, who was Band Aid’s director, yesterday. “We spent our money mainly on trucks to move food, in the early stages, and then on seeds, tools and oxen. And we didn’t give any money directly to REST [the Tigreans' own aid agency] till 1986.”

Band Aid spent less than half a per cent of all Live Aid money in Tigray in 1985. In the six years to 1991 Band Aid’s total spend there was only $11m of the $100m Live Aid raised. “We knew it was a difficult situation,” said Jenden, “so our accounting procedures were doubly strict. As well as Band Aid staff we sent in independent monitors to check, and we shared all our info with the other NGOs.”

Oxfam, Christian Aid, Unicef, the Red Cross and Save the Children all insist that they too had robust on-the-ground monitoring in place. They have all made similar statements. “The agencies on the ground did some serious monitoring – from purchase to delivery to distribution,” one high-level independent monitor said yesterday. “I saw the grain being loaded on REST trucks and then saw it being distributed,” said another.

Only a fool would suggest that it is impossible that some aid may have been subverted by the military. But ironically the most likely source of aid diversion was from the food aid provided by the US government – and it may well have been done with the connivance of the CIA who were happy at the thought of the Marxist dictatorship in Addis being overthrown. The CIA was at that time giving clandestine support to rebels in both Nicaragua and Afghanistan.

“In any aid operation you work on the basis that 10 per cent of aid will go astray,” said Myles Wickstead, a former British ambassador to Ethiopia. “It’s the price you pay for getting the 90 per cent through. Where lives are at stake you cut corners and take risks. You make judgements. But I’d give no credibility whatsoever to the idea that 95 per cent of aid to Tigray was diverted.

“It was too highly monitored, most particularly that of Live Aid. Some money may well have gone astray in Ethiopia in 1985. But nowhere nearly on the scale which the BBC has alleged.”

  1. ገብሪእል አበበ
    | #1

    እነዝህ ሰውዎች ለትግራይ እዝብ በትችገሩ ግዚ የትግራያይን ህዝብ ያልረዱ ለኢትዮፕያ ህዝብ ያገለግላሉ ማልት በግ ቀበሮን አመነ ማለት ነዉ እነሱና አላሙዲ ያኢትዮፕያ ቀበሮ እንደማልት ነዉ እነዚህ የስሚን ቀበሮዎች ለትግራይ ህዝብ ያልሰሩ ለኢትዮፕያ ህዝብ ይሰራሉ ማለት አባቶቻችን ጣልያን በጦርንት ኢትዮፕያን አሽነፈ እንደማት ይቆጠራል በትቻለ መጠን እዚህ ያለዉ ኢትዮፕያዊ በወሪ ሊይሽንፍ ይችላል እነዚህን ሽፍቶች የሚያሽንፋችዉ ልብ ያለዉ የኢትዮፕያ ህዝብ ብቻ ነዉ እዝህ ያለዉ በወሪ ሊያሽንፍ ይችላል ልቡ ለፓርክን ሎትና ለዉስኪ ስለሸጥዉ ስለኢትዮፕያ ባታወሩ ይሻላል ኢትዮፕያን የሚያድኑት ኢትዮፕያ ዉስጥ ያሉት ኢቶፕያኖች ብቻ መሆናችዉን ማወቅ አልብን እዚህ ከሚኖሩት አንዱ
    ገብሪል አበበ
    ዘብሂረ ኢትዮፕያ

  2. Lemlem Adisu
    | #2

    What a whitewash.O THINK THIS FREPORTER IS A TPLF STRINGER.SHAME ON HIM FOR AGAIN DOING INJUCTICE TO THE THOUSANDS THAT DIED IN THAT FAMINE AS RESULT OF THE DIVERSION OF AID MONEY BY MELES ZENAWI AND HIS GANG.Is this web site pro TPLF?

  3. Tadesse
    | #3

    Ethiopians were aware of the fact 20 years ago before these rebels came to power. Meles and his group are criminals who must be taken to the ICC.

  4. Joseph
    | #4

    Everyone who has been following these stories clearly knows that the TPLF has been in involved in blunders all the time since its existence.

