Caitlin Johnstone: White House May Block ‘Russia-Friendly’ Musk From Buying Twitter

How revealing is it that Elon Musk could be forbidden by the White House from purchasing a giant social media company on the grounds that he’s not sufficiently hostile toward Moscow?

Batch of Starlink test satellites stacked atop a rocket, about to being put into orbit, May 2019. (Official SpaceX Photos, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

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.”

Bloomberg reports:

“Biden administration officials are discussing whether the U.S. 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.

U.S. 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. Bloomberg continued:

“Officials in the U.S. government and intelligence community are weighing what tools, if any, are available that would allow the federal government to review Musk’s ventures. 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 U.S. and Europe and drawn praise from America’s rivals.”

Elon Musk in 2018. (Daniel Oberhaus, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

“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 from which the Tesla chief executive has made every legal effort to back out. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. government mustn’t allow the purchase of a social media company if the would-be buyer isn’t deemed adequately hostile to U.S. enemies, many mainstream liberals are actively cheering for this outcome:

This says so much about how the U.S. government views the function of Silicon Valley mega corporations, 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 U.S. empire is concerned, Silicon Valley is just an arm of the imperial propaganda machine. And empire apologists believe that’s as it should be.

The Hand of Government 

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.

Nor will it surprise 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 F.B.I.

Campus of Facebook-owner Meta in Menlo Park, California, 2013. (FABIO ISIDORO, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

It is abundantly clear to anyone paying attention that Silicon Valley tech companies are a major part of the imperial narrative control system. The U.S. 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 U.S. imperial domination as the military.

That the U.S. government is weighing intervention to stop the purchase of an online platform, because it lacks confidence that the would-be owner would reliably advance U.S. information interests, is just the latest glimpse behind the veil at the imperial agenda to control human understanding and perception.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

19 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: White House May Block ‘Russia-Friendly’ Musk From Buying Twitter

  1. evelync
    October 26, 2022 at 16:51

    It seems that everything is politically compromised these days in our ugly, warmongering, corrupted political world.

    Interestingly, this recent talk with Larry Johnson on Ukraine includes his explanation of how, why and when the CIA became politically compromised:

    sorry I don’t remember when that subject comes up but Larry Johnson is always very interesting…so…

  2. Tedder
    October 26, 2022 at 08:03

    It has been the case from the beginning of the Ukraine war that Kyiv and Washington have dominated the information space with their narrative. It is almost as if the Russians don’t care, preferring victories on the battlefront to propaganda. This may be a weakness on Russia’s part. On the other hand, it may just be another sign that the Russians have written off the West as irrelevant. The West can and will say what it wants in order to propagandize its citizenry, but contradictions based on reality will emerge. Then, how will the West handle the truth of events?

  3. Raskolnik
    October 26, 2022 at 05:07

    “White House May Block ‘Russia-Friendly’ Musk From Buying Twitter”

    “US creates force majeure saving Mr. Musk.” is a more likely outcome ?

  4. James White
    October 26, 2022 at 01:11

    The ‘imperial narrative control system’ is showing signs of cracks. People in Germany, for example are finally waking up to the fact that they are being manipulated by the press to never question their government’s monolithic support of the war in Ukraine with no limits. Practically all Germans can do math. The runaway inflation and fuel prices are severe in a country where most people live on a modest income. German industry has been shut down over astronomical fuel price hikes and their economy is crashing. The Euro is declining against the dollar and the pound. The poorer European countries have always depended on Germany’s economic strength to bail them out. Like bankruptcy, the German economy has been failing gradually and now suddenly. Media fueled hatred of Putin can only go so far until a sudden shift in public opinion turns quickly, even violently. It would not be any surprise to see a sudden, abrupt change in policy from fueling the proxy war, to calls for an end to it. The economic pressure Europe is under is immense and unsustainable. Russia, conversely has time on its’ side. This is not to root for Russia to prevail. Since the beginning of the war, it has never been a possibility that Ukraine could defeat Russia. The converse is not true. The sooner a settlement is reached, the better for everyone. Expect people to start asking why talks cannot begin immediately.

