Written By: - Date published: 10:30 pm, March 11th, 2019 - 116 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, kremlinology, making shit up, Propaganda, spin, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags:
I’m glad Anne-Marie Brady will get the chance to present her “Magic Weapons” paper to the select committee examining the last election. At long last it might get given some proper critical examination, of its content as well as it provenance.
It reads like a long list of the blindingly obvious, mixed with a large dose of conspiracy theory. It certainly doesn’t show much sign of the sort of critical thinking one might expect from an academic.
Regarding its content, it lists all China’s standard soft-power activities, the same as those of all major countries, then applies them to New Zealand by another long list of inferential personal and institutional attacks.
The state and personal activities are normal, the inference is that because they are Chinese (and communist) they are somehow different, sinister and a threat to our way of life.
Fifteen months ago when Anne-Marie Brady first popped up in our media, I wrote a post here titled “The Yellow Peril.” What alerted me was that there were two items on the national news in the space of two days, singing from the same song-sheet, and urging us to follow Australia in a legislative crackdown on Chinese activity. I can recognise a plot when I hear one and the growing chorus of similar views from similar pundits in the FiveSpies has only made it clearer.
We live in the age of information wars, and the US with the National Endowment for Democracy and the UK have been doing it for a lot longer than the Chinese. The most recently disclosed model for the behaviour is the Integrity Initiative, outed as an anti-Russia front funded by the Foreign Office and staffed by intelligence officers, with a role to co-opt journalists and academics to push these views.
The Integrity Initiative has China derangement symptom as well as the Russian version. From their Facebook page:
Researcher: The West isn’t ready for the coming wave of Chinese misinformation: Beijing’s social-media operations are larger and more effective than many realize https://bit.ly/2HmaDdV
In my opinion, the CIA would regard Anne-Marie Brady as an asset. I’m not saying she is on the payroll, just the latest in a very long line of academics and journalists who have been cultivated by intelligence agencies because they are convenient mouthpieces for particular geopolitical interests, in this case those of the United States and Taiwan. Brady certainly has her contacts in the game. Not all journalists are taken in, thus Fran O’Sullivan in the Herald.
The provenance of the Magic Weapons paper also gives the game away. It was delivered at a conference on “The corrosion of democracy under China’s global influence,” supported by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, and hosted in Arlington, Virginia, USA, September 16-17, 2017. So the paper attacks:
The organization most closely connected with the PRC authorities in New Zealand is the Peaceful Reunification of China Association of New Zealand (PRCANZ), founded in 2000.
The main thing to say about Anne-Marie Brady is that on this matter she is not an academic looking at an issue critically and from all sides – she has an interest in and wants to be a player in the information wars. So her paper concludes:
Like Australia, we may also need to pass new legislation which better reflects the heightened scale of foreign influence attempts in our times. New Zealand can find a way to better manage its economic and political relationship with China, and thereby, truly be an exemplar to other Western states in their relations with China.
But her paper was delivered in the US at the Wilson Centre, funded by the US government, and it is the US which has declared China to be an adversary in its Defense Strategy. We should not be following their example, or that of their poodle Australia.
I do hope that in their inquiry the Select Committee will also investigate the activities of other counties besides China in interfering in our political decisions. The most obvious example is the United States pressure for us to deny Spark the use of Huawei’s leading 5G technology for our communications and infrastructure.
I won’t be holding my breath on that one.