snowden and the billionaire monkeys on our back

Steve Kinney admin at
Wed Dec 5 16:47:55 PST 2018

On 12/5/18 3:20 PM, John Newman wrote:
> Long interview with guy who just wrote a book about faux-philanthropic
> leaders of the new gilded age (or something ;) 
> Interesting part where he described Snowden talking to a bunch of
> these people, this "clash of ideals"  - 

> [... snip ...] 

> It was a very interesting vision, and as he started describing, well,
> the way I’m going to do that is I’m going to build all these tools that
> would allow dissidents to actually operate more freely. A communication
> tool so you can message without getting caught, a Facebook “like” tool
> so you can socially network without losing your privacy, some kind of
> tokenized identity so you can make clear to different websites that
> you’re the same person without revealing which person you are–various
> things. Snowden was describing the creation of all these things because
> he wanted to live in a world in which dissent of the kind that he made
> is possible, in which it’s possible to go up against power and not be
> interrupted in that quest; that’s his motivation, his goal. 

> And it’s like they couldn’t process him; they couldn’t process his set
> of motivations. And so Chris Sacca says, wow, you sound like you’re
> designing a lot of tools that, they sound like apps, or startup–do you
> want to build a startup? I mean, there’s a lot of people here who would
> like to be your investor. Snowden just looked at him, puzzled, like–what
> are you talking about? I’m talking about freedom and heresy and truth,
> and being a dissident, and how a society corrects itself from manifest
> injustices through allowing people who have an uncomfortable truth to
> tell it. And you’re talking about startups? And it was just this
> wonderful collision between someone who believes in real changes, and
> these people who kind of believe in the pseudo-change that lines their
> own pockets."

Um, that's not what it reads like to me.  I see Snowden saying he wants
to accomplish all these wonderful things that enable political dissent
and freedom via network technology.  Then he refuses to have anything to
do with implementing that vision, going so far as to pretend that he
does not understand that building and distributing software and
infrastructure is HOW to achieve goals like the ones he mentioned.  It
sounds like he chose to literally "play dumb" when presented with a room
full of people who wanted a shot at implementing his ideas (vs.
memorized talking points) in real life.

The more I look at Snowden, the less sense he makes:  Both in terms of
what he says (see above), and in terms of a biography and current public
presentation that more or less defy explanation.

To date, the only Snowden scenario that makes sense to me portrays him
as a spokesmodel:  In effect a sock puppet passed from hand to hand.
Did he have anything at all to do with "borrowing" certain documents and
handing them off to Glen Greenwald?  I have no opinion on that.  The
documents Greenwald released triggered a massive controversy over a
small set of political / legal issues that all ended with decisive wins
for the U.S. intelligence community.  In my view whether that means
Snowden failed or succeeded remains an open question.

Pending additional information, I would more likely trust a guy named
"Mendax" than him.


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