Journalist Gonzalo Lira Is Alive and So Is His Bucha Video

Many who were following events in Ukraine closely and were receptive to voices outside the mainstream started to follow Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean-American commentator who was in Kiev, then Kharkiv, and giving updates both from his personal experience and on wider political themes. He had warned that he might be targeted by the SBU for his increasingly critical comments about the Zelensky regime and then having the Daily Beast put the Ukraine government on to him (more on that sordid act shortly).

Lira disappeared on the 15th and just resurfaced, nearly a full week later, having been detained the entire time. He at least looks like he was fed, but Lord knows what else happened:

Internet commentator Alex Christoforu, who pod/videocasts under his own name and with Alexander Mercouris as The Duran, may be responsible for Lira’s reappearance (as in still being alive), since Christoforu urged his followers to contact the Chilean embassy to find out what had happened to Lira. Many sent feedback that the embassy was on the case.

As you can infer from Lira’s chat with Christoforu, Lira appears to still be detained in Kharkiv under what sounds like house arrest despite having been charged with no crime. I suggest Lira followers call their Chilean Embassy or Consulate to demand that Lira either be allowed his freedom or transported safely out of Ukraine. Being cooped up in Kharkiv on an SBU choke chain with restrictions on his Internet use and speech is a form of incarceration. And it could go on for a very long time if America succeeds in keeping the war going on well beyond what would otherwise be its sell-by date.

For those new to this story, even though it has had a happy ending, it was nevertheless revealing to see the traditional media voice no concern about the probable and now revealed to be actual abduction of a journalist by Ukraine fascist goons.

The article in question: How a Sleazy American Dating Coach Became a Pro-Putin Shill in Ukraine

Scott Ritter, in a Facebook post, assumed that Lira was dead. We had started on a probable memorial post and were using that as the vehicle for putting up an important piece of Lira’s on the Bucha massacre that he’d removed due to the prospect of YouTube sanctions:

As a way of calling attention to Lira’s plight, if he is still alive, or commemorating him, if he is not, we are reposting his video, Bucha More Lies, which Lira published on April 4 and took down a day or so later out of concern that YouTube would demonetize his channel. Having seen videos disappear before, Lambert took a copy. We suggest readers download our copy and circulate it. We’re also embedding some of his other important videos that are still up on YouTube further down in this post.

Please download this video ASAP and distribute it if you are so inclined, since YouTube may try to block it once they get wind of it.

Lira takes apart the notorious Bucha video purporting to present bodies of people killed by the Russians based on it having far too many signs of having been staged. Lira among other things has produced films, and so identifies obvious fakery, like bright red blood exposed to air, which exists only in movie-land, along with subtler production fingerprints.

Note that Lira’s assessment complements Scott Ritter’s. Ritter was booted from Twitter for putting together public information as of April 5 that contradicted the reports that started circulating on April 2 of alleged Russian atrocities.

Ritter set forth the long-form version of his case at Consortium News. The short version is that the Russians left Bucha on March 30. The mayor of Bucha confirmed that the Russians were all gone on March 31 and did not indicate that anything was amiss. It would seem difficult to miss bodies on a major street in a suburb of 37,000.

There were also no reports of deaths or disappearances of Bucha citizens during the Russian occupation or immediately after they left, or even contemporaneous photos presented to the press later, despite Bucha having unrestricted cell phone and internet access the entire time. Some key additional observations by Ritter:

The available evidence that could be extracted from the images from Bucha showed bodies that by appearance appeared to have been killed within 24-36 hours of their discovery—meaning that they were killed after the Russians withdrew from Bucha.

On April 2, an article appeared in an official Ukrainian government website,, entitled “Special forces regiment ‘SAFARI’ began to clear Bucha of saboteurs and accomplices of Russia.” According to the article, “Special forces began clearing the liberated, by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, city of Bucha of the Kiev region from saboteurs and accomplices of Russian troops.” According to the article, the Safari Regiment was comprised of personnel from various special police units, including the Rapid Operational Response Unit and the Tactical Operational Response Police.

There was other information—a video where a Ukrainian official warns the citizens of Bucha that on April 1 a “cleansing operation” was going to be conducted in Bucha, and that the citizens should remain indoors and not to panic. Another video, also from April 1, purported to show members of the Safari Regiment shooting civilians who were not wearing the blue distinguishing armbands signifying loyalty to the Ukrainian cause…

I believed I had more than enough information to try and put forth a counter-narrative ….namely that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for the Bucha killings.

Lira’s Bucha talk is a bit rambling; he mentioned in other presentations around that time that the shelling and the stress of being at risk were getting to him to the point that he couldn’t concentrate well enough to read a novel (Dostoevsky, natch). Nevertheless his discussion makes sense on a stand-alone basis, although many will no doubt want to check his commentary against the video proper. You can find it on Telegram here or in this Washington Post story.

Below are two more of Lira’s important talks, the first on the relationship between Zelensky and his long-standing patron Igor Kolomoisky and the second on Victoria Nuland. The Nuland talk has more armchair psychology than is helpful, but that sort of thing is widespread in the media today. Even if you know the broad outlines of both stories, I suspect you’ll find some new nuggets.

Again, while it is great to see that Lira is alive and reasonably healthy-looking, it sounds as if Ukraine authorities are silencing him. Please contact the Chilean Embassy and insist that he be allowed his freedom.

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  1. Otis B Driftwood

    Good news that Lira is still alive. Others, like Valery Kuleshov, have not been so fortunate.

    I cannot understand why Scott Ritter announced earlier this week that Lira was dead. This was reckless and only gives his critics another excuse to dismiss Ritter’s analysis of the war.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It does seem Ritter can be unduly quick to come to conclusions. But the odds were much higher that Lira was dead than not. And I do think all the calls to the Chilean embassy made a difference.

      1. José Freitas

        And Lira had clearly stated in his Twitter that should he not be heard from for 12 hours, we should assume he was dead….

        1. Jeff Weinberger

          Please go back and see that Lira said we should assume he’d been picked up, not that he was dead. He states this just past the 12:30 mark of “The Daily Beast Is Trying To Get Me Killed.”

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            His pinned tweet was far more widely read than his video was heard. The names on that list were arrested and killed or tortured:


            And see this article by Max Blumenthal to get an idea of how often this sort of thing occurs and how brutal the methods are. Blowing off being detained by a week by the SBU is naive. There was almost certainly a minder in the room when Lira was speaking to Christoforu.


      2. nippersdad

        Christoforou, on his program yesterday, said that Ritter meant to underscore the difference in reportage that lira was getting vs. the kinds of stories that came out when an obscure Belarussian blogger that was working on the Belarus regime change operation was taken into custody last year.

        Ritter’s clarification:.

        Christoforou’s breakdown @ the 6:44 mark:


        1. Otis B Driftwood

          I just watched the same from Christoforou. And yes, Ritter did clarify later but the initial message is what his enemies will remember.

    2. ks

      I thought it was a useful catalyst. Ritter has greater reach than Christaforu and I thought suggesting strongly that reports confirmed Lira’s torture and death was galvanizing. There was certainly very little time between his post, a response by Chile and the re-emergence of Lira. Not enough time for me to write to my congressperson.

  2. bwilli123

    Immediately following Ritter’s original post on his telegram account he clarified thusly…

    “A point of clarification—I have no direct evidence that Gonzalo has been killed. I was clear I was referring to “reports emerging” about his demise. But Gonzo said any disappearance of more than 12 hours should be treated as if something bad had happened to him. It’s been five days. If this had been a New York Times reporter disappearing in Russian controlled territory, it would be headline news—especially if a Chechen “hunter killer” team had taken credit for his death. But with Gonzo—silence. Which was the whole purpose of the post: to raise awareness about his disappearance.”

    It would appear also that this “raised awareness” (& not only from Scott Ritter) was one of the reasons why Gonzalo’s life was spared.

  3. Dave in Austin

    God, Lira needs an editor. I agree with much of what he deduces, but this should be 10 minutes, not an hour. This is the problem with the amatures; both the and Patrick Lancaster suffer from the same defect. Maybe interested editors should take the videos from both and edit them down and posting the edited version with the oringinals with time codes saying things like: “Now at 15:21 and 18:30 Lira says…”.