    They not only enriched themselves in the name of starving people, but killed their own people themselves. Sir Geldof of Band Aid and Max Peberdy of Christian Aid are trying to defend the indefensible. They are wrong!! What about the United Nation convoy of vehicles taking relief aid to Tigray that were constantly being ambushed? The vehicles taken away full relief aid and the food robbed and taken to the Sudan border only to be sold to the aid workers at that time. That is the way raised the money for EFFORT, REST etc. These stories have been told in the past and but nobody wanted to push up these cases to the media outlet seriously. Well done to Martin Plaut to raise this issue though it is late. Truth is always the winner!!

  5. Biri
    | #5

    UPDATE-BOB GELDOF SHINNING IN THE COMPANY OF REPRESSIVE REGIME:

    http://celebrifi. com/gossip/Bob-Geldof-Sir-Bob-Geldof-Opens-Ethiopian- School-PHOTO-1165583.html

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: Biri Yaya
    To: Ethiopians-forum@ yahoogroups. com
    Cc: biriy2002@yahoo. com
    Sent: Sat, 6 March, 2010 12:14:58
    Subject: Re: BOB GELDOF AND ASSOCIATES ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH TYRANT MELES Z TO SUPPRESS COMPLICITY

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: Biri Yaya
    To: ethiopians-forum@ yahoogroups. com
    Sent: Sat, 6 March, 2010 12:09:55
    Subject: BOB GELDOF AND ASSOCIATES ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH TYRANT MELES Z TO SUPPRESS COMPLICITY

    ”Geldof hits out at claim Live Aid millions diverted to Ethiopian rebels
    Bob Geldof has lashed out at British media claims that millions of dollars raised by Band Aid were diverted to Ethiopian rebels who used the cash to buy weapons.A former Ethiopian rebel commander told a BBC radio program that 95 per cent of aid money donated to help victims of the 1985 Ethiopian famine was siphoned off, The Times online reports.
    … Geldof told The Times that “it would be a f***ing tragedy” if the people stopped giving to charity because of allegations made by the same broadcaster that inspired him to fight poverty and hunger in Africa.
    “If that percentage of money had been diverted, far more than a million people would have died,” he told The Times…Geldof blamed the story on the grievances nursed by the two former rebel commanders, who now live in exile in the Netherlands. ”-ends

    FORWARDING COMMENTARY

    Re: BOB GELDOF AND ASSOCIATES ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH TYRANT MELES Z TO SUPPRESS COMPLICITY

    It looks like the affected NGOs are petitioning the BBC to dilute the impact of their self-damaging complicity with the ruling junta by launching a counter attack against the BBC factual documentary report: http://addisvoice. com/millions_ of_dollars_ in_western_ a.htm

    This is a paradox in that these bodies of so called ‘Aid Agencies’ are not willing to learn the lessons, instead rather preferring to go on the offensives on behalf of their self-interests and indirectly in support of the mercenary TPLF regime.
    Despite the 5 million(+) people on the list of hunger and continued death in Ethiopia at present, the agencies have no on the ground reports to show how they are reaching the poor and the dying( Avoiding ‘displeasing’ the mercenary regime that is seen as a ‘development partner’ as someone has referred to in relation to why the west keeps silence over the inhumanity against Birtukan’s continued tortures by Zenawi!).

    I think it is time the producers of the factual report at the BBC(Martin Plautt and his colleagues):

    1. Counter challenge these NGOS and the likes of Bob Geldof to cease the hide-seek games and to own up to their responsibilities

    2. Tell the world why the ongoing hunger has been so successfully suppressed and hidden from the media with the tacit understanding and cooperation between Zenawi and the NGOS.
    It is time to call for a national debate in the west on how the tax payers money and donations meant for the hungry and the dying financed the killers and continue to be so with the third rate NGO commanders presenting unethical and false information while directly or indirectly helping repressive regime in Ethiopia and possibly else-where in the world.

    Regards

    Biri

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  6. Thison
    | #6

    Woyanne spent famine aid money on weapons – By Martin Plaut, Africa analyst (BBC)
    March 3rd, 2010 Print Email
    Goto comments Leave a comment

    Millions of dollars earmarked for victims of the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 was siphoned off by rebels to buy weapons, a BBC investigation finds.

