Berlin Magical Secrecy Tour

This week Transmediale.de organised a Magical Secrecy Tour around Berlin to mark the anniversary of Edward Snowden’s world-changing disclosures.

And what better place to hold such a tour? Berlin has long been the playground for international spies, fighting the old Cold War in the dirty dark. It also still bears the scars of two totalitarian regimes run out of control – the brute force of the Nazis and the insidious surveillance of the Stasi during the years of the DDR in East Germany.

It is a city that is a living museum, and the tour took us around some key points, including the old Stasi HQ – now a museum – the new billion euro BND mega-complex, the Spy Bridge, and the Spy Hill. It was a stark lesson from history about what spies could do, should do, and are now doing in the modern day.

Here’s an interview:

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Berlin Magical Secrecy Tour from Annie Machon on Vimeo.
With huge thanks to Kristoffer and the rest of the Transmediale team for an interesting day.

RT interview about the Woolwich murder

Here is my RT interview yesterday about the Woolwich attack. A horrific murder and my thoughts are with the family of the poor victim.

That said, the British and American governments and the NATO countries are disingenuous of they think that their strategy of violent interventionism across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia will have no consequences. As a result of our illegal wars, CIA kill lists and drone strikes, countless families are suffering such trauma, violence and loss across the region every day.

RT interview: Lone-wolf attack to become main expression of radicalisation? from Annie Machon on Vimeo.

Silfur Egils Interview, Iceland

My recent interview on Iceland’s premier news discussion show, Silfur Egils, hosted by the excellent Egill Helgason.

The name refers to an old Norse saga about a hero, an earlier Egill, throwing handfuls of silver to the ground so he could make the Viking politicos of the day scrabble around in the dirt trying to pick up the coins.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Iceland Tour

Well, this will be an interesting week.  On the invitation of Snarrotin, the Icelandic civil liberties organisation, I’m off to Iceland for a series of talks and interviews on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.leap.cc).

Iceland is an inspirational and interesting country.  Following the 2008 credit crash, the Icelanders bucked international trends and actually held some of their ruling elite – the politicians and bankers who had brought about these financial problems – to account.  The government fell, some bankers were fired and prosecuted, and the Icelandic people are having a serious rethink about the way their democracy could and should work.

And indeed why should the people pay the price for the decisions made in their name by an unaccountable elite?  One could speciously argue that the people had a meaningful choice at the ballot box…. but back in the real, 21st century political world, Iceland was as stitched-up as all other notional Western democracies.  The worst allegation that can be thrown at the people was that they were disengaged, uninvolved and sidelined from how their country was really run – as many of us across the West feel to this day.

But apparently no longer in Iceland: since the financial crisis the citizens of this small democracy have re-engaged in the political process, and the future is looking rosy.

New, accountable politicians have been elected to form a new government. Citizens have been involved in drawing up a new constitution, and heated debates are challenging the established shibboleths of the corporatist governing class: revolving around such issues as finance, internet freedoms, free media, terrorism, and how a modern country should be run in the interest of the many. And next week, I hope, a rethink of the country’s obligations to the international “war on drugs”.

While the issue is strenuously ignored by the Western governing elite, it is now widely recognised that the current prohibition strategy has failed outright: drug trafficking and use has increased, the street price of drugs has plummeted and they are endemically available, whole communities have been imprisoned, whole countries have become narco-states and descended into drug war violence, and the only people to profit are the organised crime cartels and terrorist organisations that reap vast profits. Oh, and of course the banks kept afloat with dirty drug money, the militarised drug enforcement agencies, and the politicians who now, hypocritically, want to look “tough on crime” despite allegations that they also dabbled in their youth…..

Well, the time has come for an adult discussion about this failed policy, using facts and not just empty rhetoric.

So, a week discussing all my favourite happy topics: the “war” on drugs, the “war” on terror, and the “war” on the internet.  My type of mini-break!

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The Canadian Tour

OK, so I’m a crap blogger – but I have to say that my access to the internet was severely limited during my travels across Canada!  And then I had to go back to the UK, then NL….

