Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tough Times For Losantos

Continuing to delve into the very murky and slimy waters around Libertad Digital, it’s worth taking a look at the slight legal difficulties facing LD’s propagandist in chief, Federico Jiménez Losantos. Last week saw the final hearing in the case brought against him by Alberto Ruiz Gallardón concerning claims by Losantos that the Mayor of Madrid was not interested in knowing what happened with the Madrid train bombings. This case is awaiting sentence but it did not go well at all for Losantos, who claimed that his remarks about Gallardón were covered by freedom of expression. What really went wrong in the case for the defence was that the star witnesses did more to sink Losantos than to help him. Esperanza Aguirre, Ángel Acebes and Eduardo Zaplana were called as witnesses for the defence, but their party loyalty prevailed as they spurned the public invitation to damage Gallardón. Leaving Losantos to fight his own corner with the assistance of his good friend Pedro J Ramirez, director of El Mundo.

Much as I detest Losantos, I don’t really like cases such as this one, based as they are on laws to defend the powerful. Such laws almost always end up being used against genuinely fair comment too and politicians like Gallardón are big enough to look after themselves. The insults that Losantos dedicated to Pilar Manjon, who heads the main victims association for the Madrid bombings, were much worse than anything he said about Gallardón yet that case was not even allowed to proceed. The real significance of the apparent betrayal by witnesses such as Aguirre or Acebes is in what it represents for the conspiracy theories around the Madrid bombings. Their refusal to back Losantos sent the signal that they have now jumped off the conspiracy bandwagon, and that the PP is no longer interested in using the bombings as an instrument of political opposition. This was always going to happen, the interests behind the conspiracy theories were a mixture of the commercial and the political; the political aim being to shore up the PP following the shock of their election defeat in the aftermath of the bombings. The general election in March this year finally brought home to the least deranged sectors of this movement what had long been apparent to everyone else. The removal from power of the PP in 2004 was not a coup d’etat resulting from an evil alliance of ETA, Zapatero and foreign powers, it was simply a result of the number of votes cast and sections of the PP finally seem willing to accept that.

The Gallardón case is far from being the end of the legal troubles facing Losantos. Due to start last week, but postponed, was the case brought against him by one of the police trade unions concerning the allegations made by Losantos against their members. I’m not generally the number one defender of the police, but I recognise that when people have risked their lives deactivating unexploded bombs or have worked long shifts dealing with the awful carnage caused by the bombings there is something terribly wrong in them being accused of fabricating evidence and conspiring to hide the “truth” about the bombings. In some ways this case could be much more revealing than the Gallardón one, Losantos should be required to justify the lies and inventions behind the conspiracy theories. Probably he will go for the “I was just repeating what I read in El Mundo” defence, he’s not usually as brave in court as he is on the radio.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, coming up on the horizon will be the case brought against Losantos and other colleagues on the COPE radio station concerning their accusations that Luis Montes and other doctors in the Severo Ochoa hospital in Leganés deliberately killed terminally ill patients. Another case that he thoroughly deserves to lose, if it gets to trial. Funnily enough today sees the beginning of the boric acid trial, that most absurd of all possible monuments to the conspiracy theorists and judicial timewasting; and proof that legal outcomes depend more than anything on getting your case into the hands of the right judge.


5 comments:

federico, no estás solo said...

Jimenéz Losantos tiene muchísimos oyentes y seguidores............

Tom said...

Ah, bless. You've got your own troll!

Graeme said...

Indeed, isn't it sweet. At least this way Fede should have help in paying his legal bills.

elpensador1987 said...

Federico Jiménez Losantos es de los pocos periodistas independientes que hay en España. Dice las verdades, y las verdades duelen. Mucha gente se lo quiere cargar, pero él se crece ante las adversidades y seguirá dando caña a todos los poderosos que no cumplan con su palabra y seguirá luchando por lo que cree.

Graeme said...

Anothe volunteer for the cause. The one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that none of Losantos' legal problems are the result of him telling the truth. He's completely innocent on that charge.