Nobody can dispute the fact that in the past few years the news we have been sold by the media has acquired a more sophisticated and appealing narrative, like in the best Hollywood tradition.
From Wikileaks to Bradley Manning to Edward Snowden, the mythological pantheon of patriots and heroes we have been presented by the mainstream media is full of legendary characters whose only goal is to save the world, while the price they are ready to pay is sacrificing their own life without any hesitation or doubt.
These reckless heroes once they are introduced to the audience, they immediately establish a direct emotional connection with the segment they want to target: the Armchair Protesters.
Armchair Protesters are Internet users who stand for freedom within their armchair perimeter. They are into Democracy and Justice but they are too busy to get directly involved into the political arena. Not to mention the questioning of a message authenticity. That's way too far from their status of motionless warriors.
Although they feel they must do something to show their political commitment, that's why Snowden and Manning are the perfect marketing products to calm their thirst for truth and justice.
These new government leakers perfectly represent the new fronteer of political activism, without much effort required but a Facebook Like.
Edward Snowden cannot be touched, interviewed nor being questioned on anything by anyone. Crowds of reporters have been chasing him inside the Moscow Airport but none of them was even able to spot him. Only Whistleblower-exclusive-monopolist-controller-(and journalist)-Glenn-"I-know-real-Leakers"-Greenwald is the only human being who ever had the chance to see Snowden in real life.
Like Plato with Socrates, or the holy bishop of Delfi with the Oracle, Greenwald is the Demiurge who is able to translate the divine message into human intelligible language. Thank god.
This aura of mystery and the great distance from the ordinary world, helped to create Snowden's image and characterization as mythological and legendary.
We certainly don't want to diminish the greatness of these new Gods or their Revelation powers. Indeed we have to acknowledge their ability to establish such an immediate connection with the world's audience is really impressive.
Maybe one of the reason behind such an immediate success is based on the fact they are presented as "government worst opponents". Quiet fair: having the government zero credibility when it's about security matters whoever claims to be a government leaker is absolutely credible.
Then it doesn't matter if eventually what they reveal is just by chance reaffirming in toto the State Department's agenda. Like for example the problem of the Taliban connection within the Pakistani Intelligence.
First it was the State Department that raised the issue with the Pakistani government and that happened when General Pervez Musharraf was still in office. Although the State Department had no meaningful results and certainly the Armchair Protesters suffer of too short-memory to remember a news that was just a small paragraph in a 2008 issue of Foreign Policy Magazine. We are asking them too much!
Then it was the time of Wikileaks, whose revelations have put new emphasis on the issue but once again the message went under-noticed. Now it's the time of Edward Snowden Bond who brought the world's attention back on the problem. Even if the possible outcome is still uncertain.
Like in the (best?) Hollywood movies, this happy company of leakers have inconsistent controvesial backgrounds and lack of characterization to say the least. After having been sentenced to 35 years in prison (of which he will eventually spend only 8 and of these 8 he already spent 3), Bradley Manning decided to become nothing less than a woman and disappeared from the public radar.
The world knew him as a convicted male soldier, but having become Chelsea Manning, we are "not sure" under what name he could be found at the military detention center or in any other government facility. Total darkness.
Let's keep in mind that nobody on this planet has ever seen Bradley Manning in real life. Exactly like in Barry Levinson's movie, Wag the Dog, Bradley Chelsea Manning's story looks every minute like Sergeant William "Old Shoe" Schumann. Hollywood meets Government news. Maybe Bradley Manning is not reachable because he's in a military detention facility, so maybe we are a little bit to much conspiratorial and paranoid.
Ok let's take a look at another interesting character of this comedy show: Sarah Harrison, the assumed former lover/assistant of Julian Assange and one of Wikileaks main contributors. When the echo of State Department's cables and war logs ended, also the enthusiasm of the Wikileaks devoted "Armchair Protesters" fell apart and a blue mood kicked in.
