The Power Of Conscience: Oliver Stone’s “Snowden”

The films of Oliver Stone have always been characterized by two features:  moral passion and narrative power.  His best work manages to balance these two qualities flawlessly.  Salvador (1986), Wall Street (1987), Platoon (1986), Natural Born Killers 1989), and JFK (1991) all shared these features, along with a tendency to weave elements of his own personal history into some of his movies.  At times his moral passion has gotten the better of him, and threatened to derail otherwise promising pictures:  Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Alexander (2004), Heaven and Earth 1993), and World Trade Center (2006) all were handicapped to some extent by well-meaning preachiness.

But even on his bad days, Stone belongs on that very, very short list of American movie directors that really matter in the modern age.  Even if Stone had stopped working in 1992, for example, after the release of JFK, his stature would have been secure for generations.  Who can doubt that Platoon was not only the greatest war film ever made, but ranks among the greatest films of any genre ever made?  We can’t always have it our way:  we have to accept Stone’s vision for what it is, and remind ourselves that artistic genius makes its own rules.

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It would have been surprising if Stone had not wanted to tell the Edward Snowden story on film.  It has all the qualities that he loves:  a man confronted with a difficult moral problem, the need to rebel against an oppressive system, and the unfolding of an international drama of conspiratorial intensity.

But Stone is surprisingly restrained:  he does not beat us over the head with his message, but simply lets his character’s life tell its own tale.  That tale may not be as familiar to audiences as we might think.  We follow Snowden’s early years as a reservist and a special forces candidate; physical problems prevented him from completing the course, but he was able to find an outlet for his interests by pursuing a career in computing.

Various jobs in US government intelligence agencies followed.  Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the elusive Snowden flawlessly, with just the right combination of frail vulnerability and seething moral outrage.  We follow Snowden’s progression in stages:  the idealistic computer warrior gradually has seeds of doubt planted in his mind as he realizes the full extent of the NSA’s surveillance.  Over time, this doubt gives way to anger, and from then the decision is made to act.

What Stone does well is to explain exactly what it is that Snowden disclosed.  Without going into all the technical details, the end result of the NSA’s programs (PRISM, Quantum, XKeyScore, etc.) was essentially to collect everything on everyone.  The so-called “FISA courts” were nothing but rubber-stamps who never saw a request they denied.  It is hard to watch a film like this without feeling a deep sense of outrage that things could have come to this point, and perhaps that is Stone’s whole point:  unless we become aware of what is happening, no steps can be taken to rein in the threats to our privacy and personal identity.

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Stone makes short shrift of the standard arguments in favor of the metadata collection programs:  “It’s a new world and we have to do this.  The threats can come from anywhere.  Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear.”  But authoritarian governments in every age have always made these arguments.  More than anything else, Snowden demolishes these comfortable illusions and shows us just how false these delusional premises really are.  In the modern age, it seems that the threat is not just to our privacy, but to our very freedom of will.

This is not escapist entertainment, but a true rarity in modern cinema:  a big-budget film that can generate philosophical debate on the issues that penetrate the heart of modern man’s identity.  And these are not really “new” questions.  It is easy to forget that being free from unwanted intrusions in our lives has been a feature of the American identity since the founding of the nation.

The little-known Third Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the quartering of soldiers in the homes of citizens.  This amendment was born at least in part by the deeply offensive Quartering Acts that were passed by Parliament in the 1760s and 1770s, whereby American colonists were compelled to accept the presence of soldiers in their homes.

At least implicit in the Third Amendment is the idea that US citizens have a fundamental right to be free of unwanted violations of their privacy and personal spaces.  If so, the NSA’s surveillance programs cut to the heart of what the Constitution is supposed to stand for.  Seen in this light, Snowden is nothing less than a hero and a patriot for exposing the rotten core of modern authoritarianism, as well as the anti-terrorist lies that it hides behind.  Snowden reminds us that the individual has the power, by making use of his own conscience, to shape the course of events.  But there is a steep price to be paid.

The film is crafted with great care.  Stone interviewed Snowden in Russia in 2014 in preparation for the film, but he had no input into the script and received no payment for the movie.  Ultimately, Stone also bought the rights to two books written by participants in the Snowden affair, and based his screenplay on that material.  Filming was difficult:  few American companies wanted to participate in the project for obvious reasons, and budget constraints meant that most of the filming had to take place in Europe.

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But the end result here is a marvelous piece of work.  Entirely lacking in the polemical tone of some of Stone’s work in the 1980s and 1990s, this is the assured, confident product of a mature mind.  As his great film Wall Street taught us, there are no short-cuts to being a good man, and nothing good can come from moral corruption.  And as the view leaves the theater, he is reminded that, for all the advances in technology that have occurred since the days of Cicero, the nature of man has not changed.

Our efforts to gain total “security” at the expense of our privacy and freedom of will always come to nothing, because the desired end is itself morally wrong.  We have never yet been able to improve on Cicero’s counsel to us that “nothing can be expedient that is not also morally good.”  And this remains the most enduring lesson of all.

Read More: What Makes A Man Excellent

127 thoughts on “The Power Of Conscience: Oliver Stone’s “Snowden””

  1. Sorry, but Edward Snowden is a traitor. As a former intelligence professional myself, I can’t condone what Snowden did: releasing classified information, then running off to a country that violates civil rights even worse than the country whose data you released.
    I don’t agree with some of the things the NSA has been doing, but Snowden is no hero. Deep Throat managed to leak huge data on the Nixon Administration without getting caught and running to the Soviet Union.

