I watched a terrific old movie the other night that made me chuckle for a couple of reasons.
First, some background – then I promise to tell you about this movie treasure.
A new movie is slated for release this month about Wikileaks. It is titled THE FIFTH ESTATE, and is based on secret information released by WIKILEAKS, founded by Julian Assange.
“WikiLeaks became internationally well-known in 2010 when it began to publish U.S. military and diplomatic documents with assistance from its partners in the news media.” (1)
Jump ahead to 2013, when “Ed” Snowden, “an American computer specialist and a former CIA and NSA employee. . . intentionally disclosed classified details of several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.” (1)
“Based on information Snowden leaked to The Guardian in May 2013 while employed at NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the British newspaper published a series of exposés that revealed programs such as the interception of U.S. and European telephone metadata and the PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora Internet surveillance programs. Snowden’s release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in U.S. history by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg.” (1)
Okay, now here is the old movie that set me to chuckling – I didn’t dare laugh out loud for fear of losing track of the plot. If you have never seen Matt Damon in THE INFORMANT, try to find a copy. I couldn’t find it on Netflix, but I did find it in a discount bin.
The second reason I chuckled was because of the similarities between THE INFORMANT, WIKILEAKS, and Ed Snowden.
THE INFORMANT is also based on a true story. The producers point out at the beginning liberties are taken with the dialog, but the basics are true. “It depicts Mark Whitacre’s involvement as a whistle blower in the lysine price-fixing conspiracy of the mid-1990s.” (1)
The plot goes like this: “Mark Whitacre, a rising star at Decatur, Illinois based Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in the early 1990s, blows the whistle on the company’s price-fixing tactics at the urging of his wife Ginger. “One night in November 1992, Whitacre confesses to FBI special agent Brian Shepard that ADM executives -– including Whitacre himself -– had routinely met with competitors to fix the price of lysine, an additive used in the commercial livestock industry. Whitacre secretly gathers hundreds of hours of video and audio over several years to present to the FBI. He assists in gathering evidence by clandestinely taping the company’s activity in business meetings at various locations around the globe such as Tokyo, Paris, Mexico City, and Hong Kong. . .” (1)
Sorry, but that is all I can tell you without spilling too many chemical additives, and you know how I hate processed food!
Assange, Snowden. But first, there was MARK WHITACRE!
WARNING: As the DVD case tips you off, “PAY ATTENTION to the fun and intrigue!” Emphasis mine. No chips, no trips to the frig. No opening a new can of beer or texting. PAY ATTENTION.
WARNING: The language is about as extreme as it gets. It doesn’t have to be that way, which was disappointing for me, but even someone as snobbish as myself laughed out loud.
Try it! You’ll like it!
Just be sure the drapes are shut and the phones are all turned off.
(1) VARIOUS WIKIPEDIA ENTRIES