Disclosure that the author of the ‘Trump Dossier’ is a former British intelligence agent comes just days after media reports circulated that it was British intelligence that first alerted US intelligence in October 2015 of Russia’s supposed interference in the US Presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump.
This in turn begs the question of what if any role Britain has had in the whole scandal?
Britain has been one of the leaders of the recent Western campaign against Russia. Whilst there are powerful dissenting voices within the political establishments of the three other major EU states (Germany, France and Italy) against this campaign, there are essentially none in Britain. The whole British establishment and the entirety of the British media have been united in pushing the anti-Russian narrative and have done so relentlessly. My early initial hopes that the duo of Theresa May and Boris Johnson might effect a change of course have been dashed.
In saying this it is important to add that this relentlessly hostile attitude to Russia – which goes beyond anything I remember in the Cold War – is an elite phenomenon. The comments on threads of articles concerning Russia in the British media show there is widespread skepticism on the subject amongst the British public, whilst the result of the Brexit referendum shows that in Britain as in the US the attempt to mobilise British voters by conjuring up a Russian scarecrow was an electoral failure.
Nonetheless the extent of the British establishment’s hostility to Russia, and its delusions about the extent of Britain’s power, was shown up clearly during the two parliamentary debates during the Aleppo battle, when an unhealthily large number of British MPs pressed the British government to intervene militarily against Russia on behalf of the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo.
The public comments of British intelligence officials show that Britain’s intelligence agencies are fully part of this anti-Russian British establishment consensus.
As readers of the British media cannot fail to notice, the single thing which has alarmed the British establishment most about Donald Trump is precisely the fact that he favours detente with Russia. In the case of the Guardian this has become personalised to the point where Trump and Putin have become practically conflated as detested enemies of the neo-liberal order.
It is not difficult to see how in this climate paranoid fears about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia, and Russia’s interference in US electoral politics to engineer Donald Trump’s victory, might gain a receptive audience and take hold in Britain.
The problem is that some of this paranoia seems to have floated across the Atlantic, where it has been picked up by equally anti-Russian and paranoid people within the US intelligence community and political establishment. The tight connection between US and British intelligence, which has been long know about but which was further exposed by Edward Snowden, makes this inevitable.
Not the least of Donald Trump’s priorities if he is really serious about improving relations with Russia will be to call the British and especially their intelligence services to order.