JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

1. The Guardian article on Edward Snowden, including a video interview of him, may be found at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/
edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance
,
and a transcript of that interview may be found at http://www.policymic.com/articles/47355/edward-snowden
-interview-transcript-full-text-read-the-guardian-s-entire-
interview-with-the-man-who-leaked-prism
,
both downloaded on October 15, 2013. [return to text]

2. See, for example, Box Office Mojo, http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bond23.htm, and Skyfall, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyfall, downloaded on October 15, 2013. 

3. This contemporary anxiety and sense of an approaching, apocalyptic ending is surely reflected in the many, contemporary movies about the threat of the dead coming back to life. There is long history of zombie movies, e.g. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene 1920), I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur 1943), and Night of the Living Dead (George Romero 1968). Nevertheless, the number and varied nature of such movies in recent years have dramatically increased, e.g. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle 2002), Dawn of the Dead (remake)(Zack Snyder 2004), Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright 2004), 28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo 2007), Day of the Dead (remake)(Steve Miner 2008), Diary of the Dead (George Romero 2008), Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer 2009), The Crazies (remake)(Breck Eisner 2010), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (Richard Shenkman 2012), and World War Z (Marc Forster 2013). There is also the recent phenomenon of the zombie movie as an ongoing series both on the theatrical, e.g. Resident Evil (2002—2012) and television, e.g. Walking Dead (2010—) screens.

4. The Motion Picture Association of America’s 2012 report shows that the largest theatrical market outside of the U.S./Canadian market is now China. MPAA 2012 Theatrical Market Statistics,
http://www.mpaa.org/Resources/3037b7a4-58a2-4109-8012-58fca3abdf1b.pdf,
which was downloaded on October 15, 2013.

5. For a fan-like tribute to the Aston Martin as an icon of the Bond franchise, see http://www.emanuellevy.com/comment/bond-films-loyal-to-aston-martin/, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

6. The commercial incentive for resurrecting a successful franchise knows no bounds. For example, the “Alien” series resurrected its central character, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), by keeping her in hyper-sleep for 57 years (Aliens 1986), secreting an alien onboard while she is again in hyper-sleep and then crash landing her on a prison colony (Alien 3 1992), and cloning her 200 years later when she has previously thrown herself into the fire of a burning furnace (Alien Resurrection 1997).

7. Friedman, Thomas, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Friedman, who has popularized the notion of a “flat,” global economy fails to draw the connection between that “flatness” and the means of control through government technology, that is, its dependence upon the technology of those global, commercial ventures. See, for example, his editorial in which he attacks Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the massive surveillance by the NSA in the U.S. (and elsewhere) on the basis that they will potentially lead to yet more surveillance. “Blowing a Whistle,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/opinion/friedman-blowing-a-whistle.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
, downloaded October 15, 2013.
His argument is reminiscent of the Cold War argument that justified “naming names” and blacklists and that later defended the presence of U.S. troops in Vietnam based on a “domino theory.”

8. See, for example, Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2012 (“’Skyfall’ keeps us caring, intensely, for a hero who, by any rational measure, is a vestige of a vanished era.”) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324894
104578106610813833952.html
downloaded on October 15, 2013. 

There are also those critics who would see in Skyfall’s seeming endorsement of the “old ways” and the resulting commercial success of the movie an adherence to the “action spy formula” in contrast to the “realist spy film”. From that perspective Skyfall is part of the “fantasy-based cycle of the spy film [that] still reflects the traditional theme of society as a rigid, ruthless organization but [that] tends to take it for granted, placing more emphasis on life-saving action instead. It abandons the realism of bureaucratic spy work in the favour of heroic fantasies…” Luis Garci-Mainar, “The Return of the Realist Spy Film,” CineAction, no. 88 (2012) at page 12. That a film is commercially successful would, however, suggest that it reflects more accurately its cultural moment in appealing to the emotional tropes of its audience. Realism is hardly a guarantee of truth.

9. Daniel Craig’s Bond differs in that respect from many of his predecessors. For example, in his first role as Bond in Casino Royale (Martin Campbell 2006) Craig falls in love and resigns as a consequence from MI6—only to lose his love in an emotionally dissatisfying ending that calls into question whether Craig, as a 00 agent, can ever allow himself to fall in love. That type of narrative, including the tortured character Craig has consistently portrayed, would have been unthinkable for a predecessor actor such as Roger Moore who played Bond for 12 years. [return to page 2]

10. In an example of real life imitating cinematic art, the whistle blower Edward Snowden has claimed that the disclosure of U.S. “assets”, which included the identity of its agents in the field, was wholly irrelevant to his intention:

“Anyone in the positions of access with the technical capabilities that I had could suck out secrets, pass them on the open market to Russia; they always have an open door as we do. I had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all over the world. The locations of every station, we have what their missions are and so forth. If I had just wanted to harm the US? You could shut down the surveillance system in an afternoon. But that's not my intention….."

