A British independent journalist has been arrested after he condemned the Canadian parliament’s lauding of a Ukrainian Nazi Waffen-SS member.
Warren Thornton was hosting an edition of his webcast The Real Truth on the evening of Sunday September 24 when police officers knocked at his door.
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”.
After speaking to Thornton the next day, Ryan said officers “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.
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 criticise 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.
The video blogger had previously been critical of NATO’s support to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. He had also helped expose the dark past 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.
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.