Essay by Eric Worrall
h/d Breitbart; According to a joint investigation by Norwegian journalists, Russian spy trawlers are back — and this time they’re charting offshore infrastructure, including wind turbine cables.
The spy ships
BETH MØRCH PETTERSEN Journalist
PUBLISHED APRIL 19 AT 2:00 PM
The radio on board the fishing cutter “Lira” dates from the Cold War era. In Cyrillic it is marked Б3-28.
Over the past year, NRK, together with Nordic public broadcasters Danmarks Radio (DR), Sveriges Television (SVT) and Finnish Yle, has used open traffic data to map how Russian shipping traffic can be used for espionage in the Nordic countries. It comes out in the hotspot documentary The Shadow War.
A systematic examination of the tracks shows that at least 50 ships have had the opportunity to secretly gather information for ten years.
Dozens of sheets of our mapping lie on the table in front of researcher Ståle Ulriksen at the Naval Academy. The sheets show the ship movements we examined.
The traces on the maps show that they suddenly appear when a NATO exercise has taken place. They were close when vital fiber optic cables were cut from Vesterålen and damaged off Svalbard last year.
May have prepared sabotage
A white government research vessel sails near an offshore wind farm in Danish inland waters. Several sources have told Danmarks Radio (DR) that the Russian “Admiral Vladimirsky” is also being used for intelligence work.
According to intelligence sources and experts, a Russian military underwater program called GUGI is currently mapping the waters of the Nordic region. They collect information about power and internet cables, offshore wind farms, oil and gas pipelines.
Read more (Norwegian – Translated with Google): https://www.nrk.no/nordland/xl/fiskebater-og-andre-fartoy-fra-russia-kan-drive-spionasje-og-etterretning-i-norge – 1.16371100
I’m not sure what to think of this.
It seems unlikely that Russia would have to rely on Cold War-era spy equipment to coordinate spy efforts. There are much simpler ways of communicating.
Russia has access to much better technology for reconnaissance. China has no problem selling technology to Russia, including standalone GPS devices, microcontrollers, plug-in cellular and satellite communications equipment, model-scale motors, exactly the kind of cheap robotic technology you need to build sophisticated and stealthy consumer electronics reconnaissance systems build. I know this because I’ve personally built custom data collection devices for customers out of cheap Chinese consumer electronics.
Tech Doodles – my attempt at building a robotic cockroach
A one-time pad turns any consumer communications device, even a simple cell phone, into an impenetrable spy communicator. If you add steganography to the one-time pad, you can even hide that a one-time pad communication has taken place.
If the ships are intentionally behaving suspiciously, it seems far more likely that their activity is a political intimidation exercise, a visible presence easily disguised as military reconnaissance, an elaborate attempt to intimidate the European nations into increasing their opposition to the Russian political silence targets.
Or it could all be a huge coincidence. The Norwegians could have been fooled by their own data analysis. If you look through enough ship tracks, you’re guaranteed to find a number of tracks that look suspicious.
Whatever really happens, one thing we can be sure of – Offshore wind turbines look more vulnerable than ever. People who would cut a gas pipeline would have no problem sabotaging the cables to a fleet of offshore wind farms.