  5. Gordon McRae
    October 26, 2022 at 00:55

    It probably is redundant here but I am guessing that the censorship of anti-democratic party voters is also at the top of the list of reasons to prevent Musk from controlling Twitter and trash canning all the useless censorship staff.

  6. robert e williamson jr
    October 25, 2022 at 20:20

    A perfect example of the U.S. Government’s weaponization of or restricting “FREE” trade and or the money that fuels the globalization of “free” markets when the prime mover of any activities not approved by the U.S..

    The U.S. authorities went all in long ago and their hijacking of the drug trade is a perfect example. Succeeding in never being held accountable was a major stepping stone, so it goes. . An effort that everyone knows was tied hand to hand with the illegal (?) off shore banking industry. Another case of our governments never being held accountable for that involvement either.

    When the government makes accusations similar to this one involving Elon they expect it to the final word.

    Look around, and make note of the events that will follow Kayne West’s recent anti -Semitic ravings. And the backlash that will come from supporters of Israel.

    Don’t take this wrong, I personally believe Mr. West has many very serious mental issues, the problem is his condition is shared by too many members of his opposition. Especially the billionaire class.

    Again I claim that the State of Israel exerts undo influence on the governing body of the Federal Government of the United States. Their weapon is the money used to buy it’s very effective influence in the U.S. Congress and in my opinion the Department of Justice. And approximately of this counties citizens agree with that statement.

    On a lighter note bring up the lyrics to the Pink Floyd song “Have a Cigar” and think about them, especially the last four lines. I can easily see some lobbyist telling this to a member of congress!

    No apologies here folks it is what it is.

    “I wish you were here!”

    Thanks CN

  7. KPR
    October 25, 2022 at 20:03

    The deal is set to close within days. So it’s probably too late for Biden to do anything.

  8. Em
    October 25, 2022 at 19:39

    Recently heard somewhere on the blogosphere that Twitter today has dropped in value to ‘only’ 10 billion dollars.
    Using the false narrative is another brilliant business move by Musk.
    Surely the ‘government’ blocking the purchase will be the only way Musk can back out of the deal, thereby saving himself $44 billion.
    Of course, I stand to be corrected!

  9. Realist
    October 25, 2022 at 17:51

    When it comes to whom our nation’s international friends and enemies are, and whether we should go to war against them or lavish unlimited money and weapons for them to play with, demanding no accountability or rational restraint, it is absolutely imperative to preserve the maximal degree of free speech, a free press, free play and equal access to the mass media in all its different forms to EVERY side of the issue, plus an iron-clad prohibition of government interference against anyone’s philosophy or personal interest, just as though this were a matter of choosing and practicing their personal religion.

    On matters of such import, it should be obvious that truth should hopefully be the most important arbiter, though bias is often hard to discern and remove from the equation. But nobody’s biases, especially not those of a president as corrupt and clueless as Joe Biden should be given the power and authority to stiffle truth, or more importantly and realistically, an honest aspiration to find the truth. When it comes to light that the federal government, or elements within it, have twisted the truth and used such lies to attack political opponents or foreign governments, as the Democrats massively did in their “Russiagate” caper, they must be held accountable under the law, prosecuted and punished, which never gets done in this old boys’ club, except for Trump’s purported “insurrection” of 6 January.

    Ever since Clueless Joe was Obomber’s Veep and named Viceroy of Ukraine, this unstable buffoon has worked tirelessly to foment warfare with Russia at every conceivable level while amassing a private fortune for his own family out of the corrupt ties he established and intimidation he practiced. No one has ever meddled in the highest political affairs of another country as Joe Biden has done over the past nine years. And now he wants to openly and blatantly impede a public discussion of the many dangers and irregularities in America’s relationship with that country and his own personal handiwork to make it all possible.