With perfect timing, Edward Snowden jumped on the public stage to shake the Armchair Protesters boredom with his new explosive leak-show. Immediately Wikileaks factotum Mrs.Sarah Harrison, the former creepy assistant of Julian Assange, became Edward Snowden's Personal Assistant and escorted him to China. Voilà! By the way....who is Sarah Harrison? Sarah Harrison is a more fictional character than Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and even of Edward Snowden himself all combined.
First of all Sarah Harrison is a bog-common name like Catherine Fitzpatrick. She has no twitter, no facebook account and all the facts mentioned in her Wikipedia page are all disputed in the talk section one by one by dozens of different users. Although she's the one who managed the High Court of London to release Julian Assange on bail, for which she paid a £5000 bond, which she eventually lost because he did not show up.
After knowing all this, one simple question comes to my mind: Who are these people?
Fantasy characters who prop up each other on the stage in which they play, to make their story credible under the media narrative point of view.
Nonetheless these fantasy characters are very powerful players. They come out of nowhere but they are able to immediately saturate the mainstream media landscape. They get on stage with the sensational news of their defection and their assumed security breaches. But it's just hot air.
The following are the main pre-requisites of these characters:
1) Former government officials who are ready to talk
2) They oppose the government's policy and ethics
3) They are Freedom Fighters who fight for the people's knowledge and freedom
4) Consequently whatever they would tell us is Holy Gospels and we become a world of believers.
5) What they reveal is just a bunch of nonsense that has no value in terms of disclosure
Obviously the audience gets impressed by the initial stunning easy concept, which can be summarized in two words: Swapping Team. Snowden went from working as a private contractor for the Darkest Federal Spy Agency in the world (the NSA) to the Armchair Protesters who oppose the government but they don't know why.
You have to consider Narrative is always composed both by a conscious level and an unconscious one. The emotional connection between the audience and the character on the screen is established thanks to many psychological factors. Indeed the human brain always works on an energy-saving basis which by default relies entirely on its memory. So while processing new information coming in, our brain works on mental associations longing for familiar concepts and images.
Hence on the unconscious level, the first information to process is the Story Premise: Team Swapping.
In the world's public imagery, the most obvious and recent stories that carried such a narrative premise were: Avatar by James Cameron and Dance with the Wolves. In both cases a psychologically battered military changes team and goes helping the Natives who are the highest symbol of Freedom in the American public imagery. The human brain doesn't question nor it is able to process every bit of information to verify the flow's coherence by comparing it to the whole picture. The viewer's brain gets impressed by the emotional connection established with the first piece of information: Swapping Team. That's it. The rest are non-relevant details because once the emotional state kicks in, the brain is ready to buy whatever you want to sell. The emotional situation introduced by the Swapping Team premise completely distracts the audience from the message that is eventually revealed by the character (Snowden) so that you won't be able to recognize that same message was propped up by the State Department and by Wikileaks more than a year before Snowden.
In addition, these "leakers" are not poor underdogs who fight to make ends meet. These people stay at 5 stars hotels and travel in Private jets.
Talking of private jets, another very interesting character orbiting around this comedy show is Ólafur Sigurvinsson, who claims to be an Icelandic Entrepreneur and the owner of DataCell, a Web Hosting farm who offered Edward Snowden the chance of travelling with a private flight from three different locations in China.
The funny thing is in all the official company documents of DataCell, the official owner results to be Andreas Fink and not Mr. Olafur Sigurvisson. Although maybe Mr. Sigurvisson is probably the right man to call if you call Team Swapping, you are stuck in Hong Kong and need a private jet to fly out of trouble.
What's really odd is the fact that on the company's website, under the "system status" section there's an eloquent message that says:
30 April 2013. "We have experienced fibre connection problem on the our international link at the moment. Our cable operator is currently working to fix the problem. The connection will be resumed as soon as the problem is fixed. We will monitor the progress closely. If your have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us."
Below this improbable message there is another section:
Upcoming planned maintenance: No scheduled maintenance work currently.
In practice, their hosting system is not working but they are not taking any action to solve this little problem. This is kind of weird for a hosting company that wants to stay in business with today's aggressive competition. It seems that DataCell is used as a sort of blank-check bank, a permanent financial support for this happy company of leakers.