    1. I think it’s rather the opposite. The intelligence apparatus’ are the traitors as they criminally violate the constitution they have sworn to uphold then classify their operations to shroud their treasonous actions in secrecy.

    2. Traitor or hero is up for debate. The fact is Snowden has become the figurehead of right/ left divide in US. A prime example of your either with us or against mentality. Far too many conservatives are quick to take that mentality with Snowden. It’s very similar to Unions. As a conservative I am against them but, if I dare say a few do good for employees or when they were first created they were good, it is completely irrelevant and even blasphemy is some right wing eyes. Lmao

      1. A lot of the reports have been redacted so, can’t say for sure although, from a cursory search I see that Brittish have admitted to moving spies because of Snowden. Whether he directly sold them out, well, I guess only mi5 knows.

    3. Sadly I agree with you. The reason that Snownden did what he did was because he was a liberal. He believed that the state was bad because it had the scrotum to make terrorists, mostly, and then foreign soldiers give vital info. Most of the things he got out just damaged the USA not the Obama administration.
      While the founder of wikileaks is at least a consistent well meaning crusader, Snowden said that we should be selective of what we publish when wikileaks revealed the Clinton e-mails.
      Why he is no hero, think: if your country had your interest and helped itself and you in the process would you not condone what he did? In fact he could have tried to throw the Obama administration he just damaged the U.S. there is a difference between the two.
      The deep throat just damaged Nixon not the USA with what they did.

      1. I dont care if he is a progressive or a tradionalist, a traitor or a hero. His actions further eroded the trust the massess have in the government and that is a good thing.

        1. but if his actions were done with a non correct motive then others with a non correct motive will mimic them. He had a thousand ways to do what he did, he did not care for the USA.
          Basically he did what he did because Obama was not a leftist enough.
          Now it is not that I think that the system is good or beneficial for us, as a European I am more agitated against it. But think the reversal of the political paradigm starts to show that is happening. Be it complete would you want it throbbed for a Snowden-like person de-throning, let’s say, Trump and reverting us to the current situation?
          I do not want that. By making him a hero we make heroes everyone like him. Be careful for what you wish, you might get it, especially when you shouldn’t.

        2. He did what he did because he saw behind the curtain. That he had the balls to wake up is to his credit. We’re not seriously considering the federal government to have our best interests at heart are we ? I can’t take a flight without jerking of into a cup but were safe letting in thousands of young Muslim men. The more people get to see how duplicitous the government is the better off we are.

        3. I never said that it has the peoples interests. Yes he had the balls to go against the system but that alone does not mean much sadly. Now if he did to expose the traitorous nature of the government against its people, that would have been a different story, sorry though he did ’cause surveillance is bad. Snowden would have done the same if the Government was just surveying people on terrorist watch list of Islamic faith. In fact the government in the Tsernaev case, for which it had some intel from the Russkies, decided to let everything play out with many people getting hurt…. bad. He should have illustrated that the government surveys just to survey and hit its law abiding citizens, not criminals.
          Also, you think that a liberal who learns that the government surveys him and hides migrant rapes will ever wake up into a way that will be supportive of ours? He will double down on his liberalism, only benefit might be that he won’t go to vote, but really that is not just enough.
          Again I am not saying the fed is good has the people’s interest etc, though Snowden in his own way doesn’t.

        4. There’s a lot of ifs and buts in your perspective. I judge what people do vs say. He had a principled stance against the tyranny of our federal government and set his sack on the line for it. You can call him a liberal if you feel that it’ll encourage people to pile on but he’s got sand and I respect that. ALL of the shit we hear about him is filtered. He had a beef, he hit them how he could, and he’s paying the price for that. I don’t acknowledge migrant rape fear mongering and his opinion to whatever you are eluding to is through the machine and I am not interested. It may behoove us to start judging actions rather than labels no ?

    4. Are the paid NSA hacks descending so quickly on this film?
      So, the geographic place that Snowden is living in (we’ll set aside the fact that he is only there because the US government cancelled his passport in transit, preventing him from traveling to his planned destination of Ecuador) is what makes the spying ok?
      That’s quite a bizarre theory.
      I suppose the feds can start banning guns, kidnapping political dissenters, and shutting down sites like ROK, but as long as the person who publicly reveals this is later sent to North Korea to live, that will make it all ok? Because North Korea is worse than the US, right?
      For how long?
      This type of scapegoating is what you get when you remove logic and rhetoric from basic education curriculums.