He elaborates elsewhere as to his intention:

"I'm no different from anybody else. I don't have special skills. I'm just another guy who sits there day to day in the office, watches what's happening and goes, 'This is something that's not our place to decide, the public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong.' And I'm willing to go on the record to defend the authenticity of them and say, 'I didn't change these, I didn't modify the story. This is the truth; this is what's happening. You should decide whether we need to be doing this.'"

http://www.policymic.com/articles/47355/edward-snowden
-interview-transcript-full-text-read-the-guardian-s-entire
-interview-with-the-man-who-leaked-prism
downloaded on October 15, 2013.

11. William Shakespeare, Othello, Act V, scene 2.

12. For a brief description of the war now conducted through computers by nation states, see, for example, “U.S. Helps Allies Trying to Battle Iranian Hackers,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/world/
middleeast/us-helps-allies-trying-to-battle-iranian-hackers.
html?ref=todayspaper
,

“China Seen in Push to Gain Technology Insights,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/06/world/asia/wide-china
-push-is-seen-to-obtain-industry-secrets.html
,

and “U.S. and China Move Closer on North Korea, but Not on Cyberespionage,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/world/asia/
obama-and-xi-try-building-a-new-model-for-china-us-ties.html?pagewanted=all
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

The participation in the U.S. by Silicon Valley’s private industry in surveillance programs by the U.S. government is described in “Tech Companies Concede to Surveillance Programs,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/technology/tech-companies-
bristling-concede-to-government-surveillance-efforts.html?hpw
,
downloaded on October 15, 2013.

Following Snowden’s disclosures, the press has written extensively on the NSA’s computer surveillance of its supposed allies. See, for example, “New NSA leaks show how U.S. is bugging its European allies,”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/30/
nsa-leaks-us-bugging-european-allies
, downloaded on October 9, 2013,

and “NSA spying: Ally anger justified?”
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57592169/
nsa-spying-ally-anger-justified/
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.  

[return to page 3]

12a. The “prism” slide may be found at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data.  

The “upstream”slide may be found at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics
/prism-collection-documents/
each downloaded on October 15, 2013.

13. Alexander Cockburn, “James Bond at Twenty-Five,” American Film, July/August 1987, Vol. XII, No. 9, at page 26.

14. See Ted McGowan, “Should the Dark Knight have risen?” Jump Cut 45 (fall 2012)
http://www.ejumpcut.org/currentissue/McGowanDarkKnight/
downloaded on October 15, 2013 (“Alfred as villain”).
[return to page 3]

15. The British government, according to documents made public by Edward Snowden, has worked with the U.S. government in its efforts at digital surveillance. “New Leak Indicates Britain and U.S. Tracked Diplomats,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/world/europe/new-leak-indicates-us-and-britain-eavesdropped-at-09-world-conferences.html
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

In fact, the British government through its own agency is also collecting massive amounts of data and then sharing that data with the U.S.. “GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications,”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

16. Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston) to Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) in A Touch of Evil (Orson Welles 1958).

17. Thus, the British government detained the partner of Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda. Greenwald had assisted Snowden in disclosing the NSA’s surveillance and Miranda was then detained at Heathrow airport and his electronic equipment seized. “Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow.

The British government then effectively compelled the Guardian in the UK to destroy its files relating to the materials provided by Snowden. “NSA files: why the Guardian in London destroyed hard drives of leaked files” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/20/
nsa-snowden-files-drives-destroyed-london
, and

“Guardian told to destroy NSA files for national security, says Clegg”
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/21/
nsa-nick-clegg-guardian-leaked-files
, each downloaded on October 15, 2013

17b. See, for example, Clapper v. Amnesty International (2012),
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-1025_ihdj.pdf,
in which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to decide whether the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in expanding the government’s right to monitor telephone calls and emails with persons outside the U.S. was constitutional. In a Catch-22 dilemma, the Court held that the plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit, reporters, lawyers and human rights advocates, lacked “standing”, i.e. had not demonstrated sufficient damage, to bring the lawsuit given that the government under that Act and other laws have effectively denied the plaintiffs access to such information; and Mohamed v. Jeppsen (9th Cir. 2010)
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1060445994998403010&hl
=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
,
in which the appellate court dismissed a lawsuit brought by non-U.S. citizens seeking recovery for rendition (forced disappearance and torture) coordinated between the CIA and foreign governments. The appellate court held that “national security” barred the plaintiffs from obtaining the evidence necessary to support their claims and hence upheld the government’s assertion of the “state secrets” privilege as a bar to the entire lawsuit. Both cases downloaded on October 15, 2013.

