[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]
My wife and I saw Snowden the other night.
Oliver Stone, a Vietnam Vet and unabashed lefty (like myself), directed Snowden, and therefore one could argue that not everything portrayed in the “documentary” is literally correct. Having accepted that, if Edward Snowden did not exist and this was just a fictional “thriller,” it would still be a good movie. I liked it.
I believe the events in the movie actually happened. What cannot be ascertained are Snowden’s motives. What cannot be denied is the fact that his revelations about NSA spying on American citizens via cyber-technology has resulted in government introspection and legal challenges. CNN’s Supreme Court Reporter Ariane de Vogue wrote:
A federal appeals court ruled … that the telephone metadata collection program, under which the National Security Agency gathers up millions of phone records on an ongoing daily basis, is illegal under the Patriot Act.
The link that follows, rt.com, lists eight international embarrassments–to put it nicely and mildly–revealed through Snowden’s disclosures.
8. Afghanistan & Bahamas: Wiretap Paradise
One is an economically prosperous island paradise which doesn’t even have a military, the other a landlocked and war-torn nation racked by poverty and an extreme climate. So what could they have in common? Both countries have almost all of their domestic and international calls recorded and stored by the National Security Agency (NSA) for up to 30 days….
7. Here’s to the Reset!
American spies operating out of the UK intercepted the top-secret communications of then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the 2009 G20 summit in London. Barack Obama definitely came out of the situation looking as two-faced as Batman’s Harvey Dent, as Medvedev’s missives were seized just hours after his first meeting with the US president, where they struck a warm tone and promised a “fresh start” in US-Russia relations. The leaks came just before Obama met current President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of … the … G8 summit…. [Donald Trump raised this “reset” issue during his first debate with Hillary Clinton.]
6. Spying on Israel
‘America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East’ was seemingly taken for a ride when it was discovered that the NSA had been spying on the country’s leadership for years. “The secret is out,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said. “The US is systematically spying on the defense and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other?” …
5. What Was That You Said about Chinese Hackers?
The US has been beating the China cyber crime drum for years, so when it was revealed that the US was not only spying on the country’s top leaders, but also Chinese telecom giant Huawei, national banks, and the Chinese Trade Ministry, well, Washington had a lot of explaining to do….
4. Que Diabo??? Brazil Gets Quite Irate
Most leaders did their best to keep up appearances after finding themselves with NSA egg dripping down their faces, but Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff threw everything but the kitchen sink at her northern neighbor for spying on her, the country’s citizens, and its strategic industries…. For Rousseff, the issue was cut and dried: “The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.” Ouch.
3. Ich Bin Ein Berliner?
For a child of the German Democratic Republic who grew up under the shield and sword, revelations that the NSA was tapping her phone were particularly hard on Chancellor Angela Merkel. To add insult to injury, the US government has refused to grant her access to her NSA file or even answer formal questions from Germany about its widespread snooping….
2. You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are …
Perhaps one of the biggest political rifts inspired by the Snowden scandal had nothing to do with actual NSA spying, but rather the fate of the whistleblower himself…. (He) … ended up stranded in the transit zone of a Moscow airport…. Moscow granted Snowden temporary asylum.
Snowden certainly didn’t start the US-Russia drift, nor did he create the massive rift that erupted this past February over Ukraine. But as things have gone from bad to worse between the two former Cold War rivals, Snowden’s definitely played a part in that drama….
1. City on a Hill, Landside on the Horizon?
At the very center of the NSA spying scandal has been the US public itself, which seems to have been overwhelmed by the lengths to which its leaders have flirted with being a security state at the expense of a free one…. Pew found that 70 percent of Americans didn’t believe they should surrender their freedom in order to be safe from terrorism. Those surveyed were virtually split, however, over whether Snowden’s disclosures helped or harmed the US…. 9The) US House of Representatives (has) passed the so-called NSA reform bill, intended to reign in the agency’s dragnet domestic surveillance programs…. As for Snowden, his goal was always to start the conversation, and whether America changes course or pushes full steam ahead, he has no regrets.
Go see Snowden for yourself.