Vancouver_posterCanada was great – the first national speaking tour organised by the country’s  9/11 groups.  And before you roll your eyes, these are citizens’ groups that are calling for a new enquiry – in response to a mountain of evidence from hundreds of credible experts around the world, who question the official account peddled by the 9/11 Commission. 

Bearing in mind how the issue of 9/11 has been used and abused by our dear governments to justify the endless “war on terror”, the use of torture, the wars in the Middle East and the erosion of our freedoms at home, I think any concerned and responsible citizen should, at the very least, keep an open mind about this issue and do their own research.  Especially as the 9/11 Commission was, in the words of its two chairs, Keane and Hamilton, “set up to fail”!

But back to the tour.  Huge thanks go to Patrick, the national organiser of the tour, who had the vision and commitment to pull the whole thing together, as well as sort out all the logistics and arrange a constant flow of media interviews for me, of which more below.  And of course to the organisers of the events: Elizabeth, Rukshana, Mark, JF, Michael, Adam, Adnan, Graeme, and all the other activists – too many to name individually.

I had to fly to Vancouver via Chicago O’Hare, which spooked me to begin with.  I’ve been through that airport before and it has, in the past, lived up to its well-deserved reputation for power-crazed immigration officers.  However, I got a real sweetie – we ended up having an interesting chat about the nature of democracy, before he cracked a smile and waved me through.  

In comparison, Vancouver airport is a Zen experience – all native art installations and waterfalls.  As I emerged blinking into the late afternoon sunshine (it was about 3am by my body clock), I was greeted by the Vancouver posse and whisked away in the Truth Bus to food, wine and another radio interview

Georgina_photo3I did a series of radio and newspaper interviews the next morning (thanks, Rukshana’s mum for the use of the phone!), before being whisked off on a tour of Vancouver by Rukshana and Georgina.  The city blew me away with its beauty – mountains up close, parks, sea and arty quarters.  If it wasn’t so
damned close to the US border, I would be seriously tempted to move
there. 

At the end of the afternoon, I had a fab time being interviewed on Vancouver 1410 CFUN drivetime radio, before one more telephone interview and a well-earned glass of champagne at Georgina and Darren’s.

After this day of recovery, I was then invited onto the Bill Good Show the next morning.  Bill is the grand old man of BC media, and he was a excellent interviewer.  I had half an hour with him, and the show went out to over a quarter of a million people.

Vancouver_photo2The meeting that night was a great success – I could feel the energy and interest of the audience as I spoke for 1 1/2 hours, and then had over an hour more of questions.  I think it’s wrong for the media to say people are no longer interested in politics – they’re just not that interested in the established political hierarchies and systems.

If I had thought Vancouver lovely, the scenery was even more beautiful as I took the ferry down the bay to Victoria, past small wooded islands.  Of course, that was the moment my camera decided to pack up…

I had a lovely couple of days in Victoria, pampered by Elizabeth and Brian, shown the beauties of the island and meeting a number of activists.  I also had the pleasure of meeting Rowland Morgan, (co-author with Ian Henshall) of the excellent bestseller, “9/11 Revealed”

I’d done a number of interviews before arriving on the island.  The Victoria event was very well attended and I had a standing ovation at the end.

Then it was back to Vancouver for another hour-long interview on Co-op Radio and a pot luck supper with the activists, before flying off to Ottawa for the eastern leg of the tour.  I arrived at midnight to be greeted by the lovely Marjorie and Cam, who hosted me for a couple of nights.  My sleep was all too brief, as I had to get up at 4.30 to make a 6am radio interview.

The Ottawa event was smaller (I would say it was an extremely rainy night!), but perfectly formed.  Despite this, the group seemed very enthused about putting on future events.

The next day brought a Greyhound bus ride up to Montreal.  Such moments in life are when you wish you’d put Simon and Garfunkel on your I-pod.  My 18 hours in Montreal were hectic – and we only just made it to the meeting on time, what with an excellent dinner and terrible traffic.  The meeting was really vibrant.  Afterwards, when everyone else was heading out to party, I had to slink back to my bed for a brief 4 hours sleep, before getting a train at 6.30 to Toronto.

