Bob, Band Aid and how the rebels bought their arms. By Andrew Whitehead

A quarter of a century ago, the BBC’s Michael Buerk achieved something very rare – he not only reported the world, but changed it a little bit. His vivid on-the-spot coverage of a famine “of biblical proportions” in Tigray in Northern Ethiopia pricked the conscience of the richer part of the world. The money came pouring in. Bob Geldof’s Band Aid and Live Aid led the way in galvanising public attention, raising cash and mobilising a huge relief effort.
As a result, many thousands of lives were saved – and tens of thousands of those facing starvation received food.

In the past week, the BBC World Service has broadcast an Assignment documentary – you can listen to it here – based on the testimony of key figures on the ground in and around Tigray in the mid-1980s. It presents evidence, compelling evidence, that some of the famine relief donations were diverted by a powerful rebel group to buy weapons. The documentary has revealed some uncomfortable facts and provoked a strong response. This morning a British newspaper, The Independent, gives over its front page to complaints from Bob Geldof and several leading charities. They accuse the BBC of “disgracefully poor reporting”.

The documentary did not say that most famine relief money was used to buy weapons – it did not suggest that any relief agencies were complicit in the diversion of funds – it explicitly stated that “whatever the levels of deception, much aid did reach the starving”. But there is a clear public interest in determining whether some money given as famine relief ended up buying guns and bullets.

There follows a number of views expressed by Ethiopians themselves. They add value to Andrew Whiteheads report. Evidently Sir Bob has business outstanding to resolve. Instead of berating the Scot’s, pleading with them to remain part of his family he might be better employed seeking and providing answers to the many matters of contention raised by Ethiopians who feel angry, isolated and alone.

1. A View

It’s a foregone conclusion that any aid going to Third World countries, for whatever reason, becomes a prey to corrupt leaders and organizers. And we should thank BBC for doing some investigative journalism. In fact we could use a review of all aid programs and how the money is spent in order to better organise it any next time.

But it is easy to understand Sir Bob’s outright condemnation, pop stars have big egos, add to that a messianic complex, and you are on your way to infallible sainthood. A terrible blow to Bob’s achievement, but the altruistic motive remains untarnished.

This is not to deny the genuine humanitarian work done by Geldof and others but anyone familiar with Africa knows that a huge slice of aid inevitably gets diverted to suspect causes and lines the pockets of the powerful. The unwritten rule among the left is you can’t talk about it. The BBC has broken this rule and that, of course, is what the fuss is all about.

This is what the Ethiopian people have known for years. It is not just Band Aid money that has been used for arms, other forms of aid from different organisations has gone to sustain the rebels and corruption.

2. A View

Ethiopia has received more food aid than any other African country in the past 10-20 years, but yet its agricultural production has declined in the past 10 years, this is a direct result of reliance and dependency on aid and improper use of aid by the TPLF. Maybe other solutions should be looked at (e.g. Dambisa Moyo- ‘Dead Aid’)

I would like to thank the BBC for exposing such a despicable act by the former rebels. I believe it is a true story, it is in the nature of these rebel groups to commit such crime against humanity. The Ethiopian people know this truth for more than 20 years, the same kind of looting and embezzlement is going on today too. It is good that it has been brought to the attention of the the world people through this report.

Bob Geldof your aid money was given to the tyrant Meles Zenawi who killed many Ethiopians and continues to kill many Ethiopians its sad to see you supporting the tyrant Meles Zenawi I strongly believe its very wrong to support the tyrant Meles its time to clear your conscious, and support the people of Ethiopia,and I thank the BBC Marthin Plaut for such a great investigation, it is clear that BBC report was based on credible evidence of top TPLF exiled leaders. god will avenge the poor Ethiopians blood. I say Mr Geldof stop supporting the tyrant Meles Zenawi thanks BBC.

3. A View

But Geldof’s absence is also about pride. The Irish singer raised $100 million through Band Aid, a super-group of British pop stars that set the mold for charity records to come, and Live Aid, which did the same for worldwide charity concerts. The money was to help alleviate the devastating Ethiopian famine of 1984-5, in which more than a million people are thought to have died.

But Ethiopia, a nation of nearly 80 million people, now boasts consistent economic growth of 10%, and in that context the famine, and Geldof, are remembered with more than a tinge of humiliation. Two years ago, Geldof stirred the pot more when, in a television interview, he told Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to “grow up” and “behave” when Ethiopian police shot dead 36 dead opposition protesters.

It was the cue for the release of long pent-up anger among Ethiopian patriots. Men such as Mulugeta Aserate Kassa. “People like me are still absolutely furious about what he said,” says Mulugeta over breakfast. “What right has he got to be so paternalistic as to tell African leaders how to behave? My God, if he wants to ever come back here, he’ll have to apologize.”

Mulugeta is a distinguished looking 56-year-old, with an exemplary Oxford English accent to match his pinstripe suit. He is also one of the organizers of the millennium celebrations. When he says of Geldof, “I don’t think we’ll be seeing him,” that’s more policy than wish.

Mulugeta says it’s not that he’s a stranger to suffering himself. He is a distant relation of the former emperor Haile Selassie, who ruled Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 — with a five-year break from 1936 to 1941 when Italy occupied the country. When the Derg military regime deposed Selassie, Mulugeta’s father was executed and Mulugeta himself spent nine years in jail before being released to 20 years of exile in London.

But he is convinced the new millennium will restore Ethiopia and the day will soon arrive when Ethiopians no longer need outside assistance. “Nobody denies we have had famines and drought,” he says. “We have been through that. We feel it in our bones. But we have picked up the pieces. The third millennium will be a re-birth for Ethiopia.” And something to achieve without Bob.

