Gonzalo Lira Reports Torture in Ukraine Prison, Extortion, Inevitable Conviction with Sentence of 5 to 8 Years in Labor Camp

Gonzalo Lira is alive, as the videos embedded below and a fresh 25-entry tweetstorm attest. However, he has a very ugly story to report. He was detained and repeatedly tortured by prisoners at the behest of guards, so as to create official deniability.

He was allowed to go free by virtue of paying $70,000 in bribes (after having $9,000 of “emergency cash” stolen) plus $11,000 in bail to be set loose before an August 2 trial date, where he was told his conviction was a certainty, despite the prosecution effectively admitting in its own filings that Gonzalo’s only crime was running afoul of Ukraine’s extreme restrictions on free speech. The anticipated sentence was 5 to 8 years in a labor camp. Gonzalo was not given access to an attorney despite claims otherwise.

And predictably, the State Department was no help, due not just to Gonzalo’s critical reporting on the US role in the conflict and outing some Western propaganda, but no doubt more specifically to his video on Russia-hater-in-chief Victoria Nuland, who was just promoted to number two at State. Representatives of the US Embassy did visit him three times, but offered, as Gonzalo put it, only bromides. But apparently there was enough noise made, particularly by the Chilean government, about Gonzalo not being allowed to post bail, so State apparently did eventually clear its throat about that.

The one bit of good news is Gonzalo is fleeing coop and that is apparently what the authorities want. He was told while incarcerated that he was supposed to leave Ukraine after the late time he was detained (but not roughed up then) and didn’t understand the message:

Gonzalo said he is going to Hungary to seek asylum. I would not be so open about my plans unless there were well settled procedures at border checks for asylum seekers… and I would not be confident of Ukraine compliance. Perhaps this announcement is a smokescreen.

Needless to say, the US failure to intervene is yet more evidence this country no longer operates by the rule of law (American citizens are entitled to support of their embassies when abroad), particularly when we have bought and paid for the Ukraine government and are able to tell them what to do.

Gonzalo Lira’s status report is getting traction outside the Twitterverse:

Pro-Russian blogger Gonzalo Lira detained in Kharkiv The New Voice of Ukraine but just reposted on Yahoo, which suggests it will get around

Scratched my left eye with toothpick, cracked rib: US-Chilean journalist describes torture in Ukrainian prison FirstPost

Judge Napolitano and I Talk Intelligence and Gonzalo Lira Speaks Larry Johnson

US-Chilean journalist describes torture in Ukrainian prison RT

And the videos:

Please circulate widely. More exposure is Gonzalo’s best protection at this point.

I don’t want to sound a sour note, but Gonzalo has repeatedly said the measure of a life is the distance between the highs and the lows. This is an awfully low low, so let’s hope a successful escape validates a positive take on his world view.


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  1. monkman

    Yves, your right, there is no more rule of law in this country. From what I have observed way up in the cheap seats I’d say it’s been that way for years. Though I understand that at least we do have rules based order at the present time. Or is that for everyone else? Either way, lucky us.

  2. The Rev Kev

    If he can get to Hungary he should be alright for a while. But he should get the hell out of the EU before some bureaucrat tries to stick him with some charges and he ends up being another Assange. I think that he was talking with Alex Christoforou in a Roundtable once and they both agreed that the EU was not a real safe place for people like them to be in.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The reason he might be safer in Hungary, or even the EU (save Poland and the Balts which would not bother with the rulebook) is EU courts are generally very pretty strict about following the written code. Extradition treaties around the world are pretty universally of the form that you can be extradited ONLY if the crime alleged is a crime in the country that the person is to be extradited FROM as well as the country seeking extradition.

      What Gonzalo did was not a crime in the EU or the US, so any not-totally-corrupt court should not extradite him.

      Separately I thought broadcasting where he was going was not exactly wise. I noticed he did not mention Belarus as a place he had rejected.

      The US and Ukraine do not even have an extradition treaty with each other. Belarus does not have an extradition treaty with the US. So I would think it is a virtual certainty Belarus does not have an extradition treaty with Ukraine.

      I would image that if Gonzalo were to turn up in Belarus, it’s government would not mind eyepoking Ukraine and the US by giving him asylum.

