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China Busted for Targeting Pentagon Rare Earth Contractor with Disinformation Campaign

China Busted for Targeting Pentagon Rare Earth Contractor with Disinformation Campaign

China’s attack came in the form of a social media involving fake environmental damage claims.

Legal Insurrection readers are well-versed in the importance of rare earth minerals to this nation’s industry and security.

There have been intriguing developments in the battle over rare earth minerals recently. China recently conducted a disinformation campaign against a company building a rare earth minerals facility in Texas for the Pentagon.

The campaign centered on making fake environmental damage claims against the company.

The cybersecurity company Mandiant disclosed the campaign on Tuesday, alleging that Chinese actors used social media in a bid to discredit the Lynas Rare Earth Ltd., an Australian company, and other rare earth mining firms in order to undermine the critical supply chain for the elements. The Pentagon has signed an agreement with Lynas, the world’s largest rare earth mining and processing company, to build a Texas plant.

China has aggressively moved to dominate the global market for the “rare earth” minerals, which are indispensable to a number of cutting-edge high-tech products from smartphones and flat-screen TVs to medical equipment and water treatment systems. The U.S. and its allies have pressed in recent years to develop alternative sources of supply and production.

Mandiant investigators identified what they said were Chinese agents posing online as concerned local Texans who oppose Lynas’ planned construction of a rare earth processing plant there.

Fake Twitter accounts claimed the Texas plant would produce irreversible environmental damage, Mandiant stated in a blog post report. The fake accounts also stated that the plant would expose residents to radioactive contamination and health risks, including cancer, gene mutation and deformities in newborns.

In the wake of security concerns related to the accessibility of these essential substances, earlier this year, the Pentagon plans to boost the stockpile of rare earth minerals, cobalt and lithium it manages for the U.S. government.

The new stockpile agreement guidance is expected to be announced as soon as next week, one of the people said, nearly a year after U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order to study U.S. supply chain resiliency in February 2021.

Rare earths are often converted into magnets and used in next-generation weapons research as well as the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 jet and Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) precision guided munitions.

Lithium, a key component used to make electric-vehicle batteries, will be vital to the Pentagon’s goal of shifting its non-tactical vehicle fleet, currently 170,000 strong, to zero emissions.

An agreement between the Departments of State, Energy and Defense was signed in early February and covers the select materials as well as large batteries used in the electrical grid, the people said.

Finally, a bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate, incentivizing using American mineral resources.

In a bipartisan solution, Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) of the Senate Armed Services Committee have come together to sponsor the REESHORE Act. This legislation would help create a larger stockpile for the US military along with creating more incentives to mine these minerals in the US.

Senator Kelly, a former astronaut explained how he saw the problem firsthand from space.

“I’ve flown in space over China many times, orbited this planet hundreds of times. You look down over China and you see like what looks like lakes of very strange colors. And it’s because that they’re processing of things like rare earth metals. It’s a very dirty process,” Kelly said, alluding to the pollution China has had due to its mining of its minerals.

Senator Tom Cotton said if China were to cut the US off from these resources, the current Department of Defense stockpile would last under a year.

Production and mining of these materials in the US is highly limited due to heavy environmental regulations. Other supply chain issues are not helping. Given rising tensions with China over Taiwan and Ukraine, Beijing’s monopoly over rare earth minerals is an alarming national security issue. .

This is one of the few positive pro-American steps the Biden administration’s military has taken.

Now, if our military leaders could drop the green activism, social justice insanity, and woke policy implementation, perhaps the recruitment numbers would not be as full of fail as they are now.

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Comments

You can practically taste the irony. China accusing someone, anybody, else of environmental transgressions.

And yet, the left will eat it up with a spoon, like good little useful idiots and party apparatchiks.

    MattMusson in reply to Dimsdale. | July 4, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Rare Earth’s are not really that rare. And, it takes 1920s technology to refine. But it takes over 20 acid baths and precipitation steps to refine. Few companies want to take on the environmental challenges.

The Chinese propaganda is amateurish. But that’s only in comparison to the Russian masters who created and still fuel the “green” movement. That Russian disinformation campaign is far, far, far, far far more consequential then the couple of ad purchases in 2020 that affected, well, nothing.

    artichoke in reply to Concise. | July 5, 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Oh it’s Russia? Not really. Russia still continues the Soviet idea of wedging our racial issues. There’s often a racial diversity headline aimed at the US on rt.com .

    But the enviro stuff is Chinese, as are the imposition of both foreign-born Obama and election-losing Biden to push it. They just tried shaming us to live up to our “climate obligations” a few days ago — as they buy our Powder River Basin coal and burn it on their densely populated east coast, sending the pollution back across the ocean to us. China pushes all the most poisonous issues — racial “healing”, antiracism (Russia’s not this aggressive, China is), gender bender stuff, crippling environmental nonsense, all of the Dem agenda essentially.

“Now, if our military leaders could drop the green activism, social justice insanity, and woke policy implementation, perhaps the recruitment numbers would be as full of fail as they are now.”

Is there a “not” missing here?

I’m sure Austin and Milley are sad that China was busted. They probably helped China with the propaganda.

Hell, it was only a week or two ago that a Chinese Media Outlet declared that the United States moving away from Chinese Rare Earth supplies would be an act of war….

    artichoke in reply to nstew49702. | July 5, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Really, if you have a link that would be interesting. Wouldn’t surprise me. They’re nuts now, to us and to their own people.

If we had one spy in China for every spy that China has in America, half of the people in China would be Americans.

That idiot in charge of the EPA is as dangerous as all of China.

Close The Fed | July 5, 2022 at 8:03 am

I appreciate the article very much. But I do wonder, and am always concerned, when unnecessary language inventions by the left are adopted by the right.

“Disinformation” was created by the left to pretend it contains a new concept with which they can bludgeon the right. Isn’t it just as accurate to say the Chinese impersonated Texans and lied about the effects of a mine?

My personal practice is to never adopt the language of the left, to never give their pretend shape-shifting traction. “Lying” is a perfectly good, economical and accurate word.

    DrunkDriver in reply to Close The Fed. | July 5, 2022 at 11:16 am

    You are correct that the word “disinformation” was created by the left – the Soviets, more specifically it is a derivative of the Russian word “dezinformatsiya” and has been in use since about 1950.

    It is also a leftist practice to claim ownership of words, to claim that only some groups have the right to even say them. I take great pleasure in ridiculing these pathetic attempts at gatekeeping and encourage others to do the same.

It’s warfare, and we should fight back. Immediately embargo all shipments of coal from the US to China. We need that fuel right here, now that SCOTUS has somewhat defanged the EPA’s overreach.

In fact China is largely behind the crazy “green” movement that’s leading to our deindustrialization.