"The courage that Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers and truthtellers have shown and continue to show is truly extraordinary and necessary in helping the public have access to their historical record through media," said Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks Investigations Editor and Director of the Courage Foundation. WikiLeaks and Harrison ensured Edward Snowden's safe exit from Hong Kong and secured his asylum. "We cannot thank these cultural icons enough for showing their support."
The announcement coincides with the expanded theatrical release of Laura Poitras' critically acclaimed documentary CitizenFour—providing a first-hand account of Edward Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's mass surveillance program.
"As Albert Camus once put it, governments, by definition, do not have consciences; they have policies and nothing more. Therefore, it is up to all of us as free-thinking citizens to demand truly transparent democracy and high, unbiased moral standards from those who govern us," said Viggo Mortensen. "I hope everyone can chip in to support Snowden and those patriotic whistleblowers that come after him."
Signed by Susan Sarandon, Russell Brand, Peter Sarsgaard, M.I.A., Thurston Moore, David Berman, Vivienne Westwood, Alfonso Cuaròn and several other artists and intellectuals, the statement praises the work of whistleblowers such as Snowden, highlighting the need to support these individuals as they face social and legal persecution for their revelations to the public.
The statement reads:
We stand in support of those fearless whistleblowers and publishers who risk their lives and careers to stand up for truth and justice. Thanks to the courage of sources like Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden, the public can finally see for themselves the war crimes, corruption, mass surveillance, and abuses of power of the U.S. government and other governments around the world. WikiLeaks is essential for its fearless dedication in defending these sources and publishing their truths. These bold and courageous acts spark accountability, can transform governments, and ultimately make the world a better place.
In addition to urging the public to stand in solidarity with Snowden and other whistleblowers, many of the artists are calling on fans to watch CitizenFour, and are raising awareness of the Courage Foundation's whistleblower defense efforts, which fundraises for the legal and public defense of whistleblowers and campaigns for the protection of truthtellers and the public's right to know generally.
Said Grammy Award-winning guitarist, Tom Morello:
"Those courageous enough to expose the crimes of government and unmask corruption embody the spirit of democracy and justice. Rather than being celebrated as the truth-tellers and champions of accountability that they are, they are persecuted and find themselves the target of a draconian legal system that punishes them for the act of exposing crimes."
Said Vivienne Westwood:
"I didn't ask Edward Snowden to stick his neck out for me. But now that he did I ask myself where would we be without him? The more that the public watches CitizenFour, which documents Edward Snowden's bravery in revealing the NSA's massive web of surveillance of the American people, opposition to the government's assault on civil liberties will grow. I hope that audiences will turn their outrage into action and donate to the Courage Foundation's Legal Defense Fund to provide legal representation to Snowden and other whistleblowers to counter the government's unprecedented attack against these brave men and women."
FULL LIST OF SIGNATORIES:
Eduardo L. Cadava
P J Harvey
Alex Taek-Gwang Lee
Maria Dolores Galán López
W. J. T. Mitchell
Pier Aldo Rovatti