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Edward Snowden ousts a scammer during live stream [video] (youtube.com)
331 points by sakopov 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 76 comments

Backstory: https://www.vice.com/en/article/epndnz/the-bizarre-case-of-s...

Including this gem:

"After Snowden’s abrupt exit from the interview, Tulsiani paused the meeting for several minutes, during which a hot mic led to an exclamation of a “wasted fucking day” and someone ordering a medium iced coffee over an intercom. "

It's just awesome what a keen sense Snowden has for this kind of operation. He has an intuitive understanding that information is only one component of power - the other is the spectacle of how you present it.

Blowing the whistle is not effective when you simply publish a blog post somewhere. It requires theatrics to establish credibility, interest, and to reach the right audience in a way that can't be ignored.

This is maybe his first time when such tactic will be successful (maybe...we don't know if he managed to convince people to divest/not invest)

The first time he did it, well it was not effective.

It's not like people were not informed enough about war crimes. The Abu Grahib dossier had come out 3-4 years earlier.

People perceive this sort of stuff as far away, don't want to look at it or just simply block out the information because they want to believe whatever they want to believe.

Whistleblowing is ineffective to change the way a system operates. It solely make the system cover up better, and achieves the goal of having some heads roll (more often than not the responsible people for security and info compartmentization)

Snowden didn't tell much about war crimes. He was the guy that unveiled just how large the NSAs operations are and what they are capable of. And it was very effective, because since then there was a big move towards encrypting all communications. Nowadays it's almost standard to have end to end encryption in messengers, and the majority of websites support https or are even https-only

Snowden isn’t what we think about with war crimes. Wikileaks is much more on that front. Snowden’s leaks were about the Patriot Act and surveillance state.

Your last paragraph didn’t happen for any recent major leak - Wikileaks war crimes, Snowden. Hell did it even happen with the Panama leak? There was no large change towards transparency. The little I’ve heard, the same usual tax shelters and money hiding continued.

>After Snowden's appearance, one of Tulsiani’s “millionaires,” Angelo Mylonakis, suggested “legal action” unless Snowden publicly apologized for his criticism.

Some people just don't get that presenting factual information showing the unsavory history of some person is not criticism nor is it illegal.

Hah, "legal action". The response to that should be "You want to sue me? Go ahead an line up in the queue over there, behind 'The United States of America'.".

They could very well fully understand. The business of confidence men and scammers is optics. They only need to appear legitimate to certain people to pull off their scams.

The play is obvious here. For anyone on the fence after hearing Snowden, hearing someone even just suggest that what Snowden said was false to the point of illegality may re-convince them enough to be scammed.

The people who fall for these scams hold cold hard facts as similar worth to baseless claims.

This was on a zoom call for "Private Investment Club", headed by the fellow on the stage.

Here are guest speakers they have featured/will be featuring: https://privateinvestmentclub.com/speakers/

> Grant Cardone, Edward Snowden, Kevin Hart, Sunil Tulsiani, Gerry Dee, Michele Romanow, Kevin Harrington, Brian Tracy, Robert G Allen, Jack Canfield, Cora Cristobal, Robert Kiyosaki

Private Investment Club calls these people "Team Members".

How does anybody fall for these scams? Also any celeb who speaks there should be shamed. Particularly Kevin Hart.

They didn't fall for it, they are probably paid for their appearance. Those hundreds of products that celebrities endorse, how many really use them and like them? Like Dave Chapelle said "coke and pepsi - can't even tell the difference, all I know is pepsi paid me recently, so I endorse them"

I was talking about the people who attend the conferences. I get that the celebs are paid.

The same reason people fall for Nigerian prince scams: their judgement is clouded by greed or desperation.

When you’re not greedy nor desperate and have no reason to get rich quickly, it’s very easy to see these scams for what they are. When you need or want to get rich quickly, you want to believe it’s real.

Particularly because he’s trying to scuttle reparations for ADOS with do-for-selferism with “save your money and you can overcome the racial wealth gap” when he’s getting checks from these scum suckers...

Kevin preaching do-for-self: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2563837/kevin-hart-has-a-me...

I was wondering how anyone could trust a "Private Investment Club" that cannot afford a technician who can fix the audio. I mean, this sounded like a crappy room mic picking up the audio from the speakers instead of a direct signal. Somebody should buy them a $100 mixer from Behringer or something like that.

