Snowden and The Place Where No One Would Look

Hey yinz, have you heard the NEVER-BEFORE-TOLD, LIKE-SOMETHING-FROM-A-SPY-NOVEL, FEATURED-IN-AN-UPCOMING-FILM story of how Snowden hid out in the slums of Hong Kong at the start of his amazing truth-telling journey? It goes like this:

As Snowden made his way from Hong Kong to political asylum, his Hong-Kong based, Canadian attorney Robert Tibbo needed a way to hide his client from the media and authorities. Tibbo had the keen insight that an intelligence apparatus with eyes and ears everywhere would overlook the Hong Kong slums, since the possibility of a feature player like Snowden hob-nobbing with the ickiest of poors is completely unfathomable to all but the most fearlessly imaginative.

As a professional dedicated to using human rights as a cudgel against the hegemon’s rivals, Tibbo had many clients in Hong Kong’s icky people sector. Since leveraging the fear and misery of these people to his own ends was Tibbo’s daily bread, and since they were entirely dependent on him for their own security, bullying a few of them into harboring a fugitive presented no moral quandary and was easily done.  Tibbo chose his client Ajith, a Sri Lankan asylum-seeker to chaperone Snowden in the place where Tibbo knew “no one would look”, and the refugees Supun and Vanessa to house him. Each of Snowden’s hosts gave him their only bed.

Snowden, who prior to this had been staying in the 5 star Mira Hotel, magnanimously gave each family between 30 and 50 bucks for each night they’d slept without beds in harm’s way.  “Imagine the world’s most wanted dissident brought to your door.” he told the National Post. “Would you open it? They didn’t even hesitate, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

Of course, as Snowden knows, Tibbo scrupulously avoided telling Ajith, Supun and Vanessa anything about him, so they had no idea what they’d opened their doors to. As to not hesitating, that no doubt had everything to do with their dependence on Tibbo and the strong-arm approach he took. In Vanessa’s case, for instance, Snowden, Tibbo and another attorney simply showed up  late at night.  Once ensconced in a home, Snowden would on a subsequent day theatrically reveal his identity by sending his host for a newspaper, where they would find him on the front page.

Ajith told the National Post,  “I was very happy to help him…This famous person was a refugee too, same as me.” Who am I, then, to beef on Ajith’s behalf? Well see, Snowden isn’t a refugee same as Ajith. Rather, from the moment he became employable, Snowden dedicated his life to global capital’s police force which, through surveillance, violence and terror, condemns people like Ajith, Supun, and Vanessa to lifelong poverty and insecurity, an apparatus which, according to his own account, he now only seeks to make work more precisely. “I’m still working for the NSA” he once said, and, regardless of what theory you have about The Snowden Show, he is undeniably correct.  So where the belligerently stupid rubes who jerk off in Glenn Greenwald’s Twitter mentions see an inspiring story of solidarity, I see a spook and a human rights racketeer reproducing imperialism in a Hong Kong slum, making the most desperate people on the planet means to their ends.

Now, considering how everything Snowwald-related reeks of bullshit, it’s impossible to know what, if any, part of this story is true, especially given its film tie-in, and its NGO-ish finger-waving at Hong Kong.  However, as propaganda or marketing intended to make our blood race and our hearts warm, it doesn’t stink less.  In the fantasy’s current chapter, Tibbo’s famous client deeply worries that he may have unwittingly put his Hong Kong protectors at risk by revealing their role for the upcoming Oliver Stone movie, the release of which so neatly ties into this never-before-told story.  To compensate for their potential troubles, he’s sent them each $1000.


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63 Responses to Snowden and The Place Where No One Would Look

  1. walterglass4 says:

    Penalty – agency denial, unauthorized inductive reasoning. Now you have to post your social security number online along with your tax returns.

  2. No soy yo says:

    Welcome back. But now I’m going to have nightmares. Or hives. Especially from the photo at the end of the article — Snowden and his girlfriend looking off to the horizon and contemplating pole dancing and heroic struggles for individual freedom. And of course that photo and the part about him also staying at the 5-star Mira Hotel help show us that hanging out with the icky poor is of course not his usual thing. And though the article is an “exclusive,” there’s another sickening one, with Snowden’s “hosts” crying when he leaves, and being so sorry for him that he had to spend all his time (for a few days) in one room (of their two-room apartment): “She felt sorry for the young American for having to spend so much time in the stuffy room. He looked at her for a moment, without moving. Then he said: “Nadeeka, I’m alive in this room. I’m dead outside.” All the details of their real life horrors of rape and torture, (and the ex-Monsanto lawyer they all share) as if they somehow make his story more tragic or poignant.

    • Tarzie says:

      And welcome back to you, with such a great comment.

      What the hell is the game here? That Handelsblatt article reads like a short story in places, with details the journalist couldn’t possibly know:

      Mr. Tibbo drove as fast as he could. What a Monday! He reached for his phone.

      “Where are you now? What? Oh, no, that’s too dangerous. I’ll be right there,” he said, breathlessly to the person on the other end.

      How did Tibbo impart this memory when the Handelsblatt journalist spoke to him:

      I remember thinking “What a Monday!”…and that I was driving as fast as I could…I called so and so and asked, “Where are you, now?” and then so and so said something I couldn’t understand so I said, “What” and then they made a suggestion and I said, “Oh no, that’s too dangerous. I’ll be right there.”