      1. No, it is more of a point about the hypocrisy Russia has when they criticize U.S. violations of the Constitution. It would be like someone leaving the U.S. to protest the evil patriarchy and moving to Saudi Arabia or Iran.
        Snowden’s actions don’t add up: If I, a intelligence professional (at the time), were pissed about gross violations of the U.S. Constitution, I’d continue to feed information to the press over TOR or i2p anonymously, all the while playing the loyal government employee. If the conversation ever came up at work or socially, I’d call Edward Snowden a traitor.
        The absolute last fucking thing I’d do is publicly announce myself as the leaker, and run to a country that violates civil liberties even more than the U.S. By taking such a stupid course of action all I do is this:
        -Make myself a target of the Federal Government
        -Make myself a lackey of Russia
        -Destroy any chance of ever seeing my family and friends again
        -Compromise U.S. security by being a U.S. intelligence professional within the jurisdiction of Russian Counterintelligence
        -And most importantly *no longer be an asset within the U.S. Government for the press to utilize to get the truth out*
        If Snowden did what I would do (stay undercover, act like I was still loyal), I’d accomplish the following goals:
        -Continue to feed information about questionable NSA activities and bring them to a public forum for debate.
        -Deflect all suspicion upon myself by using easy-to-use tools to hide my true identity.
        -Be able to stay in contact with my friends and family.
        -Get promoted to higher Federal positions, increasing my access to data that the American people should know.
        Deep Throat did a great service to the United States, and is still mostly anonymous today. Even if one of the suspected people is officially outed, it is unlikely the U.S. will prosecute him.
        Real spies doing real intelligence work don’t get caught. They don’t seek glory like Snowden did. And they certainly don’t run to Russia, a nation with a deplorable civil liberties record, to protest U.S. civil liberties violations.

        1. Russia isn’t laying bare Americas hypocrisy, America is doing that. If americandidnt canel his passport in transit then he wouldn’t be I. Russia. That he was set up to feed people bad information in orderto start another moneymaker I could believe.

        2. The actions Russia may or may not take against its people are in no way less or more moral due to crimes or curtailments of rights or liberties by the American or any other government. The morality of an action is judged independently on its merits; not subjectively based upon the actions of others.
          That argument is a form of straw man–since every country’s government can be criticized in some way, it is unjust to ever criticize a government due to its relative superiority or inferiority to another nation.

        3. That is a straw man: Russian hypocrisy is not the center of my argument, it is a sidenote: Most important is that Snowden publicly revealed himself, instead of staying in place and continuing to leak info. Who knows what the NSA is up to three years later?

    5. It’s a funny world we live in when Snowden is a “traitor” and the system you defend is run by elected officials who obediently serve a foreign power to the extreme detriment of the American people.

    6. Considering what the Obama administration does to whistle blowers I can understand why Snowden left the country. Keep in mind that he sacrificed everything and changes were made re: NSA policies only as a result oft his man.

    7. Actually, we drove Snowden to Russia; he preferred to remain here. Smart for him, because if he had remained here, he probably would be dead by now, same way the guy who leaked DNC emails is dead.

      1. Yeah though that guy decided not to damage the USA too, he decided to damage a lying.. no sorry: “a very strong, independent woman who has never used connections to take anything and genuinely cares for her country and the world”.
        With her being a candidate for the presidency of the last super-power, I really wish that that man’s death was well deserving………
        Sadly that is sarcasm. We live in dangerous times, hope the God emperor of mankind the Donald, wins.
        Next is me though, the Godly God Emperor of every living,dead and inanimate thing!

    8. A few in my family work as contractors, and I agree in part. My issue is not so much what he did, but how he did it. I strongly suspect it is possible to be a whistleblower that reveals credible and narrowly-tailored information without just scooping up almost 2 million files and recklessly spewing them out in a document dump that endangered lives. Running to Russia also damaged public perception of any moral high ground.

      1. See my other post about how if Snowden didn’t publicly out himself voluntarily, he’d still be an asset.
        A spy outing himself smacks of a spotlight-ranger. I think he’s less concerned about protecting the Constitution than getting his fame. As someone truly concerned about the Constitution, I’d stay in place, continue to leak, and publicly call him a traitor.

    9. Correct, he completely betrayed the people that have completely betrayed us. Snowden had never spied on me, lied to me, used drones to shoot up innocent people, pound billions of dollars to the banks or any of the other completely unnecessary acts that are all too common now. With all respect due, fuck that argument. I don’t out people first who put me last. Also, fuck the civil rights shaming. They don’t have bombs going off in Moscow. The department of homeland security needs another slushie machine.

    10. I can’t condone what Snowden did: releasing classified information,
      then running off to a country that violates civil rights even worse than
      the country whose data you released.

      Moral equivocation makes for a pretty sleazy argument, it’s only a touch above “think of the children!”.

  2. The thing that came to mind when I first read this article is did Snowden’s leaks expose or cause harm to American or allied agents or personell?
    The DOD, NSA and everybody’s grandmother claims so but refuses to reveal how..
    Another issue I have with Snowden, besides his left wing politics, is he seems unstable.
    His recent comments like asking Obama to “pardon” him reveal him to be delusional. We all know that even if Obabam wanted to theres no way in hell it would ever happen even if the NSA has ended the program as of laster year..
    The meta data surveilance was way overboard and really somehting out of 1984 but Snowden is certainly no hero..
    He doesn’t compare to Assange. Assange is clear about his mission and when you read the story around the charges he faces in Sweeden there’s no ther way to look at them as anything but a complete frame up.
    Snowden is trapped like a a Russian puppet knowing full well what he faces the moment he steps outside of the Big Man’s protection.

    1. The answer to your question is irrelevant. The moral rightness or wrongness of an action is completely different than what you are asking here. How many “British allied agents or personnel” were exposed or harmed by the founding fathers revolting against them? Once that number passes a certain threshold, does it make the revolt morally justified or unjustified?
      As far suggesting a pardon meaning he is delusional–so he should just quietly sit in a Moscow airport for the rest of his life? Anyone in such a situation would be doing whatever they could to get back home. Obama won’t pardon him because Obama is a huge pussy, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be pressured to do so.

