light dragoons

Nick Carter will have to persuade the government about the army’s value . Photograph: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images After the huge mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan 1 , and confronted now by new threats amid extraordinary geopolitical shifts, senior British army officers under the incoming chief of the general staff, Sir Nick Carter, are planning potentially far-reaching reforms . An eyecatching centrepiece is the formation of the 77th Brigade, inspired by the Chindits, the guerrilla unit which operated behind enemy lines during the Burma campaign against the Japanese during the second world war. “The brigade consists of more than just traditional capabilities .

It is an organisation that sits at the heart of trying to operate smarter” . said Carter . Russian activities in Ukraine 2 have confirmed what was becoming increasingly obvious in Iraq and Afghanistan but which Britain’s military establishment seemed slow to understand namely, that the character of war is changing. “One of the follies of our current age has been an unmatched ambition to change the world without bothering to understand it first”, said General Sir Nick Houghton, in his first annual lecture as chief of the defence staff in 2013 .

His refreshing and pointed aside is quoted in High Command 3 , by Christopher Elliott, former director of military operations in the Ministry of Defence, the latest book (published by Hurst) on the political and military follies of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars . The emphasis now is not so much on military force but “political warfare”, including psychological operations (psyops), deception, and media operations (hence the numerous references in recent stories by defence journalists to “facebook warriors”) . The new Chindit brigade, consisting of reservists and civilian specialists as well as regular troops, is designed to help the army win non-kinetic battles in an age of internet warfare and cyber attacks .

The unit would “play a key part in enabling the UK to fight in the information age”, said an army spokesman . The comparison with the exotic Chindit force is appropiate mainly in that it was set up as a long range penetration force, sharing some of the characteristics of the SAS . The original Chindits (named after the Chinthe, fierce lion-like creatures that stood guard at Burmese temples) suffered from a high casualty rate from disease and sheer exhaustion, as a result of the extreme physical effort involved in disrupting communications and supply routes .

Disrupting communications and spreading and countering sophisticated propaganda will be the new Chindits’ priorities but the environment they will operate in will be very different from that of the Burmese jungle .

1,500 or so new Chindits, who will based near Newbury in Berkshire, could provide just the kind of help Ukraine was asking for on Monday jamming the communications of pro-Russian, and Russian, forces in the east of the country . Carter and his advisers, meanwhile, are planning to streamline the army’s hierarchy, culling perhaps a third of its 500 colonels and 200 brigadiers and generals . No senior officers were sacked over Iraq 4 or Afghanistan .

The idea is to change the culture of the top brass, to encourage individuals who have demonstrated their ability and confidence to understand the new world, of geopolitics as well as of conflict . It is noteworthy, perhaps, that the planned shakeup in the British army, in many ways one of Britain’s most conservative institutions, comes at a time when Vladimir Putin’s Russia is investing heavily in unconventional warfare, trying to undermine the Nato alliance by supporting the National Front in France, and such nationalists as Hungary’s Jobbik party, and hoping to develop close relations with the new government in Greece . Britain’s defence establishment, as well as its political leadership, will have to get used to a new security and geopolitical landscape, one in which nationalists and practitioners of unconventional warfare sometimes separately, sometimes together regard international institutions, both Nato and the EU, both based in Brussels, as an enemy .

References ^ Afghanistan (www.theguardian.com) ^ Ukraine (www.theguardian.com) ^ Command (www.hurstpublishers.com) ^ Iraq (www.theguardian.com)

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British Army faces radical shakeup

To supplement Tarleton’s British Legion here are some troopers of the 17th LD. Initially painted 10 or so years ago they have had their bases enhanced and an extra highlight put on their redcoats. The latter is a little brighter than needed for strict historical accuracy but brings them in line with the rest of my army and helps them to stand out on the table. I was tempted to redo the faces but have left them for now.

Rehana – ‘the angel of Kobane’ News media representatives will be escorted at all times . Repeat, at all times . Fifteen years ago, US Central Command circulated Annex Foxtrot 1 .

Centcom had had its fingers burnt by the reporting of Vietnam, and it wasn t going to make the same mistakes this time . The narrative of the Gulf war belonged to them . Today, the story couldn t be any more different .

Psy-ops and social media: the butts of a thousand jokes, and there were plenty after the British Army announced 2 the formation of a 1,500 strong social media unit . Reportedly named after the Chindits, the British guerrilla unit that operated far behind enemy lines in Burma during World War II, the 77 th Brigade s unconventional methods will focus on the digital fronts that have opened up over the last decade or so . The announcement that a unit focusing on social media was met by howls of derision in certain quarters .

Would such a unit be equipped with the mandatory fix-wheel bikes and thick-rimmed glasses of social media experts ? The thing is, social media is a step ahead . Its army of users have already begun using social media in fighting their enemies and they aren t part of any specialised unit .

The West was taken aback by the quality and volume of social media content coming out of Islamic State s (Isis) advances in Syria and Iraq . The Hollywood of Jihad flickered across our phones, causing outrage . All the time, however, this was happening on the front line, too .

Spare a thought for the resistance: the capture, torture and execution of their comrades is being beamed straight to them . In our work at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media we found evidence of Isis fighters subverting hashtags that the Kurdish resistance used to communicate, using them to send photos of the fighters they had captured and killed . The same techniques were used in their early victories against the Iraqi army .

Images of comrades who had been killed were sent across no man s land . Perhaps the speed at which Iraqi units capitulated can in part be explained by this hand-to-hand propaganda . The resistance was quick to respond .

One of the stories of the conflict in 2014 was Rehana . A Kurdish fighter in the resistance, the image of the young woman became a symbol of the fight for Kobane after it spread like wildfire through social media . She came to be known as the angel of Kobane , and her image was used to bait Isis fighters .

Kurds took great delight in sending the photo to Isis fighters, joking that were they to be killed at her hands they would be denied the rewards of martyrdom . Some three days later, Isis responded . A gruesome image of a jihadi holding the severed head of a woman was circulated: the angel of Kobane had been killed, they boasted .

The resistance denied this (on social media, naturally) . And it isn t just those on the ground who are shaping the conflict . Hunched behind a computer screen somewhere in Texas lurks @robfit 3 .

It pushes a right-wing rhetoric so extreme it almost parodies itself . In between climate-change denial, racism and support for the pro-gun lobby, the account is in perpetual celebration of the US army . The account is followed by almost 18,000 people, and was particularly prominent during the early days of Isis s advances .

In August last year, pro-Isis accounts mounted a social media campaign aimed at its American enemies . Over three days or so, the hashtag #AMessagefromISIStoUS hosted eighty-thousand messages . Those sent by pro-Isis accounts were full of grisly reminders of America s war on terror : burning towers, wounded soldiers and coffins draped in the stars and stripes .

Within a few minutes, however, the hashtag was hijacked by pro-American users, including @robfit . Any Isis sympathisers following the hashtag would have been confronted with huge volumes of anti-Isis propaganda: the might of the American military, pornography aimed at upsetting devout Muslims, and in the end just about anything offensive they could find to throw at them . This kind of crowd-sourced propaganda represents a new frontline in an age when many of us use social media to understand what s happening around us .

Pew Research estimates that half of those on social media platforms use it to find and read news . The very nature of the content, carefully curated by thousands of algorithms to show us stories we might relate to most, mean that expressing anti-Isis sentiment is likely to bring you into contact with more of the same . Never has propaganda been so widely sourced and distributed .

One can only imagine the panic a 1991 Centcom official would have felt scrolling through an Isis Twitter feed . The British Army is right to acknowledge the significance social media can play on the bloodiest of front lines . The narrative of war in this century will be shaped by the individuals fighting it .

Facebook and Twitter have become powerful weapons, capable of inspiring and demoralising fighters . In the right hands, they might prove to be important tools in the much-maligned battle for hearts and minds . Through its channels, every fighter can document their fight, producing instant-speed, personalised and realistic propaganda .

For all the derision, social media is a battlefield: a fight over who gets to write the story of the conflict . It is fought over by millions of people every day . Recognising this is an important first step .

Alex Krasodomski is a researcher at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos .

