Elon Musk, Big Tech, and NATO’s Proxy War in Ukraine

October 5, 2023 in Columnists, News by RBN Staff


By Harley Schlanger

Source: LaroucheOrganization.com


The pre-release, on September 7, of a section of Walter Isaacson’s forthcoming biography of Elon Musk, which claims that the tech entrepreneur and multi-billionaire had “deactivated” his Starlink satellite system to prevent a Ukrainian attack on the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol, generated an intense debate over his alleged action.  Several U.S. Senators demanded an investigation into the incident, and a spokesman for Ukraine’s President Zelensky accused Musk of defending “war criminals” and their “desire to commit murder.”

It turns out that, as so much of the coverage of the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine has been disinformation, this story featured a false claim, which was corrected by Musk.  He said that his company, which provides access to the Starlink system for Ukraine’s defense, had not been deactivated for targeting Crimea, because it had never been turned on in that area!

Musk posted the clarification on “X” (formerly Twitter) in which he confirmed “There was an emergency request from [Ukrainian] government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol.  The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor…If I had agreed to their request,” he continued, “then Space X would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”  Musk had stated earlier that had such an attack succeeded in sinking the Russia fleet, “it would have been like a mini Pearl Harbor,” and could have triggered a nuclear war.

Starlink is a system of Space X which connects satellites in low-earth orbit to provide high-speed, cheap internet access to terminals on the ground.  It has been reported that Musk provided at least 15,000 Starlink kits to Ukraine, to users who had lost internet access due to Russian cyber warfare.  This capability aids Ukrainian troops to remain connected, as well as providing targeting to knock out incoming Russian drones and strike Russian targets at night, according to a report in the {London Times}.

Ukrainian Reaction

A leading adviser to President Zelensky spared no words in a post attacking Musk.  Mikhailo Podolyak reacted to Musk’s warning about the danger of escalation with a typically unhinged blast.  He described Musk’s decision to not allow access to Starlink for an attack on the Russian fleet as “much more than just a mistake.”  Accusing Starlink of “interference” with Ukrainian plans, Musk’s decision “allowed this fleet to fire Kalibr missiles at Ukrainian cities.  As a result, civilians, children are being killed.  This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego.”

Podolyak was not finished, asking, “why do some people so desperately want to defend war criminals and their desire to commit murder?  And do they now realize that they are committing evil and encouraging evil?”

This was not the first time Podolyak attacked Musk.  In December 2022, in response to Musk’s call in October for a negotiated settlement to the war — including Ukraine accepting Russian control of Crimea — he accused Musk of pushing a “magical simple solution”, adding that Ukraine would never accept “trading land for peace.”

Less diplomatic was the response to this proposal from Andrei Melnyk, the former Ukraine Ambassador to Germany.  Melnyk tweeted an expletive-laced answer to Musk’s suggestion, writing “Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you….The only outcome is that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f…ing tesla crap.  So good luck to you….”  Melnyk was removed as ambassador following his open defense of the Banderite neo-Nazi networks embedded in Ukraine’s defense and security forces.

“Big Tech” and the War

The bigger issue, somewhat eclipsed by the flap over Musk’s defense of his decision to not allow Starlink to be used against the Russian fleet, is the overall role of Big Tech firms in the war.  This was addressed by the U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, speaking of the possibility that private vendors in the future could refuse to provide services requested by the military.

“If we’re going to rely upon commercial architecture or commercial systems for operational use, then we have to have some assurances that they are going to be available….Otherwise they are a convenience and maybe an economy in peacetime, but they’re not something we can rely upon in wartime.”

Ostensibly to address the concern raised by Kendall, Democratic Party Senators Warren, Schumer and others are demanding that the government receive assurances from Tech CEOs that they will be fully accountable to the U.S. war machine.

While Musk initially provided Starlink for free, the {Washington Post} reports that there was a subsequent official contractual agreement to pay for services made with the U.S. military.  This has not been limited to Starlink.  According to Ukraine’s Digital Minister, Twitter, another Musk firm, has been “an efficient tool…to counter Russian military aggression.  It’s our smart and peaceful tool [!] to destroy the Russian economy.”

A report issued in September 2023 by the European Council on Foreign Relations provides a glimpse of the extent to which so-called Big Tech firms have become a key component of NATO’s war against Russia.  The summary states that such firms “have played a huge role”, which requires a “different approach…in the way state and private companies interact.

“Big U.S. tech companies, and smaller more specialized firms, have provided high technology and cyber support and have allowed Ukraine to move its data to the cloud and digitise the battlefield.  Among the technologies used are drones, satellites and AI-enabled software.”  It quotes the President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, who said the war “involves an alliance of companies that are supporting Ukraine, and an alliance of tech companies.”  Smith justified his firm’s involvement, saying that getting involved was at first “unusual and uncomfortable, but became indispensible for the protection of our customers.”

Among those identified as involved in the war are:
— Google, which has provided its Project Shield software, creating a “cyber umbrella” to protect Ukraine’s websites from attack.
— Microsoft, which estimates its support to Ukraine to be worth $400 million in 2022-23.
— Palantir, whose CEO Alex Karp says that data analysis from his company has improved “targeting functions”, from tanks to artillery, and is “responsible for most of the targeting in Ukraine.”

The conclusion of the report is that, “Private tech companies are playing an ever more important role in warfare.”

In 2022, Ukraine awarded “peace” prizes to some U.S. Tech firms, including Google, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, for their support of Ukraine’s war effort.

Not all of these services are “donated” by the companies involved, as the case of Starlink shows, in which government funding was added to the initial gift from Musk.  A press release from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on September 5 reports that, since the war began, on February 24, 2022, it has provided a whopping $22.9 billion in direct budget support for the war, with $15.5 billion already disbursed.   The total USAID budget for 2023, is just over $60 billion, which means that a significant part of its budget, which is a major part of U.S. “foreign aid” for purposes of funding development projects in poor nations, is allocated to support Ukraine’s tech sector, to fund the war!  AID’s Director is Samantha Power, who has a long history as a War Hawk with ties to Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

It should be noted that Big Tech’s contribution to NATO’s war is not limited to kinetic warfare capabilities.  Many of the companies involved in providing services for the NATO war effort, including YouTube (a Google company), Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, have been identified as part of the Disinformation and Censorship Industrial Complex, which has been engaged in silencing opposition to the U.S.-U.K.-NATO war.  Ironically, that exposure was aided by Elon Musk, when he opened the Twitter files, which showed the extent to which U.S. intelligence/security agencies, such as the FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, as well as the U.S. Congress, were involved in censoring opposition to the war, and targeting opponents as mouthpieces for Putin — as Ukrainian officials, and some Congress members, now accuse Musk as being among those “information terrorists”.