      1. “The answer to your question is irrelevant.”
        If men with families, stationed in Russia say, had been compromised and killed like in the Aldrich Aims case, it would be entirely different than just “exposing the system.” That’s relevant.
        “As far suggesting a pardon meaning he is delusional–so he should just quietly sit in a Moscow airport for the rest of his life?”
        Sure of course but as somebody who’s worked in the business surely he must realize there’s not a chance in hell he’d get a pardon and won’t be comming back unless dirrectly into “custody.”
        If under control well not his fault what he “says” and does.
        No preassure on Obama the pussey or any president is going to get him a “pardon.” It would hand a great victory to Russia and / America’s critics..never going to happen regardless or the “moral rightness” of said pardon.

      1. Sneak preview next edition Femicunt Magazine “Interview with Snowden: Putin’s Bitch!”
        Interviewed by our intrepid reporter Bob smith

        1. I don’t even think that guys like that even really understand what makes women happy or how to maintain a relationship or most importantly how to recognize a slut. He’ll just do it again.

      1. The period…sex-actly. Thought that might go over most people’s heads, but I should have known Nujac would get it (any guy who has a Steve McQueen avatar has to be cool as fuck, and that’s just how it is)…

  3. Thanks for the review, Quintus. I have been strongly opposed to all the focus on Snowden, because who he is is largely irrelevant to the revelations he uncovered.
    In an alternate universe where Snowden was never revealed as the source of these leaks (although this would undermine credibility of the claims somewhat), the criminal and immoral actions of the American government would be far less defensible. Almost every justification of these abuses is not based upon law, logic, or reason, but instead on ad hominem attacks on one person who observed and revealed these suspected actions.
    It takes some bizarre Schrodingerian theoretical physics to claim that the observation of illegal activities by a certain person (Snowden) determines their moral or ethical state. As if another person revealed them, or revealed them in a different way, or revealed them but then transported himself to a different location than the one he is currently in, would somehow change the conclusion on whether such programs were good or bad, lawful or unlawful, oppressive or acceptable.
    I can only imagine it would have been worse, were Snowden not a young, thin, intelligent, attractive white male. It’s easy to say Bradley Manning was a mentally ill degenerate, after all.
    So while I see almost every public mention of Snowden as more distraction from the real issue, which is whether a government should be performing actions which would make the Stazi blush, I am interested in the background, character, and voice of the man who made such a difficult and powerful decision. I would like to say his choice changed history; however, most seem rather complacent to let the federal government do whatever it wishes, history, law, or morality be damned.

    1. No one is criticizing the merits of the leaks: They needed to get out there. However, Snowden is no hero. See my post in response to yours about how Snowden destroyed himself as a good asset for freedom by outing himself voluntarily: the smart move is to stay in place, keep feeding the press information, and publicly decry leakers.
      I would have stayed with my job, anonymously leaked info using TOR or i2p, and played the role of loyal government employee. This way I’d still be leaking information today.

      1. There is a great risk element to staying in place and leaking info to the press. The NSA would put together a team to track everyone who had access to those documents and would covertly track their PC activity, and include false flags and setups to flush out the person. It would not surprise me even that they would have agents break in to their employee suspects houses and install surveillance devices or hack their home PCs. Initially the mole could leak info but the longer it goes one the inhouse data forensics team would slowly join the dots I reckon.

        1. I’d be willing to take that risk to keep the information flowing as long as possible, if I felt the U.S. Government was grossly violating the Constitution. The freedom of the people of America is more important than my own personal freedom. In this scenario, I’d be willing to risk life without parole to keep the documents coming.

        2. In a just world the information would keep flowing regardless. The media used to exist as more than paid Government propaganda. They’d have kept demanding answers. After the corruption is exposed a special investigation by one of the three-letters still loyal to the former United States would have kept digging.
          Even the FBI is now led by an establishment puppet, and former member of the banking elite. Anyone who hasn’t had their loyalty to the new Government bought and paid for is being removed from their positions as quickly as they dare to.
          The only sustainable leaks we have left are going to come from bullet holes.

      2. No, you would have simply been jailed as a spy and disappeared. In my opinion, standing up the way that he did exemplified balls.

        1. “No, you would have simply been jailed as a spy and disappeared. In my opinion, standing up the way that he did exemplified balls.”
          My thoughts exactly. If Snowden didn’t come out publicly to support the data leaked out to the World, all the information would be dismissed by the public as tin foil hat nonsense.

      3. Keep feeding the press? You mean the Jew controlled NWO press that selectively presents whatever propaganda it needs to feed the masses each day? You give the press waaaay too much credit for anything.
        The press is and always has been a commercial enterprise. Any lionizing of former reporters as great revelers and champion of the truth is part of our American mythology. Forget the truth. The people don’t want the truth. They can’t handle the truth. And the media’s job is to sell New Liquid Gain, Viagra and Depends undergarments. They’re not going to stir up too much truth and upset their sponsors.

      4. Those who tried that were either
        a) put into prison if what they leaked could not be denied.
        b) the government simply denies (or simply doesn’t respond) and only kooks believe the leaks or the whistle blower when he identifies himself.
        This has been going on for decades. Snowden is hardly the first to leak stuff and whistle blow. He’s the first one the mainstream believed though.

      5. Are you familiar with Seth Rich?
        He’s the man* who provided the DNC leaks to WikiLeaks. He didn’t take credit for it and tried to stay in the shadows.
        He wound up murdered in DC under extremely suspicious circumstances. Today’s compromised press and TOR can’t protect you at the level leakers like Rich and Snowden were playing on.