Apparently the Casting Director didn't spend much time on the development of secondary characters and extras and this negligence killed the audience suspension of disbelief, which is instead a key factor within the audience identification process. This story of this private jet reminds me of another story, in which another private jet was involved. I am talking about Liverpool FC and Red Sox tycoon Philip Morse who used to make some extra pocket money by renting his private jet out to the CIA for extraordinary renditions or "torture flights". A European Parliament report linked the jet directly to the abduction of Abu Omar.
You realize these Leakers are fictional characters because once they complete their narrative mission, they disappear in that same darkness from where they came from. Like Bradley Manning, who was "killed" in the story by swapping to Chelsea Manning. We have had other leakers in the past but nothing was able to saturate the media like the Edward Snowden Show.
Take Gary McKinnon for example, he was interviewed a couple of times but he did not puke out millions of boring-to-death State Department documents, nor two Pulitzer prize winners rushed to interview him on the other side of the world and certainly no entrepreneur would have provided him a private jet. That's because McKinnon was a real leaker and not a fictional character.
How do you tell a fake leaker from a real one? Very simple: a real leaker is not desperately seeking credibility like Snowden. A real leaker is threatened, he's scared he's confused and certainly is not able to saturate the media with his only presence, certainly he doesn't talk to the media only to scare people with generic stories of government's controlling programs and a vomit of scripted nonsense talk.
This is the main problem for Edward Snowden's credibility: it began when he started revealing his "family jewels", which basically were a bunch of annoying nonsense in the best tradition of disinformation. In fact Edward Snowden's only revelation was that "we are all spied" and "the government controls everyone and everything". Well first of all if the government controls everyone and everything why they were not able to control Edward Snowden boarding a flight to Hong Kong? Why they weren't able to prevent Gary McKinnon from shutting down the United States Army's Military District of Washington network of 2,000 computers for 24 hours?
To tell the truth I expected Edward Snowden to reveal the most kept secrets of the United States government, like some evidence of Life in the Universe (which is the only secret left in the vault of the US government together with some vintage sport model flying discs) or that he would have taken out from his pocket the fourth and fifth bullets that hit JFK's car in Dallas. These could have been considered real revelations. That's why we believe Gary McKinnon is a real leaker, because he testified he saw the picture of a flying disc in the computers of the NASA (other than the little detail that he's been interviewed by the Police three years before releasing his first media interview)
The main problem with the Snowden's screenplay is always the same: characterization, motivation and the extras used in this sort of B movie. Take for example his motive: In real life there is only one major force that can lead a man taking such an overwhelming choice like the one of Snowden. This major force is one of a kind: Consciousness which is fuelled by love.
On a narrative level or better in the screenwriting lexicon, professional screenwriters define such a force as the "lover's energy". Meaning that the enormous energy he received from someone close to him pulled the trigger that led him to become the greatest leaker in world's recent history.
In fact whoever wrote the Snowden story, decided to completely rely on the figure of James Bond, who in the public imagery is always surrounded by beautiful exotic dancers who are more sexual characters than love-energy characters. Hence the energy they carry with them is sexual energy and not love. They are two completely different things because such a characterization completely affects the whole meaning of the story and the protagonist's ethics that consists of his main values. They needed the character of Snowden to have the maximum credibility and as they wanted you to believe he is a spy they choose James Bond as the main imaginative association for our simple brain to buy.
You have to consider that every story you see at the movies it's always the story of a transformation, that carries with it a major psychological change. From bad to good, from weak to strong etc. Hollywood movies always tell the story of a hero who at the end of the day has always changed respect to what he was at the beginning. And in order to change he has to struggle with the worst possible enemy: Himself. Especially in a story like the one of Snowden it is absolutely implicit that he's being undergoing a major transformation because it has been reported that sometimes before his defection, he published a series of comments on Facebook, affirming that "leakers have to be shot in the balls". You don't write such a statement and after six months you go to Hong Kong and call up a couple of Hack writers like Glenn "I know real Leakers" Greenwald and the other guy from the Wash Post and tell them about your disappointment over Obama's agenda. That's not credible.
