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Inside the Fight Against the Human Trafficking ‘Sweet Shop’ on Ukraine’s Border

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 06/05/2022 - 8:24pm in

A disturbing investigation by Chris York finds that war in Ukraine is another business opportunity for human traffickers

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The going rate for a child – either to be sold into sexual slavery or killed and harvested for organs – is around $150,000.

To those who value greed over the most fundamental of basic decencies, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the refugee crisis it has sparked is not a humanitarian catastrophe but the business opportunity of a lifetime.

“This is just a sweet shop for them at the moment,” says Dean, a former British soldier who now works for MitMark, a private risk advisory company that ‘fell into’ trying to combat human trafficking after arriving near the Medyka crossing in Poland to embark on a number of crisis management projects.

“You wouldn't think that any human could do that to another human,” he told Byline Times. “It’s beyond terrorism. I've fought against terrorism most of my adult life but at least they believe in something. Traffickers don't believe in anything but greed and money. Life means nothing to them.”

International organisations such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have been sounding the alarm over human trafficking for weeks, but an investigation by Byline Times has found the effort to combat it at one of the main Ukraine-Poland border crossings is being run almost entirely by a handful of private security personnel and volunteers with barely any support from local or international law enforcement.

“We've seen there's a gaping hole and there's no policing or governance around it,” says Dean. “One hundred percent it should be up to a government to run it but if you look at human trafficking in general, it's mostly charities and private companies who get involved.”

Exploiting a Crisis

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February, around 5.5 million Ukrainians have fled abroad. The vast majority of them are women and children, as men aged 18 to 60 are forbidden from leaving the country under emergency laws.

The journeys are arduous, often spanning thousands of miles and several days, and often preceded by weeks lived under Russian bombardment and occupation.

Those who arrive abroad are exhausted and overwhelmed by the help on offer on the Polish side of the border from the huge volunteer movement that has mobilised. Here, they feel that they can relax and finally let their guard down a little.

But the best camouflage for a human trafficker is the kindness of others.

“We had one Italian guy who pretended to be a volunteer who took a whole family of women and kids, seven people I think, and told them he would drive them to Italy,” one volunteer who wished to remain anonymous told Byline Times.

“He drove them to Italy then in the middle of nowhere he told them to get out. They got out and he drove away. I think that maybe he was told on the phone that the police were onto him and he just got rid of them. He also took another woman and kid and we still don't know where they are.”

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No one knows how many people have been trafficked since the Russian invasion began, only that it is happening and it is organised on a professional level.

“Most trafficking in Poland happens through organised crime networks in the central European region and it was a problem long before the refugee crisis itself,” says Allison Byrd, special projects coordinator at anti-trafficking charity Unbound.

"It's helpful to remember this is a situation of supply and demand. So where demand is high, we know the supply is going to reach that. And sadly I've heard reports from some of our partners that searches online for Ukrainian women have skyrocketed. So traffickers are highly motivated financially to meet that demand.”

On the ground at border crossings, gang lookouts – or ‘dickers’ – prowl the area, taking photos of women and children which they send to the higher-ups who then decide if they are suitable for trafficking. It is these dickers that Dean and his colleagues are on the lookout for.

“It's not difficult, to be honest, because if you're a male between the age of 19 and 65 and you've not got documentation to say you can't fight, and you're not Polish, then what are you doing there and lurking about?” says Dean.

He points to a photo on his phone of a Caucasian male. “We've got eight of these on file,” he explains. “This guy I saw on the other side of the border four days ago. Look at him – he's 40-years-old and doesn't look unfit. What’s he doing there? He's not scruffy, has a fresh haircut and he's talking to young people with kids.”

Facial recognition technology can also help to detect in real-time people known to work with criminal gangs, something that has been deployed by Unbound to good effect.

After spotting a woman claiming to be a volunteer but offering to pay refugees to carry bags over the border for her in exchange for a lift to Warsaw, a team member discreetly photographed her and sent it to a colleague in the US. “He ran the photo and he confirmed that this person is connected to people who are not good people,” says Byrd. 

The surveillance undertaken by MitMark and Unbound has proven effective, with Dean’s colleagues managing to intervene in two cases where people were about to be trafficked.