18. See, however, “Comparing Two Secret Surveillance Programs”,
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/07/us/comparing-two-secret-surveillance-programs.html?_r=0
,
which describes both the types of surveillance undertaken and the legal basis asserted for these programs; and “Obama Calls Surveillance Programs Legal and Limited,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/us/national-security-agency
-surveillance.html?pagewanted=all
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

Given the supposed legality of these surveillance programs by the U.S. government, the disclosure of such programs itself becomes unlawful, “Ex-Contractor Is Charged in Leaks on N.S.A. Surveillance,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/22/us/
snowden-espionage-act.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
,
and an open discussion and public debate on the issue of surveillance is difficult, to say the least, “Debate on Secret Data Looks Unlikely, Partly Because of Secrecy,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/us/politics/debate-on-secret-data-looks-unlikely-partly-due-to-secrecy.html
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

19. In Maryland v. King (2013)
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15696865672182064457&hl
=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
,  
the US Supreme Court upheld a state law that authorized the “collection and analysis of a DNA sample from persons arrested, but not yet convicted, on felony charges.” Downloaded on October 15, 2013.

20. The connection between government and Silicon Valley’s private industry has been characterized in a variety of ways. A benign description views Silicon Valley as resistant to government demands for data:

“It also highlights a paradox of Silicon Valley: while tech companies eagerly vacuum up user data to track their users and sell ever more targeted ads, many also have a libertarian streak ingrained in their corporate cultures that resists sharing that data with the government.

‘Even though they have an awful reputation on consumer privacy issues, when it comes to government privacy, they generally tend to put their users first,’ said Christopher Soghoian, a senior policy analyst studying technological surveillance at the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘There’s this libertarian, pro-civil liberties vein that runs through the tech companies.’”

“Secret Court Ruling Put Tech Companies in Data Bind,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/technology/secret-court-ruling-put-tech-companies-in-data-bind.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

A less benign description views the cooperation between government and industry as commercially beneficial to both:

“Silicon Valley has what the spy agency wants: vast amounts of private data and the most sophisticated software available to analyze it. The agency in turn is one of Silicon Valley’s largest customers for what is known as data analytics, one of the valley’s fastest-growing markets. To get their hands on the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large volumes of data, United States intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly.

‘We are all in these Big Data business models,’ said Ray Wang, a technology analyst and chief executive of Constellation Research, based in San Francisco. ‘There are a lot of connections now because the data scientists and the folks who are building these systems have a lot of common interests.’”

“Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/technology/silicon-valley-and-spy-
agency-bound-by-strengthening-web.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

21. Miller, Toby, Spyscreen: Espionage on Film & TV from the 1930s to the 1960s, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, at page 44.

22. “The 21st century mole demands no payments for his secrets. He sees himself instead as an idealist, a believer in individual sovereignty and freedom from tyranny……Just as antiwar protesters of the Vietnam era argued that peace, not war, was the natural state of man, this new breed of radical technophiles believes that transparency and personal privacy are the foundations of a free society.” “The Geeks Who Leak,”
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2145506,00.html
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

23. Transcript of a video interview of Edward Snowden by The Guardian,
http://www.policymic.com/articles/47355/edward-snowden-
interview-transcript-full-text-read-the-guardian-s-
entire-interview-with-the-man-who-leaked-prism
downloaded on October 15, 2013.

24. One such person who declined to comply is the “Lavabit founder [who] refused [the] FBI order to hand over email encryption keys,”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/03/lavabit-ladar-
levison-fbi-encryption-keys snowden?CMP=ema_565&et_cid=51651
&et_rid=7931573&Linkid=http%3a%2f
%2fwww.theguardian.com%2fworld%2f2013
%2foct%2f03%2flavabit-ladar-levison-fbi-encryption-keys-snowden
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

See also “2 E-Mail Services Shut Down to Protect Customer Data”
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/two-providers-of-
encrypted-e-mail-shut-down/
downloaded on October 15, 2013.