      And Russia would likely enjoy the spectacle. Maria Zarakhova took official, as in disapproving, note of Gonzalo’s second arrest in May: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s comment on the abduction of journalist Gonzalo Lira Lopez by Ukraine security services. It’s a fairly lengthy statement given the givens.

      1. yancey

        I doubt Gonzalo is on the Hungarian border. It’s a head fake. Who in their right mind would broadcast their escape on the internet as though the Ukrainian authorities weren’t watching. He is headed to Belarus or Russia if he has any neurons firing at all. And not through a border crossing but through a field. Hopefully, he has an all terrain get out of town motorcycle.

        1. vao

          And not through a border crossing but through a field.

          The border between Ukraine and Russia, resp. Byelorussia, is mined. And under surveillance by armed military personnel. And extremist commandos are roaming those regions, occasionally making an incursion in Russia or Byelorussia.

          A border crossing would be easier, but only if everything is arranged through a reliable, trustworthy exfiltration organization, which will have tipped off and duly bribed a specific border guard who will wave him through after desultorily looking at his passport. Requires quite some cash and the right contacts, though.

  3. Benny Profane

    I don’t think it’s a smart move to taunt your torturers before you reach safety. It’s as though he has a death wish. He went through one arrest, didn’t take the hint, and now he’s at the border (hope he made it across) after the second ordeal doing this. He has a martyr complex, but, in the end, hardly anybody in the west cares or even knows who he his. Doesn’t he have a family to get back to?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that he has thought it out. If he just tries to slip across the border, well, things happen and he may go missing and for good. But by publicizing this and going on YouTube, Twitter etc. he has an inordinate number of people watching him around the world which includes his own Chilean government. So if anything ‘happens’ to him, it will be in the full glare of the world media which the Zelensky regime would not welcome.

      1. Benny Profane

        The “full glare” of some media has been on Assange for years now. How’s that working out? And Lira is no Assange.

        Waiting for the NYT and CNN to call him a so called journalist, if they even bother.

        1. ambrit

          Yeah, but Assange, for all of his travails, has not had a “mysterious fatal accident.”
          Now, if Assange is extradited to America, he might end up in Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo, Cuba. There, who knows what might happen.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Had you bothered listening to the videos (and consuming a post in full is required under out site Policies before commenting, so you are accumulating troll points) you would have heard that the alt media coverage he did get + unhappy noises from the Chilean Embassy got State to get out of its “do nothing” mode and push Ukraine to let Gonzalo be allowed to post bail.

          So your premise has already been demonstrated to be false.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      First, as he explained, he recored the video shortly before he reached the border and it looks like he set or arranged to have it go live as close as possible to his border arrival. So this was intended to function as an insurance policy in case he did not escape. As he indicated, he’s effectively a dead man as of this trial date of August 2 unless he gets out.

      Second, in my comment above, I speculate that the discussion of Hungary was a big misdirection and he actually fled to Belarus.

      1. Gregorio

        Given the Wagnerian presence and Lukashenko’s saber rattling, I’m guessing that the Belarusian border area would be crawling with SBU and Ukrainian military, so it may not be easy to transit that region.

      2. ComradePuff

        Speaking from experience smuggling my Ukrainian inlaws out and into Russia, you can’t cross the border from Ukraine into Belarus, you’d risk being detained or beaten by Ukrainian guards. Plus he almost certainly doesn’t have a visa (a huge PITA) so he would risk being turned away by Belarus unless a Belarusian official intervened. To get to Belarus he would have to go through Poland and then cross that way, which would be risky for him considering how belligerent the Poles are, and he would be foolish to wait around for/or even be seen accessing Belarusian or Russian consular service in Poland.

        So, if I were Lira I would go directly to Hungary first. Absolutely. And I think he is smart to publicize it as well.

        On a side note: It is almost impossible to cross by land at all now. A week ago or so a Hungarian friend of mine was unable to cross into the EU via Russia at all due to an 8 day bottleneck created by the EU. It didn’t matter that he was an EU citizen. In 2017 the EU made me (an American exiting Ru with a US passport) wait 9 hours at the Latvian border in the summer, no shade, holding a tiny baby that I had to strip nude and pour water over, (the Russian side had escorted us to the front of the queue and let us through in about 30 minutes) so the Europeans treat everyone at the Ru/Bys border equally like dirt, always have.