Speaking of one of these interceptions, he told Byline Times: “We stopped this, the guys went in there, got the lady and two young children into a safe haven where there's a crisis management team. We tried to grab the guy but he'd bolted. We gave the surveillance we'd collected on him from previous days to the Polish police but they didn't really want to know.”

The incident highlights one of the main issues facing those trying to combat trafficking – the reported reluctance of authorities at the border to do anything more than the bare minimum of keeping the area calm and quiet.

A Failed Response

When Byline Times visits Medyka, the only visible police presence are two officers sat in a van parked on a road near the crossing.

“Unfortunately, the Polish police aren't doing enough,” Ayala Smotrich, operations manager at Rescuers Without Borders, which operates a women and children-only refuge tent at the crossing, told this newspaper.

“We asked so many times to close the side gate so that only authorised people can enter but so far it's not happening,” she says. “We do have volunteer IDs but they're not worth anything if you don't have a gate at which to show them”.

The Polish police did not respond to a request for comment.

Another issue is the simple fact that no one knows the scale of the trafficking.

Medyka is just one of tens of border crossing points Ukraine has with seven neighbouring countries. At each of these, the vast majority of refugees crossed in the days immediately after the invasion began when there was no one in place to spot dickers and only a handful of volunteers had managed to organise any kind of response.

“I've heard of a lot of buses from Lviv not making it to where they were supposed to get to, so yes, I'd imagine that a lot of trafficking has already happened,” says Byrd.

The problem is not just limited to the border crossing points which are just one stop on a refugee’s journey to their final destination.

In cities across Europe, a vast volunteer movement is helping refugees find safety but there is little if any policing of who these volunteers are and it’s next to impossible to tell if people offering lifts are people genuinely trying to help or criminals.

“I'm from Kyiv and I arrived in Krakow train station on the 5 March with my three-year-old child and my friend and her two children,” a Ukrainian woman who wished to remain anonymous told Byline Times. “One guy came up to her out of nowhere and said 'hello, where are you going? I will drive you to a safe place. I'm here to help'. I was running over to her with the kids and telling him to f*ck off and he ran away.”

As the course of the war shifts, so does the flow of refugees. Many Ukrainians are now heading home, reassured that because of Russia’s failed attempt to take the capital of Kyiv, it is now relatively safe to do so.

Inevitably, the traffickers now see opportunities on the Ukrainian side of the border, targeting people as they enter their home country and look for ways to travel to their hometowns.

“We were [on the Ukrainian side of the border] the other day and there were Mercedes cars with blacked out windows full of guys,” says Dean. “It seems like something out of a movie but it's true – two big saloon cars, three guys in each car which makes no sense. If you were there to pick somebody up to take them back to Kyiv, for example, you wouldn't have three guys in each car. There are red flags everywhere.”

In Lviv, a city in western Ukraine that due to its rail links is a popular first stop for people coming from Poland, Byline Times sees a steady stream of refugees returning home, many boarding free buses headed for various destinations around the country.

None of the volunteers here say they had seen signs of trafficking but they also say they had received no training in how to spot it, only that they had been given leaflets to hand out to refugees.

Dennis Rinsky, head of volunteer operations at Lviv train station, goes one step further and says that human trafficking is something that happens in the EU but is “impossible” in Ukraine – despite the fact that it has been documented extensively in the country for decades.

“We have never heard about people being taken,” he adds. “Maybe this is a business run by gangsters in Europe, but not in Ukraine.”

His comments highlight the fact that the well-meaning army of volunteers doing incredible work to help refugees are still only volunteers with no special training in how to tackle human trafficking.

“A lot of people just don't know about trafficking and the reality is you need to know what to look for and spot the traffickers and then intervene in a safe manner,” says Byrd.

Human trafficking is a notoriously difficult crime to prove and prosecute because perpetrators have to be caught in the act, either in a sting operation with law enforcement or through careful surveillance.

“Using [refugees] as bait would be risky,” Dean told Byline Times. “We could wait until they were about to be put into a car but we don't have weapons or the authority to pull someone over like the police do. The best thing is to keep them there as long as we can, stop the interceptions in a calm and collected way and build up enough evidence to hand it over and say 'this is your man’."

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Boris Johnson has Not Been a ‘Great War Leader’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/05/2022 - 10:53pm in

The claim that the Prime Minister has shown Churchillian solidarity with Ukraine does not stand up to scrutiny, says Sam Bright

Even as this year’s local elections approach, much focus is still trained on Ukraine – which continues to valiantly resist the march of Vladimir Putin’s fascism.

