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Glenn Greenwald delivered the annual Centre for Cultural Studies Research lecture last month at University Square Stratford where he discussed topics covered in his new book No Place to Hide and answered questions posed by the CCSR committee. Greenwald came to the attention of the world in June 2013 as the journalist responsible for the publication of documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents, which were published simultaneously in The Guardian and The Washington Post, revealed the extraordinary extent of US and UK government surveillance of both private citizens and foreign governments.
Since publication of Snowden’s story, the UK government has threatened Greenwald with criminal investigation and his partner, David Miranda, was famously arrested and held for nine hours while passing through Heathrow airport on the suspicion he was carrying encrypted electronic documents. Greenwald, who is currently living in Brazil, said at the lecture:
“ It is unfortunate that it took the detention of the spouse of a high profile western journalist to bring attention to the abuses of the Terrorism Act”
The lecture, which was presented through a specially commissioned videocast, examined topics around government surveillance, the law and investigative journalism. Greenwald spoke about how governments often use terrorism legislation to justify their actions against innocent people. .
“You will hear justifications from surveillance states that if you are doing nothing wrong-you will have nothing to hide. But the only people Governments think that are doing anything wrong are those posing a threat to their power”
The screening was followed by a panel discussion with distinguished academics Christian Fuchs, Anthony Barnett and Jonathan Hardy. This was chaired by CCSR co-director Debra Benita Shaw who introduced the lecture by examining the legacy of Stuart Hall and Richard Hoggart, the founders of Cultural Studies, both of whom died earlier this year. Debra Benita Shaw said following the event:
“We are extremely grateful to Glenn Greenwald for taking the time to record this video for us and for his acute analysis of the implications of the Snowden revelations for the future of democracy. The event was an unqualified success in that it initiated a debate of vital importance for everyone who uses electronic communications and confirmed, as our panel speakers pointed out, that we now need to take action to protect the freedoms that we always thought were guaranteed”
The video is now available to view on the CCSR website http://www.culturalstudiesresearch.org
Image: Glenn Greenwald