Archive for September, 2017

The Glenn Greenwald Experience

Posted in Current affairs, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2017 by kathydasilva

 

This evening, I traveled to the Royal Society of Arts headquarters, London, to see David Miranda and his partner former Guardian, award winning, journalist Glenn Greenwald, talk about their experiences subsequent to the Snowden revelations, and their return to a country that had been out of their reach for about four years. Leading the discussion was Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General and member of the House of Lords. This was quite a unique event, in that Glenn Greenwald, and his partner David Miranda, had been at the center of the most controversial of whistle-blows, possibly this side of the millennial change. Here we are in the twenty first century and, society has become tight lipped, and hidden. We behave like mice who have been put in a maze, with only certain doors open to us for expression. Tonight, was all but, an hour. A very short hour. Only enough time to cover essential facts, about the two courageous subjects, who for all the glory of the huge Snowden, story had become fugitives, unable to guarantee their own safe transition between one country or another, with possible threats to their freedom, and indictments hanging in the air, like lightning strikes.

It was, an emotional moment for the two of them. David Miranda’s own account vividly described to a live audience, who sat completely transfixed, as he described his nine hour ordeal at the hands of British GCHQ operatives, who bombarded him with questions and threats of incarceration. He had had to leave all his personal laptop and mobile phone equipment with the port at which he had arrived, hoping for an onward flight to Rio his final destination. He had decided to sit the nine hour ordeal, without taking food, or allowing a local British lawyer, to be brought in, for his knowledge of the law was such that a prisoner is only allowed one call to a lawyer. He was quick witted enough to remember this fact. His partner Glenn, had been called only after three hours of David’s detention to tell him where he was and when to expect his return. The talk and exchange lasted about half an hour, with question time from an audience only given twenty minutes. But, clearly the audience had an eager interest, in the whole topic of surveillance state, and Glenn’s book No Place to Hide, which now is in paperback and available through all good bookstores and online, was barely mentioned.

The audience questions were fast and flowing and surprisingly, dominated by women, who were keen to explore the subject of state intrusion and privacy on the internet. One person had said the net had been lost (they meant to the globalist agenda), well I hope not, I hope encryption will still make privacy possible again. There could be many worlds within worlds in computing. The Tor Project has proven, that I.D.’s can be scrambled, and therefore state intrusion kept out. I am in favor of invention with this respect.

I wondered that how all of this discussion was going on, in a building, which had association with ‘royalty’. Something of an institutional background with the whole room, covered in painting from a classical past, that, had me thinking, how distracting particularly because one of the paintings had quite a lot of semi undressed ‘gods’, and nymphs dancing about in a country scene. And then again, what a perfect simmering down from the ‘high’ alert that the two men, had had to endure for four years. Why is it journalists revealing big stories, become, vilified, for their efforts?

My friend from the Assange vigil Emmy, stood up to ask some questions, at the end, and became quite emotional. She is a Greek citizen, who now lives in Britain, with her family. She is someone who, takes an active interest in politics in general, but, also particularly in her country of origin. Her point was to emphasize, the how we as a world community have become entangled with Amercan NSA surveillance and sometimes, without much discussion. That the prime minister of Greece had found his own phone tapped by the NSA/CIA and had been threatened, and made to leave his job, during the time of the Greek Olympic year, 2004. His family had been literally kidnapped, and his hand forced. The citizens of Greece had been victims surveillance by the NSA initially for security during the Olympics, but the surveillance had continued for nine months afterward, when it should have come to an end. The publication of this fact, had only just recently come to light, and it was indeed Pierre Omidyar’s, The Intercept, who Glenn Greenwald writes for,  that had brought it to her and the public’s attention. So much has been occurring, in all of the European countries,  with regard to a tightening security grip, without public knowledge. Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, whilst on the whole did a splendid job of presentation, could not handle, the emotions being, poured out at the end of the talk with Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda. In fact it slightly became frustrating, that not enough was discussed due to the small amount of question time.

I am pleased to have seen Glenn Greenwald live tonight and indeed to have listened to David Miranda tell of  his involvement in the Snowden revelations. I wished we could have had more time! Why no signing of his books??.. I was hopeful to get my hard back copy signed!

 

 

 

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The Incomprehensible!

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2017 by kathydasilva

I have it is true a fascination for learning about computing, but, so far, the more I have delved, the worse, the old software/ computer, becomes and now I have found most of my files, sitting on my USB software files, as if it is a memory stick! Not actually on the stick part, but, inside the software on the computer? Well, update time, is due, and perhaps a change of machine. I am thinking, now, that not much is safe these days if held somewhere in transit on the internet either. Oh hail the old typewriter, for it was only the business of words to worry about, and I completely understand Will Self, for treating the whole business of internet as a thoroughly annoying distraction too.

