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Elon Musk Speaking to Putin Worries Washington Neocons



Elon Musk Speaking to Putin Worries Washington Neocons

A recent report from The New Yorker sites that that Elon Musk told Pentagon officials during a discussion regarding the satellite internet that SpaceX provides to Ukraine’s military that he’d spoken personally with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the magazine, Musk revealed the information during an October meeting with Colin Kahl, then the Pentagon’s senior policy official, regarding Ukrainian forces losing access to Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s Starlink service when they neared territory disputed by Russia.

“My inference was that he was becoming concerned that Starlink’s involvement was increasingly seen in Russia as enabling the Ukrainian war effort,” Kahl told the New Yorker.

Musk did not respond to an email seeking comment. Kahl, who returned to Stanford University this month, did not reply to demands for comment either.

“We’re aware of the coverage and interest in this, and the department does contract with Starlink for services of this type,” said Defence Department spokesman Jeff Jurgensen via email. “As we have also stated, due to the critical nature of these systems, we have not released additional details regarding specific capabilities, contracts, or partners – at this time.”

Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive officer, denied speaking with Putin in October. The billionaire posted on Twitter, the social media platform he’s now called X, saying he’d only spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about space around 18 months ago.

The magazine piece reignites the dispute that erupted after Musk released what he described as peace plans, which the Kremlin praised and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticised. Soon after, Ukrainian forces reported Starlink problems, prompting Musk to threaten to discontinue paying for Ukraine’s access to the service.

SpaceX momentarily demanded that the United States and its allies foot a larger portion of the tab for Starlink in Ukraine, only for Musk to flip his position and commit to continue paying the project. The Defence Department announced a contract with the privately held corporation in June.

Elon Musk’s sprawling empire makes him a problem for Washington Neocons

Musk now controls five firms spanning the transportation, aerospace, health, telecommunications, and social media sectors after purchasing Twitter in October for $US44 billion. To differing degrees, all of these intersect with government, providing the millionaire unparalleled worldwide clout, Bloomberg reports.

Tesla’s electric automobiles back President Joe Biden’s climate strategy. SpaceX keeps NASA’s goals for manned space exploration aloft, and its Starlink network, which is possibly the world’s largest privately owned fleet of satellites, provides a critical communication lifeline to Ukrainian forces fighting Russian invaders.

But it’s Musk, the self-styled “chief twit” of Twitter, who gives Biden’s crew the most grief.

Musk has destroyed the company’s employees and all but abandoned any semblance of content monitoring, allowing disinformation to flourish, sometimes on his own account, with almost 132 million followers. He’s also associated himself with Republicans who allege they’ve been suppressed by Big Tech and Democrats, and he’s openly embraced Biden’s opponents.

His unconventional leadership has added a new element of volatility to a free-speech venue that is both a human rights lifeline for those living under authoritarian regimes, such as Iran, and an unsuspecting promoter of unfounded conspiracy theories that have provoked violence, such as in the United States.

The US Federal Trade Commission has interviewed at least two former Twitter employees and intends to depose Musk in an investigation into the platform’s compliance with a 2011 agreement to protect user privacy, which Musk describes as a “shameful case of weaponization of a government agency for political purposes.”

Some top individuals in Biden’s administration believe Musk, 51, is untouchable because of his commercial empire, immense money, and political connections. He appears to make unilateral decisions, such as how Ukraine can use the Starlink service, which is unusual for a US defence contractor.

They are also concerned that, due of Tesla’s growing presence in China and Musk’s reliance on Middle Eastern financing for his Twitter purchase, he may be subject to foreign interference.

One US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because to the sensitivity of openly discussing Musk, described Tesla as a Chinese firm with an American subsidiary. Last year, the company’s Shanghai factory accounted for more over half of its global output. Biden has stated that the entrepreneur’s overseas contacts are “worth looking into.”

In contrast to US policy, Musk has presented a Russia-friendly plan to end the Ukrainian war as well as a reunion scheme for Taiwan and China that has been officially praised by the Chinese government.

“I don’t think there is another American more reliant on the generosity of the Communist Party than Elon Musk,” Virginia Neocon Democrat Senator Mark Warner, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, said in October.

When asked about the Biden administration’s reservations about him, Musk responded in an email, “I believe in the Constitution.” “Are they?”

