This is a re-distribution of the blog-commentary published on June 8, 2015, now that a movie has been released chronicling this advocate, Edward Snowden; his life story and impact. The movie is powerful … in dramatizing the risk the man endured and the impact that this one person fostered on his homeland, all in pursuit of the Greater Good.
The movie portrays a consistent theme of a Whistleblower.
The movie is directed by renowned film director Oliver Stone. See the trailer-preview of the movie here and the ENCORE of the blog-commentary below:
VIDEO Movie Trailer – SNOWDEN – Official Trailer – https://youtu.be/QlSAiI3xMh4
Published on Apr 27, 2016 – Academy Award®-winning director Oliver Stone, who brought Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK to the big screen, tackles the most important and fascinating true story of the 21st century. Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.
- Category – Entertainment
- License – Standard YouTube License
Go Lean Commentary
Edward Snowden: Friend or Foe?
What is not debatable is the fact that he has been impactful. Yes, one man has made a difference.
The publishers of the book Go Lean…Caribbean recognize the contributions that Edward Snowden has made to the discussions of democratic principles: privacy versus security. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU seeks to empower a security apparatus for the Caribbean region. The issues of data monitoring and eavesdropping will be a big consideration here as well. We thank Mr. Snowden for bringing many of these issues to the fore; as the Go Lean roadmap also seeks to employ leading edge technologies to interdict domestic and foreign threats that may imperil Caribbean societal engines – without an “abuse of power”. We therefore want to study the dramatic events of this episode so as to apply best-practices in the formation of our own administration.
See the following news article (and VIDEO in the Appendix below) that summarizes the Snowden drama into 8 lessons:
Title: The Snowden Effect: 8 Things That Happened Only Because Of The NSA Leaks
One year ago Thursday, one of the most consequential leaks of classified U.S. government documents in history exploded onto the world scene: The first story based on documents from former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden was published. Americans finally knew the spy agency was sucking up virtually all of the data about who they called and when.
What followed was a torrent of articles based on the Snowden documents, as well as political and diplomatic reaction. Public debate was transformed by a new level of knowledge about the NSA — which Snowden himself said was mission accomplished. And in some modest ways Congress, companies and other countries also took concrete action. Here are the most consequential reactions to Snowden’s leaks.
1. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had to admit he lied to Congress.
Three months before the Snowden leaks began, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked the nation’s top intelligence official if the NSA collected data on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans.
“No, sir,” Clapper replied. “Not wittingly.”
By that point, of course, the NSA had quite wittingly been running a massive bulk telephone metadata collection program for years. The government had repeatedly asked a secret surveillance court for permission to do so, and it deemed every American’s phone record “relevant” to terrorism in the process.
Wyden fumed in secret about Clapper’s lie — but felt he could not reveal it because the metadata collection program was classified. That all changed after the publication of the first story on June 5, 2013, based off a Snowden leak.
Days later, Clapper gave the most halfhearted, or perhaps least forthcoming, admission that he had lied: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.”
2. The House passed a bill (ostensibly) meant to stop bulk collection of phone metadata.
Americans were furious about the NSA’s sweeping phone metadata collection program. Even the man who wrote the original Patriot Act, Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner, said the program went too far.
So last month the House passed a bill that its sponsors said would end bulk collection. Whether it actually does is a matter of dispute, since the White House and the spy agencies appear to have stripped out many of its toughest provisions. But its passage is nonetheless a clear signal that nobody in Congress wants to look like they’re doing nothing about the NSA.
3. A federal judge said the NSA phone surveillance program is unconstitutional.
In December, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon issued a ruling in a lawsuit against the NSA program that said its technology was “almost-Orwellian” and that James Madison “would be aghast.”
Because other judges in other districts have found differently — one in Manhattan dismissed an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit citing the threat of terrorists’ “bold jujitsu” — the program still stands. And it had previously been approved, though behind closed doors, by the special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But with Leon’s ruling on the books, the program could eventually wind up before the Supreme Court.
4. Tech companies finally got serious about privacy.
Big tech players had been paying lip service for years to the idea that they protect their customers’ privacy. But after the Snowden revelation that the NSA was accessing company servers via its PRISM program, privacy suddenly became a very tangible good. Cloud providers stand to lose $35 billion over the next three years in business with foreign customers afraid of storing their data with U.S. companies.
So the companies are responding by adding encryption measures such as Transport Layer Security. Google even announced on Tuesday that it is testing a new extension for the Chrome browser that could make encrypting email easier.
5. Britain held its first-ever open intelligence hearing.
If you thought intelligence oversight was weak in the United States, you won’t believe how it works with our closest ally. The powerful British spy agencies MI5 and GCHQ had never faced a public hearing in front of Parliament until Snowden’s stories dropped.