4. A View

This is investigative journalism – the result of which makes a number of charities and Bob Geldof outraged. I have heard nothing by anyone properly describing how the charities ensured that money went to the correct places but a lot of shouting and gnashing of teeth from vested interests – me thinks they protest too much!

The BBC sources may be indeed be unreliable but to flatly deny that any corruption took place is laughable so in the interest of the truth these nay sayers need to engage with the BBC journalist and their sources and properly investigate in unison – not act like a lot of brainless yobs just shouting off.

As in all life those at the bottom of the heap are crushed further into the ground – be it black Africans or white British – there will always be someone at the top getting fat on their plight, be it exploitation of labour or diverting of aid. It is the sad fact of human existence.

5. A View

Your report on this particular issue is not only supported by the facts and figures on the ground but can also be witnessed by several millions of Ethiopians who are still alive. If BBC digs further they will uncover a lot of things such as the money that people gave at that time was also used to start companies affiliated to the TPLF party under the Endowment Fund of Tigray (EFFORT). http://www.effortgroup.org/index.htm One just wonders when their lies and cheating will end.

Kudos to the BBC for taking this allegation seriously and reporting on it. I hope the BBC will stay the course and do all the necessary follow ups to this story. Most Ethiopians feel this story is just a tip of the iceberg as far as TPLF’s shady finances are concerned and how it relates to food and development aid. Many commentators have already correctly pointed out about the need to look into the financial books of REST, and its successor EFFORT, to get to the bottom of this story.

6. A View

I think this story deserves full investigation not only by the BBC, but also by other news outlets, because it is very much relevant to what is happening to aid money in Ethiopia today. There are consistent and credible reports of aid money still being used to gain political support by the regime currently in power. This must be stopped. What better way to do that to take a serious look at what happened to aid money in the 80s and how the diversion of aid money transformed the TPLF into a formidable player which it was not prior to 1985?

7. A View

Wake up Sir Bob…”THIS IS AFRICA”…I worked for a charity in Uganda for 5 months in 1994. Everyone there, “ex pats” blacks, whites, knew the Ethiopian, “band aid” project was well intentioned but monies went missing, corruption was rife, seed corn for next years crops was eaten by the hungry (understandably)!!! many people involved in the project on the ground were well aware of the corruption and the diverting of monies AND the corruption was on a GLOBAL scale…your effort to save these poor people was one of noble intention…but maybe you were unaware what you were dealing with…..” THIS IS AFRICA”….(sadly not much has changed in the world to-day !!!!!!!!)

8. A View

I couldn’t understand the logic behind defending a voluntary confession made by the person who was one of the responsible persons to decide the fate of the donation delivered to his rebel commanding unit. Simply when someone admits that he made a mistake, no reasonable person would tell him that he didn’t make any mistake.

As per my knowledge, Sir Bob Geldof only delivered the money to those who were in charge (Sebehat Nega, and Meles Zenawi). Other than that I don’t know If he was able to witness the purchase and distribution of food to the concerned people in hunger. If he was not there, what made him certain to argue on behalf of a fair distribution of the donation?

The person whom he disgraced by saying “a man in exile in Holland” was the commander in chief of the rebels in that time. However, the way he described him shows that he knows who is who among the rebels.

He inquired evidence for the allegation, however he didn’t take time to realize that Doctor Aregawi Berhe is a living witness of the scenario as a person in charge of the army, and he confessed his involvement in the activity already.

9. A View

Unless and otherwise a person is involved in the activity of corruption with the rest of the thieves, he/ she won’t have a say on people’s confession, in my understanding.

Thank you BBC for reporting the truth. Wake up kind people of the world. Do not send money without asking,”who is using my money” Do not go by what you see on TV. Direct help is the only way in Ethiopia.

Ask where the coffee from Ethiopia you are drinking in Starbucks or any coffee shop coming from. “Fair Trade Certified” ??? Ask for the names of the owners of the farms. Fair trade organizations do not know the owners. This is the truth. They do not know if the owner has taken the farm by force or they are helping the real owner. Farms, businesses were confiscated by the gov. officials. There is no private ownership of farms.

The government of Ethiopia is in charge. Recently coffee was confiscated from exporters. Ask how can you call it Fair trade certified in a country where coffee is confiscated by government officials who are holding on to confiscated farms taken from refugees who live in Ethiopia and all over the world. Refugees were ignored by charity organization to report the truth. Their excuse “According to international law charity organization cannot get involved or say anything negative about Ethiopian government” Keep telling the kind people around the world the truth.

Sir Geldof only knows what he is told. Refugees thank him for what he tried to do. The way to help the poor has to change. Charity organization are not allowed to tell you the truth because of the “International Law” If they did they will be asked to leave as it has happened in the past.This is a fact. Thank BBC for making you question what is going on there.

10. A View

We Ethiopians have respect for Sir Bob Geldof, but after these allegations he still wants to defend his hero Meles. Sir Bob, I think you should listen to these allegations and trying to investigate and finally to prosecute the so called Ethiopian Government as you promised. The evidence you want is what BBC reported to you and those former rebel leaders, they are live witnesses, so what do you want anymore go on Sir, for the sake of Ethiopian people.

Because you collected the Aid money in the name of Ethiopian people, but it ended up to buy weapons to kill each other. Finally my country has got dictators who are still stealing not only the aid money, but also a peoples’ vote. Sir Bob don’t forget what happened in year 2005 in Ethiopia of course if you know about it. We still waiting for justice for this corruption and different genocide made by Meles and his group.