Several US officials interviewed for this story requested anonymity because discussions about Musk’s power and how it may be limited have been kept quiet.

Federal agencies have investigated Musk and his enterprises. He is still at odds with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his tweeting, for example, while the US Justice Department, the SEC, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have all raised concerns about Tesla’s automated driving promises.

Some Biden administration officials have hypothesized that the government may need to dismantle Musk’s business at some point.

Some in the Biden administration have considered submitting his Twitter purchase to a clandestine panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which has the authority to veto corporate transactions involving foreigners based on national security concerns.

At least three foreign entities contributed to Musk’s Twitter acquisition: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, founder and CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

Elon Musk favors Republicans

Musk has developed good ties with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whose California congressional district includes SpaceX operations. Last year, the millionaire visited McCarthy at a Wyoming resort and personally brought birthday congratulations to the politician’s office in January.

“There’s no getting around the fact that a handful of super-rich guys have a lot of influence in the American economy,” said Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Murphy. “That is no reason to be afraid of using government tools to ensure that there is no undue foreign influence on US politics.”

According to persons familiar with the situation, the Treasury Department has ruled out a review on legal grounds.

Musk wielded enormous power in Washington even before acquiring Twitter.

With roughly $US3 billion in federal work in 2022, SpaceX is a behemoth in US government procurement. But Musk has long deviated from typical CEO behaviours, mostly in amusing ways. He momentarily smoked marijuana on Joe Rogan’s live-streamed podcast, which irritated several Tesla investors and SpaceX employees.

He tweeted that he had secured money to take the vehicle private at $US420 per share, a joke referring to a slang term for marijuana that drew an SEC inquiry, a $US20 million punishment (for him), and a shareholder lawsuit.

Musk, CEO of Tesla, surprised shareholders by ingesting marijuana during an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan. WARNING: THE VIDEO CONTAINS DRUG USE.

Musk has stated that he “reluctantly” supported for Biden in 2020, but his public political persona has slowly shifted to the right since the president’s election. He urged his millions of Twitter followers to vote for Republicans only days before the November midterm elections.

He then endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president in 2024, claiming that the conservative governor, who has flown migrants from Texas to Massachusetts as a political stunt while cracking down on the teaching of sexuality and racism in elementary schools, is “sensible and centrist.”

Musk tweeted a plan to end the war in Ukraine in October that included Kyiv permanently surrendering Crimea, the peninsula that Russia illegally annexed in 2014, abandoning its ambition to join NATO, and agreeing to UN-supervised elections in areas occupied by Russia to determine whether Moscow would retain control of the territories.

US intelligence officials were stunned. Putin’s allies hailed the plan, which helped popularise the idea that Ukraine should make concessions to Russia in order to stop the war and that the US and its allies should reduce backing for Kyiv’s troops. This sentiment has gained traction among some Republican politicians, hindering Biden’s and Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell’s efforts to continue US military assistance for Ukraine’s war effort.

On March 13, DeSantis delivered a statement in which he stated that Ukraine’s defence is not a “vital” US interest and referred to the conflict as a “territorial dispute.”

Musk has threatened to cut off Ukraine’s free access to the Starlink network, which US officials see as a crucial advantage for Kyiv since it allows the country’s military authorities to maintain command and control of its forces without relying on more susceptible radio and phone systems.

After an uproar from Ukrainian authorities and supporters, the billionaire backed down, but he has continued to grumble about the cost of the service and announced last month that Kyiv will not be permitted to use Starlink to target drone attacks on Russian forces. That has elicited rebukes both abroad and at home.

“I certainly hope we put pressure on Musk to join with the family of civilised nations in opposing Putin and doing everything we can to defeat him,” said Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat.

Musk is a concern for the Biden administration because of their interdependence. The aims of his ventures fit with major components of the president’s programme, such as boosting the percentage of electric vehicles on the road. At times, this has resulted in an unsettling marriage of convenience, one that has grown more contentious as Musk begins to mix his uplifting rhetoric about humanity’s future with bare-knuckle politics.

On January 27, White House officials met with Musk and other Tesla executives at the company’s Washington headquarters to discuss how the carmaker could help the Biden administration meet its climate goals, including by extending its network of charging stations to competitors’ vehicles.

