Art; Signs of the Times

’Signs of the Times, A coded his­tory of alpha­bets and com­mu­nic­a­tion’ is a series of works by artist Paul Flack who collaborated with me on hidden messages and codes in art:

Inspired by the complex evolution of alphabets, words and symbols sculptor Paul Flack has been interested in language and its meaning for many years. Cryptic meaning suffuses his work, which is a blend of words and symbols from many different cultures. Hieroglyphs and runes jostle for space with modern alphabets and binary code on painted canvasses, stone carvings and sculptures. The outcome is a fluid mixture of man-made meaning and universal, geometric shapes.

Paul’s collaboration with Annie Machon – a leading civil liberties activist and former MI5 intelligence officer – has enabled him to take his understanding of codes, censorship and the secretive side of language to a new level.

“We live in an age of spoon-fed information and extreme censorship. I want people to think about the origins of language and how it binds cultures together, as opposed to separating them” – Paul Flack

“It’s a cliche, but you really shouldn’t believe everything you read. History is written by the victorious and today’s ruling elite is certainly no less ruthless in its approach to secrecy and censorship.” – Annie Machon

“If this sounds a bit controversial, all the better. Some alternative views of recent events are encoded into the work, and if you look hard enough you will find them.

“Of course, what you do with the information is up to you,” – Paul Flack

Coda: Sadly, Paul died unexpectedly in 2008.  His was a rare and beautiful spirit, and he is much missed by his many friends.

Organisations I’m involved with


I support and work with a number of organisations that share my concerns about accountability and transparency in areas such as intelligence and security, the failed war on drugs, freedom of information, human rights, privacy issues, civil liberties, and the war on terror.

The Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, which does what it says on the tin! One of the campaign organisers, Barry White, is currently on the NEC of the UK National Union of Journalists, and writes a great blog:  Here’s a link to a piece I’ve just written on my website.


200px-Piratpartiet.svg Pirate Party (NL).  Affiliated to the Pirate Parties International, this group campaigns around issues such (digital) civil liberties, transparency, privacy and copyright.  PPNL fielded candidates in the Dutch general election in 2010.  Shortly before the election, I was invited to provide some media training to the candidates.


Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

Prohibition has never worked, as proven throughout history. And now around the world many judges,lawyers, prison governors, and officers from police, customs, and intelligence organisations, as well as many other experts, are challenging the failed concept of the “war on drugs”.   This policy, in place for decades now in many countries despite its manifest, abject and repeated failure, criminalises great swathes of our populations, causes health problems, social problems and untold suffering, and funds organised crime and terrorist groups.  It is time for a mature, calm debate about the issue, rather than hysterical, tabloid headlines.

I am honoured to be one of this group speaking out, and now to be working as the Director of LEAP, Europe.


Make Wars History is a non-profit peace group that aims to end war by upholding the international and national laws that make warfare illegal under any condition except self-defense. It specifically seeks accountability for the illegal and disastrous invasion of Iraq and a formal investigation of the people who were instrumental in starting it. Here’s the launch of the campaign in the Houses of Parliament in January 2008.