Daniel Bennett


April 23, 2010

Military bloggers turn on Michael Yon after comments about McChrystal

A while ago now I wrote about Michael Yon and the end of his embed with the British Army in Afghanistan. Well it seems the lightning has struck again – only this time much harder. Another Yon embed came to what he regarded as a premature end earlier in the month, but this time rather […]


April 22, 2010

The Liberal Democrats: Strident change or Trident tweaking?

So the Liberal Democrats want to scrap, replace, consider replacing…hang on a minute, let’s find the manifesto…"commit not to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system on a like-for-like basis" if they are voted into office. And I would be very surprised if the Trident issue fails to make an appearance in tonight’s leaders’ debate. After […]


April 14, 2010

Are you going to vote on the basis of defence policy?

Heard your local parliamentary candidates talking about defence policy and their parties’ plans for the defence industry recently? You might have done if you live in a constituency with specific military or defence industry links. Dorset South, for example, includes Bovington Army camp and the MP for South Ribble notes that his constituency in Lancashire […]


April 8, 2010

Whir of helicopters drowns out some serious defence questions

This post you’ll note is a little off topic. That’s because I’m really writing it for Talk Issues, a new group blog set up to look at the issues that matter in the imminent General Election here in the UK. Hopefully, I’ll be dipping into this mode occasionally to write about defence policy. So here […]


March 29, 2010

Reporting the Moscow Metro bombings

Посмотреть на Яндекс.Фотках (Link to Tatiana Krasnova’s album)   Two female suicide bombers were believed to be responsible for the deaths of 38 commuters in Moscow at rush hour this morning. Russian officials say that 60 people were also injured in the attacks at Lubyanka and Park Kultury Metro stations. There are more details here […]


March 24, 2010

WRL: New media, Afghanistan, Iraq and Al Qaeda

A few bits and pieces I’ve spotted recently: 1. Leveraging New Media (pdf): A US military report on the Israeli Defence Force’s use of new media in the conflict in Gaza re-published in the Australian Army Journal. It’s from the middle of 2009 but I’d not picked it up before. It’s authored by Lieutenant General […]


March 19, 2010

Embedded journalism in Afghanistan

Yesterday, I travelled up to Coventry for a conversation about embedded journalism in Afghanistan. It was hosted by Coventry University and the BBC’s College of Journalism. I’m not sure I ever really understood the question that was supposed to frame this debate: "Afghanistan: Are we embedding the truth?" (Answers on a postcard etc…) But as […]


March 16, 2010

‘A sort of extreme camping trip with people trying to kill you’

Cameraman Stuart Webb describes his experience of being on patrol with the Coldstream Guards in Afghanistan. He was working for Channel 4 News with Alex Thomson. The pair came under fire as they moved along a ditch with the Guards…   "As-live" Twitter reportage Alex Thomson’s report from Babaji in Helmand was broadcast on Channel […]


March 15, 2010

War reporting fail

A Georgian TV channel caused panic at the weekend after a mock up news report suggested Russian troops had invaded the country and President Saakashvili had been killed. Many viewers had missed a warning that went out before the broadcast. The video below is Russia Today’s report on the biggest (non)-story so far this year: 


March 11, 2010

Round up: Marjah; war reporting; Facebook and the IDF.

Fighting the Taliban in Marjah, Afghanistan. There was an interesting little sub-plot in this article in The Times about the aim of protecting and winning over the population in a counterinsurgency operation. On the one hand these US Marines were being asked to exercise some level of restraint: "The new rules of engagement, dubbed “Courageous […]


March 3, 2010

Michael Yon to embed with the Gurkhas later in the year?

Independent journalist Michael Yon, whose vivid dispatches from Frontline military embeds have proved popular both in the United States and Britain, has said that a return to covering British forces in Afghanistan later in the year is a strong possibility. A few weeks ago, on his Facebook fan page (one of those new news sources […]


March 2, 2010

Department of Defense switches default policy on social media to ‘open’

As of last Friday, all US servicemen have been able to update social networks like Twitter and Facebook from non-classified military network computers. The announcement by the Department of Defense is the first time a single policy has been used across all branches of the Armed Forces and effectively reverses a Marine Corps ban on […]


February 9, 2010

Afghanistan: “A solution is going to look somewhat ugly”

The important international voices have been ‘on message’ about Afghanistan recently in time for a new British-led NATO offensive in the area around Marjah in Helmand province. At the London Conference last month there was talk of "turning the tide"; NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen believes there is new momentum in Afghanistan; and US […]


February 8, 2010

Counterinsurgency blogged: A 30-day tour of Afghanistan

This looks like an interesting new blog which apparently kicks off today. US Tech Sergeants Ken Raimondi and Nathan Gallaghan are going to travel through five regional commands in Afghanistan blogging and vlogging along the way. Unsurprisingly, they think the story of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan isn’t being covered by the media: "We want to show […]


February 4, 2010

The future begins with ‘C’

Ok, here at Frontline we don’t know exactly what will happen in the unpredictable worlds of journalism and warfare over the coming years. But we can reveal how everyone will be describing the future. Military and media experts have gazed into their respective crystal balls (or maybe they’re sharing the same one due to respective […]