        1. Piotr Berman

          Not always, I went from Warsaw to St. Petersburg by train in 2002, continuing by bus to Helsinki after a week of stay. No particular problems…

          1. Joe Well

            Note he said “now”. Not 21 years ago. Almost every border in the world was a lot easier to cross back then.

      3. Steve M

        If memory serves about that part of the world, his misdirection will be a hollow victory if it succeeds.
        They’ll be waiting for bribes on the Belarus side of the border as well!

  4. Joe Well

    >>”Pro-Russia blogger”

    Congratulations to Lira on earning two MSM epithets. If he gets more attention he will eventually rise to a “Pro-Putin vaccine-denialist antisemitic spreader of disinformation.”

    They should just put a soundtrack with every article and play villain music while certain people are discussed.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Or perhaps provide a numbered glossary of epithets, so that ever-more distracted residents of Ameristan can be relieved of the burden of saying “Pro-Putin vaccine denialist antisemitic…” and just say, “#3.”

      1. Joe Well

        Since we are the nation of acronyms, how about PPVDADI-ist? Or another favorite of good Democrats, G4PVDADI-ist? The G4 is “gay for” since these people love in-group-acceptable ways to vent a little homophobia, racism, antisemitism, etc other than just projection.

  5. Ignacio

    Hopefully he gets away from Ukraine ASAP. He then can expand about prisons, tortures etc. It is important.

    1. JTMcPhee

      The inertia and momentum of Empire and the war on Russia and China will not be affected in the tiniest way by reporting by Lira or anyone else. Best he can hope for is to make his witness and not get assassinated by one of the Fokkers who “enforce” ukranorthodoxy and get the cred of adding a dead person to the Ukronazi/ US-promoted kill list, “Myrotvorets” (Uk for “peacekeeper.”)

      1. flora

        As someone said, paraphrasing, “the West is creating a new iron curtain, this time around itself.”

  6. Rolf

    Great post Yves, thank you!

    I hadn’t seen his VN video (streamed 2022 March 27 from Kharkiv). If any of the NC commentariat haven’t, please do:

    … let’s look at Victoria Nuland, because it’s very important that you understand Victoria Nuland in order to understand what has happened today. And you have to understand that she is very much a template of the kind of bureaucrat in the foreign policy establishment in the State Department of the United States. She is very stereotypical: in terms of background, in terms of ethnoreligious origin, in terms of obsession with Russia, because of long historical grievances. You must understand that she is not an outlier. She is very much within the norm of the distribution curve … she is not extreme, she is the norm. Understand that.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      “Ethnoreligious origin?” That’s a good one… dog whistle much, Gonzalo?

      I despise Victoria Nuland, her cohort and what they are doing, but I think Lira is bad news – at a minimum lotsa bad economic, political and social ideas, whatever his intelligence and insights about Ukraine – and someone we’re likely to regret having much faith in. If nothing else, as Benny Profane has suggested, his insistence on remaining in Kharkiv after his first arrest should call his judgement into question. Sorry, but I think he’s a skeevy character, and suggest we separate that from whatever agreement we might have with him about Ukraine.

      Now that he is seemingly safe – for which I’m glad – we’d do well to wait and see how his story develops.

      1. flora

        Do look at the neocons. Who they are, what their ties are. What their goals are. That wasn’t a dog whistle at all. Not everyone is a neocon. It’s a subset with a long grievance, you might say, and they are running the State Dept. See V. Nuland.

        GHWBush, the senior pres, reportedly called neocons “the crazies” when they pushed him to take certain actions he thought unrealistic. WBush, the jr pres, revived the neocons fortunes. From the LATimes, 2005, no paywall.

        Bush Pulls ‘Neocons’ Out of the Shadows

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          I’m sorry – and, again, no sparing of Nuland and her ilk for their many crimes – but if you can’t see “ethno-religious origins” as barely-disguised antisemitism, I don’t know what to say.

