“The release of the Crimea from Ukraine and its accession to Russia was based on the Ukrainian Constitution and the referendum in the Crimea and the relevant Russian laws on accession. That is, any illegal annexation was not” — that’s one of the statements of the former head of Military intelligence of the Czech Republic in interview to the newspaper Parlamentní Listy (Czech Republic) . His view of Russia is unusual for Western policy.
“I confess, I’m allergic to that kind of language. Everybody’s talking about hybrid strategies of asymmetric war, false news and so on” — says former head of Military intelligence and former Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Afghanistan, major General in reserve Peter Pelz.
“Up to 80 percent of the articles in the major media are part of organized state propaganda,” he quoted in conclusion, the study of one American University 2016.
“Based on my experience and my observations, I think this figure is true,” adds Pelz.
— Parlamentní Listy: We live in an era when relations between world powers, such as Russia, China and the West, at least in the media sphere are aggravated. What actually want the Russians and the Americans in Europe?
— Peter Pelz: Here plays the role of a natural, instinctive sympathy, due to similar social, cultural and religious development and destiny. Western and Central Europe are inclined in the direction of America, but Eastern Europe, despite the discontent of the public, drawn to Russia. But for Russia there is China — a country that should be treated special, because almost every fifth person on the planet is a Chinese citizen. Let’s approach it this way. The cold war helped to finish what President Nixon was able to gain the trust of the weaker party “Duo” USSR — China. A classic balancing policy. Then times changed, the bipolar international system in the past has gone, the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia is weaker today maintains with China is very good (best ever) relationship. A classic balancing policy. Only now it is directed against the United States.
— Russia and China as partners?
— Russia and China — allies of necessity. The instinctive sympathy with which I began, the Russians feel closer to Europe. To cooperate with the Chinese makes them unpredictable and militaristic policy of the United States. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia initially sought close relations with the West. This can hardly be called naive, because she needed support to withstand just China, and ideally Russia wanted to influence Europe. This was the meaning of sentences about a “common European house”, which came from Russia. In fact, we are talking about geostrategic political concept of Eurasia, in which Russia favored Europe at the expense of China. This concept is opposed to the theory of the “Atlantic community”: the Union of Western Europe and the United States. Please note that all UK forces demonstrates the U.S. commitment. All in all, Russia and the United States, a pragmatic one common interest: they want a strong and United Europe, but not too much. Few Americans are more United and stronger than Russia, but not much.
— We say that the information field in the Czech Republic are threatened by Russian disinformation and influence operations. In this regard, in the vast majority of cases refers to “alternative media” and blogs, beyond the control of local oligarchs and major media holdings. What do You think about this?
We have said several times on this topic. In a previous interview, I cited data from a study by American University SONOMA County in 2016, according to which 80 percent of the articles in the major media are part of organized government propaganda. Based on my experience and feelings, I think this figure is true. Needless to say, this machine is everything else called misinformation. I paraphrase Winston Churchill and say this: “I only believe the misinformation that you made up yourself.”
As for the Russian influence operations, it is necessary to distinguish between the two types. The first is the traditional operation of influence, which carried all the pragmatic-minded States to achieve specific goals. Russia at least is not far behind from the rest. There is a definite threat there, but I am sure that the Czech state authorities will be able to handle it effortlessly. The second is the false hysteria provoked by antithrombosis forces in the United States and picked up by their obliging minions in other Western countries, including the us.
All these blogs and portals even received a special label — “disinformation sites”. In Wikipedia devoted to them a separate article. “In General, it can be argued that disinformation sites otherwise interpret the ideology dominant in society, and different interpretiruya the distributed media information,” cited in the article, the book of Peter Nutile “media, lies and the brightest of the head”. According to employees of Service of information and security of the Czech Republic (BIS), the segment of these sites is part of the “Russian hybrid strategy.”
— That the thief shouts: “catch the thief!”, a liar calls a liar all the others, there is nothing new or hybrid. I admit, I’m allergic to that kind of language. Everybody’s talking about hybrid strategies of asymmetric war, false news and so on. “Part of the hybrid strategy of the Czech resistance during the occupation was an asymmetrical war.” And we don’t know. And yet it’s true. Fake news can hide anything: truth, error, or lie. You never know. But, fortunately, it is clear that she thinks the one who kind of statement is called fake news. All this phrase for politicians and employees of the propaganda. A normal person understands that this is guff.
