THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Stop Stoking the US-UK 'Rift'
The brief UK-US row stoked by Amber Rudd, was disgraceful, says Carol Gould
Posted June 03, 2017
On May 26 I wrote: 'Can we please stop stoking the 'rift' between the USA and UK? We are allies.' It has now blown over but the fury of Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd actually frightened me. They were placing squarely at the feet of the USA the 'leak' of the name of the Manchester bomber and pictures in the New York Times of detritus on the floor of the Manchester arena that included the detonator. Or as my sister in Philadelphia said 'So, how is this stuff after the fact going to destroy British national security?'
ITN was reporting 'Whitehall in cold fury' about the New York Times report. Their correspondent Robert Moore was remarking that the relationship amongst the FBI, CIA and MI5 and MI6 is the 'crown jewels' of international cooperation. Yes, it is likely the Department of Homeland Security leaked the images of the bomb but why do I want this hatred of the USA to calm down? Because: the world's terrorists will be LOVING this public spat, we need to stick together. America is not Russia or North Korea.
I must be one of the few expatriate Americans who could not understand why Mrs May, in her speech at the Royal United Services Institute just before she became Prime Minister in 2016, said TWICE 'I stood up to the AMERICANS!' I found this odd for a conservative; it is the sort of statement a Leftist would make. My antenna have always been up regarding Theresa May and Americans ever since she instituted 35K, her rule that results in deportation of Americans, Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders and other non-EU citizens if they are not earning minimum £35,000. I had to laugh when Mrs May responded to a reporter's question on this last year, saying she wanted only 'SKILLED workers' settling in this country and 'they would earn more than £35,000.' Then a few months later she lambasted student doctors for wanting minimum £27,000 a year! Victoria Derbyshire's BBC programme featured an American mother being deported and therefore separated from her baby because the household income was less than £35,000. Other Americans, some settled here for years, have been thrown out because of Mrs May's heartless 35K Rule. There is a '#Stop35K' website trying to raise funds to help the deportees.
Getting back to the UK-US rift over the Manchester 'leak:' a brilliant explanation was given in the week of 25 May by the BBC's Nick Bryant about the cultural divide that has caused the UK-US rift, which Mark Urban called 'Whitehall control-freakery.' Bryant is based in the US and said – quite rightly – that the dynamic, bold and brave American media will always be protected by the First Amendment. He said it's not something Britons will grasp – UK reporters are 'obedient' to government.
Secrecy isn't the name of the game in US journalism. Seymour Hersh exposed Abu Ghraib and brought down Donald Rumsfeld. Woodward and Bernstein brought down Nixon and the legendary Edward R Murrow brought down Joe McCarthy.
Lest we forget Anjem Choudhary, Abu Izzadeen, the 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui, Abu Hamza – finally brought to the US by the Obama administration and now in jail for life- the fertilizer bombers, underpants bomber and the liquid bombers who were on the brink of bringing down airliners over the Atlantic as well as the shoe bomber Richard Reid, the murderer of Lee Rigby, the Westminster, 7/7 and 21/7 terrorists- were all based here in the UK or spent time here. We have a huge problem here and there is no time for a public rift – it will embolden future terrorists. As Raffaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services said on BBC 'Outside Source,' the rift is a very negative blow.
Yes, the UK was publicly and loudly furious with the US for exposing Salman Abedi (according to the Evening Standard MI5 had had him on their radar for some time but did nothing) and with the New York Times for publishing photos of the bomb remnants but did GB have to make this a 24/7 gripe across the world's media? After Mrs May's meeting with Donald Trump the UK fell silent and the 'rift' evaporated... But the damage was done. The British Prime Minister and her shrill Home Secretary bleating about the baddies at the CIA and FBI should never have unfolded in a public forum. As an American expatriate in Britain I do not want to see this happen ever again. If, as we move into crowded summer and autumn public events and heaven forbid an attack happens again, the US leaks something and Whitehall is apoplectic, they must complain privately to the White House.
The terrorists were – and are – laughing.
Carol Gould is the US-born, London-based author of 'Spitfire Girls' and 'Don't Tread on Me – anti-Americanism Abroad,' has written for the Daily Telegraph, Guardian and Jewish Chronicle and is a regular broadcaster on BBC television and radio as well as on Sky News and LBC Radio.