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Think Tanks Are Information Laundering Ops For War Profiteers
The British billionaire-owned newspaper The Telegraph has an appalling new article out which reads like a paid advertisement for a missile manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The title even sounds like it was written by a marketing team: “A war-winning swarm missile will knock China out of Taiwan — fast”, subtitled “Rapid Dragon is a military gamechanger that provides the US Air Force with a crucial edge in the Pacific”.
The article is written by a war propagandist named David Axe, whose work I have written about before. His covert advertorial for Lockheed Martin’s JASSM missile revolves around the findings of a study by the military industrial complex-funded think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who you’ll be shocked and astonished and surprised and stunned to learn lists the Lockheed Martin Corporation as one of its top donors.
Needless to say, David Axe makes no mention of this extreme conflict of interest anywhere in his exuberant prose celebrating the wonders of this new piece of technology in what is falsely presented as an objective news article intended to educate and inform.
“When analysts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies ran a series of war games simulating a Chinese invasion of Taiwan last year, they learned something surprising,” he begins. “The games indicated that the US Air Force, fighting nearly alone after the destruction of much of the US Navy, could almost single-handedly destroy the Chinese invasion force.”
“The key to this simulated aerial victory was a missile: the Lockheed Martin-made Joint Air-to-Surface Strike Missile, or JASSM,” Axe continues. “It’s a stealthy and highly accurate cruise missile that can range hundreds of miles from its launching warplane. There are long-range versions of the JASSM and a specialised anti-ship version, too — and the USAF and its sister services are buying thousands of the missiles for billions of dollars.”
“Imagine hundreds or even thousands of stealthy cruise missiles speeding at wavetop height across the western Pacific and zeroing in on Chinese ships, ports and air bases all at the same time,” gushes Axe, adding, “It’s not for no reason the CSIS think-tank called the missile ‘decisive’ in its war games simulating a war over Taiwan.”
Yes, David Axe, I think we can all agree it’s not for no reason that the Lockheed Martin-funded think tank has great things to say about a product that’s making billions of dollars for Lockheed Martin. That’s some great journalism there, bucko.
This weapons system that Axe has been charged with marketing allows for large numbers of cruise missiles to be loaded onto pallets and deployed out the backs of giant cargo planes, and has been the subject of warnings from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Last month the Bulletin’s George M Moore wrote the following:
“The potential to develop Rapid Dragon so it can deliver nuclear weapons does not seem to have received any attention. The AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) is nuclear capable and currently deliverable by the B-52. It appears that nothing would prevent the Rapid Dragon deployment of the ALCM, turning any cargo aircraft capable of using Rapid Dragon into a nuclear delivery aircraft.
“The potential to use Rapid Dragon for nuclear weapons delivery (and eventually this will occur) will create new issues when serious nuclear weapons limitation resume. Unlike some past arms control agreements that required elimination of launch vehicles, there is no way to negotiate a limitation on cargo aircraft with rear ramps.”
So here’s a billionaire-owned news rag marketing a Lockheed Martin product endorsed by a Lockheed Martin-sponsored think tank and disguising it as journalism, while also normalizing the idea of fighting and winning a war against the Chinese military using technology that could lead to nuclear war. Just another day in the world of empire propaganda.
A think tank is usually just an institution in which scholars are paid by the rich and powerful to think up reasons why it would be good and smart to do something evil and stupid. One of the most depraved things that happens in the world today is the way war profiteering corporations and plutocrats are allowed to fund immensely influential warmongering think tanks, which then go on to influence the thinking of government policymakers in support of war and militarism. Media outlets like The Telegraph routinely cite these war profiteer-funded think tanks as experts on foreign policy and international affairs without ever disclosing this immense conflict of interest to their audiences; a recent study by the Quincy Institute found that 85 percent of the think tanks cited in the mainstream press when reporting on the war in Ukraine were funded by war profiteers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.
This is journalistic malpractice. It is never, ever in accord with journalistic ethics to cite war profiteer-funded think tanks on matters of war, militarism or foreign relations, but the western press do it constantly, without even disclosing this immense conflict of interest to their audience, because the western press are propaganda firms for the western empire.
Western reporters cite empire-funded think tanks because they generally align with the empire-approved lines that a mass media stenographer knows they can advance their career by pushing, and they do it because it gives them an official-looking “expert” “source” to cite while proclaiming more expensive war machinery needs to be sent to this or that part of the world or what have you. But in reality there’s only one story to be found in such citations: “War Industry Supports More War.”
This “War Industry Supports More War” headline is all stories like the above are really communicating, yet they dress it up as news reporting, because propaganda only works if you don’t know you’re being propagandized. All we ordinary members of the public can do is throw sand in the gears of this information laundering operation at every opportunity by highlighting again and again and again where people are being propagandized and how.
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