Conspiracy Theories

Post #4

We’ve gotten this far to get to the see the reasoning of both for and against sides of the said conspiracy theory (Edward Snowden is a government plan!). Although I was able to compile a longer list of evidence supporting the believer’s side and the theory did fascinate me in different ways, these pieces of evidence also require people to exercise their imagination a lot more often to cover the hidden assumptions than the sceptical side’s do. So they say Snowden’s life is too much like a Hollywood script, he’s too well-spoken, too well-organized, his appearance seems manufactured; he’s simply too good to be true. The border is fragile enough for Snowden to have gone from unbelievable to impossible. But what if he was just being himself the whole time? What if he was able to come up with this master plan to dupe the NSA all by himself plainly because he was actually a genius, who proved his capability by climbing the stairs in a government setting so quickly even without a high school diploma. That would require fewer assumptions to make than arguing that a shadowy agent had been directing Snowden since he started in the CIA, sketching this plan out for him to follow, writing up every word that he would say to the public, hiring a stylist to touch him up every time he showed up in front of the camera. Occam’s razor theory states that the simpler explanation is the better one, therefore, the better explanation, in this case, should be that Snowden is nothing but a genius who loves his country and dedicates his life to fight for his own justice.

Post #3

Part I: List of evidence against the theory that Edward Snowden is a government plan.

  1. Snowden has gotten legal representation in the US, Germany, and Russia.
  2. His leaks caused tremendous damages to the NSA and US security
  3. CIA tried to kidnapped Snowden and rendered him back to the U.S

Part II: Paragraph summary of the gathered evidence.

In one of her Facebook update, Naomi Wolf expressed her concerns that Snowden might be a government plan. One of her arguments was that he had no lawyer beside him in media meetings, which was a proof that someone in the backstage was assisting him with legal problems. But since 2015, Snowden has gotten lawyers in the US, Germany and Russia, where he was living at the time, and they were all helping him to go back to the U.S. That totally invalidated Wolf’s argument.

In a 36-page investigative report by a U.S House committee, the committee stated that the “full scope” of Snowden’s revelations remained unknown and that he “handed over secrets that protect American troops overseas and secrets that provide vital defences against terrorists and nation-states.” Was the U.S government that desperate in demonstrating its power that it decided to sacrifice its own privacy? Compared to all the troubles induced by the disclosures, the benefits for the government are so thin to be able to make up for the losses.

In addition, in 2014, C.I.A made an attempt to render Snowden back to the U.S with a military aeroplane in a civilian disguise. If the whole story was just a move of the U.S government towards the throne and Snowden was basically a pawn, then wouldn’t it be easier to just hire somebody to assassinate Snowden after his job was done? Why did they have to try that hard to bring him back “to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged”? It just makes no sense at all.

References

http://theconspiracyblog.com/conspiracies/current-politics/edward-snowden/752-naomi-wolf-thinks-edward-snowden-and-his-sexy-girlfriend-are-government-plants

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/04/edward-snowden-lawyer-return-back-us

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/15/snowdens-leaks-caused-tremendous-damage-to-us-security-house-panel.html

http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/n977ga-was-waiting-to-render-snowden-back-to-the-usa/article/386748

 

Post #2

Part I: List of evidence supporting the theory that Edward Snowden is a government plan

  1. Snowden’s story is like a classic Hollywood hero movie – too well written, not very realistic.
  2. An uncertain motive for self-sacrifice.
  3. Tailor-made appearance for his role.
  4. Snowden is too well spoken.
  5. Also too well organized.
  6. Snowden has no lawyer/counsel when he meets with media, which is unusual for his situation.
  7. His girlfriend’s hankering for media focus.

Part II: Paragraph summary of the gathered evidence

Edward Snowden’s story is too much like a classic Hollywood hero plot: a high school drop-out, exceptionally bright and talented, a lone knight who refuses to play by the rules. Does it sound very familiar? Would it be reasonable to say that the NSA wanted a heroic public figure to serve their purpose, so they just recycled the Hollywood template to create one? Plus, for somebody who lacks even a high school diploma to rise that quickly in a government setting, it is indeed very suspicious.

In addition, I find country love as the explanation of why Snowden sacrifices his perfect life almost impossible to believe. If he’s that one guy who seems to have everything that a young man would desire: a comfortable life on Hawaii including a salary of $122,000 (Wemple, 2013) – an abruptly high salary for a person who does government stuff, a beautiful model girlfriend who was a pole-dancing acrobat, a stable, successful career, then why did he choose to give up everything? Why ruining his own life, in exchange for, hmm, the truth? (“Is NSA Spy Leak Edward Snowden A Manufactured Hero?,” n.d.)