    Former rebel leaders told the BBC that they posed as merchants in meetings with charity workers to get aid money.
    They used the cash to fund attempts to overthrow the government of the time.
    One rebel leader estimated $95m (£63m) – from Western governments and charities including Band Aid – was channelled into the rebel fight.
    The CIA, in a 1985 assessment entitled Ethiopia: Political and Security Impact of the Drought, also alleged aid money was being misused.
    Its report concluded: “Some funds that insurgent organisations are raising for relief operations, as a result of increased world publicity, are almost certainly being diverted for military purposes.”
    Multiple rebellions
    The crisis in 1984 prompted a huge Western relief effort, spearheaded by pop star Bob Geldof’s Band Aid campaign and Live Aid concerts.
    Although millions of people were saved by the aid that poured into the country, evidence suggests not all of the aid went to the most needy.
    At the time, the Ethiopian government was fighting rebellions in the northern provinces of Eritrea and Tigray.
    Much of the countryside was outside of government control, so relief agencies brought aid in from neighbouring Sudan.
    Some was in the form of food, some as cash, to buy grain from Ethiopian farmers in areas that were still in surplus.
    Max Peberdy, an aid worker from Christian Aid, carried nearly $500,000 in Ethiopian currency across the border in 1984.
    He used it to buy grain from merchants and believes that none of the aid was diverted.
    “It’s 25 years since this happened, and in the 25 years it’s the first time anybody has claimed such a thing,” he says.
    He insists that to the best of his knowledge, the food went to feed the starving.
    But the merchant Mr Peberdy dealt with in that transaction claims he was, in fact, a senior member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
    “I was given clothes to make me look like a Muslim merchant. This was a trick for the NGOs,” says Gebremedhin Araya.
    Underneath the sacks of grain he sold, he says, were sacks filled with sand.
    He says he handed over the money he received to TPLF leaders, including Meles Zenawi – the man who went on to become Ethiopia’s prime minister in 1991.
    Mr Meles, who is still in office, has declined to comment on the allegations.
    But Mr Gebremedhin’s version of events is supported by the TPLF’s former commander, Aregawi Berhe.
    Now living in exile in the Netherlands, he says the rebels put on what he describes as a “drama” to get the money.
    “The aid workers were fooled,” he says.
    He says that some $100m went through the hands of the TPLF and affiliated groups.
    Some 95% of it was allocated to buying weapons and building up a hard-line Marxist political party within the rebel movement.
    Both Mr Aregawi and Mr Gebremedhin fell out with the TPLF leadership and fled the country.

    Much of the money that ended up in the TPLF’s hands was channelled through affiliated groups such as the Relief Society of Tigray.
    Band Aid’s accounts show that it gave almost $11m to the society and other groups close to the rebels, but the charity has declined to comment.
    Soviet confrontation
    It should not be forgotten that this all took place at the height of the Cold War.
    The Soviet Union had poured $4bn into Ethiopia, and provided Soviet officers to direct Ethiopia battles against the rebels.
    In January 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Directive 75, which aimed to confront the Soviet Union across the developing world.
    “US policy will seek to limit and destabilise activities of Soviet Third World allies and clients,” it said.
    In a November 2009 speech, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates – who was deputy head of the CIA during Mr Reagan’s time in office – said that the president’s approach was to “impose ever stiffer costs on the Soviet Union for its Third World adventurism”.
    He included Ethiopia among the states in which “Soviet surrogates soon faced their own lethal insurgencies”.
    Mr Gates was unwilling to expand on whether the US backed the Ethiopian insurgents.
    But since there were only a limited number of rebel movements, the suggestion cannot be ruled out that the CIA not only knew about, but supported, the diversion of aid funds to the TPLF.
    How Bob Geldof’s Live Aid funds went to Ethiopian rebels
    Nicolas Perpitch and Debbie Guest | March 5, 2010

    1984/85 – Gebremedhin Araya (L), Max Peberdy (center) and Tekleweyni Assefa, director of Relief Society of Tigray (Rest), counting aid money amounting to $500,000. The outside world mistook REST for a humanitarian group, not knowing it was staffed by cadres most loyal to the criminal TPLF leadership. Gebremedhin said: “I was given clothes to make me look like a Muslim merchant, this was a trick for the NGOs, they didn’t know me.”
    MILLIONS of dollars raised through Bob Geldof’s worldwide Live Aid project were siphoned from the mouths of Africa’s starving into the arms of guerillas fighting the then Ethiopian government, according to a former senior Ethiopian rebel leader who has admitted taking part in the scam.