Please Sir be with Ethiopian people not with dictators. If you really this allegations made you angry and be available for further evidence and to start your own investigations now. Otherwise the future aid not only for Ethiopia but for other poor nations will be in jeopardy. The rest of charities also should start their own investigation instead of reacting angrily for the BBC report. Don’t rush the truth is bitter, but go to find it. Well done BBC and Matin Plaut.

11. A View

If there is one thing that people should be surprised about, it must be why it took a quarter of a century for the truth to be told publicly. Otherwise, particularly the deception of the TPLF is something that the Ethiopian public know them for. How REST (Relief Society of Tigray), which is a multi billion conglomerate today, was formed is not such a big secret to the Ethiopian public.

Then there is also what the CIA knew from the beginning and the American government supported it. The two former rebel commanders, who exposed this truth, mentioned this before in different interviews they gave in Amharic. Nothing is new about this. How did TPLF win the largest and well equipped army in sub-Saharan Africa then? Meles Zenawi, as many in the West, including Bob Geldof and Bono described him, is a very smart guy, actually much smarter than his admirers in the west can understand.

It is all obvious how he fool them in the name of democracy and makes them do exactly what he wants them to do when it comes to aid even at the present day. The then rebel leader who diverted the money to buy weapons is today’s prime minister of Ethiopia who is a close friend of Tony Blair and close ally of Gordon Brown.

He represents Africa in climate negotiations and is very often invited to G8 summits because he is an important ally in the war on terror in the Horn of Africa, though all he is doing is causing havoc in that part of Africa and terrorizing his own people. He is getting millions from the western donors.

12 A View

It is important and yet astonishing to listen to Bob Geldof every time he speaks about saving the hungry in Africa. Ethiopians are grateful to the donors and Geldof’s intention to help the poor. But, those of us who admire his passion and enthusiasm to help the poor, just wonder sometimes whether he is just a naive man who just listens to himself and throw tantrums when he hears things that do not fit his line of thinking.

BBC’s investigation about what happened 25 years ago in Ethiopia is just the tip of the iceberg. The Western governments’ stance, when it comes to former rebels (or leaders as they are now in Ethiopia and in many African countries), no matter how ruthless they are, they are either condemned (like Robert Mugabe) or supported as friendly dictators (Meles Zenawi) depending on the national interest of countries particularly that of US and the UK.

It is incomprehensible why many in the West think, given the size of aid money they pour in Ethiopia; Economic miracle is achieved by such dictators. Emergency food aid is important when the lives of millions in danger. Other economic and military aid should be tied to good governance. It has worked even in Africa. Look at the democracy that is flourishing in Ghana. The key to development is democracy.

http://debirhan.com/?p=725
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/15/bob-geldof-scottish-voters-not-break-up-family

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Saint Bob Geldorf – charlatan – saviour – Greek Tragedy or just misunderstood?

IRISH SINGER and humanitarian Bob Geldof

March 2011: Bob Geldof to receive honorary doctorate From Israeli University

Irish musician and activist Bob Geldof will receive an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Geldof’s paternal grandfather, a Belgian chef, married a Jewish woman, Amelia Falk, in London before moving to Ireland.

The honorary doctorate from BGU will be the latest in a string of honours conferred upon the musician – who has also received a lifetime achievement for outstanding contribution to the music industry, an honorary knighthood as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II and a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.  While in Israel, Geldof will also participate in the IsraAID conference, “Israel in Africa – Past, Present and Future.”

http://www.jpost.com/Features/In-Thespotlight/Bob-Geldof-to-receive-BGU-honorary-doctorate

 

 

Bob Geldof at a business awards ceremony. He was at a Super Return International Investment conference recently asking for mega-bucks

 

 

 

 

June 2016: How Saint Bob became (in his own words) a  ‘private equity whore’ by launching £125m fund

  • Geldof is chairman of firm seeking to make large profits for its rich clients by investing in – of all places – Africa
  • ‘My name is Bob. I’m a PE [private equity] whore and I’m looking for £25million,’ he said during speech to investors
  • Geldof has sunk a substantial amount of cash from his £32m fortune into the 8 Miles fund
  • Fund’s managers are ploughing money into agriculture, financial services, health and telecommunications firms on behalf of its rich investors

 

He made his name raising charity aid for Africa. So how can Bob Geldof justify spearheading a fund that could make him massive profits from the continent?As its name would imply, the annual Super Return International investment conference is not the sort of event where little old ladies seek advice on what to do with their life savings. Instead, the invitation-only jamboree sees billionaire big beasts and corporate raiders of global finance descend on Berlin in their private jets in search of one thing — mega-bucks. At its latest meeting a few weeks ago, the keynote speaker cut a distinctly out-of-place figure.Although Bob Geldof may have looked typically unkempt as he loped on stage, within minutes he had the super-rich audience eating out of the palm of his hand. And for once, the ex-Boomtown Rats frontman’s message was not an impassioned — and expletive-strewn — plea for the well-heeled contingent to offer up some of their millions to help Africa’s poor.  Instead, this was Geldof in his new incarnation, as chairman of a £125 million private equity firm, seeking to make large profits for its rich clients by investing in — of all places — Africa.

Certainly, he appears to have taken to the role like a duck to water.  During another speech to potential investors, Geldof began in typically blunt fashion: ‘My name is Bob. I’m a PE [private equity] whore and I’m looking for £25 million.’ You could be forgiven for thinking that the Live Aid founder and tireless campaigner for Africa has morphed into Gordon Gekko, the ‘greed is good’ trader played by Michael Douglas in the film Wall Street. Geldof has sunk a substantial amount of cash from his £32 million fortune — though his spokesman refuses to say exactly how much — into the fund. It is called 8 Miles, after the shortest distance between Southern Europe and North Africa.

