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

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 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 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 […]

October 19, 2009

WRL: Blogging, Milblogging and the London bombings

(Dusty history section) on the London bombings, 2005. I came across a couple of links on media coverage of the London bombings in July 2005 that I hadn’t previously discovered. Maybe you missed them too. Mike Thelwall did some research into bloggers and the bombings which ‘scratches the surface’ of the use of blogs to […]

October 14, 2009

Frontline: Obama’s War

I flagged up the preview earlier in the month and now here is the full version of the Frontline documentary, Obama’s War:

October 7, 2009

2 Rifles firefight in Afghanistan

Here’s a very short video of a recent firefight in Helmand province courtesy of Michael Yon’s recent embed with the British Army.     I seem to have slipped into videoblogging these days. I’ll write something soon…promise. Maybe you prefer the videos anyway. 

October 1, 2009

More on Michael Yon and British Media Operations

Apologies to those of you who are already in October but I’ve been on holiday and want to wrap a few things up from the back end of September. This is one of those things. So if you read about this last week there’s not much new here. But if you haven’t, hopefully it offers […]

September 15, 2009

Secretary of Defence: “Afghanistan first”

The British Secretary of Defence said operations in Afghanistan must take priority in the next Strategic Defence Review in a speech at King’s College, London. Bob Ainsworth said longer term strategic considerations should be secondary to providing the necessary equipment and manpower to British Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Ainsworth conceded that there was "significant" pressure […]

September 1, 2009

Michael Yon to end Afghanistan embeds and go it alone

Independent war reporter Michael Yon has not so much burnt his military embed bridges as completely obliterated them. He claims that the Ministry of Defence has been trying to have him removed from the area of Regional Command (South) and from Thursday he will be reporting unilaterally from Helmand province. Yon was annoyed that his […]

August 3, 2009

Discussing ‘The Ministry of Defeat’ at the Frontline Club

Last week, Defence of the Realm blogger Richard North dropped by struggled down from Bradford to London to discuss his book on Britain’s deployment in Iraq. Focussing on one of his specialities – procurement and provision of equipment for British troops – North painted a bleak picture of the Ministry of Defence and media coverage […]

July 29, 2009

2 Rifles in Helmand

I tweeted about this a couple of days ago, but if you haven’t yet latched on to Michael Yon’s latest reports and photography from Afghanistan then you should do so now. And while we’re on the ‘blogging from Helmand theme’, this collection of British Commanders’ Diaries from Operation Panther’s Claw is also worth checking out.

July 28, 2009

Insight into The Times’ Afghanistan debate

Earlier today I ‘sat in’ on The Times’ liveblogging debate about whether the war in Afghanistan is winnable. The Times have been experimenting with Cover It Live for a while now, but haven’t put it to use to cover defence issues until today (as far as I’m aware). The debate featured Defence Editor, Michael Evans, […]

July 17, 2009

Blogs on the helicopters

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown quoted Lt Col Nick Richardson in Afghanistan who said he had "sufficient [helicopters] to get on with the task with which he’s been given". Which suggests he was given a very particular task (like painting a helicopter or something), because earlier that morning, the Head of the British […]

July 9, 2009

The front line in Afghanistan

The BBC’s Ian Pannell and cameraman Fred Scott are on the front line in Helmand. The British troops they film are taking part in Operation Panther’s Claw, which has cost the lives of seven British soldiers in the last week.   I picked this up via Dr Ken Payne on the Kings of War blog, […]

July 7, 2009

If you want a different take…

…on the recent deaths of British Army soldiers, Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe and Tpr Joshua Hammond, in Afghanistan then head over to Defence of the Realm. The author, Richard North, believes the BBC missed the point about the weaknesses of the Viking that the soldiers were travelling in when it was hit by an Improvised […]

July 1, 2009

Truth: The first casualty of the Russo-Georgia War

Today, I’ve been multi-tasking: spending some time spying (with permission, I should add) on the BBC’s news operation, keeping one eye on the tennis, and reading a very interesting paper on the media and the Russian invasion of Georgia. I can’t really talk too much about the former (yet) and I don’t suppose many of […]

June 24, 2009

Strategic communications in post-conflict countries

I’ll soon be heading into London for a two-day conference where participants will be discussing strategic communications from various organisational perspectives – military, international, humanitarian, and media.  On today’s agenda we have: – A key note from Nik Gowing on the ‘new tyranny of shifting information power in crises‘. – A discussion between General Sir […]

June 10, 2009

“A small price to pay for good relations”

Population-centric approaches to counterinsurgency warfare emphasise the importance of protecting the local people rather than killing the enemy. When war takes place among the people, using military force is problematic so the priority is to win the support of the local population by providing security and services and building relationships with village elders.  That’s (a […]

June 9, 2009

Why milbloggers blog from the front line

‘Afghan Kush‘ is a U.S. Infantry soldier currently deployed in Zabul province, Afghanistan. His unit, 1-4 Infantry, have been involved in some fighting recently around two forward operating bases. In a recent post, Afghan Kush writes about his front line involvement in a day-long engagement with guerrilla forces. Or rather he writes about his dissatisfaction […]

June 5, 2009

MoD and digital media: “We haven’t gripped it, but we’re getting there”

"I could not write about the past week without mentioning the tragic death of Rifleman Adrian Sheldon. Shelly was a much loved member of the Fire Support Platoon here at FOB [Forward Operating Base] Inkerman and his loss has been extremely hard to come to terms with." In among the stories about political meltdown you […]

June 2, 2009

WRL: Twitter and the Global Media Forum

A few war reporting links to keep you moderately entertained while I put together a hopefully more enlightening post. (I was hoping to have it for today, but there’s been a slight delay.) 1. Hello, Twitter: Goodbye, McKiernan. The US military has launched an Afghanistan Twitter feed. Just recently the feed has been providing updates […]

May 26, 2009

Mapping conflict

Using Google Earth (or Maps) as a news tool isn’t exactly new. But mapping all the coalition casualties during the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq is a monumental effort. It’s the work of Sean Askay, a Google employee. He used the company’s 20% programme (allowing employees to spend one day a week on their […]

May 15, 2009

BBC reporter on covering Gaza

BBC Arabic Correspondent, Shahdi Al Kashif, reported from Gaza during the Israeli military attack at the turn of the year. On Wednesday, he talked to a small group of BBC journalists about the challenges he faced. Below I’ve paraphrased a few of the things he said. I’ve reordered some of his remarks. Reporting from a […]

May 3, 2009

Free Tiger tour, anyone?

So, "Foreign media taken on a free ride by the LTTE", according to the Sri Lankan Government’s propaganda website "Media Centre For National Security" (MCNS). Apparently, many of us are terrorist sympathisers and, well, stupid. I might actually have been insulted, had I not been at the receiving end of similar accusations for many months […]

April 29, 2009

May you live long, but not here

"Ayubowan", is the first word a visitor to Sri Lanka hears on arrival. These days one could be forgiven for thinking it means something very rude. It doesn’t, and the increasingly rare tourist would probably not suspect any hostility behind the still ever-present smiles. Until, that is, she or he makes the mistake of picking […]

March 20, 2009

Blogging military blogging

I came across a blog called Soldiers in the blogosphere recently. It’s run by an active duty US Army Major, Jakob Bruhl, and is part of his graduation requirement from the Air Command and Staff College. Maj Bruhl discusses whether soldiers should be encouraged to write blogs and over the last few weeks he has […]