The X-ecutions Begin

In July 2023, a Saudi Arabian Twitter user who operated an anonymous account with only 9 followers was sentenced to death.

The X-ecutions Begin

It was only a matter of time.

As I wrote in April 2023:

When Elon Musk became the owner and CEO of Twitter, his $44 billion purchase was financed with help from several unsavory characters, including $1.9 billion that made the brutal Saudi regime Twitter's second-largest investor... what Saudi Arabia gets for its massive investment includes "special access to confidential company information"... The information Musk could potentially share includes data on Twitter users inside Saudi Arabia itself, which ranks 8th in the world with more than 14 million users.

In July 2023, Mohammed al-Ghamdi, a Saudi Arabian Twitter user who had criticized the Kingdom's corruption and human rights violations via an anonymous account with only 9 followers was sentenced to death.

In my April article, I noted that a true "free speech absolutist" would have rejected investment from Saudi Arabia because of its well-documented "history of spying on, arresting, imprisoning, torturing and killing its critics—and its history of targeting innocent Twitter users for simply exercising their freedom of speech while living in the US and Europe."

After all, if the world's richest man can't say no to Saudi blood money, what hope is there for the rest of us?

In 2023, Saudi Arabia is not slowing down on its executions or its deadly human rights abuses. But it is speeding up its hush money payments.

Sports are now awash in Saudi blood money

Since 2021, Saudi Arabia has plowed more than $6.3 billion into international sports, investing "at a scale that has completely changed professional golf and transformed the international transfer market for (soccer)."

Golf ball covered in blood, sitting on a tee

Some of the results:

  • PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has announced a plan to merge with the Saudi-backed LIV Tour despite saying in 2022 that such a deal would be impossible out of respect to the families of 9/11 victims.
  • British Premier League soccer club Newcastle United is now owned by Saudi Arabia, much to the distress of many of its fans.
  • Lionel Messi, the world's most famous soccer player—and new star of Inter Miami—is bringing shame to Major League Soccer in the US by accepting $25 million to promote tourism to Saudi Arabia.

In addition, anyone still publishing on Substack has to reconcile that decision against the fact that that platform's lead VC-investor Andreessen-Horowitz is openly courting more investment from the butchers of Saudi Arabia.

You can't trust Elon Musk

In the two days since news broke on X that one of his users had been sentenced to death for daring to engage on free speech on the platform, Elon Musk has remained silent on the issue.

That hasn't stopped Musk from continuing with his usual dickish form of tweeting, hyping a podcast run by one of his tech bro buddies, celebrating Trump's mug shot, and boosting some of the blue-check grifters who are helping fuel hate and disinformation on the once-useful site.

The news that Saudi Arabia is now executing people for tweets—instead of just sentencing them to lengthy prison terms—comes the same week we learned from Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker that Musk indeed sent Ukrainians to their deaths by abruptly halting Starlink service in Ukraine following one of his personal conversations with Putin.

Musk is spending his days practically begging journalists and creators to embrace X as a platform on which to publish and monetize their content. That's a bad idea on any distributed platform. But's is an especially bad idea on a platform run by someone as fundamentally dishonest and increasingly erratic as Musk.

Worst of all, if you post something on X that upsets Musk's Saudi pals, it could earn you a death sentence.

And Elon won't save you.

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