 

 

 

 

June 2016: Battle of the Thames: Is this what multi-millionaire –  Non-Dom Bob Geldof thinks of British fishermen’s EU protest?

Farage led a fleet of Brexit-supporting fishermen through Tower Bridge, in a colourful stunt that drew crowds to the riverside.But Geldof and an assortment of Remain activists in dinghy’s and hired craft and joined the flotilla. Boomtown Rats music blared from a deafening speaker system as Geldof taunted Brexit campaigners, infuriating onlookers and Farage.
Geldof appeared to make a rude hand gesture at Farage’s flotilla The Ukip leader said the singer’s actions were “just disgusting”. He added:  “These are communities that have been devastated. These are communities that no-one has listened to for years.  They are here today, they have taken – some of them – several days out of their working week to come and make their protest, to say ‘Look, we want to take back control of our seas, we want to get jobs back in this industry. To see multimillionaires frankly mocking them is a pretty shameful sight.”
http://thisisengland.org.uk/battle-of-the-thames-is-this-what-bob-geldof-thinks-of-british-fishermens-eu-protest/

 

 

 

Davington Priory, a mansion near Faversham, Kent. One of Geldorf’s homes

 

 

 

 

Bob Geldof – Tax avoidance – and Home ownership

“Land Registry documents show that his luxury apartment in Battersea, South London, is owned by a company called Quiet Ventures, while Davington Priory, a mansion near Faversham, Kent, is owned by Bandol Holdings. Both companies are registered in the British Virgin Islands and have London contact addresses linked to Geldof’s accountants, O.J. Kilkenny.

As Geldof is a non-domiciled taxpayer, it means the houses – together worth an estimated £4m – would avoid the normal inheritance tax of 40%, or £1.6m.”

http://taxjustice.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/melua-vs-geldof-bono.html

 

 

 

November 2014: The immorality of tax avoidance and The hypocrisy of Bob Geldof

Businesses depend on a workforce expensively trained by a state education system, and kept healthy by state healthcare. They depend on state-funded infrastructure such as roads and transport, a bailed-out financial system and a system of law and order that protects them and their property. By not paying their taxes, the workforce is forced to subsidise tax avoiders.  “Tax avoidance is robbery, regardless of what any silver-tongued outrider of the corporate world says.”

Given that tax avoidance is such an incontrovertibly bad thing then, it is difficult to understand why Bob Geldof  responded “bollocks” to a suggestion by a Sky News reporter  that fundraisers such as Band Aid 30 would perhaps be unnecessary if more of the wealthy individuals involved paid their taxes properly.

Geldof is a prominent charity campaigner and, one would be forgiven for thinking, not a free market zealot. Why then was he so hostile towards such a valid concern?

Assuming that Geldof wasn’t disagreeing with the argument’s premise. That some of the musicians involved in his fundraiser avoid tax would be a difficult point for him to contest. For one thing, he is himself a registered non-domicile, meaning he is free to avoid income and capital gains tax on international earnings.

Other than sheer denial, the only other explanation for Geldof’s response is that he considers tax avoidance defensible in some sense. Indeed, one can quite easily see how he might be tempted into thinking such a thing.

Band Aid raises millions of pounds for humanitarian aid, and – in spite of the fact that some of the artists involved avoid tax – surely this doesn’t morally forfeit the cause? Indeed, Geldof has played such a charity card before.

When questioned by a reporter about his tax affairs, Geldof responded, “I pay all my taxes, my time? Is that not a tax?” The bottom line seems to be that if you’re wealthy and doing something charitable with your money, avoiding tax is an entitled perk.

If Bob Geldof really wants to help the developing world, he should use his platform to lobby businesses to pay their corporation tax. Defending tax avoidance through his indifferent practice of it and his rubbishing of its criticism on live TV, is two steps backwards and one step forward for his campaign.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/12/eu-crack-down-tax-avoiders-jean-claude-juncker

http://www.cherwell.org/2014/11/26/the-hypocrisy-of-bob-geldof/

 

 

Geldof

 

 

 

 

 

August 2014: The Scottish Referendum and Bob Geldorf

The recent intervention by Sir Bob seeking to influence the outcome of the Scottish referendum brought back memories of Bob and his punk rock group, “Boomtown Rats”. As is the case with the vast bulk of groups they had one hit record then declined and largely disappeared. Not Bob. He met up with, Paula Yates, married her in the celebrity wedding of the year and remained in the public eye, through her. That is until the Ethiopia Famine and, “Live Aid” . Bob and the bulk of the entertainment world raised over £100million and through the provision of aid saved the nation from disaster. Or did they???

At a news conference many years after Bob launched a scathing attack on a female journalist who asked him if it was true his personal net worth exceeded £50Million. Included in his response was a claim that his newly launched African Charity, (there have been a number since, “live aid”) employed over 500 personnel, all paid for by himself.

Another correspondent spoke up and reminded Bob that every penny he had accumulated had been a charitable donation and by result all expenditure through his company, in support of African countries needed to be credited to donors.

Another correspondent inquired of Bob as to why he was registered as a, “Non-Dom” since this deprived the UK treasury of any contribution of tax from himself at a time the government had committed even more financial aid to Africa. His reply was that the time he donated free of charge to charity was more than enough.