Where's the inner struggling forces? Where is Snowden's internal conflict? Something must have happened because Snowden completely changed his weltanschauung (Vision of the world). Most important he changed the ethical values he believes in. Although his screenwriter wants us to believe that Snowden was just "disappointed with Obama's policy". This is the screenplay's hugest hole: if you have a James Bond's characterization you can't have that ethical change. Why? Well simply because James Bond is a superhero and superheroes do not enter any transformation or psychological change because they never lose. Snowden has a James Bond characterization but they want us to buy the fact he was able to enter a psychological transformation without undergoing any psychological injury nor any sentimental involvement with anyone. It doesn't work this way,
Team swapping is not a simple game that happens like that. You need a psychological injury, you need an inciting incident, you need the lover's energy. But the Snowden's screenwriters forgot to put this on the screen, because they thought the audience wouldn't go that in depth in analyzing his background story! Indeed in the media it was reported that Snowden went out with an Hawaian pole dancer, who knew absolutely nothing about him and his job and who was not involved in his choice.
Lindsay Mills, (the Pole Exotic dancer who Snowden used to date) doesn’t look exactly like someone who carries such powerful energy to transform a grey bureaucrat into a popular hero. She doesn't work for Amnesty International, nor did she follow him to Russia and she did not escort him to Hong Kong nor she did reveal anything meaningful about Snowden's personality or about their love-story. She's just part of his scenery because in all of its movies James Bond hangs out with an exotic lonely dancer.(See Bond Girls for all the character's references) One of the main psychological traits of the Bond girls there's her loneliness and just by chance the only statement made by Lindsay Mills was "you are leaving me lost at see without a compass". That's it. That's the big love energy of Lindsay Mills.
In his video interview with Whistleblowers monopolist controller Glenn "I know real leakers" Greenwald, when Snowden spoke about his job, his voice suddenly broke and that happens when you feel extremely happy and proud of what you're saying and you have an emotional breakdown like when you see a movie and you start crying. Or it can happen when you are very very proud of something you did, which is objectively acclaimed and acknowledged by others. This particular voice-tune-behavior is caused by the most secure of feelings that is the one of "being comfortably home". The voice breaks into an emotional state that reveals an almost narcissistic self-accomplishment, because you know you did the right thing and you re surrounded by friends and loved ones who fill your life with unconditional love and compensation of all kind. That sensation can be summarized in "A great brilliant future is waiting ahead of you, tomorrow will be Christmas and all of your family and your friends will be here with you and you just won a million dollars at the lottery.." Certainly that's not the way I would feel while interviewed for the first time by the major world's newspapers to let them know I am a government leaker who wants to denounce the evil conduct of the largest and most secretive spy agency in the world.
Nor was the same attitude that real leaker Gary McKinnon had when he first met the press. Also because Gary McKinnon did not need to be interviewed by two Pulizer prize winners to acquire credibility. The Federal government went immediately after Gary McKinnon as he's been interviewed by Police on March 19 2002 while the first interview McKinnon released to the media was three years and four months after he was interviewed by authorities.
McKinnon released his first interview on July 9, 2005 to Guardian reporter Jon Ronson who hasn't won a Pulitzer yet. Instead Snowden became a media sensation right away, he requested the presence of two Pulizer winning reporters and completely saturated the world's media with the only news of his team swapping, while being escorted by a team of fictional characters like Sarah Harrison and Travel Agent Olafur "Sharky" Sigurvisson.
My only comment regarding the whole Edward Snowden story can be summarized in one single expression: "wow!". This guy is Harry Thomas Anderson "Neo" Potter. I have no problem in admitting I would never ever had the guts to do what he did. Never Ever. Only if my life was threatened maybe or if I had no other choice or if Kate Moss had promised me her eternal love in exchange for becoming a leaker...but being Italian I'd rather deceive her than choosing of being haunted by the devil in person or by Joubert from the three days of Condor.
