Speaking at the British counterpart of the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States, Chatham House (otherwise known as the Royal Institute for International Affairs), Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary-general of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), said:
I have met with allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-government organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain European dependence on imported Russian [natural] gas.
The radical environmental activist group Greenpeace responded immediately, declaiming any knowledge that Russia was somehow helping fund their anti-fracking efforts:
The idea that we’re puppets of Putin is so preposterous that you have to wonder that they’re smoking over at NATO HQ....
Greenpeace had thirty of its people locked up in Russian prisons last year, threatened with [up to] fifteen years in jail. Mr. Rasmussen should spend less time dreaming up conspiracy theories and more time on the facts.
Another splinter group calling itself Frack Off claimed purity and innocence as well:
The UK [United Kingdom] anti-fracking movement is almost exclusively made up of grassroots community groups organizing against these developments where they live. Beyond Lush [a British “green” cosmetics company], we receive no funding from any corporate donors and have a policy of not taking money from anyone who may want to influence our campaigning efforts.
When pressed on the matter by the Guardian, a NATO spokesman expanded on Rasmussen’s charges:
Russia has been using a mix of hard and soft power in its attempt to recreate a sphere of influence, including through a campaign of disinformation on many issues, including energy. The potential for Russia using energy supplies as a means of putting pressure on European nations is a matter of concern. No country should use supply and pricing terms as tools of coercion....
We share a concern by some allies that Russia could try to obstruct possible projects on shale gas exploration in Europe in order to maintain Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas.
At present, Russia supplies a significant amount of the EU countries’ natural gas, with Germany dependent upon Russia for about a third of its oil and gas needs. Russia also continues to engage in its massive disinformation efforts to promote its agenda worldwide.
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo of anti-fracking protest in England: AP Images