Mass surveillance exposed by Snowden is about control, not counterterrorism – Oliver Stone to RT

The majority of the US public is not aware of what exactly was exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden because media coverage focused on the messenger, not the message, the director of the biopic ‘Snowden’, Oliver Stone, told RT.

“[Snowden] wanted the emphasis to be on the message, not the messenger. He was wrong because the world was more interested in ‘kill the messenger, kill the message’. The US went heavily on Snowden and called him a traitor, profiled him as a spy or a low-level NSA guy – it’s not true,” the Academy Award-winning director and famous documentary filmmaker told RT’s Going Underground program.

Snowden became world-renown figure after leading classified documents detailing the surveillance programs of the US intelligence agencies and its allies in 2013. Stone met him in person in Russia, where Snowden was granted political asylum.

“People don’t understand what he did,” Stone said. “The datamining that we are doing as a country was missed by the general public. They think it’s about their iPhone only, or their computer. But it’s a small part of the equation.”

What Snowden was trying to tell the public, Stone argued, is that contrary to the claims of US intelligence officials, mass surveillance is not effective or even necessary to fight terrorism, an area where targeted surveillance and human intelligence produce much better results. But the data obtained through mass surveillance is used for all sorts of “malicious circumstances.”

“The reason we are doing this, and Snowden proposes this in the movie, is to have control. To have control over as much information as possible – economic, social, military, corporate information, financial information. That leads to all the difficulties you can bring to a country by making it public,” Stone said.

Examples of such interference, he suggested, include the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the troubles in Venezuelan economy and the armed coup in Ukraine, all the way up to the war in Syria.

“The datamining that we are doing on extensive level is used for drone warfare. And all suffer from cyberwarfare. Cyberwarfare is the most dangerous and insidious and is upon us now,” Stone said. “We started it [in 2007 against Iran] and ever since then people have understood it. Other countries have developed forms of it. And independent hackers have come out of nowhere.”