Adnan_on_TVI hit the ground running, with a lunchtime interview, then a peace demo in the city centre.  Clinton and Bush Jr were in town, giving a talk to 5000 of the faithful who were flush enough to cough up between $200 and $5000 to hear their bien pensees.  Independent media did a couple of good interviews with me.  Shamefully, the Stop the War Toronto group only managed to rustle up about 1,000 protesters outside the conference centre, and then refused to give a platform to Splitting the Sky, a Canadian peace activist who had attempted to arrest Bush for war crimes when he visited Calgary in April, and who had himself been arrested for his pains.  However, some other peace activists had some good coverage!

The next day, having caught up on some sleep at last, I had an excellent time at the Toronto university radio station, where we had a lively hour-long interview, before heading off to my event at the university. 

Next stop, Waterloo University, where I did a round of interviews accompanied by the journalist and campaigner, Barrie Zwicker. The format that night changed to an interview on stage conducted by him, which worked really well.  

Spyinggame003The final stop of the tour was Hamilton where, after another all-too-brief night, I had three morning interviews – 2 on radio, and one recorded for the TV evening news.  A lovely Lebanese lunch with a group of professors from the university followed, and then a much needed chance to sleep it off, before heading out to the final gig, organised by Professor Graeme MacQueen and hosted by Mohawk College.  Well, they always say the last one is the best – and I had an amazing evening.  Over an hour of talk, following by 1 1/2 hours of questions from an interested and informed audience. 

So a great time in an amazing country.  Thanks once again to all who made this tour such a success, and good luck with your future plans!

Make Wars History UK Tour, 2009

In January and February 2009 Chris Coverdale toured the UK speaking at Make Wars History meetings.  I had the pleasure of introducing him at a number of events.  The first date of the tour was in Liverpool:

Canadian Speaking Tour, May 2009

Vancouver_posterOn 22 May I shall be starting my very own national speaking tour in Canada.   Following my visit to California last year, the Canadian 9/11 Truth groups have pulled together a 7-event tour, where I will have the chance to discuss the intelligence world, whistleblowing, going on the run and the issue of 9/11, particularly focusing on its repercussions around the world: the endless “war on terror”, the illegal wars in the Middle East, and the erosion of our democracies in the West.

The Canadian Truth Movement tirelessly campaigns for a new, independent inquiry in the tragic events of 9/11, and has in the past hosted speakers such as Professor David Ray Griffin  and architect Richard Gage.

More information about the tour can be obtained from: directors@vancouver911truth.org or elizwood@shaw.ca.  See you there!

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Tour dates:

Friday 22 May – Vancouver

Sunday 24 May – Victoria

Wednesday 27 May – Ottawa

Thursday 28 May –
Montreal

Saturday 30 May – Toronto

Sunday 31 May – Waterloo

Monday 1 June – Hamilton

Talks in California, September 2008

In September I was invited over to California to give two talks about intelligence, whistleblowing, and 9/11 and its impact on the world.  I focused on the erosion of our traditional freedoms and basic civil liberties

Two meetings were organised for me in Marin, San Fransisco, and Davis by the Californian 9/11 movement.  They were great meetings – packed out – and the response was brilliant.  It’s heartening that so many people care about these issues, and the adverse impact the “war on terror” is having, not just on the lives of people in the Middle East wars, but also on our way of life in the West.

Two men in black, apparently carrying handcuffs, turned up at the meeting in Marin, sat at the back and spent much of the time muttering into their mobiles during the talk.  At the end, while everyone was clapping, they sat with their arms crossed, glowering at me, and for one mad moment I thought they were going to haul me off for talking in public about dangerous notions such as democracy, civil rights and peace.

Anyway, thank you to all who made this possible, particularly Gabriel, Kevin, and Byron.  And thanks also to Ken, Hummux and the team for filming the talk in Marin.  DVDs of the talk can be obtained here.

Here’s the talk in Marin:

 

 

Cynthia McKinney and Annie Machon in Amsterdam, 2007

After the London event in 2007, Cynthia McKinney and I flew over to Amsterdam for an interview at a big public event organised by new media organisation, Docs at the Docks.

Introducing Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in London, 2007

Former US Congresswoman and current Presidential Green Party candidate, Cynthia McKinney, visited London in September 2007.  I had the privilege of introducing her at the London event.