It has been an interesting past several years for the United Kingdom.
In 2018, a series of hacks targeted Integrity Initiative, a program run by the UK’s military intelligence and Foreign Office-supported Institute for Statecraft exposing its involvement in creating a covert network for the purposes of countering “Russian disinformation.” The venture was popularly compared to the CIA’s infamous Project Mockingbird and involved many government and private institutions around Europe. In the United States, Integrity Initiative contacts included individuals in the Department of State, DC think tanks, the FBI and the DHS as well as former and current administration officials such as Sebastian and Katharine Gorka. While the connections of the Integrity Initiative, who engaged in a campaign of attacks against Disobedient Media, have been extensively reported the foreign policy goals they pursued have received less attention.
With the rejection of Brexit, the British government’s plans for their own country and Europe have now finally become clear. The focus of individuals connected to Integrity Initiative also reveals much about the policy issues considered a priority by the United Kingdom. Specifically, the UK has pursued objectives such as fomentation of “Russiagate” to distract American allies and use them as proxies against Russia globally, weaponization of anti-establishment factions in Europe, replacement of the British domestic population with migrants and remaining in the European Union or otherwise attempting to influence the regional union by controlling the European Union Army.
I. Russiagate As Diplomatic Tool
The connections of individuals tied to British intelligence services to the Russiagate narrative have been extensively reported by Disobedient Media. Promotion of anti-Russian narratives by the United Kingdom serves multiple foreign policy interests. On a basic level, the UK’s promotion of such messages allows them to use the United States as a proxy in their centuries-long competition with Russia for political dominance both in Europe and around the globe.
As former NSC staff member Richard Levine has previously explained, Britain maintains some of the power and control it enjoyed during the British Empire through its influence over members of the Commonwealth of Nations (albeit in a reduced capacity). Security magazine European Geostrategy ranked the UK as a “Global Power” second only to the United States in terms of its international reach. As Britain no longer overtly rules any of the nations in the Commonwealth, this influence must be maintained in part by infiltration and shadow networks. This means that in situations where soft power is not sufficient to counter the hard power of a military giant like Russia, manipulation of other global powers is necessary to maintain British interests. Russiagate serves this purpose very well as it creates an increased likelihood that President Donald Trump will escalate tensions with Russia in part to demonstrate that he is not “soft” on President Vladimir Putin.
Additionally, Russiagate distracts President Trump, causing him to waste time fighting an alleged conspiracy that has yet to produce actual evidence of collusion that could result in his impeachment. This benefits not only Europeans who dislike Trump for the threat he poses to transatlantic ties but also American factions who wish to keep Trump from achieving policy goals detrimental to their interests. Americans aligned with UK interests do not exist merely in the camps of parties who are opposed to Donald Trump. Integrity Initiative connections to individuals such as Sebastian Gorka show that even Trump’s so-called “allies” can be used to keep him fixated on alleged Russian collusion narratives.
II. Infiltration Of Anti-Establishment Movements In Europe
In order to maintain total control over political narratives and movements, the United Kingdom has undertaken extensive efforts to control both establishment and anti-establishment forces around Europe.
In 2009, the Guardian revealed that a British police officer had traveled to 22 different countries on a fake passport including Ireland, Iceland and Spain. Targeted movements included green, “anti-racist” and anarchist groups. Kennedy was a member of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, a secretive organization run by a private limited company which allows it to remain exempt from freedom of information laws and other public accountability checks and balances. A database published by the Guardian on October 15th, 2018 revealed that British police had infiltrated 124 movements since the 1970’s and would even engage in sexual relationships with targets.
However, British intelligence has not targeted left wing groups alone. This became heavily apparent over the course of the Yellow Vest protests in France, which Disobedient Media warned were likely to be manipulated by Britain for geopolitical gain. While the Atlantic Council-connected Facebook was instrumental to helping French protestors organize to destabilize the mainland, they have crippled any attempts by groups to organize and protest in the UK. The Atlantic Council was one of many think tanks connected to the Integrity Initiative. In January 2019, Disobedient Media reported that British Intelligence infiltrated the nationalist publication Voice of Europe which could allow the UK to manipulate right wing populist groups against mainland governments while also targeting populist leadership.
III. Replacement Of Population To Reverse Declining Birth Rates
Great Britain has for many years sought to use immigration as a way to culturally bolster a country that British elites view as being in decline. This is partially a response to unsustainable birth rates that create incentive to use immigration not only as an immediate fix, but also one for the long term since newcomers are more likely to have larger families than their European counterparts. Another reason is that according to Integrity Initiative leaks, the British government seems to believe that Islamic immigrants can be shown the importance of support for NATO. Currently the UK’s population has a considerable amount of euroskeptics who are opposed to organizations such as the European Union and NATO. The alliance is one of many transatlantic and trans-European projects which have come under fire amid a surge in public support for policies such as Brexit.
IV. Attempts To Control European Union Army
Once decried as a “conspiracy theory,” an EU Army is now publicly acknowledged as a real policy objective being spearheaded by France and Germany. Public discussion about the issue intensified after sightings of armored vehicles bearing the EU flag appeared in France during the December 2018 Yellow Vest protests.
Disobedient Media’s previous coverage of the EU Army noted the role of NATO in covertly supplying the new fighting force with equipment and weaponry that was being shipped to Europe under the auspices of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Atlantic Resolve is an ongoing NATO operation intended to counteract Russia, a major geostrategic opponent of the United Kingdom. It further linked the mysterious death of NATO Chief Auditor Yves Chandelon to the fighting force’s creation, noting that he would have been in a position to discover shipments of arms and munitions that had gone missing.
The primary purpose of an EU fighting force would likely be domestic policing, a task that would be easy to accomplish given that enough troops would be drawn from around different areas of Europe to avoid mutinies by soldiers unwilling to enforce laws against their countrymen.
Just who would be in control of such an organization is not immediately clear. While most analysis points to mainland nations such as France and Germany as likely leaders based on their efforts to form the army there is no guarantee that this would be the case. Angela Merkel, long viewed as a powerhouse in the European Union, will not seek re-election after her current term. Emmanuel Macron, a candidate who was heavily supported by the City of London, has predictably found his policies unpopular in France and faced widespread unrest during the Yellow Vest protests. With the British government continuing to refuse to enact an exit from the European Union their intended strategy seems clear. A continuation of UK involvement in the European Union will allow them an opportunity to enjoy an advantage over their weakened mainland counterparts. This would include increased control over the military units intended to police European citizens.
The United Kingdom’s foreign policy in Europe is truly bold in its aims and vast in scale. Although exposed by leaks, sensitivity from media assets and other revelations, the necessary decisions to counter these strategies will ultimately be the responsibility of mainland governments. Will Europe respond, or have the crumbling remnants of the British Empire perhaps perhaps not breathed their last death rattle?