MARK CURTIS, EDITOR
Mark is the author of five books about British foreign policy, including Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World, Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses and, most recently, Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam. These books, which have drawn on the British declassified documents, have been widely acclaimed as uncovering numerous hidden episodes in the UK’s post-1945 foreign policy and for rewriting the true history of Britain’s role in the world in this period.
Mark is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and was visiting fellow at the Institut Français des Relations Internationales in Paris and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik in Bonn. He is a graduate of Goldsmiths’ College, University of London and postgraduate of the London School of Economics.
Mark has written as a freelance journalist for various media for 30 years. He also worked in the international development NGO world for 25 years. He was previously director of the World Development Movement (now Global Justice Now) and head of policy at the international NGOs, ActionAid and Christian Aid. From 2005-18 Mark managed Curtis Research, his own research consultancy covering international development and foreign policy issues. He conducted field research in 15 African countries, visiting the continent 50 times, and produced over 130 reports for over 40 NGOs.
MATT KENNARD, HEAD OF INVESTIGATIONS
Matt is an investigative journalist and author. He was a fellow and then director at the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London. While still a student journalist, Matt exposed one of his university’s lecturer as a white supremacist, sparking an international story, and leading to the lecturer’s early retirement. After receiving the Guardian’s top student journalism prize, Matt went on to gain a masters at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York, where he was a Stabile investigative fellow. He then spent three years working as a staff writer for the Financial Times in London, New York, and Washington DC, covering, amongst other things, the Pentagon, the White House, Wall Street, and the City of London.
Matt has written extensively on the US military and its conduct during the War on Terror. His first book, Irregular Army, investigated the recruitment practises of the U.S. military and exposed the carte blanche given to neo-Nazis, gang members and criminals to sign up and serve in the Middle East. His second book, The Racket, is an exposé of the hidden instruments used by the US government to apply economic and military control across the world. His third book, Stealing the World, is an investigation of the secret mechanisms through which transnational corporations run the world, and is scheduled for release in 2021.
Matt has reported from the UK, US, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Tanzania, South Africa, Syria, Malawi, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), India, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel-Palestine, Turkey, China, Ukraine, Romania. His work has been translated into Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Chinese, and Serbian. He has written for the Guardian, Independent, New York Times, Mother Jones, Foreign Policy, Chicago Tribune, Nation, Intercept, among others.
PHIL MILLER, STAFF REPORTER
Phil is an investigative journalist, author and filmmaker. His book, Keenie Meenie, exposes one of Britain’s most powerful mercenary companies and he is producing a documentary to accompany it.
Phil studied politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London before going into journalism. After university he spent several years working at the research group Corporate Watch where he investigated private security companies, before becoming a freelance journalist focusing on British defence and foreign policy.
Phil’s articles about the UK military and special forces have exposed botched covert operations with Indian and Guatemalan units, a death from US friendly fire in Syria and raised questions about the killing of a one-legged farmer in Belize, leading British prime minister David Cameron to order two government reviews. He has done research for a BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 documentary as well as producing his own films that were selected for international film festivals.
VICTORIA BRITTAIN (chair)
Victoria worked at the Guardian for many years, notably as associate foreign editor and editor of its Third World Review section in the 1980s. She has lived and worked in Washington, Saigon, Algiers, and Nairobi, and reported from many African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries. She is the author of a number of books on Africa, co-author of Moazzam Begg’s Guantanamo memoir, Enemy Combatant, author and co-author of two Guantanamo verbatim plays, and most recently of Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror. She is vice-chair of the education charity, Prisoners of Conscience. Her book, Love and Resistance in the films of Mai Masri is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan.
Andrew is a former MP of the African National Congress in South Africa who resigned in protest at the party’s refusal to allow a meaningful investigation into a £5bn arms deal, which was tainted by allegations of significant, high level corruption. He is the author of the best-selling After the Party: Corruption, the ANC and South Africa’s Uncertain Future and the critically acclaimed The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade which has been made into an award-winning feature documentary film. He is Executive Director of Shadow World Investigations (formerly Corruption Watch UK) and serves on the Boards of The Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa and Lighthouse Projects.
Salma is a British political activist and psychotherapist. She was formerly leader and vice-chair of the Respect Party and a Birmingham city councillor. She is the head of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and a spokesperson for Birmingham Central Mosque. Salma has been a contributor and writer for several news outlets. In 2006, Harper’s Bazaar magazine named her in the top thirty list of British women considered to be ‘women shaping Britain’. In 2008, she was voted to eleventh place in the Birmingham Post‘s Power 50 list of the most influential people in the city. In 2009, Salma was included in the Muslim Women Power List run by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Richard is a British editor, journalist and playwright, and the doyen of British national security reporting. He wrote for the Guardian on defence and security matters and was the newspaper’s security editor for three decades. Richard won the 1986 and 1994 Freedom of Information Campaign awards. In 2010, with fellow Guardian journalist, Ian Cobain, he was awarded a Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award from Liberty for their “investigation into Britain’s complicity in the use of torture”. His books include: The Ponting Affair; Blacklist, The Inside Story of Political Vetting; In Defence of the Realm? The case for Accountable Security and Intelligence Services; A Conflict of Loyalties, an account of GCHQ and the ban on trade union membership there; and Truth is A Difficult Concept, based on the evidence revealed by the Scott arms-to-Iraq inquiry. Richard has also written a number of award-winning plays, including the “Colour of Justice”, taken from the inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, and is on the Board of Liberty.
