Russia launched ‘cyberwar & propaganda campaign’ against UK – media
Moscow is resorting to a campaign of “propaganda and unconventional warfare,” The Times reported, citing unnamed officials in Whitehall. “Moscow is behind a concerted drive to undermine the UK through espionage, misinformation, cyberattacks and fake news, senior Whitehall figures believe," the newspaper writes.
According to the outlet, citing a source with a knowledge of the matter, the UK will now “assess and formulate options” on how to deal with the alleged threat. To address the issue, British Prime Minister Theresa May is also set to chair a national security meeting in the coming weeks.
“We will be happy to finally see some proof,” the Russian embassy said, responding via its official Twitter account.
An example of the suspected Russian “hybrid” warfare – as cited by The Times – is what UK’s intelligence services call “propaganda” by RT and Sputnik news agency to “influence” a British audience. Labour MP Ben Bradshaw recently said that Moscow "probably” influenced the UK referendum on leaving the EU (known as Brexit). Yet the allegations on alleged Russian hacking did not sit well with the vocal advocate of Brexit and a former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage.
“Ever since June 23 when we voted for Brexit, there have been all sorts of excuses that have been rolled out. But to now blame it on Russian cyber-hacking, I think they have reached a new low,” he recently said.
In a bid to be prepared for potential Russian propaganda warfare, the UK even went as far as to stage drills covering a scenario where Moscow would spread “false information” in the Baltic states, harming British troops there, according to another Times report.
However, the result of the drill was rather upsetting for the UK Ministry of Defense, as it acknowledged that lengthy bureaucratic procedures would prevent effective counteraction, the media revealed.
As Britain is joining the ranks of those claiming Russia is meddling in the internal affairs of Western states, the US has already made its point clear. Earlier this year, Washington officially accused Moscow of hacking servers and private computers of the Democratic Party, which Kremlin denied as “nonsense” and “myth making.”
As no evidence was ever presented to the public, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks suggested on Friday that the US should publish the proof on its platform to verify the serious accusations.
And on December 9, the Washington Post cited unnamed CIA officials as claiming that Russia not only directed the hacking, but did it with the goal to secure Donald Trump’s election.
But in an interview to Fox News, President-elect Trump blasted the information as “ridiculous” and yet “another excuse.” The US President-elect stressed that the accusations on Russia prove the Democrats were simply “embarrassed” since they “suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.”
Speaking to RT, former US presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul said that Americans “should be worried about the influence of our CIA in other people's elections, I mean probably hundreds. It's constant.”
Talk Radio host and columnist John Gaunt called the British allegations on Russia’s cyberwarfare “psycho propaganda,” saying the EU is simply “unhappy” with the Brexit and Americans electing Donald Trump.
“So, they started off with these ridiculous stories that Vladimir Putin and the Russians tried to stir the American election,” Gaunt told RT.
“Next they are telling us that the Russians are going to come and eat our babies. It’s completely and utterly ridiculous.” Gaunt went on to say that the British public and those who he spoke to simply “see straight through this” since the allegations are “pure propaganda.”
“The European Union needs a new enemy. They’ve decided that new enemy is Vladimir Putin and so they are poking him with their biggest stick,” Gaunt said. Yet instead of portraying the Russian president as a “James Bond villain,” the West and UK should talk to Russia, since the British population does not believe the accusations, he added.