Behringer 4 channels for audio, are even cheaper. He could get one for a cup of iced coffee.

I use a Eurorack and a small mixer from Behringer, and can confirm. They're cheap but surprisingly good.

There are a lot of people that would instantly improve their online productions if they only went to a music store instead of a computer store to buy their audio gear.

The interesting part of this video starts at 7:50

Yes, here's the timestamp URL:


And here is the odysee link for those of us who do not like to be FLoCed by Google with the "watches Snowden" tag.


Only learning now that that site is built using a thing called LBRY[0]. What a fascinating thing to learn about. I should have known about it earlier. Might build a few things with this...

[0] https://lbry.com/faq/what-is-lbry

Yeah, I was also curious about it. I was kinda hoping for a service that I can simply replace a youtube link with another one and watch it without sharing my details directly with youtube (a proxy, I guess...). But I guess it's too much to ask.

Have you seen Invidious? https://invidious.tube/feed/popular

The chat devolved into a series of "well I'm out", which I take to mean "I will not be investing in this".

7:15 for more backstory

Also, enabling the subtitles helped me understand the terrible audio.

I still remember Sunil hitting the news when he got caught, so I was a little surprised when I first heard he was doing this and trying to bring Snowden into it. If anything, I quite expected it to blow up spectacularly, and wasn't left disappointed.

At least here in Canada, pretty much everybody who's ever heard of Sunil know he's a scammer. Even on sight. I guess he's preying on those who don't remember or are too young to remember.

Why anything real estate related, especially coming from Northern America, looks and smells so dodgy? Even right now I'm getting spam emails "You'll learn how to help homeowners in default & start collecting checks" while never having been even marginally interested in the topic.

Because real estate is a key part of what distinguishes the haves from the have-nots. Get on the right side of the real estate world, as a landlord or lender, and you can make a lot of money for little effort (there is risk but Americans always think risk doesn't apply to them). Get on the wrong side, as a renter or borrower, and it's easy to get into a hole that it's hard to climb out of. In between are things like house flipping which involve aspects of both buying and selling but often also involve some deception such as cutting corners on "improvements" so the house looks good for sale but quickly falls apart. Rotten concrete, leaky roofs, that kind of thing. One favorite in my own town is to cut down a lot of trees to make room for a McMansion, then bury them on the property where they cause all sorts of problems from a few years to forever.

Real estate in the US is too profitable to be anything but a grifters' game, and everyone else is well advised to keep their interactions to a minimum.

> real estate is a key part of what distinguishes the haves from the have-nots

It's actually the American middle class that has the largest fraction of its assets in real estate. The myth that real estate delineates the haves and have notes is, in my opinion, the reason these get-rich-quick schemes work. It's the irrational factor that lets a grifter gloss over the asset's intrinsically sub-par returns, gargantuan fees and unnecessary complexity.

Speaking anecdotally, the very rich ($100+ million) I know tend to be lightly invested or uninvested in real estate. To the degree they own it, it's mortgaged to finance a better-returning asset. They have real estate exposure, but that's more commonly through the lending channel versus asset side. (Or through an operating business, e.g. a hotel.)

They also have a very large part of their debt in real estate. It's part of the problem.

Median net worth in the US is $121K. Median home price is $301K. The middle class doesn't own most of the real estate in the US. Lenders do, which was kind of my point.

TBH when I look into real estate investment, it seems like a lot more effort for not as much return as putting my money into VTI and %5 into crypto. Being a flipper or a landlord is a part time or full time job on it's own.

Burying construction debris is popular, too: https://old.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/mmbe4t/georgia...

The top grifter had simultanously become president and got banned on Twitter. Seriously Americans, please chill on your real estate investments.

> The top grifter had simultanously became president and got banned on Twitter.

Well, “simultaneously” usually doesn’t apply to events that take place nearly four years apart, but otherwise, true.

Probably meant on the lines of EGOT (life) rather than grand slam (same year)

This gentleman deserves all the respect in the world.

This is so satisfying.


OT, but does anyone know how much bitcoin, ethereum, and/or other cryptocurrencies Snowden is holding?

No idea, but he does for some reason promote ZCash instead of Monero, and won't even speak of Monero, which is certainly odd.

