Africa Glenn Greenwald Russia-Ukraine

Does Elon Musk’s Refusal to Comply with All of Ukraine’s Demands Constitute Treason?

By Glenn Greenwald / Rumble

What does it mean to be “pro-Russian?” That was the question we examined on Wednesday night when we dissected a new report commissioned by the European Union, conducted by an Omidyar-funded group of self-proclaimed “disinformation experts,” which was trumpeted by The Washington Post and went super viral, as was predictable. The central accusation against Twitter and other Big Tech companies was captured by the Post headline “Musk New Twitter Policies Help Spread Russian Propaganda, the EU Says” but when you dig into that report, as we did, one finds that “pro-Russia propaganda” means anything that deviates from U.S. policy and EU narratives about the war. Merely questioning the desirability of the NATO role in Ukraine or stating that Ukraine is losing the war qualifies as “pro-Russian propaganda” which the EU wants to have banned. The purpose of this narrative created by the Washington Post manifestly is not just to stigmatize, but to banish all war dissent. 

Concrete proof of our observation emerged almost immediately after our program aired. A new biography of Elon Musk claims that Musk denied Starlink services to the Ukrainian military, specifically to its fleet of submarines, as they prepared to attack the Russian Navy. Musk’s company, SpaceX, controls more satellites than any company or government in the world and is used to, among other things, ensure Internet connection anywhere in the world, even at the military forces of one’s enemy try to deny Internet service by bombing. Musk has provided Ukraine with billions of dollars of free Starlink services since the war began, but the U.S. government refused originally to compensate him for it. He originally said he would have to withdraw it because they couldn’t afford it, but then announced he would continue to provide it for free. As always, with Ukraine and its supporters, nothing is ever enough. You must always give more. Musk confirmed part of the story in this new biography and provided his motive this way: “There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink to Sevastopol, the obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

He went on to point out that he didn’t actually cut off existing services but just refused the request of the Ukrainian military to extend it even further so they could attack the Russians in the all-new way that he feared would lead to escalation, that his company and he would ultimately be responsible for ethically, if not legally. 

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That concession immediately led to widespread accusations that Musk was guilty of treason or at least being “pro-Russian” and calls for the United States government to seize his Starlink services were widespread. But in what way is this pro-Russian? Do private companies or for that matter, foreign governments, have some obligation to provide the Ukrainian military with everything and anything it demands? Are those who refuse those demands, including out of a desire not to help escalate an already dangerous war, inherently guilty of wanting the Kremlin to win the war or being pro-Putin? We’ll look at the utterly unhinged reaction to these reports to understand the prevailing war climate, the one that has prevailed in the West since the very start of this war and ask what is really meant when people are accused of being Putin apologists or the Kremlin supporters or spreading pro-Russian propaganda. 

Then: One of the most reliable news sources since the war began has been the independent journalist Richard Medhurst, whose YouTube shows delve deeply into the military and political aspects of the war, as well as any outlet, corporate or independent. We’ve learned a lot from watching his show. He also has in-depth knowledge of the various developments in Africa, including recent coups in Niger and several other Western African nations, as well as the French and U.S. role in those nations. He’ll join us tonight to talk about all of that and more topics that he’s been covering in great depth and with great reliability and accuracy on his program since the start of the war. 

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Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, “No Place to Hide,” is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to co-founding The Intercept, Glenn’s column was featured in the Guardian and Salon. He was the debut winner, along with Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work on the abusive detention conditions of Chelsea Manning. For his 2013 NSA reporting, he received the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting; the Gannett Foundation Award for investigative journalism and the Gannett Foundation Watchdog Journalism Award; the Esso Premio for Excellence in Investigative Reporting in Brazil (he was the first non-Brazilian to win), and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award. Along with Laura Poitras, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. The NSA reporting he led for the Guardian was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service. Greenwald resigned from The Intercept in October 2020.

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