So far as Scottish independence is concerned, his intervention, “takes the biscuit” given his nationality. A follow up might question Bob about Irish Independence. I expect he wishes Ireland had stayed with England since he was Knighted by a descendent of, “Good Queen Bess”.   http://debirhan.com/?p=676

 

 

https://i2.wp.com/www.anomalies.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Peaches-Geldof-at-Glastonbury-2013.jpg

Peaches Geldorf and husband Thomas Cohen

 

 

 

 

May 2014: BOB GELDOF’S CULT OF MYSTERIOUS DEATH

The sudden death of the British sometime-model Peaches Geldof at 25 freaked out the British press so much that there are now journalists accusing other journalists of writing excessive, weepy, hang-wringing tributes to a girl who was famous for nothing more than being a rich man’s daughter.

The daughter of Sir Bob Geldof was found dead in her home. An autopsy indicated the cause of her death was inconclusive, but, heroin was found in her system and “played a role.”
She was a new, married mother of two baby boys and had just posted baby pictures online 19 minutes before she died. No suicide note was found. Nothing.

This is the third shocking, untimely death in the Geldof family: Peaches’ mother, Geldof’s ex-wife Paula Yates, died of a heroin overdose in 2000, less than three years after her boyfriend Michael Hutchence of INXS was found dead, hanged in a Sydney hotel room.

Yates, Hutchence and Geldof were in the middle of a miserable court fight over custody of the three Geldof girls: Fifi, Peaches and Pixie, as well at Yates’ youngest, a daughter with Hutchence, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.

Hutchence hanged himself.  Yates only lasted more three years until she was dead from drugs. Bob is indeed an unfortunate man who keeps being struck with the worst kind of luck imaginable, or ………..  Read more:  http://www.anomalies.net/bob-geldofs-cult-of-mysterious-death/

 

 

Peaches Geldof, funeral, Tom Cohen, Bob Geldof, Judaism

 

 

 

 

April 2014: Peaches Geldof will have a traditional Jewish funeral

Peaches, 25 when she died just over two weeks ago, embraced Judaism after discovering that her grandmother was Jewish a few years ago. Her Jewish husband, 23-year-old musician Thomas Cohen, bought her a Star of David from an antiques shop in Covent Garden, which she wore constantly.

Her Jewish husband, 23-year-old musician Thomas Cohen, bought her a Star of David from an antiques shop in Covent Garden, which she wore constantly. The couple married in a traditional Jewish ceremony at the Anglican church in Faverhsam, Kent, in September 2012.Peaches shone, dancing the Hora with Thomas.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/471404/Traditional-Jewish-funeral-for-Peaches

 

 

Paula Michael and Tiger-Lily

 

 

 

Michael Hutchence 22nd January 1960 – 22nd November 1997 – Paula Yates Statement to Police

  

 

http://www.michaelhutchenceinfo.com/library_section1.htm  

 

 

 

Midge Ure and Bob Geldof at Live Aid in 1985

 

 

 

 

March 2010: Sorry Bob, Band Aid millions DID pay for guns: Charity’s man in Ethiopia tells his disturbing story

Bob Geldof is furious with the BBC for reporting that his charity unwittingly funded weapons for warlords. So what’s the truth? Here Band Aid’s man in Ethiopia tells his disturbing story. The images of starving children flickered across the screen  –  youngsters hardly conscious, possessing not even the energy to bat away the flies descending on their emaciated bodies. BBC broadcaster Michael Buerk described the scene in Ethiopia 1984 as ‘the closest thing you get to hell on earth’. The famine pictures awoke the conscience of the world. A year later, Britain was host to the biggest fund-raising event of all time, Live Aid.

Who can forget it? At Wembley, and in Philadelphia, pop stars including Queen, David Bowie and George Michael were part of a dazzling line-up determined to feed the world. And Bob Geldof demanded: ‘Don’t go to the pub tonight  –  please, stay in and give us the money. There are people dying NOW, so give me the money.’  Money poured in. The 16-hour rock concert on July 13, 1985 raised around £65million and was watched by a global audience estimated at 1.5 billion. It was a moment of hope. But that was then.

 

Max Perberdy

 

Peabody  –  the cliche of the sandal-wearing foreign aid worker  –  opening a satchel full of “Christian Aid” cash, ($500,000) which is being counted by Gebremedhin Araya and Tekleweyni Assefa, director of the Relief Society of Tigray (REST)  –  a group which was, in effect, run by the rebels. Grants totalling $7,2M were provided to REST between 1985 and 1991.’

John James was Band Aid Field Director in Ethiopia from 1985-91 and was awarded an MBE for his charity work. He says: ‘I would be surprised if it were any less than 10-20 per cent of funds were diverted to the rebels. ‘Did I sympathise with the rebels? Yes. We would not have tolerated any direct assistance in the purchase of arms or condoned it, but just remember it was a highly complex situation.’ James, a farmer who is now 85 and living in Devon, adds: ‘I think it is ridiculous for anybody to claim that not one penny of aid money was diverted.

‘You couldn’t help the hungry in the rebel-held areas without helping the rebels. You have to be realistic about that. It is probable that some money was diverted to buy arms. I believe a just use was made of the money. I think it fulfilled the interests of the donors.’ He recalls travelling on a rebel convoy, which he suspected carried arms, saying: ‘I didn’t know what was in the heavily sheeted tarpaulin load of the lorry in which I travelled, and I didn’t ask. I would be surprised if it had not contained arms.’ Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259061/Sorry-Bob-Geldof-Band-Aid-millions-DID-pay-guns.html#ixzz4Bh5nyXmZ

 

Bob Geldof

March 2010: Even Band Aid is not above criticism

Let’s get some things straight: humanitarian operations in the midst of large-scale civil wars where territory is held by rival powers are almost always politicised and misused. The idea that this never happens and that NGOs are never put in situations where, in order to get the aid delivered, they have to work with and often through the powers that control the territory where the suffering is taking place is a ridiculous fantasy.