    1. Donald

      Agreed, though otoh with Patrick’s videos ( or the ones I have watched most of it is worth watching in their entirety because he lets people speak and you get long clips of what the area looks like. The people, loosely speaking, seem to have two points of view, not necessarily contradictory. One group will explicitly talk about Ukranian forces shooting at them ( civilians) and with great bitterness. Others seem to hate the war and blame both sides.

      I suppose if anyone only blames the Russians they might be afraid to say so in Russian- controlled areas but I have seen people being very sarcastic about both Putin and Zelensky on his videos.

      So it seems like a much richer picture of the reality at least where Lancaster is than I get from the MSM. I don’t necessarily buy Patrick’s pov, but he seems to be showing what he sees and letting people speak for themselves. Literal man and woman on the street interviews.

      1. ks

        Exactly. And he doesn’t shrink from including people who are reserved about who to blame for their suffering. I was shocked to turn on the radio of a rental car today and hear the kind of propaganda Americans are subjected to. Patrick’s videos are a kind of armor against it, which is why he’ll be disappeared from youtube if he gets too big a following.

    2. AGR

      IIRC, in “Manufacturing Consent”, it was argued that “concision” was a feature of the propaganda addition to being “atomized” we’ve been conditioned for sound bites…there’s a lot of nuance that seem missing from these “edited” versions…at times it seems like they’re trying to condense Paella into a pill…

      1. Objective Ace

        There’s a big difference between 10-15 minutes and a soundbite. There’s definitely a sweet spot though, and it depends on the topic. Even 2-3 hour documentaries are significantly edited from days worth of footage. Everything is “concision” relative to some baseline

        1. AGR

          I would certainly agree that “depends” and “relative” are key words, and why “context always matters”…e.g., sifting facts from the “fog”, and extracting the relevant facts from the irrelevant etc….and the difficulty of discerning “intent” in semantics and rhetoric, where “sincerity” doesn’t necessarily equate with “truth”…

          1. JBird4049

            I get that the often… rambling, even garrulous, speechifying is a problem. It’s like “Please, for the love of Creation, come to the fracking point!” But we are not talking about some of the German philosophers with their whacked sentences and paragraphs, or some of the modern literary “analysis” I stumble on. Fifty pages full of fifty dollar words when one page of normal would do.

            Yet, our increasing inability to wade through extended blogs, articles, documentaries, and even whole books is a problem. Much like college students being unable, or unwilling, to read the often long sentences, with their multiple clauses, of writers of the past including those of the Founding Fathers.

            Until we stop using the increasingly microsized and frenetic bits in all formats, we ain’t going to get to more realistic, informative, and useful sources of information. However, our “content providers,” whoever they may be want, us to have the attentiveness of gerbils. On meth. And they have the money to keep doing this.

            1. Andy

              You gotta remember too that “content providers” like Lancaster and Lira are running a hustle (it’s no longer a derogatory term) and making money from their opinion pieces. Hence the long-winded babbling and the relentless, often sleazy and always annoying, self-promotion. e.g. Lancaster doing his manic “hit subscribe, follow and share” schtick in front of corpses lying in the street.

              The whole follower culture that goes along with social media opinion peddlers is just another flavor of fandom. It’s a reminder that fawning over amateurs on YouTube is no replacement for reading the serious, long-form investigative journalism that neoliberalism and censorship have done away with. Lancaster, for example, is no Robert Fisk. And when the Fisks of the world die or retire there are no young upstarts taking their place because that kind of journalism has been cancelled for good.

              It’s actually quite shocking how degraded, crapified and sleazy even “serious” western culture has become. Even more shocking, at least to me, is how quickly people have adapted and accepted the shoddy replacement “products” – even people who were around long before the internet era and peak neoliberalism took over.

              I could never spend hours each day watching or reading Lancaster, Lira, Moon of Alabama, Richard Medhurst and other “alternative media” that caters to people who have world views similar to mine. You (generic) tune into them primarily to have your opinions confirmed and reinforced and to partake in group outrage at how family blogged the world is, not really to learn anything new or have a nuanced discussion. To me it all seems a bit desperate not to mention sad. A type of masochistic escapism.

              1. nippersdad

                It is telling that you criticize such as Lancaster because he does not have the kind of support that Edward R. Murrow had from CBS during WWII. Those who do, people like the chief foreign correspondent for MSNBC, Richard Engel, are feeding us straight up garbage crafted to manufacture consent*; that is not neoliberal crapification, that is propaganda that such as Murrow would have been the first to recognize.

                Where is this serious, long form journalism of which you speak. I doubt that many here would have to rely upon YouTube videos if it were all that common.

                If you are not willing to admit the credibility of those on the ground witnessing the events in question then whose do you find acceptable? I tune into them specifically because such as Judith Miller poisoned their own wells, and that should be sufficient to make anyone suspect of MSM motivations. One need not learn anything new if one is content to listen to such as Engel; we already know what General Dynamics wants us to believe.

                The only rationale for listening to them is to keep up with the current talking points.


      2. John Mc

        Fantastic point here AGR…

        Time is money notion permeates every interaction we seem to have as Americans.

        Well done.

    3. jo6pac

      I’m of thought to leave them alone. Amateurs Yes but we don’t any pros from lame stream press.

      1. flora

        Hey now! Don’t dis the MSM. Taylor Lorenz is a real journo from WaPo who knows how to get the story the professional way! Don’t discount the journo pros who know how to track down and harass private citizens on twitter – like tictok re-tweeters! Daily Beast is pro journo, too! (difference between DB and WaPo is more of degree than of kind in silencing unwanted voices. heh)

        So show some respect! /(this is satire, of course)

      2. Librarian Guy

        You gotta love the talented amateurs, who do it for love, not money. Some years ago in the NYRB I read a great article about Alexander von Humboldt, who became one of the world’s greatest naturalists, starting out completely from an amateur, autodidact status and succeeding beyond all the professionals of the time. One lesson from our PMC “betters” is don’t trust the experts, they’re all connected and think alike.

    4. Brunches with Cats

      The problem with “amatures,” LOL. You might need them to have an editor (how dare they infringe on your busy day with content you don’t deem useful or relevant), but IMO, the last thing Lira and Lancaster need is a “professional” editor distilling down their work to prevailing norms. I listen to Lira while working in the kitchen or doing craft projects. Lancaster has to be watched, as often his interviews are in Russian with subtitles, so I make time. I’ve found his uncut interviews with people in Mariupol deeply moving, unlike the sound bites on the evening news. BTW, if you’ve ever watched Joe Rogan, his podcasts typically go on for three hours.

      1. nippersdad

        The one where he interviewed the elderly woman who had to bury her Husband and neighbors under fire is etched on my mind. I have no doubt that his work will be a feature of the war crimes tribunals that the Russians will have, and it will be telling when the mainstream press ignores them.

        It already is.

      2. Louis Fyne

        it’s the edited, emotion-triggering short videos that are predisposed to go viral. 45 min. videos rarely go viral on youtube and never to the same extent as much shorter videos.

        PL and GL are preaching to the choir w/their long-form videos. To have any chance at influencing masses the middle 85% of the audience, one needs short, triggering videos—exactly as OP described.

        1. Objective Ace

          >45 min. videos rarely go viral on youtube and never to the same extent as much shorter videos.

          As Bunches of Cats mentions: Joe Rogan 2-3 hour videos used to routinely get millions and even tens of millions of hits on YT. Assuming what you say is true, perhaps the fact that 45 minute videos arent predisposed to go viral is actually evidence of something else — ie. YT doesnt want nuanced alternative viewpoints to go viral.. which is indeed why JR moved his podcasts

          At any rate, its not an either or. You can take a 2-3 hour video and cut it up into 10-15 minute highlights for those who dont want to set a whole evening aside

    5. Aaron212

      He is rather talky, but I’d rather have this then something slick and overproduced. I just speed up his vids to 1.5x which helps a lot.

  4. FriarTuck

    I’m sorry, this guy’s material doesn’t pass the sniff test. He doesn’t actually edit in any of the original footage/pictures he’s specifically referencing to demonstrate his claims, he proclaims he “conclusively proved something” when I sure as hell don’t see even the same evidence he’s claiming, and he basically Gish Gallops through any possible objections to his conclusions by virtue of his videos being long and rambling.

    If this guy is a “filmmaker,” it is isn’t evident.

