GM promoter and death camp denier
2.Thomas Deichmann – a profile
EXTRACT: ...nobody had ever heard of Deichmann before [he] reinvented himself as a fully-fledged Bosnia expert... As the battle of ideas over Bosnia has receded, Deichmann seems to have... been transformed from an expert exposer of 'myths' about Serb nationalist atrocities into an expert apologist for biotechnology. (item 2)
NOTE: For more about the extraordinary network of GM promoters and genocide deniers that Deichmann is part of, as well as their roles in directing the Science Media Centre and Sense About Science, among other organisations:
1.John Simpson: I was on wrong side in Bosnia death camps libel trial
The Observer, 22 April 2012
*BBC veteran apologises for backing magazine that claimed exposé of Serb-run camps was false
[John Simpson: 'The account of what happened in the camp is completely unanswerable'. Photograph: Murdo Macleod]
John Simpson, the BBC's world affairs editor, has admitted for the first time that he was "sorry" he offered to give evidence against fellow journalists who had been wrongly accused of fabricating a report about conditions in two Serb-run camps during the Bosnian war.
Writing in the Observer today, the award-winning journalist says he regrets his involvement as a defence witness for the now defunct Living Marxism magazine, which accused an ITN television crew and Ed Vulliamy then a journalist with the Guardian and now with the Observer of manufacturing an account. The same claim was repeated in a press release accompanying the publication of the article.
The libel action brought by ITN against Living Marxism, over an article that it published by a German journalist, Thomas Deichmann "The picture that fooled the world" led to one of the most high-profile media libel trials of the past two decades.
The Deichmann article, published in 1997, questioned the use of pictures of Fikret Alic, an emaciated Bosnian Muslim man shown standing shirtless behind a barbed-wire fence in a Serb-run camp at Trnopolje, in northern Bosnia.
Deichmann claimed that there was no barbed wire around Trnopolje, which was a collection centre for refugees and not a prison, and that the barbed wire was in fact around the ITN news crews who, he said, were filming from a small enclosure next to the camp.
The ITN reporters, he added, had deliberately misrepresented the camp, and when the world's media inevitably interpreted the pictures as evidence of Serb-run concentration camps they failed to correct that impression.
The case was notable for the support garnered by Living Marxism, which had a circulation of 10,000. It included high-profile figures such as Fay Weldon, William Boyd, Doris Lessing, Auberon Waugh, Harold Evans, George Walden and Simpson, who agreed to give evidence for the magazine, although it was ruled out as "hearsay" by the judge, who found that ITN's reporting team, which included Penny Marshall and Channel 4's Ian Williams, had been libelled.
Instead, the court accepted that the true state of affairs at the camp was accurately described by Idriz Merdzanic, a Bosnian Muslim doctor interned at Trnopolje, who was ITN's star witness and had appeared in the original broadcasts.
Merdzanic insisted that Trnopolje was a camp where Muslims were imprisoned, beaten, tortured, raped and killed by their Serb guards.
Reviewing Vulliamy's new book about the Bosnian war, The War is Dead, Long Live the War Bosnia: the Reckoning, Simpson says that what happened at Trnopolje, as well as at the Omarska camp and during the siege of Sarajevo, was "evil".
He adds: "Vulliamy's account of what happened in the camp is completely unanswerable; and I'm sorry now that I supported the small post-Marxist magazine Living Marxism when it was sued by ITN for questioning its reporting of the camps. It seemed to me at the time that big, well-funded organisations should not put small magazines out of business; but it's clear that there were much bigger questions involved."
2.Thomas Deichmann – a profile
Thomas Deichmann is associated with the libertarian and anti-environmental LM network. He is the editor of the German on line magazine Novo Argumente and has contributed to the London International Research Exchange, Institute of Ideas events and Spiked.
He has also co-authored a book on biotechnology with Thilo Spahl, Das Populare Lexikon der Gentechnik: 'berraschende Fakten von Allergie' ber Killerkartoffel bis Zelltherapie (The Popular Lexicon of Genetic Engineering: Surprising Facts from Allergy and Killer Potatoes to Cell Therapy), which has been published by Novo.