      6. Given the risk he took to reveal the lies, it is a form of chicken hawk to make prideful assertions about how much better it could have been done. He risked his life to expose government lies about (a still on-going) citizen spy program. You think you can do better? Nut up and do it!

        1. How do you know I haven’t already?
          The chicken hawk argument is a weak one: it is a straw man argument. Snowden screwed through pooch. By your logic, anyone who wasn’t involved in Iraq ir Afghanistan war planning doesn’t get a say in how badly things went.
          If you think you be a better President than Bush, nut up and do it. Or shut the fuck up (by your logic).

        2. Might have been a ad hominem, but certainly not a strawman argument. Get your fallacies correct. I was certainly addressing part of your argument – that you knew better than Snowden how he should have conducted his subterfuge. I’d assert its valid for someone to say that you didn’t take Snowden’s risk, nor did you reveal what he revealed. It could be argued that his revelation of who he was and how he got the information added credibility to the information as opposed to anonymous revelations. Perhaps he could have milked more, perhaps not, but I hardly see how you could know for certain. Further, the big lie, the big exposure of the program was made. Should he have risked another 10 years in order to get access to another program?
          Your assertions correspond very well to the position of chicken hawks who always claim there is a better way to fight a war, yet remain safe as they let others do the bleeding. You aren’t simply asserting a plan for confronting the state, you are criticizing one of the few who succeeded in exposing state lies and programs. I commend everyone who is looking for way to oppose state violence and state lies, but I find it rather pathetic to have to criticize others to elevate your own arguments.
          If you’re doing similar work, good luck.

        3. My bad, there have been so many posts opposing the common sense that I am offering (such as continuing to leak instead of cutting off the leaks), I mixed it up with another thread regarding Russian Hypocrisy.
          However, your argument falls apart on a very basic level: you allege I haven’t offered any alternatives to fighting government overreach. In at least two other posts here, if not the one this is in response to, I laid out the plan of how to stay anonymous, how to not get caught, and how to keep leaking information. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t read those.
          In short, you stay at your job, continue to leak using TOR or i2p, and do basic undercover work that is elementary (but not easy, granted) for any intelligence professional with field experience. Deep Throat managed to stay anonymous for over 20 years after leaking information about Nixon and Watergate. And the fact that he never revealed himself didn’t negate the impact of his leaks (Nixon still resigned).
          Robert Hanssen leaked information to the Soviets for over 20 years, and only got caught when the FBI turned a Russian businessman. The point is, staying anonymous, especially with tools like TOR and i2p, isn’t very hard, even for 20 years. And Deep Throat didn’t’ need to reveal his identity to be credible: Bob Woodward did that for him.
          In short, most of you are justifiably nerdraging over NSA overreach and violations of the U.S. Constitution. It is good that we know, but Snowden is a traitor who is probably getting pumped for information not related to NSA crimes by Putin. He is also a horrible intelligence agent who destroyed one of freedom’s best assets in the fight against government overreach by exposing himself.
          I’d like to hear your plan for not only stopping Islamic terrorism at it’s core (ending the threat decisively) but also stopping individual attacks while the aforementioned plan is being implemented.

        4. I don’t hold your allegiance to the State in that I don’t believe in either patriotism or in labeling some as traitors – meaning our goals might be different.
          Also, government and its ‘assets’ do not exist to safeguard freedom. If Snowdens revelations did anything, they confirmed that fact.

      1. I don’t agree with your views on the subject.. but damn if “Snowden vacation: Lala Land to Bullshitania to Horseshit City” didn’t crack me up =D

        1. The great thing about being alive is we don’t have to cling to any notions or opinions…it’s all about change. That being said, I’m glad you laughed, because above all else, that’s what I’m aiming for…

        1. I might do it online at some point. I actually wrote articles for one of the covers I did. Thanks for the support, glad you are enjoying them.

    2. ” I would like to say his choice changed history; however, most seem rather complacent to let the federal government do whatever it wishes, history, law, or morality be damned.”.
      You nailed it good sir.

  4. I think it’s very likely that Snowden is an intelligence asset. If they wanted him captured, he’d be captured. Or killed. He supposedly got away while they were hot on his heels. (Oops – he got away…it smacks of bin Laden hiding in caves and eluding capture for years; totally implausible, but great theater.) Snowden’s story has now been made into a Hollywood movie. The elite own Hollywood. They own the government. They own the NSA. Which means they want people to see this film, and believe what they see. Which means it’s a curveball. I admire the notion that a man stood up to the boogeymen in government, but it smacks of Gandhi and MLK, who were both controlled opposition. It just doesn’t add up. If they wanted him silenced, he’d be silenced. Instead, he’s front-page news, and now, he’s the inspiration for a mainstream Hollywood film. So it really doesn’t make any sense for anyone to take this story at face value. Cui bono?

    1. Yeah, really that intrigues me, the film I think is even for him… Well that smells… I mean the elites (sic, I am sick of these degenerate traitors, they should be called the tramps…. real elites are beneficial to society) would want to make him as detestable as they want.
      Also for his fleeing to Russia, he wanted to land to Peru, I think or Ecuador? The emperor of Mankind, Putin (God Emperor is for Trump) just took advantage of him being left in Moscow.

