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Annie Machon

Formerly MI5, currently using my intelligence.

Formerly MI5, currently using my intelligence. Director of LEAP in Europe.

The Year of Edward Snowden

On this anniversary, I want to salute the bravery of Edward Snowden. His conscious courage has given us all a fighting chance against a corporate-industrial-intelligence complex that is running amok across the world. I hope that we can all find within us an answering courage to do what is right and indeed take back our rights. His bravery and sacrifice must not be in vain.
09/06/2014 16:09 BST

The Secret Policemen's Balls-Up

In the wake of the global impact of the ongoing Edward Snowden saga, a smaller but still important whistleblower story flared and faded last week in the UK media.
04/07/2013 09:42 BST

Spies Need More Oversight, Not New Powers

Following the awful murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week, the political securocrats who claim to represent the interests of the British intelligence services have swung into action, demanding yet further surveillance powers for MI5 and MI6 "in order to prevent future Woolwich-style attacks".
04/06/2013 17:44 BST

Woolwich Murder - The "Why?" Should Be Obvious

Unless our governments acknowledge the problems inherent in continued and violent western interventionism, unless they can accept that the war on terror results in radicalisation, 'blowback' and yet more innocent deaths, and until they admit that negotiation is the only viable long-term solution, we are all condemned to remain trapped in this ghastly cycle of violence.
27/05/2013 20:08 BST

Journalists Need to Tool Up

Last week it emerged that the US Department of Justice monitored the telephones of, gasp, journalists working at Associated Press. Apparently this was done to try to investigate who might have been the source for a story about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen.
21/05/2013 12:48 BST

MI6 'Ghost Money' Helping Afghan Drug Trade?

And how has this money been spent? Certainly not on social projects or rebuilding initiatives. Rather, the reporting indicates, the money has been funnelled to Karzai's cronies as bribes in a corrupt attempt to buy influence in the country.
12/05/2013 21:21 BST

Echelon Redux

In the same way that President Obama signed the invidious <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2012">NDAA</a> on 31 December last year, despite his previous protestations about using his veto, it appears the US government has sneaked/snuck through (please delete as appropriate, depending on how you pronounce 'tomato') yet another draconian law during the festive season, which apparently further erodes the US constitution and the civil rights of all Americans.
31/12/2012 14:56 GMT

Asymmetric Extradition - The American Way

Richard O'Dwyer is the Sheffield student who is currently wanted by the USA on copyright infringement charges. Richard has lived all his life in the UK, and he set up his website there. Under UK law he had committed no crime. However, the American authorities thought differently.
04/11/2012 19:19 GMT

British Politicians Droning On

Only in the mad world of modern British politics could it be possible to connect MPs, drones and royal breasts. Is this sounding a little too bizarre? Let me explain.
02/10/2012 17:20 BST

Gestapo Courts

As a former MI5 intelligence officer, I am not an apologist of terrorism although I can understand the social injustice that can lead to it. However, I'm also very aware that the threat can be artificially ramped up and manipulated to achieve preconceived political goals. I would suggest that the concept of secret courts will prove fatally dangerous to our democracy. It may start with the concept of getting the Big Bad Terrorist, but in more politically unstable or stringent economic times this concept is wide open to mission creep.
28/09/2012 16:34 BST

The Scorpion Stare

I have written over the years about the encroaching surveillance state, the spread of CCTV and the increasing use of drones in our skies. When the North East of England introduced talking CCTV cameras that could bark orders at passing pedestrians in 2008, I thought that we were fast approaching the reductio ad absurdum point - and indeed this subject has raised a wry laugh from audiences around the world ever since.
02/09/2012 20:32 BST

The Assange Witch Hunt

A storm of diplomatic sound and fury has broken over Ecuador's decision to grant political asylum to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. The UK government has threatened to breach all diplomatic protocol and international law and go into the embassy to arrest Assange.
17/08/2012 10:06 BST

The Olympics - Welcome to the Machine

Because of the Olympic Games, London has gone into full martial law lock-down. Never before in peace-time has the capital city of the formerly Great Britain seen such a military 'defensive' presence.
26/07/2012 17:06 BST

Will MI6 Fix Intelligence on Iran?

Recent remarks by the head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, leave us wondering if the Secret Intelligence Service is preparing to 'fix' intelligence on Iran, as his immediate predecessor, Sir John Scarlett, did on Iraq.
25/07/2012 11:34 BST