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The Russia Conspiracy Theorists Are Being Undone For Good.

It was a scene the conspiracy theorists who fueled “Russiagate” would view as a smoking gun of a vast international plot, but by pure coincidence I was at President Trump’s Florida retreat Mar A Lago on the evening that Special Prosecuter Mueller announced there would be no indictments for collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign and current administration.

You apparently only have to be a junior figure in conservative politics to qualify as a ranking KGB/FSB agent.

What connected many of the people there that evening – who were drawn from a number of different nations and quarters of politics, business, and media – was the shared accusation of being agents of an omnipresent Russia.

Contrary to the conspiratorial analysis, toasting the completion of a successful mission for Mother Russia wasn’t the purpose of the evening’s gathering.

But such have been the fast and loose accusations being handed out initially by 9-year-old children and lunatics of the Twittersphere – latterly joined by the mainstream media and politicians – that you apparently only have to be a junior figure in conservative politics to qualify as a ranking KGB/FSB agent.

Any meeting of anyone Russian is now treated as “collusion”

The true collusion is simple and open: conservatives and those of similar beliefs often work together in causes both international and domestic. Without coalition there would be no politics, no progress, no growth.

If Russia ever features in that coalition it is a far less common and less comfortable bedfellow than that which exists in the special relationship between Britain and America.

We are the least likely people on Earth to betray our own nations. But we also see many issues, like that of continuing the special relationship and campaigning for freedom of speech and democracy, as being common goals.

Not only does the collusion conspiracy give rise to a climate of fear and mistrust that far exceeds MccArthyism, the Russia hoax credits Putin with an almost Godlike power to infiltrate every facet of Western public life. One that flatters Russia’s intelligence capabilities, and fails to answer why a collection of the most hardcore patriots and nationalists (many of whom are already wealthy) would betray their countries, their beliefs, and their principles.

The loony left is always going to be fertile ground for conspiracy theories about the agenda of the patriarchy, capitalism and conservatism

The loony left is always going to be fertile ground for conspiracy theories about the agenda of the patriarchy, capitalism and conservatism, or generally any combination of straight white males meeting in smoke filled rooms to plot the doom of their fellow man.

What is particularly disturbing about the Russia hoax is how it was swiftly and unquestionably embraced by mainstream media and politicians with no substantive evidence at all.

In the wake of Mueller most of the mainstream media now wears the initially dismissed “fake news” epithet like a glaring dunce hat.

Sec. of State Clinton ramps up pressure on Syria, 2011

One week before the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election I was the only head of a think-tank, and one of the handful of UK conservatives to have declared both my support for Donald Trump, and opposition to a proxy war with Russia in Syria.

The assumption was Clinton would win the presidency and both Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) were gearing up to join the United States for yet another Middle Eastern war.

I strongly opposed a further folly of British blood and treasure in the Middle East that would only result in strengthening ISIS at best, and at worst leading to all out war with Russia, without any British interests being at stake.

As a result I was splashed across the front page of the Sunday Times and portrayed as a Putin puppet by a desperate “journalist” Andrew Gilligan, who has seemingly turned from his days as an opponent of the Iraq war to an arch interventionist.

The way the Russia hoax works is it uses a kernel of truth and then selectively edits out all context and any information that may portray the reality of how the world works.

The basis of his accusation was that I once travelled to Russia to speak at a Christian conference organized by a pro-family group based in Illinois. If traveling to a nation and speaking at a conference is equal to espionage, then surely I am one of the greatest spies who ever lived.

The way the Russia hoax works is it uses a kernel of truth and then selectively edits out all context and any information that may portray the reality of how the world works.

They will look at General Flynn meeting with the Russian Ambassador and present the argument that this is clear evidence of collusion. The fact he met the Ambassador of Brazil the day before, and the Ambassador of Japan the day after will be selectively dropped from the analysis.

Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn speaks at the Defense Intelligence Agency change of directorship at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, July 24, 2012. Army Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess Jr. turned over directorship of DIA to LtGen Flynn after serving in the position since 2009. DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo (Released)

They will make great hay of an appearance on the state-funded Russia Today, but wouldn’t apply the same assumptions about an appearance on the state-funded BBC.

The reality of operating in the world of politics, even at a fairly junior level, is that you meet a great variety of people. What the Russia hoax fails to acknowledge, similarly to the anti-free speech & “no platform” arguments, is that meeting someone doesn’t give any steer as to one’s own view or motivations.

Always accuse your enemy of that which you are guilty of, as the saying goes.

It of course also ignores those like Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Democrat hopeful Bernie Sanders who were active supporters of the Soviet Union and global Marxist revolution. It ignores Hilary Clinton herself, whose foundation has received more than one hundred million dollars of Russian money.

Always accuse your enemy of that which you are guilty of, as the saying goes.

The Russian collusion accusations remain in good health in Britain.

Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and those behind the Brexit campaign have all been accused of shilling for Russia to fix the 2016 referendum result. Once again no hard evidence of this has been presented, but as we don’t have a Mueller investigation to disprove any of the allegations, they hang in the air over the Brexit process as yet another reason why the voice of the British public should be ignored.

From left to right: Gerry Gunster, Arron Banks, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Andy Wigmore, Raheem Kassam

For this reason those in the Trump Administration have been celebrating the process that once threatened to impeach the President as a fantastic opportunity to conclusively clear their names. Many chalk smears and baseless accusations up to the price of getting involved in the rough and tumble world of politics, but for some that price can be unjustifiably high.

Roger Stone, an infamous U.S. political strategist and former Trump campaign manager, has had to sell his house, car, and liquidate his assets to fund a defense to an investigation that was clearly baseless.

Paul Manafort and General Flynn are either serving sentences or face periods of time in prison, despite there being no suggestion by prosecutors that they are guilty of the crime for which they were investigated.

Thankfully, I believe ultimately the highest price will be paid by the media and the most vocal and active perpetrators of the hoax.

As Donald Trump contended during his election campaign – “I could walk outside and shoot someone on 5th Avenue” – illustrates the debasement of trust in the hoaxers.

If the mainstream reported it, most people wouldn’t believe it.

I fully expect that “lock her up” will soon once again be a favored aim of the Trump Presidency.

The collapse of trust in big media and the establishment alike is staggeringly apparent, and I would argue many of the long-standing media brands may have sealed their ultimate doom to insurgent alternative media with one phony witch-hunt too many.

Trump suggested when he took office that a truce would be sensible after the divisive blows landed between him and Clinton during the campaign. The subtext was: leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.

What is now very apparent from people around the administration is the desire to push back, to launch investigations into the murky deals, collusion and bare-faced lying of much of the political and media establishment that perpetuated the Russia hoax.

Furthermore, there is much evidence that this is also what a scornful American public now want to see. I fully expect that “lock her up” will soon once again be a favored aim of the Trump Presidency.

Cllr Ben Harris-Quinney is Chairman of Britain’s oldest conservative think-tank, the Bow Group. He tweets at @B_HQ and the Bow Group is at @BowGroup.

Cllr Ben Harris-Quinney is Chairman of Britain's oldest conservative think-tank, the Bow Group.

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