Benjamin is one of the pioneers of the performance poetry scene in Britain and was part of the ‘school’ known as the ‘Dub Poets’, who work alongside reggae music. He has spent most of his life performing around the world in schools, universities, concert halls, and in public spaces. He was the first person to record with The Wailers after the death of Bob Marley in a musical tribute to his late friend Nelson Mandela. Benjamin has also written novels for young adults, and plays for radio and stage. He is associated with many grassroots organisations including Haven Distribution, which sends books to prisoners, Aik Saath, which helps to bring together young people of all and no faith, and Inquest, an organisation that supports the families of those who have died whilst in custody. He has been a life-long supporter of The Vegan Society of Britain, has 18 honorary doctorates and is an OBE refusenik. He is currently visiting professor at De Montfort University, Leicester and Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Brunel University, London.
Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist and complex systems analyst. He has broken exclusive stories on major international security issues encompassing foreign policy, terrorism, national security, the environment, and finance. He currently reports on major environmental trends at Vice and is founding editor of the crowdfunded media platform Insurge Intelligence. Previously he covered the geopolitics of the environment at the Guardian and was a weekly columnist at Middle East Eye. Nafeez is the author of eight books including his latest, Failing States, Collapsing Systems: Biophysical Triggers of Political Violence (Springer). His investigative work around international terrorism has been used by the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest. Nafeez has taught international relations and political science at the University of Sussex and Brunel University, is a Research Fellow at the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems, a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and twice listed in the Evening Standard’s top 1,000 most influential Londoners.
Kehinde is professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University and an author whose books include Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century (2018) and Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement (2013). Kehinde led the development of the Black Studies degree and is director of the Centre for Critical Social Research, founder of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity and co-chair of the Black Studies Association.
Ian is a British journalist, best known for his investigations into human rights abuses during counter-terrorism investigations and the culture of British secrecy. He was previously an investigative reporter for the Guardian. He has been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism and won the Martha Gellhorn Prize and the Paul Foot Award for investigative journalism. Ian has reported on six wars, including the 1991 Gulf War, and in Afghanistan and Iraq. In September 2005, he revealed that the UK was supporting the CIA’s rendition programme. His books include Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture and The History Thieves: Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a Modern Nation.
Iona Craig is a British-Irish journalist whose work focuses on Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula. Iona lived in Sana’a from 2010 to 2015, covering Yemen’s revolution, America’s growing covert war in the region, and the civil war that began in 2014. She regularly returns to Yemen to cover the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis for TV, radio and print. Iona’s work has won numerous awards, including the Orwell Prize for journalism and the Martha Gellhorn Prize. Her investigation of a Navy SEAL raid in a remote Yemeni village won the 2018 George Polk Award for foreign reporting, the most esteemed US mark of distinction in international journalism after the Pulitzer Prize. In addition to her journalistic work, Iona heads up the Yemen Data Project, which collates open-source data on the Saudi-led coalition air war and political violence in Yemen’s ground war. Before becoming a journalist, Iona rode and trained racehorses professionally for more than a decade in the UK, Australia and Ireland.
Natalie is Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths’, University of London and and is co-director of the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy. Her work focuses on the ways in which technological, economic and social change is reconfiguring news journalism and shaping the dynamics of the public sphere and public culture. This research led to her involvement as a founding member of the Media Reform Coalition and as vice-chair of the Board of Directors for the campaign group Hacked Off – both of which campaign for a free, plural and accountable media.
Manisha Ganguly is an investigative & open-source journalist for BBC Arabic Digital Documentaries and BBC Newsnight. In 2018, she was awarded funding by the Communication and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster to pursue a PhD in how automation & AI is impacting investigative journalism. She teaches at the University of Westminster, specialising in political economy, history of the internet, and hacker culture. She is also a Fellow at London’s Newspeak House, where she was Director of the Future of Journalism network, and is a founding member of the Race Beat network. Manisha has worked as an activist for women’s rights and press freedom in India. Manisha began her career as a junior editorial intern at the Times of India in 2012, covering the Summer Olympics. In 2013, while still in college, she founded India’s first feminist counterculture webzine Eyezine, in the aftermath of the notorious Delhi rape case. In 2015, she was appointed director of Hysteria, one of the first national feminist conventions in India.
