In a world of cowardice and lies, telling the truth where – and when – it really matters takes courage. And it can cost you your life
So, Gonzalo Lira is dead. As he warned in his last video message before being disappeared (this time, as it turned out, forever) by the Ukrainian regime, his political journalism has cost him his life.
A successful social media commentator and American citizen, Lira died while incarcerated by Ukraine’s repression apparatus for his criticism of the Western and Ukrainian position on the war against Russia. His terms were often direct, even harsh and polemical. But he was not a spy or some sort of subversive influence agent. He was transparent and open to a fault, standing with his own name – and life – for everything he said. He was a political prisoner (yes, I agree with Tucker Carlson on this one); the official Ukrainian charges against him are a ludicrous disgrace.
The immediate cause of his death is virtually certain to have been severe, prolonged, and systematic neglect, which led to his indirect killing – fully deliberate or not – by a condition (pneumonia and complications) that is perfectly treatable. In legal terms, this qualifies as, at least, manslaughter or even murder, committed by Ukrainian officers of the “law” and those issuing their orders.
According to what Lira stated when he could still communicate, he was also tortured in a more hands-on fashion, so as to plunder his personal wealth. If you know how Ukrainian politics and authorities operate, there is no reason at all to disbelieve him.
In spite of laudable efforts by fellow American citizens as prominent as Tucker Carlson and Elon Musk to help Lira, the US government made itself a de facto accessory in his killing by refusing to assist one of its own citizens who was, obviously, in extreme danger. Lira, by the way, told us he had heard from people in the know that Victoria “Neocon Cookie Monster and Queen of Coup and War” Nuland herself knew about his case and “hated his guts.”
At a time when the West is accelerating its habitual spreading of war and even genocide, it may seem almost odd to dedicate a text to a single life taken. All human lives have exactly the same absolute worth, a truth every decent person accepts and, more importantly, practices, whether religious or not. And yet, due to the way power works in our thoroughly fallen world, it does make sense to speak about Lira.
First of all, to pay our respects. It is true that Gonzalo Lira was no saint (just like the rest of us, by the way). He had things on his CV (operating as a “dating coach,” for instance) that he, like everyone else, should have had a full life to come to regret. He also had political views that I, for one, heartily disagree with, such as his own brand of libertarianism and an apologetic attitude toward Chile’s abysmal Pinochet dictatorship.
And so what? He was unusually courageous, which, in the end, cost him his life. And he had the extraordinary honesty to not only understand just how wrong the US-NATO proxy war in and via Ukraine was, but to say so loudly and very publicly. While based in Ukraine. (And full disclosure again, I had the genuine honor and pleasure to be invited onto his program on YouTube, where he was a smart and gracious host with an irreverent sense of humor.)
In a world of cowardly careerist underhandedness (looking at you, Olaf Scholz, Robert Habeck, Annalena Baerbock, for instance…) and habitual, crass lying (your turn, Benjamin Netanyahu, Joe Biden, Antony Blinken, and, yes, Vladimir Zelensky), Gonzalo hollered the truth where it mattered and it took guts.
That’s why Stella Assange, the wife of the single most important political prisoner in the world, Julian Assange, has tweeted about Lira’s death, correctly pointing out the responsibility of the US authorities.
Gonzalo Lira’s father should have the last word. This is what he told the Grayzone:
“I cannot accept the way my son has died. He was tortured, extorted, incommunicado for 8 months and 11 days and the US Embassy did nothing to help my son… The responsibility of this tragedy is [with] the dictator Zelensky with the concurrence of a senile American President, Joe Biden… My pain is unbearable. The world must know what is going on in Ukraine with that inhuman dictator Zelensky.”
We can genuinely commiserate, although we can’t literally feel the depth of his pain. But for all of us, Gonzalo Lira’s protracted, through-and-through unjust and entirely avoidable killing is yet another brutal sign that those who rule the West have no limits left.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.