    To read the BBC’s finding, click here.

    Gebremedhin Araya, the former head of finance with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, told The Australian last night he and his organisation had lied and cheated authorities who were desperate to distribute food and money as quickly as possible to Ethiopia’s starving millions in 1985 after the Live Aid concerts plucked the world’s heartstrings.
    His claims support allegations made in a BBC radio report on Wednesday alleging that much of the $250 million raised to feed Africa’s starving was used to buy arms and support corrupt warlords fighting to overthrow the equally corrupt government.
    Geldof told the London Times it would be a “f . . king tragedy” if the reports made people think twice about giving to charity.

    Mr Araya, who fell out with the rebel leadership in late 1989 and was forced to flee the country before spending a decade in African refugee programs waiting for Australia to accept him, now lives in a small flat in Perth’s Doubleview.
    He said instead of the cash and food being handed out to the poor and dying, the vast majority of it went into the pockets and bellies of the warlords, who were also being supported by the CIA. Taking on the role of a Muslim merchant, he convinced the authorities that he was a pivotal man to deal with. He had access to vast amounts of cash and food.
    “I was acting as a merchant, as a Muslim, and they (NGOs) don’t know me because my name was Mohammed,” he said. “The money, much of it, the leaders put it in their accounts in Western Europe . . . Some of it was used to buy weapons. The people did not get half a kilogram of maize.
    “I received a great amount of money from the NGOs and automatically it was taken by (rebel leaders). This is a heavy trick, assigned by the top leaders.”
    When the NGOs wanted to check on whether the food was being processed and organised to be distributed into regions, Mr Araya would show them warehouses full of sacks stacked on top of each other. “But if you go there, half of the warehouse is stacked full of sand,” he said
    NAME OF EPRDF OFFICIALS STOLENFUND AMOUNTS AND NAME OF BANK
    1, MELESE ZENAWI 41MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA AND 1BLN DOLLARS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES’ BANKS
    2,AMB BERHNE GEBRE-KIRSTOS=19MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    3.ABADI ZEMO 22MILION SWISS BANK
    4.SEBHAT NEGA 29MILION DEUTSCHE BANK
    5.TEFERA WALWA 9MILIONBANKOF CANNADA
    6.SHIMLES KIDIE 12MILIONBANK OF CANNADA
    7.ADDISU LEGGESS 14MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    8.PROF ENDRIAS ESHETE 7MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    9.ARKEB EKUBAI29MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    6MILION BANK OF CANNADA 10.GENET ZEWUDE6MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    11.ABAI TESHAYE 19MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    12.AMBMOHAMMEDE DURI 4MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    13.DR MARU YIREDAWU 11MILION DEUSCHE BANK
    14.BEREKET SIMON10MILION DEUSCHE BANK

  7. Thison
    | #7

    No cover up. BBC has credible information where about the funds which is being strolen by melese and his group from the throat of startved ppl. Melese and and sebhat had taken away 100m dollars and shared among them selves. An international communities , An international human right organizations and concerned ethiopians must form a credible system of investigation should be taken and melese and all those who are dancing in his circle must face justice for their crime against humanity. They are responsible for the death of 1m ethiopians with in tegray in 1984-1985.

  8. Anonymous
    | #8

    These heartless woyanes have proven themselves to be who they really are–Professional thieves and Murderers. Now, it is clear the world to see that the country we love is under a bunch of cold-blooded killers who are robbing Ethiopia blind. These courier criminals should face the International Court and return the poor people’s money they have stashed around the world. Every well educated Ethiopians with good writing skills should write to Senator Russ Feingold to investigate this blood sucker Dictator and his gang banger buddies about their criminal activities and how woyanes became multimillionaires in just ten to fifteen years.

