Insight with Stephen Grey: Helmand – Investigative Journalism at the Sharp End

Talk Thursday 2nd April, 2009

Stephen Grey is one of the UK’s most distinguished investigative journalists and in December 2007 set off to Helmand, southern Afghanistan to see firsthand a conflict that was turning increasingly brutal and resulting in heavier losses for British armed forces. The reports that he filed for the Sunday Times – as he witnessed the death of both civilians and a British soldier — won praise.

But Stephen concluded that, in the chaos of frontline reporting, much of the true story has remained blurred. To research his new book – Operation Snakebite – he dug deeper into the events he witnessed, returning to Helmand and to Kabul and interviewing more than 200 British and American troops, plus officials, to reconstruct not only a gripping battle story but to make wider findings. He will be discussing this, and also what the British really make of working with President Karzai, the true story of talking to the enemy, revelations over ‘takedown’ operations conducted by US and British special forces, crucial equipment shortages and the unresolved tensions between Whitehall and the frontline.

A former editor on the Sunday Times’ investigations unit, the Insight team, Stephen Grey has continued to contribute to the newspaper, as well to the New York Times, Guardian, Times, Independent, New Statesman and Newsweek. He is best known for his world exclusive revelations on the CIA’s secret rendition program.  He has reported for Channel 4’s Dispatches, BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio Four and the World Service. He has been nominated for, and won, several major press awards.

Nick Fielding is a journalist and former Senior Sunday Times journalist leading global investigations. He is the author of two books: Defending the Realm: Inside MI5 and the War on Terror and Masterminds of Terror.