- Edward Snowden says Courage is “a new rapid response team for global democracy”
- Organisation running Edward Snowden’s defence fund launches with new Stand With Snowden campaign to show breadth of international support for the NSA whistleblower
- Courage will formally approach governments where the campaign shows public support is strongest and ask them to act
Courage, the international organisation dedicated to the protection of truthtellers, has launched with a new campaign designed to ensure the ongoing safety of its first beneficiary, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The announcement was made during the official launch event for Courage, held on the evening of Wednesday 11 June at Claerchens Ballhaus in Berlin.
The Stand With Snowden campaign aims to demonstrate the popular demand for the NSA whistleblower to be protected exists worldwide and that governments should be taking greater note of it. Edward Snowden’s one year period of asylum in Russia comes to an end on 31 July 2014. Courage will formally approach the governments of those countries where the Stand With Snowden campaign indicates public support for Snowden is strongest to challenge them to act.
Edward Snowden’s German lawyer, Wolfgang Kaleck, spoke at the event, explaining his client’s legal situation and the importance of maintaining public pressure for his protection:
You don’t need a lawyer to tell you what’s happening right now because it’s not law, it’s politics. Every single decision that has to be made in the Snowden case is a highly political decision… What I am asking all of you is: be prepared for a long distance run. He enjoys all the expressions of solidarity, but he and we all know that solidarity might still be necessary one, three, four or five years from now.
Other speakers at the event included Courage trustees Gavin MacFadyen and Julian Assange (speaking by video link), along with Advisory Board members Renata Avila and Andy Müller-Maguhn. John Perry Barlow and Daniel Ellsberg, also members of the Courage advisory board, appeared at the event by video link.
Members of Courage’s Advisory Board, and others including Glenn Greenwald, have submitted a first set of photos and videos declaring that their their country, city or region Stands With Snowden and encouraging others to do the same – all can be seen online at http//couragefound.org/stand-with-snowden/.
Wednesday night’s event also launched Courage as an organisation. In addition to running the official defence fund for Edward Snowden – as it will for others in the future who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record – Courage advocates for the protection of journalists’ sources and the public’s right to receive their information as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It means we, the public, have a new rapid response team for global democracy – that when they see someone facing unjustified retaliation for performing a public service we can stand up, raise the alert and, together, rally to their defence to say that sometimes the only way to push back against unconstitutional programs is to open the doors and let in the sunlight.
Gavin MacFadyen, Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism and Courage trustee, said:
What is really important is that we provide an overall umbrella for all the people who speak truth to power, who speak the truth and pay, at the ultimate conclusion, a staggering price for what they’ve done.
Julian Assange, Publisher of WikiLeaks and also a Courage trustee, said:
We hope to get to a point where we can turn around a website and appoint a campaign team in 24 hours, to capture that moment where the outpouring of support is at its highest and use that to defend these sorts of people for a decade, or however long we need some form of defence, and thereby encourage others to step forward.
Courage originally began in August 2013 as The Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund and has run Edward Snowden’s defence fund since that time. Courage’s official Edward Snowden support site is located at http://edwardsnowden.com and the related twitter account at @CourageSnowden.