Maybe some people are taking advantage of the anonymity of Monero for illegitimate means.

He might not really be against anonymous digital money, but he does have a reputation to protect. So maybe he has to draw the line somewhere.

Or maybe he doesn't want to draw attention to Monero because he wants to protect it's utility.

>Maybe some people are taking advantage of the anonymity of Monero for illegitimate means.

Zcash focuses on anonymity too.

Though, from what I remember, zcash does not have full anonymity across all transactions, meaning that if you do sent anon one, you are visibly standing out from the other transactions (though if it's untraceable, it might not be a problem?). Compared to monero where all txs are anonymous.

Something along these lines

more interested in snowden's bitcoin and other altcoin holdings. "till the sun goes out" he said. that tells me hes a cryptocurrency billionaire.

just asking so I can forward this to the Russian mafia to give to Putin. Putin will want his half of all of Snowden's cryptocurrency holdings. Thus, all who donated to Snowden likely donated to Putin.

Alternative explanation: Snowden is getting ready for another important announcement and defeated a cardboard cutout of a scammer in order to increase his media exposure.

Here usually the idea is to link previous post only when they have a lot of discussion, or some small but very important discussion.

It sucks when you post something and someone else post it again and get more traction, but it's difficult to avoid. The alternative is to block the post forever, that is also bad. The mods are trying to do something about it, but I guess it will not be soon, you probably have to wait a few years ...

(It seams easy, but it's a hard problem. The easy checks probably have very bad corner cases, and in these cases they make the changes slowly, very slowly. Don't hold your breath.)

If it's posted multiple times within a certain window then the original poster could be awarded the points. With maybe some minor bonus for the person who revived it (or used their network to promote it or whatever _coincidentally_ made it wildly more successful).

IIRC, from a recent comment by dang, during the first 8 hours the reposts are merged and the upvotes go to the first submitter. But from time to time the mods make changes without warning, so in the future it may 4 hours, or 12 hours, or whatever.

Thank you both for responding. It was more or less a tounge in cheek "boo", which is why I responded with the simpsons quote instead of deleting after downvotes. In fairness, a better worded title might have improved my submission.

no sir, they're saying "buuurns..."

This is weird on so many levels.

- The article Snowden linked is public. Presumably people already know about it?

- I don’t know about the details of the case, but the host wasn’t found guilty. That seems relevant.

- Snowden joined the conference just to call this guy out? Seems like a strange thing to do. Why not just not join the conference?

Why did Snowden do this?

> I don’t know about the details of the case, but the host wasn’t found guilty.

That’s not what I see:

> On June 7, 2017, Mr. Tulsiani pled guilty to unregistered trading and breaching an OSC cease trade order in connection with an investment scheme involving the Private Investment Club, which targeted Ontario investors. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/osc-investor-alert-sunil-tuls...

> Why did Snowden do this?

Did you watch the video? He explains exactly why.

Ah, you’re right. My mistake.

I was going off the article Snowden put up saying the guy was “named”, so I assumed he wasn’t actually found guilty, just accused.

I'd imagine Snowden is not interested to support/invest in someone/something related to a person who has been banned from trading securities for life by the Ontario Securities Commission, and thinks other should be aware if it before investing also. Wish more famous people would use their status to protect others.

I mean if you want to prevent people from being scammed you should do it at the conference itself right? plus it is way more fun.

I guess I’m missing the part which indicates this is obviously a scam.

I don’t know why people are attending this conference, but could anyone actually be getting value out of it?

If so, then it just depends whether you find this conference ethically defensible, or not. Seems like people could differ on that.

> I guess I’m missing the part which indicates this is obviously a scam.

The host was really pressuring people to pay to join, even when his prospective customers didn't have the money:

>Before Snowden joined, Tulsiani was trying to sell $47 tickets to a "VIP" session of the conference. While pitching the VIP session, Tulsiani repeatedly said, “If there was a gun to your head saying you have to find [the money]...you’ll find it,” included as a response to an audience member who said in the group chat that she couldn’t afford the entry fee.

That's not necessarily a scam, but it sure is a massively unethical business model.

I don't understand why you're ok with dying on this hill.

He's a scammer. If you had actually watched the video and listened to the explanations by Snowden and looked up the court case that you're saying the scammer was not guilty in but WAS FOUND GUILTY then you would either delete your comments or edit them to say you're wrong.