  9. Thison
    | #9

    The Independent is defending such an ethical action of TPLF against humanity. The Ex- memebers of TPLF have clearly given their eye’s wittness about the stealing of 100m of dollars and selling of food aid by melese -sebhat group and finally they stolen that millions of dollars and kept in their private banks. But the independent is diverting the real facts on the ground and is on the position to defend melese and sebhat’s group. know body knows that the Independent can be the stake holder of the sharing.
    NAME OF EPRDF OFFICIALS STOLENFUND AMOUNTS AND NAME OF BANK
    1, MELESE ZENAWI 41MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA AND 1BLN DOLLARS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES’ BANKS
    2,AMB BERHNE GEBRE-KIRSTOS=19MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    3.ABADI ZEMO 22MILION SWISS BANK
    4.SEBHAT NEGA 29MILION DEUTSCHE BANK
    5.TEFERA WALWA 9MILIONBANKOF CANNADA
    6.SHIMLES KIDIE 12MILIONBANK OF CANNADA
    7.ADDISU LEGGESS 14MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    8.PROF ENDRIAS ESHETE 7MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    9.ARKEB EKUBAI29MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    6MILION BANK OF CANNADA 10.GENET ZEWUDE6MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    11.ABAI TESHAYE 19MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    12.AMBMOHAMMEDE DURI 4MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    13.DR MARU YIREDAWU 11MILION DEUSCHE BANK
    14.BEREKET SIMON10MILION DEUSCHE BANK

  10. Biri
    | #10

    Ethiopia: Bob, Band Aid and how the rebels bought their arms

    http://ecadforum.com/articles/?p=446

  11. Dinku
    | #11

    Paul Vallely is a sham reporter who has been paid with blood money by woyane. It is downright disgraceful when a western reporter is bought to write a lie by blood thirsty and ruthless governments such as woyane( the illegitiamte government in Ethiopia). shame on you mr.vallely or whoever you are!!!!

  12. Wow!!
    | #12

    The reason VOA Amharic program jammed this week, the Melese gov’t does not want the Ethiopian people to hear their dirty laundry. This will anger every one in Ethiopia, especially the poor Tigrians. If the Melese regime lost any support from Tigrians, it just a matter of time before it collapse. So far they managed to block the news from out side.

    So far nothing mention in any news media about this crime in Ethiopia. The gov’t defending itself with foreign media only. Most Ethiopians do not have ways to know this stories, except rumors. We are very lucky live in a free society.

    It is amazing all the US media ignored this topic. Imagine this story was about Mugabe or Mengistu, would have been all over the media. There is double standard and a silent support for Ethiopian dictator Melese.

    Good luck my fellow citizen!!

  13. Ababu
    | #13

    C-MASC 4/08
    Some Seven evils of genocidal TPLF, though known for endless crimes against humanity
    1. Greed without limit
    2. Idiocy without shame
    3. Looting without morality
    4. Smuggling without civility
    5. Politics without common sense
    6. Resentment without condition
    7. Cheating without embarrassment

  14. Hagos
    | #14

    Sir Geldof,
    You should be embarassed than lashing out at the BBC editor who is doing his job. Tell us Sir how the TPLF got into a Multibillion dollar worth corporatiuons which has controlled every aspect of the Ethiopian people’s life. Secondly, it is because of your reckless handover of money which has made Melese Zenawi bold to maim innocent civilians in a broad day light. Third, it is this money which has propelled him to be among the multi million dollar wealthy leaders in the whole wide world while the country he is leading is still facing abject provety and starvation. In the name of helping them remove Mengistu Hailemariam, you have doomed the fate of Ethiopia as a country. Sir, be humble and accept this inconvenient truth. Otherwise, the writing is on the wall that you will also be remebered in the dust bin of Ethiopian hsitory.

  15. Hadgu
    | #15

    Sir,
    You have brought this monster to power and now more than 80 million people are languishing in this monster’s prison. May I borrow your words and say …sir “grow up!”…didn’t I hear this word from you when your monster had unleashed his iron fist [alas built by your aid money] on innocent civilians? think about it sir?! just for a second please….