He can be found tweeting You might also enjoy reading: References ^ Annex Foxtrot (www.nytimes.com) ^ announced (www.theguardian.com) ^ @robfit (twitter.com)

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The British Army is right social media is a new …

It will be a poignant moment when Prime Minister Modi lays a wreath at the IPKF memorial in Sri Lanka When the good folks at Swarajya requested me to write a piece on the visit of India s Prime Minister to the IPKF memorial in Sri Lanka, it brought back personal memories. One of my close friend from school, had finished his stint with NDA and IMA and his very first posting was in the IPKF leading a company. The young Lieutenant fought bravely and after a successful tour of duty came to Chennai and we friends met up.

Excited to meet him and know more about life in the army, we plied him with many questions. It was apparent that he was a changed man by then. He had the soldier s discipline, the precise manner in which he answered revealed that he had been through a lot in his first tour of duty.

We asked him about his stint and he shared many a story of the battlefront. It was then that we realized what a life-changing stint that it had been for the young officer. He led from the front, lost men under his command and although he did not spell out his disappointment of the political leadership, he gave a glimpse of the blurred lines of morality that war often poses on men in the frontlines of battle.

One vignette he shared was particularly searing and is still etched in my mind. He was leading a platoon on a search, apprehend and disarm mission. Young men from a distant part of India were under his command.

The fact that he was a Tamilian officer meant that he was preferred for such missions as it meant interacting with the local population. The entire mission was based on intelligence inputs of LTTE cadre operating from a remote village. They entered a small cottage.

Men were asked to stand down but be on alert. He entered the cottage with one JCO. They saw an old Tamil lady and a young teenaged girl.

He greeted the old lady and made enquiries. They took a quick look and turned to leave. The teenager lunged forward and fetched an AK 47 from under concealment in the floor and opened fire.

The bullet narrowly missed his head; the JCO opened fire and shot the girl down. They secured the place, but that was the kind of peace that they had to secure. It was not something that he or the JCO was proud of.

They broke down when they reached camp. Why should I recount the above story on this occasion? Many a tale has been left untold.

There are many stories that the powerful LTTE propaganda unleashed which were lapped up by the chauvinistic regional media and made IPKF to be seen as a villain. The then CM of Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi, went on record to state in the Legislative Assembly that he would not receive the IPKF soldiers when they came back. I will not recount here what my friend had to say about that.

It is best left to be in private. Ask any army commander, he will tell you the primary principles of an operation for the armed services are always two key ones Clarity of Purpose and Unity in Action supported by a clear Chain of Command. The saga of IPKF was an outcome of its time.

From a purely military objectives perspective, there was clarity of purpose at the beginning. The IPKF was to be the guarantor of peace and provider of security to the region. It was clear that the SL Army would withdraw from the region and in return, the armed rebels of all hues were to disarm and the agency to carry out the disarmament was the IPKF.

The IPKF, in good faith, came prepared for the tasks on hand. Now, whether there was clarity of purpose on the political front is a matter of intense debate. I would think, that Rajiv Gandhi as PM wanted to have a settlement that would secure the rights of Tamils within the framework of united Sri Lanka.

He was a man in a hurry. On the Sri Lankan side, President JR Jayawardene was a seasoned politician who was willing to strike a balance on his own penchant for retaining enormous power and ensuring that the Tamil uprising was put down. When the young PM from India came forward to mediate, he made sure that India would be made party to the dispute and it had a role.

The LTTE supremo, Prabhakaran, was not yet the undisputed leader of the Tamils. There were others, including moderates who were willing to work with India, provided India became a party to the dispute as well. The hardliners, especially Anton Balasingham and his wife were the ones who resisted.

The advisors to the Indian PM led by the JN Dixit and the then External Affairs Ministry mandarins, ill advised him to pressurize Prabhakaran at the now famous Thimpu talks. The troika of people executing the political part for the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement ran things in a manner that proved to be the key impulse for the classic betrayal that followed. On the Sri Lankan side the then PM, Premadasa, was not willing to concede to any legitimate demand of the Tamils.

He bided his time and then what followed was one of the most disastrous misadventures of Indian foreign policy. The present so-called-champions who are indulging in the propaganda of immortalizing Prabhakaran cannot hide the simple truth that he made a deal with one of the most hardline Sinhala leaders in Premadasa to scuttle and sabotage the peace process. Every step of the way, the Indian Armed Forces were constrained by a civilian leadership that did not understand the real politics that was being played nor did they understand the ground level realities that they were facing based on the unholy and unprincipled covert alliance between Premadasa and Prabhakaran.

Several times the IPKF were in a position to neutralize the LTTE leader and under instructions had to back off. There was no Unity in Action. Added to that was a disconnect between the commanders on the ground and the generals in HQ.

There was clearly a misjudgement of the strength, capability and resources that LTTE had. The initial forays by the IPKF were fraught with risk and they paid a heavy price in terms of men as well as local support from the population. The high cost was epitomized by the Battle for Jaffna University.

Despite these odds, the IPKF did a tremendous job of fighting back and delivering what was expected from it. They did make the region secure enough for an election to be held despite the active sabotage attempts by the Premadasa government. In the blurred world of urban guerilla warfare, the IPKF troops were asked to make tough operational choices.

That they did so, without considering the costs involved in exposing its troops to unnecessary danger is clear in the number of people India lost. There were, I am sure, quite a few mistakes made by the IPKF which may have resulted in innocents being caught in the cycle of violence. The IPKF, however held firm to the ethos of the Indian Army and did a thorough and professional job.

Despite being in an environment that was stacked against them, coupled with a political leadership that was oscillating between ramming through an agreement and running rough shod over operational decisions of the IPKF, the IPKF was able to deliver on the objectives. It was a body blow to the LTTE and they unleashed a propaganda of falsehood and canards to besmirch the work of IPKF. Unfortunately, the were buyers to this propaganda were the chauvinistic leaders of Tamil Nadu.

The badly wounded LTTE swore then to take revenge on Rajiv Gandhi. The rest is tragic history. The political scenario that changed in Delhi also brought to power V.P.

Singh, whose regime is probably the most damaging one India has ever had in terms of National Security. His ally, Kurananidhi, by his acts of omission and commission ensured the re-emergence of the LTTE. Once the LTTE was given a life-line, the war continued for more than a decade and half which cost thousands of lives.

It is in this context, that the political leadership of India forgot IPKF. No one wanted to associate with, or recognize, the IPKF for its stupendous efforts. After the tragic loss of Rajiv Gandhi , even the Congress regimes that came to power did not give their due respect to the men who lost their lives in one of the most challenging military engagements by India, since the Bangladesh Liberation.

Even the NDA regime of Atalji forgot these brave men who gave up their lives for the cause of peace and reconciliation in a neighboring land. That is why, the step of PM Narendra Modi is a welcome one. It will be a poignant moment when he lays a wreath to their memorial in Sri Lanka.

Indian government and indeed the Indian public at large do not have a strong legacy of recognizing the brave martyrs of their Armed Forces be it to the thousands who gave their lives in distant lands in the two World Wars or in the many wars that we as a nation had to face post independence. I am sure of one thing, that my now middle aged friend, would surely say a Thank You to PM Modi when he lays that wreath in the memory of the young lads who he had led in battle and had the honour to give their lives in the cause of peace. I hope that by this single act, the Government of India and the people of India will bring a bit of solace to the brave soldiers who served the IPKF.

They deserve the honour and respect that has long been denied to them. On the larger context of the visit, I also hope that this visit will bring solace, support and closure to the Tamil people of Sri Lanka and bring about a national reconciliation that has long eluded their beautiful but tragic land. If the visit reaffirms that faith among both sides in Sri Lanka that India is their closest and best well-wisher, it will be a lasting tribute to the sacrifice made by the IPKF.

It is an opportunity that comes rarely in Indo-Sri Lankan history; an opportunity to break from the past and usher in an era of peace in Sri Lanka. An economically resurgent northern and eastern Sri Lanka with close economic, political and security ties will be in the abiding national interests of both countries. PM Modi, I am sure, will articulate the vision of possibilities and I do hope that the southern states in India, especially Tamil Nadu, lead in bringing about peace to the war torn and weary Tamils of Sri Lanka.

They deserve no less.

That will be the abiding tribute to the IPKF.

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Finally The Bugle Calls For The Fallen Heroes

http://www.youtube.com/v/xtJ_hvS709A?version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata “From Dereham, for the last time, by the centre, quick march!”