          The Israeli lobby has long poisoned the well by promiscuously accusing people of antisemitism for purposes of misdirection, and I’ve long been inured to their slanders, but trust me, that’s an antisemitic dog whistle.

          1. pjay

            I assumed he was referring to her Ukrainian ancestry, and to the penetration of Ukrainian, and East European immigrants with an obsessive hatred of Russia into the foreign policy establishment. Many are Jewish, but that is not their key “ethnic” feature; it’s their hysterical Russophobia stemming from long ancestral grudges – which has been fostered and mobilized by our government since WWII. In my opinion they have been a festering cancer that was unleashed with full force after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

              1. Goeffrey

                I’ve read it was the Austro-Hungarians in the 19thC who started building rabid Ukrainain/Galician national consciousnous and Russiophobia in its imperial jockeying with adjacent Tsarist Russia. The Saker offered the opinion that the worst 19thC anti-semitic pograms coincided with the territories where Western Christianity/Catholicism had penetrated into previously Orthodox lands, Gallicia – then ruled by the Austro-Hungarians, being one. And RT is broadcasting a documentary outlining extreme Ukrainian nationalism post WW1….so the Americans didn’t start it!

                1. Michael Fiorillo

                  Again, I hate coming off like the ADL here, but The Saker (the comments section in particular, but the blog itself, as well) is a cesspool of antisemitism.

          2. Daniil Adamov

            It sounds that way to me as well.

            That said, there is a political tendency among Russian Jews (meaning both Jews who immigrated from the territory of the former Russian Empire and those still there) to support American neoconservative/Russian liberal ideologies in some form out of proportion to the rest of the population. It is fairly often remarked on here, not least among Russian Jews themselves (a group to which I am related, by the way). Proposed explanations, aside from the usual anti-Semitic assertions, include a long-established cultural predisposition for high-abstraction millenarian ideas (democracy and economic freedom will save the world) and historical grievances against the surrounding Slavs (bigoted authoritarians who should be reined in by America). Of course that’s just one tendency. Most Jews have as much to do with it as they had to do with post-Soviet capital formation in the 90s or left-wing revolutionary activity in the 1900s-1910s – two other such tendencies in which Jews had disproportionate representation without most of them being involved. Whether pointing to this serves any useful purpose is beyond me at the moment, but it is not baseless either.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        As he explained, he was told by the SBU not to leave. If I had been held by foreign security goons for a week who had the run of the city I was in, I don’t think I’d hazard defying their orders. It would be reasonable to assume that would led to prison time.

        The part that was weird was not that but Lira being unable to resist the temptation to keep talking about the war. He should have kept his mouth shut or done shows only on safe topics like Latin America, the Biden Admin, and China.

        1. Steve M

          I tremble to even whisper “disagree” but I don’t know how one resists the temptation to talk about a war when you’re in its midst, watching and hearing what it’s doing to people.

          But I haven’t been. Not at that level anyway. So maybe it would’ve been wiser to keep my mouth shut.

          Still, the Christians exhort us to witness in the name of God. So there’s a tradition.

  7. Feral Finster

    If a blogger is tortured by a US-sponsored puppet regime for saying things that the regime does not want said out loud and the MSM refuses to report it, can we pretend that it didn’t really happen and besides, Lira is a Bad Person so he evidently deserved it?

    I say this because pointing out the bad actions of a sociopathic organization is as pointless as quoting Bible verses to a gang of pirates.

  8. David in Friday Harbor

    Lira’s description of torture and extortion by other prisoners with the tacit approval of the guards is typical of prisons everywhere — including the U.S.A. Actor Robert Downey Jr. has provided a vague outline of his similar experiences at the General Population in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. However, Lira is correct to fear that spending a few winters in a Ukrainian labor camp will be a death sentence for a man his age.

    I hope that he made it into Hungary — or Belarus, or Russia. The fact that they didn’t strap an ankle monitor on him and returned his passport, license, and registration suggests that the Ukrainians want him out of the country. He’s a political liability because he hasn’t done anything that would be considered a crime elsewhere in the world.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Ask Assange about doing nothing that would “be considered a crime elsewhere in the world…” or a bunch of other people who have felt the boot on their neck…

    2. TheFeebleClone

      Beyond doubt. I’ve seen this myself. Hell, me and a cellmate were given permission to slap around a compulsive masturbator. But I also remember it taking the guards about five minutes to saunter across the prison unit while a guy was screaming as he was tortured, thrown around by his esophagus apparently. The victim was alleged to have killed a child.

