Archive for the ‘Estonia’ Category

Estonian Spy Sent U.S. Missile Defense and Other NATO Secrets to Russia

November 19, 2008

A high-ranking Estonian defence official has been charged with treason, accused of passing sensitive NATO information to the Russian government for the past several years.

Estonian sources told Peace and Freedom that Herbert Simm of Estonia has sold US Eastern Euro defense plan, computer codes, missle defense secrets to Russia.

Spy
Above: Herbert Simm
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Current.com

According to the British newspaper “The Times”, Herman Simm, a former Estonian Defence Ministry official, could have passed top NATO secrets to Russia. Simm, who was arrested in September under charges of espionage and treason, was responsible for handling all of the country’s classified information incoming from NATO and other allied countries.

“The Times” calls it the most serious case of espionage against NATO since the end of the Cold War. Because of his high profile, it is suspected he might have also assisted in letting through other Russian agents.

Estonia is a former Soviet republic, but has one of the more succesful economies amongst former Eastern block countries. Thanks to government efforts, the computer literacy and public IT infrastucture are at a very high level. However, the country has had problems dealing with Russia – this included mass riots after a decision to move a Soviet war memorial, and a massive cyber-attack on the country’s infrastructure that ensued right afterwards. The attack was traced back to Russia, with many suspecting the Russian government of organising it.

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Times (UK)

A spy at the heart of Nato may have passed secrets on the US missile shield and cyber-defence to Russian Intelligence, it has emerged.

Herman Simm, 61, an Estonian defence ministry official who was arrested in September, was responsible for handling all of his country’s classified information at Nato, giving him access to every top-secret graded document from other alliance countries.

He was recruited by the Russians in the late 1980s and has been charged in Estonia with supplying information to a foreign power.

Several investigation teams from both the EU and Nato, under the supervision of a US officer, have flown to the Estonian capital Tallinn to assess the scope of what is being seen as the most serious case of espionage against Nato since the end of the Cold War.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5166227.ece

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NATO checks Ukraine progress amid Russia objections

November 13, 2008

NATO, meeting on Russia’s doorstep, held talks with Ukraine Friday to assess its progress toward membership of the alliance, but prospects for a promised entry action plan were dim.

Ukraine's Minister of Defence Yurii Yekhanurov speaks during ... 
Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Yurii Yekhanurov speaks during the informal high-level NATO-Ukraine consultations in Tallinn November 13, 2008.(Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

Russia deeply opposes Ukraine‘s efforts to join NATO, while opinion polls show only about a third of Ukrainians support it. Ukraine’s domestic political turmoil has made NATO hesitant, though the alliance has said Ukraine, and Georgia, will one day be members.

By Patrick Lannin and David Morgan, Reuters

“A country’s right to freely choose its security alignments is another important principle in this regard and a test for a Europe we all seek to build,” said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, referring to Russia’s objections.

The talks were being held in the capital of Estonia, another former Soviet state, which entered NATO in 2004, breaking away from its powerful neighbor to the east.

Speaking at the start of the talks in which NATO was to assess Ukraine’s security and defense reforms, the NATO chief also took a fresh swipe at Russia for recognizing breakaway Georgian regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081113
/wl_nm/us_nato_ukraine_1

NATO confronting new threats

April 2, 2008
By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer

BUCHAREST, Romania – NATO‘s latest security worries go far beyond Taliban fighters or al-Qaida extremists: They include computer hackers, threats to global energy supplies and climate change profiteers.
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World leaders gathered in Bucharest for this week’s NATO summit are debating what role the trans-Atlantic alliance can play in containing “cyberterrorists,” “hacktivists” and other emerging menaces that experts concede are untraditional, but still potentially lethal.

NATO needs to gear up for “iWar” — systematic attacks on the Web that could disrupt commerce worldwide by using crippling computer worms to shut down consumer online services such as Internet banking — warns Johnny Ryan, a researcher with the Institute of International and European Affairs.

“iWar will proliferate quickly and can be waged by anyone with an Internet connection,” Ryan cautioned in an analysis for NATO.

“In the short term, iWar poses a gathering threat to NATO members,” he said. “NATO must approach the problem as an immediate threat and strive to develop practical defensive cooperation.”

NATO member Estonia suffered a series of paralyzing and economically devastating cybercrime attacks last year that it blamed on Russia, which has denied involvement.

The attacks “raise questions about the alliance’s ability to protect its newest members,” said Stanley Kober, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Securing vulnerable energy infrastructure may be an even more pressing concern, NATO officials said Wednesday as the summit got under way.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has been pushing for a new “strategic concept” that would define the alliance’s role in dealing with the threat.

“Many of these challenges will not trigger a classical military response. But they will require allies to support each other — politically, economically, and perhaps also militarily,” de Hoop Scheffer told a security forum in Brussels, Belgium, last month.

His spokesman, James Appathurai, told reporters Wednesday that the 26 NATO allies hoped this week to lay the groundwork for a new blueprint on how to tackle evolving security challenges.

Energy has also become a worry for NATO as Russia tightens control of its most important natural gas fields. Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy monopoly, controls key pipelines that supply gas to Western Europe.

The U.S. is prodding NATO to take a larger role in energy security — something Washington considers a major post-Cold War menace.

“I think there’s an increasing recognition in the United States that these are growing issues,” said Stephen Larrabee, a senior security analyst for the RAND Corp. think tank.

Climate change — already a major concern on a wide range of fronts — is starting to preoccupy NATO as well.

De Hoop Scheffer says the alliance may have to be ready to protect food and water supplies if global warming makes them scarce and tensions create enough economic or political instability to nudge nations to the brink of war.

EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana gave a bleak assessment in a March 3 report warning that climate change threatens to undermine international security.

“It is important to recognize that the risks are not just of a humanitarian nature — they also include political and security risks that directly affect European interests,” the report says, warning: “Unmitigated climate change … will lead to unprecedented security scenarios.”

But any attempt to push the new threats to the forefront likely will run into resistance from allies pressing NATO to get back to basics, said Julianne Smith, Europe program director for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Many countries would like to see NATO return to its core mission,” she said. “I just find it hard to believe that NATO is going to be able to reach consensus on any of these issues.”

NATO’s core function is defined in its 1949 founding treaty, which states that all members will come to each others’ aid if any are attacked by an outside power.

New Europe, Old Russia

February 6, 2008

 By Robert Kagan
The Washington Post
Wednesday, February 6, 2008; Page A19

Russia and the European Union are neighbors geographically. But geopolitically they live in different centuries. A 21st-century European Union, with its noble ambition to transcend power politics and build an order based on laws and institutions, confronts a Russia that behaves like a traditional 19th-century power. Both are shaped by their histories. The supranational, legalistic E.U. spirit is a response to the conflicts of the 20th century, when nationalism and power politics twice destroyed the continent. But Vladimir Putin‘s Russia, as Ivan Krastev has noted, is driven in part by the perceived failure of “post-national politics” after the Soviet collapse. Europe‘s nightmares are the 1930s; Russia’s nightmares are the 1990s. Europe sees the answer to its problems in transcending the nation-state and power. For Russians, the solution is in restoring them.

So what happens when a 21st-century entity faces the challenge of a 19th-century power? The contours of the conflict are already emerging — in diplomatic stand-offs over Kosovo, Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia; in conflicts over gas and oil pipelines; in nasty diplomatic exchanges between Russia and Britain; and in a return to Russian military exercises of a kind not seen since the Cold War.

Europeans are apprehensive, with good reason.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR2008020502879.html