Thu, 16 Jul 2020

Putin targeting Irish Silicon Valley, says Center for Security Policy

(Op-ed) Helen Buyniski | RT
22 Feb 2020, 19:59 GMT+10

Russia is poised to invade Ireland and seize control of global communications, according to a crew of Cold War relics and professional Russophobes who've taken an already absurd James Bond-esque story and doubled down on it.

Ireland's status as "a vital telecommunications and logistics hub linking North America and Europe" has made it an irresistible prize to "the Putin regime," according to a bizarre paper published on Wednesday by the Center for Security Policy, a right-wing think tank. Russia isn't just lusting after Ireland's burgeoning crop of tech firms, or its forest of undersea communications cables, the group argues it's actively plotting to invade the Emerald Isle.

The unhinged plot apparently derives from a story published last weekend in the Irish Times, which warned citing the usual anonymous sources in the Garda and the military that Russian spies were observed last year mapping out the precise location of the transatlantic ocean-bed cables that form the backbone of global communications in preparation for "future tapping or even damage."

While that gripping saga could be deflated with a quick look at one of Ireland's own government websites, which posts the exact latitude and longitude of those cables for all to see, it clearly lit a fire under the senescent Cold War hawks at the CSP.

Not content to let the Irish lie awake in their beds with visions of Russian divers or better yet, weaponized beluga whales dancing in their heads, this Strangelovian bunch let their imaginations run wild.

"The neutral republic of Ireland has no military allies, so a Russian attack would not invoke NATO's Article 5 provision on collective defense," writer J Michael Waller salivated, as if Ireland's neighbors or the U.S., for that matter would sit by and twiddle their thumbs if the country was invaded by Russia, or anyone else, for want of treaty obligations!

'Russia would meet little resistance were it to take over Irish deep-water ports, occupy the vital Shannon airport, and physically control or cut trans-Atlantic undersea cable network that keeps the world economy running.'

Wait, what? Well, Ireland has had issues funding its military, Waller explains. Worse, it simply "doesn't have a counterintelligence capability," according to Royal United Services Institute fellow Mark Galeotti, whom Waller quotes in his comments to the Times.

Galeotti, who once midwifed the 'Gerasimov doctrine' hoax into existence, only admitting it didn't exist after a generation of excitable Russophobes had run with it, warned about the fate facing Ireland should it not hire a private security company to guard all the tech firms who've set up shop there because of comparatively friendly tax laws? Train their own team of killer whales to guard the cables? Join NATO?! It's not clear what, exactly, the famously-neutral Ireland is supposed to do about this looming Kremlin takeover.

Nor was CSP the only group of Cold War revivalists to take the Times story as proof they had been on the right track with their obsession. A mysterious "pro-NATO" Twitter account calling itself GorseFires Collectif has been "warning since 2014 about Russian General Staff planning efforts & GRU interest regarding strategic assets in Ireland," it reminded its followers after the story was published, dredging up several years' worth of tweets that all predicted a Russian invasion was just around the corner and warning Irish authorities that a "Ukraine in 2014" situation could arise at any moment... whatever that means.

And a real-life invasion is only part of the dastardly Russians' plans for little old Ireland, the CSP warns: "even without invading, Russia is using Ireland to tap into the trans-Atlantic undersea cable network and burrow into Dublin-based tech companies." Evidence? Who needs evidence, when you're keeping the world safe for democracy? With such a national-security emergency on their hands, Ireland would have to be downright suicidal not to leap into the waiting arms of its knight in shining NATO armor

Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

(Photo credit: TeleGeography).

This story first appeared on RT.

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