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October 21 2014 | Pitchforks | 0 comments
Citizenfour
photo:Richard Harris

"...He was so at peace with the choice he had made and knowing that the consequences could mean the end of his life and that this was still the right decision. He believed in it, and whatever the consequences, he was willing to accept them. To meet somebody who has made those kinds of decisions is extraordinary. And to be able to document that and also how Glenn [Greenwald] stepped in and pushed for this reporting to happen in an aggressive way changed the narrative. Because Glenn and I come at it from an outsider’s perspective, the narrative unfolded in a way that nobody quite knew how to respond to. That’s why I think the government was initially on its heels. You know, it's not everyday that a whistleblower is actually willing to be identified.

TE: My guess is that Snowden has given us the feeling that we now grasp the nature of the global surveillance state that is watching us, but I always think to myself, well, he was just one guy coming out of one of 17 interlocked intelligence outfits. Given the remarkable way your film ends -- the punch line, you might say -- with another source or sources coming forward from somewhere inside that world to reveal, among other things, information about the enormous watchlist that you yourself are on, I’m curious: What do you think is still to be known? I suspect that if whistleblowers were to emerge from the top five or six agencies, the CIA, the DIA, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and so on, with similar documentation to Snowden’s, we would simply be staggered by the system that's been created in our name.

LP: I can't speculate on what we don't know, but I think you're right in terms of the scale and scope of things and the need for that information to be made public. I mean, just consider the CIA and its effort to suppress the Senate’s review of its torture program. Take in the fact that we live in a country that a) legalized torture and b) where no one was ever held to account for it, and now the government's internal look at what happened is being suppressed by the CIA. That's a frightening landscape to be in.

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October 21 2014 | Events - Brussels | 1 comment
July 21 - 1
photo: Richard Harris

Ever since the late King Baudouin decided that a stuffy military parade wasn't the best way to celebrate National Day, the national Belgian holiday has become a big party in which the military parade is just a small part. Each year they seem to add new stuff to the sprawling party that goes from the Royal Park to the Law Courts. This year with the centennial of the start of WWI and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Brussels in WWII there was a display of American war vehicles and some reenactments. And, just for the fun of it, there was a great gathering of Belgian folkloric giants. This unusual (and now a recognized UNESCO world heritage element) folkloric tradition is hard to explain to people but I've always loved the giants and having forty of them all at once was fabulous. Though it is mostly a Belgian tradition there are some giants in Northern France and the southern part of the Netherlands and of the forty, 38 were Belgian and 1 was French and 1 was Dutch.
We started out the day in the Royal Park where there were some Napoleonic reenactments going on (maybe in preparation for next year's 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo).
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October 21 2014 | Events - Brussels | 0 comments
July 21 - 2
photo: Richard Harris
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October 21 2014 | Events - Brussels | 0 comments
July 21 - 3
photo: Richard Harris
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October 21 2014 | Events - Brussels | 0 comments
July 21 - 4
photo: Richard Harris
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