• Why Snowden the Movie Matters

    October 6, 2016

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: NSA, Post-Constitution America


    I’ve reviewed Oliver Stone’s movie Snowden elsewhere, and it’s well worth seeing just as a movie. But of course the issues brought up by Snowden the man, and Snowden the movie, are more complex than fit into two hours.

    I had this hit home in a recent discussion with a friend who keeps insisting he has nothing to hide in his emails, phone calls, social media, etc., so why should he care if the NSA looks at all that?

    Friend, here’s why:

    NSA surveillance is legal.

    True, as was slavery in the U.S., the Holocaust under Nazi Germany, Apartheid in South Africa and so forth. Laws serve higher purposes. They can be manipulated for evil. That’s why we need checks and balances to protect us.

    Well, there are checks and balances in the system to protect us.

    The king of all checks and balances in this, the Fourth Amendment, has been treated by the government like a used Kleenex.

    As for the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Court (FISA), set up to review government requests for wiretapping, it approved all 1,789 requests submitted to it in 2012. The FBI made 15,229 National Security Letter requests in 2012 on Americans. None of those even require FISA rubber-stamping. And here’s DOJ trying to keep classified a court ruling that says it might have acted unconstitutionally.

    The first FISA ruling ever released in full came from Edward Snowden. Before that, no one outside a small circle inside the government had ever seen one.

    And you know who represents the “suspect” (i.e., you) in front of the FISA court? No one. You don’t even know they’re reviewing you.

    If all the NSA’s activities are legal, why not allow them to be tested openly and unambiguously in public, in front of the Supreme Court. After all, if you’ve done nothing wrong there is nothing to hide. Unfortunately, when Amnesty International tried to bring such a case before the Court, the case was denied because Amnesty could not prove it was subject to monitoring– that was a secret!– and thus was denied standing to even bring the suit.

    Unfettered surveillance violates both the Fourth Amendment protections against search, and the First Amendment protections on the right to peaceably assemble, online in this instance.

    Anyway, whatever, FISA. I’m not doing anything wrong, so why should I care? If you’re doing nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide!

    The definition of “wrong” can change very quickly, especially if you have no way to defend yourself, or even know you’re under suspicion. Are you really, really ready to risk everything on what is right and wrong today staying that way forever? Seems like a fool’s bet, given America’s witch hunts in the 1950s for communists, and Islamophobia today. Things do change.

    Well, I trust Obama on this.

    Good for you. There’ll be a new president soon. You also trust him or her? How about the one after that, and the one after that? Data collected is forever. Trusting anyone with such power is foolish.

    FYI, whether you trust Obama, Trump, Hillary or the next presidents, do remember your personal data is in the hands of the same people that run the TSA, the IRS and the DMV. Do you trust all of them all the time to never make mistakes or act on personal grudges or political biases? Do you believe none of them would ever sell your data for personal profit ever? That they have your information so well protected hackers will never get to it and dump it out onto the Internet?

    How about other governments? The NSA is already sharing your data with, at minimum, British and Israeli intelligence. Those are foreign governments that your American government is informing on you to.

    Distasteful as this all is, it is necessary to keep us safe. It’s for our own good.

    The United States, upholding to our beautiful Bill of Rights, has survived (albeit on a sometimes bumpy road) two world wars, the Cold War and innumerable challenges without a massive, all-inclusive destruction of our civil rights. Keep in mind that the Founders created the Bill of Rights, point-by-point, specifically to address the abuses of power (look up the never-heard-from-again Third Amendment) they experienced under an oppressive British government.

    A bunch of angry jihadis, some real and many imagined, seems a poor reason to change that system. Prior to 9/11 we did not have a mass-scale terror act (by foreigners; American Citizen Timothy McVeigh pulled one off.) Since 9/11 we have not had a mass-scale terror attack. More than 15 years in, we must accept 9/11 was a one-off, an aberration, and cannot be a justification for everything the government wishes to do.

    There is also the question of why, if the NSA is vacuuming up everything, and even sharing that collection abroad, this all needs to be kept secret from the American people. If it is for our own good, the government should be proud to tell us what they are doing for us, instead of being embarrassed when it leaks.

