Nov 1 2011

Letters to the Editor

Overfishing Factor in Somali Famine

Julie Hollar’s article on Somalia (10/11) missed one contributing factor to the famine. Overfish-ing in the North Atlantic pushed the Atlantic commercial fishing into the Indian Ocean, where they steal fish from Somali waters with impunity—which links, of course, with Somali pirates. How does a fisherman make a living when the fish are gone?

D.L. Berry

Grants, N.M.

Media Fail on Gitmo

Andy Worthington’s “Worst of the Worst?” (9/11) points out that media was also focused much on “recidivism,” just because 4 percent (22 of 534) released were alleged to have taken up arms against U.S. forces. The media did not bother to investigate how many hundreds could have joined the insurgency that were directly related to the existence of Guantánamo. I am talking about friends and relations of prisoners (and if they are members of any clan or tribal group, then we have to take the whole group) who were anxious and angry, not knowing how long this imprisonment would last (or will last, for the remaining 171).

During the 2008 campaign, Senator Obama promised to close Gitmo, as he rightly called it “a recruitment center for Al-Qaeda.” In the same campaign, Gov. Romney promised to “double the size of Gitmo” to show that he is a “tough hombre.” I did not see any media analysis of these divergent viewpoints.

G.M. Chandu

Flushing, N.Y.

Media Mis-Frame Civil Liberties Abuses

Re: “Whistling Past the Wreck-age of Civil Liberties” (9/11): As you may know, Food Not Bombs has been at the center of FBI and other spy agency frame-ups, arrests, disruptions and domestic terrorist convictions for many years. We first learned that we were “Amer-ica’s Most Hardcore Terrorist Group” in November of 1988.

The Cold War ended a year after our group was the subject of a three-day workshop on domestic terrorism that was required to be taken by members of the National Guard. These “terrorist” cooks are never described as being Food Not Bombs volunteers in the media. We know them as “The RNC 8,” ALF or ELF, but on closer look they all have something in common: The government infiltrated a Food Not Bombs meeting and picked their target to frame.

And the media, while writing around this story, never note the fact that, first, Food Not Bombs is at the center, and that we are dedicated to nonviolence, so there must be something odd about using us a a target; second, to see how widespread and long the government’s campaign has been would make it clear that 9/11 was not the start of this campaign; and third, that the point isn’t terrorism, but silencing the message of “food not bombs.”

Keith McHenry

Co-founder of the

Food Not Bombs movement

Taos, N.M.

Election Coverage Has Consequences

As I’m sure we agree, one of the problems of the media is that they will do what they feel they have to do to sell paper and airtime. If that means amplifying trivia and glossing over the important issues, people and events to make it seem like a lopsided election is really a horse race, that’s what they’ll do.

But as the time for a presidential primary and ensuing election draw near, I would respectfully request that you do not forget that the problems we’ve seen in Washington have been largely due to the attitudes of certain Republican elites who targeted the failure of Barack Obama as a paramount goal, and made no bones about voicing that view publicly and often, without giving any consideration to what the effects of their campaign would be on the public or on the nation as a whole.

I am not a partisan, but I view such behavior as not very constructive if not utterly destructive. I don’t know what it will take to steer the thinking of politicians toward more constructive goals and behavior, but I believe that those anti-Obama zealots and the harmfulness of their attitude should be constantly exposed.

And I would suggest that FAIR should remind people that elections are not mere athletic contests with no personal consequences for the spectators—quite the opposite.

Leo Toribio

Pittsburgh, Penn.

The Real Roots of the Tea Party

Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda machine at Fox and other corporate media obediently describe the Tea Party as a spontaneous revolt by angry citizens. The truth is that the birth of the Tea Party was as spontaneous as a fire started by an arsonist.

Former Congressman Dick Armey is a lobbyist for oil and pharmaceutical corporations. Armey created a front group called Freedom Works, which organizes, funds and creates propaganda for Tea Party demonstrations that serve the interests of greed mongers at global corporations. After Ted Kennedy died, FreedomWorks played a significant role in the election of Scott Brown as senator from Massachusetts. That was the moral equivalent of replacing a true democrat who believed in and fought for the American dream with a corporate puppet.

The billionaire Koch brothers created Americans for Pro-sperity, another front group which organizes and funds Tea Party protests and propaganda. The Tea Party supported Scott Walker’s election as governor of Wisconsin and his campaign to ban collective bargaining by state employees. Whose side do you think the American patriots who participated in the Tea Party in Boston Harbor in 1776 would be on? I believe they would throw Walker in the ocean along with the tea.

Bob Fisher

Encinitas, Calif.