Indeed, the war in Ukraine has acute relevance to the domestic campaign, with Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party using their response to the conflict as proof that they can be trusted to lead the country – despite the ‘Partygate’ scandal.

Undoubtedly, Britain’s military response has been generous and swift. The UK has responded to the calls of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and has deployed more than 5,000 anti-tank missiles, five air defence systems – as well as other munitions and explosives – to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in mid-February. In recent days, the Government has also pledged an additional £300 million in military aid.

President Zelensky told reporters in mid-April that “we want more than we’re being given, but we’re satisfied. We cannot refuse or reject anything during the war from the biggest military aid, which is coming from the United States and the United Kingdom... I’m grateful for it”.

But, as Johnson himself acknowledges, Russia’s aggression did not begin in February this year – it is merely a continuation and an extension of the war it has been fighting since 2013/14, when Putin annexed Crimea in the east of Ukraine.

Speaking to the Ukrainian Parliament yesterday, Johnson admitted: “We who are your friends must be humble about what happened in in 2014, because Ukraine was invaded before for the first time, when Crimea was taken from Ukraine and the war in the Donbas began.

"The truth is that we were too slow to grasp what was really happening and we collectively failed to impose the sanctions then that we should have put on Vladimir Putin. We cannot make the same mistake again.”

Despite seemingly acknowledging the UK’s failure to stop Putin, these statements are a form of historical revisionism.

Firstly, Johnson is distributing the blame across the West, diluting the culpability of successive Conservative governments that have not only been slow to react to Putin’s threats, but have been fuelling Putin’s war machine.

The world has known about Putin’s expansionist pretensions since his invasion of Georgia in 2008, but this didn't stop the Conservative Party from both directly and indirectly assisting his campaigns.

In terms of direct assistance, the UK approved £54.9 million of military export licenses to Russia between 2010 and 2014 – the value of arms allowed to be sold to the country by private firms – compared to just £17 million approved to Ukraine.

As catalogued by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, successive Conservative governments also allowed Russian money to flood London – a place in which “PR firms, charities, political interests, academia and cultural institutions [are] all willing beneficiaries of Russian money”.

Since 2008, £100 billion worth of London property has been bought by overseas companies based in so-called ‘secrecy jurisdictions’ – the “favoured vehicle for money launderers”, according to Transparency International.

The Government also rapidly expanded its ‘golden visa’ scheme after 2008 – welcoming thousands of wealthy Russian ‘investors’ into the country with minimal due diligence checks. More than 2,500 golden visas have been granted to Russian investors since 2008, with more than 750 of these individuals granted permanent settlement in the UK.

The scheme was a money laundering risk prior to 2015, experts say, due to the lax rules applied to potential investors. The Government has announced that all the golden visas granted prior to 2015 will be reviewed, though no deadline has been set on the publication of its findings, and the scheme has recently been abolished.

In contrast, from January 2014 to December 2021, only 30 Ukrainians were granted asylum by the UK.

This lack of due diligence has also been witnessed in the case of Conservative Party donations – with more than £2 million given to the party from Russian-linked sources since Johnson took over as party leader in July 2019, and more than £4.8 million accepted from seven wealthy Russian benefactors since 2012.

However, when Byline Times asked the Conservatives how these donors were vetted, no response was forthcoming.

Meanwhile, aside from accepting their money, the Conservative Party has developed a close relationship with several wealthy Russians.

Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Putin’s former deputy finance minister, has donated millions to the party over the past decade and was recently revealed to be a member of a secret Downing Street ‘advisory board’ – a little known collective of wealthy individuals granted exclusive access to power.

Johnson also ennobled media baron Evgeny Lebedev – the son of a former KGB spy – with the title Baron Lebedev of Hampton and Siberia, and reportedly lent on the security services to drop their concerns about his appointment.

To add insult to injury, the UK was planning on slashing foreign aid to Ukraine this year – a symptom of its decision to cut aid spending as a proportion of Gross National Income from 0.7% to 0.5%. The Government’s contribution to the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) – a fund designed to support activities to prevent instability in countries with UK interests – has also been cut from £1.4 billion to £874 million.

