On January the first the documentary CITIZENFOUR by Laura Poitras and others about the revelations of Snowden started in local cinemas in Austria. I had to wait until the 2nd to be able to watch it due to family ties. This post can be considered a review of the movie of some kind and a suggestion whether you should watch it or not.
*attention spoiler* you should!
The documentary starts off by Laura Poitras being contacted by an unknown source within the intelligence community of the US. In that respect the movie is chronologically accurate by painting the picture as it happened in reality. Poitras introduces William Binney, a whistleblower in the early 2000s who leaked information about NSA programmes that were probably the stepping stone for the projects revealed by Snowden. The largest middle part shows the preparation for the leakage of the material that has been published by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill in the Guardian. Poitras shows intermediate parts of hearings with intelligence agency officials denying and lying to courts by saying that the NSA does not intercept and save millions of communication data of US citizens. It paints a dreadful picture of world in which the people and country can not believe a single word certain officials, organisations and agencies spread.
a person like you and me
The middle part of the movie also shows a lot about Snowden himself and his motives. It shows a very humble but morally strong person that felt obligated to act the way he did. To me this was the most impressive part. If you followed the revelations and newspaper articles then you already know most about the technical side, what happened and which programmes are used to hold the whole world hostage but the interesting part, at least to me, was to see Snowden himself talking and explaining his case and why he felt the way he did. Government officials all over the world denunciated Snowden and left him alone while he did the world a great service. Some people claim he had egoistical motives and some others think him as a traitor and even file lawsuits against the creators of CITIZENFOUR, as reported earlier, while those are the people who are hunted by the STASI and Third Reich 2.0.
the (!happy) end
This brings me to the last part of the documentary. It shows how the world, the media and even the implicated people had to react. While the world was appalled at first about the US and the topic exploded in the media and kept the printing presses occupied the people living in this world do not seem to care. The most abominable result is that Greenwald and Poitras both do not dare to go back to the US. Greenwald is staying in Brazil for the time being and Poitras sought refuge in Germany. Not to mention that Snowden himself is on the run and currently somewhere in Russia.
Like mentioned earlier the documentary is not only about the NSA leaks by Snowden but also about Snowden himself. That means that even if you followed the media closely and know loads about what happened in the world you definitely should watch the documentary because it gives Snowden a face, a personality and tells a little more about him as a person. In Austria the Filmcasino in Vienna still shows the film at least until January the 11th.
opinions and abstrusities
When you think about how the story ended for Greenwald, Poitras and Snowden and you thought my comparison of the US with the third reich was over the top then think again. A journalist who is critical about a government does not dare to travel into a country that he published unwanted articles about. Furthermore his partner was held in detention for nine hours on an airport of an allied country just to intimidate him.
Poitras moved to Germany in order to avoid prosecution just because she helped Greenwald and Snowden in making the public aware of the illegal activities of the NSA. In the end she is not sure when she will be able to return safely to the US.
And of course there is Snowden himself, a person who felt morally responsible to act the way he did. He not only had the flee the country he was born in but also only the nemesis of his home country assisted him. He received a temporary visa for Russia because he was stranded on an airport in Russia – the US revoked his passport. Snowden asked a total of 21 countries in the world for political asylum but he only received two maybe’s and 19 no’s or no answer. Imagine that a guy tells the kids in the playground that one of the kids is playing unfair and snooping around everywhere and they repay him be declining him help. That shows how spineless all the figureheads in the world are, all just a bunch of wimpy marionettes who kneel before the US. Only Putin granted Snowden a stay of one year. Thats probably just due to the fact that Putin wanted to spit in Obama’s face. I am no friend of Russian politics nor Putin but in that matter i do not care and i am glad that at least someone helped Snowden out. To think that Obama even became the Nobel peace price – i bet if possible Alfred Nobel would get up from his grave march to the white house, slap Obama in the face and take away the Nobel price.
Combine the fact that critical thinking people, journalists, people who do a service for the public are prosecuted by a system that seems to be beyond all legal boundaries, and the drone attacks, wars started by the US, pinpoint killings of unwanted people around the World, invading other countries, etc the list goes on, and you will find way too many similarities to the Third Reich. It is tragic that we have 2015, we landed on an astroid, we explore the universe we even recreated certain elements that were gone from the planet and yet we still have regimes around that are like systems 70 to 75 years ago.