— Relations between Russia and the West escalated after in 2014 events took place in Ukraine called Maidan. Do you agree?
— Yes, I agree. In November 2013 the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych suspended preparations for signing the Association agreement with the European Union. At the end of November in Kiev riots broke out. 28 Jan 2014 were overheard by the famous phrase “fuck the EU!”, made in a telephone conversation between US Deputy Secretary of state Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt. The worst bloodshed took place on 18 — 22 February 2014. Snipers killed, shooting from the roofs of nearby buildings, and demonstrators and police. But the most important was the February 21, 2014, when the Polish foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, German foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier, and Eric Fournier (Director of the Department for Eastern Europe of the French Ministry of foreign Affairs) in the presence of Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and the Ambassador Mikhail Zurabov has signed an agreement on early elections, to which Yanukovych was to remain in power. But that same night he fled to Kharkov and then spent about a week in the Crimea and went to Russia. The President, the government and the Parliament were replaced. 23 Feb 2014 in Sochi, ended the Olympic games. In March, Crimea held a referendum. On the sixth of April 2014, the civil war began, and on July 17 was shot down Malaysian plane MN17. What happened on 21 February 2014? Why is the situation in relations between Russia and Ukraine again tragically escalated? Who the agreement was not enough? Planned the Kremlin to seize a part of another state at the time of the Olympics in their own country? Was it from an objective point of view a turning point? For me personally, Yes.
— What are You suggesting, chronologically listing all these events?
— I wanted to emphasize the direction and speed of events, and that made a compromise and, in my opinion, it is a reasonable solution to someone was not enough. I’m not going to pretend that I know — who. Definitely we are talking about who wanted to beat the authors of the agreement, that is, Europe and Russia.
— On the misinformation often say in connection with what subsequently happened in Ukraine, in particular, when talking about the downed Malaysian plane MN17. The official investigation organized by the West, the blame laid on Russia, which refuses to recognize its responsibility for the incident. Besides, now the Russian side stood the Prime Minister of Malaysia. How to understand all this?
— The truth is, most doubt is the fact that the West blamed on Russia, perhaps even before the unfortunate plane crashed to the ground. Indicative of the lack of evidence. American diplomacy immediately recognized the fault of Russia, but the American intelligence service was not able or did not want to reinforce the adoption of its Department of state facts. Agency U.S. national security and Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of defense, of course, know much more, and their silence under the circumstances may mean that Russia is not to blame. I have not been following this story with attention, so don’t want to make definitive conclusions. But there are other suspicious things. From the beginning of may 2014 until the fateful day it was recorded that in the sky over Ukraine was shot down by a minimum of ten aircraft
From this I conclude that at that time there was very restless…
— Why did the responsible authorities, Ukrainian and others, allowed the aircraft MH17 flying over such a dangerous area of armed conflict? Personally, I believe the state bodies of the Netherlands, but how is it possible that the international investigation team under the leadership of the Dutch in Ukraine relied on the information, logistic and other support for the Ukraine? How is it possible that one of the suspects of the parties, i.e. Ukraine, even participated in the work of the group, and Russia from the outset took the role of “daring the suspect”? On what basis the Committee came to its conclusions? What they say Malaysians, whose position is different? And finally, has long been discreditied itself, when someone refers to a group “Bellingket” that exists mainly on the money the US state Department, Soros Foundation and so on. This group has distinguished itself, when “exposed the truth”, in particular, about the chemical attacks in Syria, the case Skripal and so on. The group falsified photos from the scene of the tragedy in Ukraine, and it’s proven.
— What is the goal, in Your opinion, was pursued by the Russians, attaching the Crimea? From the point of view of international law that their actions were illegal annexation. At least, so they say…
— I’m not an expert in international law or in Ukraine, but I assume that the secession of Ukraine and accession of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation was based on the Ukrainian Constitution and of the referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol, and the relevant Russian laws on accession. That is, any illegal annexation was not. I would like to remind you that the disintegration of Czechoslovakia citizens, no one even asked… I think the Russians at that time no goals are not persecuted, but simply responsive to what is happening.