      The bullshit smell is off the charts. I realize a movie’s coming out but I can’t imagine that’s all this blitz is about, especially considering all the poverty porn that barely stops short of disgust. I truly don’t get it. Is the whole thing just to keep Snowden’s shit story alive so he and his crew of creepy dullards can continue to be models of shitty dissidence injecting bullshit into the ether?

      The Handelsblatt’s Tibbo is a lot more sympathetic, but it’s still clear he exploited a Stockholm Syndrome-like sense of obligation these refugees feel toward their white savior. His coercive approach came across much more strongly in the National Post piece, no doubt because the writer saw nothing wrong with it.

      Doesn’t it just figure that Snowden eats only meat and leaves the vegetables? Another reason to hate the guy.

      • No soy yo says:

        And of course Tibbo remembered that he had said “I’ll be right there” breathlessly.

        I actually thought Tibbo was worse in that piece. For example, Ajith, who suffered from PTSD and was in no shape to protect anyone, being assigned as “bodyguard” for Snowden. Sick.

        I think it’s a mixture of fact and fiction, and they don’t understand that even the fiction make them out to be such assholes and idiots. I don’t believe for a second that Snowden didn’t have a plan in place for his own safety, so that must be fiction, but I’m assuming something about the two weeks with the refugees is true. So maybe Snowden’s plan fell through, or that was part of the plan?

        We see a photo of the “Handelsblatt Investigative Team Chief” with one of the refugees — to show us that he really did talk with them. But if they were spoon-fed the story, why do they need an investigative journalist?

        Also, if Oliver Stone didn’t want to talk to the refugees, why did Snowden out them as part of the movie? That’s the part that makes me think the refugees are real, and that Snowden and Tibbo thought it would show a positive light to them, and they’re getting the story out now not just for movie sales, but vice-versa: interest in the movie means people are interested in the sick way they used other humans.

      • Tarzie says:

        Ajith, who suffered from PTSD and was in no shape to protect anyone, being assigned as “bodyguard” for Snowden. Sick.

        That’s a good catch. The reason I found him more sympathetic after a superficial reading was the interactions were described in such a way that they seemed less coercive. Also attitude of refugees toward him seemed more positive, though, admittedly, in a weirdly supplicating way. In the National Post it was clear Supun doesn’t trust him and is kind of afraid of him. With Vanessa it just seemed like they came in and Snowden was staying before she even had time to think about it.

      • “I like muffins,” Edward Snowden said.

  3. wendyedavis says:

    I dunno; with all this new deep, deep background stuff stirred into the mix, I reckon they shouldda gone with an Opera, not a…film. Fancy the stage version of:

    ♫ “Please accept some of my meager Amerikkan dollars,
    and sorry I didn’t have time to change them into Hong Kong Dollars…
    but remember mine are worth only .13 of yourrrrsss…♪♪

    • robert says:

      someone who went to the santa fe opera festival this year told me that, scheduled for this year but unfinished so set for next year, will be the opera, “The (r)evolution of Steve Jobs.” Something tells me it will not open w/a chorus of chinese slaves. oh the tension as the apple engineers sing, “where’s the earplug?” and the sublime, “Ode to the ipod.” Can hardly wait for the death scene. “the internet of things…keeping track of All…to upload…and to merge…highest bliss.”

      • Tarzie says:

        Oh dear God. That’s the kind of thing that could be so bad it’s good but not at opera prices.

        Is revolution possible in a culture that produces operas about Steve Jobs?

      • No soy yo says:

        Considering the rave reviews for the ‘colorblind’ casting/roles of “Hamilton,” I think they’ll have the children of Chinese and Congolese slaves play the white Apple execs.

      • robert says:

        The 3 B’s, Beyonce, Beethoven and Bieber, will be the New Year’s gala at the NYPhil this year. oh gawd, the way they raved about Hamilton…maybe an opera about Steve Jobs is a sign of revolution’s imminence?

      • Tarzie says:

        The 3 B’s, Beyonce, Beethoven and Bieber

        That’s totally fine. At least Bieber and Beyonce aren’t CEO trash and they’re genuinely talented.

        When Uber: The Musical sweeps the Tonys I’ll know revolution is at hand.

      • robert says:

        may the violin strings burst into flames!!!!!! the london phil plays pink floyd. meh. Uber: the musical. ha ha. a plucky young entrepeneur confronts unions, city hall, and sceptics for his revolutionary vision in car-centred transportation. and what does he discover on life’s highway? love…and the spirit that made America great.

      • Tarzie says:

        his revolutionary vision in car-centred transportation

        ha ha

      • wendyedavis says:

        I’d been about to say “say it ain’t so” or at least beg that it’s by way of Italian opera bouffa farces, but no. Christian Science Monitor:

        The move comes as New Mexico in recent years has worked to honor it connections to technology innovators like Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. For example, a Route 66 motor lodge in Albuquerque where Bill Gates and Paul Allen lived while launching Microsoft Corp. is being redeveloped into apartments as part of a neighborhood revival project.

        Next up: ‘Los Alamos Labs: Psychedelia’? By the by, an ad for the new iPhone popped up t’other day, and I swear it looks like a personal vibrator. oh, well.

        Tarzie, I dunno what Robert meant with his 3 B’s riff, and yeah, Miz ‘In Beyonce We Trust’
        (Anthony Freda artwork on some Amerikan currency), but whoa, Nellie, has Miz 1% been capitalizing on the Black Panthers, and talk about media and BLM eating it up, capitalist language and all. Good Gawd all-Friday, as they say around here.

        Got a couple more things, but real life is beckoning.