    I don’t doubt he may have been detained by Ukrainian forces, but what do you expect when you have a right wing tourist (do not call him a journalist, he isn’t doing any bloody in-person reporting) spouting “conclusions” which aren’t supported by any evidence that doesn’t require 10 hours of subsequent research into his “livestreams” which may or may not be fabricated or evidence linked to the thing he’s “concluding”.

    Why this site isn’t treating him with skepticism befuddles me.

      1. FriarTuck

        I watched the video you linked; color me unimpressed.

        Again, he is watching mp4s on a computer, shot on a phone (filmmaking LOL) where he’s pointing at stuff on the screen. He claims “look at the poles and blown out tank” and yet the subsequent footage he shows has a Ukrainian speaker showing the same area, from the same perspective. Does Lira not know that two people can occupy the same space at slightly different times?

        This completely innocuous conclusion comprises the beginning of a Gish Gallop that seems to be aimed to make you angry at the Ukrainians for… what, exactly?

        I discount the clown Kadyrov because he clearly shot video of himself “capturing” a Ukrainian tank safe in his compound, and it’s significant because Kadyrov is a powerbroker in Russia.

        I discount… who exactly with these videos? Some American guy who is waving his junk in BDU in front of a camera? Some Ukrainian guy talking about blown out [family blog]s?

        I just don’t get it.

        Sure Lira has selected these videos because, yes, they probably are propaganda. But am I to conclude that everything in Ukraine is BS because of a few transparently constructed videos? Because a tourist has played a few videos on his MacBook? Am I to doubt my lying eyes of Mariupol being leveled? Of mass graves? Of tanks taking hits from Javelins? Of civilian residence buildings being shelled?

        Lira has overplayed any hand he gains from these videos.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Ah well, can’t help you then. When the time comes to write the history of the Ukrainian War, historians will declare it to be the greatest mindf**** in history in how hundreds of millions of people were totally deceived in what they were seeing and what was actually playing out in front of them, made worse by the fact that so many of them wanted to be deceived. If a result of this war is not a general introduction of censorship in the west, I would be very much surprised.

        2. nippersdad

          You clearly have not been watching Lancaster, where he interviews the people who were in those buildings when they were shelled. The Mayor of Mariupol has not been on the ground, Lancaster has. He can prolly tell you who is in those graves, and why.

          The value of Lira and other podcasters like him is that they are all on the same page, that they all back each other up. He is not operating in a vacuum, and his insights serve to add value to the overall picture. When you have three different commentators pointing out that, given the prevailing weather conditions and the timeline, if the Russians had committed such crimes we should be seeing pools of goo seems compelling to me.

          It would be nice if the Mayor of Mariupol could tell us why the Ukrainians have less interest in burying the dead they find than the Russians/militias and Chechens.

          1. FriarTuck

            The value of Lira and other podcasters like him is that they are all on the same page, that they all back each other up.

            Otherwise known as an “echo chamber”

            1. nippersdad

              It is always a good idea to know whose echo chamber one is in. Judith Miller proved that a long time ago.

        3. Lambert Strether

          > But am I to conclude that everything in Ukraine is BS because of a few transparently constructed videos?

          When I started covering Ukraine in links, I had a category called “Symbol Manipulation.” Finding Ukrainian B.S. was like shooting fish in a barrel. So, yes, that is what you should conclude. From this article in CNN:

          Because the US military is not on the ground, the US and NATO are heavily reliant on information provided by Ukraine’s government. Privately, officials recognize that Ukraine has an incentive to give only information that will bolster their case for more aid, more arms and more diplomatic assistance.

          “It’s a war — everything they do and say publicly is designed to help them win the war. Every public statement is an information operation, every interview, every Zelensky appearance broadcast is an information operation,” said another source familiar with western intelligence. “It doesn’t mean they’re wrong to do it in any way.”

          So, yes, you “to conclude that everything in Ukraine is BS,” not merely because of fake Bucha videos, but because everything they say is bullshit, designed to extract arms or money from the West (and sell it on elsewhere, if the rest of the article has any merit).

          It is all bullshit, Ukraine and US as well, exactly as with Iraq or Syria, and the sooner you get your head round that, the better.

          1. FriarTuck

            …your citation is CNN, who is citing “one source briefed on US intelligence” and “another source familiar with western intelligence”.

            And yet you give credence to this faceless bureaucrat(s), or some guy whose hobby it is to follow US intelligence, speaking through a major news platform (that may I remind you, you have been dismissive of), simply because this story fits your priors?

            I don’t dismiss the story, of course, because we all learned from Afghanistan (in the 80s!) and Iraq part deux that it is fantastically dangerous to ship weapons and money to a volatile region with little direct control over how they’re used.

            But I have to say you’re far more confident in your conclusion than I think the evidence warrants.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              So you trust the Ukrainian Nazis???

              Mariupol was leveled because there’s tons of NAZIS there that were trapped in a cauldron. They hide behind women and children. They hide in hospitals and schools.

              Lira was valuable as a JOURNALIST because he was reporting on the fake news Ukrainian was reporting that Kharkov was being leveled by the Russians when that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

              And the fact the Ukrainian Gestapo abducted him makes him credible. Look at his face in that video. He looks like he’s about to cry. He looks relieved to be alive. You can see it in his eyes the horrible stuff he survived. The FEAR of dying.

              And it’s ironic Lambert quoted CNN. Every now and then CNN isn’t a total waste of space. If you don’t believe them, then believe the Pentagon. They said the same thing.

              Russia is 100% winning the ACTUAL WAR while the West is 90% winning the VIRTUAL WAR.

              Mirabile Dictu – LIRA IS ALIVE.

              Thank the Gods!

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              The evidence of Ukraine fakery is overwhelming. They posted a video that I even recognized, of a girl arguing with troops that they depicted as a Ukrainian v. Russians. It was actually a Palestinian v. Israelis.

              Snake Island. The ghost ship. The claims that Russians mined fields when the Russians have been given orders to avoid ag fields and related infrastructure so as not to hurt ag production. Depicting a shelling of a train station as Rooskie perfidy when Italian TV posted a shot of the shell, with its serial #, and that serial # was Ukrainian.

              The numerous Ukie dead tanks presented as Russian dead tanks. Footage from prior in the conflict presented as current. The Ukies insisting the captain of the Moskva was dead when he’s very much alive. The Ukies claiming the head of the MoD, Sergei Shoigu, had been shitcanned when he was just on TV this week in a staged one on one with Putin.

              95% of everything coming from the Ukraine side is fake. Scott Ritter says it’s all fake, so I am being charitable.

              The fact that you are so credulous and still believe them is your problem and confirms you aren’t paying close attention.

              And your smearing of this site is merely proof you’ve run out of argumentation runway.

              1. Martin

                I’ve followed you for years. I’m appalled by the hypocrisy exhibited about the Ukraine invasion, and apparent eagerness to provoke Putin into using nuclear weapons. I’m trying to figure out what’s actually happening and not finding anywhere I trust to give me the full picture — it reminds me of the lead-up to our invasion of Iraq. So seeing that you have a highly contrarian (to the mainstream) view, I’m interested in following up what you say. You’re certainly right that Zelensky hailed the Snake Island guards as martyrs though they turned up alive, and I think you are referring to the “ghost pilot”, a fictional Ukrainian air ace. I wasn’t familiar with the serial number issue as to the train station attack, so I tried to drill down as best I could. I see the claim that the serial number of the Kramatorsk Tochka U missile is 91579 and Ukrainians have used 91566 and 91565, but that really doesn’t seem conclusive, since the missiles were all manufactured in one place and distributed to multiple locations, so presumably one military got a set of Tochka U ending a serial number one digit away from the series that went to another military. Lots of other issues, too, like why would the Ukrainians bomb their own train station? I wish I knew who to believe.

                1. PlutoniumKun

                  Its not a case of ‘knowing who to believe’. Its a simple situation of acknowledging that the Ukrainians, with the help of pretty much all western governments, are engaged in a massive misinformation campaign designed to make them appear sympathetic in the eyes of the world and to persuade Nato to intervene on their behalf. This is a simple, objective statement of the truth, not an anti-Ukraine or pro-Russian observation. They are doing what smaller countries have done in similar situations since the dawn of the age of mass media in the 19th Century. Russian sources are generally more reliable not because the Russians are the good guys, but because they don’t have the same incentive to mislead. They are fighting a war of facts on the ground, and don’t particularly care what the west thinks of them.

