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LIVE AID: WEAPONS INSTEAD OF WHEAT?


monica martino
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only one out of many article you can find in the net:

http://www.france24.com/e...-spent-rebel-weapons-bbc

 

 

AFP - Millions of dollars of international aid for victims of the mid-1980s famine in Ethiopia was diverted to rebels to buy weapons in the African country, a BBC investigation reported Wednesday.

 

Citing former rebels and CIA documents, it said militant leaders posed as merchants in meetings with aid groups who flooded into Ethiopia to help relieve the famine, highlighted by the global Live Aid charity concert in 1985.

 

"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," said a 1985 CIA assessment cited by the broadcaster.

 

The BBC quoted a Christian Aid worker, Max Peberdy, as saying he took nearly 500,000 dollars into Ethiopia in 1984 to buy grain from merchants, who he believes were genuine.

 

"It's 25 years since this happened, and in the 25 years it's the first time anybody has claimed such a thing," he told the broadcaster.

 

But the merchant he dealt with, Gebremedhin Araya, 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," said Araya, adding that he handed the money to TPLF leaders including Meles Zenawi, who became Ethiopian prime minister in 1991.

 

Meles' office declined to comment on the allegation, said the BBC.

 

Former TPLF commander, Aregawi Berhe, who now lives in exile in the Netherlands, said 95 percent of the some 100 million dollars received by TPLF in 1985 went on buying arms or building a hard-line party within the movement.

 

"The aid workers were fooled," he said.

 

A million people died as a result of the 1984 famine, blamed on Ethiopia's then military regime's untenable land policies, forcible eviction of millions of people and covering up the famine. The regime was toppled in 1991.

 

Last year, Irish rock star Bob Geldof returned to the country to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster and the Live Aid concerts he helped organise, starting a trend for celebrity-driven charity drives which continues today.

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Geldof dismissed the claims, saying that “the story and the figures just don’t add upâ€.

 

“If that percentage of money had been diverted, far more than a million people would have died,†he told The Times. “It’s possible that in one of the worst, longest-running conflicts on the continent some money was mislaid. But to suggest it was on this scale is just b******s.â€

 

Geldof’s stance was supported in a letter to the BBC by former Band Aid officials, including their Ethiopia director, which said that all the money dispensed in Tigray had been accounted for by the organisation. “The public should not think that the money they so generously contributed to one of the poorest countries in the world was misused or given in vain,†it said.

 

Max Peberdy, a Christian Aid worker whom the rebels claimed to have tricked into handing over $500,000, said he did not believe that the money was diverted. “It’s 25 years since this happened and it’s the first time anybody has claimed such a thing,†he said.

 

Geldof blamed the story on the grievances nursed by the two former rebel commanders, who had since fallen out with their former compatriots and fled into exile in the Netherlands.

 

Jamie Drummond, executive director of One, the charity co-founded by Geldof and Bono, said that he had travelled to Tigray with Geldof six weeks ago to see agricultural projects that were funded by Band Aid and Live Aid — which he said could not have been achieved if the BBC’s allegations were true.

 

There was no comment on the allegations from Mr Meles’s office in Addis Ababa. The BBC stood by its report last night.

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right, I have gone through a lot of posts and I've realised why so many people are depressed. you all keep talking about depressing stuff. how to solve the problem: talk about more upbeat stuff. it helps. it helps a lot. focus people on the positive. focus on fri.

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