  16. አባቡ
    | #16

    These people need to search deeper; that is, if they are looking for the truth. Here are a few points:

    1) Gebremedhin told ETV in 1989-90 the same story how they duped the aid agencies. The memory was fresh then. He laso said that he left TPLF because personal grievances. (At that time, he mentioned that she was given wrong treatment for malaria and died as a result.)

    2) He wrote recently how the founding congress of the MLLT was organized and how much money was paid to hold the congress. He mentions that the source of the money was NGOs.

    3) Aregawi wrote an account of a meeting of (executive committee?) of the TPLF in which the fate of the aid money was discussed. He asserts that the lions share of the money was allocated for MLLT and TPLF despite the protestations of himslef and another comrade.

    4) As far as we know, Aregawi left TPLF after the horrendous drought.

    5) TPLF currently owns a business empire worth billions and comprising companies in every sector of the economy. They openly state that the source of funds for these companies is ‘resources acquired during the armed struggle’.

    In my opinion, the BBC report is 99.99% correct.

  17. አባቡ
    | #17

    Correction

    1) Gebremedhin told ETV in 1989-90 the same story ABOUT how they duped the aid agencies. The memory was fresh then. He laso said that he left TPLF because OF personal grievances. (At that time, he mentioned that HIS WIFE was given wrong treatment for malaria and died as a result)

  18. Tulu Oda
    | #18

    The reporter is indeed a woyane agent bought with blood money.

  19. ድፍውፈአኦእቆገኦቅ
    | #19

    The independent is another reuters.Some the westren journalists are ready to sell their proffesion and conscience for money. They are defending the african’s dictators like melese zenawi and misleading the whole international communities. Mr BOB geldof and his comrades had collected the money in the name of starved ethiopians and finally he gave for those greedy criminals who do not have civility. Now melese has used that Sir’s money for the killing of millions of ethiopians. can Sir GELdof tells us where is the sources of millions of dollars below listed. NAME OF EPRDF OFFICIALS STOLENFUND AMOUNTS AND NAME OF BANK
    1, MELESE ZENAWI 41MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA AND 1BLN DOLLARS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES’ BANKS
    2,AMB BERHNE GEBRE-KIRSTOS=19MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    3.ABADI ZEMO 22MILION SWISS BANK
    4.SEBHAT NEGA 29MILION DEUTSCHE BANK
    5.TEFERA WALWA 9MILIONBANKOF CANNADA
    6.SHIMLES KIDIE 12MILIONBANK OF CANNADA
    7.ADDISU LEGGESS 14MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    8.PROF ENDRIAS ESHETE 7MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    9.ARKEB EKUBAI29MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    6MILION BANK OF CANNADA 10.GENET ZEWUDE6MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    11.ABAI TESHAYE 19MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    12.AMBMOHAMMEDE DURI 4MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    13.DR MARU YIREDAWU 11MILION DEUSCHE BANK
    14.BEREKET SIMON10MILION DEUSCHE BANK. Sir geldof go and check these millions of dollars in the above mentioned banks and if that is not true , you can blame BBC. Other ways you need to grow up. You are the one who has led our country in such a political crisis by collect millions of dollars and giving for irresponsible ppl like melese and sebhat.It is really immoral to blame BBC for it’s credible information which it gathered from the ex-tplf’s members.