— Could the Russians afford to lose Crimea?
— If the West had adhered to the boundaries and spheres of influence, Yes. But today we declare that we are going to take NATO Ukraine, Georgia and God knows who else, so my answer is no.
— Back to life dramatic events in Ukraine, the spheres of influence of powers? But last, the Obama administration said that after the end of the cold war, they no longer exist. Or today power again dispute these spheres of influence by force, showing each other muscles?
— American administration talked about the end of spheres of influence, because it came from the fact that the whole world is one big sphere of influence of the United States. And for ten years after the end of the cold war it was. Paradoxically, the first who made it clear to the world that it is not, has become somewhat of samarah of “al-Qaeda” (banned in Russia — approx. ed.). Then did the Chinese in the South China sea, and then Putin in Syria. I think that the history of the Crimea — not the same episode. Then the Americans just do not work out.
— Relations between Russia and the United States has escalated and in a very different corner of the world. I’m talking about South American Venezuela. What is happening there?
Whether we like it or not, spheres of influence in foreign policy exist. This is best illustrated by the Monroe doctrine (in the us Congress, it was presented the second of December 1823, President James Monroe; under the doctrine, European powers have nothing to do on the American continent). The Russians expect the Americans recognize the Crimea to their territory. And running the game in Venezuela, Moscow hinted to the Americans as just that. “Homo politicus”, our President Zeman is well aware, and he therefore, on the one hand, diplomatically recognize the Russian Crimea, and on the other recognizes the American protege of Huang Guido President of Venezuela.
— So, according to you, President Zeman plays correctly in this game of politics between the powers?
— I do not comment on the domestic political arena. I gave the example of our President in order to show that the person who knows politics, the situation is clear. The President, of course, understood that for the recognition of the rights of Russians in Crimea it will be criticized Russophobes, and for Guido left. But nothing to do he could not. Here is a realistic foreign policy. The main role in it is played not by the good intentions and successful results.
— Brought whether the arrival of Donald trump at the White house reformatting of world politics?
— First world politics reformat, and then came Donald trump. It creates the impression of a superficial and narcissistic “Chaotica”, but, in my opinion, he was the first American President of the post-cold war period that followed up on what we talked about in connection with the spheres of influence. He realized that the United States is no longer able to exert influence across the planet. They have desperately to compete with China, Russia, and gradually among their rivals joins India, Europe and so on. Trump is doing what used to do in the business: he spreads chaos and uses the moment of surprise to their advantage. It is dangerous. In a trade the maximum you can fail. But in the role of President of the United States, which at hand is a nuclear button, it is possible to raise in the air the entire planet.
— And what trump is seeking, bickering with China? It is well known that Chinese and American economies are interdependent for decades…
— U.S. dispute with China while only in the economic sphere, and I’m not an economist and don’t want to indulge in amateurish reasoning. However, China’s power grows, and with it a certain aggressiveness that we see in the case of Hong Kong, the Spratly Islands and Taiwan relations. And this aggressiveness is clearly increasing in the field of trade, whereby China gradually forms again, its sphere of influence in Asia, in Africa, in Europe. China is guided by the principle of “make haste slowly”. Therefore, the United States is running out of time. As the American society to cope with the fact that in 20 years whites will be a minority? But if the United States will become closer to Spain than to the UK or even closer to South America? Or Africa? Do not forget they are the ideals of the enterprising Protestants? Not will the United States disintegrate? Will such a society remains a beacon for Europe? Europe with a large share of people from other cultures and religious views? China quietly waiting for. And it was only slightly concerned about gradually rising India.
— What can You say about the “Huawei”, which thunders for a few months?
Is a manifestation of the geopolitical rivalry between the superpowers that we are discussing. One weakens and the other rises. Talking about business and government. Until now, the national security Agency of the USA (one of the special services of the United States of America — approx. ed.) speaking with a small proportion exaggeration, listened to the whole world. Security question: “is it Difficult for the Agency to break codes “Huawei”?” Of course, the correct answer is Yes. “Huawei” is working with the Chinese armed forces and intelligence services. Just like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and others cooperate with us. It is convenient because the Americans are our allies. But they are only as long as you want. And China is not the enemy. Yet. Personally, I actually provide it all, primarily a business, and then security issues. After all, with the development of technology of this kind offers more and more opportunities to eavesdrop, to photograph, record all, and in addition, to create fakes. China and the West suddenly came together in battle, and the consumer should only marveled. It can end and what appears Chinese phones no “Android” or non-Chinese phones with “Android”. And in that and in other case we will have to wait a few years until everything will work as today. View.
