Into The Grey Zone

Into The Grey Zone

By Sky News

What do assassinations, cyber hacks and disinformation have in common? They’re all weapons used by states against each other in a grey zone of harm that sits - deliberately - under the threshold of war, but could be just as dangerous if ignored.

Sky News Foreign Affairs Editor Deborah Haynes explores this often invisible battlefield, where anything can be - and is - used as a weapon and anyone, anywhere can be a target.

Episodes

Episode Nine: Living in the Grey Zone - MI5 and the Russia threat

In this final episode, we have the first ever interview with serving MI5 officers who work in counter intelligence.Tom and Kate talk about the challenge of grey zone threats from Russia and reveal their shock at the Salisbury spy poisonings.They also reveal that the Security Service has bolstered protection for people in the UK deemed at risk from Russia and is doing “everything we can” to prevent another Salisbury-style attack, but there are no “absolute guarantees” – in the grey zone.Guests:Tom, senior MI5 intelligence officer working on RussiaKate, MI5 intelligence officer investigating the activities of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRULord Mark Sedwill, former UK national security adviserDominic Grieve, former senior Conservative MP, former chair of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, former attorney generalCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Sophia McBide and Michael GreenfieldThe Head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
03/03/2150m 56s

Episode Eight: When The Grey Zone Becomes A War Zone

What happens when the grey zone becomes a war zone and what might future wars look like, with hypersonic missiles, artificial intelligence and cyber changing calculations?These are questions Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes explores in this episode, in part, by looking at Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.She also talks to General Sir Nick Carter, the head of Britain’s armed forces, about what he thinks is the gravest threat to the UK and about how the military is adapting to operate in the grey zone.Guests:General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence StaffGeneral Sir Richard Barrons, former head of Joint Command, now Strategic CommandEmine Dzhaparova , First Deputy Foreign Minister of UkraineSergei Markov, political scientist and former member of the Russian parliamentKeir Giles, senior consulting fellow at Chatham HouseOrysia Lutsevych, head and research fellow, Ukraine Forum, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham HouseCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Sophia McBide and Michael GreenfieldThe Head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
01/03/2143m 28s

Episode Seven: China - A Battle of Values

This episode explores a global battle of values between China and leading democracies over issues like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang.It’s being fought with an array of covert weapons, from cyber attacks and information operations to economic coercion and even something called “lawfare”.Allegations of such behaviour are made and denied by both sides, which of course is to be expected - in the grey zone.Guests:Tom Tugendhat, Conservative MP, chair of the Foreign Affairs CommitteeMatthew Turpin, visiting fellow, Hoover InstitutionCharlie Parton, former British diplomat, senior fellow at the Royal United Services InstituteDr Shi Yinhong, Director of the Academic Committee of the School of International Studies and US Research Center of Renmin University in BeijingNathan Law, pro-democracy activist from Hong KongJulie Marionneau, research fellow, Policy ExchangeFreddy Lim, Taiwanese politician, lead singer of heavy-metal band ChthonicAlexander Downer, former Australian foreign ministerPuma Shen, assistant professor at National Taipei UniversityChinese embassy in London – via email statementCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Michael GreenfieldThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
22/02/2146m 25s

Episode Six: Iran - The Hidden Hand

On 3 January 2020, the United States killed Iran’s top spy master, Major General Qasem Soleimani, in a drone strike in Iraq.There was nothing grey or ambiguous about the assassination, but this episode explores the escalating grey zone hostilities between Iran and the United States in the preceding years and how they almost ignited a real war.Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes explores in particular how Iran allegedly uses proxy forces in the grey zone, under the threshold of war, to try to level the playing field when competing with a super power.Interviews:General David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence AgencyJohn Raine, Senior Adviser for Geopolitical Due Diligence, International Institute for Strategic StudiesAnne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP and former UK defence minister. She now serves as energy ministerFabian Picardo, Chief Minister of GibraltarAnonymous Iraqi MPSeyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor of English Literature and Orientalism, University of TehranMajor General Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence DirectorateCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Michael GreenfieldThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
15/02/2140m 11s

Episode Five: Cyber Power (Part II) - Hacking ISIS

In their first joint interview, the director of the UK spy agency GCHQ and the top general in charge of cyber operations for the military talk about how the UK is using the power of cyber to push back against adversaries with the creation of a whole new National Cyber Force.Jeremy Fleming and General Sir Patrick Sanders also reveal new details about how the UK used offensive cyber in the fight against Islamic State, attacking the terrorist group’s ability to fly drones, use their mobile phones and spread online propaganda.We also hear from a woman who was once described as the UK’s best offensive cyber spy.Sally Walker has since left GCHQ and says she is choosing to speak out – now she’s once again a member of the public – to help generate a wider debate about the cyber grey zone.Interviews:Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQGeneral Sir Patrick Sanders, commander of Strategic CommandSally Walker, cyber expertTobias Elwood, Conservative MP, chair of the defence select committee and former foreign officer and defence ministerCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Michael GreenfieldThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
07/02/2150m 14s

