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Although a professed admirer of Geldof's generosity and concern, Fox News Channel television host Bill O'Reilly has been critical of the Live Aid producer's oversight of the money raised for starving Ethiopian people, claiming (in June 2005) that much of the funds were siphoned off by Mengistu Haile Mariam and his army (which included the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front). This coalition battled, at the time against Derg. O'Reilly believes that charity organizations, operating in aid-receiving countries, should control donations, rather than possibly corrupt governments.
Arguing that Live Aid accomplished good ends while inadvertently causing harm at the same time, David Rieff gave a presentation of similar concerns in The Guardian at the time of Live 8. Tim Russert, in an interview on Meet the Press shortly after O'Reilly's comments, addressed these concerns to Bono. Bono responded that corruption, not disease or famine, was the greatest threat to Africa, agreeing with the belief that foreign relief organizations should decide how the money is spent. On the other hand, Bono said that it was better to spill some funds into nefarious quarters for the sake of those who needed it, than to stifle aid because of possible theft.
Of all the NGOs, only the founding (French) section of MSF refused to go along with the pro-Dergue consensus. Once expelled from Ethiopia, however, MSF France was free to talk about what it knew of forced deportations. "We are witnessing the biggest deportation since the Khmer Rouge genocide," said MSF's president, Claude Malhuret, in late 1985.
For MSF, the decision of aid agencies, UN institutions and donor governments to help a totalitarian project like the Ethiopian resettlement programme was an exercise in deadly compassion. As Claude Malhuret put it, Ethiopia demonstrated that it had become imperative to "clarify the complex relations that humanitarian action forms with a totalitarian regime; to mark out the indistinct but very real limit beyond which aid to victims was unwittingly transformed into support to their executioners."