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The Light Dragoons Farewell Parade, Dereham, 16 April 2015

Capt Peter Singlehurst RE Captain Peter Singlehurst is from the Media Operations Group (Volunteers) (MOG(V)) and is currently serving as the Media and Ops Info Officer with 17 Port and Maritime Group in Cyprus . In this first post I will introduce you to the Unit and what we are doing here . In future I will report on some of the activities of this peacekeeping tour that is so very different from the majority of the Army s recent experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq .

Welcome to Cyprus ! In this blog I intend to share the experiences of 17 Port and Maritime Group s tour in Nicosia, Cyprus, as part of the UN Peacekeeping mission on the island . The British Army s contribution to the UNITED NATIONS FORCE IN CYPRUS (UNFICYP) is now the longest continuous operation for the British Army .

We have been here since 1964, which of course means many have heard of it and have seen the medal that goes with the tour, but what do we do and why are we here ? Well, it is not Afghanistan and it is not Iraq and nobody is being shot at and, yes, in some quarters the tour is known as a sun bathing tour . That said this is a real tour that has its own challenges and the reasons that nobody is shooting at anybody is thanks to the UN in Cyprus and those who came before us in the past .

They were the ones who managed to stop the fighting and who have slowly but surely de-escalated the situation and kept the peace . We now, as a result, are able to patrol and negotiate unarmed between two armed forces who look out at each other 24 hours a day . Outside the Regimental Headquarters is the memorial to the 28 Canadian Peacekeepers who lost their lives on this tour that reminds us of those who went before .

Bike Patrol Sector 2 City Rorke s Drift, Pte Billy Brook (l) Cfn James Morley (r) 17 Port and Maritime Regt RLC North and South So now the situation is that two armed forces face each other across a buffer zone and in between we, 17 P&M Group, as UN Peacekeepers, patrol and seek to maintain the status quo so that the UN can work with the political leadership in the North and South of the island to find a political solution to the Cyprus question . To maintain the status quo we therefore have to monitor the two sides positions and ensure that they are manned at the agreed levels, that no positions are enhanced, and that neither side encroaches into the Buffer Zone . To do this takes a keen eye and a level head .

And who is doing this challenging work ? In the main, it s patrols of two soldiers, made up of Privates and Lance Corporals .

17 Port and Maritime Group is formed around the Headquarters element and 54 Squadron from 17 Port and Maritime Regiment 1 , Royal Logistic Corps, based at Marchwood and commanded by Lt Col Rob Askew RLC, who is also in command here in Cyprus as well . The Group is augmented by members of the TA in the main drawn from 165 Port Regt RLC (V) 2 , the TA sister regiment of 17 P&M Regt RLC. .

Bookmark the .

References ^ 17 Port and Maritime Regiment (www.army.mod.uk) ^ 165 Port Regt RLC (V) (www.army.mod.uk)

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Life on Op TOSCA in Cyprus

Splitz Dereham

Splitz Dereham

Members of the “Light Dragoons” along with friends and family of the regiment frequently visit the nightclub and service personnel of the regiment are surprised by the local authorities’ decision to close the venue on grounds of drunkenness and drug abuse. Support for the venue from the service personnel of Robinson Barracks is wide ranging and include surprise by the local constabulary’s attitude towards the venue, saying that it shows comparable violence to other clubs of similar size.

Although the entire regiment was banned from using the venue last year for over eight months after a serious assault involving members of the Light Dragoons in Quebec Street and due to violent behavior towards local residents and issues over drunken incidents with police from the younger members stationed at Robinson Barracks these however have now been resolved. 

Michelle Lindsay Menzies

Michelle Lindsay Menzies

Ms. Michelle Lindsay Menzies the current DPS “Designated Premises Supervisor” since March 2012 and solely responsible for the venue and security, including the safety of its customers, attacks the police decision in a statement, responding to the police claims saying the standards are “of a very high level” and that she believes the review of the license is to “suit the police shift patterns, staffing issues and budget restrictions”.

She also said: “Any undue restrictions upon our trading hours I believe, as do other business owners, would bring catastrophic consequences to my business and others as clubbers would seek to leave Dereham for other venues.”

In describing the incidents of assault as “ugly”, Ms Menzies said she believes there are “peaks and troughs” in any business and added that Splitz is leading the way to address the issues raised.

It is believed that the present club management lacks direction in resolving its current situation and that Ms. Menzies, from the concerns of the local authorities shows a lackluster attitude to addressing any concerns of customer safety at the premises due to her inexperience and naivety, with little or no understanding to the clubs requirement within the 2003 licensing act. It has also been remarked by customers of the venue that Ms. Menzies can frequently be seen partying and drinking with friends leaving the venue to be run by unqualified members of staff.

Police have said that despite reassurances from Ms. Menzies and management at the club, they believe there is a “lack of desire and consistency” to make sure measures are put in to place to stop the frequency of criminality.

Police first made contact with management at Splitz in December 2010, and said since then they have had concerns about the way in which the club is run.

The application, which was written on behalf of the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, said: “It would seem that there is either not the willingness by staff to deal with potential trouble makers, or a failure to intervene early enough, or to spot when persons are displaying signs of drunkeness or agitation that then develop into violent altercations.”

Police say the club has the highest level of required police attendance in the town, with incidents such as assault resulting in a broken jaw, door staff being bitten and a police officer being punched.

The application stressed that a “continuance of such behaviour should not be tolerated”, and suggested the committee suspend the license for three months so that amendments can me made and implemented.

These include a new closing hour of 2.15am, more intensive security staff at the venue, no re-entry to the club after 1am, a CCTV system be fitted which meets the industry standard and a radio system between staff.

The meeting will be in the Anglia Room at Breckland Council in Dereham on May 9 at 9.30am.

Splitz DerehamLight Dragoons night spot to close following police action due to major drunkenness and violent behavior. Splitz nightclub based in Dereham and frequented by members of the Light Dragoons is due for closure, if the authorities are granted their proposed requirements to enforce the 2003 licensing act.  Police have asked that the business be closed for three months after local authorities condemned the venue for its level of violence and drunkenness – deeming it a “high risk” to the community.

Members of the local regiment “Light Dragoons” frequently visit the nightclub and service personnel of the regiment are surprised by the local authorities’ decision to close the venue on grounds of drunkenness and drug abuse saying the premises have always had a reputation for being “on the lively side during the nights” that’s why we like it.

Last year the whole regiment was banned from using the venue by the base command for over six months due to inappropriate behavior by army personnel, follow several incidents of assault involving the Light Dragoons on members of the local community.  

Norfolk Police have asked Breckland Council’s licensing sub-committee to review and consider temporarily suspending the license for Splitz, on Quebec Street at their meeting next month.

The police said in their application for the review that the venue has an “unacceptable” level of drunkenness inside which transpires into regular assaults and anti-social behavior both inside and in the surrounding area.

The club, which is run by Michelle Menzies, opens until 2am in the week, 4am on Friday and Saturday night, and at the back of the venue there is a complex for elderly people, as well as residential property in the area.

Police have said that despite reassurances from Ms Menzies and management at the club, they believe there is a “lack of desire and consistency” to make sure measures are put in to place to stop the frequency of criminality.

Michelle Menzies

Michelle Menzies

Ms Menzies responded to the police claims saying the standards are “of a very high level” and that she believes the review of the license is to “suit the police shift patterns, staffing issues and budget restrictions”.

She said: “Any undue restrictions upon our trading hours I believe, as do other business owners, would bring catastrophic consequences to my business and others as clubbers would seek to leave Dereham for other venues.”

In describing the incidents of assault as “ugly”, Ms Menzies said she believes there are “peaks and troughs” in any business and added that Splitz is leading the way to address the issues raised

15 local businesses have written to Breckland Council expressing their concern about the license review, believing it would drive business out of the town.

Police first made contact with management at Splitz in December 2010, and said since then they have had concerns about the way in which the club is run.

The application, which was written on behalf of the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, said: “It would seem that there is either not the willingness by staff to deal with potential trouble makers, or a failure to intervene early enough, or to spot when persons are displaying signs of drunkeness or agitation that then develop into violent altercations.”

Police say the club has the highest level of required police attendance in the town, with incidents such as assault resulting in a broken jaw, door staff being bitten and a police officer being punched.

The application stressed that a “continuance of such behaviour should not be tolerated”, and suggested the committee suspend the license for three months so that amendments can me made and implemented.

