Fahy, Michelle: Australia captured: how the military-industrial complex has captured Australia’s top strategic advisory body

Michelle Fahy

Australia captured: how the military-industrial complex has captured Australia’s top strategic advisory body‘, Declassified Australia, 9 December 2021

Analysis of the compromised position of the allegedly independent Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in Canberra is the government’s primary source of outside-government advice, research and analysis on military and strategic affairs. Since its establishment in mid-2001, it has veered away from its founding vision.

There is a jarring disconnect between the lofty goals of independence expressed in ASPI’s charter, and the infiltration of ASPI by tentacles of the military-industrial complex. This has been barely mentioned in Australia’s mainstream media.

Declassified Australia investigation has uncovered a casebook example of “state-capture”, with the development of deep connections between ASPI, and the world’s largest and most powerful military weapons manufacturers.

The article looks at: Australia as a globally significant arms buyer and seller; the profits delivered to arms suppliers by recent wars: arms industry, ex-politician, ex-public servant, and ex-military representation on ASPI’s board (though this is not always disclosed on the ASPI website); how ASPI progressively lost its independence; and how it has come to rely more on augmenting its government financing with corporate donations and a sling from the US government.

While the cash from the arms industry may not appear substantial …. the arms industry wields its major influence via its representatives finding their way on to seats at the top table.

The substantial extra funding from the US government, Defence and other Australian government departments, as well as corporate interests, provides a real challenge to ASPI’s responsibility to remain independent. It raises serious questions about undue influence, including foreign influence, at ASPI.

ASPI insists it ‘retains ‘ “complete editorial independence on the material we choose to research”. It said it would not accept funding from parties attempting to constrain its editorial independence.’

Declassified Australia is run by journalists Peter Cronau and Antony Loewenstein. Michelle Fahy has been a prolific writer on arms company influence and related subjects and a number of her articles can be found through the Honest History Search engine. The ASPI story has also been told by Sue Wareham.

Many of the arms companies linked to ASPI are also donors to the Australian War Memorial, which has caused Honest History to use the term military-industrial-commemorative complex and, given the apparent reluctance of the mainstream media to examine these connections (a point mentioned by Fahy), we could rightly extend this to say the military-industrial-commemorative-media complex. For Honest History material on this subject, use our Search engine with terms like ‘arms’, ‘donors’, ‘gun-runners’, and the names of individual arms companies.

David Stephens

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