      • robert says:

        the 3 b’s: bach, beethoven, brahms. in the “western art, aka ‘classical'” musical tradition.
        baroque, classical, romantic. anyway, yes, we’ll have children’s books rewritten to celebrate our staggering cultural achievements: the little soundcloud that could…and so on.

      • Tarzie says:

        children’s books rewritten to celebrate our staggering cultural achievements: the little soundcloud that could

        ok robert. you’re being a little bit of a bougie art snob here. I think there is no shortage of creativity at all right now, and I think things like soundcloud and youtube demonstrate that, fascinatingly, again and again. You’re starting to put me in mind of Oscar Wilde’s cynic

    • robert says:
      i was thinking of spotify. and there is something definitely wrong w/ going to a classical orchestra to hear beyonce. very cheap & lazy. talent is not authenticity. imo, bieber has neither. but a chacun son gout.

      • Tarzie says:

        cheap and lazy. ah c’mon don’t be one of those art is work kinda peeps.

        authenticity is that thing that only the dullest pop stars have.

        and now french phrases. dude.

        Look I’m not saying Bieber is Beethoven and neither is Beyonce. I’m saying that I have no cause to fret over them performing with a symphony, especially given that these kinds of gimmicks benefit symphonies more than they benefit pop stars. I do think even trifles like Bieber have talent and, besides, pop culture needs at least one adorbs little androgyne per decade.

        I guess backing up, my point is, i think lumping an opera about a corporate sociopath with Bieber/Beyonce at the symph wrong-headedly trivializes the opera, which is much much worse.

      • robert says:

        the french was beyond you? this blog is some kind of cultural leveler? lots of other cultural, material and non-material, garbage, social toxic filth, addressed on this here blog. journalism, politics, movies, food production, environment, war, etc., etc.

        why are RIAA productions different? i know you would not say RIAA is different, but which works (oops! bad word) and why?

        this is way OT from your post, except perhaps as related to movies as a pop art form (does the term art bother you too?) rather than querying you for your criteria here, beyond taste & preference, for working with the voluminous sound stream from mega corporate RIAA, why don’t you do a post:

        why justin bieber is not the equivalent of a Big Mac. or an episode of TMZ, or a ninja turtles movie?

        German, British and French troops sang choruses from Der Rosenkavalier to each other during lulls in the fighting. too high brow? based on what? your sense of lese-majeste as defender of pseudo-working class taste?

        why is or is not the hybridization of beyonce & beethoven capitalist cultural trash? beyond you being offended at the suggestion.

      • Tarzie says:

        I wrote an overwrought reply to this that I regret and have deleted.

        I don’t like your elitism, which has a puritan scent to it, but the main objection was to putting the lionizing via opera of Steve Jobs and random pop culture in the same box. The lefty flattening of disparate people and things into The Same Thing has become a real pet peeve of mine lately.

  4. robert says:

    jesus, how many movies where the hero is hiding out in the slums until Something brings him back? one of the lame hulk movies (the one w/norton?), hulk is mother theresa in the 1st avengers movie, jason bourne in the 2nd of that unending franchise, again in india (haven’t seen it, but i gather that snowden is a hot topic in the current not-variation-on-a-theme bourne flick), bourne legacy (sleuthing & hiding out in manila, then escaping on a raggedy boat w/pinoy fishermen to float off to obscurity…until next time). and, as in all these movies, the natives are so kind, friendly, generous and totally naive while the Important James-Bondy Stuff goes on all around them. or rather, above them.

    would anyone be surprised if this story was little more than a marketing tie-in for the “snowden” movie? except the lawyer seems to be a little too true to be simply fiction. love your reading of that asshole, tarzie.

    • Tarzie says:

      I like your survey of spies in slums, which make Tibbo’s “no one would look” insight even more ridiculous than it appears at first glance. These people just spew bullshit nonstop and rubes just disgustingly eat it up. I feel like I’m surrounded by liars and children. That’s there’s almost no one else.

      would anyone be surprised if this story was little more than a marketing tie-in for the “snowden” movie? except the lawyer seems to be a little too true to be simply fiction. love your reading of that asshole, tarzie.

      I wouldn’t be. That Tibbo is such a fucking asshole to the refugees is the *only* thing that reads true about it. It certainly seems timed for the movie, and they’ve reminded us that this story features in it. But doesn’t this all seem a little overwrought even for a movie tie-in? I get the feeling Tibbo’s the one orchestrating the interviews with his clients.

  5. gbelljnr says:

    Excellent stuff!

    Struck me this image would be a useful addition for your argument above!

    From a Financial Times interview with him by Rusbridger.

    I guess we are very much in the movie publicity cycle.

    • Tarzie says:

      I don’t find the idea that this is all to promote the film particularly compelling, simply because I don’t imagine most of the people involved in this current campaign have any material stake in the film. Isn’t it more likely that the film presents new opportunities to use the Snowden show as a platform? Like, all the finger-waving at Hong Kong. That’s certainly not necessary to promote a film. This “I work for the US” bullshit has been a talking point from the beginning. The message discipline on this across media is very suspect. The stories on the refugees are virtually identical everywhere they’ve been published. Why is everyone’s angle his hiding out from years ago?

      • gbelljnr says:

        I guess I assumed that the film provides the occasion for it, and the sundry Snowden roadshow regulars are kicking back into gear to exploit artificially renewed media interest for their own ends. Self-promoters self-promoting. But you’re right, there is a suspicious shape to the messaging. I don’t know exactly what to make of it.