The Prime Minister hasn’t addressed any of these issues – and has been conspicuously quiet about the vast sums of money piled into the Conservative Party by Russian donors. He hasn’t pledged to clean up the city of London or to make it more difficult for oligarchs to influence our politics – in fact quite the opposite.

Moreover, while he was Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016, Johnson positively encouraged the encampment of suspicious wealth in the City of London – boasting that the English capital was the greatest city on earth because it had the most billionaires.

“I do not in any way want to deter international investment in our city. Quite the reverse: I want to encourage it,” Johnson said in 2014. “You can see astonishing transformations taking place in London thanks to international investment. We would be utterly nuts as a society if we did anything to turn that away.”

When serving as Mayor of London, Johnson also encouraged oligarchs to sue and divorce using London’s courts – a practice that has, more recently, allowed billionaire Russians to sue British journalists.

Reality and Performance

While the UK Government’s military response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion has been applauded, there are reasons for scepticism.

Reports today suggest that Boris Johnson’s chief of staff blocked an attempt by the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to increase UK military spending during the immediate onset of the invasion.

The UK was also slower than the EU and the US to apply sanctions to Russian oligarchs. Two weeks into the conflict, fewer than 20 Russian oligarchs had been sanctioned by the UK Government – 130 fewer than had been sanctioned by the EU. 

Keir Giles, senior consulting fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Chatham House think tank, said: “On sanctions, there needs to be a greater effort to show that there is a will to grip the problem of Russian money in London. We see that Russia squeals loudest when personal fortunes are threatened.”

The UK has also, infamously, shown a tight-fisted attitude to people seeking asylum from Ukraine – lagging far behind other European countries. Indeed, a legal challenge is now being mounted on behalf of 800 Ukrainians facing visa delays through the Homes for Ukraine scheme – claiming that the Home Office’s muddled response is putting refugees in danger.

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The UK’s military response has appeared to be swift, perhaps only because the response of Europe and America has been relatively slow. There is nothing to suggest that Johnson and his administration have acted exceptionally nor that any other British regime would have acted differently.

There are geopolitical circumstances in America and Europe – namely anti-war sentiments in the former and energy dependence in the latter – that have constrained elements of their response to the war. These structural issues are not seen so acutely in the UK – thus facilitating a more nimble response.

Johnson has also been praised for his rhetoric, and his performative solidarity with Zelensky’s war effort – visiting Kyiv on 9 April. However, again, this wasn’t an exceptional act. Ursula von der Leyen, Head of the European Commission, visited Zelensky in Kyiv the day before – though her meeting was given far less attention by the Westminster tabloids.

Ultimately, Boris Johnson has assisted Putin’s war campaign in some ways during the last 14 years – particularly allowing the creation of ‘Londongrad’ during his time in City Hall. This has been aided and abetted by a Conservative Party that has fortified an economic pipeline running from Moscow to London – a record that has only been partially reversed by the Prime Minister's benevolent application of military aid to Ukraine over the last two months.

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What America’s Security and Foreign Experts Really Think About Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/05/2022 - 10:19pm in

Participating in an event with American foreign and security experts and politicians recently, former British diplomat Alexandra Hall Hall was taken aback by their views on the state of the UK

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I recently attended a US forum bringing together a range of security and foreign policy experts to discuss current challenges facing the US. Attendees included several American senators and members of the House of Representatives from both sides of the aisle, well-known political analysts, and many high-ranking former diplomats, defence and national security officials who had served in US administrations going back several decades.  

The main item of discussion, unsurprisingly, was the current crisis in Ukraine.

Every speaker, whether Republican or Democrat, agreed that this was a defining moment for Western democracies; similar in significance to the end of the Cold War or 9/11. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a threat, not just to the future of Ukraine, but to European security, and the entire post-Second World War international order. 

Speaker after speaker was adamant that there could be no going back to normal relations with Russia. Though the final outcome of the conflict is yet to be determined, they said, we should be willing to back Ukraine with whatever it needs, for as long as it wants. In addition, while an end to the war and suffering is highly desirable, they believed that we should not try to pursue any kind of peace deal or easy “off ramp” for Vladimir Putin, on terms which are not acceptable to the Ukrainians themselves. 

While regime change in Moscow is neither a stated objective or within our domain to achieve, the attendees believed that it is vital that Putin’s regime is left significantly weaker, so that it can never again mount such unprovoked aggression against another country. 

