Pro-ITN Libel Suit Post (re: THE TEARS OF THE MIGHTY

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at
Thu Mar 16 05:28:34 PST 2000

>On Behalf Of Ken Hanly
> Why did the Serbs the ITN crew in to film in the first place if
> the place if the place were
> a prison camp or if there were anything damaging for ITN to see?
> Neither version of events seems in the least plausible to me.
> The ITN crew
> seem to be clearly NATO apologists out to advance NATO
> psychological warfare.
> The LM authors are Serb apologists. So Nathan just accepts the
> testimony of the Muslim doctor etc.,

What were they, pre-mature apologists back in 1992 when the film was made, when NATO was ignoring the carnage? To call these filmmakers apologists for a war that occurred seven years later is ridiculous.

The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal has indicted those running these camps where prisoners were "killed, tortured, and continually subjected to physical and psychological maltreatment and inhumane treatment," according to the indictment.

One of the reasons the journalists involved pursued this lawsuit is that so many people seem so willing to deny rather clear testimony from myriad victims of these prison camps.

As for why a prison camp would allow journalists in, the question assumes a level of public relations savvy that butchers throughout history have often lacked. Hell, it took until the Gulf War for the US military itself to learn how to properly exclude the press from seeing its mass murder.

As for Jim Heartfield's comments (and I agree the gag order restraining him is abominable):
>LM never held that Omarska was anything but a detention camp, and indeed
> that the refugees in Trnopolje were plainly in a dangerous situation.

In fact, LM in the original article plainly rejected the idea that Trnopolje was a prison of any kind. To repeat the key sentence of the original LM article:

"There was no barbed wire fence surrounding Trnopolje camp. It was not a prison, and certainly not a 'concentration camp', but a collection centre for refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished."

What could be plainer? Jim and others can backtrack, but the original LM article was an appalling lie, not just according to this jury, but according to the UN Hague tribunal and every other journalistic report.

Jim has railed here against bad science and conspiracy fears about GM foods, but then he expects people to respect LM for promoting a false, malicious Serb apologist piece, and then continuing to defend it long after its been documented to be a complete lie.

Jim argued that the damage award was ridiculously high even under the law (sounding remarkably like a "tort reform" Republican). While the law is bad on principle, the number of people who cling to LM's version to downplay and partially deny the horrors inflicted in these camps shows just how damaging the LM article was and continues to be. I disagree with Charles over his positions on punishing speech, but the clinging to the LM account in the face of war crimes indictments and every other piece of evidence are points in favor of his argument.

In the end, I see little difference between David Irving's holocaust denials and LM's denial that Trnopolje was a horrific prison for its prisoners. I don't think either should be sued for libel, but neither should anyone be defending the substance of their lies.

-- Nathan Newman

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