The new Oliver Stone movie is here – and it’s good news for fans of his work and contemporary cinema. He’s back, top of his game – after about 20 years in a rough patch since his masterful Nixon. This is the best flick he has directed in decades. Less hyperbolic, more disciplined and nuanced. Overall very impressive. The subject matter, also. Edward Snowden and the vast surveillance program of the NSA, CIA, and others agencies is the topic – perfect for Stone.
(Firstly, I’d like to send a big shout out to all our pals at the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency – as you seem to be monitoring everything (I guess including this review) – I hope you enjoy it. Cheers!)
Oliver Stone presents us with a mature and reflective piece on a young Conservative patriot, who would probably be an Alt-Righter today. He makes many disparaging comments about the “naive, liberal media.” In other words, many an Alt-Righter is gonna relate to the young Snowden and his early ambitions.
He trains for US Special Forces, but has leg problems, and instead gets recruited to “The Hill” – the CIA’s (not so) secret training program and soon soars to the head of the class as a hacker par excellence.
Snowden has a serious skill set in this area – akin to a Conservative version of Julian Assange, who may now be conservative himself, as he seems to be backing Trump recently
and making regular appearance on Hannity.
Snowden starts work with the CIA, and gets involved in some mischief involving a Pakistani Businessman, with ties to Saudi Oil Money, who the Agency want compromised. Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood, Justified) turns up as a handsome, smart, but amoral CIA agent, and is tons of fun. He and Snowdon plot the downfall of this Pakistani dupe.
Through this process Snowden becomes privy to the vast networks of surveillance open to the CIA and NSA. He witnesses that “the whole kingdom” – as they call it – is under surveillance. That’s basically everyone near a computer or mobile phone – anywhere – if they want.
It’s a disturbing revelation we have all known to some extent, but the true Orwellian implications are subtly handled by Stone here, at his cleverest. He brings in Big Brother motifs and imagery, but in a very deft way. Stone’s own penchant for paranoia is reined in here. With a true story of conspiracy, there is no need to embellish it – the full nightmare is all before us.
Feeling that the Pakistani dude got unfairly shafted, Snowden quits the CIA, but then gets head-hunted by the NSA, and goes to work for them developing his own system of surveillance, finally landing a top gig in Hawaii at a “super spy” installation.
There he develops HeartBeat – a kind of über overseer of the whole infrastructure of surveillance – and starts leaking info from this to the press in Hong Kong.
Snowden’s girlfriend played by Shailene Woodley is a liberal, and pretty soon some of her ideas begin to influence him as he goes deeper. This is backed up by a natural libertarian revulsion against such a Leviathan system of control. Together these factors transform Snowden into dissident, first on the inside.
The most interesting character in the film Corbin O’Brian, played by Rhys Ifans. He is Snowden’s teacher at The Hill and mentor/father figure in the film. O’Brian picks up early on Snowden’s talent, and takes him under his wing, so to speak, and on pheasant hunting trips. But it is here that we learn of what I shall call the “Deep State Fascism” of the U.S Surveillance apparatus.
It has long annoyed me that liberals compare Donald Trump to fascists like Hitler and Mussolini, when today’s globalist technocrats have long surpassed Il Duce and Der Führer years ago in reach and breadth of power and influence. It was clear to me – pretty soon after Sept 11th – that the United States itself had surpassed the Nazis in fascist esprit de corps and the achievement of full spectrum dominance on the global level.
Let me explain a little. The US manufactured, whether by default or design, a False Enemy that they secretly set up, funded, and backed, through CIA/ NSA/ Mossad back channels, employing also Saudi, Pakistani and Turkish Intelligence. They set in train a series of False Flags – again a key tactic “culturally appropriated” from fascism. Despite their bullshit
about “brotherly love” and “equality,” they are secretly inner Nazis.
Israel’s involvement in false flags is proof of this. The organisations they use, once set in motion, begin to naturally attract – real jihadists and Muslim lunatics. Some act off script in attacks on the West, whether as cells or as lone wolves – although it’s also possible some attacks in the West are “on script.” Either way, these attacks are beginning to happen regularly – perhaps EVEN more regularly than the globalist Masters would like them – for example the recent terror attacks in America leading up to the US Election.
This situation in turn gives a plausible justification for the vast Surveillance State the US has set up. Let’s be honest, what exists now with PRISM, ECHELON, XKeyscore, and HEART BEAT and such programs would make Big Brother blush. The only part Orwell got wrong, but perhaps Huxley got right in his Brave New World, is that people would semi-enjoy or participate in their own surveillance and control.
Paul Schrader (of Taxi Driver, Mishima, and Comfort of Strangers fame) recently harangued me on his page – we are FB pals – over a few Alt-Right and crypto-fascist statements I made. He had this to say on Snowden, though:
“I’m not sure I agree with the central premise, which is that the government should not be monitoring all electronic communications all the time. I realise that’s what the 4th Amendment states. But the 4th Amendment was written before digital communication. It doesn’t matter whether or not the government has the right. It has the ability to do so, as do others governments, many corporations and a growing number of individuals. Permissions don’t apply.”
My only riposte is, “Who is the fascist again, Paul?” haha.
I obviously do support the monitoring of Muslim and other Terrorist radicals across the West and the rest of the world, really – so full power to the CIA/NSA etc. for doing this – even if it is only to rope in and control something they technically set in motion. But, I can’t agree with Shrader’s implication that it’s OK for this Big Brother state to apply to everyone.
Some more checks and balances, and court control should be brought in, and The Fourth Amendment should be respected and adhered to, especially inside Western Civilisation. As for the Muslim world, well that’s a whole different thing…
All this makes Snowden an extremely topical and important film, for both the Alt-Right and society at large. Some have argued Snowden is a plant and part of the plan. Here’s the angle: the vast surveillance apparatus set up by the US is kind of like the Doomsday Weapon à la Dr Strangelove – it’s far more effective if people know about it. Hence Snowden is there as a false leak, to put out what they really want us to know. In short he is the communication system through which security establishment let us and the terrorists know that we are all being watched.
Whether this is indeed even fully true or mere speculation is just another wonderful conspiracy theory and at some levels it does not even matter. But it’s clear Julian Assange really is a rogue – releasing stuff for example that is anti-Clinton. So far Snowden has done none of that. But this leaves the question what about the coming reign of President Donald Trump?
How will President Trump use this vast system of Control and Surveillance? Will he be – as my FB friend and filmaker Michael Tolkin suggested – another Pinochet with a vast control machinery at his finger tips? Will he “flick the switch” to put the finishing touches on a true system of US Imperial tyranny as Oliver Stone hints in an aside in the Snowden film? Or will Trump guide America back to its founding principles and literally save the nation and thus the World, making both great again?
My feeling is the latter, although it may require tacking in both directions to get there. Until then we will be watching. As will They.