      • Tarzie says:

        I was only rejecting the idea that what’s underway is merely a movie promotion blitz. That the film offers the Snowden roadshow a chance to get rolling again is certain, and self-promotion at the periphery undoubtedly is involved. But it’s abundantly clear at this point that Snowden is a propagandist, so when he has the spotlight there’s always a good chance an agenda beyond just keeping him relevant is in play.

        Just generally, every time he’s around, the collective understanding of what power is and what it means to fight it gets a little more usefully idiotic. This attempt to equate his flight from authorities he wants to ever-so-slightly reform with the life and death struggles of global capital’s most desperate victims is a new, disgusting low.

        I hope this fucking film bombs.

  6. No soy yo says:

    I originally saw it as more of a personal thing, of blowing Snowden’s and Tibbo’s horns — they gave “exclusive access” to a part of Snowden’s story we hadn’t heard before. Like I said, this specifically isn’t related to the film since Oliver Stone didn’t want to include it. But of course there’s always the bigger issues as well. In addition to denigrating HK, they’re equating Snowden with actual refugees who were tortured and more. This elevates Snowden while lessening the others’ reality, at the same time as they get to mention that .05% or .3% of political refugee applications are approved in HK. (I wonder how many are approved for the US. or Germany?) I’m trying to figure out how it fits with the The Russians are Coming! theme, since just about everything does these days.

    • Tarzie says:

      In addition to denigrating HK, they’re equating Snowden with actual refugees who were tortured and more. This elevates Snowden while lessening the others’ reality

      YES. This is what made me gnash my teeth most at the beginning. Wish I had expounded on it a bit more in the piece. The whole idea of “solidarity” here is revolting, when you consider that this fucker has been doing empire’s wet work since he turned 18 and still insists he is. There’s also this horrible two-tiered view of the squalid conditions, where they’re framed as an imposition for Snowden, something that he shouldn’t have to put up with but must and does, as opposed to the people that are doomed to suffer them full time. It’s not simply that he’s like them. He’s better!

      The Snowden Show has really been all about blurring lines between victim and oppressor — class lines, really — and erasing all the conventional left meaning from dissidence. This is more of the same.

      • No soy yo says:

        It’s also emphasis on the messenger and not the message. I guess that’s the tie-in to the Russians (because of course everything relates to the Russians these days — even stories about the Chinese). The Russians hacked the DNC emails (I know this because the media refers to officials who refer to briefings from “security experts” who say it may have been the Russians) and the message is The Russians and not the substance of the emails. Snowden revealed NSA spying and the story is about Snowden (and gosh, he’s even braver than we thought: he spent days in a stuffy room in Hong Kong slums working on his computer and eating meat). As long as we have a hero (and/or villain) we can avoid actual analysis. Unless, of course, the content of a “leak” is the Panama Papers, in which case we ignore the “investigators”/”whistleblowers” and concentrate on Putin’s sins.

      • Tarzie says:

        Funny you should mention that because in the movie tie-in interview George linked to, Snowden does a bit of Russia bashing.

      • No soy yo says:

        Could this really just be part of their (Snowden/Tibbo) attempt to get a pardon from Obama? Getting a pardon might help people to forget that nothing’s changed, though I find it unlikely.

      • Tarzie says:

        Since I don’t believe Snowden is at any risk of prosecution, I’d have to rephrase this as, is this a way to create a pretext for a pardon. I guess we’re on a different page here. I think Snowden is connected at levels that Obama answers to. This is why I have trouble getting a bead on the Hong Kong story. Its depiction of a harried Snowden literally afraid of getting droned if he goes outside seems so ridiculous but his and Tibbo’s bullying of the refugees into harboring him seems so believably unflattering.

        Doesn’t all the Russian stuff answer your question about where the Russian angle is? I’m having trouble understanding why you’re now seeing his criticism of Russia as having some other motive, when you had commented to the effect that everything is about Russia now.

    • No soy yo says:

      I don’t think that Snowden is in any danger of being put in an American prison, so in that sense I agree he’s a fake. I guess I never saw it as that overt, though. Yes, he’s “connected,” but while his leak ended up very useful, I never saw it as orchestrated. I think if Obama wants information leaked, he has three dozen current and former officials all decide to leak classified/secret info to the NYT, a la kill list. So I actually did think that Snowden did in fact go off script, and literally leak the info. So all the cloak and dagger makes good cinema, but I never saw that as fake at the time. But because of the leak’s usefulness and his connections, and his leaking “the right way,” he’s not going to be charged with anything. However, whatever the nature of those connections, just for the sake of optics, can Snowden just waltz back here without a pardon or something official? No. And would officials get backlash for giving him the official ok? Yes. So, like you say, it would be a pretext. I just think that Obama et al. would prefer he stay away, and he’s trying to push their hand with the Russian stuff — a) any and every patriot criticizes Russia, of course, so he’s giving them cover, and b) if Russia will no longer let him stay there, then the US will have to act.

      • Tarzie says:

        Yeah, I certainly agree a pardon is necessary for the optics. I think a script that makes Snowden disappear without a pardon is preferable, because letting even extremely patriotic, compliant whistleblowers get away with it is bad for business.

        I didn’t used to think Snowden was a complete fake, but on close inspection I don’t think you can conclude anything else. He may have gone off the NSA’s script, but, if so, it’s only in service to another faction in the IC and its corporate satellites. I don’t think they need to orchestrate a pardon, just the appearance. I don’t see why Obama cares one way or the other what Snowden does especially given he has less than four months left in the White House. Isn’t it possible that the person Snowden’s working on is Putin? Just more New Cold War shit-stirring? It’s everywhere now. You said yourself.