These include a new closing hour of 2.15am, more intensive security staff at the venue, no re-entry to the club after 1am, a CCTV system be fitted which meets the industry standard and a radio system between staff.

The meeting will be in the Anglia Room at Breckland Council in Dereham on May 9 at 9.30am.

splitz-derehamSplitz nightclub based in Dereham and frequented by members of the Light Dragoons is due for closure, if the authorities are granted their proposed requirements to enforce the 2003 licensing act.  Police have asked that the business be closed for three months after local authorities condemned the venue for its level of violence and drunkenness – deeming it a “high risk” to the community.

Members of the local regiment “Light Dragoons” frequently visit the nightclub and service personnel of the regiment are surprised by the local authorities’ decision to close the venue on grounds of drunkenness and drug abuse saying the premises have always had a reputation for being “on the lively side during the nights” that’s why we like it.

Last year the whole regiment was banned from using the venue by the base command for over six months due to inappropriate behavior by army personnel, follow several incidents of assault involving the Light Dragoons on members of the local community.

Norfolk Police have asked Breckland Council’s licensing sub-committee to review and consider temporarily suspending the license for Splitz, on Quebec Street at their meeting next month.

The police said in their application for the review that the venue has an “unacceptable” level of drunkenness inside which transpires into regular assaults and anti-social behaviour both inside and in the surrounding area.

The club, which is run by Michelle Menzies, opens until 2am in the week, 4am on Friday and Saturday night, and at the back of the venue there is a complex for elderly people, as well as residential property in the area.

Police have said that despite reassurances from Ms Menzies and management at the club, they believe there is a “lack of desire and consistency” to make sure measures are put in to place to stop the frequency of criminality.

michelle_menziesMs Menzies responded to the police claims saying the standards are “of a very high level” and that she believes the review of the license is to “suit the police shift patterns, staffing issues and budget restrictions”.

She said: “Any undue restrictions upon our trading hours I believe, as do other business owners, would bring catastrophic consequences to my business and others as clubbers would seek to leave Dereham for other venues.”

In describing the incidents of assault as “ugly”, Ms Menzies said she believes there are “peaks and troughs” in any business and added that Splitz is leading the way to address the issues raised

15 local businesses have written to Breckland Council expressing their concern about the license review, believing it would drive business out of the town.

Police first made contact with management at Splitz in December 2010, and said since then they have had concerns about the way in which the club is run.

The application, which was written on behalf of the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, said: “It would seem that there is either not the willingness by staff to deal with potential trouble makers, or a failure to intervene early enough, or to spot when persons are displaying signs of drunkeness or agitation that then develop into violent altercations.”

Police say the club has the highest level of required police attendance in the town, with incidents such as assault resulting in a broken jaw, door staff being bitten and a police officer being punched.

The application stressed that a “continuance of such behaviour should not be tolerated”, and suggested the committee suspend the license for three months so that amendments can me made and implemented.

These include a new closing hour of 2.15am, more intensive security staff at the venue, no re-entry to the club after 1am, a CCTV system be fitted which meets the industry standard and a radio system between staff.

The meeting will be in the Anglia Room at Breckland Council in Dereham on May 9 at 9.30am.

 

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This is not a joke . I take military humor very seriously . I grew up on a diet of military cartoons and humor .

In the 1970s, I read Bob Stevens’ “There I was …” comics, which were located on the last pages of my father’s issues of Air Force Magazine…( Red Bull Rising 3 ) Duffleblog got me for about 30 seconds, should have known better… ( Reddit 4 ) Military working cat program underway at ‘The Old Guard’ . JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (April 1, 2013) — The 3d U.S . Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), is doing its part to cut down on military spending with the implementation of a new cutting edge program which will use military working cats to work alongside military police…( The United States Army 5 ) CPJ launches Somali Security Guide .

Last week, two gunmen waited near the home of a young Somali journalist, Rahmo Abdulkadir, who had recently returned to the capital from the Galgadud district in central Somalia where she worked as a reporter for Radio Abudwaq (Worshipper) . According to local journalists, 25-year-old Rahmo had just left an Internet caf in Mogadishu around 9:30 p.m . on March 24 with a friend when she was shot and killed .

Her companion was not harmed…( CPJ 6 ) South Korean museum includes Duluth native s war story . The story of a young Duluth native killed in the opening days of the Korean War will be part of a memorial museum opening next month in South Korea . U.S .

Army Cpl . Paul Larson, 19, died on July 5, 1950, during the Battle of Osan the first engagement between United Nations and North Korean forces . Larson was one of the first of more than 36,500 Americans killed in the war…( Grand Folks Herald 7 ) Army veteran sparks outrage by tattooing his dog and publishing picture on Facebook .

An army veteran has sparked outrage after tattooing his dog and publishing the results on his Facebook page . Ernesto Rodriguez tattooed his 5-month-old purebred American Pit Bull at his tattoo parlour last week . Mr Rodriguez inked the dog s name, Duchess, and an emblem representing her bloodline on his pet s stomach…( Metro News 8 ) Brown Moses: the British blogger tracking Syrian arms .

A British blogger has been monitoring weapons used in the Syrian conflict, providing important analysis of the conflict for human rights groups – while working from his Leicester home…( Channel 4 News 9 ) 2 Add comment 10 | 0 trackbacks 11 | permalink 12 | Discussion 13 | Digg this 14 | Add to del.icio.us 15 U.S . Army surpasses 1.75 million likes Sunday, March 31, 2013, 09:57 PM – Facebook 16 In February, the United States Marine Corps reached 2.9 million likes on Facebook and the page should be the first military branch to reach 3 million likes . But the Marines aren t the only service making waves .

Last week, the U.S . Army topped 1.75 million likes 17 . The daily growth of the page is nearly 900 new likes, on average .

In the past week alone, the page added 5,852 likes . In terms of where the U.S . Army appears on leader boards, here’s the latest as of today: 6th – Top pages by total likes (Government organization)26th – Fastest growing pages today (Government organization)27th – Fastest growing pages this week (Government organization)49th – Fastest growing talked about pages this week (Government organization)13th – Most talked about pages (Government organization) Metrics courtesy of PageData 18 .

Add comment 19 | 0 trackbacks 20 | permalink 21 | Discussion 22 | Digg this 23 | Add to del.icio.us 24 Vet who boasted on Facebook of Syria, arrested Saturday, March 30, 2013, 01:54 AM – Facebook 25 I’ve been writing about Eric Harroun, the 30-year old Army veteran who was fighting in Syria, since February, after viewing a YouTube video that showed an unknown American at the time, sitting in a Jeep next to a rebel fighter . The story took a twist when Mail Online reported that Harroun had joined the al Qaeda-linked group Jabhat al-Nusra . Al-Nusra was designated by the US government as a terrorist organization in late 2012 .

26 I covered the story because of the social media aspect — Harroun had been using Facebook to boast about his exploits . Facebook was among many communication tools Harroun used . The story took an even bigger turn twist when AOL Defense 27 ran a story reporting that a Pro-Assad Group was claiming Harroun was killed .

Harroun messaged the reporter saying, “”Lol I was reported Dead ! Show me the link . I never joined Al Nusra !! !

I am FSA get it right.” Well, here’s the latest as of this week: The AP is reporting that Harroun has now been charged with fighting with al-Qaida in Syria . Eric Harroun, 30, of Phoenix, was charged in U.S . District Court in Alexandria with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction specifically, a rocket propelled grenade launcher outside the U.S .

According to an FBI affidavit, Harroun, who served three years in the Army before being medically discharged, was engaged in military action in Syria, siding with rebel forces against the Syrian government, from January to March of this year . Read more over at the WashPo 28 . Add comment 29 | 0 trackbacks 30 | permalink 31 | Discussion 32 | Digg this 33 | Add to del.icio.us 34 Round-up of military social media stories Saturday, March 30, 2013, 01:52 AM – News Stories 35 There s been a lot of news stories in the past week having to do with the military and social media .

Here are a handful of them, including a Twitter Easter Egg hunt being conducted by Army Athletics . The Afghan Taliban’s Internet Media Empire Hosted In Malaysia, Singapore, America . The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s shadow government in the country, operates a network of websites and social media accounts to connect with potential jihadists, report the Taliban activities in Afghanistan, and advance the cause of global jihad by means of audio, video text and PDF documents.( Right Side News ) Army To Conduct Easter Egg Hunt On Twitter .

