By Peter Koenig
This is not about Snowden, the movie. This is about Ed Snowden, the by now 33-year-old NSA whistleblower and hero for hundreds of millions of people. He dared to escape the system. Or did he really?
This is not about “Snowden”, the movie by Oliver Stone; a great movie, mind you. It shows the world what the Masters of the Universe and its 16 “Security Agencies” are doing with us, hapless “We, the People”, citizens of the world; that they are screening about 7 billion electronic messages per day around the globe; and how these agencies, with a life of their own, unknown to the most inner-circles of government, are capable of intervening with cyber technology within a fraction of a second everywhere around the globe, where it pleases them, or where somebody or some nation needs to be
“sanctioned” – and the rest of the world be warned that similar punishments may await them, if they refuse to bend to Washington’s rules.
Among other calamities the monster can inflict on the world, is, for instance, disabling the entire electric grid of a country, causing a complete blackout within seconds.
But, as I said, this is not about Snowden, the movie. This is about Ed Snowden, the by now 33-year-old NSA whistleblower and hero for hundreds of millions of people. He dared to escape the system. Or did he really?
He came out of the secretive closet of national security agencies. He worked for the lot of them – divulging what most of us knew anyway, that we are surveyed Big-Style by Big Brother, the self-proclaimed hegemon; that no secret is secure from Washington, whether it’s our secret love affairs, our insider-trading, our lying to our bosses, wives, kids – you name it.
We are exposed. Privacy is a concept of the past, at least for those of us who live in the western world.
Oliver Stone’s movie and to a slightly lesser extent its precursor, the documentary “Citizenfour”, portray Ed Snowden’s story from his unquestioned love for his country, to his military service which he couldn’t complete, but still wanted to do good for his homeland – all the way to his recruitment by the CIA, from where he moved on quickly to NSA, where he became a glorified “hacker”, as President Obama called him; and finally to a contracting career for a myriad of security agencies and their interlinked associates.
By the way, “Citizenfour” is the nickname with which Edward Snowden contacted and corresponded with moviemaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald, with whom he later secretly met in an upscale hotel in Hong Kong, where he hid out for several days being filmed and interviewed by the pair.
Presumably, all the contacting and preparatory correspondence with them, took place through super-coded messages which are supposedly defying even the US omnipotent secret services’ filters.
No doubt, Ed Snowden is brilliant. He is a patriot and earned the confidence of his superiors in no time. They made him ascend quickly to top secret security details, landing plum jobs, the last one in Hawaii, from where he apparently was to hack into China’s cyber war they were about to launch on the western world. This was in 1913.
In a dramatised version, the movie shows how Ed Snowden met his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, who followed him everywhere, last to Hawaii – ehhh, I mean, second to last, because she has meanwhile officially joined him in his secluded home outside of Moscow, where he is in “hiding” with a three-year resident permit, granted by President Putin himself.
Back to Mr. Snowden’s story. He had – and maybe still has – an indestructible love for his country. He apparently started out as a conservative with rather right wing ideas. His girlfriend, Lindsay, a “liberal” – was helping opening his eyes, for which he also had plenty of opportunities through his job, witnessing the inhumanity and extra-judiciary killings his beloved country is inflicting on innocent souls around the globe; uncountable drone carnages at family gatherings, like weddings and funerals, wiping out whole villages at times, women, children, men – of no importance.
It’s a game. It’s become routine. You don’t even think of it anymore, as one of Snowden’s colleagues-in-arms uttered as they watch a “video game” – how a drone zooms in on a car, or on a group of people – and bang! – an explosion, a cloud of dust – and then you hear the young computer nerds’ congratulatory cheers for hitting the target.
The unfathomable suffering and misery created through endless wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine (through Washington’s proxy Israel), Libya – and Syria – and that’s not all – have gotten to the soft spots of Mr. Snowden’s soul. Or so it would appear.
Ed Snowden decided the world needed to know. He wanted none of the glory, as he says. It’s his contribution to mankind – to make us aware of the empire’s atrocities. He left his job in Hawaii on 20 May 2013, secretly, of course, to Hong Kong, sent Lindsay back to the US, not telling her where he “had” to go.
Snowden checked into the luxury Mira Hotel in Hong Kong’s Kowloon District, where on 1 June he met with Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, senior editor of the Guardian.
They flew in from New York to orchestrate a perfect whistleblowing show. On 5 and 6 June, the Guardian published segments 1 and 2 of the interview which was later also printed by the Washington Post and the New York Times.
On 7 June Obama goes on television defending the surveillance programme saying, “You can’t have 100% security, and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience.” Strangely, he does not mention anything about an arrest warrant for Snowden.
Snowden decides to no longer hide, proclaiming in a widely-broadcast video interview, “I have no intention of hiding who I am, because I know I have done nothing wrong.” On 9 June, he checked out of the hotel which is swarmed with journalists and most probably Washington’s secret agents and their handlers from all over the western US stooges. But strangely, Snowden gets away unnoticed.
Imagine, the most powerful nation in the world with the most sophisticated borderless spy apparatus, with tens of thousands of secret service agents and their handlers, spread throughout the globe and especially in Hong Kong, the Asian spy nest – this most powerful nation is incapable of catching a renegade top-security risk fugitive escaping from an upscale Hong Kong hotel, surrounded by literally hundreds of reporters from all over the world, then boarding an airplane – undisturbed – to Moscow.
And that after the entire world has seen his face on TV.
As President Putin not long ago said, tongue in cheek, at one of his press conferences – They were able to down the plane of a President and they cannot intercept the plane carrying Ed Snowden? – Doesn’t this say it all? – Mr. Putin was referring to Evo Morales’ return trip from Moscow, forced to land by France at Washington’s behest, at Vienna, Austria, airport, because the plane was suspected carrying Edward Snowden to a supposedly safe haven in Bolivia, where he asked for asylum.
Without wanting to discredit Ed Snowden’s “heroic” act, isn’t it a bit peculiar this super-clever computer nerd, having done this for the good of the people of the world, to defend democracy – which for all intents and purposes remains a Greek pipedream dating some 2500 years back, risking his life and, as he claims, never being able to return home, because there won’t be a fair trial awaiting him? – Perhaps. But let me doubt it.
Then, Oliver Stone, not exactly a novice in the film-making business and no stranger to Hollywood, would he be naïve enough not to know the propaganda with which he helped Washington to tell the world how powerful they are – that no citizen of the globe has his or her privacy secured – that we are all being constantly screened and at the mercy of the Kingdom of Chaos? What a masterful tactic of intimidation!
Propaganda is everything. In 2015, Oliver stone’s precursor, “Citizenfour”, by Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, was awarded with the Oscar for the Best Documentary. Propaganda is one of the key strategic weapons of an empire, known since way before the Romans.
It is a method of frightening the enemy by letting him know what kind of invasive and destructive weaponry you possess. Very clever, “Sir Washington”. But carried out so unprofessionally, so transparent! – Are people really buying this? – Shouldn’t we learn not getting lost in the woods for trees – but to step back and look at the forest?
This article was originally published on The 4th media on 15 December 2016.
About the Author
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media, TeleSUR, TruePublica, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.