I seem drowned in fear of ‘invasion’, however, and whatever, form, it might take, for my thoughts are precious , even if others, may think they are not. Privacy became an issue in all the debate about state surveillance, and the machine, the main culprit being the computer and its software, the main net, literally.  Glenn  Greenwald is about to come and talk in England, hooray! It took some time, and probably a vat full of courage, to tread on our soil again. I hope, we all are there, and overflowing with some appreciation for his wonderful efforts and writing. The new book, idea I had a week ago for publishing my blog pages, the ones I had to take off, are nearly ready to upload, but, I want to add some other pieces, and illustrate, the cover, maybe with some cartoon art. And progressively, I have been moving toward, some more art and essay work.

Sundays for me now are about keeping my sanity over, the whole thing of change, and adjustment. My sister, Alison, died two years ago, from motor neurons, and it is only now, that the absence of her calls, letters, and family moments, at Christmas, has begun to sink in. I had a tearful moment last Christmas, but, I have progressed through this year, surprisingly more focused than, the year in which she passed. And am about ready to get back to the main chunk of Storm.  Autumn is my favorite time, and we the ‘English’ can get back to our classrooms and are educative processes. The rigor of all that is ‘usual’.  It is like a gift the way I am feeling now. When I went to art school in Winchester, there were earlier memories, accompanying me, and the historical element of the buildings, and the earthy nature, almost suggested within the  building fabric especially the churches, and the courtyard flagstones. The town, is a true scale of what a person, can endure, without feeling lost. Such happy memories of sitting eating tea with my father as Alison tried for entrance for St Swithun’s School. Had she passed, both myself and Alison would have probably been boarders. I drew the high street on my foundation course, with people flowing up and down, abstracting the lines until they all merge, or cross over each other. My au plein air effort catching the eye of someone, who said I could sell it. The dreams and love of books, were just beginning to emerge. Even just holding an old style book with yellowed pages, and words perhaps belonging to another century, unfolding as a person reads down revealing, the nature of a previous generation who perhaps had better manners, more sense, who knows! Catherine Cookson, often talked of an earlier period of history in her novels. John Fowles also has used history to illustrate a certain mood, or feeling perhaps a loss of moral interest. If humans do not have boundaries, to live by, perhaps, we all become less grace filled. There is much to note that a good education and upbringing, can be so much better, than, young people, not really emerging knowing their own mind’s worth. The cathedral at Winchester has a tall steeple, and a long history.  The center of town, is mainly pedestrianized, and has a Tudor feel in the beams, and small windows. I took a walk to the top of the highest point in the autumn, with my aging mother trailing beside, me, with my medium format borrow from the college. King Alfred, is said to be one of England’s first real kings. His statue is erect in the lower part of the high road, which is open to traffic, and the small black lanes, are visible from the distance. I like to think of this moment, as perhaps, one of the last times, my mother had a sensible conversation with me, with all her lucidity intact. There a lifetime, there something lost too. The climb up the hill took us both along a winding path of glorious orange/brown leave litter. And at the top, I was still this uneasy person who had tried for a life of expression, and visual art. I had longed for something, still uncertain of the end. Erecting the camera, on a tripod, and trying to pick the view, that might pass as an idea for a ‘Rough Guide to Britain’. This was an assignment, for a course I had started to refresh some of my lost art career. The Rough Guide’s was a real competition. I have files now, that need to be digitized, at some point, but, it too shows, me sometimes that although the new cameras are quick to process images, the film backs, have a slightly more natural appeal to the end product. My mother had lived through, two marriages, and had ended up, realizing, that she had regrets. We had had a drink in a local pub, and something to eat, it was one of those habits of our teens, that our working mother, a landlady, chose to on occasions eat out. It had become a habit. The best part of my life, had been the times, when life trotted past, the windows of restaurants. And sometimes, food, the very thing that sustains a person, the warmth of which had a  heartening element. Overwhelmingly, today’s society, is splitting into the haves and have not, groups and it is uncomfortable to realize, this. I have since that time, born a child into the world, and suffered his loss, and my mother, then had got ill, possibly from the shock. She had had strokes, and still wonderfully, for as long as she could, she had been a counselor, and a solid friend.

I have been typing this, and repeatedly the sign saying Windows Synchronization has stopped, kept bleeping and appearing, and I have to stop and close the window in which it appears. I take this as an intrusion. A form of harassment, and it simply could be, just the software. Or the back door elements. It is totally unsettling, that cached data, can be removed without a person knowing, and yet too, this is going to be published, so why the need? I am Jane Austen, I am Charlotte Bronte, I am Katherine Da Silva. I am concerned, people, think it is OK to hack.