The Army Athletic Association will conduct an Easter egg hunt during the Army baseball team’s doubleheader versus Navy on Easter Sunday (March 31) beginning at 12 p.m . The hunt, which will run throughout the first game of the doubleheader, will be administered exclusively through Army Athletics’ official Twitter handle (@ArmyAthletics).( Army Black Knights ) Veteran’s heartwarming note to soldier’s girlfriend goes viral . The note left for a soldier’s girlfriend on her windshield from a veteran is going viral on social media .

Samantha Ford posted a picture of the note that contained two $20 bills on a Facebook page Sunday.( WAFF-TV ) Israeli Soldier’s Facebook Post: “There’s Nothing Better Than a Dead Arab” . On Tuesday, the Israeli online newspaper Haaretz reported an incidence of racism by an Israeli Defense Force soldier via social media . The soldier posted from his Facebook account, There s nothing better than a dead Arab, perpetuating the idea that the conflict is deeply rooted in hate rather than working toward peace.( policymic 39 ) Instagram is becoming an online hangout for terrorists .

Be careful on your next Instagram exploration you might find yourself exposed to graphic photos depicting terrorist activity . The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) an independent, non-profit organization released a report recently alerting that Instagram is home to a tremendous increase of use by online jihadis. ( Digital Trends 40 ) Hunt for bogus war heroes uncovers thousands of hoaxers . During the past decade, some 4,000 men have been exposed while posing as combat warriors to fool women, scam federal benefits and reap undeserved praise .

But the latest fake veteran to be uncloaked and convicted will carry an unofficial military rank to prison: “Captain Obvious.”( WRCBtv 41 ) In his living room, blogger traces arms trafficking to Syria . Elliot Higgins has never been to Syria . He has no friends and family there .

Nor does he have any military experience or background in weapons analysis . But when he lost his job last year, he used the extra hours to indulge an interest in current events, particularly the Arab Spring.( CNN 42 ) Jihadi Web Forums Are Losing Members to Twitter, Facebook, Death . Social media is killing the websites where terrorists and terrorist wannabes talk shop .

That is, when wars aren t killing them . That s the claim made by jihadi ideologue Abu Sa d al- Amili in a recent essay circulating online.( Danger Room 43 ) 36 37 38 Add comment 44 | 0 trackbacks 45 | permalink 46 | Discussion 47 | Digg this 48 | Add to del.icio.us 49 How many “Likes” will photo for soldier get ? Friday, March 29, 2013, 06:25 AM – Facebook 50 Image via Facebook This is a neat story 51 about how an Army wife, Tina Ognibene, is using Facebook to help celebrate the upcoming 50 th birthday of her husband, Staff Sgt .

John Ognibene . On March 25, Tina Ognibene posted a photo of herself to the Facebook page of the Collier County Sheriff s Office (CCSO) . According to the message posted on Facebook 52 , Staff Sgt .

Ognibene is part of the CCSO family and Tina is a jail technician . In the photo (pictured above), Tina is holding a sign that says, How many likes can we get for Army Staff Sgt . John Ognibene’s 50th birthday? (deployed in Afghanistan) As of this very moment, the photo has been liked over 2,000 times .

Here s a look at the message that accompanies the photo: Help CCSO Show Staff Sgt . John Ognibene Some 50th Birthday Love ! Please join the Collier County Sheriff s Office in wishing a happy 50th birthday to Army Staff Sgt .

John Ognibene, who will be celebrating this milestone April 7 in Afghanistan . Staff Sgt . Ognibene is part of the CCSO family .

His wife Tina is a jail technician and has been with the agency since 2004 . Help us see how many likes, shares, and comments we can collect on this photo in honor of his birthday and in appreciation of his service . Also, if you would like to send a birthday card to Staff Sgt .

Ognibene, his address is: SSG Ognibene, John320th MP COFOB WaltonAPO, AE 09367 Staff Sgt . Ognibene moved to Naples in 1967 and is a Lely High School graduate . He served three years in the U.S .

Army and one year in the Army National Guard after graduating high school in 1981 . While he enjoyed his life as a civilian after leaving the military, he missed serving his country . In 2005, with Tina s blessing, he joined the U.S .

Army Reserve . In 2006/2007 he served his first six-month deployment to Afghanistan . His second six-month deployment followed in 2007/2008 .

After his return from that deployment his unit, the 723rd Maintenance Support Co (A), was closed and he was assigned to the 320th MP CO about four months before that unit returned from its deployment . In October 2012 he was called to active duty again . First he spent time training in Fort Bliss, Texas .

On Dec .

23 his unit left again for Afghanistan . This time the deployment is expected to last a year . Tina Ognibene is a native of Germany, and all of her family members live there .

She considers her CCSO friends to be her local family . Agency members have donated 58 pounds worth of items that she has mailed to her husband s unit while he has been deployed . Another 4 pounds are ready to be shipped .

The items include lip balm, bug repellant, wipes, small toiletries . and candy . Tina told a reporter for WFTX-TV, “He found out about the posting on Facebook within the hour and at first he was shocked and now he’s laughing bout it, it makes him smile all day long.” More on the story here 53 .

Add comment 54 | 0 trackbacks 55 | permalink 56 | Discussion 57 | Digg this 58 | Add to del.icio.us 59 News: The military’s top photographers of 2012 Thursday, March 28, 2013, 04:34 AM – News Stories 60 10 Stunning Pictures from the Military s Top Photographers of 2012 . The military s Defense Information School named its top photographers of the 2012 and published some of their stunning work late last week . Air Force Master Sgt .

Jeremy T . Lock with the Defense Media Activity was named the 2012 Military Photographer of the Year, which is his seventh time receiving the honor . Here is a look at a couple pieces of his work…( TheBlaze.com ) Guest column: Social media and the military ?

Is there a place for social media in combat ? Facebook, Skype, Viber and texting are a few of the new psyche-defining influences on the spontaneous thinking and decision-making capabilities of our youth and future soldiers . Do you see a young people anymore without a cellphone in their hands or earbuds in their ears ?

This is a cultural and ego-defining new paradigm…( Naples Daily News 62 ) Visiting Somali journalist shot dead in Mogadishu . Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who was shot dead on Sunday evening in Mogadishu, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today . Two unidentified gunmen shot Rahmo Abdulkadir five times as she was walking to a relative’s house near Bacaad Market in Yaaqhiid District of Mogadishu, news reports said .

Local journalists said the gunmen fled the scene before police arrived . News accounts reported that Rahmo’s unidentified female companion was unharmed…( CPJ 63 ) Social platform promotes Soldier networking . Moving around with the Army can make a Soldier feel they are living a nomadic life without any personal attachments that can help keep them grounded to their career and their fellow Soldiers…( The Redstone Rocket 64 ) Anti-Semitic Tweets Posted on BBC Twitter by Syrian Electronic Army .

Fake “political, anti-Semitic and comical” tweets were posted by hackers on “several BBC Twitter accounts’ last week, the Associated Press reported . Hacking group the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the hack and for posting the tweets which the BBC characterized as “unacceptable,” according to the AP . One of the tweets posted was “Long Live Syria Al-Assad.”( iMediaEthics 65 ) War of the words – Afghanistan’s information battle .

The Kandahar Media and Information Centre started in 2010 has helped swing public opinion towards the government but with the 2014 deadline for the transition of all security to the Afghan forces fast approaching and the presidential election in the same year, the information war in Afghanistan remains tightly contested and the battle for public opinion is now at its most critical…( YouTube 66 ) Syria conflict: interactive photo map . Every day, in virtually every part of the country, Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and staff are risking their lives to get aid to the most vulnerable Syrians whatever side of the conflict they are on . To ensure that they are reaching anyone who needs help, volunteers must negotiate their way through checkpoints, down roads fought over by armed groups .

While this map cannot show all the places the Red Crescent is helping, it can give an idea of the lifesaving work taking place across the country…( British Red Cross blog 67 ) 61 Add comment 68 | 0 trackbacks 69 | permalink 70 | Discussion 71 | Digg this 72 | Add to del.icio.us 73 Army wives Facebook group got vile and nasty Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 03:51 PM – Facebook 74 Image of The Cage via Ninemsn / Source: Facebook Several Australian news sites are running a story about an Australian Army wives Facebook group called The Cage that apparently got pretty ugly and pretty nasty . Comments in the secret group are described as disgusting and vile . Ninemsn 75 wrote, The posts reveal Cage members using words such as “skank” and “moron” to describe other women as they harass and belittle them .

