Moving in the Shadows
They don’t come home in flag draped coffins. Crowds do not line the street in silent tribute to their sacrifice. They are the fallen heroes the government keeps in the shadows; private security contractors who’ve lost their lives servicing British interests in hostile environments. It’s high time they were honoured.
Those familiar with my writings will know that this is a topic very close to my heart. For years I’ve been shouting from the rafters for government to externally regulate private security firms with operations abroad. Continue reading ‘BRITAIN’S HIDDEN HEROES’
Published February 12, 2010
Tags: Afghanistan, hostile environment training, hostile environments, International Press Institute, Iraq, journalists, Kidnap & Ransom, media, Pakistan, security, war reporting
In The Line of Fire
The latest World Press Freedom Review from the International Press Institute contained some sobering figures: 735 journalists died between 2000 and 2009 in conflicts– 110 last year alone. Not surprisingly, the country which proved most hazardous last decade was Iraq where 170 journalists lost their lives.
Journalists working in their own countries were most at risk. But the IPI did hone in on a disturbing trend; namely ‘the deliberate targeting’ of journalists in conflict areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Pakistan. Having advised journalists in hostile environments since 2002, I have gained the utmost respect for them. To venture into war zones unarmed and unable to defend against attack takes incredible courage and commitment. Yet too often journalists fail to fully appreciate the hazards they face in conflict areas. I believe more can be done to improve their security. Continue reading ‘A Dangerous Decade for Journalists’
The media is having a field day tracking the story of Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Pirates Demand $7 Million and Somali Pirates Split on Demands for British Couple’s Release are just two examples of headline stories describing, among other things, ransom demands, the possible movements of the hostages, and details of the kidnappers’ alleged motives and operations.
No doubt, other prospective holiday makers and adventures will learn from the Chandlers’ ordeal. This is why, from a security standpoint, I have no problem with news organizations reporting that a kidnapping has taken place. But describing the mechanics of what is happening behind the scenes, particularly to free the hostages is irresponsible and dangerous in my view. Continue reading ‘Kidnap & Ransom: The Media’s Dangerous Double Standard’