“They have a big footprint,” Mitch Landrieu, Biden’s senior adviser, remarked.

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Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion




Volodymyr Zelensky claims 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The Ukrainian president stated that he would not disclose the number of wounded because it would facilitate Russian military plans.

Typically, the Ukrainian government do not release casualty counts, and other estimates are significantly higher.

The defence minister said half of all Western aid to Ukraine had been delayed, costing lives and land.

Mr Zelensky said on Sunday that he would provide an updated death toll in reaction to Russia’s inflated estimates.


Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

“31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have killed in this conflict. Not 300,000, 150,000, or whatever Putin and his dishonest circle claim. But each of these losses is a significant loss to us.”

Speaking about the war’s overall losses, Mr Zelensky stated that tens of thousands of civilians had been killed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, but the exact figure was unknown.

“I don’t know how many of them died, how many were killed, how many were murdered, tortured, how many were deported.”

Ukraine rarely reports a military death toll, and other estimates suggest a far higher figure.

In August, US officials estimated that 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, with up to 120,000 injured.

In terms of Russian losses, Mr Zelensky stated that 180,000 Russian soldiers were killed and tens of thousands more injured.

BBC Russian, in collaboration with the Mediazona website, has identified the names of more than 45,000 Russian servicemen who have perished. However, it thinks that the total number is larger than that.

In February, the UK military ministry claimed that 350,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or injured.
President Zelensky’s speech came after his defence minister, Rustam Umerov, chastised the country’s

Western partners for delays in military assistance.

“At the moment, commitment does not constitute delivery,” he added.

Ukraine is currently facing several setbacks in its efforts to expel Russia from its land.

Mr. Umerov stated that the lack of supplies put Ukraine at a greater disadvantage “in the mathematics of war”.

“We do everything possible and impossible but without timely supply it harms us,” he told reporters.
Germany warned in November that the European Union’s (EU) promise to provide a million artillery shells by March would not be met.


Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

In January, the EU stated that little over half of these would reach Ukraine by the deadline, but the promised total would arrive at the end of 2024.

President Zelensky stated that a lack of armaments was one of the reasons Ukraine’s much-anticipated counter-offensive last year began later.

That counter-offensive was mostly unsuccessful, one of several failures for Kyiv following early victories in repelling Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Last week, it was revealed that Ukrainian troops had withdrawn from the strategic eastern town of Avdiivka, Moscow’s largest victory in months.

Mr Zelensky further blamed the situation on dwindling Western military shipments.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has claimed that the hold-up in Congress over a $60 billion aid plan for Ukraine led to the town’s fall.

Western leaders travelled to Kyiv on Saturday to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine as it marked two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

There was an announcement that Italy and Canada had inked security agreements with Ukraine, increasing support until the country could join NATO.

Canada’s agreement comprised more than three billion Canadian dollars (£1.7 billion) in financial and military assistance.


Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

It is not only Ukraine that is having difficulty funding its military activities. Western diplomats say Russia is also straining to send ammo and weaponry.

“Russia’s domestic ammunition production capabilities are currently insufficient for meeting the needs of the Ukraine conflict,” according to a Western diplomat.

They also stated that Moscow has only been able to augment its supply by exploring alternative sources of ammunition and weaponry, which provides a short-term answer.

Meanwhile, the director of Ukraine’s security service stated on Sunday that 47 Russian spy networks operating within Ukraine were discovered last year.

Vasyl Malik further stated that around 2,000 suspected “traitors” have been arrested since Russia’s full-scale invasion.


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Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral




NAIROBI, Kenya – Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya’s world marathon record holder, was accorded a state funeral Friday after being killed in a vehicle accident earlier this month, prompting many Kenyans to call on the government to do more to protect the country’s famed sportsmen.

Hundreds of dignitaries, including Kenyan President William Ruto and World Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe, paid their final respects to Kiptum as he was interred in Naiberi, some 6 kilometres (4 miles) from his village of Chepkorio in western Kenya.

The 24-year-old runner and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died in a collision two weeks ago near the town of Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of a high-altitude region known as a training ground for Kenya’s and the world’s greatest distance runners.


Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum was one of the most promising road runners to emerge in recent years, breaking the world record in only his third competitive marathon outing. Just days before his death, the world track body World Athletics certified his record of 2 hours and 35 seconds achieved at the Chicago Marathon last October.