NT News, which first broke the story, titled their first article Cage of Horrors Online 76 . According to NT News, the group of 280 members was revealed, after one of the Army wives who was so disgusted by the actions of others in the group, launched another page called Cage Uncovered that displayed screen shots of the shocking posts . One comment for example reads, “She needs to engage her brain-finger-Facebook filter .

Each time she types one of her many questions she needs to step back from the keyboard, re read it and think ‘do I sound like a f-head’ (answer always is yes in her case) and refrain from posting . A follow-up story by NT News 77 yesterday reports that The Cage has now gone offline . One wife who defended the group, told NT News, “(The comments were made) in the heat of the moment in the private group – all these posts have been taken out of a private group “We’re not slandering people in a public forum.” Honestly, unless I was an MMA fighter or a fisherman, I probably wouldn t be joining a group called The Cage for support .

But that s me . Read the latest here 78 . Add comment 79 | 0 trackbacks 80 | permalink 81 | Discussion 82 | Digg this 83 | Add to del.icio.us 84 Boonie’s Haiku Contest Winners Announced Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 10:56 PM Last month, Charlie Sherpa, the editor of the Red Bull Rising blog, announced the ” Boonie’s Haiku Contest ,” a light-hearted poetry competition commemorating the experiences of both military and civilian personnel downrange regardless of era .

The winners have been announced 86 after receiving more than 50 entries . First place went to Mariecor Ruediger who wrote: One bare Hu treeShields a tower position;Home is far away . Second place went to John Mittle: From dusk until dawnfighting from my cozy desk,Bronze Star on the way .

Third place went to Joseph Davidovski: Sandstorm blocks out sunBirds, vics, talibs stay quietStill the slides march on For more information on all the winners and details on the contest, visit Red Bull Rising 87 .

85 Add comment 88 | 0 trackbacks 89 | permalink 90 | Discussion 91 | Digg this 92 | Add to del.icio.us 93 News: Syrian Rebel leader resigns via Facebook Monday, March 25, 2013, 11:59 PM – News Stories 94 Syria: Rebel leader resigns on Facebook over lack of help . Syria s opposition leader has quit, blaming the international community for not doing enough to stop two years of bloodshed in the war-torn country . Mouaz al-Khatib said he was fulfilling a promise to resign if certain undefined red lines were crossed .

His decision came after EU foreign ministers failed to resolve their differences over whether to exempt rebels from an arms embargo . Announcing the decision on his Facebook page, Mr Khatib said: I am keeping my promise and resigning from the National Coalition so that I can work with a freedom not available inside official institutions… ( Metro News ) Social Media Jihad: Tunisian ‘martyrs’ in Syria . Tunisia has long exported jihadists .

During the 1990s, Tunisians made their way to al Qaeda and affiliated camps in Afghanistan . During the peak of the Iraq War, Tunisia and Libya made North Africa a deep pool for al Qaeda’s recruitment efforts . And with the Syrian war raging on, the subject of Tunisians waging jihad abroad has become a hot topic once again…( Long War Journal 96 ) Let Me Tweet That For You site raises concerns for journalists .

This tweet looks pretty real, doesn t it ? It s not, though . I faked that tweet using a Web service named Let Me Tweet That For You .

It s pretty simple you type in a Twitter username and a message, and it generates a realistic-looking image of a tweet from that person . It even adds fake retweet and favorite counts to lend some more credibility…( Poynter .

97 ) True war story highlights WWII Extravaganza . In the frigid winter months of early 1945, PFC Joseph Badamo was on the slopes of Monte Belvedere in Northern Italy fighting the Nazis .

The 18-year-old had just arrived in the country with Company B of the 86th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division, and already found himself in heated combat…( YumaSun ) 98 95 World War II crash site found during wildfire tells story of a fateful day . Forest Service Capt . Tim Ritchey and his crew stumbled across the wreckage on a fire-swept night shortly before 2 a.m .

Ritchey and his crew were on a mission to stop the Stafford wildland fire from consuming the community of Hayfork last September . The dark, steep terrain, illuminated by flames, did not stop Ritchey from scouting through the brush . There he saw an item that didn t fit with the landscape, then another .

A veteran of the U.S . Air Force, Ritchey recognized the items as parts of an aircraft . The roar of exploding ammunition stopped Ritchey from advancing .

These parts were not from any aircraft, but a military one…( Redding 99 ) Add comment 100 | 0 trackbacks 101 | permalink 102 | Discussion 103 | Digg this 104 | Add to del.icio.us 105 Army Strong Stories featured on BuzzFeed Sunday, March 24, 2013, 07:14 AM – News Stories 106 Army Strong Stories , the U.S . Army s official Soldier blog, was recently featured on BuzzFeed, a site best known for curating viral content from around the web . The story called “How The Military Is Controlling Online Speech – By Embracing It”, appeared in the FWD section 108 , the site s tech vertical .

It s not your typical story . Here s what Justine Sharrock wrote: As part of a new recruitment program, the Army is asking soldiers to post about their personal experiences in the military on Army Strong Stories, an official Department of Defense website . Since the site was founded in 2008, most of the posts have been positive .

But not all; some recent posts have been scorchingly angry . This, it turns out, is part of the plan . Modern potential recruits, the thinking goes, have powerful bullshit detectors .

The internet and social media has given them a clear, largely uncensored view of war and life in the military, making traditional recruitment advertising seem inauthentic. “We really do believe in an open and honest forum about Army life,” an Army spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “We want you to tell the true story . That’s the power behind the platform . Without the negative it wouldn’t be credible.” But “honest” isn’t the same thing as uncensored when it comes to an Army-run website .

While the organization appears to be giving an unvarnished view of Army life, its own regulations are encouraging soldiers to self-censor . Read the full BuzzFeed article here 109 . Learn more about Army Strong Stories at: http://armystrongstories.com/ 110 107 Add comment 111 | 0 trackbacks 112 | permalink 113 | Discussion 114 | Digg this 115 | Add to del.icio.us 116 24 hours in the Air Force: Photo Project Saturday, March 23, 2013, 04:47 AM Image of F-35 via Facebook.com / Source: US Air Force The Air Force has announced a photo project called ” 24 Hours in the Air Force 117 ” which will help show all that happens within a single day .

Are you a chef in the dining facility who prepares the midnight meal ? Are you a security forces member who guards the gate at all hours ? Are you a medical technician who works the swing shift in the hospital ?

Have you ever wanted to show the world exactly what goes on during your Air Force workday ? Here s your chance . Help us document your Air Force story .

The work day selected is March 29, 2013 . The idea is for participants to take a photo of what’s going on where they work at a specific hour . According to the announcement, the photos will then be compiled into an album and shared in April at various work locations, as well as online via the Air Force’s social media sites .

If you want to share what you do, you’re instructed to send your name, location and career field to 24hoursintheAirForce@gmail.com 118 to get your place on the clock . More information here 119 . Add comment 120 | 0 trackbacks 121 | permalink 122 | Discussion 123 | Digg this 124 | Add to del.icio.us 125 The Duffel Blog does interview, hints at book Friday, March 22, 2013, 04:33 AM – Milbloggers in the News 126 Photo via Marine Corps Times / Source: Paul Szoldra Andy Kravetz with the Peoria Journal Star 127 did an email interview with Paul Szoldra 128 , the founder of the military parody site ” The Duffel Blog 129 ” .

Kravetz asked Szoldra questions about his military service, what inspired him to do a parody site, and how he generates content for the website . When Kravetz mentioned that the site has been perceived to be real news and what type of reception it had received from the troops, Szoldra responded: We ve fooled a great number of people, and while it s often funny to me to see people commenting and thinking a story is real, more often than not I m shocked that there are so many people that will simply believe whatever is written on the internet . I mean, seriously, what happened to critical thinking, skepticism, and a little bit of research ?

For those that do understand what The Duffel Blog is all about, they love us . We always get a ton of comments of praise from fans, emails, story ideas, and shares from military-related Facebook pages . I think, however, that the best comments I receive come from troops with PTSD, who have said that the website helps them to laugh a little and in a small way, gives them a way to cope with their experiences .

