- McLibel -

It is therefore unlikely that McD ever thought they would silence anyone.

Posted by: alexander stollznow ( australia ) on January 16, 19100 at 15:43:18:

In Reply to: Read the judgement, you obviously have not so far. posted by Kalvin Chapman on June 23, 1999 at 18:54:53:

For the record... i read the judges summary, not the full judgement...

TO KALVIN... Im sure what i said about the two being simple liars sounds a bit harsh. I dont actually think that, by distributing these pamphlets, they were promoting alleagations they knew were wrong. So i take that back.

I do, however, assert that they obviously made no attempt to verify the allegations that could be verified. If you read the judgement on issues like the allegation that McD's consumption of beef lead to specific quantities of rainforest being cut down to crow pasture to feed cows to provide beef, you will see that some of it was completely baseless. Now whether or not rainforest is cut down to provide McD's with beef IS something that can, at least in theory, be verified, because it is an assertion about something objective enough to be considered a fact.

On my reading, the pamphlet allegations which dealt with facts, as opposed to completely subjective labels such as "exploitation" and "cruelty to animals", were all typified by a severe lack of factuality. And that is why they were the areas in which the defendants were found to have libelled McD's.

I say again that i dont believe for one minute that McDs intended to "silence their critics" by issuing the writs. You and I could both have told them that they could never achieve that, because they dont have any way of hurting their opponents. Libel can only be addressed through civil actions, and they are only effective against people with some property to take away. With all due respect, i dont think that many many people who trouble themselves to form anti-McD groups and distibute pamphlets of this nature actually own businesses, have large incomes or own substantial property. Being bankrupt due to a court award against you is, in such circumstances, no imposition at all, and would no doubt be worn with a mantle of pride in some circumstances.

It is therefore unlikely that McD ever thought they would silence anyone. Rather, my guess is that they wanted to have the issues aired in court in the hope that a court would say that all the allegations were untrue. Which, of course, the court did not.

The same applies to the damages/costs issue. Are you seriously telling me that it is some admission of defeat that McD did not seek L10,000,000 from 2 anti-McD activists? To do so would just be vindictive, and i know what you would be saying about that! You would be critical of McD whether they did or did not go for costs...

Now this last bit is just a guess, but i find it hard to believe that when McD said they are satisfied with the trial judges findings, that they are saying they admit all allegations he found to be true. Why would they, you ask, and that just begs the questions. Most likely they were satisfied with his findings of FACT, and not necessarily his conclusion on each separate allegation. As i said, just a guess, but generally when things dont make sense as badly as that, then youve missed something....

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