By Caitlin JOHNSTONE
The Biden administration is reportedly considering opening a national security review of Elon Musk’s business ventures which could see the plutocrat’s purchase of Twitter blocked by the White House, in part because Musk is perceived as having an “increasingly Russia-friendly stance.”
Biden administration officials are discussing whether the US should subject some of Elon Musk’s ventures to national security reviews, including the deal for Twitter Inc. and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network, according to people familiar with the matter.
US officials have grown uncomfortable over Musk’s recent threat to stop supplying the Starlink satellite service to Ukraine — he said it had cost him $80 million so far — and what they see as his increasingly Russia-friendly stance following a series of tweets that outlined peace proposals favorable to President Vladimir Putin. They are also concerned by his plans to buy Twitter with a group of foreign investors.
The “group of foreign investors” the Biden administration is reportedly worried about oddly includes Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, who has already been a massive Twitter shareholder for years. The White House certainly never had a problem with foreign investors there before.
“Officials in the US government and intelligence community are weighing what tools, if any, are available that would allow the federal government to review Musk’s ventures,” Bloomberg writes. “One possibility is through the law governing the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States [CFIUS] to review Musk’s deals and operations for national security risks, they said.”
“Musk, the world’s richest person, has taken to Twitter in recent weeks to announce proposals to end Russia’s war and threaten to cut financial support for Starlink internet in Ukraine,” says Bloomberg. “His tweets and public comments have frustrated officials in the US and Europe and drawn praise from America’s rivals.”
“If the Twitter acquisition was to be reviewed by CFIUS for national security reasons, the agency could recommend to President Biden that he nix the deal — something Musk himself has tried and failed to do in recent months,” writes Business Insider’s Kate Duffy on the Bloomberg scoop.
Indeed Musk has already indicated that he’d find it funny if the Biden administration blocked his purchase of Twitter, a $44 billion buy that the Tesla executive has made every legal effort to back out of. But how revealing is it that someone could be forbidden by the White House from purchasing a giant social media company on the grounds that they’re not sufficiently hostile toward Moscow?
Neither Bloomberg nor any other mainstream members of the imperial commentariat appear to take any interest in the jarring notion that the US government could end up banning the purchase of an online platform because it views the purchaser as having an unacceptably “Russia-friendly stance.” Not only is it uncritically accepted that the US government mustn’t allow the purchase of a social media company if the would-be buyer isn’t deemed adequately hostile to US enemies, many mainstream liberals are actively cheering for this outcome:
This just says so much about how the US government views the function of Silicon Valley megacorporations, and why it has been exerting more and more pressure on them to collaborate with the empire to greater and greater degrees of intimacy. As far as the US empire is concerned, Silicon Valley is just an arm of the imperial propaganda machine. And empire apologists believe that’s as it should be.
None of this will come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to things like the drastic escalations in online censorship since the war in Ukraine began, including on Twitter, or the ongoing expansion of internet censorship protocols that were already well underway before this war started. It will also come as no surprise to people whose ears pricked up when the White House summoned top social media influencers to a briefing in which they were instructed how to talk about the Ukraine war. It will also come as no surprise to those who paid attention to the public outcry when it was discovered that the Biden administration was assembling a “disinformation governance board” to function as an official Ministry of Truth for online content, or when the White House admitted to flagging “problematic posts” for Facebook to take down, or when Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop October surprise in the last presidential race was done in conjunction with the FBI.
It is abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that Silicon Valley tech companies are a major part of the imperial narrative control system. The US empire has invested in soft power to an exponentially greater degree than any other empire in history, and has refined the science of mass-scale psychological manipulation to produce the mightiest propaganda machine since the dawn of civilization. Silicon Valley is being used to manipulate the way people think about world events via algorithm manipulation, censorship, and sophisticated information ops like Wikipedia in an entirely unprecedented way that is becoming more and more important to imperial control as the old media give way to the new.
Narrative control centers like Silicon Valley, the news media and Hollywood are just as crucial for US imperial domination as the military. That the US government is weighing intervention to stop the purchase of an online platform, because it lacks confidence that the would-be owner would reliably advance US information interests, is just the latest glimpse behind the veil at the imperial agenda to control human understanding and perception.