      • No soy yo says:

        I think he’s working on Putin as well — forcing Putin’s hand to withdraw asylum. But I’m not sure how “letting even extremely patriotic, compliant whistleblowers getting away with it is bad for business” jibes with the complete fake part, and Obama not caring what he does.

        I just think it’s possible for Snowden to be “in service” to the IC (and M) and corporate satellites without them being complicit in his actions, and his leak being a true leak, albeit with no bite. I’m certainly willing to be convinced that the whole thing was fake.

        In thinking about this Hong Kong story, either it’s a complete fake, or he did go off script but assumed that he’d be able to go back into the fold, then realized he couldn’t, and that’s why the last-minute hiding via Tibbo — he was scared of being disappeared. But then the question remains of why they’re pushing the story now. Maybe he knows he has no chance of returning to the US, but wants to get another country to give him asylum and that’s why the stories have come out trying to equate him with other refugees.

        Whatever the case, the news has been very good for empire and the elites and bad news for the rest of us in terms of the reactions to every aspect of the Snowden story.

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t think Putin can withdraw asylum, because of the optics. He has to show he can endure the same criticism that Obama endures. This isn’t the first time Snowden’s attacked him.

        I’m not sure how “letting even extremely patriotic, compliant whistleblowers get away with it is bad for business” jibes with the complete fake part, and Obama not caring what he does.

        Because fake pardons and real are all the same to impressionable young’ns. Mustn’t let anyone seem to get away with it. I don’t understand why “Obama not caring because soon out of office” contradicts anything.

        I’m certainly willing to be convinced that the whole thing was fake.

        I feel like this blog has demonstrated it repeatedly — without even setting out to do that — so I’m not going to recapitulate in detail. Putting aside that the foundation of the spectacle is a ginormous 21st century Big Brother is Watching You sign, hung by a flag-hugging career spook who unceasingly lectures on how to disobey without hurting capitalism and claims to have left the CIA because he saw someone turned into an asset via blackmai, aided and abetted by enormous media support and coverage that no real whistleblower has ever gotten anything close to — I think he’s shown his hand ten thousand different ways.

        Alarm bells rang when he appeared out of nowhere at the start of Manning’s trial armed with an explicit, shamelessly dishonest repudiation that was a big part of his self-introduction. But for me the real tell was claiming victory when Congress pasted CISPA onto the The Patriot Act and called it The Freedom Act. No one who was really aiming to do what he says he’s aiming to do would be anything but outraged by that. He’s young, so there’s a small possibility he’s being managed into thinking he’s repping a genuinely dissident, well-meaning faction in the IC rather than psy opping, but he’d have to be awfully stupid, and there’s a sliminess to him that makes that seem very unlikely.

        Whatever the case, the news has been very good for empire and the elites and bad news for the rest of us in terms of the reactions to every aspect of the Snowden story.

        Probably not just a happy accident.

        I think they’re pushing the story now simply because the film gives them the hook. An essential part of a propagandist’s job is just remaining important, interesting and respectable. It could just be mostly that. To just try to make him a bigger deal. While they have everyone’s attention, why not take some swings at Russia as all propagandists are doing right now.

      • No soy yo says:

        I guess I still don’t think that the fortuitousness of his timing is necessarily proof that it was pre-approved and planned. Just like I don’t need to believe that 9/11 was an inside job to see how useful that was. All I know is that after thinking I was going to vomit from this article and the photo of him and his girlfriend, that was nothing compared to the garbage I’m seeing now about Snowden and the film — and that from people who should know better. So, whenever the mission was hatched, it was certainly accomplished, as we both agree.

      • Tarzie says:

        I guess I still don’t think that the fortuitousness of his timing is necessarily proof that it was pre-approved and planned.

        Well then I guess it’s a good thing I offered it as one exhibit in a strong case — which I’d only picked little pieces from in my reply — and stressed that if any of these exhibits is definitive, it’s not the “fortuitous timing,” it’s his crowing over the Freedom Act which was not, by any rational person’s account, a victory for privacy. Glad you don’t “need” to see 9/11 was an inside job but I don’t think anyone does “need” that so much as a far greater number need to see themselves in the sensible club.

        Having dispensed with any need to see these things as organic myself, per Noam “Who cares” Chomsky’s mandate, I find it so very annoying that there is never any onus on the coincidence theorists to look at anything closely or to demonstrate why their take isn’t as ahistoric and irrational as it looks on the surface. For instance, what on earth do you mean by “fortuitous”? That Snowden didn’t know his coming out party would coincide with Manning’s trial. Were the anti-manning talking points that he and his proxies recapitulated for over a year a weird little accident, perhaps the fruit of Fridge Words at The Mira? How do you explain why Snowden and his media proxies have been the opposite of ostracized? Do you think there are pores for gatecrashers to slip through in a system where it’s impossible to even discuss single payer healthcare? How does that work exactly?

      • No soy yo says:

        Oh dear, now you’ve compared me to Chomsky, so though I think your reaction is unwarranted, I’ll give up except to say that one of the main reasons I don’t currently believe the Greenwald version is from discovering your blog several years ago, but that doesn’t mean I have every detail about “The Snowden Affair” (the made-for-TV version’s title) at my fingertips like you do (just like I don’t have info on pre-9/11 at my fingertips either). That is not the same as Chomsky saying he knows that people are wrong, loony, unthinking, conspiracy theorists, and non-physicicsts. But anyway, since you are implying — or stating — that I’ve missed something obvious, I will reread them, especially since I have renewed interest now that I see the ongoing worship of Snowden.