It’s happening now, in Congo; in my own country, Somalia, where al-Qaida-affiliated groups have dictated how the World Food Programme delivers emergency food; and also in Zimbabwe, where I have just spent two weeks talking to aid workers having to work through government bodies in delivering aid to prisoners of Mugabe.

One aid worker told me: “There is a really bad outbreak of measles in townships with huge HIV infection rates, but we can’t mention or talk about it if we want to remain here.” Those are just three examples; there are many more. Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/mar/08/rageh-omaar-live-aid-geldof

 

 

Bob Geldof

 

 

 

 

March 2010: Bob Geldof: My rage at this World Service calumny

Rageh Omaar’s piece “Even Band Aid is not above criticism” is ridiculous. It is of course not about me, or Band Aid, but rather a defence of journalistic exceptionalism, and the now thoroughly discredited BBC World Service programme that “sexed up” a claim that nigh-on the entire humanitarian relief effort by all aid agencies was diverted to arms in Tigray province in 1985. Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/mar/09/bob-geldof-world-service-ethiopia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 2010: How Bob Geldof’s Live Aid funds went to Ethiopian rebels

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.

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, Australia. 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. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/how-bob-geldofs-live-aid-funds-went-to-ethiopian-rebels/story-e6frg6nf-1225837286175

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2010: Live Aid should not be celebrated

Every so often, the BBC reminds us that its capacity for woolly thinking is greater than that of the entire sheep population of Wales. Its decision, announced this week, to make a “warm and deeply moving” drama about Bob Geldof and Live Aid is a case in point. According to the corporation, Geldof – The Movie, on BBC2 this autumn, will “celebrate… one of the most iconic moments in 20th-century history” and “the two men who together changed the politics of international aid forever” (Harvey Goldsmith, Live Aid’s promoter, is the second saint).

It hurts to say this, but Live Aid should not be celebrated. It was a failure. Geldof’s approach exemplified the worst about Western ideas of “helping Africa”: top-down handouts which ignore, or worsen, the continent’s problems.

The real cause of the 1984 Ethiopian famine, and so many other African tragedies, was not cruel nature, but bad government: the country was torn by civil war. That is what stopped food getting through. There is substantial evidence that charitable intervention, Geldof’s included, may have prolonged and deepened the conflict, and therefore the catastrophe.

Perhaps the BBC’s new bout of halo-polishing is a way of making up for its grave error in producing a piece of actual journalism about Sir Bob earlier this year, which reported claims by two former civil-war leaders that most of the funds he raised had in fact been diverted to buy cuddly, child-saving rocket-propelled grenades, light machine guns and the like.

The Wrath of Bob promptly descended on the BBC, with the great humanitarian describing the report as a “total collapse of standards” and “calumny”, calling for all those involved to be fired, and saying: “There is not a single shred of evidence that Band Aid or Live Aid money was diverted.”

The amount diverted is a matter of dispute – the rebels’ claims of 95 per cent may well be exaggerations – but it is simply untrue that there is no evidence. John James, Band Aid’s own field director in Ethiopia at the time, has said: “I would be surprised if there were any less than 10 to 20 per cent of the funds diverted to the rebels. It is probable that some money was diverted to buy arms.” The more money we give to bad leaders, the less incentive they have to change, and the less notice they must take of their own people. That is why absolutely nobody in Africa, outside government itself, is calling for more Western handouts, and why many African activists campaign fiercely against aid.
Geldof has conspicuously failed to learn the lessons of Live Aid, staging a very similar event, Live 8, before the 2005 Gleneagles G8 summit. He was criticized by the main G8 pressure group, Make Poverty History (MPH), after describing the aid-based promises made at Gleneagles as “mission accomplished” (MPH was far more interested in trade concessions so African nations and businesses could support themselves). “At the G8, our worst nightmares came true as far as celebrity engagement was concerned,” said a senior MPH figure at the time. “Ultimately, there wasn’t anyone who didn’t think it was a big mistake to allow Geldof to have the platform in the way that he did.”

Youssou N’Dour, one of Live 8′s very few African acts, said: “I don’t want to expose [Geldof and Bono], but they have to know what Africa thinks of them. [Geldof] needs to come to Africa more, talk to people more. We don’t need pity.”

Turning the Geldof story into feel good drama is the logical culmination of the Hollywood idea of international politics, in which one eloquent individual inspires men of goodwill to get round a table and Sort it all Out.

Treating Africa as the White Pop Stars’ Burden certainly gave lots of Westerners a free concert, and a warm glow of self-satisfaction. But it’s much less clear what the Africans got from the deal.

This is the most authoritative African corruption exposure site on the web. It’s coverage is extensive and demands a careful read.  http://debirhan.com/?p=676

 

 

Live Aid: The Terrible Truth

 

 

 

 

July 2015: Live Aid: The Terrible Truth

On the 30th anniversary of Live Aid, we’re republishing SPIN’s 1986 exposé on the so-called “global jukebox”

The Live Aid concerts in Philadelphia and London directly and indirectly raised over $100 million dollars for famine relief in Ethiopia. Just 6 months after there was talk about Ethiopia being in a civil war. The news had not been covered in the press which was strange given what had happened .

There was a need to get to the truth. The assignment was simple — all this money had been raised, where was it going, was it actually doing good?