In any case the only circumstance under which a rational average human being would have done what he did, would be an incredible unprecedented pressure exercised over him by an external or internal entity which left him no choice but to come forward and step on the world stage.
This "entity" though will never be revealed to the public simply because it doesn't exist as Snowden's characterization does not fit that picture.
Who in the world would risk his own life for something like "Obama's disappointed me".
You give up your life, your relatives, your friends, your home, your job, your money, your homeland, your security for what? Public acknowledgement? Gratitude? Fame? No my friend. A person who choose to give up his whole material life to change the world for better is the highest moral example in the ethical scheme. His ethics and moral can be compared to those of Saint Francis (who just by chance is the new Pope's inspirational figure) or Jesus Christ but these Historical Freedom fighters have been struggling for real both inner daemons and external enemies. Snowden's only struggle was deciding what five star hotel he would check in. Nor he showed any real motivation in exposing what he knew. He sounded like reading the White Pages. A real freedom warrior doesn't behave that way. A real freedom warrior is fueled by an overwhelming force that is called PASSION. Something that Edward Snowden will never have because he's got no guts being just a fake puppet.
We have to realize that in a world made of media, narratives is the main form under which historical events are told to the public. This way it would be easier for the lazy audience to receive the message in the clearest and quickest way possible. For the same reasons, narratives is the only key to crack what you see in today's world, which is undoubtedly a media world. Although at the same time someone can use the narrative tools to deceive the audience. Someone who is able to saturate the media, create fake characters and borrow private jets.
One way or another Narrative has become the King of today's new reality. Take for example the September 11 attacks, when reality reached the peak of its narrative power. Even the day that the terrorists chose for the attack is a story in itself as it can be summarized in the emergency number: 911. Under the narrative point of view this is defined as "perfection". That's Narratives at its top level. Indeed in the past ten years we have seen major changes occurring in everyone's lives and even criminals started to adapt themselves to this new scheme of things. Middle East terrorists started video recording their attacks and suicide bombers they redacted their will in form of video message. It's like if you are not into the media narrative scheme of things, your actions won't ever exist, because the only reality is the one you see on the screen of your PC or your tv set. And the best the narrative the more powerful the message. Whoever made up the Snowden story did not put enough effort in filling up the narrative holes in Snowden's character. The Swapping Team was not justified by an external pressure or by an internal one
His James Bond's superficial characterization with his exotic Pole-dancer is the major contradiction in this whole story, because it completely destroys the chance that he's a freedom warrior who is fueled by the most powerful energy in the universe: Love. The Snowden story is a typical Redemption Plot, where the story arcs on a moral change within the protagonist (Snowden) from bad to good. because he turned from working as a "dark grey" government contractor employee to becoming a whistleblower whose only goal in life is to free the world from the darkness of ignorance.
Although what's missing in Snowden's background is the event that justifies such a major change to happen. The "turning point". When, where and what pulled Edward Snowden to turn himself to the major world's media to reveal he worked for the NSA and we all are spied by the government? Nothing. Zero. An exotic pole dancer means sex and not eternal love. Besides, with all due respect, Edward Snowden is not the playboy kind of guy. He looks more like a nerd who learned sex through porn movies rather than walking naked in the woods with Mary Jane and Peggy Sue.
Like all this B-movie dark creepy-sneaky characters, from Sarah Harrison to Ólafur Sigurvinsson, Edward Snowden is a fake science fiction character like the rest of his happy company. These people showed no emotional side and a major lack about their real motivation, other than a huge contradiction within their own behavior.
Nothing in his life or in his professional background or in his recent history is consistent with his life-changing decision.
Nor he did reveal to Whistleblower scientist Glenn Greenwald what pulled him to take such a mind-blowing decision that completely destroyed his bourgeois-lifestyle.
Snowden just puked a salad of meaningless words, like "I felt this was not the world I wanted to live in, I was disappointed by Obama". This means nothing. A lot of talk and a badge.
This is where the professional narratives kicks in and amateurs get kicked out.
E Pluribus Unum