      • Tarzie says:

        I’m really punchy today such that I’m getting irritated very easily and then to make things worse I’m putting things more strongly than I mean through diminished faculties. I’ve never really made an explicit case for Snowden being an inside job, because at first I didn’t think it mattered and I really didn’t think he was. Since I’ve never consolidated every piece of evidence into a case, I can’t expect a reader to respond as if I have.

        I get frustrated with a very superficial discounting of conspiracy theories, because I think this discounting is disinformative, not so much about the conspiracy itself, but about how ruthless the ruling class is about controlling things, and how truly unfree we all are to dissent. To me, it’s very simple. If you threaten them, they will destroy you. If you “dissent” and they’re not destroying you, but, rather lionizing you, you’re either working for them or might as well be. I think the “might as well be” assessment can be legit applied to journalists. I don’t think it can be applied to whistleblowers deep inside intelligence, and certainly not one like Snowden, who just sets off way too many alarm bells.

      • No soy yo says:

        Ok, hope your day has improved. I don’t discount conspiracy theories at all. I agree that dissent will be quashed. My main question in this case is only that it has been somewhat complex/sophisticated and seems to be countering dissent that I don’t or didn’t see as that strong. It seems so easy to manipulate the public (The Russians are Coming), and to get the left especially to fall in line that the whole scheme just seems quite elaborate. But, if I don’t agree in the post-blowing story being told I guess it makes sense that the pre-blowing story is BS as well. And, if it was planned from beginning to end, and not just joined in the middle, it’s actually scarier than the idea of bringing down the twin towers, since those results would be pretty easy to predict. This would be a much smarter conspiracy, and one where no one who was part of it, or who wasn’t, has stepped out of line — nearly everyone, even those who I truly believe are against empire, oohing and aahing over the hero (that’s the part that is also disturbing even if this was a fortuitous conspiracy and not a planned one).

      • Tarzie says:

        I don’t think it was necessarily planned from beginning to end. I think they had a number of good reasons to establish a figure like Snowden. A politically retrograde, deep state connected icon that enjoys the unambiguous support of the left is a nice, useful accomplishment all by itself. Having established his celebrity, he can be useful in a number of ways. I think the proof of concept was a controlled, disciplinary conversation about surveillance, that reminded people they’re always being watched, focused them on prescribed methods of atomized self-defense (like creepy DoD project, TOR) as opposed to collective resistance, and culminated in renewing The Patriot Act as reform. It went perfectly, so no reason not to use him for things like Russia-bashing.

  7. wendyedavis says:

    I’d add in for an opera: “Deray MCKesson: Twitter is the Revolution!” and seriously, the TFA grifter says that, and sports the T-shirt. He’s the darling of the media, although few of the actual protestors on the ground in Baltimore have seen him or talked w/ him. But oh, yes, he has soooo many Twit followers that he ran for Mayor of the city…and got trounced. He won’t say who funds him, but clearly, a lotta wealthy peeps do, all white, from the scant evidence.

    Tarzie, I’d been meaning to tell you that one of my favorite Reds on Twitter, @cordeliers, linked to this diary, but had also featured your ‘friends of glen’ diary a few weeks ago. I’d grabbed the link (now mislaid), thinking to read the subTweets below to see what and why. To say that he and Red Kahina are major detractors of Molly Crabapple would be understating it, but perhaps that was the tie-in. ‘The fascist’ Zizek, too, of course. He was so fucked up at the Left Forum that even Amy Goodman walked outta the hall at his racist rubbish (allegedly) jokes.

    He’d also had a new one on “Pierre”, but then he’s pretty low-hanging fruit. Lat time I looked, TI now has at least 42 ‘journalists’ on staff, a number who do ‘special to the Intercept’ gigs.

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah, I saw that Friends of Glenn post got a sudden surge of traffic. Some of the creeps that hover over Cordeliers and pals linked to it too, cracking ever-so-wise, and mischaracterizing it, natch.

      I reckon its relevant to cord and all because the ostracism infrastructure and methods that built up around me and a few others during The Great Greenwald Schism of 2013 are now institutionalized on the Twitter Pseudo Left and, beginning with squabbles over Molly Crabapple, have focused quite a lot on the tankies.

      With the Sanders candidacy, members of The FOG consolidated with similarly abusive, authoritarian scum under the Jacobin/Pando/DSA rock, like the preening dumbass Amber Frost and juvenile Connor “Was *your* wife raped” Kilpatrick who were always awful in the exact same way as Glenn’s proxies but had no pack to run in.

      People who complained about Bernie Bros were mostly hypocrites, but they weren’t making shit up. These are proudly abusive, shitty people no matter who they happen to support and they were harassing people on Sanders’ behalf. A pox on all these fucking dumb shitty houses which are now basically one big dumb shitty house.

      • wendyedavis says:

        Ooops; I confess I need this decoded, please:

        “With the Sanders candidacy, members of The FOG consolidated with similarly abusive, authoritarian scum under the Jacobin/Pando/DSA rock, like the preening dumbass Amber Frost and juvenile Connor “Was *your* wife raped” Kilpatrick who were always awful in the exact same way as Glenn’s proxies but had no pack to run in.”

        But I do remember at the Intercept there was an insane level of militancy around critics; I wonder how many even comment there now?

