Riga Talk about Spies, Whistleblowers and the Media

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:

Whis­tleblow­ing is the New Rock and Roll from Annie Machon on Vimeo.

International Day of Privacy, Berlin Demo

The Inter­na­tion­al Day of Pri­vacy was cel­eb­rated glob­ally on 31 August, with the cases of Chelsea Man­ning and Edward Snowden bring­ing extra energy and res­on­ance to the subject.

I was invited take part in a demon­stra­tion in Ber­lin, cul­min­at­ing with a talk at the hugely sym­bol­ic Branden­burg Gate. Here’s the talk:

How the Light Gets In festival — my talk

My recent talk at the excel­lent How the Light Gets In philo­sophy fest­iv­al at Hay-on-Wye.  With cred­it and thanks to IAI TV and the staff of the Insti­tute of Art and Ideas, the organ­isers the event.


How the Light Gets In — speaking in Hay-on-Wye, May 30 2011

How_the_light_gets_in_Banner I did two ses­sions at Hay-on-Wye philo­sophy and music fest­iv­al — How the Light gets In in May 2011.

The first was a debate called “An Age of Trans­par­ency” with neo-con­ser­vat­ive com­ment­at­or Douglas Mur­ray, and philo­soph­er Nigel Warburton.

The second was my talk about “Spies, Lies, and Life on the Run”.

Here’s a link to a video of my talk.


The Secret Garden Party, UK 2010

SGP_2010 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.….

Here’s the video:


ETH0 Hacker Camp, January 2009

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!

Ethics Talk at a School

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.

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. 


International Islamic Fair, Malaysia 2007

In July 2007 I was invited to speak at the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Fair in Malay­sia along with 9/11 hero Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez.

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.”