The war in Ukraine was also depicted as being, at root, a struggle of values between autocracy and democracy. Countries such as China are keenly observing the outcome, for any signs of western weakness, which might encourage it to attempt a similar aggression in its neighbourhood – for example against Taiwan. 

This fed into another angle which came up frequently: the strength of our own democracies.

Many commentators expressed concern at the increasingly partisan nature of US politics, the fundamental attack on the core of American democracy represented by the 6 January assault on the US Congress, and the continuing attempts in some quarters to cast doubt on the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020. Not only does this divide and distract America from important international challenges, but it is also important for US legitimacy to be seen to be upholding at home the values it espouses overseas. 

Several commentators expressed concern at the rise of populism and illiberalism in other Western democracies, such as that represented by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Hungary; or the recently defeated far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. They feared that such developments in Western democracies had encouraged Putin to think that the transatlantic alliance was so weak and divided that it would not respond either robustly, or in sustained manner, to his attack on Ukraine. 

One speaker referred explicitly to Boris Johnson. “Authenticity is essential in a politician. But you can be 'authentic' and a liar at the same time. Trump was 'authentic'. Your Prime Minister is another example. People get rewarded for propagating lies and that is an unhealthy development in a democracy.”

These exchanges prompted me to wonder how the UK is currently perceived more widely by American analysts. In particular, had the UK’s strong position on Ukraine bolstered its standing and reputation as America’s strongest ally and overshadowed any lingering concerns over Brexit? I also wanted to know how they viewed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Did they see him as a strong wartime leader, in the mould of Winston Churchill? Or did they see him, as some have suggested, as more of a divisive and populist figure – Britain’s version of Donald Trump? 

I did not try to steer my interviewees with leading questions, but tried to play it as much as possible with a straight bat.

What the Experts Said

“You Brits are doing great on Ukraine.”

“Your military and special forces have been awesome [on Ukraine].” 

“The UK is screwed. Boris has too much baggage. It’s scandal after scandal. Sure, UK is doing a great job in Ukraine, and we appreciate that. But that does not change our views on Boris. He’s a clown.”

“Bojo is a Bozo. The UK is declining in importance to us as an ally. China is the bigger long-term strategic threat and, on that, our alliance with Australia is far more important. The Australians are thinking far more strategically and investing more in their defence, while your defence budget has been going down for years. AUKUS was a significant deal, but not because of the UK, but because of Australia.”

“I’m not following what’s going on internally in the UK that much. What we read in the papers is about 'Partygate' and scandals. I had not heard about the various laws affecting the Electoral Commission, judicial review, rights of public protest, the Nationality and Borders Bill Act, but they sound worrying.” 

“To me, it looks like the British Government is 'over-compensating' in Ukraine – trying to go overboard to prove its continuing relevance post-Brexit, and distract from scandals at home. The UK is rudderless and looking for a new role. It’s nonsense for the UK to claim it’s 'leading' in Ukraine.

"I ask you to consider a counter-factual. If the US did not step up to the plate on Ukraine, would it have made a difference to the international response? Of course. But if the UK had not stepped up, would the international response have been any different? No. The UK has been a loyal ally and helpful, but not the necessary condition for this stuff to happen. The US, Poland, Germany and of course the Ukrainians themselves, are the essential players.” 

“The UK role in Ukraine is about crisis management. What is the UK role in Europe longer-term? What is the UK’s influence? What are its economic relationships? The UK has an identity crisis. AUKUS is good. Ukraine is good. But it doesn’t add up to a post Brexit role.”

“No one cares about Brexit. We couldn’t give a ****. If you choose to do such a monumental act of self-harm to yourselves, that’s your problem. We don’t want to hear about it. We don’t want to know about it. We don’t care about UK politics. Boris’s shift on China and Russia got him a lot of credit. We don’t care why he’s doing it – whether his motives are good or bad. All we care about is whether you are with us or against us, on foreign policy matters.”

“We’re just not that into you. We haven’t got the bandwidth to care about Brexit and its details. But if the UK creates a row with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, we will certainly be annoyed with you. It would be a monumental act of self-indulgence at a moment of real crisis. We don’t have time for this crap right now.”

“The role of people like Daniel Hannan, Nigel Farage and Steve Bannon has been destructive on foreign policy in ways we still can’t fathom.” 

