How does Western ‘accusation industry’ operate against China?
Published: Oct 18, 2021 02:17 PM
File photo of <em>USS Connecticut</em> Photo: AFP

File photo of USS Connecticut Photo: AFP

Editor's Note:

Some mainstream Western media outlets have never given up their attempts to smear China. Why do Western countries invest so much effort to smear China? How can they benefit from it? Why can't the US-led West read China objectively? Global Times (GT) reporter talked to Jan Oberg (Oberg), director of Sweden-based think tank Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF), on these issues.

GT: The TFF published a report titled, "Behind the Smokescreen: An Analysis of the West's Destructive China Cold War Agenda and Why it Must Stop." How does the Western media's "accusation industry" operate against China?

What we present in that report is that this agenda is produced by what I have coined the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex (MIMAC). This Complex consists of tightly connected elites with a common interest in appointing one country after another as a threat to the US/NATO world. 

To a dangerous extent, MIMAC operates outside open democratic decision-making. Like the Soviet Union back then, the US today does not have a MIMAC. This US itself is a MIMAC. Without invented images of enemies, the MIMAC and its absorption of grotesquely huge taxpayer money sums would become impossible. It builds on "fearology" - on making citizens fear and then implicitly accept that their governments spend so much on destruction, weapons and wars instead of on solving humanity's real problems. 

There is no correlation between military strength and peace. The largest military power, the US, is almost permanently at war and feels threatened. And NATO's military-based "security, stability and peace" has created no peace since 1949. Most countries have some kind of MIMAC. Militarism - including Nuclearism - is the single largest problem on today's Earth. And it is a central indicator of every Empire's decline: militarizing itself to economic death, losing its wars and humanity's respect. So a major reason behind the mentioned accusation industry, as we call it, against China is that it enables the MIMAC to grow even more, but there is a peak point for all such sociological phenomenon: Then come decline, decay and fall.

GT: Since you've mentioned militarism, what is your opinion about the US' latest Indo-Pacific security alliance with the UK and Australia, AUKUS? Is it a "central indicator" further illustrating the "US empire's decline"? 

The media and most people focus on land warfare while forgetting that a permanent Cold War takes place in the world's oceans - predominantly by submarine and anti-submarine warfare. 

Alliances are, by definition and philosophically, "we" groups that ally against "them" and, therefore, confrontational. Like NATO, AUKUS is no exception and when it is stated that this is not directed against China, I've been long enough in the conflict analysis and peace-making profession to interpret that that is exactly what it is.

On October 2, a US nuclear-armed attack submarine hit some "unidentified object" in the South China Sea. This sort of thing is dangerous beyond words. Thanks to sophisticated underwater surveillance, Washington of course knows what that object was and why it happened. 

The Western media have done nothing to investigate this hugely important event but spent more energy on Britney Spears! A simple question: How would the US react if a Chinese submarine hit something outside California or Florida, and how would the media have blown it up?

In general, this is an asymmetric conflict and nobody asks: What on earth - or rather on sea - does the US, the UK, Australia, etc, do over there? Understandably, China wants to know. But all humanity has a right to know but we only get the top of the iceberg. 

Remember the Soviet "Whisky On The Rocks" submarine in Sweden in 1981? It has later been documented that it was a Psychological Operation  orchestrated by the US in cahoots with a handful of Swedish military people.

If the US argues that it secures free passage on the world's oceans, we should not let it. Instead, we should establish a UN Maritime Peace-Keeping Force to patrol everywhere, respect international law, reduce risks and serve the United Nations' - humanity's - interest and not only those of the US.

Jan Oberg 
Photo: Courtesy of Oberg

Jan Oberg Photo: Courtesy of Oberg

GT: The TFF published a report titled, "The Xinjiang Genocide Determination as Agenda" in May. To declare the "genocide" in Xinjiang, Western media and institutions have taken advantage of anti-China activists and given them fake identities as "victims." What is your take on this?

In that report, we do not analyze the single witnesses or their identities. We show, point-by-point, that the analyses and documentation by a series of Western scholars and NGOs largely do not hold water as qualified social studies. They build on estimates, strange methodology, dubious data, one-sided perspectives and biased interpretations. They are commissioned work, not free research. 

This applies in particular to a report from the Newline Institute. On one and the same day, it was highlighted by lots of Western mainstream media - whose journalists don't do their basic job of checking sources but evidently read only summaries - to keep politically correct. 

The US has not delivered any evidence since former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo's "determination" that Xinjiang is about a genocide. What has been done in Xinjiang to contain violence-based secessionists was not the object of our report since we are not a human rights organization and have not been on the ground. 

I sent our report to more than 20 important media people who had written about Xinjiang and pointed out the serious source and methodology problems. Not one responded. Further, no Western media has taken up TFF's two reports - although a couple of thousand receive our press releases. 

So the MIMAC strategy is silence. Sadly, the free press includes also the freedom to be ignorant and promote only one politically correct - but often false - narrative.

GT: In a recent interview, you mentioned that the US sets off $1.5 billion in the next 5 years to train Western media to write exclusively negative reports about China. Why has the US invested so much in smearing China? How can the US benefit from it?

If a government wants to satisfy its insatiable MIMAC by confrontation and cold or hot war, it has to smear, demonize and accuse others. The underlying philosophy is that "We are the model for the whole world and they are bad because they are not like us. You are either with us or with our enemies."

Western missionary thinking has always been about that, deeply rooted in a dichotomizing we/them, either/or and good/evil philosophy. Reality - to state the banal - is that there is something good and something not so good in all systems.

The mentioned law is mind-boggling because it totally undermines the West's own pride in free media, freedom of expression, fairness in reporting different standpoints etc. 

I've argued for years that the real enemy of the US/NATO world is neither Russia, China, Iran or anyone else but that US/NATO world itself: its militarism, lack of vision, leadership and self-innovation. It just cannot go on any longer without fundamental change from inside the US and West. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said it decades ago: "America, you have become too arrogant." If a country is No.1, it often doesn't learn, it teaches, masters and discards humility. 

The whole world would gain and grow tremendously if we chose cooperation and unity in diversity instead of permanent confrontation and dominance. But I seriously wonder whether the Occident can live without perceiving enemies constantly?

GT: Western media have concocted misinformation and fake news to smear China. To what extent can they confuse the international community and how to offset such a negative impact?

Yes, the mainstream media do that because they are one element of the MIMAC. I think they do confuse a large part of the citizenry. But as a wide-spread quote said, "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." 

While I meet lots of people in my professional and private life who are influenced by the 10 standard negative stories about China, perceptions are changing towards more balance. That's what explains, I believe, the panic-driven $1.5 billion for state-influenced media. 

It's short-sighted - as are most attempts at PSYOPs, Psychological Operations. Independent minds look through it and new media - such as good books, blogs and Vlogs - shape the media scene. People will find out that they were fooled. 

One way of combating these PSYOPs would be for China to have millions of foreign tourists, students, professionals and cultural workers come in. There is a high correlation between ignorance, Sinophobic views and never having visited (or studied) China and between more balanced views of China and having visited or studied it. 

I believe strongly in "citizens bridge building" for cooperation and peace - as China does with the Belt and Road Initiative. We must and can reduce the risk of warfare. Let's prepare for peace when that's what we want.