Jan 27, 2015

A World of Shadows: CITIZEN FOUR, Edward Snowden, and Charlie Hebdo

(These reflections were taken from previous posting, which was a little too long with too many themes.)

The world is not in a good state at the moment at this beginning of 2015, and I certainly don't wish to be a prophet of doom. I trust as always in the deeply hidden mystery of Divine Providence, ever there, ever watching, always guiding, always supporting - in the shadows, in the silences, in our doubts and fears - the loving face of the Divine leading us through darkness into the glorious light. 

I just watched Citizen Four, the extraordinary, chilling documentary about Edward Snowden by Loira Poitras.This one is also not to be missed. Scary and horrifying to see it all layed out there, the full extent of the surveillance machine aimed against us. The film helped me immeasurably to come to terms with the enigma of Edward Snowden, and as I feel about good Pope Francis, I continue to believe in Snowden's integrity and courage, despite some very alarming red flags! There are suspicions in some quarters that he was a CIA plant from the get go, dishing out carefully controlled and selected revelations as a way of protecting the truly damaging secrets. A disinformation agent engaging in 'controlled dissent.' Hard to believe, however, than any one human being would make such a sacrifice, forced to hide away in a foreign country, cut off from family and friends with little hope of returning home. Why has this radical point of view gained any credibility? Because of the strange linkage of journalist Glen Greenwald and documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras with billionare owner of Ebay (and Pay Pal), Pierre Omidyar. This was all the more disturbing when it was revealed that Omidyar has close ties with the NSA, the very institution that Snowden was supposedly exposing. Furthermore, Omidyar was funding some of the same Ukrainian NGO's the US was funding in its (successful) attempt to overthrow  the pro Russian Ukrainian government. This has led to suspicions that he was funding on behalf of the US government and not simply acting independently.  Suspicious indeed. Now this billionaire business man with close ties to US intelligence, surveillance and government essentially owns the 'secrets of Edward Snowden'. Not a propitious ending to this story at all and it leaves a very sour taste in the mouth. The subsequent posturings and rationalizations of Greenwald have not helped the case either. The documentary, however,  takes us right into that famous Hong Kong hotel room two years ago when Greenwald and Poitras first met Snowden, recording history in the making. I felt the film revealed a genuine, honest, thoughtful idealist, who seemed truly pressured and in fear for his own safety.  This was not an acting performance we were treated to, the man seemed really under threat - no matter how the affair has ended up - and it is certainly not ended yet. But the mystery and enigma is shrouded in shadows. Who is the real Edward Snowden, living in exile in Moscow - with no uncertain future ahead of him, 'the most wanted man in the world'? Let the reader decide. 

Here's a worthwhile article asking the right questions:

Keeping Secrets: Pierre Omidyar, Glenn Greenwald and the privatization of Snowden’s leaks.

Edward Snowden has popularly been compared to major whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg,Chelsea Manning and Jeffrey Wigand. However, there is an important difference in the Snowden files that has so far gone largely unnoticed. Whistleblowing has traditionally served the public interest. In this case, it is about to serve the interests of a billionaire starting a for-profit media business venture. This is truly unprecedented. Never before has such a vast trove of public secrets been sold wholesale to a single billionaire as the foundation of a for-profit company.

Here is FBI whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds, website, BOILING FROGS:, which contains the most searching critique of the Edward Snowden affair available online. Since Sibel is a noteworthy whistle blower herself, her criticism has considerable merit and deserves to be taken seriously. I just can't go quite as far as she does in dismissing Snowden as as a fake from the get go. Sorry, Sibel, he seems like the real thing to me (but then what do I know), but he handed over all controls and documents to Greenwald and Poitras. Are they the 'villains' in this story? 

In the interests of fairness, here is Laura Poitras explaining her own motivations and the many grave risks she took in making the documentary. It is stirring stuff.

My own intuitions are with Edward Snowden as a genuine hero for the age. 

I see I've babbled on enough in this posting about too many disparate subjects, but for any readers interesting in exploring the background investigations going on about the horrendous Paris shootings, here is the website of former secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts (Paul Craig Roberts:Institute for Public Policy), who is now a fierce critic of US foreign policy. He frequently publishes updates from his French contacts on the Charlie Hebdo affair - and the number of alarming red flags surrounding it and the glaring holes in the official story. I kept my distance from all of the mass hysteria, the marching in the streets, the arms joined by some of the worst offenders of free speech in the political world. It just seemed too suspicious to me. However, I was moved by the solidarity of the 'masses' in the streets of Paris, joining hands across religious and ideological lines. Was this, indeed,  a false flag event, as many are suggesting? Circumstantial evidence seems to point as much in this direction, and to various security agencies (unnamed),  as it does towards the two (conveniently) assassinated radical Islamic brothers. Were they set up as patsies beforehand, with a trail of incriminating actions they might have been led into by double agents? Fodder for a great spy novel. I would say it's about 50/50 at the moment, but it does all have a very fishy smell. However,  this is food for a future posting. 

Not a very happy or uplifting way to end a new year posting, but then it has been a shocking beginning to 2015. So here is a great photo of our favorite, gay friendly Super Model, River Viiperi! Looking very sexy and sassy in white!