war

December 21, 2010

Covering the Marines on Facebook: embedded journalism goes open source

Teru Kuwayama is embedded with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, but he’s not there with a traditional media organisation. He and a team of photographers are using funds from a Knight Foundation grant as part of an experimental project covering 1/8 battalion’s deployment in Helmand province. The team’s photographs and material relating to the deployment […]


November 23, 2010

Twitter reaction to the Korean border clash

Earlier today North and South Korea engaged in a cross-border clash. The North fired on the island of Yeonpyeong, shelling the area for about an hour. According to the South Koreans two Marines were killed and four civilians were injured in the attack. The South returned fire while around 1,600 residents on the island fled […]


November 17, 2010

Medal of Honor awarded to Korengal valley soldier

The video below describes the story of America’s first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war. Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta was awarded the United States highest military honour for rescuing a captured colleague in the Korengal valley, Afghanistan. The Sal Giunta Story from Sebastian Junger on Vimeo. Meanwhile according to Militaryblogging.com, […]


November 15, 2010

Blogging backlash against proposal to escalate confrontation with Iran

Earlier this month bloggers rounded on a column written in the Washington Post which suggested that Barack Obama could revive the United States’ flagging economy by ramping up tensions with Iran. In an article in the Washington Post on 31 October, David Broder wrote that the President could "spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating […]


October 26, 2010

Some thoughts on Wikileaks, the media and the truth

This was the second time I’d seen Julian Assange speak at the Frontline Club. A few months ago, the small club room was lined with TV cameras as the Wikileaks founder launched the Afghan War Logs leak. The audience of journalists that day were sceptical and were looking for a news line – they pushed […]


September 21, 2010

BBC Newsnight says MoD refused to provide figures for Sangin attacks

British forces have handed over responsibility for security in Sangin, Afghanistan to their U.S. counterparts. More than a hundred British soldiers lost their lives in the district. As part of their research for last night’s coverage of this story, BBC Newsnight wanted the figures for "significant attacks on coalition forces in Sangin". They were trying […]


September 15, 2010

Embedded in Afghanistan: “All you can do is give a snapshot”

Embedded journalism in Afghanistan is on the agenda at the Frontline Club this evening. Several journalists are on the panel including Caroline Wyatt, (BBC), Tim Marshall, (Sky News) and the Club’s founder Vaughan Smith. While they’ll be discussing Afghanistan and embedding tonight, The Independent‘s Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent, Kim Sengupta, will be heading back to […]


August 27, 2010

Embedded with the Taliban

Discussions around embedded journalism in Afghanistan tend to focus on journalists joining up with NATO or U.S. forces but what about the view we get from an embed with the Taliban? In the video below, Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal risks his life to film Taliban operations with a commander in Eastern Afghanistan. There’s some intriguing […]


July 26, 2010

Media round up: Wikileaks releases Afghanistan war logs

Main coverage Wikileaks "The Afghan War Diary [is] an extraordinary secret compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The reports describe the majority of lethal military actions involving the United States military. "We hope its release will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the war in Afghanistan and […]


July 12, 2010

Do images of the aftermath of an attack help insurgents?

Earlier today I came across an interesting blog post by Holly Pickett who recently finished her seven week rotation as the New York Times bureau photographer in Baghdad. She says: "It is nearly impossible to photograph the aftermath of a car bomb or street battle. In most cases, the scene is blocked by police, and cameras […]


July 7, 2010

Tracing the first official U.S. military blogs

So yesterday on Twitter I asked a question: when was the first official U.S. military blog started? Of course, long gone are the days when blogs were an unknown quantity, and these days blogs by U.S. soldiers will usually be signed off by a superior meaning they are to some degree ‘official’ but I wasn’t […]


July 1, 2010

British Armed Forces launch front line blogs from Afghanistan

Need to run out in a moment or two so excuse the brevity of the post, but I’ve just been helpfully pointed in the direction of a press release on military blogging: ‘British forces in Afghanistan have launched their first-ever mass blogging initiative, with dozens of personnel writing from the frontline on the Army, Navy […]


June 28, 2010

McChrystal, Michael Hastings and the future of war reporting

Last week, General Stanley McChrystal was fired from his position in charge of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan after comments he made in a magazine article. As I write it looks as though he will retire from the military altogether. In the article written by journalist Michael Hastings for Rolling Stone, McChrystal and (in […]


May 28, 2010

The blog as a weapon in an era of information war

I’ve been doing some research into the coverage of the Gaza conflict (back end of 2008, front end of 2009) on blogs. One of the English-language blogs that covered the war was the Muqata blog. The Muqata blog was started in 2005 by ‘Jameel’, a Jewish settler who had lived in Chomesh in Gaza before […]


April 26, 2010

Wikileaks, journalism and the military

I did mention the possibility of writing a piece on the publication of a US military video by Wikileaks which depicted two Reuters journalists being killed in Iraq in 2007. But one of my colleagues at the War Studies Department, Jack McDonald, has beaten me to it. While not representing my own views, he does […]


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 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 […]


April 6, 2010

Wikileaks video portrays the dangers of reporting the war on terror

By Ewan Palmer Last night Wikileaks revealed a shocking video of two US military helicopters killing a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad, including two staff members of Reuters. The footage was shot in 2007 and shows an unprovoked attack filmed from one of two Apache military helicopters. Two children were also […]


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 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 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 […]