Nato boss claims Russia has secretly infiltrated green groups fighting fracking
The outgoing Secretary General of Nato has sparked ridicule from environmentalists after claiming that Russia is secretly orchestrating green groups opposed to fracking.
Former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told journalists that Moscow was coordinating opposition to the controversial technology in order to promote dependence on Russian oil and gas.
“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations - environmental organisations working against shale gas - to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.
“That is my interpretation,” he told a briefing at the Chatham House foreign affairs think tank in London.
However Mr Ramussen, who is due to leave the alliance’s top military post later this year after serving a five-year term, did not specify how the Russians were working with environmentalists of whether they were doing so with the knowledge of activists.
Public concern over the potential environmental impact of fracking, in which gas is blasted from shale rock using water and sand, has spawned scores of local opposition groups across the country concerned about pollution and the continued reliance on fossil fuels.
There have been two major protest camps staged at Balcombe in West Sussex and Barton Moss in Greater Manchester, which resulted in dozens of arrests.
Tony Cottee of the environmental group Rising Tide, whose supporters occupied a Cuadrilla drilling rig in Lancashire, described the suggestion as “ridiculous”.
“It shows how ludicrously out of touch these people are. He clearly doesn’t know the type of person that has been turning up to demonstrate. There are 60 groups in Frackfree Somerset for example and this includes the Women’s Institute, church groups – we’ve even got a knitting circle. These protests are involving everyone,” he said.
The suggestion also drew an angry response from Greenpeace. Thirty of its activists and journalists were threatened with long jail terms last year after their ship was stormed by Russian security forces during a campaign to highlight drilling in the Arctic.
“The idea we’re puppets of Putin is so preposterous that you have to wonder what they’re smoking over at Nato HQ. Mr Rasmussen should spend less time dreaming up conspiracy theories and more time on the facts,” a Greenpeace spokesman said.
Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, was equally dismissive. “Perhaps the Russians are worried about our huge wind and solar potential, and have infiltrated the UK Government,” he said.
As well as grass roots opposition, mainstream wildlife groups including the National Trust, RSPB, the Salmon & Trout Association, the Wildlife Trusts and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, have warned of a lack of regulation and raised concerns over the impact on species posed by fracking.
Alyona Aslanov, a campaigner with protest group Frack Off said the UK imported less than one per cent of its gas from Russia. "The UK anti-fracking movement is almost exclusively made up of grass-roots community groups organising against these developments where they live. There are now over 140 in the UK and that number is growing rapidly. It's people power that is winning this fight not money."
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Malawi to burn its £5m ivory stockpile this week - and demonstrate its commitment to wildlife conservation
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...