“I don’t think anyone sees the UK as the leader on Ukraine. If there is a nomination for Churchill, it doesn’t go to Boris but to Zelensky.” 

“There’s been a concern about the British military trajectory for a while. The trauma of Iraq and Afghanistan seems to have run deeper in the UK than in the US. The 2014 Syria vote was a turning point – the UK was not there. The French were. And the French are more capable.

"The UK remains an important ally, but our old instinct that the UK was the most important ally to us is no longer self-evident. Brexit plays a role in that it creates questions about whether UK politics is still functional.” 

“Boris is a buffoon. I don’t know how he gets away with it. He just seems to flip his hair, and make a joke. He is also like Trump, in just saying whatever he wants, whether it’s true or not.” 

“Often when Boris is reported in the US media, it is as an allegory on our experience with Trump. We had Trump. You have Boris. So sometimes the commentary is just to reassure us that it’s not just the US which has a problem.” 

“Up until 2003, the UK exerted a special influence on US foreign policy. Before taking any decision, we would ask ourselves what the Brits were thinking. You were almost like an agency of the US government. Tony Blair was the last. Now, the UK is still an ally, but just another ally, and does not have the same importance as France, Germany or Japan. The UK military and intelligence relationship is different – that is in a unique realm.” 

“We don’t view Boris as malevolent, but as fairly entertaining, a punchline, a joke. The stuff that’s going on in your domestic politics is not resonating. He’s a clown, but he’s our clown. Keir Starmer is a decent guy.” 

“Because of Ukraine, yes, all is forgiven for Boris. UK has done a great job in Ukraine. It took real courage for him to go to Kyiv, and jolted our system into arranging visits by (US Secretary of State) Blinken and (US Secretary of Defence) Austin.”

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I have to confess I was surprised by so much negative commentary.

I had expected that, given the attendees’ overwhelmingly focus on Ukraine, the UK’s strong role there would overshadow everything else. This group also included many people who have been critical in the past about the EU’s lack of strategic capability and impact, or who have had positive experience of the UK-US defence and intelligence relationship. But none of this outweighed the overriding perception of the UK as a country declining in importance both as a US ally and as a significant player internationally. 

As for Boris Johnson, while many expressed appreciation for his stance on Ukraine, this did not translate into regard for him as a serious Prime Minister.

My takeaway impression was, in fact, that for many in the US – as in the UK – Ukraine has bought Boris more time. But it has not bought him more credibility. 

Alexandra Hall Hall is a former British diplomat with more than 30 years experience, with postings in Bangkok, Washington, Delhi, Bogota and Tbilisi. She resigned from the Foreign Office in December 2019 because she felt unable to represent the Government’s position on Brexit with integrity

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Michael Hudson Talks with Katie Halper and Aaron Maté About the Broader Ramifications of the US/NATO Conflict with Russia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/05/2022 - 11:55pm in

Michael Hudson expliains how the US hopes to benefit from its proxy war with Russia.

The Coming EU Embargo of Russian Oil, Russia’s Economic Challenges, and the Question of Operational Capacity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/05/2022 - 8:40pm in

The EU is planning to punch Russia hard with yet another embargo, this of its oil. But will this wind up being more rope a dope?

Ilargi: Ukraine Warheads

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/04/2022 - 8:51pm in

A prescient piece on the trajectory of Ukraine-Russia tensions.

Gas Flares: Europe Has a Hissy, Flails About as Russia Imposes Gas Payment Countersanctions and Economies Already Feel Blowback Bite

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/04/2022 - 8:29pm in

Russia implements its gas for roubles scheme as promised, cutting off supplies to non-adherents. Howling ensues.

Climate Migration: What Do We Really Know?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/04/2022 - 6:55pm in

Overall, the literature on climate-induced migration suggests that people are moving already because of climate change and that increasing numbers will do so in the future, either voluntarily or not.

Jaishankar Calls Out Europe’s Selective Concern on Rules-Based Order

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/04/2022 - 2:55am in

Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar shared views on rules-based order with world diplomats at a conference Tuesday in Delhi.

‘Elon, There Are Rules’: EU Says Twitter Must Comply With New Digital Services Act

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/04/2022 - 8:50pm in

One day after Elon Musk took over Twitter, a top European regulator gave the world's richest man a "reality check" about how they will respond if he loosens the platform's content moderation policies.

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