January 26, 2010

‘Tweetwife’ application reminds US Admiral to use Twitter

The United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says his wife, a regular Twitter user, reminds him to tweet. Admiral Mike Mullen believes Twitter and other social networking sites like Facebook are important forms of communication which enable him to stay in touch with younger members of the US military…(or at least that […]


January 20, 2010

A view of ‘peace building’ in Afghanistan

‘Captain Cat’ has been updating a blog in an attempt to "document some of what goes on under the label of peace building" in Afghanistan. There are plenty of interesting insights in the Captain’s dispatches and the blog is well worth latching on to, if you haven’t already. Here are a couple of recent posts […]


January 19, 2010

Rupert Hamer ‘died for the truth’

The Telegraph’s defence correspondent, Sean Rayment, pays tribute to his Sunday Mirror colleague, Rupert Hamer, who became the first British journalist to be killed in Afghanistan earlier this month. "Rupert and I had many conversations about whether reporting from Afghanistan was worth the risk, especially for those of us who had families. But Rupert was […]


January 18, 2010

Frontline Club: blogging and social media training

Cross-posted from my now rather inaccurately named Mediating Conflict blog, this is just a note to let you know that I’ll be running the Frontline Club’s blogging and social media training course on 1 and 2 February 2010.  Hopefully it will be great fun and a really good way to get yourself started in online […]


January 14, 2010

24/7 media world undermines use of force, says UK Minister

The Armed Forces Minister, Bill Rammell, delivered a speech yesterday in which he expressed his concern that the information age had fundamentally altered the conditions in which Britain could "project power" in the world. Talking at the Institute of Public Policy Research, Rammell noted that there were many positive benefits from the development of "access […]


January 11, 2010

Defence correspondent Rupert Hamer killed in Afghanistan

The Sunday Mirror’s defence correspondent, Rupert Hamer, has been killed in Afghanistan while embedded with US Marines. Photographer Phil Coburn also suffered serious leg injuries when the MRAP vehicle they were travelling in was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device on Saturday. One US Marine was killed and five others were injured in the attack […]


January 8, 2010

Was CIA bomber a jihadi blogger?

That’s the question being asked by the frighteningly excellent jihadica.com. Citing an Al Qaida statement, they say: Abu Dujana al-Khurasani (real name Hammam Khalil Abu Milal) ‘the famous propagandist and writer on the jihadi forums,’ carried out the attack in Khost which left at least eight Americans dead.  The news that the suicide bomber was […]


January 8, 2010

Reaction on the blogs to US intelligence in Afghanistan

The other day Major General Michael Flynn (et al) published a report which highlighted some fundamental failings of US intelligence operations in Afghanistan. US intelligence, he argued, is overly focussed on the enemy, unable to answer basic questions about local political, economic and cultural dynamics and is "only marginally relevant to the overall strategy". He […]


December 22, 2009

US Army blog reaches out to milbloggers

A post has been written on the official US Army blog in an attempt to appease disaffected US military bloggers who held a silent protest last Wednesday. Public Affairs Specialist, Lindy Kyzer, concurs with a number of concerns raised by military bloggers admitting that there are "still areas, and leaders, where blogging in the ranks […]


December 18, 2009

US military bloggers fall silent in protest

A couple of days ago a number of military bloggers in the US agreed to hold a silent day of protest and more bloggers appear to be joining the campaign. The trigger for the blogging strike was the treatment of blogger CJ Grisham whose chain of command became involved in his row with a local […]


December 10, 2009

Twitter and the Iraq Inquiry

The other day, Dave Lee pointed out that Sky were doing something interesting with a Twitter feed during their coverage of the Iraq Inquiry. They were showing foreign correspondent Tim Marshall’s Twitter feed alongside the live coverage of the Inquiry. At this particular point in time, Sir John Scarlett was being asked about the intelligence […]


December 4, 2009

Mark Urban blogging for the BBC from Afghanistan

Bit snowed under (not literally – it’s cold-ish here at the moment, but snow is so rare in the UK it usually brings the country to a standstill) with PhD work so afraid blogging will be a bit more sporadic over the coming weeks, if not months. (Pop by again in October 2010!)  Just thought […]


November 26, 2009

Stephen Grey: Afghanistan is “quite depressing”

Journalist Stephen Grey has recently returned from Helmand province and described his trip to Afghanistan as "quite depressing". He noted that casualties have increased in 2009 and said it has already been a hard winter for troops on the ground. Grey was talking to the War Studies Department at King’s College London yesterday about his […]


November 18, 2009

TA soldier’s blog post hits the headlines

A blog post written by a Territorial Army soldier who was killed in Afghanistan has received widespread media coverage. In the post entilted ‘Hello from Afghan’, Rifleman Andrew Fentiman of 7 Rifles, describes how he was waiting to be transferred to his Forward Operating Base shortly after arriving in Afghanistan two weeks ago. Several news […]


November 12, 2009

IDF soldier blogs from the front line

A blogging American-Israeli combat soldier has been deployed to the West Bank. According to his blog, 25 year old Danny Brothers has finished his training with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and is serving in "al-Madina al-Muqaddasah" – a pseudonym for the city where he is stationed. In recent posts, Brothers describes his first foot […]