It should come as no surprise that the US only provided lip-service in response to the murder of a non-Ukrainian citizen; however, more people should have you heard about Gonzalo Lira, a dual Chilean-US citizen journalist having recently died in Ukrainian custody. But they have not, and little, if anything, has been reported in the Western media.
But on Yahoo News, reading what the Ukrainian media, such as Voice of Ukraine, has to say, you would almost want to say “Good Riddance,” as even the headline is full of subterfuge regarding the reported death in custody, “Pro-Russian blogger Gonzalo Lira allegedly dies in Ukrainian detention center”.
But that is what “Big Tech” news wants you to read, in all the nasty and discrediting details. And to further discredit news of his death, it goes on to attack those that reported it. Kit Klarenberg, “who works at the propaganda outlet Grayzone was among the first to report Lira’s death.”
By deflecting the blame, and attacking the messenger, much of the media is, in fact, discrediting itself, by passing judgment, even before the full facts are known. It is interesting how the US State Department is now acting as if it is concerned over his death, though at least it is acting better than it did over his detention and less than human treatment by the Ukrainian SBU, as what he had to say was not what the US State Department wanted to hear.
“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss”, a representative of the Department of State told a TASS correspondent in response to a request to comment on the information that Lira died in jail.
Even Newsweek toes-the-line, “Gonzalo Lira, a 55-year-old Chilean American who was imprisoned in Ukraine after allegedly spreading Russian propaganda then violating his bail conditions, has died in a Ukrainian jail” in how it reported his death.
But others are more revealing about the background to his arrest, such as former Fox News Muckraker, Tucker Carlson, who has claimed that more may be involved than what we are reading, and from the Ukrainian perspective, and if it is more than coincidence that the Chilean-American war commentator, who was residing in Ukraine, was detained shortly after posting videos criticizing US President Joe Biden, VP, Kamala Harris, and [last but not least] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
But pro-Ukrainian bloggers are working overtime in discrediting the journalist, even quoting Newsweek, not focusing on the circumstances of his death but rather to describe him in YouTube videos as being a “woman – hating, failed dating coach, pickup artist whose purpose in living in Ukraine was to train Western men to target impoverished Eastern European women for sex. And to add intrigue, and motive, as he was so bad at it, he started promoting Russian propaganda as he thought he could make money doing that!”
Ukrainians and their Western supporters are afraid that Gonzalo Lira might be worth more dead than alive.
Dying to tell the truth
So far, prior to his re arrest, he was trying to flee Ukraine and subsequent re-confinement and alleged torture, and his own predications that he would likely die in prison due to health and ill-treatment, which he has detailed in various clips, including being tortured, have come to pass.
It comes as no surprise, as covered on the Jimmy Dore Show, that the US State Department has been evasive as to his conditions— of “a US citizen being detained and perhaps tortured.”
“You lost me with the perhaps and if this is true… I think I would want to verify those reports before I commented on them”, was an example of a spin doctorbushing off the questions of journalists during a US State Department Briefing.
Regardless of the allegations of torture, which is highly likely in the neo-Nazi state that is Ukraine, it is clear that the journalist died of complications from pneumonia, edema and other related complications—and the lack of effective or timely health care, which is recognized as a form of torture in and of itself.
His father has shared in various messages that “I cannot accept the way my son has died. He was tortured, extorted, and incommunicado for eight months and 11 days and the US Embassy did nothing to help my son. The responsibility for this tragedy is the dictator Zelensky with the concurrence of a senile American President, Joe Biden, “Gonzalo’s father wrote.
His case makes the news, not because it is an isolated case, but only because people are starting to realize that it is open season not only journalists from Third World countries, but even on those from western “friends and allies” of Ukraine, if they are not willing to toe the line. And we should not forget that most cases of threats, abuse and disappearance of journalists never made the headlines, and for obvious reasons—while others are left to rot in prison, like in Turkey or with Julian Assange.
And not to forget about the 80 to 100 journalists and counting the Israelis have killed since October 7th, ignored as if they too are collateral damage, regardless of the fact that many of them were specifically and deliberately targeted killings. As of January 13, 2024, CPJ’s preliminary investigations showed at least 82 journalists and media workers were among the more than 24,000 killed since October 7th
Blind eyed Committee to Protect Journalists
It is interesting that the Committee to Protect Journalist has not yet come out with a statement on this latest death of a journalist, an American one to boot, and that should come as no surprise. The CPJ has remained studiously quiet over the death of Russian journalists deliberately targeted by Ukrainian forces in the fighting in the Donbass since 2014. It should come as no surprise, that the US government and its pet journalist watch dog groups often turn a blind eye to the fate of many journalists.
For instance, this was the case with Jeffrey Silverman, Bureau Chief for Veterans Today, and who previously had worked for the Georgian Times and Azerbaijan Todayas the editor-in-Chief, who has been arrested on several occasions, beaten and threatened with death for his investigating reporting, even the extent of having been blacklisted by the US government and threatened by Customs upon arrival and departure from American airports and even by agents of Homeland Security.
Silverman states he had previouslysought assistance from Reporters without Borders as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists some years ago. The CPJ did not respond to inquiries from one investigative reporter as to that organization’s refusal to address Silverman’s plight. It is known in journalistic circles that the agencies pledged to protect press rights generally turn a blind eye to assaults on US journalists doing adversarial reporting, especially when that reporting uncovers the misdeeds of the US government.
Some end up dead, and as the body count grows, perhaps so will public understanding of how freedom of speech is not all what it is billed to be!
Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Source: New Eastern Oulook