Russiagate and the Surveillance Duopoly

“FISA set up a rubber stamp kangaroo court with only a handful of warrants being rejected in the forty year history of this law.”

by Margaret Kimberley, originally published on Black Agenda Report

Republican and Democratic Party dueling over Russiagate provides us with a teachable moment. It should teach us to disrespect and discredit the law enforcement system as it exists in this country. We must oppose the surveillance state altogether and we should not be tricked by duopoly theatrics into thinking that either of the evil twins are acting in our interests.

Local cops plant drugs and weapons in order to arrest and convict anyone they want. They kill an average of three people every single day. Cash bail keeps the poor in jail not because they are necessarily dangerous, but because they are poor. Those are just some facts in the litany of oppression used by law enforcement against mostly poor, black people. But there is another order of wrong doing that engulfs the whole world.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created a system which determines when the federal government may spy on anyone suspected of acting on behalf of a foreign agent. FISA set up a rubber stamp kangaroo court with only a handful of warrants being rejected in the forty year history of this law.

“The case for and against Trump is an opportunity to discuss how few rights we have and how the system is rigged against all but the apex predators at the top.”

FISA authority was used to keep Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page under surveillance in 2016. Republicans claim that the warrant was granted as a result of the Christopher Steele opposition research dossier that was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. No one knows if this assertion is true, but the fight over declassifying the memo predictably turned into political theater. Republicans said the memo would end the suspicion of Trump collusion with the Russian government and Democrats asserted that the system would fall apart if the memo was ever declassified and released.

If Republicans are correct the FISA warrant was problematic and the case for collusion is tainted. Democrats now make the case for declassifying their own memo and continuing the foolish spectacle of irrelevance. Despite the drama, both assertions are beside the point. The larger and more important issue is that the America justice system is decidedly unjust.

Prosecutors are among the worst criminals in this country. From small towns to federal courthouses they wield power that few can circumvent. Rich people need not worry because they exist in a bubble with laws of their own making. Public officials bow down to them and happily violate statutes in order to keep them happy. It is all rotten and the case for and against Trump is an opportunity to discuss how few rights we have and how the system is rigged against all but the apex predators at the top of the food chain.

“Our individual rights are obviously of little concern to Adam Schiff.”

Instead of making the case for tearing up this monstrosity otherwise intelligent people are pointing fingers and choosing one disreputable side over the other. Every Republican voted to extend the FISA program. They were joined by Democrats like Congressman Adam Schiff, who leads the case for collusion, and who has made a name for himself by stoking the Russiagate fire. Schiff cried the loudest against releasing the Republican memo and claimed that declassification would pose a threat to the nation. When he had the chance to do something for the judicial system he joined with the people he allegedly opposes and supported continuing the FISA travesty. Our individual rights are obviously of little concern to Schiff. Then again he is a former prosecutor so little can be expected of him in this regard.

Russiagate is a sinkhole of political confusion and that is precisely why it was created. It began with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, a lackluster effort meant to continue the neo-liberal agenda, make war, and do little else. She had nothing to offer voters and hung her hat on making Trump look like “Putin’s puppet.” Had she done a minimal effort there would have been no need for pay offs to British spies or whipped up Russophobia. The entire Democratic Party was complicit in the debacle and they welcomed a tale of collusion in order to deflect the blame they so richly deserved.

“There should be no sanctity bestowed upon government secrets.”

The sorry spectacle continues as Republicans are equally determined to keep Trump in office and make their dreams of kleptocracy and diminished governmental authority a reality. Democrats are looking to

explain away a string of electoral failures and maintain the illusion of being the inclusive party when they are merely shadows of the hard right Republicans.

Let all the memos be released. There should be no sanctity bestowed upon government secrets. They are a ruse meant to cover up for worldwide gangsterism. Defending the FBI, CIA, NSA or any of the other “intelligence community” agencies is to be a dupe of the highest order. Police in Baltimore and other cities may plant drugs and weapons on suspects, but the mega-killers lie about weapons in entire nations and cause death and suffering on a mass scale.

Sooner or later Russiagate will play out. Whatever the result, this country will still be the one that locks up more of its people than any other. It will still be a threat to world peace. When the wheels of injustice grind on only fools will have chosen between the two corrupt parties.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at . Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

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