        I was transferring links from a couple word docs to a fresh one for a new post or two, and found the tweet of cordeliers I’d misplaced; the organization means zip to me, perhaps you’ll get it. While I get some good tips from some of them, their conversations (and reading) are often way beyond me.

        Tibbo is on RT w/ a short interview, and I tried to read your link to see if it squares w/ that, but it’s just too long to read, phooey. But his stated reasons for outing Snowden’s hosts in Hong Kong seem contradictory, from ‘they wanted’ to ‘it was decided’, tra la la.

        Hope two links don’t flip your moderation thingie.actually, RT has most of the Snowden hiding out stuff up.

      • Tarzie says:

        Ooops; I confess I need this decoded, please:

        I mean that Friends of Glenn and creeps from the Jacobin-affiliated DSA crew (described here) joined forces to harass people on behalf of Bernie Sanders. The two camps had been separate and even antagonistic in places prior to that. The ties remain via careerism, self-congratulatory circle jerking and a shared loathing for actual radicals.

        But I do remember at the Intercept there was an insane level of militancy around critics; I wonder how many even comment there now?

        There was more than militancy. The most polite disagreement could get you bounced by an administrator. Only self-undermining trolls get to disagree. It’s like Greenwald on Twitter blocking smart critics and keeping the dumb ones around for show fights. It’s because deep down he knows he’s a complete mediocrity and chooses his battles accordingly.

  8. wendyedavis says:

    Coupled w/ the Guardian Star Trek fellow’s pleas, remember that on the NSA toolkit hack, Snowden threaded the needle, but pretty much identified Russia, then gave his point by point on Twitter. including
    @Snowden Aug. 16
    8) Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility. Here’s why that is significant:
    11) Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections

    Yeah, and all of this made me think of the Wired Mag cover w/ him hugging the Amerikan flag like Linus. (I’ll forgo the url so as not to trip; nauseating photo in any event.)

  9. wendyedavis says:

    I swear via email I’d seen you question ‘what link’ (of yours)? your National Post link, For the rest, tomorrow. I/we’ve been watching the NoDPLA at Standing Rock, plus I’m burned out.

    Meanwhile, fuck Beyonce. Worth a quarter mil, hubbie Jayz who knows how much, but: “I might be the next bill gates’. She scored a $5 mil contract w/ Pepsi after her ‘Formation’ Superbowl halftime performance stealing by way of her pretend Panthers. J Edgar’s laughing from his grave.

    • wendyedavis says:

      I’d thought Robert was just spoofin’ about the 3 Bs, and it may be, as I can’t find evidence of that program anywhere online. But no, she’s not a Jobs CEO, but she’s a classic comprador for the black lives movement, in a way more akin to the sainted BIll McKibben. (and I’d meant ‘billion’ not ‘million’.) Sing the song, get into formation, poof! You’re a Panther.

      But okay, I’ll stop, except to say that it seems clear to me that Snowden and Tibbo have indeed put his Hong Kong hosts in harm’s way, and phooey on that rubbish.

    • wendyedavis says:

      Correction: I’d meant to say ‘a *Bill Gates* Panther’.

    • wendyedavis says:

      and here I was about to answer your rhetorical ‘why can’t anyone but me see…’ question with: because only a few of us idjits are on your post so far’. but the deleted reply? i think that ajamu baraka would have approved that message. (smile)

      and thanks for the link up yonder; i hadn’t been familiar with frost or henwood. i’ve only started it, though you really can weave some of these themes and people together. oddly, Jacobin still pus up something worthwhile once in a great while, or worthwhile to me, anyway.

      putin, eh? i think it’s for O, and that might be shown not only w/ the flag-huggin’, but the flurry of hagiography from those interviews and stories about “hong kong refugee solidarity” stuff. “see how worried and appreciative i was???” but dissin’ putin and complaining about the horrid (or whatever) state of human rights in russia…wouldn’t endear him to Putin, would it?

  10. robert says:
    pretty awful. where does the snowden as computer super genius come from? beyond himself and his boosters. swanson goes thru this list of crimes the US is committing that snowman supposedly knew all about & even participated in before he had some “change of mind” (it was not one particular event, it was a change of mind???). and swanson sees some of this doesn’t jive (leave the NSA to what? oh right, join NSA super contractor, Booze AH. we all know the moral arc of history is slow, but jeeeezus. maybe it was about his paycheck and not his conscience?) no mention of the timing of snowman’s “revelations,” the impossibilities & wild improbabilities of his version of his story, GG & co’s manipulation of this info, what snowman is doing & saying today, etc.

    .Meanwhile, off planet hollywood, who is it that’s on hunger strike?

    though swanson may be right on this: “and the oscar for best picture goes to…..”

    • Tarzie says:

      Glad to see you back, Robert.

      Ugh. That review! So stupid.

      I’ve never been a fan of Swanson. There’s nothing particularly bad about him, but nothing particularly good either. Snowden may contend for an Oscar, but if the early notices are any indication, it won’t be with the blessing of the critics.

      • robert says:

        shit. too much good stuff here. post more! anyway, yes, a feeling of blandness goes w/D Swanson. good on the critics, i guess. O. Stone is not known for his…subtlety and nuance.

  11. Arrby says:

    I might do some reading here if I can find the time and enthusiasm (which doesn’t mean there’s nothing interesting here; I’m just dealing with stuff). “However, day-to-day evidence suggests that media consolidation and other changes have practically automated the constant production of ruling class and state propaganda, such that daily interference by what used to be stupidly called infiltrators, and publicity stunts by plants, seem largely unnecessary under most conditions.” Day to day evidence? I suppose. There’s also research. Noam Chomsky and Edward Hermans’ “Manufacturing Consent” thoroughly dissects the propaganda system, which is big and, indeed, automated, if you like.

