Open Source Intelligence and the Cash for Access Scandal

The latest “cash for access” scandal has ensnared two former foreign secretaries: Jack Straw MP and Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP. Investigators from Channel 4’s Dispatches programme and journalists at The Telegraph set up PMR Communications, a fake marketing agency in Hong Kong, to gain access to the two politicians. Both men were then duped in a recorded discussion of their daily rates and their political connections which could be of value to PMR. The question is, using open source intelligence (OSINT) tools, techniques and methods, could they have uncovered the true nature of PMR? Continue reading

Why Japan Will Stay Nuclear

When following Japanese domestic politics it can feel as if the future of the Japanese nuclear energy industry is driven personally by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The hawkish Abe can be seen as being consistently rightwing from his attempted revisions of Japan’s pacifist constitution to controversy about the role of comfort women in WWII. Therefore, it is perhaps tempting to view Abe’s support of the nuclear industry through this prism.

However, Japan, famously, is a land gifted with few natural resources. It imports nearly all its raw materials, including its hydrocarbons: Japan is the world’s largest importer of liquid natural gas, second largest in coal and third in oil. Japan does have some renewable energy potential, but is in no position for renewables to take up the slack from its other energy sectors. Continue reading

What does Syriza’s victory means for EU-Russia relations?

Written by Andrej Kokoc, Research Intern at the International Centre for Security Analysis.

The Greek legislative elections of 25th January yielded a left-wing government, with Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras emerging victorious. As well as raising the worries of a possible “Grexit” from the Eurozone and further implications for the European economy once again, this has also had an effect on EU foreign affairs, more specifically, the relationship with Russia.

Before the Greek elections, the government of Hungary – especially in the form of Prime Minister Viktor Orban – was the main pro-Russian voice within the EU. Now, there seems to be a new addition to the pro-Russian sentiment within the European Union that is likely to attempt to steer the EU away from further sanctions on Russia. Continue reading