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UK 'Defence' Secretary threatens to copy Putin's methods

Ministry of Defence (plaque on the front of the building)

UK 'Defence' Secretary threatens to copy Putin's methods

Ben Wallace has promised more money for bugging, surveillance and undercover disruption around the world.

Writing in today's Sunday Telegraph, the UK "Defence" Secretary spoke of the threat from Putin's forces and condemned their practices, promising to spend billions of pounds in response.

But the Peace Pledge Union said that Wallace seemed to be threatening to use methods very similar to the same Russian forces that he is condemning.

There will be more money for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, more for electronic warfare, more for strike capabilities, as well as more for improved sensors and defensive measures,” wrote Wallace.

Wallace plans to spend £120m on creating a new Special Operations Brigade. He describes them as “grey-zone warriors”. According to the Sunday Telegraph, their work will include “bugging houses and vehicles and using imagery from miniature cameras, drones and satellites.”

They will take on Russian forces “around the world”, including at sea. The PPU pointed out that British ministers have frequently condemned Russian forces for operating outside of Russia but are now admitting that UK forces will do the same.

The Peace Pledge Union accused Ben Wallace and Boris Johnson of fuelling an arms race and making the whole world less safe. Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the cap on the number of nuclear warheads that could be owned by the UK government by 44%.

The PPU condemned both the British and Russian governments for stirring up military tension and using each other's military aggression to justify their own. They said that the neither the people of the UK nor the people of Russia would benefit from Putin and Johnson's actions.

Wallace said that the UK armed forces will adapt to face new "threats". In response, the PPU said that his plans would do nothing to defend people from the most serious threats to human security, including pandemics, poverty and extreme climate change.

Tomorrow (Monday 22 March) will see the publication of the Ministry of Defence's “Command Paper”, part of the Integrated Defence and Foreign Policy Review, the publication of which began last week.

Wallace said that it will involve “the biggest shift in UK defence policy since the end of the Cold War”.

It will set out how the government will spend the massive rise in the military budget announced by Boris Johnson in November, of around £24bn over four years – the biggest percentage increase in UK military spending since the Korean War nearly 70 years ago.

In his article today, Wallace writes, “We will focus billions on researching and developing autonomous systems, directed energy weapons and command and control systems”. The PPU asked how this would sound to nurses in England who have just been told that the government cannot “afford” more than a 1% pay increase.


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