Joe is a defence journalist and award-winning author. He served in the British army from 2004 to 2010 including in Afghanistan and East Africa. He was the first British soldier to publicly refuse to return to Afghanistan on legal and moral grounds, eventually serving five months in the UK’s military prison for defying orders. The experience left him a strident critic of UK foreign policy. After leaving the army and jail Joe studied International Relations and, later, Veterans Studies. His book Soldier Box, published by Verso, won the Bread and Roses political non-fiction prize in 2014. Joe’s current interests include veterans in the UK and far-right activism with the military. He works as a communications officer for the armed forces watchdog Forces Watch and trains, teaches and competes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Hala is a Lebanese-British journalist. She was born in West Africa and worked for many years for the Sunday Times. Hala was awarded the Amnesty International Journalist of the Year Award in 2003. She also won Foreign Correspondent of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2005 and 2006 for her coverage of the Iraq War, and in 2012 for her coverage of the Libyan uprising. She co-won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for her work in Iraq in 2007. Her first book, Hezbollah: Born With a Vengeance, was published in 1997. The book describes the rise and political agenda of Hezbollah against the background of Lebanese history from 1970 to 1997. Her second book, The Flying Carpet to Baghdad: One Woman’s Fight for Two Orphans of War, was published in 2009. The book chronicles her efforts to help two girls during the Iraq war.
Taimour Lay is a practising barrister at Garden Court Chambers in London, specialising in human rights, public law and social justice. He formerly spent a decade as a journalist and political analyst, running investigations in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Uganda, DRC, Somalia, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. He was a correspondent for Africa Confidential and The Africa Report and wrote for BBC Focus on Africa, The Guardian and Corporate Watch, among others. He advises on media law.
Lowkey is a hip hop artist and political campaigner. He is part of the super group Mongrel alongside members of the Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles and Reverend and the Makers. His critically acclaimed music has received millions of streams on Spotify, sold over 25k albums digitally and garnered over 45 million YouTube views. His independently released album Soundtrack to the Struggle (2011) charted #6 in the UK RnB chart. Lowkey’s community work around the Grenfell fire led to his recent appointment as head of performing arts for the Kids on The Green charity, assisting the healing of bereaved, surviving and local children in the community through the arts. He is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop The War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Racial Justice Network.
Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist contributing to the major Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano, after working for the last 14 years for la Repubblica and l’Espresso. She has worked on all WikiLeaks document releases since 2009, and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden files about Italy. She has interviewed A.Q.Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, revealed a €1.2m condolence payment agreement between the US government and the family of the Italian aid worker, Giovanni Lo Porto, killed in a US drone strike, and she investigated the harsh working conditions of Pakistani workers in a major Italian garment factory in Karachi. Stefania has started a multi-jurisdictional freedom of information litigation effort to defend the right of the press to access the full set of documents on the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case. She is the author of two books – Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba: Dieci Storie.
Madawi is visiting Professor at the Middle East Centre (MEC) at the London School of Economics. She is a former Research Fellow at the Open Society Foundation, Professor of Anthropology of Religion at King’s College London and Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. Since joining the MEC, Madawi has been conducting research on mutations among Saudi Islamists after the 2011 Arab uprisings. This research focuses on the new reinterpretations of Islamic texts prevalent among a small minority of Saudi reformers and activism in the pursuit of democratic governance and civil society. Her edited book, Salman’s Legacy: The Dilemmas of a New Era was published by Hurst in 2018. Madawi has published several articles in academic journals and regularly contributes to international television and print media.
Paul is Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and Oxford Research Group’s (ORG) Senior Fellow in International Security. He has worked in the field of international security, arms control and political violence for 40 years. Paul lectures at universities and defence colleges in several countries and has written or edited 30 books, including Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century (Pluto Press, 3rd edition, 2010), Why We’re Losing the War on Terror (Polity, 2008) and Irregular War: New Threats from the Margins (I.B Tauris, 2017). Paul is a regular commentator on global security issues in the national and international media and is openDemocracy’s International Security Advisor, writing a weekly column for the web journal since September 2001.
Vron Ware is a professor of sociology and gender studies at Kingston University. She was editor of Searchlight magazine from 1981 to 1983, and has worked intermittently as a journalist and photographer. She has also had teaching and research positions at the University of Greenwich, Yale and the Open University. Her books and other publications span a wide range of issues from feminism and anti-racism (Beyond the Pale: white women, racism and history (1992/2015); Out of Whiteness: Color, Politics and Culture (2002, co-authored with Les Back) to militarism and the impact of war on society. Her most recent: Military Migrants: Fighting for YOUR Country (2012), is a study of Commonwealth soldiers serving in the contemporary British Army. She is currently leading a funded research project called ‘The Military in our Midst’, which investigates the social costs and consequences of permanent war preparation.
Eyal is Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures and founding director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2010 he founded the research agency Forensic Architecture and has directed it ever since. He graduated in architecture in 1998 from the Architectural Association in London and completed his PhD at the London Consortium/Birkbeck College in 2006.
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