Monday, August 12, 2013

Oliver Stone Calls Snowden a "Hero"

Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone weighed in on the controversy surrounding National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, hailing him a hero at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday (August 12).

Russia has granted a year's asylum to Snowden, whose disclosures triggered an international furor over the reach of U.S. spy operations as part of its counterterrorism efforts.

"Snowden is a hero to me. Edward Snowden is a hero. Because he did this not for profit, not to give, exchange, give secrets away that could hurt our country supposedly. I haven't seen one evidence of that. He is doing it out of conscience. The higher law of his conscience is dictated it. He sacrificed his life for this," Stone said.

He praised Russian president Vladimir Putin for 'doing the right thing' and standing up to a United States, which he said, has used the threat of terror attacks as an excuse for more Orwellian control.

"But this is big brother in a way that Orwell could never foresee. They can see into every home. Obama says 'Well, don't worry about it, we're not listening in.' Yeah, but you could listen in and we know that somebody in the future, if it's not you, it could be Mr. Bush three, who comes along or, Miss Hillary Clinton, whatever," Stone said.

Washington's inability to persuade Russia to return Snowden to the United States has curdled U.S. relations with Russia.

Obama cancelled a planned summit in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin, although the two countries held high-level political and defence talks in Washington last week.

The academy-award winning director known for films like 'Platoon' and 'Wall Street' is in Tokyo with historian Peter Kuznick to promote his book and ten-part documentary called 'The Untold History of the United States.'

The documentary series looks at the underbelly of American diplomacy by shining light at events that were under-reported at the time but crucially shaped America's history during the 20th century.

He added that more countries had to say 'no' to America, including Japan, whose interest, he says, is aligned with China in the long term.

But added Japan should also look at its past history too.

"Don't look at China as your enemy. Start seeing it differently. Start by apologising. Start by apologising to China for what you did in China and all the people you have killed there. Start apologising for that," Stone said.

Relations between the world's second-and third-largest economies have now been hostile for months, with a row over disputed islands adding to wartime bitterness and a regional rivalry.

Bitter memories of Japan's military occupation still run deep in China and in South Korea during Japan's colonial rule from 1910-1945.

He said Japan would surprise the world and thaw relations with its neighbours if it started recognising its own past.

"What if Japan did that tomorrow? Wow. It would be like a spring. A thaw. A new world beginning. And then China would suddenly look at Japan a little differently instead of hating Japan."

Stone mentioned that producing the documentary was the most fulfilling film experience he has ever had and reinforced the belief that he was doing the right thing.

He visited Nagasaki and Hiroshima and will be leaving Japan on August 15 (Thursday).