    After all, if you’re not doing anything wrong then you’ve got nothing to hide, right?

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Mitch said...


      Personally…. I resent the crap out of what our government is allowing the NSA and several others do to our rights, individual rights etc.

      The “enforce as they see fit” rule is just plain wrong!!!!!!!
      Which is exactly what they are doing.

      The other day, I was reading an interesting comparison piece between land ownership at the time of Rome, and world wide wealth in 2016.

      Pretty much the exact same thing.
      As a reference,
      Anyone seen ANY current “news” on the Jeffery Epstien island, south of Florida?
      The one Billy Clinton likes to visit?
      The unofficial name of the island…pedophile island.

      Or, closer to home…
      It took me 5 years to get a drug dealing, prostitute peddling, thief, who was running major illegal narcotics across state lines busted.
      When he FINALLY got busted…I did not realize I was getting his wife busted too. And…many others.

      Oh, forgot….he was the county sheriff…. His wife…. The tax collector.

      She embezzled 900k in 8 months. She got 3 years federal.

      He got a pass because they could not risk the press, or the reopening of previous cases.
      ( as a reference, Becareful in Arkansas, I think most of the state operates that way)

      So, does what Snowden did, matter?

      Bet your ass it does.


      10/6/16 2:07 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      “And you know who represents the “suspect” (i.e., you) in front of the FISA court? No one. You don’t even know they’re reviewing you.”

      Yeah? Well next Tuesday, Obama will “review” a set of baseball cards to decide which human being on the planet will be vaporized. No court needed. Moreover, DOD and CIA have their own list, and don nee no stinkin authorization to murder at will.

      Give this abomination a few years and Drone strikes on domeestic targets will become routine. Police are already testing lethal, weaponized drones. It’s only a matter of time.

      Face it. Orwell couldn’t make this shit up. The surveillance state is real, here, alive and well. The next step is 24/7 monitoring of the entire nation, via weaponized..AUTONOMOUS drones utilizing AI. Once that happens.. it’s over. Done. The so called experiment in democracy will be finished. Meanwhile, the DUMBEST COUNTRY ON THE PLANET, ….WILLFULLY…continues to purchase the latest and greatest iphone device for monitoring every human on the planet ever invented..in the billions.

      Dumbest is a massive understatement. One day..it won’t matter if you’ve got nothing to hide. As it stands today, everyone, commits a crime or two, every single day, unwittingly, and wittingly. AI will know. and it will find you and kill you. After all..who will stop it.

      10/6/16 7:00 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      ps.. Add in the Internet of Everything, and your entire life will be spied on by light bulbs, HVAC systems, your refrigerator, toaster, stove, your car, street lighting, shopping isles, and credit cards. The surveillance state will know, via massive banks of quantum computers using AI, every move you make. btw..I wouldn’t laugh if I were you. Even Steven Hawking is worried, notwithstanding Elon Musk. No wonder he wants to get to Mars.


      And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of AUTONOMOUS AI ROBOT LAW ENFORCEMENT.

      10/6/16 7:11 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      ps 2…goddamn I’m glad I won’t be alive to see this world in 20 yrs.. which isn’t that far away. Unfortunately, at the speed to which technology is racing, it might be here in 5.

      10/6/16 7:14 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Dick Cheney, Dick Nixon. There are more Dicks just waiting to fuck with your privacy.

      10/6/16 8:05 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      And Clinton thinks we need more of this spying on everyone, with the cooperation and added help from Silicon Valley. That should sell well given the latest news about Yahoo.

      Oh, never mind, I forgot we aren’t supposed to talk about this sort of thing until AFTER the election. Then we can act all surprised and shit.

      10/6/16 8:16 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      The NSA either lies or it doesn’t have a clue what its people are doing. Either way it’s not to be trusted with absolute power.


      10/6/16 8:20 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Sir, Pitchfork.
      Please remind me not to arbitrarily piss you off.
      And, yes, your points are closer to reality than you would hope…execpt your timeline
      5years is not accurate. A bit shorter than that.

