Science fiction author Bruce Sterling offered his take on the Snowden-NSA plus WikiLeaks affair in this article on Medium that has been making the rounds on the interwebs since it was published over the weekend.

With references to Russian history and literature, Orwell (of course), Greek tragedies, and more, Sterling takes the reader on a tour through the story we already know but from his unique, literary vantage point. In particular, Sterling provides some keen observations that seem to have escaped other observers.

On Julian Assange and WikiLeak's role in Edward Snowden's escape, Sterling writes,

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....

It’s incredible to me that, among the eight zillion civil society groups on the planet that hate and fear spooks and police spies, not one of them could offer Snowden one shred of practical help, except for Wikileaks. This valiant service came from Julian Assange, a dude who can’t even pack his own suitcase without having a fit.


On where the NSA stands now,

But can the NSA speak up for themselves, by leveling with the stakeholders about what really goes on, in the NSA’s actual, lived experience? Nope. Not even. Before Snowden, their mouths were duct-taped; after Snowden, it’ll be duct-tape, plus handcuffs and electronic ankle bracelets.

So, the truth is out there, but nobody’s gonna clean up all that falsehood. There is no visible way to make a clean break with the gigantic, ongoing institutional deceits. There’s no mechanism by which any such honesty could be imposed.


Read the whole thing here. Richard Stallman's role in the article has more to do with the photo (above) that was released from Assange's Ecuadorian Embassy hideout than anything in particular with Snowden or the NSA, but he makes an appearance in this joke. These guys may be untrustworthy, but not for the reasons you think.

People, you couldn’t trust any of these three guys to go down to the corner grocery for a pack of cigarettes. Stallman would bring you tiny peat-pots of baby tobacco plants, then tell you to grow your own. Assange would buy the cigarettes, but smoke them all himself while coding up something unworkable. And Ed would set fire to himself, to prove to an innocent mankind that tobacco is a monstrous and cancerous evil that must be exposed at all costs.