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Arctic 30: freed Briton urges ‘frank discussions’ about future protests | Environment | theguardian.com

Arctic 30: freed Briton urges ‘frank discussions’ about future protests | Environment | theguardian.com.

Kieron Bryan

Freelance videographer Kieron Bryan being released on bail from a detention centre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photograph: Liza Udilova/Greenpeace/EPA

There should be frank discussions about future Greenpeace protests following the arrest of activists and journalists in Russia, one of the six Britons freed from detention has said.

 

Freelance journalist Kieron Bryan, one of the Arctic 30 arrested by the Russian authorities over a protest against oil drilling two months ago, said his first trip with the organisation had been a baptism of fire.

 

Greenpeace UK’s executive director, John Sauven, said all those who had been on the Arctic Sunrise vessel had been given a proper briefing about the risks involved and added that the organisation would not be intimidated, although there were no plans for further protest in Russia.

 

The Arctic Sunrise was seized by the Russian authorities and 28 activists and two freelance journalists on board were arrested. All six Britons involved have been granted bail.

 

The group were originally charged with piracy but the authorities said this would be downgraded to hooliganism.

 

Bryan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the group were briefed about the risks before the trip.

 

“We discussed the legal implications of doing a protest in Russia. I remember distinctly piracy being mentioned and the laughter that followed,” he said.

 

“I can’t stress what a shock it was to everyone. We all thought that we would get a rap on the wrists and then be sent away, so to find ourselves facing 10 to 15 years was a very difficult time.”

 

Bryan said Greenpeace should consider the increased political pressure that would apply on future protests relating to oil.

 

He said: “I think there has to be some honest discussion, definitely, and I would love to be part of the discussion with Greenpeace about what happens in future. This was my first trip, so it was a baptism of fire.

 

“But I do think there needs to be some consideration if the changing landscape politically on the global scale … The desire for oil is getting greater and as that happens the political pressure put on people like myself and Greenpeace will increase. So, I hope there are some frank discussions.”

 

Sauven told the programme: “People were given a proper briefing and all the potential issues that could arise were in that briefing.”

 

Asked if the organisation would repeat the protest, Sauven said: “We have got no plans to do that. But … when half the oil spills that happen in the world happen in Russia, should we be silenced? Should we be intimidated? Should journalists not go and report that and expose what’s going on?

 

“This was an entirely peaceful process. We have been going to the Russian arctic for nearly three decades. We’ve been up there campaigning against Russian whaling, we’ve been up there actually in far more challenging situations, even campaigning against Russian nuclear testing when we ran a campaign to get a ban on nuclear testing around the world – a ban that we won, and a ban on whaling that we won.

 

“I hope that we can also protect the Arctic but we are not going to do that if we are intimidated or silent.”

Russia denies using gifts to spy on G20 leaders – World – CBC News

Russia denies using gifts to spy on G20 leaders – World – CBC News. (source)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media during a news conference at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 6, 2013. The Kremlin is denying a report that spy devices were distributed as gifts at the summit.Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media during a news conference at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 6, 2013. The Kremlin is denying a report that spy devices were distributed as gifts at the summit. (Alexey Maishev/RIA Novosti/Reuters)

Russia has denied reports that its intelligence services spied on hundreds of foreign delegates at a Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg in September using gifts such as teddy bears, diaries and free USB keys.

Quoting a report from the European Council’s security office to Italian intelligence services, Italy’s Corriere della Sera daily has reported this week that at least 300 such devices were issued at the Sept. 5-6 summit and were revealed to be spy gear during security debriefing sessions last month.

The report fuels controversy over international espionage after reports that U.S. intelligence services had conducted telephone surveillance of allied countries and leaders.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he did not know what the source of the latest allegations was.

“This is undoubtedly nothing but an attempt to shift the focus from issues that truly exist in relations between European capitals and Washington to unsubstantiated, non-existent issues,” he was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

Tension between the United States and its allies has grown over reports that European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been spied on by U.S. intelligence services.

Gifts showed signs of ‘manipulation’

According to Corriere della Sera, a regular debriefing with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and other EU delegates revealed they had been given souvenir USB keys and cables to connect smartphones with personal computers.

It said EU officials alerted German intelligence services which conducted detailed tests on the devices.

“These are devices adapted to the clandestine interception of data from computers and mobile telephones,” the newspaper quoted an initial report as saying.

Daily La Stampa newspaper said the devices showed “anomalies” and signs of “manipulation” but it was not certain how much information had been collected by Russian spies.

The reports appear to show a more traditional pattern of intelligence gathering than the reported U.S. snooping.

The Guardian newspaper reported in July that British intelligence services had spied on G20 delegates at a summit in 2009, tricking some delegates into using free internet cafes apparently set up for their benefit.

 

Standoff In The Mediterranean: The US vs Russian Navies | Zero Hedge

Standoff In The Mediterranean: The US vs Russian Navies | Zero Hedge.

 

Obama Cancels Meeting With Putin Due To Snowden Asylum Grant | Zero Hedge

Obama Cancels Meeting With Putin Due To Snowden Asylum Grant | Zero Hedge.

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