                  The reality is that all information coming directly from Ukraine or from the main western sources is so distorted that it can largely be discounted. This doesn’t mean that every single statement is a lie, or every video faked. It just means that you can treat what they say to be as accurate as a car salesman description of the ’06 Accord he is selling. Maybe he is telling the truth, maybe not. Its irrelevant. Get your own mechanic to check out the car, thats the only reality worth depending upon. If you can’t find a mechanic you can trust, don’t buy the car.

            3. JessK

              This is obvious nonsense. The evidence is overwhelming and indisputable. This is not a question of individual stories but a much larger fairy tale constructed about the conflict that does not even pretend to be logically consistent.

              What’s interesting about the UKR-NATO propaganda war is that its claims and narratives are not just false, but provocatively so. Again and again, the Western MSM reports “facts” that openly contradict the “facts” it reported just moments ago – but both claims remain true. Western propagandists are either oblivious to the doublethink or are daring the public to refuse to participate.

      2. wolfepenguin

        This deconstruction is gold. I didn’t realize the Brooklynite image could be used so effectively among others.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘the Brooklynite image’?

          There is a guy who has a Twitter account and calls himself ‘BrooklynDad Defiant’ and I have seen him referenced on the net from time to time. I suppose that you would call him a ****lib but Jimmy Dore did a video on him a long time ago revealing that the guy was being paid tens of thousands of dollars regularly from major corporations so he is not what he seems at all-

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        He has the occasional throwaway sexist remark. As someone who worked on Wall Street, this is tame but you still aren’t allowed to say that sort of thing these days if women are around. He assumes a bro-ish audience, and that probably was his pre-Ukraine broadcast demographic. Now that I am listening to Mercouris (who speaks Russian and sorts through Russian and Western reports and tried to discount for puffery) and occasionally Lira, YouTube is recommending survivalist and fix it videos.

        1. Lupana

          I’m getting those too plus horrible deer slaughtering videos. I wondered what it was! I used to get The Cottage Fairy and Miranda Mills book reviews type recommendations. I guess I didn’t realize how it worked – Maybe you can’t be interested in The Duran and Cozy Mysteries at the same time.

          1. Guild Navigator

            I am getting Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution videos, and low-rent Annunaki/UFO vids in my YT feed (the first two are not my political tendency, the third is slightly more relevant but these are really off [possibly AI-generated]). There were a few other odd patterns the last few days that I can’t remember. I am glad I managed to forget them already.

      2. ks

        He says himself that he’s a “man of the right.” Certainly had no time for Allende, who he seems to imagine as a Commissar Strelnikov, terrorizing and murdering perceived enemies of socialism. But, you have to take people as they come when it comes to seeking information.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Gee, what about “He’s in Ukraine in a war zone” don’t you understand?

      I suggest you try a search engine. Lira produced and directed one film and has been on the crew in others:

      Lira, like Alex Christoforu, produces podcasts that are only incidentally videos and are in large measure ad lib workings through of Topics of the Day. Many who listen to podcasts are tolerant of a lot of talking because the point is to fill up time, usually drive time. Alexander Mercouris’ talks are more structured and have a lot higher signal to noise ratio.

      Even though I warned his Bucha talk was flabby, you didn’t rebut any of his points. Lambert and I regarded some of them as important: the fake movie blood, the bodies lacking injuries or even looking dead (save the two in the alley with trash, see any number of battlefield videos for comparison), the oddly convenient array of the bodies so not a single face had to be pixtillated to hide identity, the pristine white wrist ties, which as Ritter pointed out, looked to be taken from or meant to imitate the white arm and thigh bands Bucha citizens used to show they were not hostile to Russians. The claims about the lenses and the lighting could be verified by someone with the right sort of technical film experience.

      1. FriarTuck

        Yves, I’m looking at this from purely a skill on display perspective. I’m no filmmaker, but it strains credulity that a filmmaker can’t open up Premiere and slap in footage/stills to prove his point. 14 year olds do as much or more on YouTube.

        IMDB is not something that you should take as something that grants authority; you could be some guy in his basement emailing clips to an editor and submit a credit to IMDB and get labelled as a “director”.

        Hell, if Mike Stoklasa and Rich Evans can be listed on Never Been Kissed as actors because they told a story about how they were extras on a set in Chicago, then you have to conclude that IMDB is a starting point for credibility, not a reference of credibility itself.

        Is him being in Ukraine, which I suppose all can be considered a war zone, supposed to give him credibility or something? He’s not doing in-person or first person reporting, so what am I supposed to take from this?

        The Bucha material I’ve come across does not have “fake blood” in it. The bodies are charred from burning or in bodybags. They don’t have any white armbands on them. The images are sickening and enraging.

        If your take is that the whole of the Ukrainian story is bunk, link and primarily reference Scott Ritter, who you clearly give more authoritative weight to. Ritter’s article for Consortium news does seem to track, but it’s one photo. The point about bodies bloating is dependent on me giving Ritter credibility on that point, but I’m no coroner and can’t make authoritative conclusions like he is about other photos. Maybe the temperature futzed with the bloating? Maybe carbonized flesh behaves differently in cold/wet weather?

        It comes down to, am I to disbelieve my lying eyes? Am I to discard all the other exterior photos of bodies in the streets? Of the first person accounts of people in Newsweek? Of satellite photos of mass graves? Of Mariupol leveled?

        I appreciate your and Lambert’s skepticism of “official sources,” but sometimes I wonder if you guys dig in, go too far, and write off every “official source” to your own detriment.

        Personally, I’m wary and skeptical of the official line, and the Azov lunatics certainly are something to be cautious of, but I’m not going to write off an entire country’s plight because 5% of their population are whackos.

        1. Donald

          If you actually watch Lancaster you can see the destruction from ground level and you will see and hear people giving their views. As I said in other post ( in moderation) you see two points of view—

          Some of the interviewees report first hand experience of Ukranian atrocities.

          Other people clearly hate the war and blame both sides. I have seen people in his videos who are openly bitter towards both Zelensky and Putin.

          Actually there is a third group who won’t say who they blame. I assume some blame the Russians first and won’t say so in Russian controlled territory. Or they might be afraid of both sides and don’t want to say anything not knowing who will come out on top.

          I blame Russia for invading, but it sounds to me like you are rejecting Lancaster simply for his pro Russian views. I see his videos as data and they provide a lot of evidence that the war is messier than the MSM says. I think both sides are committing atrocities and lying about it because that is the normal pattern in wars and certainly true of the conflicts that I have followed more closely.

        2. scarnoc

          >I’m wary and skeptical of the official line,


          If you can’t see that

          – The timeline for Bucha being the work of Russians doesn’t make any sense
          – That Russia gains nothing from such massacres but Ukraine does
          – That Russia hasn’t massacred civilians anywhere else under their control
          – That Russia’s military has obviously been working under directives to protect civilians as much as possible, which policy of care has in fact led to greater Russian casualties and is one of the largest terrains of debate in Russian media right now (many in Russian media call for Putin to allow the military to be ‘crueler’)
          – That the civilian population of Mariupol was terrorized by the Ukrainians, and see the Russians as saviors (see any of the literally hundreds of interviews on the spot with civilians there who detail the atrocities of Azov and Ukrainian regular troops. Since you probably don’t speak Russian, there are plenty of English translations around)
          – That the ‘Azov lunatics’ and other territorial defense nazi formations are USA and EU funded and trained shock troops for a totally supine and nazified Ukrainian government
          – That Kadyrov is anything but a clown (interesting choice of words, tbh)

          then you know nothing about this conflict. If you think Newsweek is a source on this conflict worth more than kindling, then you know nothing. Western reporting is nearly all lies at this point. I’ve never seen anything come close. Not even Syria. Since you are relying on professional liars who openly hope for the silencing and even murder of media people who tell the truth, and who admit that their reporting is itself a form of information warfare, your entire view on the conflict is based on lies and confusion. Either get on a VPN or telegram so you can see media from the other side of the conflict to judge your media against, or stay silent about things you know nothing about.

          1. FriarTuck

            – The timeline for Bucha being the work of Russians doesn’t make any sense

            If you accept the conclusion about bloated bodies applied to every image of Bucha, or that a single image referenced in Consortium News has more precedence over the numerous stories out of major outlets. Many objections to the “Bucha timeline” that I’ve seen trace back to a handful of people posting “conclusions” that are simply the same story laundered through multiple outlets to make it look like the issue has more weight than it does.