In April 2003 he was one of the speakers at a Genes and Society 'festival' in London organised by the the Institute of Ideas, where he was involved in debate on GM crops and the Third World.
Deichmann has also contributed articles to Novo and Spiked on Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer who has been in a long-running legal battle with Monsanto over patent issues and GM crops. In his Spiked piece Deichamnn chides the German media over what he claims is the inaccuracy of their reporting: 'there is a striking difference between the issues raised by the case and the way Schmeiser has been represented in sections of the German media which indicates that, in the GM debate in Europe, scaremongering often has more purchase than science.'
This is not the first time Deichmann has taken the media to task. Prior to his reinvention as a GM expert, Deichmann was best known for an article on Bosnia he contributed to LM, in which he accused British journalists of fabricating evidence of imprisonment and atrocities at the Trnopolje camp in Bosnia. As a result of the article, LM was sued out of existence with the court finding, as did war crimes tribunals at the Hague, that Trnopolje was 'a camp where Muslims were undoubtedly imprisoned' and where 'many were beaten, tortured, raped and killed by their Serb guards'. (High stakes in battle over Serbian guilt)
Deichamnn also published an interview in LM with the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, who had by then been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity (see Poison in the well of history). Deichmann also put in an appearance as the final defence witness at the trial in the Hague of Dusko Tadic. The war crimes tribunal clearly did not find Deichmann's evidence convincing as it convicted Tadic of crimes against humanity, including 'killings, beatings and forced transfers' of civilians, as well as a particularly horrific sexual mutilation. These crimes were found to have been committed in Trnopolje as well as at two other detention camps, Omarska and Keraterm. (see the Tadic judgement)
Deichmann also played a leading part in the RCP/LM front organisation the London International Research Exchange (LIRE), directed by fellow Living Marxism contributor Joan Phillips. LIRE and Living Marxism worked together to deny the genocidal nature of the conflict in Bosnia and to present Serbia as merely the West's latest whipping boy a victim of Western imperialism. (The Serbian Unity Congress and the Serbian Lobby: A Study of Contemporary Revisionism and Denial)
One of Deichmann and Phillip's principal targets was the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Roy Gutman. In a letter to the journal Foreign Policy, Michael Sells points out how Gutman's award-winning articles 'ultimately forced the closing of several notorious concentration camp complexes (Omarska-Keraterm, Manjaca, Trnoplilje).' Sells notes that if those who sought to undermine Gutman's credibility had succeeded, Omarska, the worst of the camps, 'may have operated for months, even years. How many would have perished there: 50,000, 80,000, 100,000?' Sells draws a parallel with the second world war, 'The systematic killing of Jews in WW2 was known as early as 1942, but denials very similar to the Joan Phillips reports allowed people to persuade themselves that it couldn't be true, until it was too late.'
According to German journalist Paul Stoop of the Berlin Tagesspiegel nobody had ever heard of Deichmann before the editor of Novo reinvented himself as a fully-fledged Bosnia expert (The Guardian, 12 March 1997). As the battle of ideas over Bosnia has receded, Deichmann seems to have reinvented as an expert commentator on biotechnology.
In effect, Deichmann has been transformed from an expert exposer of 'myths' about Serb nationalist atrocities into an expert apologist for biotechnology. The platforms that have made this repackaging possible Novo, Spiked and the IoI are all part of the same network. However, when the IoI present him as, Thomas Deichmann editor, Novo magazine and co-author of The Popular Lexicon of Gene Technology', there is nothing to indicate that Novo is a sister publication of LM or that Deichmann's book was published by Novo's publishing house. This is an incestous and self-perpetuating world of undisclosed affiliations in which truth is consistently subjugated to ideology.
The ideological position of the Living Marxism network to which Deichmann belongs is that it is vital to support genetic engineering in order to champion 'science' and 'human endeavour', and that all restictions on genetic technologies or big business should be strenuously opposed.