ExposeFacts, a new advocacy organization led by whistleblowers and veteran journalists, announced today that 13 six-foot billboards have gone up in strategic places around the nation's capital, encouraging citizens to come forward with disclosures that are in the public interest.
"These billboards urge people in the nation's capital to consider the consequences of silence, conformity and fear -- which the Bush and Obama administrations have tried so hard to inculcate and enforce." —Norman Solomon, ExposeFacts.org\The billboards feature former U.S. military analyst and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg imploring the public: "Don't do what I did. Don't wait until a new war has started, don't wait until thousands more have died, before you tell the truth with documents that reveal lies or crimes or internal projections of costs and dangers. You might save a war's worth of lives."
The billboards can be found near the White House, Department of Justice, FBI, Iraqi Embassy, Defense Intelligence Agency, and in other locations (see a full list, with maps, here).
Launched by last month, ExposeFacts will utilize the SecureDrop submission system to protect whistleblowers' identities, allowing people to securely submit information anonymously. An editorial board comprised of big names like Barbara Ehrenreich (of the Nation), Sonali Kolhatkar (of KPFK Radio), and Norman Solomon (executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy) will then assess the information and arrange for media coverage where appropriate.
"These billboards urge people in the nation's capital to consider the consequences of silence, conformity and fear -- which the Bush and Obama administrations have tried so hard to inculcate and enforce," said Solomon in an email to Common Dreams. "The words from Daniel Ellsberg are powerful because they connect a lack of truth with horrific consequences of wars waged and lives lost."
"The consent of the governed is real only if it's the informed consent of the governed," he continued. "That's what genuine democracy requires. That's what the Ellsberg billboard is saying to all who will listen."
At Firedoglake, Kevin Gosztola writes:
From the moment that a whistleblower’s disclosures begin to be discredited by the government and the government begins to accuse a source of betraying their country, ExposeFacts.org will be capable of generating media attention that beats back efforts to kill the messenger. The organization will amplify the message and ensure what is exposed has the biggest impact possible.
It appears it could develop into an invaluable organization to counteract the conduct on the part of the government to clamp down on the free flow of information and zealously enforce secrecy by pursuing a record number of leak prosecutions in recent history.