His appearance also seems manufactured, like he’s been touched by the hand of a filming crew’s stylist (Friedman, 2013): rimless glasses, pale skin, ruffled hair, grey characterless clothes. “If he didn’t exist, Hollywood would probably have invented him.” (Vanessa Friedman) His appearance certainly affected his credibility and how the public reacted to him, so as a tool of the government, his image should resemble a whistleblower: a nerd who doesn’t care about how he looks since there are greater things that matter.

Moreover, in all his meetings with the media, Snowden is always so well-spoken that it almost seems like he’s reading from a script.
“I would rather be without a state than without a voice” (Edward Snowden)
“Every person remembers some moment in their life where they witnessed some injustice, big or small, and looked away because the consequences of intervening seemed too intimidating. But there’s a limit to the amount of incivility and inequality and inhumanity that each individual can tolerate. I crossed that line. And I’m no longer alone.” (Edward Snowden)
His quotes are passed around on the internet ad infinitum, every word sounds like it’s originated from a campaigner. Even the most intelligent, articulate whistleblower, when being put under stress, would not be able to convey their message so smoothly without stumbling (“Naomi Wolf Thinks Edward Snowden And His Sexy Girlfriend Are Government Plants,” n.d.). But somehow Snowden managed to overcome the challenge. His master plan for the disclosure was all set up perfectly: steal the document, escape to Hong Kong, then even hire a professional filmmaker to shoot the interview with the famous Guardian journalist Greenwald. Remember that this guy admitted he was under great pressure and in a mental breakdown at the time. So there are two possibilities: 1. He’s a genius and charismatic whistleblower 2. He’s scripted. And I’m leaning toward the second.

By the way, we never see Snowden accompanied by any legal counsel when he appears in front of the media, which is pretty odd considering his situation and the legal danger he’s in (“Naomi Wolf Thinks Edward Snowden And His Sexy Girlfriend Are Government Plants,” n.d.). If he just says something foolish out of an absent-minded moment, he would be under a more serious threat, and he’s smart enough to know that. Every other whistleblower has a lawyer, yet Snowden doesn’t. Is he just overconfident about his wisdom, or is he protected by someone in the backstage?

Last, but not least, Snowden’s girlfriend – Lindsay Mills – keeps leaking complementary and throwing updates on social media. Her boyfriend is a political asylum seeking a safe location to hide, and all she’s been doing is keep her image recycled on the press and constantly putting up images of their place in Russia. Would that be a conflict with Snowden’s interest? I would think it’s a way to keep the public’s attention on the issue.

References:

 

Friedman, V. (2013, June 28). Tailor-made for the role. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from https://www.ft.com/content/ce1bd8c4-dce4-11e2-9700-00144feab7de

Is NSA Spy Leak Edward Snowden A Manufactured Hero? (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2017, from http://theconspiracyblog.com/conspiracies/current-politics/edward-snowden/753-is-nsa-spy-leak-edward-snowden-a-manufactured-hero

Naomi Wolf Thinks Edward Snowden And His Sexy Girlfriend Are Government Plants. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2017, from http://theconspiracyblog.com/conspiracies/current-politics/edward-snowden/752-naomi-wolf-thinks-edward-snowden-and-his-sexy-girlfriend-are-government-plants

Wemple, E. (2013, June 11). Did Snowden really earn a $200,000 salary? Retrieved October 16, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2013/06/11/did-snowden-really-earn-a-200000-salary/

Post #1

The conspiracy theory I’m investigating is about NSA’s global surveillance disclosures involving the whistleblower Edward Snowden who leaked top-secret documents that he obtained while working for NSA. Theorists believe that Snowden is just an actor in a big play directed by the NSA to scare the political bodies who are not U.S’s allies by showing others how broadly and prevalently they can reach and what they are capable of doing. That is how the U.S would ensure compliance and passivity of others upon their next moves in taking over the world: by demonstrating the great power that they don’t have – the ability to spy on every single device on the planet.

I find this particular topic very fascinating. Just a couple of months before I left Vietnam, I went to see the movie “Snowden” – I didn’t even watch the trailer, the main reason I was going was that it starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt. By the time, I was not aware of the scandal, so I learnt about the issue through the movie. I was captivated by the story and the fact that this whole time I might have been spied on like billions of other people around the world, as well as the idea of what kind of power an organization would possess if they just have access to the average, ordinary people’s personal and communicating information. I didn’t read more about the matter when I got home, but now I would like to dig deeper into it and learn more about it. Looking at it under the conspiratorial scope would make me put myself in different positions and interpret the story more critically. Right now I haven’t done a lot of research and I don’t have the evidence with me, but I have a feeling that the theorists are telling the truth. A single person couldn’t be able to come up with such a well-planned scheme, there must be somebody manipulating him, feeding him with the documents and the idea of global surveillance which later turned into an obsession that almost drove him crazy.

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