IoS letters, emails & online postings (29 November 2009)

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Your worrying report on Colombia suggests the perfect scenario for the next Iraq ("The US builds up its bases in oil-rich South America", 22 November). Not only does it offer the US generals a chance to get back at "those infuriating commies" in the south, it also provides the next scenario necessary for the perpetual state of war needed by the military complex and arms suppliers.

This not only represents the biggest threat to humanity after a worst-case climate change scenario, it also drains away the very resources desperately needed to combat this. These issues can no longer be neatly separated. There is an obvious relationship between the agenda of military complexes, war and oil, and the famine, disease and the destruction of resources needed to feed the world's populations and allow this planet to remain habitable.

Mora McIntyre

Hove, East Sussex

In erroneously suggesting that "Colombian forces regularly kill the country's indigenous people and other civilians", you did not acknowledge the heroic sacrifice of our servicemen in combating the illegal armed groups that have for so many years regularly attacked and killed civilians. Since 2002, homicides have decreased by 44 per cent, kidnappings by 85 per cent and displacement by 34 per cent. In the unfortunate cases where some individual renegade military personnel have acted illegally, the judiciary is actively investigating and punishing.

In stating that the military "last year raided the territory of its southern neighbour, Ecuador, causing at least 17 deaths", the article fails to mention that this military operation was aimed at Raul Reyes, one of the most senior commanders of the guerrilla terrorist group Farc.

Mauricio Rodriguez Munera

Ambassador of colombia

London SW1

Your depressing picture of the US attempt to use Colombia to lock down South America is followed in Travel by a breezy tour of the country. While Colombia is, presumably, still too dangerous for independent travellers, the country is thus declared open for business, despite human rights violations, sabre-rattling and a dodgy president.

Terry Walsh

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Is it too late to consider using an alternative term to "honour" crimes (Joan Smith, 22 November)? I recently read of an incident where the victim was said to have offended family pride, and I think this is more appropriate and nearer to Western concepts of both honour and pride.

Carole Coleman

Halifax, West Yorkshire

The Band Aid single was never meant to "change the world", but it did save and transform lives and still does ("Feed the world? Band Aid 25 years on", 22 November). I write from Ethiopia where I am travelling with Bob Geldof, seeing the impact of effective aid programmes including those funded by the Band Aid Trust. Yes, there are currently more than six million Ethiopians in need of emergency food and around seven million more receiving some aid to stop them selling their animals and land to survive. But there is no comparison with the situation of 1984-5. Millions more people are now feeding themselves.

The current government is far from perfect, but cannot be compared with the repressive Dergue regime of the 1980s, and the country is largely at peace. Early warning systems are working, and there are better systems to get food aid to those who need it. The international community has let Africa down by not keep its promises to invest in longer-term agricultural productivity, by causing climate change which is already hurting rural Ethiopia, and by creating a financial crisis that is hitting the poor here hard.

Jamie Drummond

Executive director, ONE

London W1

I was not "in negotiations with the Foreign Office in an attempt to secure the release of the British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates" ("MP negotiates to free Britons held by pirates", 22 November). I had been in contact with the Foreign Office when your reporter contacted me, and I am deeply concerned for the welfare of Mr and Mrs Chandler. But, from what I can tell, the Foreign Office is treating their ordeal with the seriousness and urgency it demands.

Greg Clark MP

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Why should armed forces' involvement in Top Gear dissuade women from signing up (Janet Street-Porter, 22 November)? Some of its stunts involving the forces are fantastic.

Liz Elliott

Holywood, Co Down

To claim that Thierry Henry "is no more a cheat on this Sunday than he was last Sunday" is both ridiculous and untrue (James Corrigan, Sport, 22 November). When someone flagrantly handles the ball twice, he is a cheat and should be penalised, not rewarded. End of story.

James Derounian

Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

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