      All this in friendly Canada.

  9. Stephen

    Let’s hope he stays safe and finds sanctuary.

    To state the totally obvious: the west is becoming what it says it is fighting.

    Does seem though that the Ukrainian regime now simply wants him to leave.

  10. Roger Blakely

    This post about Gonzalo Lira prompts me to continue making the point that I was making yesterday.

    The guy that you know as Gonzalo Lira on YouTube has been known to us in the YouTube Manosphere for the past five years as Coach Red Pill. He did not start out as war correspondent covering the war in Ukraine. He started out as an anti-feminist content creator making videos to help young men deal with Western modern women. He avoided Western modern women and married a Ukrainian woman. He followed her back to her home country.

    We love Coach Red Pill. We wish him the best. We can’t wait for him to get back to making Manosphere videos on YouTube.

    By the way there was a period in 2020 when YouTube as pulling down Manosphere channels. Coach Red Pill had his channel deleted. However, these days YouTube sees Manosphere content as a cash cow, and even our most aggressive content creators are monetized. Red pill content is hot these days. It’s what people want to talk about.

    1. Bugs

      Thanks for this important context – he was loved in the PUA community, aka the crop dusters for Incels.

      Here’s what Scott Ritter says right now:


      If anyone thinks for one second that the SBU wasn’t tracking the identities and locations of every single Lira follower—especially after they gained physical control of his phone and computer—then they are extremely naive.

      Lira was a controlled SBU asset.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Ritter is wrong here, as I will explain below.

        Ritter has been engaged in a mud-slinging fest with Lira for some time after Lira attacked Ritter on what were not invalid grounds, that of Ritter being wildly enthusiastic about Russia’s prospects for a very quick victory, and then having to walk that back. But Lira did that in an wildly nasty personal manner, accusing Ritter of being emotionally unstable, and I believe also brought up his child sexual abuse convictions (note Ritter was not found guilty of having sex with anyone underage; this is from memory but I did dig once. It looks like both times he was dumb enough to be entrapped and did forms of sexting, I think once sending, erm, personal photos. The first conviction was sealed but somehow got unsealed improperly in his second case. The second time he said the girl said she was underage but he thought she was older. Since the Feds would have gotten his computers they would have found kiddie porn if there were any and have sent him to prison for a very long time).

        Ritter is simply wrong about the subscribers. YouTubers can find the identity of their subscribers only if they have their subscriber settings set to “public”. The default is private. So it is a near certainty that neither Lira nor the SBU could find out who the overwhelming majority of Lira’s subscribers are.

        Similarly, on Twitter, you cannot find the identity of followers unless they present enough in their Twitter blurb for you to work that out, like a real name or link to a website.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Playing devil’s advocate here, are we so sure that pre-Musk takeover, Twitter wouldn’t have narced on their users followers, given the FBI plant inside? This was discussed in the Twitter files leaked out by Taibbi.

          I recall one aspect of the Twitter files was that the SBU directly contacted the FBI to ban certain posts/tweets that were pro-Russia/anti-Ukraine. Since they had influence inside Twitter, it was essentially a foreign government taking action to repress free speech and violate the civil rights of US posters.

          (Note – this wouldn’t have applied to Lira, as he was arrested after Musk fired the FBI plant inside Twitter when he cleaned house)

          Lira certainly is a resilient fellow. I hope he makes it somewhere safe.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Twitter was known for fighting subpoenas seeking information about users harder than other platforms.

            The pressure about content is in a different category. Being user-protective is a good business strategy, while knuckling under to government content pressure was supposed to not get out in the wild….plus in some cases, employees were on board.

  11. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Good to see him alive while obviously hoping that he stays that way – as for the extortion, a whiles back I did wonder how much he would have to shell out in order to avoid the extra hell of nicotine cold turkey. Perhaps he can Banana Republic style buy his way out & without always agreeing with him I have missed his crazy laugh & no holds barred personality.