Kiptum intended to break the two-hour marathon record in Rotterdam in April and make his Olympic debut in Paris this year.

His death echoed throughout Kenya, where runners are the biggest sports heroes, and many people have become accustomed to tragedies involving their best athletes, with dozens dying in traffic accidents or as a result of domestic abuse.

According to officials, Kiptum was driving on the night of February 11 when the car went off the road into a ditch and collided with a huge tree. He and Hakizimana died instantly. Sharon Kosgei, another passenger, was also hurt in the incident.

Kiptum, an only child, leaves his wife, Asentah Cheruto, and their two children. A High Court on Thursday declined to postpone the funeral in response to a woman’s legal claim that Kiptum fathered her kid.


Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum ran the fastest as a marathon debutant in the 2022 Valencia Marathon. The next year, he won two of the world’s most prestigious marathons: London and Chicago. He set a new course record at the London Marathon in April; months later, he set the global record in Chicago.

He became the latest Kenyan celebrity to die in sad circumstances.

David Lelei, an All-Africa Games silver medalist, was killed in a car crash in 2010. Francis Kiplagat, a marathon runner, was among five individuals who died in a crash in 2018. Nicholas Bett, who won gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships, was also killed in a car accident in 2018.

Many Kenyans believe the government should do more to protect athletes who bring international attention to their country, such as providing them with security, drivers, and advisors.

Elizabeth Wairimu, a vegetable trader in the western Kenya town of Nakuru, said the number of athletes killed in road accidents was frightening.

“I am asking myself what is the problem with our athletes,” she said. “The government should look into this… figure out what is killing our athletes. Where are we headed?”

She expressed sadness that the government was rushing through the process instead of Kiptum, who had pledged to build a new house for his parents.


Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Others in the packed market agreed with Wairimu’s comments.

“The government should not wait until the legends are dead to start caring about their welfare,” said George Thuo, a market seller.

Jimmy Muindi, a six-time Honolulu Marathon winner from Kenya, believes young athletes who reach Kiptum’s level require assistance managing their newfound celebrity status. Former marathoner Isaac Macharia concurred, stating that a support system is required to develop stars.

Jack Tuwei, the president of Athletics Kenya, urged President Ruto and MPs to find a solution to secure the athletes’ well-being and “allow them to have everything they need to be safe.”

Ruto announced that an endowment fund would be established for athletes and that the government would provide Kiptum’s widow with another house and $34,000 in support.


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Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says




The body of leading Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been returned to his mother, according to his spokesman.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh thanked everyone who asked that the authorities hand over his remains.
“The funeral is yet to take place,” she wrote.


Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, was reportedly told to agree to a “secret” funeral. If she refused, he would be buried in the penal colony where he had died.

She had spent the previous week in the town near the prison where he died, attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of his remains before requesting that they be delivered to her.

After signing a death certificate stating that he died of natural causes, she was allowed three hours to settle on a “secret” burial for her son.

Ms Yarmysh claims his mother was warned that if she did not consent, he would be buried on the grounds of the prison where he had died.

However, Lyudmila appears to have declined to engage with the authorities.

Ms Yarmysh stated that the funeral plans were still unclear.

“We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with it being carried out in the way the family wants and as Alexei deserves,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband’s body “hostage” and demanded its unconditional release.


Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

“Give us the body of my husband,” she pleaded in a video message.

“You tortured him living, and now you continue to punish him in death. “You mock the remains of the deceased.”

Ms Navalnaya again accused the Russian president of being responsible for her husband’s death.
The Kremlin has dismissed the charges, calling the Western outrage to the killing “hysterical”.

Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison located inside the Arctic Circle.
Details concerning what happened to him are scant. His team has offered security officers €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) as a prize and aid in fleeing Russia in exchange for information concerning his death in custody.


Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

For years, he was the most prominent critic of Russia’s leader.

In August 2020, a team of would-be assassins from the Russian secret services poisoned Navalny with the Novichok nerve agent.

He was airlifted to Germany and recovered before being imprisoned upon his return to Russia in January 2021.

Attempts to commemorate his death have been greeted with a heavy-handed response from Russian authorities, with improvised monuments removed and hundreds jailed.


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