    2. If he suddenly dies, then the American government can no longer claim it is better than the worst oppressive regimes around the world. After all only Russia and N. Korea openly murder dissenters, right? So the option is to keep him alive, but turn him into a tabloid–the more we talk about Snowden, the less we talk about whether Carnivore and FISA are appropriate functions of government. The more we talk about Traitor vs. Hero the more distracted we are from changing anything.
      Notice how hardly anything has changed? The Utah mega data collection center opened smoothly, with very little protest or fanfare, and is rapidly logging every keystroke you and I make. The decision to focus entirely on the man and not the issues was a brilliant tactical move in this age of celebrity and social obsession.

      1. I disagree, slightly, they would let the news about him just die, that is the best way to discredit anyone, no traffic means no care, which means invisibility, the worst for every public figure.

      2. The guy could be an entire fabrication, hatched in a think tank at Langley. Seriously. A front man, a cartoon character. And the seamless implementation of more draconian measures while his “saga” unfolds, as you noted…hey, these guys play some incredible chess…no doubt about it.

        1. They said that he had narcissism? If he really has that makes him the best way to discredit every reactionary like us…
          The truth is the opposite, leftists want attention even for the fact that they masturbate! That is true narcissism! Everything they do is sacred and good!

        2. Blackwashing – the opposite of whitewashing. The use of stigmatization to encourage people to distance themselves from certain people and ideas. This shit has been going on for thousands of years, I think…

        3. As I have read much history, generally only embittered ones tend to blackwashing. For example epicurus’s works during the middle ages where just… not copied. Blackwashing causes some morbid fascination for the subject, surprisingly stronger than whitewashing. In this case ones message passes better.
          A good example was Breivik, at a specific time, here (Europe) he started to make sense, then they cut him!
          I believe only for this case and Manning that they have narcisism. Through them they show every one of us as being mentally ill. For example think the murder of the DNC leaker. You do not know probably his name, so do I saldy. He was the true hero…..
          If we dissagree there is no problem, we are not lunatics, we can entertain thoughts without accepting them, necessarily, we are what they say they are: open minded, rational people.

        4. I believe that has a strong possibility of being the case,
          However, it is irrelevent. Without his actions, contrived or otherwise, none of this would have entered the public consciousness. The very attempt to distract the publoc from the substance of his information by focusing on his personal life, is EXACTLY what brought it into the public consciousness.
          People focus on stories not on abstract theory.

        5. Insanity works as a defense against execution. I’d wear a dress and call myself Shirley if it meant avoiding the firing squad for another few years. I’d always have that hope that if the Day of the Rope happens I might be freed by the next regime. Then I’d have a chance to use the “It’s just a prank, bro!” defense to avoid being put in the gallows instead.

        6. Id likely prefer execution over rotting my youth away in a cell, realizing it wasnt worth the little moment of glory for tattling on the big boys.

        7. He’s trying to get transferred to a civilian prison, and a woman’s facility. That’s not rotting, it’s a sleepover camp.

    3. Absolutely, Bob.
      Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange, I suspect all these three guys are in some faction of Intelligence.

      1. You guys are totally thinking on an entirely different plane than the rest of us, oh wow woulda look at that? I mean just look at it.

    4. you make good points, but remember movements etc can arise spontaneously and then be co-opted in order to direct and therefore control their progress.
      it’s not beyond plausbility that Snowden is some kind of intelligence op, but then you have to factor in all the others well, including Greenberg and his boyfriend (and his data stick). I’ve heard the same thing alleged about Wikileaks and pretty much any kind of dissent.
      I would say the powers that be are far better at taming and domesticating wild stallions or whatever than they are at creating them from scratch in the lab. Of course Hollywood is the Man, but that just means it’s the message of the movie that needs to be scrutinized, rather than necessarily Snowden himself. If nothing else the fact that the movie has appeared will work to promote the idea that democracy is working – that we have a free press, that the US / the west is capable of critiquing itself: all of which assertions are highly dubious at present.
      In other words we live in a society which permits dissent only to the extent that it can leverage and control it. That doesn’t necessarily mean the dissent itself is not genuine, only that it is certain to be re-directed from its genuinely dissident purpose

  5. Snowden’s actions don’t add up: If I, a intelligence professional (at the time), were pissed about gross violations of the U.S. Constitution, I’d continue to feed information to the press over TOR or i2p anonymously, all the while playing the loyal government employee. If the conversation ever came up at work or socially, I’d call Edward Snowden a traitor.
    The absolute last fucking thing I’d do is publicly announce myself as the leaker, and run to a country that violates civil liberties even more than the U.S. By taking such a stupid course of action all I do is this:
    -Make myself a target of the Federal Government
    -Make myself a lackey of Russia
    -Destroy any chance of ever seeing my family and friends again
    -Compromise U.S. security by being a U.S. intelligence professional within the jurisdiction of Russian Counterintelligence
    -And most importantly *no longer be an asset within the U.S. Government for the press to utilize to get the truth out*
    If Snowden did what I would do (stay undercover, act like I was still loyal), I’d accomplish the following goals:
    -Continue to feed information about questionable NSA activities and bring them to a public forum for debate.
    -Deflect all suspicion upon myself by using easy-to-use tools to hide my true identity.
    -Be able to stay in contact with my friends and family.
    -Get promoted to higher Federal positions, increasing my access to data that the American people should know.
    Deep Throat did a great service to the United States, and is still mostly anonymous today. Even if one of the suspected people is officially outed, it is unlikely the U.S. will prosecute him.
    Real spies doing real intelligence work don’t get caught. They don’t seek glory like Snowden did. And they certainly don’t run to Russia, a nation with a deplorable civil liberties record, to protest U.S. civil liberties violations.