  12. v

    Please tell us how he could drive 1400 km to the Western border without getting into a checkpoint of the territorial defence or other law enforcement agencies? A 48 hours day and night ride? Much more likely to get pulled over at night. And then without passport? I smell BS on all of this

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I suggest you listen to his videos. One of our written house rules is to consume a post in full before commenting, You obviously did not.

      Ukraine wants him to leave. They gave him back all of his identity cards, including his passport and driver’s license, when the court said those were supposed to be retained AND he was supposed to wear an ankle bracelet, which was also not done. His fellow prisoners said Gonzolo did not get the message from his prior detention. Even though they said he was not to leave, they did nothing to prevent him from doing so, critically not seizing his passport.

      As for internal checkpoints, all able bodied and not so able bodied men have been sent to the fronts. I doubt there are any meaningful travel restrictions once you are far enough away from the line of contact.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        He doesn’t speak or read Ukrainian or Russian. He wasn’t able to move freely around Kharkiv during the war, yet he was “reporting” on it, based on … what, exactly?

        Then he was abducted by The Worst People In The World, and everyone feared the worst until … he was released, untouched, and without much in the way of detailed explanation… and then stayed in the country. Now this saga…

        His dollar store Libertarianism, his Manosphere hustles and homophobia – casually tossed off during these clips – and antisemic dog whistling…and all these ambiguous doings in Ukraine…

        I get that anti-Ukraine war sentiment is weak, and that you need allies where you can find them, and anti-war news/ analysis where you can find it, but don’t you get the slightest feeling there’s something very icky and untrustworthy about this guy?

        1. Feral Finster

          “His dollar store Libertarianism, his Manosphere hustles and homophobia – casually tossed off during these clips – and antisemic dog whistling…and all these ambiguous doings in Ukraine…”

          Let us assume for the sake of argument that all these are true.

          Obviously such Bad People do not deserve freedom of speech, right?

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            You miss my point.
            I’m glad Lira is free and (presumably, as I write this) safe. He should never have been arrested and subjected to whatever abuses and indignities he suffered.
            That said, and despite my general agreement with him on Ukraine, I find him to be someone who’s not going to be a credit to whatever anti-imperialist effort to which he’s attached, and that has nothing to do with the smears lodged against him by the MSM; they can be as awful as we know them to be, and he can still be a dodgy character who should be kept at a healthy distance.

            1. Geoffrey

              I don’t know the truth but economist Steve Keen did not speak highly of GL after some alledged falling out between them, That said, not being a shining angel in one period of ones life should not necessarily besmirch one’s contribution later in another. We all have feet of clay which should remind us to treat all opinions somewhat critically.

              (The degree to which online opinion is monetised today and the fact that alot of opinion makers are making some sort of a living from online offerings, doesn’t mean those opinions should be disregarded necessarily, but analysed skeptically, and cross referenced elsewhere…

              1. anahuna

                When listening to Lira, I have frequently had to set aside a certain distaste for his personality and some of his opinions in order to acknowledge the role he played in publicizing certain facts about Ukraine.

                But that failed me yesterday while listening to him go on and on in the video. While wishing him success in crossing whatever border he was heading for, I kept muttering impatiently, “Oh come on, Gonzalo, get to the point!” (Accompanied by a British echo insisting “Quit faffing about!”) Until yesterday, I had never in my life read or heard an account of torture without being deeply moved, so why did his leave me strangely indifferent? A hero in his own eyes, maybe?

                None of this proves anything at all, nor is it intended to. Just musing and wondering how long it will take for a fuller picture to emerge.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  If you think you might be caught and sent to die in a Ukraine prison, you too might be tempted to overshare since this could be your last statement, ever. His kids are in the audience for these videos, for instance.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                I like Keen but he also had a dustup with INET over money, where Keen took a $300,000 grant. did not deliver the model he’d promised and instead of asking for a time extension, he instead asked for more money. INET said no and Keen did not complete his work. I have this directly from the people managing Keen’s grant and they were seriously Not Happy.