  20. HELEN
    | #20

    አቶ “Independent” አላውቅም አንተ ከወያኔ ካድሬ አንዱ እንደሆንክ ወይንም እራሱ ባንዳው መለስ እንደሆንክ የአቡጊዳ ድህረ ገጽ ሃላፊዎችም ልብ ሳይሉ ይሆን የተለመደውን የጽሁፍ ወይንም የአስተያየት ሰጪ ኢሜል በጽሁፉ መጨረሻ ላይ ይጽፉት ነበር ግን ባንተ ጽሁፍ መጨረሻ ላይ ምንም አይነት ለሃሳብም ለጥያቄ ያስቀመጡት አድራሻ የልም ፡ ግን በአጠቃላዩ በአጭሩ አንተን ወይንም ጌታህን ስላስደንገጠው የ BBC ዝጋቤ ላስረዳህ፤ BBC አንተ ሃና ሁን ለይተህ ከማወቅህ በፊት በአለም ላይ በተለያየ ቦታ በተለየየ ጊዜ ስለተለያየ ጉዳይ ከመጀመሪያው እስከመጨረሻው አጣርቶ በዘጋቢነት አቅርቦት ልምድና ችሎታቸው አሁን በአለም ላይ ከሚገኙት ጥልልቅ የዜና ማሰራቻዎች የመጀመሪያውን ቦታ የያዙና የበለጠ ታማኝነት ያለው በጣም ትልቅ ድርጅት ነው፤ እስካሁንም ስለኢትዮጵያ ጉዳይ ለምን ማቅረብ እንዳልፈለጉ ባናውቅም አሁን መጀመራቸው በጣም ጥሩ ነው ፡ BBC ስለአንድ ጉዳይ ዘገባ ሲጀምር ደሞ ከመጨረሻው ሳያደርስ አያቆምም እንደውም አሁን እንደሚሰማው “Bob Geldof demands proof of BBC Ethiopia aid report. Mr Geldof told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show he would personally sue the Ethiopian government and spend the money on aid if any evidence was produced.” ለምሳሌ ያርገውና እንደዚህ አይነት የባለሃብትና የባለስልጣን ንትርክ ወደፍርድ ቤት የሚያደርስ ነገር ሲጨመርበት በዚህ ድሃ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ጫንቃ ላይ ተቀምጦ አሰቃቂ ድርጊቶች የፈጸመውንና የሚፈጽመውን ወደአደባባይ ለማውጣትና የዚህን የባንዳ መለስ መሞቻ ቀኑን ቶሎ ለማፋጠን ይረዳል ።

  21. Drogba
    | #21

    Bob will be remembered as a humanitarian person who did a lot to save human being.I don’t want to jump on the same wagon like those ungrateful above to tarnish his good name.

  22. Abebayehu
    | #22

    I was surprised and bewildered by the fierce and impassioned defence of Zenawi’s record as an economic reformer by Sir Bob Geldof in his interview of 7 March 2010. While pooh-poohing testimonies of former TPLF officials, Aregawi and Gebremedhin, as “rubbish” and “rumour” he was quoting the Economist Intelligence Unit’s report as a genuine record. I felt that by dismissing statements of those two officials, he was obliquely demostrating his racist feelings — he seems to believe only the white man can tell the truth. Apparently, he has forgotten what he said in the wake of the 2005 massacre of peaceful protesters by Zenawi’s crack military force. The following is what he had been quoted as saying:

    Sir Bob Geldof told Channel 4 News the Ethiopian leader should ‘grow up’. On Channel 4 News at noon, he criticised the Ethiopian leader Meles Zanawi for violence which left dead 22 people who were protesting against the election result [in reality more than 8 times that number; no action has been taken to date despite an Inquiry Commission report that slammed the Meles regime. Two Commission members subsequently went into exile rather than make compromises as demanded by the government (ed.)]. Sir Bob had worked closely with the Ethiopian leader on producing the African report. He said: “Spare me, what are they doing? It is pathetic. I despair, I really despair. “No doubt, I’ll get a briefing from the Ethiopian embassy: ‘it wasn’t like this, it was like that’. Grow up, they make me puke. “I know those people, Meles Zanawi is a seriously clever man, what is he doing? What is he doing closing down radio stations, and journalists and that, it’s a disgrace. Behave.”

    Is this the same person who had the temerity to stand in defence of Zenawi yesterday?

  23. George
    | #23

    The aid money saved lives and that is correct. Also, through stealling, the aid turned TPLF into millionnaires. The TPLF was actually selling the US government food aid delivering from port of Sudan and collect CASH money from Christain Aid and the EU who had been giving money to TPLF to buy food. It is a double dip, in many aspects and the money was stolen by TPLF officials.