That s amazing to me and I m so lucky that I can at least do this one thing to support my fellow military members . It s not a lengthy interview, but if you re a fan of The Duffel Blog it s worth the read . At the end of the article, Szoldra offers up a hint of what s to come when Kravetz asks him if he has anything else to share .

Szoldra writes, We re looking into writing a book sometime soon, and it s going to be fantastic . But can t offer much more detail than that . Read the full interview here 130 .

Add comment 131 | 0 trackbacks 132 | permalink 133 | Discussion 134 | Digg this 135 | Add to del.icio.us 136 Syrian Electronic Army hacks BBC Twitter accounts Friday, March 22, 2013, 03:48 AM – News Stories 137 Three BBC Twitter accounts have been hijacked by the Syrian Electronic Army . First it was Burger King, then it was Jeep and the AFP, now the BBC is the latest Twitter hack victim in recent weeks . BBC Weather started tweeting some pretty odd and uncharacteristic messages around 1pm GMT today, coming from the Syrian Electronic Army …( The Next Web ) Veterans write and share their war stories at CFCC .

From war to the written word, veterans are sharing their stories at Cape Fear Community College . It’s part of a program called “StoryForce.” The six-week writing seminar for students encouraged military veterans to write about their experience serving their country and returning home from war . At an event at the college Wednesday night, the veterans read what they wrote to their peers…( WECT 139 ) Journalists attacked in Egypt over the weekend .

At least 14 journalists were attacked by police and supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group outside the group’s headquarters in Cairo on Saturday and Sunday, according to news reports and local journalists. “The attackers want to prevent the public from getting a full picture of the country’s political discontent by trying to silence the journalists witnessing these protests,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “We call on the Egyptian authorities to fully investigate these deplorable assaults and hold everyone, including police officers, accountable under the law…”( CPJ 140 ) The End of War Stories . I can t remember the last time I told a real war story the kind you recount with waving arms and an animated voice, impersonating friends you haven t talked to in years . The kind you really get into .

I realized about a year ago that, at some point, I got out of the business of telling stories . It wasn t deliberate . They just sort of dried up…( At War 141 ) World War II POW s story moves reader .

It was a privilege to meet and hear Lt . Col . Irv Baum (retired) speak recently in Napa about his World War II experiences as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III and Stalag IX .

It was hard to believe he and his crewmen were only 19 years old when they went to the aid of England and the occupied European countries . Those were grim times indeed…( Napa Valley Register 142 ) US Defense spokesman says DoD not dumping BlackBerry . A US Department of Defense spokesman on Thursday said a report suggesting the defense agency is dumping BlackBerry devices was inaccurate, and that BlackBerry is still part of ongoing DoD mobile device deployment plans .

The spokesman contradicted a report in Electronista that cited “well-placed sources” as saying the Defense Department created a pending purchase order for 650,000 Apple iOS devices, including iPhones and tablets . That purchase would replace existing BlackBerry devices that are incompatible with BlackBerry 10, Electronista said…( Computerworld 143 ) War days: Pupils hear true war stories from family . CHILDREN at a Newquay primary school learnt about the Second World War last week and met doll that was almost blown up by the Luftwaffe .

Year 5 pupils at The Bishops’ School invited their grandparents and great grandparents into the classroom to speak about their wartime experiences on Tuesday…( This is Cornwall 144 ) 138 Add comment 145 | 0 trackbacks 146 | permalink 147 | Discussion 148 | Digg this 149 | Add to del.icio.us 150 Dean says Twitter is widespread with terror activity Thursday, March 21, 2013, 11:49 PM – Twitter , News Stories 151 152 Here s another news article to throw into the Twitter freedom of speech debate . It talks about Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who says Twitter lacks any kind of policy when it comes to threatening or hate speech . When Inspire magazine, the English-language Web publication of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, released its latest issue in late February, Cooper said that the way they chose to announce it was through Twitter .

That s not a speech issue, Cooper said, that s a terrorism issue . But even when confronted with allegations that its users are involved in terrorist activity, Twitter has been reluctant to give over the names of its users to law enforcement . In the handful of cases in which Twitter has handed over information, the company has only done so after being compelled by a court order .

When you look at Twitter s policies, their big picture tends to be hands off as they put it, Let the tweets fly, the Berkman Center s Budish said . They want to encourage an open atmosphere for dialogue and the exchange of information . Facebook, by contrast, actively monitors content that its users post .

The company s policy on hate speech is rather brief: You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence . I think this topic will continue to be the subject of a lot of debate . I m all for freedom of speech and think we should be very careful about censoring anybody s message, but I do have a problem when terrorists post death threats and other messages of violence on Twitter .

View full story here 153 . Add comment 154 | 0 trackbacks 155 | permalink 156 | Discussion 157 | Digg this 158 | Add to del.icio.us 159 Iraq War military bloggers featured in news story Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 04:37 AM – Milbloggers in the News 160 With the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq War, ITV News 161 published a story on military blogs called, Modern warfare: The rise of blogging from the battlefield in Iraq : Ten years ago, thousands of coalition soldiers invaded Iraq on a US-led mission to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from the grave danger posed by Saddam Hussein, according to George Bush . Aside from the controversy surrounding the decision to launch the offensive, this war will have a place in history as one of the first to be chronicled through military blogs .

From very early in the conflict, for some US troops the internet became an outlet to share their experiences of life on the frontline . Some started writing to communicate with friends and family or as an alternative to the mainstream media whose reporting they thought to be lacking Several familiar faces from the military blogging community are mentioned in the story including: LT Smash, Mudville Gazette, BlackFive, Kaboom: A Soldier s War Journal, myself, and others . We will likely never know the true numbers of military bloggers from Iraq, but the number here on Milblogging.com reached nearly 500 162 at one point .

Read the full story here 163 . Add comment 164 | 0 trackbacks 165 | permalink 166 | Discussion 167 | Digg this 168 | Add to del.icio.us 169 News: Vets share Iraq war stories 10 yrs later Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 03:49 AM – News Stories 170 Iraq War stories: Veterans share memories, perspectives 10 years later . Robert W .

Philbrook grew up playing war . As a boy, it seemed simple: In games of hide-and-seek, he and his friends sneaked between buildings, guarded their forts” and shot the bad guys before they shot back . Years later, Philbrook enlisted with the California Army National Guard .

He deployed to Iraq a few months after the Sept .

11 attacks and, shortly before he left, a question from his then-6-year-old son Ryan stripped bare the reality of war…( Yahoo ! News ) Could Twitter Have Stopped The Media’s Rush To War In Iraq ? Thinking about the historic failure of the Times and others in the media a decade ago, I couldn’t help wish that Twitter had been around during the winter of 2002-2003 to provide a forum for critics to badger writers like Keller and the legion of Beltway media insiders who abdicated their role as journalists and fell in line behind the Bush White House’s march to war .

I wouldn’t have cared that recipients might have been insulted by the Twitter critiques or seen them as mean and shallow, the way Keller does today . Sorry, but the stakes in 2003 were too high to worry about bruised feelings…( Media Matters for America 172 ) Iraq war and news media: A look inside the death toll . The U.S.-led war in Iraq claimed the lives of a record number of journalists and challenged some commonly held perceptions about the risks of covering conflict .

Far more journalists, for example, were murdered in targeted killings in Iraq than died in combat-related circumstances . Here, on the 10th anniversary of the start of the war, is a look inside the data collected by CPJ . At least 150 journalists and 54 media support workers were killed in Iraq from the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 to the declared end of the war in December 2011, according to CPJ research…( CPJ 173 ) Former embedded reporter, Sam Harper, finds peace after decade of coping with war .

He was sent to the desert to report, not fight . But 10 years after coming home, Sam Harper lives with the jarring images of war . He saw and heard too much and sometimes he can t shake the horror of the body parts, the flies, the stench, the sound of popcorn crackling in the nighttime sky or the numbing sight of a shirtless Iraqi man not quite dead rolling around in the middle of the road as Americans rumbled into Baghdad .

