Thank You, Mark MacGann
On July 11th, the British newspaper, The Guardian, released a grand expose, what they call The Uber Files, detailing over a six-year period what Uber did to expand its transportation universe, using every tactic legal or otherwise to guarantee its success across the planet. And the individual who leaked these many hitherto secret and concealed details is Mark MacGann, someone who served as Uber's chief lobbyist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa from 2014-16.
I encourage everyone to view the 11:22 minute long interview with MacGann and a Guardian reporter. I found it on the online edition of the Washington Post but where ever you find it, you will hear astounding admissions by someone once extremely important to the Uber hierarchy. It's clear that MacGann didn't know what he had signed up for when he joined Uber. With his current actions, he seems to present it as a kind of atonement for sins not totally of his own making. It is a remarkable interview. I also strongly encourage everyone to read the Uber Files for yourselves, and not depending solely upon my brief overview for the complete story. There is much to know.
All this of course, Uber's incursion into the global taxi industry, is very personal, as I witnessed firsthand the City of Seattle's capitulation to Uber. I raised the alarm but I was ignored. When I wrote to one local Seattle Times columnist suggesting that something very fishy was occurring, to please investigate Mayor Ed Murray and his sudden welcoming of Uber, I was treated as some variety of crank, someone delusional and out of my mind. Well guess what folks, The Uber Files provide a bit of vindication. There was nasty stuff going on.
In the beginning, Uber entered the majority of its target markets illegally, intent upon destroying local taxi companies. And to do this, they raised tens of billions of dollars from Wall Street investors to fund and subsidize their initial operations, targeting markets across the planet, CEO Travis Kalanick, aiming, like some new transportation version of Napoleon, to take over the known world.
Lobbyist mark MacGann, fueled by all that money, had easy access to the world's political and financial leaders. At the World Economic Forum held at Davos, Switzerland, Uber met with many important folks including Emmanuel Macron, Joe Biden, Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and with George Osborne, then UK Chancellor and six other Tory Cabinet Ministers. Many of these contacts were done in secret, unknown until now. The Washington Post features a photograph with a smiling Mark MacGann and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
And not stopping there, Uber made deals with the world's underbelly, cutting investment deals with Putin's good buddies, various Russian oligarchs. All of this orchestrated by Kalanick, not caring about consequences, and if Uber drivers were attacked and beaten by angry cabbies, "Violence guarantees success!" was his response.
Further payments went to prominent academics to produce dubious research supporting Uber's economic benefits. And when authorities raided Uber headquarters in France, Holland, Belgium, India, Hungary and Romania, Uber had a "kill switch" shutting down all their computers, hiding all incriminating evidence.
I hope this quick synopsis gets you interested in reading more. Uber wasn't nice, and is that truly new to anyone paying attention? No is the answer.
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Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber (Docu-Drama Series on Showtime / Hulu)
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