Film on Edward Snowden wins Academy Award

Featured photo - The Intercept’s Laura Poitras Wins Academy Award for ‘Citizenfour’

Laura Poitras, a founding editor of The Intercept, won an Academy Award tonight for her documentary “Citizenfour,” an inside look at Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower; with Glenn Greenwald, journalist who reported many of the Snowden exposés.

[The annual Academy Awards (“Oscars”) are selected by secret/anonymous votes of the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures (previous winners of Oscars).  So, on occasion, the awards are given to a film which rebukes unpopular government policies.  And that is definitely the case with the award of “Best Documentary” to Citizenfour, which described the path of the world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowdon who, at great personal cost and risk, exposed the NSA and the most intrusive government betrayal of privacy rights in history.  Though vilified and threatened by the government and politicians, Snowdon has won popular praise and accolades to such an extent that even the filmmakers of Hollywood chose to reward Laura Poitras, director, and the film Citizenfour, with the highest honor.  We urge everyone to seek out and spread the word about this film.  —  Frontlines ed.]

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage and for the many other whistleblowers.” Snowden, in a statement released after the award was announced, said, “My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

The film, which has been hailed as a real-life thriller, chronicles Snowden’s effort to securely contact Poitras and Glenn Greenwald in 2013 and meet them in Hong Kong, where Poitras filmed Snowden discussing the thousands of classified NSA documents he was leaking to them, and his motives for doing so. The film takes its title from the pseudonym Snowden used when he contacted Poitras in encrypted emails that were revealed in her documentary.

Drones in Gaza, over US/Mexico border, Af/Pak, India. Next, New York City?

NYPD Considering Use of Unmanned Aircraft

The New York Police Department may soon be operating unmanned aircraft “as a law enforcement tool” in New York City, giving that agency the capability to monitor activities in city parks, on streets, and in other public areas from the air.

In January, Gay City News made a Freedom of Information request to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seeking “any application or applications made by the New York City Police Department or any other New York City agency to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle in the New York City area.”

In its response, the FAA reported that it had not received any such applications, but it released a December 13, 2010 email to the FAA from a police department detective who wanted to know “who has ‘Certificates of Authority’ to fly Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the U.S.”

The detective’s name was blacked out, but he was identified as part of the NYPD Counterterrorism Division in his email. He wrote, “Currently, we are in the basic stages of investigating the possible use of UAV’s as a law enforcement tool.” Continue reading