Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gerald Knaus, Monica Lewinsky and Truth Distortions

After my last blog post about the distortions in the film of the European Stability Initiative titled, "Twilight of Heroes,"  I posted the blog post to ESI's Facebook page.  ( A debate ensued on Facebook between me and "European Stability Initiative,"  although the author of the Facebook commentary on ESI's behalf chose not to reveal his/her true identity.

I have since discovered that the filmaker, Gerald Knaus, has cross-posted the Facebook debate to his own personal blog, without having told me.See (  Normally, Mr. Knaus would not have an obligation to tell me he had cross-posted the debate to his own blog, but it would have been courteous of him to do so in light of the fact that on his blog Mr. Knaus addresses comments to me personally, asking me to "acknowledge that the charge that ESI distorted facts, is neither for nor accurate nor warranted."   

I find it surprising that Mr. Knaus is even attempting to refute my charge that the film (at least in the preview clip) distorts the truth.  Let's try this simple test.  ESI is planning several presentations of the film throughout Europe in the coming days and weeks.  I suggest that ESI poll the audience upon the conclusion of the film, and invite them with a show of hands to show whether they believe that Ante Gotovina was convicted by the ICTY for being part of a criminal conspiracy along with Franjo Tudjman and others to allow the murder and intimidation of Serb civilians, so as to ethnically cleanse the "Krajina."

If more than 90% of the audience responds affirmatively (as I suspect they will), then the film distorted the truth and failed to educate its audience.  Mr. Knaus in his own defense argues that the film uses the qualifier "Prosecutors argued...."  that the Croatian leadership had allowed murders and intimidations to take place, and therefore his film, technically speaking, did not distort the truth.  I could not disagree more.  One is reminded of Bill Clinton's famous admonition to the American public, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky."  Clinton's comment may have been technically true. But was it a distortion of the truth?  Of course it was.  

Similarly, ESI's film may be technically true in that it uses the phrase, "prosecutors argued"  as a prefix to the claim that Croatian leaders allowed murders of Serbs to take place.  But does the film provide the "whole truth?"  It does not.  By leaving Carla Del Ponte's arguments unrebutted in the film, the viewer is led to believe that Del Ponte's argument ultimately was accepted by the court.  

The audience should not leave a viewing of a documentary film under a misimpression of the truth, created by the film itself.  I believe there is no doubt that Mr. Knaus's audience members will leave the film under that misimpression, and for that reason I continue to assert that the film is a distortion of the truth, at least as to the claims of a Croatian conspiracy to allow Serbs to be murdered and intimidated.

Finally, Mr. Knaus writes, "Twilight of Heroes is also not a film about Ante Gotovinan [sic] as Mr. Misetic writes. It is a film about Croatia, and how this country managed to break out of its isolation in 1999, faced its past, and transformed itself." The film, however, is entitled, "Twilight of Heroes."  If the film is not about Ante Gotovina, then which heros have reached their twilight?

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