      You brought up a point before, on another story, about Assange. And the possibility of a drone strike on him.
      First, that would be the robot cops you refer to. It would also be the courts of the future.
      I mean why build small, when you get the whole family in 1 second.
      Fire department comes in, pushes the mess in the hole.
      No future pissed off family members to become a problem in the future.

      Second, you do, of course, know WHY they, especially the devil chny, want him dead?
      Take a peek at what was released during the wikileaks state department cables.
      All about the vaccine test in Nigeria. When Haliburton paid off hundreds to keep the “failure” secret.
      The thousands of dead. The thousand more of birth defects.
      Nigeria found out because of wiki leaks. Beheaded everyone involved.
      Issued warrants for genocide for bush and Cheney. No chance of them ever being served but, they made their point.

      Wikileaks exposed all of that.
      Wish they had done it before they let him become VP.

      Besides that, as I stated prior,
      The enforce at the whim justice system is laying the ground work for exactly what you have outlined.
      Unless, of course,
      You get invited to go duck hunting with Cheney.
      Why send a drone, when the personal touch is needed.

      More effective than Hallmark.


      10/6/16 9:24 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      I’m going to have to go with LIES!!!

      If I EVER had an employee that put me on the front page of the BBC, CNN, or anything else,
      Fire them would be the last thing I did to them.


      10/6/16 9:35 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Sir Pitchfork,

      An additional thought…

      Why do you suppose there is such a movement, at the highest levels of government,
      To paint law enforcement is such a horrific light?

      Unless, perhaps, to open the door on “alternative ” law enforcement solutions.
      Contractors, foreign military…. Or perhaps, drones…

      Rough math… 1% of everyone who wears a badge (discounting Arkansas).
      Most cops don’t see color. They see criminals. ( again discounting Arkansas) ( and Louisiana)

      Seems a coordinated effort….perhaps.

      Just a thought.


      10/6/16 10:12 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      It is probably too much trouble to read beyond the 2nd Ammendment when there is beer to be drunk and football to watch

      10/6/16 10:32 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “There’ll be a new president soon. You also trust him or her? How about the one after that, and the one after that? Data collected is forever. Trusting anyone with such power is foolish.”

      We are one false flag away from waving our democracy -what’s left of it- GOODBYE. IF a “terrorist” (Trump supporter) burned Trump Tower, the public outcry to defend US would be pivotal in the election. Hell, it worked when the Reichstag burned. http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/burns.htm

      10/6/16 11:40 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Mind if I change a word/phrase in your comment?

      Reichstag…..world trade center….

      Ask any questions about Tower 7 lately?


      10/6/16 11:49 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Kyzi Orda,

      For the record, I really tried to not be impulsive and respond to your comment, I really did try to curb my natural impulse of a vanishing breed of humor…called…

      But,…. I failed.

      I prefer wine, thank you.
      Don’t much care for football.

      And…I can count at least to 5…
      Even when drinking wine at the symphony.

      Stereotypes are such a pain in the butt. And…usually…VERY wrong!!!

      Btw…. How is Kazakhstan?

      That is your alias?. Yes?
      Beautiful city.
      Very nice people.


      10/6/16 12:24 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Mitch, I’m with Pitch when deciding if they is all incompetent or liars. Louie Freeh, Slam Dunce George Tenet, the Smirking Chimp George Bush. Need I say more?

      10/6/16 12:59 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      10/6/16 1:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Say on….

      Please don’t forget the UN nuts, state,( I’m sure Peter has some to say there)
      A few others…
      Few million others.

      Have you seen what the UN did to Haiti? The outbreak?

      It would seen that right and wrong no longer apply.

      Just wish the zombies would arrive soon. Clear,definite solutions to them.


      10/6/16 1:08 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile, the WDC elites think the US is the DUMBEST COUNTRY ON THE PLANET too.

      “The federal bureaucrats, think tank leaders, and congressional staff members they surveyed, Ginsberg said in an interview with VICE News, “have no idea what Americans think and they don’t care. They think Americans are stupid and should do what they are told.”