The November hearing was hardly confrontational. But it was a step forward for a country that has generally reacted to the Snowden leaks with little more than a shrug. And that step matters for Americans as well: In April, The Intercept revealed that the GCHQ had secretly asked for “unsupervised access” to the NSA’s data pools.
6. Germany opened an investigation into the tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.
The revelation that the NSA was monitoring the German chancellor’s cell phone came as a surprise to her — and to Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Merkel was so outraged that she reportedly compared the surveillance to that of the Stasi, the former East German spy agency. (And she would know, having grown up in East Germany.)
On Wednesday, GermanFederalProsecutorHaraldRangeannounced that he is opening an investigation into the monitoring of Merkel’s phone calls. The investigation is proof positive that the Snowden leaks have frayed some U.S. diplomatic relations, but also that people the world over are starting to take surveillance seriously.
7. Brazil scotched a $4 billion defense contract with Boeing.
In another example of soured relations abroad, Brazil gave a massive fighter jet contract to Saab instead of the American company Boeing. Opinions varied as to how much that had to do with Snowden’s leaks, with one government source telling Reuters that he “ruined it for the Americans.” One analyst believed, however, that the Boeing jet simply cost too much.
The jet aside, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was clearly steamed, taking to the podium at the U.N. General Assembly to denounce the surveillance on her. Snowden’s leaks also helped propel the passage of an Internet bill of rights meant to protect privacy in the South American nation.
8. President Barack Obama admitted there would be no surveillance debate without Snowden.
In a major speech in January, Obama said he was “not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or his motivations.” But he essentially acknowledged that the roiling, yearlong debate over surveillance would not have happened without him.
“We have to make some important decisions about how to protect ourselves and sustain our leadership in the world, while upholding the civil liberties and privacy protections that our ideals — and our Constitution — require,” Obama said.
The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court also nodded toward the “considerable public interest and debate” that Snowden’s leaks created. And even Clapper acknowledged, “It’s clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen.”
The surveillance court finally started publicly posting some filings from its major cases. And in further acknowledgement of the need for a debate, the NSA and other agencies have posted declassified files to a new intelligence Tumblr — revealing for the first time aside from Snowden’s leaks documentary evidence of the inner workings of mass surveillance.
Source: Huffington Post Online News Source; posted June 5, 2015; retrieved June 7, 2015 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/edward-snowden-nsa-effect_n_5447431.html
An important consideration related to Mr. Snowden is the priority on human/civil rights. The motive for mass surveillance from the US Patriot Act was national security, but in its execution, it became abusive to human and civil rights. That is the formula for tyranny! Yet the authorities refused to “stop, drop and roll”; there was no remediation.
The Patriot Act went into effect in 2001 (effective for 4 years), then re-authorized in 2005 and 2011 (for 4 years only) with little debate. But thanks to one man, Edward Snowden, the 2015 renewal was stalled, debated, re-visited, re-considered and eventually defeated. People asked questions, challenged disclosures, protested and resolved … to do better.
One man … made a difference!
This one man impacted his country … and the whole world.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke; 1729 – 1797; an Irish statesman, member of the British Parliament and supporter of the American Revolution.
Edmund Burke! Edward Snowden! These two men – one from history and another of contemporary times – have more in common than what may have been obvious. Another expression Edmund Burke is credited for, is perhaps more apropos:
“People crushed by laws, have no hope but to evade power. If the laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to the law; and those who have most to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous”.
There is now a new security monitoring legislative provision! Credit or not, this is a direct impact of the actions of Edward Snowden! This law allows for security monitoring, without the privacy violations. (The USA Freedom Act was passed on June 2, 2015 with a new expiration of 2019; however, Section 215 of the law was amended to stop the NSA from continuing its mass phone data collection program.). This end-product is better all around. In fact, “a White House investigation found that the prior NSA program may have never stopped a single terrorist attack”. This new provision is an elevation for society.
Like Edward Snowden’s advocacy, the prime directive of the book Go Lean…Caribbean is to elevate society, but instead of impacting America, the roadmap focus is the Caribbean. In fact, the declarative statements are as follows:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant societal engines again foreign and domestic threats.
- Improvement Caribbean governance – with appropriate checks-and-balances – to support these engines.
Edward Snowden is hereby recognized as a role model that the Caribbean can emulate. (He disclosed that telephone data for one Caribbean member-state, the Bahamas, was also being collected and analyzed by the NSA). He has provided a successful track record of forging change, resisting the “abuse of power”, managing crises to successful conclusions and paying forward the benefits for a tyranny-free society to all peoples; see his letter in the Appendix. The Go Lean book relates that Caribbean member-states do have a tyrannical past, considering examples of Cuba (236), Haiti (238), and the Dominican Republic (306).