    • Tarzie says:

      We’re very aware of Chomsky around here, thanks, but what I’m describing goes beyond what he and Herman revealed when they plagiarized Michael Parenti. Hence, Chomsky, perennial clown that he is, doesn’t seem at all mystified or made suspicious by media and oligarchy’s loving embrace of Snowden. He even blessed Omidyar’s sponsorship of his clown protege Greenspleen. But then to do otherwise might bring him perilously close to wondering why the military-academic complex has sponsored *him* all these years. Chomsky believed it when he was anointed our most important rebel intellectual, the poor dolt. Too busy counting his money, I guess, to think long on who did the anointing.

      But Chomsky, happily, is entirely dispensable to any task more worthy than fearmongering lefties into voting for Clinton. A simple thought experiment suffices to reveal the truth about media. You merely need to think about what we never see or hear. Like the decrepit, too-long-alive MIT buffoon says when ostracizing “conspiracy theorists”: everything is out in the open.

      • Arrby says:

        Thanks for the reply. If I may make an observation, There’s much material here (dealing with subjects I’m quite interested in) and much angst and vitriol. I can deal with the latter, depending. I’d rather see fleshed out arguments, and maybe there’s lots of those here. For example, You tossed out to me that Chomsky plagiarized Michael Parenti but offered no example or links to material that would furnish me with one. I am familiar with both authors of course. No leftie (which I am, with qualification) would not know those two well. I did catch, some time ago, an article in which Parenti or someone talking about him, complained about Chomsky’s approach, which he saw as sometimes missing the trees for the forest. Chomsky’s ‘blame it on institutions’ rather than individuals has also rankled me a bit. (There’s no doubt, in my opinion, that Chomsky’s approach has yielded much information and many insights that are correct and useful. To be clear, I’ve read many of his books and articles.) But while he uses that analytical framework, he in fact does plenty of (useful, to learners like myself) blaming of individuals. For that reason, I’d be interested in why you suggest that Chomsky plagiarized Parenti.

      • Tarzie says:

        Parenti has many objections to Chomsky. In addition to the one you mentioned, there’s also his objection that Chomsky has lifted freely from Marxist scholarship while bashing communists. If this is not a personal beef with Chomsky, it should be. Manufacturing Consent owes much to Parenti’s Inventing Reality — including, arguably, its title — which Parenti published in ’86, two years before Chomsky and Herman popularized left media critique.

        Does any of this, from Inventing Reality, sound familiar:

        Reasons why the belief that a U.S. free and independent press exists:

        1. There is ideological congruity between many members of the working press and media owners
        2. Within the existing ideological consensus with a small range of views on what to do about foreign and domestic policy issues but not challenging fundamental pro-capitalist mythology, there exists an appearance of diversity
        3. There is much anticipatory self-censorship practiced by reporters, editors, and producers
        4. The rewards and punishments designed to induce conformity also socialize people into the existing system
        5. The more obvious and undeniable instances of coercion, bias, and censorship are seen as aberrations
        6. Reporters and editors who say they are guided by professional integrity and journalistic standards of autonomy and objectivity rarely define those terms.

        I vehemently disagree that every lefty knows both Parenti and Chomsky well. Unlike Parenti, Chomsky has had unlimited ruling class assistance in becoming both an academic rock star and a lefty icon. It is precisely the ruling class instruments described in Manufacturing Consent that made Chomsky the Official Rebel. Even when they excoriate him, they’re establishing his radical authority and telling us where to look. Anyone who takes Chomsky seriously enough to apply Chomsky to Chomsky should find the result disquieting. Surely, that Chomsky welds a superficially radical critique to red-baiting and quadrennial endorsements of monsters like Clinton — with oh so much anguish, natch — helps explain why he endured so long, lucratively, deep inside the belly of the beast — MIT — while better radicals were marginalized or killed.

        You can find a useful aggregation of my and others objections to Chomsky framed in comparison to Parenti here:

        As for fleshed out arguments, I think I feel a larger obligation than most bloggers to prove my points and link accordingly. However, this is a blog, not a doctoral thesis. It’s incumbent on the reader to do some of the legwork if they care so much. I am certainly under no obligation to provide footnotes in anything as informal as my comments section, though, again, I think the bar is higher in my comments than on most other blogs.

        As for vitriol, yeah, there’s plenty of that here, and without apology. There’s a point where being kind to riff raff like Chomsky or Greenwald is tantamount to lying about them. They serve power, which makes them scum. Since they’re icons for the most irritatingly self-regarding kind of rube, scorn is mandatory. I try to work a swipe at Chomsky into any post that will accommodate it.

        The thing about vitriol is, almost everyone loves it until it’s sprayed on someone they like. Chomsky’s withering sarcasm and Greenwald’s huffing and puffing are part of the appeal. I wish I had a hundred dollars for everyone who said they loved my blog until I baked Snowwald under the same lens I’d put over the MSNBC ant farm.

  12. lissnup says:

    Snowden’s refugee helpers are back in the news, feeling unsafe after being outed by the movie, which they say created problems, and wanting to go to Canada.
    I wonder if they were hoping to go the US before the new administration and the travel ban made that less likely. In any case, there’s an awkward gap between movie release and sudden interest in Canada.

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