Horrifically, unimaginably, the exact opposite. The Ethiopian dictator, Mengistu, until then deadlocked in the war, was using the money the west gave him to buy sophisticated weapons from the Russians, and was now able to efficiently and viciously crush the opposition. Ethiopia, then the third poorest country in the world, suddenly had the largest, best equipped army on the African continent.
By this time we had all seen the pictures and TV footage of Bob Geldof, the figurehead of Live Aid, bear hugging and playfully punching Mengistu in the arm as he literally handed over the funding for this slaughter. It was on TV now alright, but as an endless, relentless reel of heroic Bob Geldof highlights. He drenched himself in the adulation and no one begrudged him it, until our investigation exposed the holocaust that Live Aid’s collected donations had help perpetrate on the Eritrean independence fighters. 
Most damningly, it was reported that Geldof was warned, repeatedly, from the outset by several relief agencies in the field about Mengistu, who was dismantling tribes, mercilessly conducting resettlement marches on which 100,000 people died, and butchering helpless people. According to Medicins Sans Frontiers, who begged Geldof to not release the money until there was a reliable infrastructure to get it to victims, he simply ignored them, instead famously saying: “I’ll shake hands with the Devil on my left and on my right to get to the people we are meant to help. Read more:http://www.spin.com/featured/live-aid-the-terrible-truth-ethiopia-bob-geldof-feature/

Charity & Scottish Independence

Devolution affords Scottish charities the opportunity to forge their own relationships with MSPs providing them with access to parliament in a way they have never had before. This freedom of access does not have the support of many UK, (London) controlled charities who are unwilling to cede power to their Scottish branches.

In 200* The Scottish ******** ******** charity management team, submitted a proposal, (to the UK umbrella organization) that the charity should be autonomous of England, including control of financial contributions made in Scotland. This was rejected leaving the Scottish management team and staff well and truly deflated. A significant number of people, (who had been volunteers actively supporting the charity) resigned and the Scottish management team were suspended. A number of key managers then left the charity.

An important patron of the charity, in Scotland, who, in addition to provision of moral and physical support, had provided significant financial donations resigned her position, citing distracting and demoralizing seemingly endless internal rows with the charity’s London office. Paraphrasing the statement of resignation the Patron said;

“I have not taken the decision to quit my position as patron lightly. In the last year the Scottish team and myself initiated and attended a mediation session, in the hope of sorting out long-standing and escalating conflicts between the Scottish management team and officers in London, driven by the imposition of changes and ever increasing control measures, from England. Unfortunately little was achieved. With mounting frustration and disappointment, I have been witness to the resignations of immensely dedicated people within the Scottish ******** ******** and the increasing demoralization of staff whom I have come to know and admire over the last ten years.”

The suspended, (shortly after ex-Chairman) of the charity in Scotland briefed staff that the patron might be persuaded to reconsider standing down if the charity cut its ties with London.

London based controllers instructed members of the charity in Scotland that a breakaway could result in a loss of £550,000 research grant finance. A postal ballot was then conducted, a majority of the 25% of the membership voted in favour of retaining the status quo, (Pity a 40% majority wasn’t written into the ballot.)

There is much to admire about the leadership of the Scottish charity and the strongly worded statement of the patron, who clearly fully supports independence from London as the best way forward for the charity.

The patron!! JK Rowling. The Charity!! The Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland. The Source!! (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/rowling-quits-multiple-sclerosis-charity-over-angloscottish-feud-1666842.html)

The Independence Of Scottish Charities

The Independence Of Scottish Charities

Devolution affords Scottish charities the opportunity to forge their own relationships with MSPs providing them with access to parliament in a way they have never had before. This freedom of access does not have the support of many UK, (London) controlled charities who are unwilling to cede power to their Scottish branches.

In 200* The Scottish ******** ******** charity management team, submitted a proposal, (to the UK umbrella organization) that the charity should be autonomous of England, including control of financial contributions made in Scotland. This was rejected leaving the Scottish management team and staff well and truly deflated. A significant number of people, (who had been volunteers actively supporting the charity) resigned and the Scottish management team were suspended. A number of key managers then left the charity.

An important patron of the charity in Scotland, who, in addition to provision of moral and physical support, had provided significant financial donations resigned her position, citing distracting and demoralizing seemingly endless internal rows with the charity’s London office. Paraphrasing the statement of resignation the Patron said;

“I have not taken the decision to quit my position as patron lightly. In the last year the Scottish team and myself initiated and attended a mediation session, in the hope of sorting out long-standing and escalating conflicts between the Scottish management team and officers in London, driven by the imposition of changes from England. Unfortunately little was achieved. With mounting frustration and disappointment, I have been witness to the resignations of immensely dedicated people within the Scottish ******** ******** and the increasing demoralization of staff whom I have come to know and admire over the ten years of our association.”

The suspended, (shortly after ex-Chairman) of the charity in Scotland briefed staff that the patron might be persuaded to reconsider standing down if the charity cut its ties with London.

London based controllers then instructed members of the charity in Scotland that a breakaway would result in a loss of £550,000 research grant finance. A postal ballot was then conducted, 25% of the membership voted, a majority favoured retaining the status quo, (Pity a 40% overall majority wasn’t written into the ballot since around 85% of the membership either abstained or voted for independence from England.)

There is much to admire about the leadership of the Scottish charity and the strongly worded statement of the patron, who clearly fully supports independence from London as the best way forward for the charity.

The patron!! JK Rowling
The Charity!! The Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland
The Source!! (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/rowling-quits-multiple-sclerosis-charity-over-angloscottish-feud-1666842.html)

Comic Relief – Plaything of the Chipping Norton Set – Makes Money Out Of Misery

 

 

 

When is a charity not a charity? When it is the toy of the, CHIPPING NORTON SET. Money for the boys and girls in power.

