Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

MI5 Shifts focus from counter-terrorism to tackle perceived espionage threats

The new cold war

Published 4 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum and the intelligence service's headquarters in London.

According to reports in the British media, MI5 has reduced its focus on potential terrorist threats and devoted more resources to combating foreign spies – particularly from Russia, China and Iran, it is claimed.

While counter-terrorism remains a priority, counter-espionage efforts has received increased resources since the start of the war in Ukraine and the West’s clear stance against Moscow, with sanctions and proxy wars, as well as arms supplies to Ukraine, leading to increased hostility between the two countries.

China is also said to be involved in a “massive espionage campaign” against the UK. There are also allegations that Iran is trying to recruit criminals to attack targets deemed hostile to the government in Tehran for various reasons.

– Counterterrorism has not been deprioritized but this has been prioritized alongside it, says a senior government source, adding that “the workload has definitely shifted in that direction”.

Russia, China and Iran are the three countries that, along with North Korea, are often portrayed by the United States and NATO as the primary ‘threats’ and enemies of the West, and therefore need to be fought or countered in various ways.

Deportations and arrests

According to government sources, it is precisely Britain’s extensive support for Ukraine that has led to increased Russian espionage, with the expulsion last month of the Russian defense attaché and an “undeclared military intelligence officer” – both accused of conducting intelligence activities in the country.

The expulsions came after a British citizen was accused of orchestrating an arson attack on London businesses with ties to Ukraine on behalf of Moscow. The Russian embassy, however, dismissed the links as a “groundless and somewhat ridiculous pretext”.

As for China, British authorities arrested three people for allegedly assisting Hong Kong’s intelligence service. The Chinese embassy called the allegations “groundless and slanderous”.

It is also worth noting that at the end of April, the British security services announced that they would be scrutinizing academics and researchers working on cutting-edge research at British universities, citing the need to combat alleged Chinese espionage.

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