Citizen Four – My Review



C4 won the Academy Award for best documentary, which was a welcome bit of relief and helps to get the word out to many millions more people. It is, however, just art in the face of a rising totalitarian regime, one that remains in power and operating pretty much as before.

I liked that Snowden clearly lays out the case that this is a Constitutional violation, the end of liberty, and it is accelerating rapidly. None are safe, not Congress people, not Supreme Court judges, not human rights lawyers, not business leaders, and most certainly not any regular citizens reading this review. The public has failed to comprehend the massive scale and the visceral danger to themselves and to the society as a whole. STASI Germany was not a fun place. America today has far more sophisticated surveillance of its people than the East Germans could ever imagine.

NSA Director Keith Alexander and Director of National Intelligence Michael Hayden both lied to Congress, blatantly, which is a felony. Both should be arrested and prosecuted–this afternoon. But they are not. These are official conspiracies to subvert the Constitution. These are officially protected crimes that violate the 4th Amendment privacy rights of all Americans.

4th Amendment, US Constitution:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


Memorize it.

Edward Snowden is arguably the most important whistleblower in US history. His hard evidence against NSA and its British partner in crime GCHQ, reveals a criminal infrastructure beyond the control of democracy. If the people can be surveilled infinitely, without any oversight or justification needed (like that 4th Amendment), then it is no longer a democratic republic: it is a police state.

I’ve been wrting and posting about these issues since the mid 1990s when CARNIVORE came to light. The FBI was vacuuming up all our emails, and they had myriad excuses why we should be quiet about it. The writing was on the wall. Secret government power grabs were the norm and they came faster as technology advanced in their favor. Eventually the balance would be tipped and techno-fascism would be the obvious end-result.


The Citizen Four film gave me some tiny sliver of hope. Not everyone is living under the NSA. People across the world, in many nations, rebelled. They held hearings, and they passed new laws. They built new infrastructure to stop the warrantless spying by the US military.

Unfortunately, you can’t get most Americans to put down their phones for long enough to have a grown-up conversation. Not when the next reality TV show is beginning.

Citizen Four may be the only means available to awaken generation zombie. It pulls no punches. The issues are current, desperate and real. Snowden sacrificed his freedom for them, so that they wouldn’t have to live under totalitarianism. But are they just too dumb to care?

I confront these questions daily.


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