    1. That and you know in advance that whatever country you flee to is going to pump you for info, and probably not nicely.
      My favorite (and only) ‘leak’ I’ve been privy to was from a grouchy admiral on a golf outing. Something to the effect of: “The UN isn’t fluff. The UN is great. It’s the international ‘bingo free space’ for spying/intelligence.”

      1. Yeah, I’d actually lose respect for Putin (who is pretty popular around here) if he wasn’t pumping Snowden for every bit of intelligence he could.
        Given that Putin is a former KGB officer who made his way to President of Russia, I think his tradecraft is a lot better than Snowden’s, which is terrible (see my post about why Snowden’s actions were probably the dumbest possible thing he could have done…if his goal was to expose NSA malfeasance.)

        1. How much intel can Snowden have? I was under the impression that he dumped it all to Assange and then went into Putin’s “witsec”.
          Even if no info could be gleaned from Snowden he’d still be very useful for Putin to keep around as he is a political bargaining chip and his continued existence puts egg on the USA’s face.

    2. What “press” would put the truth out?
      There remains the possibility that Snowden was simply the “avatar” of forces that wanted to discredit the USA.

  6. Snowden is no hero. The data collection program was legally authorized by congress. There have been no instances where any of the data was willfully used against citizen unlawfully. The US government has whistleblower programs in place that compel the government to take action against corruption and wrong doing. If he ever returns, I hope he gets the maximum penalty allowable.
    Stone was a big fan of Chavez and the Castros. He is conspiracy theorist’s theorist.
    Snowden is just as bad as the faggot Manning.

    1. Whistleblower programs are complete and utter bullshit – trust me I know. You will be punished for whistleblowing. Your life will be destroyed. You might be jailed, lose your job, family and even your life. Don’t do it!!

    2. Government to take action against corruption? Have you been following the news lately with Hillary’s email scandal, the DNC manipulation of the Democratic primaries, and the pay for play with Hillary as Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation? I didn’t see the government taking ANY actions. They snubbed their noses at us Americans and said basically, “So what? What are you gonna do about it?”

      1. Nope. I am a Trump man. Snowden gave away our secrets and ran away to Russia to hide. He should be shot for treason. Supporting Snowden is an ultra liberal cause.

        1. That is true, in the sense that the founding fathers were all liberals who were interested in growing freedom at the expense of an oppressive government. Long live the liberals, eh?

    3. Manning is another one who should be swinging from the gallows. His little caper got alot of Iraqi informants who cooperated with the US military killed as it revealed their identity. Assagne definetely never brought that up when he was promoting himself.

  7. Oh the irony. Both Donald Trump and Edward Snowden are heroes to most RoK posters, and yet Trump would have Snowden executed as a traitor. I’m on Snowden’s side, though I think he may have given away more than was necessary.

    1. Trump isn’t particularly strong on individual liberty and his pals (eg: Senator Jeff Sessions) are rather hostile towards it.
      It’s sadly something that Trump supporters have to accept as he’s the best option available on that, and all, fronts.
      More to the point though, President Trump will be charged with executing the law. The law calls for executing Snowden, irrespective of the merits of his actions, so he might as well embrace having to off him as he’ll be called to do it if the opportunity presents itself.

        1. IMO POTUS Hillary Clinton is what those types fantasize about, and absent Trump she would have effortlessly won the election (and I’d be getting the hell outta ‘murika).
          What most concerns me is that all of Trump’s politician pals are less about individual liberty than even he is.

        2. This is going to turn out just like Brexit…the people will “win”, and Trump will be elected. And then, he rains holy terror down on the ignorant masses. It will be like Obama on steroids. Because there is no other option. The NWO means business, and they will eat at the dog bowl and slobber all over the Kibbles ‘n Bits. And the way they prefer to do that, is to make the brainwashed beta dogs think they got their way. It cucks the fuck out of ’em.
          This is about breaking the will of the enemy. And the enemy is anybody who stands in the way of the NWO. Within one year, most of the Trump backers will be just like most of the Obama backers. “Oh my god, he didn’t stop immigration. He didn’t do what he said he would do. Uh, gee, gosh…” Same shit, different day.
          Until people take control of elections, and kick the Satanic assholes to the curb, the same things will repeat themselves over and over. We all pay for our education, one way or another. It’s like slamming your head against a brick wall, thinking the outcome will somehow be different, and you won’t get brain damage. Not gonna happen.

        3. The best way to take control of elections is to boycott them. I am so sick of these slave conventions. “Oh save us Massa Trump! Save us from the dirty messicans and that ebil hillary!😭”. “Save us Massa Hillary. Save us from the patriarchy and that Donald trumps raycisism!”
          I say these niggers..oops I mean voters get what they deserve. The real crime is that people who mind their own business have their bullshit forced upon them.
          The only way to make it hurt is to stop voting and stop giving them money. But that might mean shooting one of these theives. That used to mean something in this country. Unfortunately, too many people are loyalists and bootlickers with a slave mentality for there to be any real change.

