Last week I was invited to discuss the control of the media by the spies and the government apparatus by the Centre for Media Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. Many thanks to Hans, Anders and the team for inviting me, and to Inese Voika , the Chair of Transparency International in Latvia, for setting the scene so well.
I focused particularly on how journalists can work with and protect whistleblowers:
My recent talk at the excellent How the Light Gets In philosophy festival at Hay-on-Wye. With credit and thanks to IAITV and the staff of the Institute of Art and Ideas, the organisers the event.
In July I was invited back to speak at the Secret Garden Party, a music, politics, and arts festival held annually somewhere, er, secret in the UK.
What a fab weekend. I have a well-known antipathy to sleeping under canvas, but this was an excellent festival — and even the compost loos were not too grim.
Listed as one of the “Star Acts” in the printed festival programme (I blush), I had the luxury of an hour and a half to speak in the première debate tent in the Rebels and Intellectuals section of the festival — The Forum — a concept that the organiser, Ben de Vere, promises to transplant to London sometime in the near future.
Anyway, I seriously recommend putting this festival in your diaries for next year, and keep an eye open for the spread of The Forum.….
In January 2009 I was invited to talk at ETH0, a small but select hacker camp held in the wilds of the Netherlands. The crowd was young, hip, informed — and very interested in the use and abuse of intelligence and particularly the erosion of our most basic civil liberties. Events like this give me hope.
Some of the organisers are also involved in planning a major techno-political hacker festival, Hacking at Random, in NL this summer. An event not to be missed!
Earlier this month I was invited back to the Bishops Stortford High School to do a talk for its Ethics and Citizenship Course. This is a new, mandatory part of the national curriculum, and a good thing too.
I spoke about the role of a whistleblower in a democratic society, and also about the erosion of our democratic freedoms. About 300 pupils attended, and the response was fantastic, with many interesting and intelligent questions. And so there should be — this is the generation that will have to deal with the mess we are making of our civil liberties in this country.
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.
The Fair is designed to increase understanding and co-operation between Islamic and non-Islamic communities. Politicians, diplomats and campaigners from around the world are invited to speak. Thousands of people attended the four day event, and the Fair made headlines across the Far East.
Here is the photo gallery of the 2007 IIF Conference.
I was honoured to receive a standing ovation, and comments included:
“Former British MI5 agent & American depleted uranium expert among best received paper presenters”
“The IIF2007 Conference fulfilled most of its pre-event promises – as far as content goes. In addition to the presence of William Rodriguez (last survivor of 9/11) as a session moderator, the conference participants were also ‘thrilled’ by the lectures of other overseas speakers including Sheikh Imran Hosein (former N.York mosque imam), H.E. Mahdi Ibrahim Muhammad (Ambassador / member of National Assembly, Sudan), Annie Machon (former British Intelligence MI5 agent) and Khaled Taha of Aljazeera, Qatar.”