If Snowden had gotten things his own way, he’d be writing earnest op-ed editorials in Hong Kong now, in English, while dining on Kung Pao Chicken. It’s some darkly modern act of crooked fate that has directed Edward Snowden to Moscow, arriving there as the NSA’s Solzhenitsyn, the up-tempo, digital version of a conscience-driven dissident defector.
But the damage there is already done; some to Bradley himself, but mostly grave, lasting damage to the authorities. By maltreating Bradley as their Guantanamo voodoo creature, their mystic hacker terror beast from AlQaedaville, Oklahoma, they made Bradley Manning fifty feet high.
At least they didn’t manage to kill him. Bradley’s visibly still on his feet, and was not so maddened by the torment of his solitary confinement that he’s reduced to paste. So he’s going to jail as an anti-war martyr, but time will pass. Someday, some new entity, someone in power who’s not directly embarrassed by Cablegate, can pardon him.
Some future Administration can amnesty him, once they get around to admitting that Bradley’s War on Terror is history. The War on Terror has failed as conclusively as Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations failed.
Julian has turned out to be a Tim Leary at the NSA’s psychiatric convention. He’s a lasting embarrassment who also spiked their Kool-Aid. Crushing Julian, cutting his funding, that stuff didn’t help one bit. He’s still got a roof and a keyboard. That’s all he ever seems to need.
There’s nothing quite like a besieged embassy from which to mock the empty machinations of the vengeful yet hapless State Department.
Julian Assange is still a cranky extremist with a wacky digital ideology, but he doesn’t have to talk raw craziness any more, because the authorities are busy doing that for him. They can’t begin to discuss PRISM and XKeyScore without admitting that their alleged democratic process is a neon façade from LaLaLand. Instead, they’re forced to wander into a dizzying area of discourse where Julian staked out all the high points ten years ago.
More astonishing yet: this guy Assange, and his tiny corps of hacker myrmidons, actually managed to keep Edward Snowden out of US custody. Not only did Assange find an effective bolthole for himself, he also faked one up on the fly for this younger guy.
Assange liberated Snowden, who really is NSA, or rather a civilian outsourced contractor for the NSA, like there’s any practical difference.