            – That Russia gains nothing from such massacres but Ukraine does

            Perhaps internationally. Domestically, Ukrainians aren’t seen as people by Russians (thanks propaganda!), and thus massacres of them don’t really matter… or are good. Putin’s speeches make this quite clear. Also, Russia does have a history of indiscriminate warfare, especially when they’re up against the wall. See: Syria, Afghanistan

            – That Russia hasn’t massacred civilians anywhere else under their control

            If you dismiss all first-hand accounts and ignore their usage of the Donbas as conscripts that they’re throwing in the grinder. Or all these stories about mass graves. Is every one of these stories false? Kind of a lot of them to dismiss outright, don’t you think?

            – That Russia’s military has obviously been working under directives to protect civilians as much as possible, which policy of care has in fact led to greater Russian casualties and is one of the largest terrains of debate in Russian media right now (many in Russian media call for Putin to allow the military to be ‘crueler’)

            Russia was clearly avoiding major damage to Kyiv at the outset of the war, largely due to the mistaken assumption that Ukrainians would welcome the Russians with little to no resistance. An assumption that cost Russia the lives of many, many young men.

            How does the “protect civilians as much as possible” square with attacks on civilian escape routes or the leveling of Mariupol?

            Plus, your point on the Russian media refutes your previous two points – if the Russian media is calling for more blood, they have everything to gain from massacres.

            I’ve seen claims that Russians don’t see Ukrainians as a legitimate social or national identity, and any resisters, Azov, Banderite, or not, are seen and referred to as Nazis.

            – That the civilian population of Mariupol was terrorized by the Ukrainians, and see the Russians as saviors (see any of the literally hundreds of interviews on the spot with civilians there who detail the atrocities of Azov and Ukrainian regular troops. Since you probably don’t speak Russian, there are plenty of English translations around)

            What confuses me about this point, which is why I’m skeptical of both sides, is that there are selections of testimonies of people that proclaim the Russians were in fact the terrorizes, and select testimonies that it was the Ukrainians.

            – That the ‘Azov lunatics’ and other territorial defense nazi formations are USA and EU funded and trained shock troops for a totally supine and nazified Ukrainian government

            I’ve seen this claim levied over and over again, but the only way you can proclaim that Azov was directly funded by the EU or US is through the tortured logic of Azov battalions being absorbed into the regular military as a marriage of convenience after the initial Donbas war went sideways, and then Azov receiving funds directed at Ukraine’s military by virtue of being part of Ukraine’s military.

            All the stats I’ve seen on Azov or Nazis put them as a tiny minority of the general Ukrainian population. If you were to apply the same categorization to the US, then it should be treated the same way as having a government full of Nazis.

            – That Kadyrov is anything but a clown (interesting choice of words, tbh)

            Kadyrov is a clown. A dangerous, homicidal, fair weather friend clown who has a cult following, the kind that you’d see in “It”, but who has passed his peak a bit, and is using his status to avoid any real work in the Ukrainian confrontation beyond being a propaganda puppet and regional control mouthpiece.

            1. lambert strether

              How on earth is that logic “tortured”? Ukraine normalized Azov because Azov liked whacking people, then the US gave them money and weapons (overtly). (To be fair, Zelensky’s billionaire sponsor gave them money, too.) This is not hard.

              Back in the before times, there were plenty of stories in the mainstream about Azov being Nazis. People made montages of the headlines. I’m too lazy to invest time in your Gush Gallop to find them. Sorry.

            2. Dwight

              Where in Putin’s speeches does he support massacres of Ukrainian civilians or imply they are acceptable?

              1. JohnA

                It is the opposite in fact. Putin is on record as saying Russians and Ukrainians are the same people and the Russian forces have gone out of their way to avoid civilian casualties, at cost of KIA of Russian forces.

            3. Jonathan Holland Becnel


              You heard it, NC!

              FriarTuck is canceling our War Coverage!

              Time to find another blog ?

          2. Brunches with Cats

            > If you think Newsweek is a source on this conflict worth more than kindling, then you know nothing.

            It’s even worse than that, scarnoc. The link to “first person accounts by people in Newsweek” goes to a blatant PR/propaganda piece by a former Marine who founded a company of mercenaries (despite his protestations to the contrary) in full complicity with the USG (despite his protestations to the contrary) and who has been in Ukraine training their military in battle tactics. There was, however, this interesting tidbit in his press release first-person account:

            He mentions that he’s a member of the Global SOF Foundation, “an association for international Special Operations Forces.” I’ve spent the past several hours down an Azovstal-size rabbit hole and need to get outside while there’s still some sunshine, but here’s what I’ve found so far:
            1) It’s a FACT that firms like this Marine’s are working hand-in-hand with the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). (SOCOM HQ is at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., which also is where this Marine’s firm is located, as well as the headquarters of the Global SOF Foundation. Funny how that works).
            2) Among the Foundation’s activities are annual conferences for corporate, military, and civilian government leaders. Discussion topics include how to expand the international network of special operations forces and how to get Congress to grant SOCOM a bigger budget.
            3)The Foundation’s “partner” directory is a who’s who of DoD contractors, including General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, CACI, Ernst & Young, Leidos, and dozens more. There’s at least one bio lab in there.
            4) Former Marine guy says his “team” (whom he doesn’t identify — security, you know) aren’t mercenaries like the evil Russky Wagner Group he wants to neutralize. If I understand the following analysis from West Point, what distinguishes a mercenary from a non-mercenary is whether they are officially linked with a combatant country’s military. The Russian government disavows any connection to Wagner Group, so they’re mercenaries; whereas foreign fighters in Ukraine aren’t, because Ukraine has formally incorporated them into its armed forces (apparently with pay). Meanwhile Marine guy is crying that his team isn’t being paid, so PLEASE PLEASE DONATE now to their noble mission.

            Maybe that’s why, after several hours, I still can’t get my brain to read SOF as something other than “Soldier of Fortune.”

            1. scarnoc

              Wonderful sourcing. I’m going to head down this rabbit whole myself. Thank you, friend.

        3. nippersdad

          “Personally, I’m wary and skeptical of the official line, and the Azov lunatics certainly are something to be cautious of, but I’m not going to write off an entire country’s plight because 5% of their population are whackos.”

          Several points you appear to have missed.

          “Azov lunatics” and their ilk by some counts make up forty percent of the Ukrainian military now; prolly nearly eighty percent of those who were in Mariupol as a direct result of Ukrainian operations in the Donbass for the past eight years in which fourteen thousand separatists have been killed per the OSCE. Ukraine has had an inability to raise troops from their own population, it turns out that lots of reservists have problems with killing their neighbors, and have had to augment them with fanatics from across the planet for years now. That is why they think they will be able to protect their mercenaries under the Geneva Conventions, and playing semantic games with the definition of the word “mercenary” is going to be something to look out for in future.

          Bill Clinton thought he was great at defining the word “is.” so that is something to look forward to.

          “Azov lunatics” and Azov adjacent groups are effectively in control of the Ukrainian government, as has been shown in breakdowns of who the Banderist leadership actually represents. That is how Zelensky, who ran on a peace platform, can now say that he wants to reconquer the Crimea even as his country melts under the pressure of trying to save his own army from Russian offensives. These are not rational people.

          It may be that only five percent of the population are whackos, but the military and the government have a disproportionate amount of that five percent resident within them. If Ukraine has any kind of a “plight’ it is directly caused by support, both foreign and domestic, of those extremist elements that have left them hostage to their antics. So, bottom line, the next time Russia says nyet, it really does mean nyet.

          Anyone who is shifting responsibility for the war in Ukraine from those who were repeatedly warned of the consequences of poking the bear onto others, like Russia, may want to ask Burns when he changed his mind. Sometimes you get what you ask for.

        4. Vomkammer

          Personally, I have been following Gonzalo’s videos since the start of the Ukraine war and I consider his videos valuable because:

          1) there are very few dissenting voices in the west, and
          2) he has the unique perspective of an upper-class, Chilean-American, expatriate trapped in a war zone.

          I do not give him the same level of credibility than Patrick Lancaster, Scott Ritter or other voices dissenting with the official narrative. Mainly because of his credentials, the material that he presents and his obvious bias against what he names the “Zelensky regime”.

