In a stunning escalation in what is already a very tense situation, the Netherlands has declared it is in a “cyber war” with the Russians. These were the official words of Netherlands Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld. The statement of the defense minister raises serious concerns, and requires some context to understand, given the plasticity of the concept of ‘war’ in the present paradigm.
Recently, the Netherlands has frustrated a hacking attack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), expelling 4 Russian citizens from its territory.
Minister Bijleveld spoke of a “cyber war” during a WNL television program but did not provide any evidence, which aired on Sunday.
“These people try to influence our normal daily life, our democracy, in many ways,” she said.
This was, according to Bijleveld, an important reason for exposing the alleged action of the Russians in the OPCW.
“We also have to take action,” she noted.
Meanwhile, it is worth noting that European sanctions against Russia will expire in January.
“We have to look closely at what we will do with these sanctions,” said the minister. In addition, the Netherlands must “analyze objectively how it can increase its resilience,” she said. When asked if her country is in “cyberwar” with Moscow, the holder of the folder replied: “Yes, this is the case.”
Incidentally, the minister reported that the Netherlands had offered the help of its “cyber soldiers” to NATO.
Earlier, the UK claimed that the Russian Chiefs of Intelligence’s Intelligence Directorate was “almost certainly” responsible for a series of cyber attacks targeting political institutions, the media and corporations around the world.
On the same day, the Dutch Ministry of Defense claimed that its intelligence services had prevented a cyber attack against the OPCW, based in The Hague, allegedly perpetrated by four Russian citizens holding diplomatic passports.
Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the OPCW, Peter Wilson said that London and its allies will work to update sanctions for the use of chemical weapons, cyberstalking and human rights abuses.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry refuted the allegations, saying the allegations were part of another propaganda act against Russia.
The term ‘war’ has been used excessively to describe any number of states of hostility, ranging from armed conflict, to ‘diplomatic rows’. In the US it has created any number of layers of confusion, especially in how media and U.S institutions have treated the questions of both Russia and Trump. The U.S is not ‘at war’ with Russia, and yet its institutions, media, and military industrial complex operate on that basis. The ‘media trial’ of Trump on the basis of ‘collusion with the enemy’ is a bizarre miscarriage of very important terminology. Russia is not the enemy of the U.S under the terms of the concept of ‘collusion’.