    I say, hell no, America’s first amendment must not be trashed just to cover the ass of a clown like Clueless Joe. Musk does not have a monopoly on the truth. He often says some controversial things. But he seems generally on the money with respect to the imbroglio in the Ukraine and how free speech and honest speech should be protected in this country, especially since the digital impresarios of Silicon Valley now have so much power to manipulate and twist the apparent truth with their algorithms, apps, synchs and continuous forced surveillance of every person still breathing on this planet (and perhaps some long since dead), where even the TV, laptop, or smart phone you think you turned off stills actively spies upon you while you sleep.

  10. Nathan Mulcahy
    October 25, 2022 at 17:02

    We are told that social media companies are exempt from the first amendment (meaning they can curtail free speech) because they are private entities. But a private person cannot buy a social media company because, we are told, they are essential for our national security.

    Got that? Do you need more evidence that we are living under an authoritarian system?

  11. James L Somers
    October 25, 2022 at 17:01

    Blatant naked censorship.

  12. Brent
    October 25, 2022 at 16:26

    The capture and role of public broadcasting is central. MSM correspondents are influenced by what is done there. Twice a year they claim to be top-rate… which makes them somewhat accountable to their funders.

  13. JonnyJames
    October 25, 2022 at 16:01

    The fact that our wonderful finance capitalist system has allowed and enabled the concentration of so much wealth into the hands of so few, should be enough to make folks mad as hell and sick to their stomach. The perverse distribution of income and wealth just gets worse as time goes by. The institutionalized corruption is so pervasive, most just take it for granted and internalize it as “normal”.

    Musk/Bezos/Gates and the rest are parasites who have received massive subsidies, tax breaks and contracts from the Federal govt. as well as at the state level.

    While I agree (as usual) with Caitlin, on the other hand: US oligarchs like Musk owe most of their wealth to the US govt. allowing monopolies, massive subsidies, tax breaks etc. In this way, Musk and most US oligarchs owe their wealth to the US gov and the de-regulated, corrupt financial system. While I might occasionally agree with something the oligarch says, the point is we shouldn’t be hearing about what they think in the first place. They should not be in a position to throw around tens of BILLIONS of dollars and accumulate HUNDREDS of billions.

    Elon Musk and the Oligarchy are part and parcel of the world’s most pervasive and sophisticated system of misinformation psychological manipulation in world history. Now Musk might get burned, but that’s what happens when you dance with the devil. But, he’ll still be the #1 oligarch at the end of the day.

    Abolish Oligarchy!

  14. Sam F
    October 25, 2022 at 16:00

    Indeed the “imperial agenda to control human understanding and perception” is the final phase of totalitarianism, the proof that all branches of our former democracy and commercial media are irreversibly corrupted. Recognition of this state is the mark of political maturity, seldom reached or even sought among those who can profit from the status quo. Our institutions of democracy must be redesigned for integrity. One of the new institutions should be the CongressOfDebate (dotcom) whose free-download introduction models an incorruptible administration.

  15. rosemerry
    October 25, 2022 at 15:59

    Ain’t democracy and freedom of speech grand?

    • John R
      October 26, 2022 at 09:38

      “Ain’t democracy and freedom of speech grand?” Nothing more than a Grand illusion.

    • John R
      October 26, 2022 at 14:10

      “Ain’t democracy and freedom of speech grand?” Yes, a grand illusion it is.

  16. Gene Perrodin
    October 25, 2022 at 15:38

    Could Musk have made the comments knowing that the US government would looking into this. Could Musk have done this to get out of the Twitter Deal. Musk have done and said stupid things in pass, but he is not stupid. How he took over Telsa. This smells like Musk using the comments on supporting Russia on peace deal to get out of deal. And why give Musk all this attention on the Russia comments. There has been people talking about this for years about why Russia invade Ukraine and how to prevent this from happening. So, Musk can keep running his month as usually and collecting US government subsidies for his business.

    • Chuck Buck
      October 26, 2022 at 09:47

      “Could Musk have made the comments knowing that the US government would looking into this.”

      Well you don’t need to be a genius to forecast “the US government”.

      Attempting sanctions and making force majeure is not unexpected.

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