          But Gonzalo is very transparent with his capabilities, motivations and his biases. So we, listeners, can take that into account when we extract information from his messages. I wish that a small fraction of the so-called “professional journalists” were so transparent with their motivations and biases.

        5. begob

          Lira should be taken with caution, I agree. Apart from the limitation of his experience in film, he does have certain tells of a yarn-spinner, along the lines of “and let me tell you another thing.” That’s not to take away from his risking arrest, and I’ve no doubt there was a serious threat to his well-being.

          I haven’t viewed his breakdown of the videos, but it’s clear the Ukrainians have been trained in faking it – almost certainly by the MI6-media complex of the UK. Recall the case of Arkady Babchenko, the Ukrainian journalist who faked his own assassination a couple of months after the Skripal nonsense.

          One of the most infuriating deceptions is the reverse angle dialogue presented as spontaneous, when the technique involves at least two takes if done with a single camera. A technique also used by that eejit from the US media who turned up in fatigues, pointing authoritatively at the sound of cruise missiles in the sky, with his producer chipping in from a different angle. I’d contrast that to the raw, rambling stuff from Lancaster, confident of which guy is closer to the facts.

        6. lambert strether

          The videos Lira critiqued were the initial propaganda barrage. The Ukrainians moved in later, and nothing they film or “find” should be trusted, given their incentives. My view is that it’s the White Helmets all over again.

        7. lambert strether

          > The Azov lunatics

          The Azov dudes aren’t lunatics. Let’s not minimize. They’re fascists.

          The first category is psychological. The second, political. This is not hard.

          1. FriarTuck

            Apologies, I did not mean to minimize.

            I mean lunatics in the metaphorical way of “without common decency”, not in the way of claiming they are without control of their faculties.

            I shall endeavor to be more precise with my epithets in the future.

            1. lambert strether

              Pas si bete. You are fully in control of your register and know exactly what you’re doing. Have a blessed day.

        8. jrkrideau

          . The point about bodies bloating is dependent on me giving Ritter credibility on that point,

          I am not sure that Scott may be thinking of Iraq but he is basically correct. I grew up in the country and we had lots of animal carcasses around. Unless it was below 0 C all the time those bodies had almost certainly not been there 3 or more days. They should show bloat. Skin discoloulation too I would think but hay as Gonsalo & Scott both note there are no clean shots of faces.

        9. Yves Smith Post author

          Help me. You are challenging Ritter on bloating? Seriously?

          Your claim is so ludicrous (but predictable) that Ritter pre-rebutted it his Bucha piece we linked to which you didn’t bother to read, further proof of your unwillingness to give non-mainstream storylines a fair hearing:

          One of the leading news stories was a New York Times report based upon commercially available imagery which the authors of the article, Malachy Browne, David Botti and Haley Willis, claimed was taken on March 19, 2022, putting a lie to Russian claims that when its troops pulled out of Bucha on March 30, no bodies were present.

          However, when I examined the video and still photographs of the Bucha bodies, I was struck by the fact that they didn’t appear to have been left in the street to decompose for two weeks (the bodies were “discovered” by the Ukrainian National Police on April 2.) Bluntly speaking, bodies begin to bloat some 3-5 days after death, often doubling in size. They will remain this way for up to ten days, before they burst, spilling a puddle of putrid liquid into the ground around the corpse.

          In comparing The New York Times’ image with the video of the bodies on the ground, I was struck by a scene in the movie My Cousin Vinny, where Vincent Gambini, a streetwise New York lawyer played by Joe Pesci, cross examined a witness on the issue of the preparation of Grits. “Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than on any place on the face of the earth? Well perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove!”

          Oh, and I bothered looking up a study done on dead pigs in Australia that the NIH put on its site on the impact of cooler temps on dead bodies and the temperatures in Bucha too. There is absolutely no way bodies left outside from March 19 or earlier in Bucha and found April 1 or after would not be severely bloated or exploded.

          So don’t try more handwaves.

          1. JessK

            This person is obviously in the NATO camp while masquerading as an impartial observer. Maybe you could excuse the soft spot for other aspects of the Zelensky-NATO propaganda narrative as naivete, but giving serious credence to the Bucha story is an obvious giveaway.

            Beyond the glaring forensic problems, there’s the larger one that the entire story makes no rational sense. The only explanation offered (more or less endorsed by the Zelensky regime and parroted by a hysterically Russophobic media) revolves around the Russians being literal demons, whose actions are either insane and/or senselessly malicious by virtue of being Russian.

            Anyone familiar with anti-communist propaganda during the Cold War (especially from the hard right, which habitually cast the Russians, Chinese and others as godless barbarians) will recognize this theme. Someone who’s so “impartial” they entertain this stuff as not just possible but plausible is clearly not impartial at all.

      1. FriarTuck

        Best not to link your credibility to flaky sources, then.

        The phrase ‘treat with a grain of salt’ comes to mind.

          1. FriarTuck

            So doubting a person’s conclusions means I want them dead?

            Did you read what I wrote?

        1. lance ringquist

          what amazes me today about a lot of people that swallowed the new world order that was being touted daily by charlatans like the nafta billy clinton crowd now that the evil russians were finally out of the way, a new golden era based on consumer enlightenment that will bring everyone out of poverty, has turned into a nightmare fairy tale that it always was.

          that crowd just cannot accept the facts that they had been had, and their stock prices and profits, are now in dire straights.

          they will close their eyes, cover their ears, and cover their mouths in a vain attempt to ward off reality.

          all they have left now is hatred for russians, which really has exposed their bankrupt idiotology.

          1. nippersdad

            “all they have left now is hatred for russians,…”

            At least we have the amusing prospect of watching them play the mean girls at the cafeteria until it all goes bottoms up. That scene at the G20 was revelatory; Siluanov and Nabiullina made the collective West look bad, so they must ostracize them at all costs to their own credibility.

            Yellen could do with an intervention. Mass hysteria amongst our ruling elites is a bad look.

            1. lance ringquist

              she looked like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

              we really do have a severe problem on our hands, the nafta democrats are true believers, even feverish, and that type is very dangerous.

          2. Gavin

            Conveniently, all corporations in this new world order are perfectly beneficent and always make decisions in favor of their workers, never allowing them to feel undervalued.
            Hashtag sarcasm!

          1. David in Santa Cruz

            This is still one of the only reliable news sources on the Intersewer.

            I used to be in the dead-body business. I’ve personally prosecuted over a score of homicide cases and seen many more. From Day One I looked at photos of the Bucha dead arranged just-so — most of them do appear to have been quite dead — and thought “This was staged by ‘Ukrainian’ death-squads taking-out ‘collaborators’ and ‘saboteurs.'” Bucha is WMD’s on steroids.

            We are being lied-to by the illegitimate authorities of a “country” who bring neo-fascist gangs into their armed forces, who ban opposition political parties and extra-judicially round-up and torture their adherents, who castrate and knee-cap POW’s, and who openly offer bribes to the already rich and powerful among us. I was at a meeting about CalPERS divesting from Russia just this morning where ostensibly educated people were calling Russia “the Soviet Union” just like Lloyd Austin does.

            The anti-Russian confirmation-bias hangover from the Cold War and McCarthyism is so deeply ingrained in Americans’ minds that they don’t even believe their own eyes.

            1. scarnoc

              Thank you for your professional opinion about the Bucha evidence.

              I’m also in California. I work in technology. I have gotten in to the habit of simply acknowledging the pro forma nonsense about the current thing (russia bad! as of now) from business partners and associates, and steering conversation asap to business at hand. ‘The current thing’ occupying their minds is never the day to day concerns of poorer people who live in our state. Instead it’s whatever virtue social media has broadcast that it is time for them to signal. They are some of the most immoral and untrustworthy people I have ever encountered, and I used to be a banker.

              1. David in Santa Cruz

                Reviewing crime scene photos for a living, you learn to pick up on small details which later become significant as you accumulate evidence. In the early Bucha photos of the dead laid out carefully along a road I noticed an older Mercedes-Benz S-Class oddly abandoned perpendicular in the street — I thought “nice car” (I’m a bit of an obsessive car-buff).

                In a “Ukrainian” propaganda video of “liberating” MP’s entering Bucha in their APC’s I noticed the exact model older Mercedes parked exactly perpendicular in what appeared to be the same road. No bodies; they clearly had been arranged after the Russians had left (or the “liberation” video was a fake).

