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Here is Karen Kwiatowski's acceptance speech for the 2018 Sam Adams Award at a ceremony in Washington on Saturday night, preceded by the citation, that was read by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Know all ye by these presents that Karen Kwiatkowski is hereby honored with the traditional Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder, in symbolic recognition of her courage in shining light into dark places.
"If you see something, say something," we so often hear. Karen Kwiatkowski took that saying to heart.
She saw her Pentagon superiors acting as eager accomplices to the Cheney/Bush administration's deceit in launching a war of aggression on Iraq. And she said something -- and helped Knight Ridder reporters Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay see beneath the official lies and get the sordid story right before the war.
Karen's courage brings to mind the clarion call of Rabbi Abraham Heschel against the perpetrators of an earlier war -- Vietnam. "Few are guilty," he said, "but all are responsible. Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself." Karen would not be indifferent to evil.
Ed Snowden, Sam Adams awardee in 2013, noted that we tend to ignore some degree of evil in our daily life, but, as Ed put it, "We also have a breaking point and when people find that, they act." As did Karen. As did 16 of Karen's predecessors honored with this award.
With all the gloom and doom enveloping us, we tend to wonder whether people with the conscience and courage of Ed or Karen still exist in and outside our national security establishment. Our country is in dire need of new patriots of this kind.
Meanwhile, we call to mind the courageous example not only of Karen and Ed, but also of Coleen Rowley and Elizabeth Gun, our first two awardees, who took great risks in trying to head off the attack on Iraq. And we again honor Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange who is now isolated in what the UN has called "arbitrary detention," for exposing the war crimes resulting from that war.
Karen Kwiatkowski has made her own unique contribution to this company of conscience and courage, and Sam Adams Associates are pleased to honor her.
Presented this 8th day of December 2018 in Washington by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams. Karen Kwiatkowski... Know all ye by these presents that Karen Kwiatkowski is hereby honored with the traditional Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder, in symbolic recognition of her courage in shining light into dark places.
Presented this 8th day of December 2018 in Washington by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams.
"Thoughts on the Sam Adams Award"
Remarks by Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatowski