More than 50 musicians, actors and other notable public figures have signed a statement to support Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and individuals and organizations that encourage whistleblowing. Musicians who signed the statement include Tom Morello, M.I.A., PJ Harvey, Thurston Moore, Moby and Bob Nastanovich. Actors and directors who supported the statement include Alfonso Cuaròn, Terry Gilliam, Susan Sarandon, Russell Brand, Viggo Mortensen, Peter Sarsgaard and Pamela Anderson. Political commentator Noam Chomsky and clothing designer Vivienne Westwood also endorsed the sentiment.
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."
Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello expounded on why he wanted to support whistleblowers in his own statement. "Those courageous enough to expose the crimes of government and unmask corruption embody the spirit of democracy and justice," he wrote. "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."
Some of the celebrities, including Mortenson and Westwood, who signed the letter are asking for people to donate to the Courage Foundation, the official legal defense fund for Snowden and other whisleblowers.
"As Albert Camus once put it, governments, by definition, do not have consciences; they have policies and nothing more," Mortenson wrote in a statement. "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. I hope everyone can chip in to support Snowden and those patriotic whistleblowers that come after him."
The statement coincides with a wide theatrical release of CitizenFour, a documentary offering a first-hand account of Snowden's leaking of NSA documents. "I didn't ask Edward Snowden to stick his neck out for me," Westwood wrote. "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."