                I try not to obsess on this “current mania” (to avenge the DNC and Hunter laptop hacks?) and I’m not about to spend my nights scouring the Web for “proof” when I’m not admitted to practice before the ICC, but this has been bugging me.

          2. Lynne

            TBH I’m not concerned about your credibility. I am, however, bothered by the perception that you are okay with invasions and destruction of other countries so long as it is not the US doing the invasion and the government is reprehensible, which, frankly, covers much of the world.

            1. liam

              The problem is that’s all you see. You ignore the context entirely. I’m linking to an article from 2019 that has quite the compendium of what Ukraine had become. It doesn’t touch on the Donbass, just on the sheer pervasiveness of Nazism and how embedded it had become in the Ukrainian state, with the blessing and funding of the US. Have a read, and then think about where the headquarters of the Azov battalion was located. Btw, it doesn’t even mention the situation in the southeast, but it’s a start.


              1. Lynne

                Do not make assumptions about what I do and do not see. And do not tell me I “ignore the context entirely” because the context I consider is broader than you would like.

                It is interesting, though, that you do not note the context for your 2019 article by an author who proudly proclaims his contacts with the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. In 2019 in the US, I couldn’t read the news on any single day without seeing breathless warnings about Nazis, or “white nationalists” — take your pick, controlling police forces in the US, about how there were right-wing nationalists in the US military that must be rooted out, and how armed gangs, a/k/a vigilantes, a/k/a ZOMG, NAZIS, roamed the streets.

                Tell me, are you old enough to remember, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it”? Because from your condescending comment, that’s where you are at and you are indeed just fine with invasions and destruction, so long as it’s the Russian Federation doing it.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              You ignore that there was already a war in Donbass, prosecuted by Ukraine, against what it regards as its own citizens, since 2014. Not only have 14,000 died, but 1.5 million fled to Russia and Belarus.

              And like it or not, Putin observed forms. It was the Duma, not Putin, that asked for the separatist republics to be recognized after Zelensky rejected France’s and Germany’s effort to revive the Minsk Accord. After Russia did that, it signed a collective security agreement with the new republics. That meant Russia could defend them under UN Article 51.

              1. Lynne

                No, actually, I do not ignore it. I just didn’t get into all the background because it’s not really relevant to this point: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it,” and the cheerleading for death and destruction on a finance and econ blog. It’s your blog and you can do what you like with it, obviously. But this business of ignoring or bolstering cheerleading for the Russian Federation troops and criticizing any comment that questions that narrative, well, it does not become you.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  Match for that straw? This is Manichean thinking and just a more upmarket version of the “if you aren’t for Ukraine, you are in bed with Russia.” The opposite of A is not B. It is “Not A”.

      1. divadab

        weird – gives a 404 error

        Bachelet very credible, very brave, she was actually tortured by Pinochet fascists in Chile along with her mother. Her father was tortured to death by the same fascist scum.

        I imagine the Chileans are very sensitive to the dangers of fascism and have rightly been active in protecting Gonzalo Lira from being tortured to death as is the wont of these brutal Nazi scum.

    2. c_heale

      He does waffle on a bit, but I can handle a bit of waffle.

      I don’t see him as right wing, especially since he’s criticising real neo-nazis (heard of the Azov Battalion?) and gangsters.

      And what is wrong with reading/listening to right wing media anyway? Everyone should be listening to every kind of media. If you only ever listen to one side then you are not gonna be getting the full story.

      IIRC George Orwell had Mein Kampf and Marx on his bookshelves.

  5. flora

    Thanks for this report. Great news he’s still alive and whole. Sound like the public attention and Chilean govt questions kept him from being killed.

    1. flora

      as for comments that sound like movie critics and/or
      “official narrative minders and wranglers”, always interesting to see that tactic in print. I understand they’re going after Patrick Lancaster, too. (probably for the same reasons) / ;)

      1. divadab

        excellent point – like criticising a working class labor activist because he doesn;t have a “proper” accent while failing to address his arguments. It’s a very high bourgeois form of ad hominem.

  6. LawnDart

    Here’s a trailer from one of Lira’s films, Secuestro (kidnapping(!)), about a minute-and-a-half long:

    It looks like the keepers of the official narrative have managed to silence another critic– they’re piling-on the ad hominems like dirt on a grave hoping he’ll stay burried, which kinda reminds me of the Assange rape-smears.

    1. FriarTuck

      It’s a good trailer for an action thriller.

      I wonder why none of the same skill on display is evidenced in Lira’s videos?

      1. Jonhoops

        It takes a fair amount of work to make something look slick. Despite advances in editing technology it would still take hours to put something decent together. Perhaps sitting cooped up in a war zone is not motivating. Easier to just do a livestream.

        People don’t understand that highly produced news segments and films are produced by teams of people with specialized skill sets. I know plenty of filmmakers/directors that can’t edit or produce graphics, they have people for that.

      2. lambert strether

        Maybe — follow me closely, here — it’s hard to create a professional-looking film in a war zone with no equipment. Perhaps that was Lira’s problem?

        Of course, a professional propaganda team will have whatever it needs. That’s why the Ukrainian material is so slick.

        1. FriarTuck

          Lambert, please don’t treat me like a child. I’m trying to be respectful, but you’re making it difficult.

          I’m talking about basic editing skills from a filmmaker. Nothing “slick”, just the most basic skill of showing what you’re talking about on the screen instead of through a bloody iPhone.

          He’s got a high speed internet line (livestream) and a MacBook, so there’s you’re “no equipment” out the window. 90% chance he can run Premiere or one of the free alternatives.

          Yes the trailer is slick, but I’m talking about cutting from a talking head to footage he has on his Mac. His videos don’t need to be slick. Just cut from talking head to footage to talking head. 14 year olds can do it.

          1. jonhoops

            Friar Tuck, it is not as easy as it seems. I believe the problem Gonzalo had showing that footage was that it was on Telegram or YouTube. It is not necessarily easy to get that kind of footage into an editing app unless you have the knowledge and other helper apps to grab the video from the internet. You could screen capture it in Quicktime but in many cases that won’t work.. Can it be done, sure. But it can be a pain. I’m sure it was just easier to point his phone at the computer screen than go to the trouble of grabbing it and editing it professionally.

            Of course arguing that his presentation wasn’t professional enough or that a 14year old could do better is just another way of denigrating the messenger.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            You have no idea how long things take. Merely getting Lira’s vid from Lambert’s laptop to my YouTube through Dropbox was a >15 minute process.

            And as proof of how oh so trivial it is, show me how many solo pod/videocasters do what you suggest. Better yet, do it yourself, post it on YouTube, and get back to us with a report.

          3. MBA

            You are forgetting processing time, amongst the plethora of other things prior… Try editing an hour long piece of footage to the standard YOU demand, then process it through whatever program you use, then, wait… It is go to bed and hope it is done when you get up. There’s a reason those pesky media/film kids are constantly on campus…

            That, and clearly his footage is from his laptop camera not some 2-3k DSLR… Let alone something used in actual media/film.

    2. jake

      The trailer to which you link, which references a 2016 production titled “Secuestro”, is not Gonzalo Lira’s movie. His, with the same title, was made in 2005. There’s also a trailer — though he’s not the editor — which is considerably cruder. But crude or slick, a trailer speaks to the budget and the skill of the editor, and says nothing about his own abilities.

      And to repeat a point already made here, listings are not testaments to professionalism or skill or even a reliable source of information. Credits are offered to rank amateur productions, including movies with no public (much less commercial) screenings, and fraudulent listings are common. In my case, I’ve had to remove unknown actors, cinematographers and editors (seeking resume credits) from my own listings several times.

      I’d be happy to comment on his technical observations, if anyone cares to link to the original sources.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Please please! They are linked, in the post, the Telegram vid on his Telegram channel and the one on WaPo. The WaPo one might be less granular to improve loading speeds.

  7. truly

    I think it is important to note that Lira is not a journalist. That is what makes his work even more valuable. He is a CITIZEN. Whether he is an ideal citizen or not, he is someone caught up in a situation that is just chock full of lies and he is trying to dispel them as best he can.
    I am thankful for his work. Thankful that he is alive.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      By “journalist” I suspect you mean what Lambert and I are tying to maintain the discipline of calling “media company employee”.