Episode Four: Cyber Power (Part I) - Cyber Pearl Harbour

States, criminals and terrorists all use cyber to attack each other in the grey zone. It puts anyone with a computer in the firing line, but also means that anyone who understands computers has the ability to fight back.This episode explores a range of cyber threats from espionage up to attacks that cause physical harm, such as by targeting hospitals or electricity supplies.Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes also speaks to a young computer expert called Marcus Hutchins who helped to stop one of the worst known cyber attacks to hit the UK.The National Health Service was one of the main victims of the May 2017 WannaCry attack, blamed on North Korea. Pyongyang has denied involvement.Interviews:Ciaran Martin, former chief executive of the National Cyber Security CentrePaul Chichester, director of operations at the National Cyber Security CentreMarietje Schaake, international director of policy at Stanford’s Cyber Policy CentreHarold Thimbleby, professor of computer science at Swansea UniversityMarcus Hutchins, computer security expertCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Sophia McBride and Michael GreenfieldThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
01/02/2142m 29s

Episode Three: Hack & Leak

This episode looks at the grey zone weapon of hacking information – like private emails or documents – and then leaking it online to try to influence people or damage reputations.It is a tactic Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, is accused of using to target the US presidential election in 2016 and the French election in 2017.Moscow has denied involvement.Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes also talks about how she was impacted in a suspected hack and leak against a British organisation that ran a programme, called the Integrity Initiative, aimed at countering suspected Russian disinformation.Interviews:Paul Chichester, director of operations at the National Cyber Security CentreChris Donnelly, founder of the Institute for Statecraft“Hawk”, a Lithuanian man, who volunteers as an “elf” to fight the online “trolls”Keir Giles, author of a handbook on Russian information warfare for NATO, senior consulting fellow at Chatham HouseThomas Rid, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, author of Active Measures – the secret history of disinformation and political warfareBen Nimmo, head of investigations at GraphikaCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottAdditional voice provided by Matt SteeleThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
25/01/2141m 23s

Episode Two: Truth vs Lies

This episode explores a battle between truth and lies that’s threatening democracies around the world. It looks at how information is used as a weapon, not just by hostile foreign states, seeking to divide and weaken rival nations, but also by domestic politicians and other actors.Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes speaks to the author of a book on the history of disinformation, Professor Thomas Rid , who talks about fake news during the Cold War and warns about the risk of political violence today when people can no longer agree on facts.It’s a warning that played out on the streets of Washington DC in January when supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building, spurred on by a false belief that Joe Biden had stolen his way to victory in the 2020 presidential election.Deborah also visits one of the UK’s best-known fighters of suspected Russian and Chinese fake news, who battles online trolls from his remote cottage in Scotland. And if you think that sounds strange, remember, in the grey zone, the frontline is everywhere!Interviews:Thomas Rid, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, author of Active Measures – the secret history of disinformation and political warfareLinas Linkevicius, foreign minister of Lithuania until December 2020Keir Giles, author of a handbook on Russian information warfare for NATO, senior consulting fellow at Chatham HouseDaniel Jones, founder and president of Advance DemocracyBen Nimmo, head of investigations at GraphikaBen Wallace, United Kingdom’s defence secretaryKate Jones, director of Oxford University’s diplomatic studies programme.Credits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Sophia McBride and Victoria SeabrookAdditional voices provided by Cayetano DelgadoThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
18/01/2147m 30s

Episode One: The Gathering Storm

This episode seeks to explain what the grey zone is. It includes a warning from General Sir Nick Carter, the head of the UK’s armed forces, and Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, about the danger of ignoring attacks in this murky space, while Lieutenant General Graeme Lamb, a former director of UK special forces, warns: “We’re being boiled like a frog!”Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes then travels to Salisbury with the widow of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko to visit the site of one of the most high profile grey zone attacks – the poisoning of another ex-Russian agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia.Lord Mark Sedwill, a former national security adviser, talks about how he led the UK’s response to nerve agent poisoning and the fake news that followed.Finally, Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative website Bellingcat, describes how he and his team revealed the true identities of the Russian military intelligence officers named by the UK as prime suspects in the attempted assassination. Russia denies involvement.Interviews:General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staffBen Wallace, defence secretaryLord Mark Sedwill, former UK national security adviser, former cabinet secretaryLieutenant General (retired) Graeme Lamb, former director of UK special forcesMarina Litvinenko, widow of former Russian spy Alexander LitvinenkoEliot Higgins, founder of the investigative website BellingcatColonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commanding officer of the UK’s Joint, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear RegimentCredits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Sophia McBride and Victoria SeabrookAdditional voices provided by Cayetano DelgadoThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
10/01/2148m 15s

Introducing Into the Grey Zone

What do assassinations, cyber hacks and disinformation have in common? They’re all weapons used by states against each other in a grey zone of harm that sits - deliberately - under the threshold of war, but could be just as dangerous if ignored. Sky News journalist Deborah Haynes explores this often invisible battlefield, where anything can be - and is - used as a weapon and anyone, anywhere can be a target. The series examines grey zone assaults; from the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK and the killing of a nuclear scientist in Iran; to attempts to influence elections in the United States; and a suspected North Korean cyber-attack on the NHS. The podcast also includes interviews with spies and military chiefs who warn about the threat to daily life if attacks in the grey zone go unpunished. In the words of one former head of the UK’s special forces: “We’re being boiled like a frog!” Credits:Written and narrated by Deborah Haynes Edited and produced by Chris ScottProduction support from Sophia McBride and Victoria SeabrookAdditional voices provided by Cayetano DelgadoThe head of Sky News Radio is Dave Terris
01/01/212m 36s
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