Snowden Festival

Gonna have to get me a pair of those frameless rectangular Snowden-style eyeglasses.


Last Friday was a great Snowden Festival.

In the morning, i watched Laura Poitras’ 2014 documentary Citizenfour.  In the afternoon, i saw Oliver Stone’s 2016 movie Snowden.

Didn’t really learn anything from either film since i’ve been an avid follower of Snowdeniana since the shit hit the fan in June 2013 and have read countless articles on him and watched clips of several of his Moscow interviews.

The movie was fluffed up what with all the focus on Snowden’s relationship with his girlfriend (who’s now living with him in Moscow) and that silly bit with the Rubik’s cube at the end.  But still, there was one brief moment that was worth the price of admission:  the movie included a video clip of James Clapper’s infamous lie to the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013 in which he denied that the NSA was collecting information on Americans.  I’d read all about this, but had not had the pleasure of seeing him sit there squirming as he lied.

But on March 12, there was no evidence that Clapper was lying.  Oh no, that didn’t come until the following June when the Washington Post printed the first batch of Snowden’s purloined NSA files and, for the first time in the history of the agency, made it impossible for it to lie its way out of claims made by whistleblowers and the questions of congressmen.

Which left poor Clapper sitting there with his lies fresh in everyone’s memory, so he came up a few days later with his hilarious “least untruthful” defense, leaving many of us to wonder whether if saying “No” when the truthful answer was “Yes” was the “least untruthful” answer, what the most untruthful answer might have been.

The Post was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for its revelations, and i do have to applaud it for waiting a decent time after getting the Pulitzer to call for the drawing and quartering on the White House lawn of the man who’d made its prize possible.

Do we live in ironic times or what?  Ummm, naw, that’s not irony but rather just plain hypocrisy.  Click on this link to Glenn Greenwald’s  breathtaking article skewering the Post in The Intercept.


Meanwhile, on another front our loathsome candidates for President seem to be focusing their campaigns on exposing each other’s reptilian behavior.  I call on one of my artist friends to create a graphic showing them facing each other with snake tongues extended.

Image copied from


And to be objective, i do have to point out that Trump is way ahead in the Greatest Liar competition.

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  1. Rick C.
    Posted 25 September 2016 at 10:59 | Permalink

    I saw the movie Friday night. Nicely done, but I agree, I found myself asking several times, “why all this focus on girlfriend/personal life?” Perhaps to make him more sympathetic, as in “look at the life this man deliberately left behind, in order to get the truth out,” etc.

    For me, the part of the film that sticks out the most is when Snowden realizes that much of the surveillance has nothing to do with “terrorism and national security,” but simply a way to gather personal details for US diplomats to use as “leverage” against both foe and friend. Not that I’m too shocked to learn that, upon reflection, but still. Really? Do we have to be that sleazy?

    The Post should have to return the Prize. Period. As the article points out–and the movie makes clear as well–Snowden just made the material available. He didn’t tell the papers what to publish. They made that decision on their own… They could have simply not published it and turned him in if they thought of him, at the time, they way they portray him in their editorial. Just incredible that they would attack *him* for what *they* did. Sounds like a particular current public figure… The journalists themselves must be howling at their own editorial department… although perhaps discretely. I mean, would you think that the company had your back, going forward? Wow.

    • Posted 25 September 2016 at 11:15 | Permalink

      Thanks for a comment so eloquent that it makes me think i shoulda got you to write the post.

  2. Rick C.
    Posted 25 September 2016 at 13:56 | Permalink

    Ha, Matte no, not at all. It’s easier to comment than to compose original material myself. 🙂 And there’s so much I didn’t know, I’m embarrassed to say, that I learned from the film and in your post. Of course I was aware of the gross outline of the story, and a few of the details, but I found myself thinking that I should have paid more attention… The “least untruthful” for example. Unbelievable. Orwell would be proud.

    Anyway, I’ll have to see if I can locate Citizenfour to rent…

    • Posted 25 September 2016 at 15:03 | Permalink

      The only reason i knew much about it is that i have been a vociferous critic of the NSA for a good many years and have been tracking the accusations of various whistleblowers, so of course i was all over Snowden the minute he surfaced. The movie tries to tell the whole story of his life while the documentary is almost exclusively about the Hong Kong meeting. Snowden has made a point of saying that he has no acting skills, but to me he came across as even more sympathetic in the documentary. You can certainly rent it, but i found it for free, i think here: I recommend it.

  3. David Ogden
    Posted 13 October 2016 at 07:35 | Permalink

    After watching Citizenfour when it was released, we were disappointed in the Oliver Stone film. After watching the real deal, the dramatization came up wanting.

    • Posted 13 October 2016 at 07:50 | Permalink

      I agree that the documentary was more enjoyable than the dramatization, but think it’s not entirely fair to compare them on any other basis since the documentary was focused entirely on the Hong Kong interviews.

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