  24. ድፍውፈአኦእቆገኦቅ
    | #24

    Some of the money is here. most parts of the money is being shared by maffiasNAME OF EPRDF OFFICIALS STOLENFUND AMOUNTS AND NAME OF BANK
    1, MELESE ZENAWI 41MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA AND 1BLN DOLLARS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES’ BANKS
    2,AMB BERHNE GEBRE-KIRSTOS=19MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    3.ABADI ZEMO 22MILION SWISS BANK
    4.SEBHAT NEGA 29MILION DEUTSCHE BANK
    5.TEFERA WALWA 9MILIONBANKOF CANNADA
    6.SHIMLES KIDIE 12MILIONBANK OF CANNADA
    7.ADDISU LEGGESS 14MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    8.PROF ENDRIAS ESHETE 7MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    9.ARKEB EKUBAI29MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    6MILION BANK OF CANNADA 10.GENET ZEWUDE6MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    11.ABAI TESHAYE 19MILION BANK OF MALAYSIA
    12.AMBMOHAMMEDE DURI 4MILION NEW YORK CITY BANK
    13.DR MARU YIREDAWU 11MILION DEUSCHE BANK
    14.BEREKET SIMON10MILION DEUSCHE BANK.

  25. atuba dolla
    | #25

    Ethiopians,you have a holly duty to defeat the Zinawirobbers to their knees and capture them dead or alive.Robbers fooled Sir Bob Geldof and the international community and received millions of dollars what was meant to save the lives of Children and the elederlies, and bought guns and bullets and kept the rest of millions of dollars in their bankaccount and committed millions genocide on the innocents.

    Let the fire that burns within us engulf the robbers!!!

  26. tewbel
    | #26

    WHY GELDOF DOES NOT SHOW HIS ACCOUNTS?
    IF HE HAS ANY.

  27. Anonymous
    | #27

    Independant writer,

    Your defence of the TPLFs conduct during the time in question-1984/85, whether the TPLF rebel group was indeed the beneficiary of the Live Aid money ($95 million), is just to bad-mouth the two sources who, by their admission, were involved in the dubious transactions that took place in Tigray region. Claim these two individuals are on a path of smear campaign against the current TPLF regime to settle score for old wounds.

    I guess, you could say their wish has come true just right on time. What! 20 years after woyane has been in power—That is indeed great score settling.

    If you are objective, the more plausible deduction would be it took a long time for the truth to come out.You know how the saying goes, “Truth never dies!” I think that is what happened in this case, the truth took 20 long years to come out.

    As far as the outside sources are concerned, you seem to suggest the senior American Rep in Addis at the time is a liar or could not have had the whole picture to know the truth; and the CIAs assesment that came out recently on how the money may have been spent is not to be trusted. And, what is your justification for that?

    WOW, what an audacious assertion. You must have the whole world on your finger tips; Because, if you are really honest with yourself, no one person or government, albeit powerful ones like TPLF, is capable of know-it-all like you claim to be.
    Have you given some thought about your increadible accusation that, when you claim these sources are liars and should not be trusted, you actually need to back up your bravado with some objective facts.

    I do not claim to have witnessed what happened, nor do i claim to know all the facts as you would like us readers to beleive, that you do. But, one thing that is clear to me and, I hope other objective observers is, there seems to have been some clear indication that the TPLF (by extension the EPLF) have gotten help from the weastern world (which at the time, as was clear by their forein policies were too eager to ovethrough the Mengistu regime that was on the coffers of its Soviet union chiefs). And, it seems like the Aid community were either duped into diverting this money to the TPLF rebels, or were in fact, willing participants of some kind of covert operation to get rid of the Derg regime that was a thorn in the weastern world’s throat, as a larger skim to defeat the soviet union, as was evident by the unravelling of the Soveit Union and its satellite states (like Ethiopias Derg) five or so years later.

    I hope you realize, if this article was your attempt to stop the desimination of falsehood by former bitter rivals who are destined to settle score with their old rivals/friends by any means, at least to some distant yet objective observers like me your article came across as a PR mouth-piece of the TPLF regime currently in power. If disseminating and rehabilitating of the truth was your goal in this article, next time add some objectivity to your assertions.

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