The Comic Relief Charity allegedly inappropriately invested, (£630,000) of the charities money, in Weapons Manufacturer BAE (The Serious Fraud Office Investigated).

Comic Relief bosses were left with red faces (as opposed to noses) yesterday when the BBC reported that the charity had invested in funds holding shares in arms and tobacco companies.

Of the various revelations uncovered by Panorama, the most richly ironic is surely the £630,000 invested in BAE Systems, while giving millions of pounds in aid to children in Tanzania.

 

 

The poverty-stricken country of TANZANIA HAS NO AIRFORCE.

But that didn’t stop them paying BAE Systems for a £28m on an out-of-date military aircraft control system that they didn’t need.

Not only was the deal massively inappropriate to the country’s requirements — it had been lubricated by at least £7.7m of what BAE euphemistically refer to as “commission payments to a marketing adviser”, known to the rest of the world as “bribes”.

When prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office, BAE reached a deal last year which involved at least £29.5m going towards educational projects in the East African state.

http://politicalscrapbook.net/2013/12/comic-relief-bae-systems-investment-tanzanian-radar-deal/

 

 

Charities Are Big Business – Are They Feasting on the Kindness of Donors

 

 

 

Charities – Are they all worthy of our support?

Daytime television commercial advertising is heavily biased in favour of charitable donations. Every 10 minutes an advert pops up on the screen imploring viewers to donate only £2 monthly to a charity advertising its need for urgent but regular financial support. This is usually accompanied by a heart wrenching video of a starving, abused child, or animal so weakened by overwork it no longer has the strength to rise from the ground despite horrendous beatings or animals secured in cages so small they cannot even turn. There are other examples too numerous to list.

But the £2 monthly donations soon add up and viewers are faced with unpleasant choices when available money runs short. So it is important that the maximum amounts of financial donations are used for the purpose that persuaded donors to contribute. But are they???

 

 

 

Is this is Where the Bulk of Charitable Donations Go???

Research identified that 30 of the top 100 earners in British charities were paid more than £200,000 a year and nine were paid more than £300,000. Examples;

1. The Royal Opera House Musical Director. £741,403 in 2011
2. The Consumers’ Association Chief Executive. £312,000 in 2012
3. The London Clinic Chief Executive. £990,000 in 2011
4. Nuffield Health, chief Executive. £859,000 in 2011

The average pay across the top 100 charities was £208,000 to £216,000 a year, according to research earlier this year by Third Sector magazine which examined their most recent annual reports and accounts for 2011 or 2012. Experts said the size of the rewards should lead some of the charities to consider whether it was appropriate that they are charities at all.

The figures prompted William Shawcross, the chairman of the Charity Commission, to accuse the charities of bringing “the wider charitable world into disrepute”. More information here;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10236183/Nine-British-charities-paid-staff-over-300k-each-last-year.html

 

 

Pensioners need to chose eat or heat.

 

 

 

 

And They Seek to Justify Their Income???

Speaking on Sunday Morning Live on BBC 1, Sir Stephen Bubb, the chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, said trustees had to “balance the pay to get the best talent at the top with the fact that they are working in charities where people give their money generously”. He said: “I suspect the public do understand that is means and ends: the end is getting aid to people who desperately need it.“So if you can pay someone to improve the performance of the charity, which these people have done, then that is a good balance.

The Daily Telegraph disclosed last week that Sir Stephen used his organisation, which is funded by fees from the UK’s charities, to help pay for his 60th birthday party in the Houses of Parliament. Asked about the arrangement, Sir Stephen said: “I don’t think this is a story about me. The trustees very kindly contributed but the fact was that was a celebration of what Acevo has achieved. This is not a story about me but about chief executives’ pay.”

 

 

 

The number of executives receiving six-figure salaries at Britain’s 14 leading foreign aid charities has risen by nearly 60 per cent, from 19 to 30, over the past three years. The charities make up the Disasters Emergency Committee, a 50-year-old group which comes together to coordinate work at times of tragedy around the world.

Research found that the number of staff on salaries of more than £60,000 jumped by 16 per cent to 192,000 between 2010 and 2012. In some cases the pay of senior staff increased despite falling revenues and donations.

 

Camila Batmanghelidjh smiling for the camera

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Company closed its doors for the last time, a victim of alleged financial mismanagement, in-house whistle-blowers and perhaps the hubris of its £90,000- a-year founder.

Camila Batmanghelidjh, the woman who founded the charity in six converted railway arches in south London in 1996 to help disadvantaged youngsters, became known as the Angel of Peckham thanks to her efforts on behalf of thousands of children.

Today her life’s work is in tatters. A “restructuring specialist” has moved in to unravel what has happened to an organisation that received £40 million in government grants over the past decade plus up to twice as much from private donors.

A probe has been launched into the possible improper use of the latest £3million of public money and police have begun an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.

http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/596444/Camila-Batmanghelidjh-Kids-Company-closed-fraud-Peckham

 

 

 

Salaries Scandal

15,000 charity staff paid over £60,000 a year

Thousands of charity workers are paid more than £60,000 a year – far higher than previously thought – according to an official review of pay in the voluntary sector. An audit of pay scales among charities in England and Wales found that 14,942 were paid more than £60,000 a year – over 3,000 more than previous estimates. Of that, more than 2,600 were paid over £100,000 a year, and 55 more than £250,000 a year in 2011, according to the review by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Charities are spending £39 BILLION a year and taxpayers and donors should, “no longer have to dig around like detectives to unearth the financial facts to inform the choices of charities to support”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10793621/15000-charity-staff-paid-over-60000-a-year-official-review-finds.html