The book posits that one person, despite their field of endeavor, can make a difference in the Caribbean, and its impact on the world; that there are many opportunities where one champion, one advocate, can elevate society. In this light, the book features 144 different advocacies, so there is inspiration for the “next” Edward Snowden or Edmund Burke to emerge and excel right here at home in the Caribbean. We need vanguards and sentinels against the dreaded “abuse of power”.
The roadmap specifically encourages the region, to lean-in to open advocacy with these specific community ethos, strategies, tactics, and implementations:
|Community Ethos – Security Principles – Privacy vs Public Protection||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Security Principles – Whistleblower Protection||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Security Principles – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Security Principles – Intelligence Gathering||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Minority Equalization||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Intellectual Property||Page 31|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good||Page 37|
|Strategy – Vision – Confederate all 30 Member-states||Page 45|
|Strategy – Mission – Enact a Security Apparatus Against Threats||Page 45|
|Strategy – Mission – Protect Homeland with Anti-crime Measures||Page 45|
|Anatomy of Advocacies – Examples of Individuals Who Made Impact||Page 122|
|Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Defense / Homeland Security Pact||Page 127|
|Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices||Page 134|
|Planning – Lessons from East Germany – Bad Checks-and-Balances||Page 139|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance||Page 168|
|Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract||Page 170|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Leadership||Page 171|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice||Page 177|
|Advocacy – Ways to Remediate and Mitigate Crime||Page 178|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Homeland Security||Page 180|
|Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Terrorism||Page 181|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering & Analysis||Page 182|
|Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology||Page 197|
|Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights||Page 220|
The Caribbean region wants a more optimized security apparatus.
The region wants to mitigate human rights and civil rights abuses; in general all “abuse of power”.
This book posits that “bad actors” – even tyrants – will emerge to exploit inefficient economic, security and governing models. Early in the book, the pressing need to streamline protections – for citizens and institutions – was pronounced in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12), with these opening statements:
x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign.
xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including … forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.
The Go Lean book explicitly acknowledges that optimizing the needs for security, justice and privacy are not easy; they require strenuous effort; heavy-lifting. There needs to be a better balance of public protection versus privacy concerns. Balance? That is the quest of the CU/Go Lean roadmap: an optimized society with better checks-and-balances.
Other subjects related to civil/human rights checks-and-balances for the region have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentary, as sampled here:
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5304||Mitigating the Eventual ‘Abuse of Power’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4809||Using Surveillance to Interdict Americans Who Aided ISIS|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4447||Abuse of Power Example: Ferguson-Missouri biased cops & courts|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4360||Dreading the American ‘Caribbean Basin Security Initiative’|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3881||Intelligence Agencies to Up Cyber Security Cooperation|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1554||Status of Forces Agreement = Security Pact|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=960||NSA records all phone calls in Bahamas, according to Snowden|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=535||Remembering and learning from Boston|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=341||American Human Rights Leaders Slams Caribbean Poor Record|
With a heightened focus on balanced justice institutions and the participation of many advocates on many different paths for progress, the Caribbean can truly become a better place to live, work and play. 🙂
Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!
Appendix – Edward Snowden Letter – June 5, 2015 – “This is the power of an informed public”
Simple truths can change the world.
Two years ago today, in a Hong Kong hotel room, three journalists and I waited nervously to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been collecting records of nearly every phone call in the United States.
Though we have come a long way, the right to privacy remains under attack. Join me in standing up for our rights: Tell President Obama to log off.
Last month, the NSA’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts, and it was disowned by Congress. And, after a White House investigation found that the program never stopped a single terrorist attack, even President Obama ordered it terminated.
This is because of you. This is the power of an informed public.
Ending mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen. Yet while we have reformed this one program, many others remain.
We need to push back and challenge the lawmakers who defend these programs. We need to make it clear that a vote in favor of mass surveillance is a vote in favor of illegal and ineffective violations of the right to privacy for all Americans. Take action to ban mass surveillance today.
As I said at an Amnesty event in London this week, arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.
We can’t take the right to privacy for granted, just like we can’t take the right to free speech for granted. We can’t let these invasions of our rights stand.
While we worked away in that hotel room in Hong Kong, there were moments when we worried we might have put our lives at risk for nothing — that the public would react with apathy to the publication of evidence that revealed that democratic governments had been collecting and storing billions of intimate records of innocent people.
Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.
Edward Snowden, for Amnesty International
APPENDIX VIDEO – HuffingtonPost Analysis Video – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/edward-snowden-nsa-effect_n_5447431.html