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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Portrait of American Truth Teller

 "The public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless. . . The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed." - Edward Snowden 

"(Portrait artist) Shetterly chose Edward Snowden as part of his growing series focused on 'whistleblowers'—which includes, among others—Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War; Pfc. Bradley Manning, currently on trial for his leaks of material related to US foreign policy and the execution of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is serving a prison sentence for public discussion of the agency's torture program.

Daniel Ellsberg told Common Dreams today that he welcomes Snowden to the club of US whistleblowers painted by Shetterly. He said Snowden's case exemplifies the courage of those who use their unique position of access to act on behalf of the greater society. He did so, explains Ellsberg, knowing full well the costs to his individual liberty would be great, but acted anyway. "I see Edward Snowden as someone who has chosen, at best, exile from the country he loves—with a serious risk of his assassination by agents of his government or life in prison (in solitary confinement)—to awaken us to the danger of our loss of democracy to a total-surveillance state," Ellsberg said."