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'We Own the Truth': How Freedom of Speech Has Become West's Nemesis

© AP Photo / Michael SohnA woman delivers a speech as she stands on a chair of the public art project "Anything to Say?" at the Alexander Square in Berlin, Germany, Friday, May 1, 2015. The sculpture of the Italian artist Davide Dormino shows the whistleblowers Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, from right, to honour their courage. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
A woman delivers a speech as she stands on a chair of the public art project Anything to Say? at the Alexander Square in Berlin, Germany, Friday, May 1, 2015. The sculpture of the Italian artist Davide Dormino shows the whistleblowers Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, from right, to honour their courage. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.02.2024
Persecution of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden has already had a chilling effect on global journalism and whistleblowers' activity, retired UN expert Alfred de Zayas told Sputnik. The collective West is desperately trying to control the media and is misusing law in order to suppress dissent, he said.
Following bombshell revelations by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and ex-National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, the world has not seen any more exposures of a similar scale and scope.

"The persecution of Assange and Snowden has had a significant 'chilling effect'. Potential whistleblowers have good reason to fear that their careers, freedom, even their lives are at risk. This is a form of state terrorism – a manifestation of totalitarianism," Alfred de Zayas, professor of international law in Geneva, former UN independent expert on international order and a retired senior lawyer with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told Sputnik.

Assange, who has been held in a UK high-security prison since 2019, had been hiding for almost seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after he was granted political asylum by Quito in 2012. At the time, then Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa shielded Assange from possible extradition to the US over exposure of the Afghan and Iraq "war logs" shedding light on Washington's alleged war crimes in Central Asia and the Middle East.
Free Assange sign at bus stop 9 September 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.02.2024
Ex-UN Expert: If Assange is Extradited to US No Journalist in World Will Be Safe
While residing in the embassy, Assange made several important revelations, including concerning the CIA's global hacking activities as well as the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton's apparent corruption. It was rumored that Assange knew exactly who was behind the DNC and Clinton campaign leaks and could end Team Clinton's speculations about the "Russia hacking" hoax. In April 2019, Correa's successor, Lenin Moreno, revoked asylum for Assange, thus allowing the British police to arrest the WikiLeaks founder. Assange will face up to 175 years in US prison if extradited.
For his part, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that the NSA had direct access to the systems of Google, Apple, and some other tech giants. The NSA's secret program, codenamed Prism, allowed the US intelligence community to collect vast amounts of data on Americans, Washington's allies and foreign citizens alike. Prism was launched in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the George W. Bush administration. Snowden, who is facing US charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years, was granted political asylum in Russia.
"Whistleblowers are essential to every functioning democracy because otherwise governments hide their crimes from the public," de Zayas, the author of Human Rights Industry, said. "Transparency and accountability are the hallmarks of a true democracy. Alas, the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador are not real democracies. When I say whistleblowers I mean true human rights defenders who are performing a crucial civic duty of denouncing official crimes, but also corporate abuses, corruption and scams by financial institutions. Secrecy facilitates crime – in all societies, whether 'democratic' or 'autocratic'."
Sy Hersh on US Proxy War on Russia, Snowden's Expose & Nord Stream Sabotage - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2023
Sy Hersh on US Proxy War on Russia, Snowden's Expose & Nord Stream Sabotage

Sy Hersh and Gonzalo Lira: US Gov't Canceling and Silencing Truth

Another journalist exposing the US government's apparent crime is Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who dropped a bombshell about the September 26, 2022, sabotage attack on Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.
On February 8, 2023, Hersh described an apparent plot by Team Biden and the US intelligence community to blast the Nord Stream pipelines with the help of Norway. Remarkably, he named Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (a former Clinton campaign operative who peddled the Trump-Russia hoax), as the one who assembled a "dream-team" to blow the pipelines up.
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Western governments and mainstream media opted to black out Hersh's expose. To date, none of the Western countries involved in the subsequent investigation have presented explanations of what happened or named a culprit.
"The message is clear – 'we own the truth'," de Zayas said. "Nothing that contradicts Washington or London can be true. Personally, I have studied all published reports on Nord Stream sabotage and consider that the Seymour Hersh scenario is by far the most convincing.
"What strikes me is how Germany allowed a terrorist act to be committed against its pipelines and that it did not insist on participating in the investigations. Of course the US, UK, Norway, Sweden and Poland know exactly what happened, and they owe it to the world to come clean. The UN General Assembly should have demanded from Sweden to make its investigation public. The fact that Sweden has stonewalled speaks volumes. The mainstream media is complicit in burying this war act by the US against its NATO ally Germany. History will not judge Olaf Scholz lightly."
US President Joe Biden - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.01.2024
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Meanwhile, US journalist Gonzalo Lira - who covered the Ukraine conflict on YouTube, Telegram, and Twitter, subjecting the Kiev regime to sharp criticism and busting the Western mainstream media narrative about the conflict - faced a terrible fate. Lira was twice grabbed by the infamous Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). In January it turned out that he died in Ukrainian custody.

Prior to his second arrest, Lira appeared on Twitter claiming that the US State Department was well aware of his situation but opted to abandon him. Lira added that the second arrest in Ukraine could lead to his death. "Don't be indifferent to my fate," he implored.

By neglecting Lira's case, the Biden administration set a dangerous precedent, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel warned in an interview with Sputnik on January 15. One could only guess why the US government decided not to save an American citizen unveiling inconvenient truths about the US proxy war in Ukraine.
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photo during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2024
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'Canceling' Tucker Carlson's Interview With Putin

Most recently, independent journalist Tucker Carlson has been subjected to harsh criticism and even accused of "treason" for carrying out an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on what is going on in Ukraine.

Russia's vision of the Ukrainian standoff was aborted and censored in the West immediately after the special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine. Russia's RT, Sputnik and several other media outlets were banned by the West.

Under these circumstances, it was quite logical that an American journalist sought to find out what Moscow thinks about the causes and potential consequences of the conflict. Moreover, it appears that people worldwide were also interested given that the Carlson-Putin interview has received about one billion views, according to some estimates.
Tucker Carlson in a supermarket in Moscow, Russia - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2024
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Needless to say, US establishment politicians and pundits denounced Carlson's show as a "pack of lies" before it was aired.
"This is additional proof of the undemocratic, totalitarian animus (mood) prevalent in the West," said de Zayas. "Tucker Carlson has done a splendid service to society, as Oliver Stone did years ago. We all have a human right to know, guaranteed in article 19 of the ICCPR. The 'cancel culture' in Western countries provides further evidence of the massive retrogression in human rights which we have witnessed over the past 30 years. Here again, the mainstream media has been complicit in the retrogression."
"Western elites are desperately trying to control the media and are misusing law in order to suppress dissent," continued the ex-UN expert.
"This is a further violation of Article 19 ICCPR and of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. However, they are not succeeding. Thanks to Elon Musk and others in social media, there is an avalanche of information out there that even the totalitarian elites in Silicon Valley, Washington, London, Paris and Berlin have not been able to stop. It is up to us to demand from our governments transparency and accountability. What we need is more whistleblowers, more people like Assange and Snowden."
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US journalist Tucker Carlson are seen during an interview at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2024
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