      They’re right. Except..for me of course. 🙂

      10/6/16 1:23 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitch ” interesting review in Arts and Letters Daily about two books on Marx. All ideologiists start with, “I think you should behave and think as such for the glory of the human race”, to, You WILL behave and think as I say for the glory of the human race.” Get ready for czarina Clinton’s fiats and edicts unless Assange has some devastating info on Hillary- not that the public cares anyway. All poling stations should install a cattle chute leading to the voting machine.

      10/6/16 1:59 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Question #1 … If you have nothing to hide, what is the problem? ?#2 Bonus ?… Why has Israel and the U.S. not joined the International Criminal Court ?

      10/6/16 2:24 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Snowden is a Hero

      10/6/16 2:25 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Snowden’s revelation is one from The Book. See item #4


      10/6/16 2:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch. said...



      Now that article really disturbing.

      And I was having a really good day, walking on whistling a happy tune, looking at the pretty flowers,
      Just like we all are supposed to do.


      10/6/16 4:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Mitch, sorry to intrude on your interlude, but there is a storm coming:


      10/6/16 4:48 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      I saw that one.
      Made go looking for my rose colored glasses.
      Could not find them….had to settle for wine.

      Just remember….
      Just because it looks like a plan, conspiracy, does not make it so.
      It is our perception of the information that makes it so…not the information in and of itself.

      Sorry…. That smart ass thing of me sneaking off the leash again.


      10/6/16 5:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Looks like the Comey FBI will have to face the “Hillary CLINTON no criminal intent” defense BEFORE the election. CARE TO COMMENT, HILLARIOUS?


      10/6/16 5:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Been at the kool-aide again?
      No criminal intent, my ass!
      Seen the story yet about the FBI report, referring to the missing boxes of emails??

      As for the “new” NSA leak….everyone wants a movie.

      However, here’s an abstract thought for you.

      The crazy little nut that shot up San Bernardino with her husband.
      Interesting how her past exploits as a terrorist, only came to light after a manual search of her past.
      Prior, going through the databases she was clean.

      Here’s the thought…
      It is not that difficult to REPLACE information once a party has access.
      Why steal the information, when you can input what you would like, instead ?


      10/6/16 6:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Oh, this is so chickens¤¤t…

      I do think obummer is thinking Trump has a chance of winning….
      What better way to taint a president.

      Besides….we will soon have Another 102 fine upstanding citizens free to roam as they will.



      10/6/16 6:48 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      bartender… three shots of the best Tequila you have and a 6 pack of Corona to go. Damn.. after today’s input from this site.. I need a 24 hour interlude of alcohol induced sleep and dumb fucked brain cells.

      10/6/16 7:43 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Sir Pitchfork,

      Please remember, don’t drink and drive.
      Further, drinking into coma, is not a true solution.
      Fun, if your in the right company, however, you will still be called upon for witty commentary in the morning.


      10/6/16 8:42 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Mitch said…

      “Further, drinking into coma, is not a true solution.”

      Well Mitch, that all depends on what the problem is…however, the moment you find a “true solution”…call me. In the meantime, I have a shed roof to install, a power steering pump to install, a breaker box to install, and a copper air line system to install. That should keep me busy till beerthirty, at which time I’ll contemplate your concern, tomorrows projects, and the news of the day while downing my first shot of vodka. By the time I finish my last beer, I will have solved every paradox in the Universe, built a better mousetrap, and proved to my wife what an utter genius I am…in my own mind. What better way to finish a day.

      10/7/16 10:19 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      10/7/16 12:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Sir Pitchfork…

      Ok…my wife and I are in total agreement,…

      I have met my match in the smartass category.

      We will be napping, I will be drinking my choice of tasty , frosty, highly alcoholic beverages,
      Flying home today.

      Wonderful trip. Got a lot of major must do’s done.

      Then HOME, to the ranch. Cattle, sheep( yes,I know your going after that one BIGTIME!…great money though), horses, fences, edging …and break out the really good wine.
      I have to ask though….

      HOW did you get roped into a ‘honey-do’ list like that????…. On a FRIDAY??????

      I am quite sure your guy executive ordered against things like that!