Many times these things aren't black and white. This is one case where it is. Please don't defend obvious scams. Don't give any gap for them to somehow convince people that they're on the up and up because those victim will be hurt.

Snowden is using his name and appearance to out this guy and I'm very ok with that.

Ah, you're right. Turns out he was found guilty. My mistake.

I would edit the comment, but it doesn't look like I can now.

If you've had friends involved or lost to Ponzi, HYIP, or MLM, as soon as you see "investment club" and the guy in a gaudy cheap suit, with logos like these? You know. It's a nearly-reflexive gut feeling.

Ah, that might explain my ignorance. I’ve never heard the term “investment club” before today. I just assumed it’s legit.

There are legitimate investment clubs, intended to spread risk or do a larger group buy or similar, but the legitimate ones are almost 100% chance not containing showboating arsewaffles that make fun of poor people and telling them that's why they're still poor if they can't come up with the money to give to a scammer. The meetings are often much less boring and procedural, or otherwise it's teenagers learning finance with small amounts being held by a non-minor trustee.

Think of it as the difference between a group of people with a formal contract and meetings for investment splitting in a conference room vs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCcwn6bGUtU

It's extremely obvious which category this article's meeting falls into once you know about those two categories. I've had a bunch of friends fall into the MLM world (which will keep telling you it's not a pyramid scheme), and every single presentation or meeting they've ever seen, talked about, or been to has either been mindnumbingly cringe and unprofessionally fraudulent slides with false income numbers (upline-held ones) or cult-like scam screaming and money worship (corporate ones).

My skepticism is not towards this scammer actually providing value, but more towards the likelihood of you being the scammer and trying to defend it on a public platform.

> could anyone actually be getting value out of it?

Of course, the scammers running this are absolutely getting value out of it.

> - The article Snowden linked is public. Presumably people already know about it?

Information being public doesn't mean the people in the call know about it

> Snowden joined the conference just to call this guy out? Seems like a strange thing to do. Why not just not join the conference?

Because some people have a strong aversion against scammers and use anything in their means to oust them, including using any fame they may have.

In the preface leading to the final blow, Snowden says it is his personal and professional obligation to call this guy out. I think the reasons are pretty obvious.

The guy has a strong sense of ethics. I continue to be impressed.

> The guy has a strong sense of ethics. I continue to be impressed.

That seems to be the case in general, but I have to say in this case it doesn’t really require that to decide to take the opportunity to slam dunk on someone when you discover you’ve been scammed into agreeing to be a speaker for their scam. A fairly normal degree of personal desire for retaliation would suffice.

Does it?

Seems like hollywood has for ages turned a blind eye to a lot of these issues.

I think it takes more than a fairly average predisposition to honesty, to go out out there, and yell fraud when you see fraud.

Take this event as an example. If it was so easy to call people out, then you would hear it far more often. Here is a single case, and made it to the top of HN.

> Seems like hollywood has for ages turned a blind eye to a lot of these issues.

I think the people recruiting Hollywood figures into these tr things are probably just better at identifying people that don’t really care if its the thing that it says on the tin as long as they get a paycheck; which is why they tend to target past-their-prime figures with money (at least relative to lifestyle) issues.

That’s fair, but normally people either bow out at the last second; or alert the authorities (not sure if it applies here).

Maybe I’m more impressed by his hands-on approach to calling someone out.

Either way, color me impressed.

Has Snowden ever issued a correction for what he claimed PRISM was?

Compare his claim (https://youtu.be/h1-Y3IzVqdw) to the program actually described in his documents (https://theweek.com/articles/463395/nsa-prism-leak-much-less...). In that video, he also makes the pants on fire claim that he, as a Sharepoint admin, had the authority to wiretap anybody in America without a court order.

To be fair to Snowden, I have no doubt that he actually believed it. He read some documents on the Sharepoint server he administered that he didn't understand and jumped to wild nightmarish conclusions; however, he has stopped making any claims about PRISM (and only ever brings up phone metadata now), so he appears to know that what he claimed was wrong, but I have yet to see him issue a mea culpa.

That's a big presumption. You think the scheme was anything other than a scam and that anyone still unaware deserved to be separated form their money?

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