(2.4) Complete disclosure: I consider Edward Snowden a hero . . . and director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald too. And when I am king of the world, no one will be allowed to vote without first seeing Citizenfour.
The Brown University Chapter of the ACLU and the ACLU of Rhode Island will be hosting a screening of the documentary Citizenfour. A discussion of privacy and surveillance follows the movie. (Facebook event page.)
Academy Award-winning documentary CITIZENFOUR follows whistleblower Edward Snowden as he shares for the first time the classified National Security Agency documents that would expose the U.S. government’s illegal and indiscriminate mass surveillance programs. The camera rolls as Snowden meets with journalist Glenn Greenwald to explain the extent of the federal government’s dragnet surveillance, and then handles the political and personal ramifications of the leak. Watch the story behind the headlines and learn why Snowden, an ACLU client, wanted to protect the privacy rights of all.
A woman of extraordinary and diverse talents, director Laura Poitras now has a video exhibition — “Astro Noise,” opening this month at the Whitney Museum — which forces us to view government surveillance and drone feeds in a new way (New York Times). That these issues consume her life is not surprising. Last summer Poitras, founding editor of The Intercept, filed a law suit against the U.S. government citing her “Kafkasesque harrassment” at airports around the world. (Guardian 7.14.15)
Poitras, 51, said she had been held at borders more than 50 times between 2006 and 2012, often for hours at a time. At various times she alleges being told by officials that she was on a “no fly” list, having her electronic equipment confiscated and not returned for 41 days, and being threatened with handcuffs for taking notes. The latter incident took place when she was working on a film about the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Fifty times in six years? How does this make the rest of us one bit safer? If the professed goal of airport security procedures is intercepting bad guys carrying weapons and explosives, then are we supposed to believe that Laura Poitras might be attempting such a thing? Isn’t it more likely that while security agents are spending hours with Poitras that an actual terrorist is slipping through? Of course this isn’t about airplane security at all. It’s about governmental overreach and intimidation of a free press. Says Poitras,
“I’m filing this lawsuit because the government uses the US border to bypass the rule of law,” said the film-maker in a statement, The Intercept reported. “This simply should not be tolerated in a democracy. I am also filing this suit in support of the countless other less high-profile people who have also been subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders. We have a right to know how this system works and why we are targeted.”
Free and open to the public, film at 6pm, Thursday, February 4, Smith-Buonanno Hall, 95 Cushing Street, (directions)