                So I’m not sure Keen is gospel regarding his financial dealings. The INET incident suggests he can talk himself into believing he deserves more than he is entitled to.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          First, your remark is 100% ad hominem, a violation of site Poliices.

          Second, you are also exhibiting a textbook case of halo effect bias, where people want to see others as all good or all bad. For instance. Picasso was simply dreadful to the women involved with him but that has nothing to do with his status as an artist. I suggest you examine that prejudice, since if you have it so strongly with respect to Lira, you likely exhibit it on other fronts.

          Third, Lira’s shows were uneven, but that is the name of feeling you have to report regularly (see Alexander Mercouris on that, as much as I like him, there are shows he has done where both Lambert and I agree we can’t recall anything of consequence in them).

          Lira did some important bona fide original reporting in his analysis of propaganda videos. He was first to out grifter James Vasquez via inferring and then proving his video were staged (and even presented dead Ukrainian tanks as Russian!). That was later confirmed by the New York Times.

          He also did a great analysis of the notorious Bucha video and pointed out and described numerous tells of that having been staged. He had to take that down because it risked him losing his YouTube account.

          Video is generally a medium for people who want a high level gloss. so you don’t expect a lot of new detail but some sort of context and framing and then supporting detail. There are of course important exceptions like Patrick Lancaster who does original reporting but that isn’t what you get with the great majority of YouTubers.

          Fourth, after his arrest, Lira moved his YouTubing substantially to a RoundTable format (had he done only that he would not have gotten arrested a second time). He had a good mix of guests and generally was an effective moderator (he’d occasionally want to insert himself more than was necessary but he seemed more often than not to hold back and let his guests carry the weight and look good). There were some exceptions, notably a really awful show with NATO backers where Lira demonstrated he was not of the Aaron Mate level of skill, giving them enough rope to say howlers or contract themselves. He got annoyed and started lecturing. That one was a very bad look but it was an outlier.

      2. iread

        I did. I followed G.L. up tp the point he was arrested finally but i never found this podcast.
        Thank you immeasurably. This is by far the most comprehensive that I’ve ever seen of his.
        Furthermore re the sniping from the rooftops I read that rumour in some reporter’s text within a very short time of the event. Furthermore the individual sighted and so purportedly identified was female.
        I’ve never heard any further mention of such until now. It was a long time ago and I never passed it on or discussed it because it was a rumour and obviously radioactive as I call such. But I’ve never forgotten. Still I should say re female which rather imprinted me…(to the best of my memory.)

  13. Col 'Sandy' Volestrangler (ret)

    Given the nature of the Kiev regime, (Honduras but with tanks), it’s difficult to believe he’s not associated with US intelligence in some way. If he was Aaron Mate, he’d have had an accident by now.

  14. Rubicon

    In listening very carefully to all of Lira’s youtube monologue, he noted two important factors:
    1. He has a number of attorneys who are working to get him across the border to Hungary
    2. You’ll recall he was snatched by the SBV in April; then released. In his 2nd imprisonment, Lira told a Ukrainian, or guard abut this first caper with the SBV. The Ukrainian said….that release was the Ukrainian way of saying, “Leave asap” But Lira claims he’s always been a law abiding citizens. So he stayed put.

    Moreover, during his monologue from yesterday, he said he was about 6 miles from the Hungarian border. He had a motorcycle as a means of transportation.
    Lastly, today, Pepe Escobar stated that Lira would safely reach Hungarian soil. Hopefully, Pepe knows what he’s talking about.
    We are praying that he will successfully be on Hungarian soil, TODAY.

  15. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Considering his circumstances since the SMO started I believe that he should be given the benefit of the doubt & perhaps be judged from the perspective of normality – if of course he ever manages to return to that state. I imagine that just waiting for another knock on the door from people who could dump your disfigured corpse into a swamp, would be incredibly stressful & likely not to bring out the best in anyone. I also imagine as would attempting to get the hell out of there while facing the prospect of failure of & not surviving 5 years in some hellhole.

    Escobar in one video recommended that he read Michael Hudson, so perhaps at least he might no longer be such an ardent libertarian.