But he didn t go to Iraq to write a documentary on the war . Armed with a laptop, a digital camera and a satellite telephone, his assignment for the Ledger-Enquirer was to write the stories of the 4,000 men and women of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division who were there to do the dirty work of war…( McClatchy 174 ) Infamous Baghdad war correspondent hotel gets makeover . From employees cleaning dust off the faux marble to guards waiting to guide visitors through a metal detector, the 18-storey property s two-year facelift has it talking a big game since it reopened last year .

We are a five-star establishment, hotel manager Fadhel Salman Hassan proudly declares . We have 405 rooms, three bars. ( The Raw Story 175 ) Vt . military college has military author for graduation talk .

A Pulitzer Prize winning author of military histories is going to be in Vermont to speak at the graduation ceremony at Norwich University in Northfield . The school announced Thursday that Rick Atkinson would give the speech at the May 11 commencement…( The Republic 176 ) Historic Duxford: Imperial War Museum Duxford tells the long story of an airfield . Imperial War Museum Duxford is turning the spotlight onto itself for its latest permanent exhibition as it explores the long history of the airfield and the men and women who served there from the First World War to the Cold War .

Historic Duxford features a new history trail allowing people to explore the site and a new exhibition (the first since the 2007 opening of the Airspace hangar) which has been developed in the historic 1930s watch tower with personal objects, stories and interactives explaining the site s changing role…( Culture24 177 ) 171 Add comment 178 | 0 trackbacks 179 | permalink 180 | Discussion 181 | Digg this 182 | Add to del.icio.us 183 Military blogger coedits book on war stories Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 04:24 AM – Bloggers turned Writers 184 It’s been sometime since I’ve written about military blogger Matt Gallagher (aka Kaboom), who published the book Kaboom Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War . If you recall, Gallagher grabbed headlines years ago when his blog was shut down during his tour in Iraq . Well, Gallagher is at again .

Only this time instead of authoring a book, he is coeditor of a new book called Fire and Forget, a collection of stories from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan . Here’s a description of the book: These stories aren’t pretty and they aren’t for the faint of heart . They are realistic, haunting and shocking .

And they are all unforgettable . Television reports, movies, newspapers and blogs about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have offered images of the fighting there . But this collection offers voices–powerful voices, telling the kind of truth that only fiction can offer .

What makes the collection so remarkable is that all of these stories are written by those who were there, or waited for them at home . The anthology, which features a Foreword by National Book Award winner Colum McCann, includes the best voices of the wars’ generation: Brian Turner, whose poem “Hurt Locker” was the movie’s inspiration; Colby Buzzell, whose book My War resonates with countless veterans; Siobhan Fallon, whose book You Know When the Men Are Gone echoes the joy and pain of the spouses left behind; Matt Gallagher, whose book Kaboom captures the hilarity and horror of the modern military experience; and nine others . The book s official website can be found here 185 .

Add comment 186 | 0 trackbacks 187 | permalink 188 | Discussion 189 | Digg this 190 | Add to del.icio.us 191 Army vet with FSA: “Lol I was reported Dead!” Monday, March 18, 2013, 04:36 AM – Facebook , News Stories 192 193 There have been some new developments regarding Eric Harroun, the 30-year old Army veteran who is fighting in Syria alongside rebel fighters . Last week I wrote about Harroun, who was reported by the Daily Mail 194 to have joined the al Qaeda-linked group Jabhat al-Nusra . The group was designated by the United States government as a terrorist organization in December 2012 .

Harroun has been using Facebook to keep people up to date on his life and to boast about his fighting in Syria . On Friday, AOL Defense ran a story reporting that a Pro-Assad Group was claiming Harroun was killed. “A graphic video depicting someone who resembles Eric Harroun, a convert to Sunni Islam who boasted of his Syrian exploits on his Facebook page, was posted on YouTube earlier today with the headline: “Terrorists, including American Extremist ‘Eric Harroun’, Have Been Terminated.” We are not linking to the video because it is so graphic . The video bears the imprimatur of Syria Tube, a pro-government site.” 195 Later in the day, AOL Defense writer Colin Clark received a Facebook message from someone claiming to be Harroun, denying he was dead and that he had joined the FSA, not al-Nusra .

The message read: “Lol I was reported Dead ! Show me the link . I never joined Al Nusra !! !

I am FSA get it right.” The NY Daily News also covered the story and included screen shots from the graphic video posted to YouTube that purported to show Harroun s death .

196 This story has had some twists and turns and I m guessing we re only seeing the start of it . Read more at AOL Defense 197 . Add comment 198 | 0 trackbacks 199 | permalink 200 | Discussion 201 | Digg this 202 | Add to del.icio.us 203 Fan us: Milblogging.com is on Facebook Sunday, March 17, 2013, 12:12 PM – Facebook 204 This news probably isn t as groundbreaking as the discovery of The God Particle , but Milblogging.com is finally on Facebook .

You re probably asking yourself, How did Milblogging go so long without a Facebook page ? I know I know, it s taken a little bit of time (less than 10 years, at least) . Milblogging.com officially launched in 2005, about a year after Facebook launched .

I’ve worked hard over the years to build up the Twitter feed and will start working on the Facebook side-of-the-house . Thanks to everyone who fans us at http://facebook.com/milbloggingdotcom 205 Add comment 206 | 0 trackbacks 207 | permalink 208 | Discussion 209 | Digg this 210 | Add to del.icio.us 211 News: Dead reporter’s daughter meets Marine Sunday, March 17, 2013, 10:32 AM – News Stories 212 Daughter of ITN reporter shot dead in Iraq comes face to face with U.S . Marine who gave order to gun down her father .

For nearly ten years, I had struggled to understand why my dad was shot dead in Iraq and now I was finally going to come face to face with the US Marine who gave orders to fire that terrible day . My incredible, heroic father was Terry Lloyd, ITV News s longest-serving war correspondent, who was killed in March 2003 by an American bullet to the back of his head as he lay wounded in a makeshift ambulance after a firefight…( Daily Mail ) The Indie Journalists At the Center of the Bradley Manning Trial . One reporter had the scoop on the day after the 2012 election, when the lawyer for Bradley Manning, the young Army private accused of leaking more than 500,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, stood up in the courtroom and announced that Manning would be taking responsibility for providing some of the documents…( PBS 214 ) War heros should share their stories .

I have often thought that some of the best stories are the ones that are never told . There are likely many such tales in each one of our family histories, and knowing this makes me wish I could interview the so-called average Joe and spend each day writing someone s life story…( Farm and Dairy 215 ) Iraq war 10 years on: a young artist’s story – video . The film is about a young Iraqi who, during the Iraq war in 2003, lost his arm in an explosion .

He wanted to study photography at college, but was not accepted because he could not carry or use a camera; he then tried the art department, and was admitted…( Guardian 216 ) Underground Dog Fighting in Afghanistan . We went to Kabul in search of illicit gambling rings where men bet on quail fights, buzkashi (like polo, but with a headless goat), and dog fights…( YouTube 217 ) Briefing Books: A Civil War soldier’s story, a novel of Steelers’ female fandom, lush Greek life and more . The Civil War will never exhaust itself as a subject of scholarly investigation .

The best stories are usually journal entries and letters written by ordinary men trying to make sense of their circumstances . New Kensington-based writer and historian Pete Schilling focuses on the experiences of Pvt . William Henry Randall, one of 10 cousins who served in Company K, 161st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment…( Pittsburg Post-Gazette 218 ) War veteran, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ winner shares ‘story of survival’ .

J.R . Martinez spoke at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital Saturday in Jacksonville…( jacksonville.com 219 ) 213 Add comment 220 | 0 trackbacks 221 | permalink 222 | Discussion 223 | Digg this 224 | Add to del.icio.us 225 References ^ View all posts in News Stories category (milblogging.com) ^ KRQE.com (www.youtube.com) ^ Red Bull Rising (www.redbullrising.com) ^ Reddit (www.reddit.com) ^ The United States Army (www.army.mil) ^ CPJ (cpj.org) ^ Grand Folks Herald (www.grandforksherald.com) ^ Metro News (metro.co.uk) ^ Channel 4 News (www.channel4.com) ^ Add comment (milblogging.com) ^ 0 trackbacks (milblogging.com) ^ permalink (milblogging.com) ^ Discussion (www.milblogging.com) ^ Digg this (digg.com) ^ Add to del.icio.us (del.icio.us) ^ View all posts in Facebook category (milblogging.com) ^ U.S . 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