Monday, 23 June 2014 12:12

NATO Head: Russia Is Funding Anti-fracking Movement

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When the head of NATO announced on Thursday that Russia is engaged in promoting the anti-fracking agenda to protect its interests, anti-fracking groups denied the charges almost immediately.

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 what 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.

For instance, in 2009 author Pete Earley penned Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, which told the story of the spy who handled every Russian intelligence officer in New York City. He revealed disinformation strategies to blunt U.S. efforts in 1979 to place missiles in Western Europe by publishing a faked “doomsday report” by the Soviet Academy of Sciences about the effect a nuclear war would have on the climate, and sending it to various environmental groups. The report was picked up and published by the environmental journal AMBIO: a Journal of the Human Environment, lending it credibility.

In a more recent effort to expose the continuing program of disinformation by Russia, Ronald Rychlak authored Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion and Promoting Terrorism, which was published last year. In his introduction, Rychlak makes clear that Russia is highly motivated in its efforts to maintain the flow of cash from its customers not only for political reasons, but also for its own survival:

[Russia’s] demographics are awful (low birth rate, short life span for men) and its population [currently estimated at 143 million] could conceivably be under 100 million by the middle of the century. It lives almost wholly by selling oil and gas (and uses its leverage with gas to threaten its neighbors with cutoffs). But the recent discoveries of shale gas in many countries, including the United States, Poland and many other locations, could deal Russia a heavy blow. [In the future] its gas may not earn as much income and may be less useful as a weapon, and its oil may be replaced by much cheaper natural gas-based fuels such as methanol.

As far as infiltrating various green groups, Russia’s disinformation campaigns (motivated not only by a fervent desire to have a larger say in world affairs but also by the fear of becoming irrelevant in the future) will continue to play a role in not only the debate over fracking, but other areas as well.

As Mark Horne noted in his blog Political Outcast, “Just because the Russian government is hostile to Greenpeace doesn’t mean they are not useful to Russia.... It seems quite possible that Russia can send funds through private citizens so that Greenpeace never knows it is Russian money.”

Photo of anti-fracking protest in England: AP Images

A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at, primarily on economics and politics.


  • Comment Link UrbanTroubadour Tuesday, 24 June 2014 10:38 posted by UrbanTroubadour

    So Ms. Anna Yeisley,
    You favor an alternative energy source that doesn't put one once of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; that is affordable, clean and abundant and can be put online right now and doesn't require huge subsidies? The only source that fits that criteria is nuclear.

  • Comment Link Will Wilkin Tuesday, 24 June 2014 10:07 posted by Will Wilkin

    This article is very strange --there is zero evidence cited for NATO's charge, and there are plenty of anti-fracking activists I know who pour their money and time into fighting hydraulic fracturing for gas mining because of the threats to our aquifers.

    Perhaps NATO's statement fits the agenda of the New American, but there is zero information content here to back up the absurd "charge." Where exactly did the Russian money get spent? Who received it? That is the basic information required to make the article credible. As is, it seems like nothing but propaganda.

    A search of using the terms "aquifer hydraulic fracturing gas" turns up a quick overview of recent scientific studies on the issue, and surveying the abstracts shows there is plenty of reason for concern that contaminants from fracking are reaching the water supplies used for human consumption. Anecdotal examples of the problem also abound.

    Side note: very weird that my avatar pic just appeared in the previous comment by Anna Yeisley that was not by me! But I did have trouble logging in, had to do it about 4 times before I was able to get to this comment box.....

  • Comment Link Anna Yeisley Tuesday, 24 June 2014 06:38 posted by Anna Yeisley

    Fracking is toxic and poisonous and contaminates water supplies.

    There are non toxic, plant based alternatives that would clean our air and keep our land from detrimental attack and intrusion. Henry Ford created the first automobile out of plant based materials and fueled the vehicle from plant based fuels.

    Plant based fuels clean the air by absorbing CO2 through the crop cultivation and vehicles fueled with plant based fuels emit far less carbon exhaust than petroleum engines.

    If you took any living organism and relentless pierced its shell to its inner core over and over again, that living organism would weaken and eventually die. This is what we're doing to the Earth - drilling and probing and setting off explosions to keep the monopolized fuel industry in control of our energy needs.

    Russia is not the predominant force behind the 'anti-fracking' movement - that is ludicrous. The predominant force against fracking are people who own land that don't want to see their water and land contaminated.

    The petroleum industry is the number one beneficiary in the ongoing and unjustified wars because modern warfare would be impossible without petroleum - petroleum industry wins big with every war. Petroleum industry is intertwined with the international monetary fund and promote currency wars with nations.

    We will not see true financial prosperity or freedom in America or any other part of the world until we declare our independence from petroleum as the main source of fuel and support a non debt based (and non-petroleum backed) currency as national currency.

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