      My true solution….. Hope for zombies?… Perhaps???

      I have already seen a riot up close and personal… It is SO not any fun….

      I saw, personally, the complete F¤¤K UP at Katrina.

      My son, at age 6, could have planned that response better.
      And it has only gotten a lot worse.

      I believe, picking a fight with the American people is a stupid, poorly planned objective.
      Just no winning that fight.

      Yet, officials, continue to attempt to start that fight.

      So, hence, there has to be a plan for when the officials…are successful in picking that fight.

      That is the part that concerns me.

      So…….zombies???…or….perhaps aliens.( though why bother) ..or maybe a general uprising of the tree huggers….combined with the we don’t wear leather, and plastics are bad for you crowd…

      With a substantial force of the airport, “please accept this flower in the name of the we love cats church”

      Have fun with your list…

      Leaving the land of a lot of really Scared people. Everyone is looking over their shoulders.
      Wonder why?

      Can anyone say….’ Immigration policies’???????


      10/7/16 12:15 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Since the 1% don’t care about our privacy, maybe they will care about privacy when it affects their private bank accounts:


      10/7/16 4:23 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Mitch said:

      “Ok…my wife and I are in total agreement,…”

      HOLY MOTHER OF MARRIAGE!! Sir Mitch. I congratulate you on solving the most perplexing paradox in the universe. I’m nominating you for this years Battle of the Sex’s award for your service to mankind…and I do mean “man” kind. I’ll add a chapter to my new book..”How to keep your testicles from being ripped off”. I’ll title it…Agree to Everything!!

      In the meantime, may one of Mark Twain’s quotes bless your pee picking heart.

      10/7/16 6:07 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Ok ok.. the point of Peter’s latest post is why Oliver’s latest film…Snowden… matters.

      Matters?? Fuck. You are talking to the choir. I don’t know who visits your site without comment but what I DO know is me, and some of the regular commentators here, are aligned with your train of thought. Simple as that. In that regard, and the connection to Snowden at this site, all I can add is.. if you lived through the time of Edward Snowden’s gift to the world, the movie is a footnote in the history I want to pass to my great grandchildren.s grandchildren. Hopefully, they will live in an age when real history hasn’t been deleted by a click of a mouse.

      10/7/16 6:26 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile, after completing my days tasks, and having downed two shots of vodka while contemplating the day’s events of interest to me, it behooves me to fucking laugh my ass off at the hubris of John Kerry to condemn Russian assaults on Syrian targets as “war crimes”, which they surely are. But that’s not the point. Of which.. I’m sure you get my drift. Kettle..meet black.

      10/7/16 6:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch. said...



      Notice how they set aside a mere billion for future lawsuits?
      Think they are expecting a couple problems?
      Personally, I don’t think a billion is anywhere near enough.


      10/7/16 6:52 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Sir Pitchfork,

      It was easy,
      She was my best friend for 10 years before dating, and then marriage.
      Had all the knock down drag out fights over those years.
      And let me tell ya, there were a few….damn….insurance companies should have been involved.


      10/7/16 6:57 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Your right,
      Back on track…

      There is another reason why ‘Snowden ‘ matters….

      It truly shows what happens to whistle blowers in the United States.
      Despite what the “laws” say about not targeting whistle blowers.
      Snowden knew he would be targeted. Knew he had to go to a foreign power to hide.
      He knew the “rule of law” would be set aside to come and kill him.


      10/7/16 7:02 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      I posted a response,
      It disappeared…

      It was mellow too…


      Interesting they set aside a Billion dollars for future lawsuits….
      Seems a billion is no where near enough.


      10/7/16 7:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Mr Kerry would do a great deal better,…

      If he was not smoking ” pot”….laced with his favorite other narcotic.


      10/7/16 7:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      As if the rest of the world didn’t think Amerika was fucking nuts, lunatic Trump makes a sexist comment 11 years ago and THAT’s really what disturbs you?

      10/7/16 8:16 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Hey, Killary made comments a week ago….and no one really cares.
      Another mark of the death of journalism.

      10/7/16 8:25 PM | Comment Link

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