In the past, the national security Agency of the USA listened to, for example, even Chancellor Angela Merkel. That American superclub engaged in espionage, said the whistleblower Edward Snowden, now hiding in Russia, in the USA, he is considered a traitor. Is there in the spy business coup? Can the national security Agency of the United States to lose its exceptional status?
— Who can, who’s listening. With this we must accept. There are other precedents. I remember the media reported that before the war in Iraq, the British GCHQ (Government Communication Headquarters, one of the intelligence services of the United Kingdom — approx. ed.) in the interests of Americans listened to the talks of the Polish President, by the way, a staunch ally of the United States. So the Americans wanted to ensure that Poland will support the attack on Iraq.
The national security Agency of the USA constantly listens to the headquarters of UN in new York, and I’m sure that bugs and other bodies and agencies. The development of technology entails certain consequences, one of which is democratic. The fact that an increasing number of actors, including non-state, will challenge the exclusive position of the national security Agency of the United States.
— In addition to the “Asian games” trump also immersed in the achievement of objectives in the middle East. I mean his statement that he is ready to resolve all the longstanding disagreements between Israel and the Palestinians…
— I boldly declare that trump will not resolve disputes between Israel and the Palestinians. In General, these differences are very confusing, and people that trump attracted to the solution of this problem, to solve can not do anything. But Trump it doesn’t matter. He wants to win the sympathy of American Protestants and to get their votes in the next election. They are so eager to support Orthodox circles in Israel, that is very strange and trump is counting on it.
Israel itself does not want to solve the problem with the Palestinians. And if in the past he has made some efforts in this direction, just to slightly appease their Arab neighbors (the state). But Prime Minister Netanyahu came up with a diabolical plan. Support among its Arab neighbors, he gets through militant iranophobia and restless Palestinians, creating an image of an external enemy, help him to win the support of the house.
— How in recent years strengthened the position of Russia? In an exclusive interview with “financial times” Vladimir Putin admitted that, going into Syria, Russia took a big risk, however, from a geopolitical point of view was justified…
— Under Yeltsin, Russia was on its knees, and today is among the three or four most powerful countries in the world. Putin’s words you quoted from the interview we perfectly illustrate what I have said. Russian foreign policy is logical within its framework, all the risks of each operation is carefully weighed. So I think “influence on American elections” nonsense.
In connection with the preparation of a military operation in Syria in 2015, Putin said: “We always weigh risks!” and further: “the Risk must always be very well justified… I have carefully considered and weighed all the circumstances, the pros and cons… I decided that the positive effect of our active participation in the Syrian conflict better non-interference and passive observation of how to strengthen the position of international terrorist organizations on our borders”. Perhaps I should remind you that of the 145 million citizens of the Federation of 20 million Muslims. That is, the Russian government is obliged to prevent the spread of the conflict in Russia, but to serve the interests of its Muslim citizens. Yes, the operation was dangerous, but nothing, apparently, would be more dangerous.
Major General in reserve Peter Pelz. Born in 1953, in 1978 he graduated from the Czech technical University CTU dormitories in the specialty “geodesy and cartography”, specialized in geodetic astronomy. 1978 — 1993 he worked as a surveyor and designer. In 1985 he passed the state English exam. From 1990 to 1993 he headed the special analytical and operational team, was the first Director of the office of the Council for intelligence work.
1993 (entry into the Armed forces of the Czech Republic) until 1995 he worked in the Military intelligence authorities from the beginning of 1996 and 2001 he was Director of Military intelligence.
From 2002 to 2006 he was special adviser to the representative of the Czech Republic in the UN security in new York, and after returning, from the end of 2007, after retirement he was an Advisor to the defense Minister.
From April 2010 to September 2012 he held the post of Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Afghanistan.
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