Listen Live
    Britain's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

    'UK Gov't's Reputation When It Comes to Blaming Russia is Very Dubious' - Journo

    © AP Photo / Matt Dunham
    Get short URL

    UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused Russia of running a global campaign of cyber warfare to target governments. His speech was delivered to the NATO Cyber Defence Pledge Conference in London. In the speech, he also claimed that attempts to meddle in democracy could result in a justified proportionate response.

    Sputnik has discussed the matter with journalist Ollie Richardson.

    Sputnik: Tell me a little bit about your reaction to Jeremy Hunt's comments.

    Ollie Richardson: The first thing I would like to mention is that because the Western world has been unable to prove that a Russian threat physically or tangibly exists, they have now resorted to translating this threat into cyberspace, which allows them to use a vague concept. In fact, anyone who even shares an article from Russian media on a social network like Facebook or Twitter gives NATO, for example, a reason to call them a Russian agent or to say that they're trying to sabotage democracy, etc. So it's not a surprise that they're now blaming Russia for cyber warfare.

    However, the main element of this anti-Russia propaganda campaign was this Russian interference in the US elections. But now this "Russia Gate" has collapsed, thanks to the Mueller report, which found no conclusive proof of Russian interference. So they are running out of reasons to try to convince the working man and woman that there is indeed a Russian threat.

    Another interesting point here is that, on 23 October 2018 the House of Commons published the UK government's responses to the digital Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, entitled "Disinformation and Fake News Interim Report".

    READ MORE: Russia Envoy Slams UNSC Over Refusal to Hold Meeting on Ukrainian Language Bill

    One of the government's answers to this report is, and I quote, "We want to reiterate, however, that the government has not seen evidence of successful use of disinformation by foreign actors, including Russia, to influence UK democratic processes". So it's a bit confusing, because seven, eight months ago, there was no Russian interference. And now, Jeremy Hunt says that there is Russian interference — slightly paradoxical.

    Sputnik: You mentioned that there's no physical evidence of Russia's involvement. How do you think the Skripal has played out in the media and in the government? How do you think that is being reflected?

    Ollie Richardson: Well, of course, such a thing as the Skripal case is similar to the MH17 Malaysian plane incident, where there is an accusation made, but it is down to the party making the accusation to provide proof. This is known as the burden of proof. They say that Russian agents came into Salisbury and released novichok, in order to neutralise a former dissident.

    But again, there has been no proof have been no definitive conclusions. It's actually very reminiscent of the accusations against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, where they accused him of using sarin gas against his own people. The UK government's reputation when it comes to accusing Russia of this or that offense or crime, it is very dubious, to say the least.

    Sputnik: In today's climate, what is the difference between cyber security and cyber terrorism, as Jeremy Hunt calls it?

    Ollie Richardson: Well, as I mentioned earlier, it's a very vague expression since the internet in itself does not exist. Again, we come back to this problem of burden of proof and logical fallacies. What does exist are the servers which hosts websites and domains, etc. What is most interesting here is that Jeremy Hunt accuses Russia of meddling in the critical infrastructure of countries, yet we hear that the electricity grid in Venezuela was sabotaged by the pro American Juan Guido — whom Britain supports.

    READ MORE: Sergei Skripal Allegedly Called Niece Living in Russia — Reports

    The difference between cyber security and cyber terrorism — it doesn't really exist per se, because how can you outline what a terrorist organisation is on the internet, because it doesn't have physical weapons, it has not physically killed anyone. Very vague; but of course, it's convenient for the British government.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Ollie Richardson and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


    Academics Decry Racism Witch-Hunt Against Sacked Right Wing Cambridge Scholar
    If Brexit Deal Approved This Week, UK Can Leave on 29 March – FM Hunt
    cyber warfare, Jeremy Hunt, Russia, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik