US Defense Secretary: Russia Must Be Held Accountable For OPCW ‘Hacking’

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US Defense Secretary: Russia Must Be Held Accountable For OPCW 'Hacking'

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaks during a news conference after a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

On October 4th, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that Russia must be held accountable for its attempts to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), as well as other world bodies.

“Basically, the Russians got caught with their equipment, with people who were doing it and they have to pay the piper, they are going to have to be held to account. How we respond is a political decision by the nations involved,” after a meeting with his NATO counterparts, however he said there doesn’t need to be a “tit-for-tat” response by the West.

“We are ready today to provide cyber support to our allies, I’ve seen enough of the evidence to say that the Dutch and the British are 100 percent accurate in who they have attributed this to,” Mattis said.

The US indicted seven suspected Russian agents for allegedly conspiring to hack computers and steal data to delegitimize international anti-doping organizations and punish officials who had revealed a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping program.

They were also accused of trying to hack into Westinghouse Electric Co, a nuclear power company that provides atomic fuel and plant designs. The Justice Department said one of the Russians performed reconnaissance of personnel and stole login credentials at the company.

Three of the Russians were already indicted by the Special Counsel’s probe of the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US Elections.

On the same day, the Netherlands accused Russia of planning to hack the OPCW, which had been probing the nerve agent attack on the Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

Four Russians arrived in the Netherlands on April 10 and were caught three days later with spying equipment at a hotel located next to the OPCW headquarters, the Dutch military intelligence agency said. The men had planned to travel on to a laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland used by the OPCW to analyze samples. Instead, they were expelled to Russia.

The Dutch authorities released copies of the passports of the four, identifying them as Alexey Minin, Oleg Sotnikov, Evgenii Serebriakov and Aleksei Morenets, none of which appear to be GRU agents as of yet.

EU officials said in a statement Russia’s “aggressive act demonstrated contempt for the solemn purpose” of the OPCW. Australia, New Zealand and Canada were among other countries to issue strongly worded statements backing their allies’ findings.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that accusations against Russia “know no limits.” He also claimed that all of these baseless accusations are part of a campaign to present Russia as an enemy.

Furthermore, the UK government also accused GRU agents of being behind four high-profile cyber-attacks, including firms in Russia and Ukraine; the US Democratic Party; and a small TV network in the UK.

Britain has also said the GRU was associated with a host of hackers including APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sofacy, Pawnstorm, Sednit, CyberCaliphate, Cyber Berkut and Voodoo Bear.

“The GRU’s actions are reckless and indiscriminate: they try to undermine and interfere in elections in other countries,” said British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. “Our message is clear – together with our allies, we will expose and respond to the GRU’s attempts to undermine international stability.”

Britain’s Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson has called Russia a “pariah state,” after London made the accusations.

“This is not the actions of a great power, this is the actions of a pariah state and we’ll continue working with allies to isolate, make them understand they cannot continue to conduct themselves in such a way,” Williamson told reporters.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has “high confidence” that the GRU was “almost certainly” responsible for a number of attacks, including the targeting of the US Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to sources in London.

Williamson also said that there would be no response and being “named and shamed” was a deterrent in itself. “We’re going to make it clear where Russia acts that we are going to be exposing that action and we believe that by doing so this will act as a disincentive to act in such a way in the future,” he said.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman described the British accusations as a “rich fantasy of our colleagues from Britain.”

Canada also said “with high confidence” that breaches at its center for ethics in sports and at the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency were carried out by Russian intelligence

Russia’s foreign ministry released an official statement late on October 4th, dismissing all accusations and saying it was the victim of “yet another stage-managed propaganda campaign.”

In a separate case, a court in Norway extended for a second two-week period the detention of a Russian citizen suspected of spying on the Norwegian parliament. Mikhail Bochkaryov was arrested on September 21st as he was about to fly back to Russia. Moscow says he is a Russian parliamentary staff member and has demanded Oslo lift the “absurd charges.”

It is noteworthy that similarly to the Skripal case, Western countries are throwing accusations at Russia without providing evidence. It is yet to be seen if these allegations will lead to more sanctions.

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  • FlorianGeyer

    The common denominators in all of these fanciful allegations are of course the US that is being openly laughed at on the world stage and has huge financial and political issues.

    The UK that is struggling with BREXIT and self inflicted illegal immigration, together with powerful forces that would like to derail what was the most democratic vote in recordable UK government history .

    Then there is the government of the Netherlands that has just recently been bought to account and severely embarrassed by her citizens for actively supporting and funding terrorism in Syria.

  • AM Hants

    Vault 7 – Wiki Leaks
    Crowd Strike – Ukrainian old malware
    Why is Edward Snowden happily living in exile, over in Russia?

  • chris chuba

    Accusations = guilt, yet the Republicans decry this reasoning when their guy, nominated to the Supreme Court is accused.

  • leon mc pilibin

    Professional zionist liars at it again,what will they think up next?The russians interfered with their cocaine?

  • so

    Jim “anything for a buck” Mattis. Out shilling for the neo-cons once again. Must be that the grand kids need a few extra million. What a wonderful life. This is the best that you can do? I’m sure your parents would be proud.

  • World_Eye

    This patheticness of western scums have not borders of Russia this, Russia that Russia this Russia that, GRU this GRU that, and how all this is done by the so-called GRU so open so easy on Cameras, everyone to see, I mean they staged and make that GRU are just doing the OPCW with a bunch of WiFi in back of a car in a trunk and 2 guys poisoned the scum spies with novichok and on and on and on. Sorry idiots but Russian intelligence don’t work that way, so you Britain and Netherlands menaged to catch GRU spies and operatives on such a way, and yet they managed to Hack the United States Of America Election System and no evidence, i mean the US cannot catch them for such a thing but yet the dutch did catch them with a wi-fi in back of car. PLease stop with shit. What GRU does you can never counter-intelligent that morons.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      This is nothing wait until the brainwashing machines of the system i.e. holywood bring out the new movies they making about all this. Is how they educate their sheep and clones. Already their TV series all at also at work. The motto, is brain wash them and drug them at very early age and remove parental guidance, from the formula.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      P.S. the question since they catch them as they say, red handed, why have not arrest them and follow the law but let them go? I mean when you arrest a criminal because is how they present them, you take him to court and put him on trial.

      • You can call me Al

        Exactly. Do you ever hear mention of the 2 x GRU that poisoned the Skripals ?, no back home in Russia, + the UK has not even asked for extradition nor to be allowed to question them in Russia (remember Putin offered the US + allies that opportunity for all future cases).

        It is all absolute nonsense, embarrassing and pathetic nonsense; but people had a good 3 or 4 weeks to be brainwashed into believing it, so the damage has been done.

      • Barba_Papa

        Spies are often embassy personnel, which means they have diplomatic immunity. So they can’t be prosecuted, only expelled. That could be an explanation.

        • FlorianGeyer

          An explanation or part of the comedy spy NATO narrative ?

          • Barba_Papa

            I have no clue. It does seem weird though to expel spies if they don’t have diplomatic immunity. Almost makes you think they want the accusations to be all over the newspaper, but not in court.

          • FlorianGeyer

            I agree. These days the NATO cartel have taken the art of propaganda rumours with no credible evidence to new levels.

            This is not because the current propagandists are more intelligent but with the arrival of the internet and the control of media, it is easier to reach a larger audience. Essentially the propagandists are more active ‘ Because they can ‘.

            In my opinion all of this will backfire on the NATO Cabal.
            I hope so anyway :)

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          ok now you telling me something that is common knowledge as an explanation . Have you ever hack anything electronic because I have and going outside a building on location to hack it means you, really either an amateur or watching too much hollywood.

          And the you I use here is a general term including all who think what the jerk offs of the west accuse russian saying. But I still fail to see why russian will want or need to hack this organization. Where is the profit if they do?

          • Barba_Papa

            Yeah, I found the whole having to physically go to the building to hack it weird. Like there is a secret terminal inside that they have to reach Mission Impossible style in order to hack the OCPW network.

            As for Russia wanting to hack this organization, I reckon that the organization that investigates socalled chemical attacks in Syria is of prime concern to Russia. Either because they fear that it would implicate Damascus in the attacks (the Western narrative) or because Russia fears that the OCPW is falsifying evidence in favor of the US and its allies (perhaps the Russian narrative?).

          • Promitheas Apollonious

            Russia fears of what they know is a lie? Kind of very lame. maybe is time russians to tell every one to f*ck off rather than calling them partners which they are not and they began to sound like retards with this policies of the politically correct country. Either you have power and project it or you stay in your corner and shut up.

            There are many ways beside war to project power by the way.

  • Promitheas Apollonious

    And all this because Moscow has dispose of all her american worthless IOUs and change them for gold at the expense of COL and US. I wonder what else they do when China begins with new year disposing her US american debt and not only as we are informed since they already asking for offers.

    $ and euro are one and the same thing and are interconnected. Their idea of globalization was supposed to unite EU/US economy as one and then they was going to introduce a common coin hence the reason the center of this idea is leaving EU as well watch the countries who was in the scam, who have not change their coin and connect the dots.

    • You can call me Al

      The pound and the Euro are interconnected with the dollar, but NOT the same thing, certainly not now.

  • James, when you start talking about holding other nations accountable then first of all you would have to be ready to be held accountable yourself as opposed to claiming that the US and it’s government employees are exceptionable.

    Second of all it would be good idea to stop making unsupported allegations and actually come up with independently verifiable evidence in order to support the claims made.

    Even my local weather forecast is more accurate than your claims.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      well said.

  • iosongasingsing

    We live as in Hitler’s time, the West as it was Nazism is only crime and lies and nobody says anything.

  • iosongasingsing

    The West today is the Hitler’s Nazism and the Russians are the Jews.