In an excerpt from a new biography of Elon Musk, author Walter Isaacson claims the SpaceX owner admitted to secretly ordering engineers at SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet company to shut down the network and thereby sabotage a Ukrainian military operation. As reported from CNNThe Starlink service would have allowed Ukraine to control the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Ukrainian territory through a surprise ambush of drone submarines.
Isaacson is a former editor of Time Magazine and currently a history professor at Tulane University. His previous works include highly acclaimed biographies of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein.
On Thursday evening, Musk only partially disputed the account, saying he had rejected an emergency request from Ukrainian officials in 2022 to activate Starlink service on Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, which is currently occupied by Russian forces. The Crimean coast is a critical checkpoint in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the fall of Russia’s legendary Black Sea Fleet would almost certainly mark a major turning point in the war.
Citing conversations with Musk, Isaacson reports that Musk personally sabotaged the ongoing Ukraine operation and secretly ordered Starlink engineers to “shut down coverage within 100 kilometers of the Crimean coast.” When the fleet landed in Sevastopol, they lost communication and washed harmlessly ashore.
In a tweet, Musk denied disabling reporting – but also defended his move to reject emergency requests.
“How am I doing in this war?” Musk asked Isaacson. “Starlink was not intended to be involved in wars. It was about people being able to watch Netflix and relax and get online for school and do good, peaceful things, not drone strikes.”
I can answer this question for Musk. He is in this war because he is aggressive Lobbying carried out – four months ago won successfully – a Pentagon contract. Specifically, Musk was tasked with providing Ukraine with combat communications via Starlink so that Ukraine could defend itself against a Russian invasion and expel occupiers on its territory – territory like the Crimean coast.
But that no longer seems to matter to Musk, as he has seemingly crowned himself Ukraine’s de facto apostate.
“Both sides should agree to a ceasefire. Every day that passes, more Ukrainian and Russian youth die to gain and lose small pieces of land, with borders barely changing. This is not worth their lives,” he said tweeted Thursday.
Musk wanted to be in this war, and now that he’s in it, he’s admitted to sabotaging the side that signed him. And none of us should be surprised. In October 2022, Musk proposed Just leave it to Russia, by referendum which Ukrainian territory it had already invaded and occupied. One wonders if Musk would agree to handing over half of SpaceX as appeasement if some armed lunatics broke into his launch sites.
Or if he were to answer like the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany: “Damn, is my very diplomatic answer.”
And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that SpaceX was used like a weapon in this way. Gwynne Shotwell, chief operating officer and president of SpaceX, told CNBC’s Michael Sheetz in 2022 that SpaceX was “truly pleased to be able to provide connectivity to Ukraine and support it in its fight for freedom.”
However, this feeling was immediately undermined as she rambled nonsense, seemingly unaware of how freedom is won in war. In her reservations, she pointed to reports of Ukrainian soldiers using Starlink “for drones” in March 2022, saying its use “for the military is fine, but our intention was never for them to use it for offensive purposes.”
Let this be a lesson for the U.S. legislative and executive branches: When it comes to Elon Musk and Big Tech, you can’t have it both ways.
In the same interview, Shotwell’s ridiculous remarks also hinted at Starlink’s recently revealed Benedict Arnold moment.
“I won’t go into the details; there are things we can do to limit their ability to do that… there are things we can do and have done,” Shotwell said.
How exactly do Shotwell and Musk think this “battle for freedom” works? Should Ukraine politely ask Russia (if they wouldn’t mind so much, whenever they had a few minutes, if it wouldn’t be too inconvenient, of course, don’t worry if not), could they please consider doing this huge Russian Black Sea The fleet is just a little bit – just so that they don’t, you know, illegally occupy Ukraine with military force and kill its civilians?
Musk said his sabotage was aimed at preventing a “mini-Pearl Harbor.” However, a tweet from a senior Ukrainian official on Thursday suggests that Musk’s sabotage may have had the exact opposite effect, accusing Musk of causing the deaths of Ukrainian civilians and “committing evil.”
“Sometimes a mistake is much more than just a mistake. By not allowing Ukrainian drones to destroy part of the Russian military fleet (!) through Starlink interference, Elon Musk allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities. As a result, civilians.” “Children are being killed,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.
If true, Musk has Ukrainian blood on his hands.
Isaacson also says Musk consulted with the Russian ambassador to the United States and President Joe Biden when making the decision.
Let this be a lesson for the U.S. legislative and executive branches: When it comes to Elon Musk and Big Tech, you can’t have it both ways. You’re dealing with an unregulated, unpredictable billionaire while keeping your fingers crossed that he doesn’t do what all unregulated, unpredictable billionaires do – what they want, when they want, how they want, with near impunity. Either you regulate Big Tech and billionaires, or you let them rule your world unchecked.
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Musk is required by Congress to maintain a social media platform for free speech as a politically disinterested third party and to be a politically neutral partner to NASA. Meanwhile, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee has changed its mind Research from Twitter.com into political theater as the party seeks to overturn the platform for allegedly colluding with the government and potentially disrupting an election, while U.S. intelligence agencies are secretly using the site as a surveillance honeypot. None of this has stopped Republicans jumps to Musk’s aid to defend him Federal Trade Commission Investigations.
Even now, the way he looks Class Actions Congress is still concerned about mass layoffs at Twitter asks Musk to provide a brilliant insight into the looming crisis of artificial intelligence. And finally, Musk has turned himself into a walking conflict of interest by becoming a Defense Department contractor for a war that seems to have grown boring to him. The Biden administration has given him the power to decide the fate of global conflicts, with outcomes that mean the life and death of U.S. allies.
So pick a lead, FBI agents. You cannot simultaneously give this man the power to decide the consequences of global conflicts and at the same time demand that his companies somehow remain politically neutral actors. You can’t say that Musk meets the necessary standards to be a Pentagon contractor and at the same time say that he is so reckless that he needs to be investigated by the FTC. So what will it be?
As the US Supreme Court As he weighs Big Tech’s role and influence on America’s political and democratic landscape, the government’s foolish hypocrisy toward tech billionaires has progressed to the point where these billionaires are now taking over entire swaths of the US and demanding they shut down their own governments form. The government’s repeated refusal to regulate billionaires – and the entirely predictable consequences that have followed – are evidence of this country’s determination to accelerate the collapse of its own democratic governance.
In this case, Elon may be right. Perhaps the problem of billionaires invading and occupying the actual country and its democratic processes can be solved by simply taking the territory and money of these billionaires by force. Then perhaps we should hold a referendum like he suggested on Russia and Ukraine and vote on whether they should be allowed to keep some of what we took.
Better yet, let’s get it over with and vote on the whole thing again: All in favor of handing total control to billionaires we can never vote out, we say yes!
about the increasing power of Big Tech