Nato boss claims Russia has secretly infiltrated green groups fighting fracking

 

A A A

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."

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk