A British independent journalist was arrested after he exposed the truth about Canadian parliament’s lauding of a Ukrainian Nazi Waffen-SS member, as British police clamp down on anybody sharing non-mainstream news on the internet.
The British government has ordered law enforcement officials to begin arresting and prosecuting citizens who share non-mainstream opinions online that fact-checkers disagree with. Following the passing of the Online Safety Bill last week, UK authorities now have the power to punish citizens who share anything deemed ‘hateful’ or labelled as ‘misinformation’ on social media.
Warren Thornton was hosting an edition of his podcast The Real Truth on the evening of Sunday September 24 when police officers knocked at his door.
The video blogger has been critical on social media of NATO’s support to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. He had also helped expose the Nazi history of 98-year-old Ontario resident Yaroslav Hunka, who was given a standing ovation in the Canadian House of Commons last week during a speech by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky at the invitation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Guest Fiona Ryan recounted how Thornton “vanished” 20 minutes before the show ended, as she was talking with fellow guest Johnee, host of the Café Revolution YouTube channel based in Donetsk on the front line of the conflict with Ukraine.
When she sent a WhatsApp message to Thornton after the webcast ended to ask what happened, he texted back the single word “police”.
Sputnik report: Thornton confirmed that officers from the regional Cyber Crime Unit “invited” him to be “interviewed”. When he declined, they put him under arrest and drove him to a police station in Bristol, many miles from his home.
There they attempted to serve him with a formal caution for ‘malinformation’ in relation to 16 videos he had posted on social media.
Thornton said the officers interrogated him became “flustered” when he asked which videos in particular they objected to. He added that his lawyer “ripped them to bits” and demanded the police “charge him or release him.”
He was finally released without charge or caution on Monday, left with a lengthy train journey home.
Several of the videos presented by Thornton discussed the conflict in Ukraine, focussing on the failure of Kiev’s counter-offensive and its indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas. Another discussed the evidence presented by the Russian Ministry of Defence of the US biolab program in Ukraine, linking it to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One in particular, entitled ‘Spies, Lies and Mercenaries’, exposed how French intelligence agents were working with foreign militants in Kiev as early as 2020, two years before the conflict with Russia. Another delved into last week’s invitation of Ukrainian Nazi Yaroslav Hunka to the Canadian parliament.
During the Second World War, Hunka was a member of the notorious 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division Galicia, a unit of Ukrainian collaborators recruited by the Nazi occupiers which took part in massacres of the civilian population. After the Axis defeat in 1945, Hunka was among thousands of Ukrainian Nazis who emigrated to the Soviet Union’s erstwhile ally Canada — including the grandfather of Foreign Minister and Deputy PM Christia Freeland.
Trudeau apologised for the outrage on Monday — before attempting to shift the focus to alleged “Russian disinformation.”
The incident highlights the concerns of free speech advocates that the Online Safety Bill, currently being debated in Parliament, which could be used to crack down on commentators who criticize the official government line.
In a video on social network site X (formerly Twitter) — since taken down — Thornton said that “being taken away and questioned for ‘malinformation’ is quite an honour.”
He noted that “disinformation is when you knowingly know something is a lie, and you publish it. Misinformation is when you don’t know something is a lie, and you go ahead and publish it.”
“’Malinformation’ is when you know something is completely true, and you publish it, and they consider it harm to take it from the private sphere and put it into the public sphere,” Thornton argued.
He pointed out that journalists have a “duty” to expose crimes, impropriety, risks to public health and safety and to prevent the people from being misled by public figures.
“So thank you very much for showing that all 16 of the videos you were investigating are completely and utterly true,” Thornton told the police, pointing out that “no further action” was being taken against him.
“There is no way that we are going to keep silent, and we are going to keep telling people the truth,” Thornton vowed. “It is incumbent upon them to prove that what we are doing doesn’t benefit the public.”
He stressed that his and others’ critical coverage of the West’s proxy conflict with Russia in Ukraine was vital in the interests of humanity, and that he was entitled to point out breaches of Article 39 of the UN Charter — which mandates a response to ‘any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression’ — which he believed “all NATO members have been guilty of.”
“We need to stop the killing and all the money that is flowing to these lunatic people and this lunatic war that is being fought on behalf of these lunatics in power,” Thornton said.