Hometown Hero Smeared on Local Paper's Op/ed. Pages

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Hero Smeared on Local Paper's Op/ed. Pages
by C. L. Cook
Re: Ulterior motives suspected of Neish/ Neish Activism Over Gaza is 'one-sided'

Published: June 29, 2011/ July 6, 2011
Re: Destination: Gaza (News, June 17)

Greetings Editor; I see the Oak Bay News is again using its Op/ed page to amplify the voices of those who would assail the character of Kevin Neish.
Gaza Flotilla I survivor, and Flotilla II participant, Neish: "Ulterior motives"?
While letter writers have their own opinions, naturally, it seems to me the O.B. News is taking liberties with those expressed opinions through its misleading and, frankly, dishonest headlining.
For example, in a July 6th piece, purportedly expressing the opinion of one, Ed Walker of Oak Bay, the headline states, "Neish's activism over Gaza is 'one-sided.'"

Nowhere within the body of his letter does the term 'one-sided' appear, and yet your paper chooses to insert that phrase into Mr. Walker's figurative mouth.
The fact Mr. Walker iterates the, heavily qualified, sentiment; "The fact is he may not be the peace activist he claims to be. He is acting totally in favour of one side." it does not equate with the unequivocal, bold-lettered header you provide.

A small point perhaps, but taken with regard to the unequal length of the letter beneath the misleading headline, (as compared to an accompanying pro-Neish piece, presumably published for "balance,") it begs the question; "Is the charge of one-sidedness not a projection of the editor's own sin?"
The attack letter, incidentally full of off topic and outright a-factual presumption, runs ten paragraphs, while the "counterpoint," 'Neish a 'gentle soul' doing important work' runs a scant three.

This complaint could be, by itself, disregarded as petty-minded nit-picking, but another scathing letter, 'Ulterior motives suspected of Neish' published June 29th of this year reinforces my suspicion of a subtle smear campaign being waged by your paper.
In the second case, you publish the egregious statements of one Ana Porzecanski*, who complains Mr. Neish has; "[C]ut all communication with me, blocking my emails." Ms. Porzecanski goes on to illustrate just why someone would do such a thing, hurling invectives and ad hominem attacks against Mr. Neish, attacks your paper is apparently happy to immortalize and display for the whole of Mr. Neish's hometown to see. Why would you do such a thing, if not attempting to delegitimize Mr. Neish's cause by sullying his character?

Ms. Porzecanski goes to question whether Mr. Neish would, "go out of his way to “endanger himself” if he were given no newspaper space." It makes me wonder about Porzecanski's "ulterior motives" for writing, and would she continue her harassment of Mr. Neish if not given space in your paper?


Chris Cook
Managing Editor
Pacific Free Press
[* Oak Bay News editor, Don Descoteau takes exception to my article, saying it was sister paper, The Victoria News, and not the OB News, who published the Porzecanski letter I took such exception to. My apologies to Don. Here's how he put it:
"We did not publish the Porzecanski letter either in print or online. I read it and felt it seemed more like personal gossip than fair comment. It did, however, run on the Victoria News website and in their June 29 edition, neither of which I am responsible for.
"I would ask that you remove that reference as well and perhaps address that complaint to the Vic News.

"Which leaves only an interpretation of the paraphrased "one-sided" headline over Walker's letter. I might add that letters in support of Mr. Neish – the Acker letter was the first, I have received two more today – have been far shorter than others our papers have received. Not to mention we gave full coverage to Mr. Neish and his participation in the Gaza flotilla in the story we printed on July 1."
Here is my source of the letters in question. -ed.
'Ulterior motives suspected of Neish'

June 29th, 2011
For some time, now, I have been trying to establish a dialogue with Kevin Neish, regarding all his misconceptions about Israel and the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, after the first email I sent him, which he responded to, he has cut all communication with me, blocking my emails. Evidently, the articles and information I was sending him was not what he wanted to hear, having made up his narrow mind about events in the Middle East. It is very sad indeed when newspapers give free reign to publicity for ideologues such as Mr. Neish, who continue to act the same way over and over again, and never even try to listen to opposing views.

Mr. Neish seems to thrive on publicity about himself, and I doubt very much that he would go out of his way to “endanger himself” by going on these propaganda flotillas if he were to be given no newspaper space.

Ana Porzecanski
Oak Bay

July 6, 2011
Neish’s activism over Gaza is ‘one-sided’

I can’t understand why the News believes we need to know about the antics of Kevin Neish (Ex-Oak Bay resident has Gaza in his sights, July 1).

Most of the article is focused on his version of truth.

First, he claims to be a pacifist, but then he takes part in a bloody incident off the coast of Gaza when the ship he was on violently tried to repulse an Israeli boarding party that the UN tells us was acting to enforce a legal blockade of Gaza in 2010.

It’s interesting to note that at that time, Egypt was also enforcing that blockade, but he only blames Israel.

Why is it that of the six vessels involved, his was the only one that offered resistance?

Now this supposed pacifist is taking part in another “aid” trip. I have to wonder why he thinks that the people of Gaza need all this relief now that the new regime in Egypt has reneged on their responsibility to maintain the blockade, and in any case, anyone can send aid to Gaza through Israel by first landing it in Israel for inspection for weapons that are smuggled in to Hamas.

Lastly, I have to wonder why he goes to all this effort, and according to him, “terrible risk” to assist Gaza when his efforts could easily be better directed to the people of Libya or Syria.

In fact, the Turkish organizers of this flotilla would be doing something more useful if they directed the aid to their own Kurdish people who are being persecuted by the Turkish authorities.

The fact is he may not be the peace activist he claims to be. He is acting totally in favour of one side.

Further, he is doing nothing that promotes dialogue or understanding between the two parties.

Ed Walker
Oak Bay


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