    1. podcastkid

      There were probably never as many listening to one podcast (Roundtable 48 I think) who ended up reconsidering their takes on quarantines…as when a bunch of folks got to hear Yves’ comeback on that one. Gonzalo listened with an open mind, no feathers ruffled.

      Someone should ask ChatGTP to explain how much (or if at all) our real economy would be set back if we shelled out for total student debt relief and Medicare for all. Good chance to see how much bias has been fed into that thing.

  16. ArkansasAngie

    Seems to me freedom of speech is pretty important. Will you vote fore someone who is for censorship?

  17. MJ the covid spreader

    Gonzalo is an idiot and probably a hypocrite. Those aren’t crimes but it’s hard to have sympathy for someone who

    a) knows he’s in a war zone with neo nazis in power and publicly denounces them and supports their enemies, the Russians
    b) gets arrested for it but fails to take the hint
    c) continues the denunciation
    d) gets arrested a second time and seeks out consular support from the US government he was routinely denouncing rather than Papa Putin; it’s the empire of lies right until you need them?
    e) claims he’s been beaten during his time in jail and announces, publicly to the entire world, that he’s going to leave the country despite not being allowed

    What’s his next trick, a gay pride march with free opium in Kabul?

    Bear in mind, that he has a wife and kids so even if he wants to be martyr, you’d think he’d realise it’s not just about him either. So much for ‘being a man’.

    Somehow, all this stupidity makes me think Ritter’s theory is correct simply because it’s hard to conceive of someone so self absorbed and stupid.

    And no, he shouldn’t be arrested for being a turd but then again, he himself acknowledges that the Kiev regime has a bunch of nazis around. They’re NAZIS with US backing. What did he expect? Hero of Ukraine award?

    Personally, as far as free speech goes, I’d like to spare a thought for the political parties shut down in Ukraine as well as various reporters being silenced and regular people being arrested for showing footage of patriot system going boom.

    While the correct thing is for him to be released, I don’t have much sympathy for him. I also hope he doesn’t make it to Hungary and is deported to the US or Chile, as I don’t see why the people of Hungary should have to shield this sack of stupidity; surely they have enough diplomatic problems.

    1. MJ the covid spreader

      I’ll add on that he was based in Kharkov which is 40km (25 miles) to the Russian border. It’s 1.5 hours drive to Belgorod, the nearest major Russian city. It is an insult to refugees everywhere to see that a cashed up and supposedly intelligent person like Gonzalo was unable to find a way to travel that distance to safety. My guess, is that if Ritter is wrong about him working for the SBU, Gonzalo just wanted to have an exciting story to tell. Oh well. Too bad, so sad.

  18. Merleau

    Gonzalo Lira indicates that his left eye was tortured with a toothbrush … then points to his right eye.
    Admittedly, many people find it difficult to distinguish their right from their left, their entire lives. This is probably his case.
    But so that he cannot spontaneously point to the eye that was so savagely attacked a few weeks earlier, one can assume that his torturers must not have rubbed very hard.
    Or that Scott Ritter is right.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have had cornea scratches, which are EXCRUCIATINGLY painful and can lead to conjunctivitis. The pain is horrific but abates fully in a few days.

      By contrast, the white of the eye is not very sensitive. If you wear contact lenses, you have to touch it to insert and remove them.

      So your premise is not correct.

      I am one of those people who regularly confuses right and left. Oddly not when driving. There I seem to have made a connection between the words and how you turn the wheel.

      1. Merleau

        I tried contact lenses, 50 years ago (so, they were stiff).
        It was unbearable, precisely because of the white of the eye, until it became an allergy. I dropped.
        I can’t even imagine what that can do with a toothpick !
        Maybe some whites of the eye are less sensitive than others …

    2. gonzalo lira Sr.

      It is a camera effect that when you film the subject is shown on the opposite side when viewing it.

      1. Merleau

        Ok !
        I never use selfie’s camera, so I didn’t know it was different from the other camera, wich I just experienced (and i don’t understand why it is so, but, anyway. There is no age to learn).
        I am relieved, then, at least on this point.
        Sorry for that mistake.

  19. Merleau

    Toothpick, not toothbrush (I translated too quickly, to french, what I heard).
    Still, I guess it should be quite unpleasant.

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