25. That providers have tracked consumer movements and transactions online is well-known and indeed is the business model for online commerce, namely revenues for targeted, online advertising. Only recently have consumers begun to question those practices and the associated privacy issues. See e.g., “Google Accused of Wiretapping in Gmail Scans,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/technology/google-accused
-of-wiretapping-in-gmail-scans.html?nl=technology&emc=edit_tu_20131002&_r=0
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

Government agencies in some instances then purchase that commercial data. “NSA paying U.S. companies for access to communications networks”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-paying
-us-companies-for-access-to-communications-networks/2013/08/29/
5641a4b6-10c2-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html?wpisrc=nl_tech_b
.

In other instances, however, they have acquired data by decrypting data transmitted through the “pipelines” of the Internet, such as cables. See “Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security,”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security?
CMP=ema_565&et_cid=48048&et_rid=7931573&Linkid=http
%3a%2f%2fwww.theguardian.com%2fworld%2f2013%2fsep%2f05%2
fnsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security
,

“N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web,”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-
encryption.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0
,

“Secret Documents Reveal N.S.A. Campaign Against Encryption,”
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/05/us/documents
-reveal-nsa-campaign-against-encryption.html
,  

“Unlocking Private Communications,”
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/05/us/unlocking
-private-communications.html
, each downloaded on October 15 2013.   

The presence of cameras has become so prevalent that we largely take their presence for granted.
“Many cameras, little privacy”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/
many-cameras-little-privacy/2013/08/12/37462de8-01d1
-11e3-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.html
.

Google glasses are a well-publicized extension of that practice, and Google now promotes its eyewear.
http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/
.

Interestingly, perhaps in reaction to the use of cell phones to record public behavior, the police have recently adopted the practice of recording their own activities. “In California, a Champion for Police Cameras”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/us/in-california-a-
champion-for-police-cameras.html?ref=todayspaper
.

The expanding presence of cameras would, of course, be exponentially intrusive if and when facial recognition technology becomes feasible. “Facial Scanning Is Making Gains in Surveillance”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/us/facial-scanning-
is-making-gains-in-surveillance.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0
, each downloaded on October 15, 2013.

26. The NSA annual “black budget” was only recently disclosed. “U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/
black-budget-summary-details-us-spy-networks-successes
-failures-and-objectives/2013/08/29/7e57bb78-10ab-11e3-
8cdd-bcdc09410972_story.html?wpisrc=al_national
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

As to Snowden’s
statelessness in Russia and the actions taken against the president of Bolivia, see, respectively the following: “Defiant Russia Grants Snowden Year’s Asylum,” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/world/europe/
edward-snowden-russia.html?pagewanted=all
and

“Bolivia: Presidential plane forced to land after false rumors of Snowden onboard”
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/02/world/americas/
bolivia-presidential-plane/index.html
, each downloaded October 15, 2013.

In that context, the silencing of an academic seems an afterthought. “The NSA's next move: silencing university professors?”
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/
10/nsa-matthew-green-takedown-blog-post-johns-hopkins?
CMP=ema_565&et_cid=48588&et_rid=7931573
&Linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.theguardian.com%2fcomment
isfree%2f2013%2fsep%2f10%2fnsa-matthew-green-
takedown-blog-post-johns-hopkins
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

27. One reporter has been ordered to testify at a criminal trial against his source, USA v. Sterling (4th Cir. 2013),
http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/sterling/071913-opinion.pdf.

Another has been labeled a co-conspirator in the alleged unlawful disclosure of classified information. “DOJ Calls Fox News Reporter James Rosen 'Co-Conspirator' In Leak Case; Journalists Outraged”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/james-rosen
-justice-department-co-conspirator-obama_n_3305857.html
.  

And one of the original reporters to assist Snowden in his disclosures has found as a consequence her life forever changed – and not for the good. “How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets”
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/
laura-poitras-snowden.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
?, each downloaded on October 15, 2013.

28. “Jeff Bezos Bought The Washington Post. But So Did Amazon,”
http://www.wired.com/business/2013/08/bezos-
amazon-washington-post/
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.

29. “C.I.A. Warning on Snowden in ’09 Said to Slip Through the Cracks”,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/us/cia-warning-on-snowden-
in-09-said-to-slip-through-the-cracks.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.  

Snowden has disputed the accuracy of that account. "Snowden says he took no secret files to Russia," http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-
he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1
, downloaded on October 18, 2013.

30. “Hollywood Ponders Movie on Book About Snowden,”  
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/12/business/media/hollywood-
ponders-movie-on-book-about-snowden.html
, downloaded on October 15, 2013.  


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