Twitter “permanently suspended” the retired US Marine Corps officer Scott Ritter on Wednesday, accusing him of engaging in prohibited behavior by questioning the claims of Ukrainian authorities that Russian soldiers had massacred civilians in Bucha near Kiev. Ritter is best known as the former UN weapons inspector who doubted US claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, invoked by Washington as a pretext for the 2003 invasion.
“So apparently I’ve been suspended from Twitter for the crime of challenging the orthodox narrative of the so-called Bucha massacre,” Ritter said on his Telegram channel, sharing a screenshot of the message he received from the Big Tech platform.
“I’ve appealed, so who knows what the future will bring,” Ritter said, adding that “Freedom of speech in America today is an endangered concept.”
According to the screenshot, Twitter’s censors had decided that Ritter violated their rules against “harassment and abuse” by saying the Ukrainian police had committed crimes against humanity in Bucha, and were trying to shift blame onto Russia with US help.
Ritter’s tweet did not contain calls for abuse or harassment, or wish physical harm on anyone, Shadowproof journalist Kevin Gosztola pointed out, arguing that his ban “shows how Twitter Rules can be twisted to silence US foreign policy critics.”
The rules were recently updated to include “denying mass casualty events took place,” Gosztola noted, but he said Ritter hadn’t done that, either.