        4. “The only way to make it hurt is to stop voting and stop giving them money.”
          but they will still get elected, just on lesser number of votes. The voter turnout in the US is still on the low side I thought. Its not just voters who get the president they deserve, all other non voting citizens will get the same deal. It might not look that impressive if the president got in with only say 15% of eligible voters voting for him, but you will still get the same congratulatory speeches and the Washington political machine will continue to run.
          As for money, unless the legislation changes to prevent political donations from corporate sponsors, that’s not going to change, and I cant see either side voting to change that. If the wealthy can influence an outcome in their favor they will since the outcome wont ‘hurt’ them. An assassination wont change much but a series of them might and their agenda is made public. They will be painted as deranged or terrorists.

        5. > And then, he rains holy terror down on the ignorant masses.
          You mean Congress rains terror down on the masses?
          You sound a lot like the kikes, spreading such blatant fear mongering propaganda and lies like that. Did your Public Edjewcation skip 7th grade civics, and the most basic understanding on how government powers are allocated?
          Thank you for Correcting the Record regardless. *tips shekel*

        6. I was simply referring to not paying taxes and shooting IRS agents when they come to the door. I don’t advocate assassinations as that violates the non-aggression principle, but EVERYONE has the right to protect themselves against arm robbery, whether it is a violent thug in saggy drawers and a sideways baseball cap or violent thug in a faggoty costume with a shiney gold star.

      1. No. The law also allows a presidential pardon, and that’s something a President Trump should embrace. After all, the good Snowden did far outweighs the bad. Younger voters see this clearly. It’s something that old farts cannot grasp.

        1. Pardons only work if they’re accepted by the recipient and, as the power-tripping liberal SCOTUS has idiotically decided that accepting a pardon = declaring yourself guilty, I suspect there’s a good chance that Snowden wouldn’t accept.

  8. Two things are for sure:
    1. I’m actually gonna see a Gollywood movie;
    2. This is gonna split ROK down the middle.. which is ok, coz we’re men who can debate without getting pissy, right?

  9. I’m surprised that Hollywood allowed this film. I sure as hell hope Stone doesn’t end up ‘disappearing’ or dead like Aaron Russo.

    1. If you were able to think outside the box, you would have have asked the question slightly differently – WHY was it allowed?

  10. Who can doubt that Platoon was not only the greatest war film ever made…[?]

    Having seen many far better war movies, starting with Patton, I can.
    As for Snowden, from folks I know who’ve seen it I’ve only heard that it dragged on far too long and was very “self-serving”.

    1. I actually haven’t looked very hard at Snowden, but he seems like a snowflake who was all in to self-serving his own interests (like the current democrat candidate). The NSA does bad things? Who would have guessed. Maybe he should have resigned out of protest and found other gainful employment instead of undermining national security and running off to Russia.
      He is a traitor, but so are the Clintons. May they all hang.

        1. No mate. I’m the boot.
          Snowden will be forgotten and found dead by “suicide” in the future. Those guys in suits have long memories. Though who cares. Why would anyone want him? If he betrays his own people, why would anyone else trust the contemptous little snowflake?

        2. The fact that you consider yourself “the boot” says a lot. Your kind is what is wrong with this country. Your delusions of grandeur give you the idea that you have the right to stomp other people. But since you dont have the balls to do this yourself, you elect others to do it for you by proxy, and denigrate those that point out the nakedness of your beloved emperor.

        3. Some people do need stomped, though. Being passive little cucks refusing to act is what got us into this mess in the first place. Entire countries have been lost because we wanted to be nice to enemies that have sworn our destruction, while doing nothing to stop them or their allies.
          I don’t consider myself the boot, though. I sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter. Ever since I was a boy I dreamed of soaring over the oilfields dropping hot sticky loads on disgusting foreigners. People say to me that a person being a helicopter is Impossible and I’m fucking retarded but I don’t care, I’m beautiful. I’m having a plastic surgeon install rotary blades, 30 mm cannons and AMG-114 Hellfire missiles on my body. From now on I want you guys to call me “Apache” and respect my right to kill from above and kill needlessly. If you can’t accept me you’re a heliphobe and need to check your vehicle privilege.

        4. “Some people do need stomped, though.” I agree. People who violate the non-aggression principle should be stomped or shot. I was referring to people that feel they have the right to initiate aggression others.
          I think you are so brave for coming out as an attack helicopter. For as long as y’all have been oppressed by ground to air missiles, I am glad to see that you stand up for yourself. This oppression must end.

  11. This is about cucking dissenters…Snowden came out, Snowden was vilified, Snowden is on the run when he should be lauded for “outing” the bad guys. This is about making anybody who chooses to stand up and speak his mind, think twice about it. Do you want your life ruined? Do you want to go against the grain and lose everything? If so, act like Snowden. Try to wake up sleeping fucktards who not only won’t do anything about it you’re successful, but will back the Stazi if they aren’t bright enough to even partially open their hypnotized fucking eyes…duh. Fucking duh, duh, duh, they use this fucking play from the Mindfuck Playbook all the freakin’ time…

  12. I find it alarming that the only place he is able to escape the grasp of the US government is the former home of a regime even more deplorable than the current USA

  13. Just shared your article on my fb page and on my twitter page. Thanks for this. The movie is important, not just for the content snowden revealed, but because Snowden acted in a way all men should act – with integrity, true to principle in the face of imprisonment or death.
    My review and analysis can be found here: https://youtu.be/TYJHguKiQ_4
    Thanks, RoK, and Quintus. Take care.

  14. If Snowden was the real deal, he would’ve even whacked before before he registered his blog. He’s bullshit, probably handled.

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