      1. JohnA

        Assange has been declared not a journalist so he can be incarcerated forever. Craig Murray was declared not a journalist in court by a judge because he reported honestly on the Salmond stitch-up trial and was given 6 months in prison for revealing far less than acceptable media company employees had done. Murray has been denied membership of the Union of Journalists in Britain because he is not a media company employee.

  8. nippersdad

    It is interesting that they are trying to do a similar thing, using the Mayor of Mariupol and mass graves, that they did with Bucha.* I was watching one of Lancaster’s videos the other day where he was pointing out about thirty dead on the road into Azovstal. Maybe if the mayor had actually stayed in Mariupol he could have found out where they went instead of just using them as human shields (albeit dead ones) for catapulting the propaganda to get his pet Nazis out of the steel works.


    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Of all of Lancaster’s reporting from Mariupol, this was the most disturbing. The graphic condition of the bodies is proof itself of the lies about Bucha.

      That street in Marioupol is a genuine scene of a war atrocity.

      The citizen who walks past and talks angrily and eloquently about what has happened to his city is as powerful as anything anyone has reported from this horrible war.

      Could Lancaster have asked better questions? Could he have given more complete context for the grotesque violence he was recording? Yes. But his journalism, raw as it is, is exceptional and essential for anyone seeking to understand the impact of this conflict on the people in eastern Ukraine.

  9. anon y'mouse

    isn’t this story essentially similar to Reagan, except less farcical and he spent more time in the trenches throwing commies out of the screen actor’s guild and working as a governator prototype?

    i always saw Reagan as a front who was ready to read the lines given him and press through as far as the Repub NeoLiberals could make it work for their agenda.

    if he had more leeway, it was because he agreed with the agenda and was trustworthy in getting through the larger goals, yes?

    1. ambrit

      Reagan was always a tool of the wealthy.
      Do some checking about his early political career. He had a “kitchen cabinet,” that consisted of some of his early backers. That group was comprised of early California Oligarchs.
      There is are good reasons why Jane Wyman divorced him in 1949.

      1. Bugs

        A really enjoyable book about Reagan and his rise to power through utter banality is The Invisible Bridge by Rick Perlstein. His jealousy of Jane Wyman was insidious and hateful. The section describing how he hooked up with Nancy is priceless. It’s amazing how such a total goof could become president.

  10. Louis Fyne

    Other journalists-bloggers aren’t as fortunate. Reportedly Latvian Kirill Federov, who is a Russian-sympathetic blogger/youtuber, has been arrested and gitmo-ed by the Latvian authorities for alleged treason.

    Can’t find any coverage in large western media outlets, and don’t expect any. Not familiar w/his work, just know that Latvia is supposed to be a EU democracy

    1. jo6pac

      Thanks for the link and news

      It seems to me that there might be a couple state department trolls on board today

      April 22, 2022 at 11:56 am
      I’ll try and work on that respect thingy but I make no promises;-)

      1. Gavin

        Or perhaps some executives from CNN+ trying desperately to assuage their bruised egos after they’ve learned nobody outside of a dentist’s waiting room or an airport bar has the faintest interest in their pablum.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      > Can’t find any coverage in large western media outlets, and don’t expect any.

      I didn’t expect any, either, but thought maybe there would be news in other languages. I did a search Wednesday evening in English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian. Many Spanish-language outlets carried the story, most of them based on a CNN Chile piece quoting the Chile Ministry of Foreign Affairs as being in contact with his family and actively looking into the matter. There also were several articles in Russian. Several of the Spanish and Russian websites had an English option, which was helpful. I didn’t find a single article in Ukrainian (quelle surprise) or French. I found one German article on what appeared to be an alternative news channel, maybe akin to Democracy Now! The only English hit was to an Arabic news network with an English option on the website. (I was looking for “official” news sources, as opposed to YouTube videos, chat room threads, etc.)

    3. TomDority

      gitmo-ed – brought to you by the fine patriots of the USA.
      Water-boarding – is it torture or not? a question brought to you by the fine patriots of the USA.
      Collateral damage – is it killing civilians while not being a war crime? Another question posed by fine patriots of the USA.
      State of endless wars and arms sales – brought to you by ???
      Corporate control of a democratic country complete – brought to you by the fine Patriots of the USA.
      Mission control -we seem to have a problem

  11. ChrisPacific

    Regarding film making, I have seen at least one example of a Washington Post article (a human interest piece on the families of the victims in Bucha) attributed to ‘contributors’ who turned out not to be journalists at all, but Ukraine-based filmmakers or marketers.

    Sadly I didn’t save the link, but they’re easy enough to spot. Look for “X, Y, and Z contributed to this report” or a similar byline at the end, and plug the names into Google. Typically you will get either a LinkedIn page, a social media feed, or both. The former tells you their professional background and the latter generally gives you a good idea of their views.

  12. WalterM

    I’m glad the guy’s alive, and I REALLY hope he STAYS safe.

    Sometimes his stream of consciousness irritates me, and I don’t know that I agree with every last bit of his analysis, but I have seen some of his videos that I thought gave me a better picture of the situation than I had before. Good luck to him.

    …Peace is just one of the nice things we can’t have.

  13. Gregory Etchason

    I’ve followed Gonzalo Lira from his “Red Pill” days. To say he’s self promotional is an understatement. That said I find his general underatanding of life cogent. I think everyone should
    stay opened minded about this episode. It’s not inconceivable it has been staged.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? You need to get out more. You appear not to recognize the norms for video-bloggers.

      He does not sell hoodies and sweatshirts like the folks at The Duran, nor does he spend a minute at the beginning of every talk describing how to sign up for other channels or asking directly for support. Paul Jay at The Analysis similarly hawks for money at the start of every show.

      As for “being staged” that is a smear with no basis. In fact, his remarks were so restrained it was not hard to imagine a Ukie goon was in the room.

      Lira has not broadcast since he was released, consistent with him being under house arrest as we surmised.

      You don’t appreciate how reckless it was for Lira to keep broadcasting from Kharkiv and how ruthless the Nazi goons are. They’ve killed mayors they deemed too friendly to Russia, for starters. I’m actually surprised he was not rounded up earlier, but a neighbor tipped him off one time that the SBU had been by and he left that apartment pronto.

      Ritter warned him he could be located when he live streamed, when Lira claimed he could obscure that. And then he gave stupid clues, like that he was consulting apps to see which grocery stores were open and was going out to provision.

      There are a lot of valid criticisms one can make of Lira, that there’s way too much noise to signal in his presentation, that he likes being melodramatic, that his perspective is limited because he did not seem to go out that much and was perhaps unduly reliant on his Ukraine contacts (he appears to know some people there because his wife is Ukrainian and he had been in and out of the country trying to business). But your objection appears to be that his packaging doesn’t suit you.

  14. rik

    Gonzo alive and well. Appears he was treated well by Azov. Kind of debunks everything he has ever said.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is a textbook case of the cognitive bias called halo effect, of seeing people as all good or all bad.

      The CDC and WHO were wrong about masks and aerosols and continue to ignore ventilation. Do you also therefore reject everything they say, particularly about vaccines? That is the implication of your line of reasoning.

      And they unlike Lira are supposed to be public health experts. If you read his Twitter bio, he does not profess expertise in that area and he does show his source. And we are citing his work in Ukraine, which has absolutely nothing to do with his views on the virus.

  15. caucus99percenter

    If there was ever any doubt whether “someone” has this blog in their sights, witness certain combative comments on this post and the diversion of attention away from fact-finding towards the personal and armchair-psychological.

    My surmise: the inclusion of NC on The Blob’s Washington Post PropOrNot hit-list was no mistake. Rather, it was the opening salvo in a Stasi-like campaign of Zersetzung. Reactions to this particular post re G.L. suggest that with the war as backdrop, concerted efforts to neutralize and discredit NC have entered a new phase and are being stepped up. In any case, expect more attacks.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I actually don’t think it was Lira’s name per se. He’s not that high profile in the US. I think it was putting Bucha in the headline and then anyone reading the post seeing that we questioned the party line.

      1. caucus99percenter

        You‘re probably right. Consider that my impressions are influenced by my priors, which, now that I’ve lived here in Saxony for some years, do incorporate elements of my friends and neighbors’ (= former East Germans’) life experiences…

        [sounds from backstage of hackles, previously raised, being manually lowered again]

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