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Irma is battering its way towards South Florida, where it will be the first category 5 hurricane to strike the state since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Aid for victims of Andrew was infamously slow to arrive and chaotically distributed when it finally turned up. Federal and state authorities waiting for Irma say that they learned... Read More
The catastrophic number of civilian casualties in Mosul is receiving little attention internationally from politicians and journalists. This is in sharp contrast to the outrage expressed worldwide over the bombardment of east Aleppo by Syrian government and Russian forces at the end of 2016. Hoshyar Zebari, the Kurdish leader and former Iraqi finance and foreign... Read More
Self-absorbed and irrational Donald Trump may well be, but on Thursday he held what was probably the most interesting and entertaining White House press conference ever. These are usually grimly ritualistic events in which select members of the media establishment, who have often come to see themselves as part of the permanent government of the... Read More
I read the text of the dossier on Donald Trump’s alleged dirty dealings with a scepticism that soon turned into complete disbelief. The memo has all the hallmarks of such fabrications, which is too much detail – and that detail largely uncheckable – and too many names of important people placed there to impress the... Read More
It has just become more dangerous to be a foreign correspondent reporting on the civil war in Syria. This is because the jihadis holding power in east Aleppo were able to exclude Western journalists, who would be abducted and very likely killed if they went there, and replace them as news sources with highly partisan... Read More
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The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there... Read More
I was in Iran in early 2011 when there were reports from opposition sources in exile saying that protests were sweeping the country. There was some substance in this. There had been a demonstration of 30,000 protesters in north Tehran on 14 February – recalling the mass protests against the allegedly fixed presidential election of... Read More
Embellishment and bravado are often punished more harshly than the untruths that cause wars
The exposure of fake or exaggerated tales of journalistic derring-do by Brian Williams, the anchor of NBC Nightly News now suspended without pay, will ignite a small glow of satisfaction in the breasts of many foreign correspondents. The arrival of anchors, editors or “celebrity” correspondents in the middle of a crisis, war, or at any... Read More
Lessons From the Kidnapping of Ali Zeidan
Seldom has the failure of a state been so openly and humiliatingly confirmed as happened in Libya last week with the brief kidnapping the Prime Minister Ali Zeidan from his hotel in Tripoli by a militia allied to the government and without a shot being fired. Despite his swift release, the message is very clear:... Read More
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A Diary of Four Wars
The four wars fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria over the past 12 years have all involved overt or covert foreign intervention in deeply divided countries. In each case the involvement of the West exacerbated existing differences and pushed hostile parties towards civil war. In each country, all or part of the opposition have... Read More
Whose hands are behind those dramatic YouTube pictures?
"Rumor" used to have a bad reputation. In Shakespeare's plays it is assumed that "rumors" mean artful lies and the spreading of detailed but false accounts of victory and defeat. No journalist could credibly tell of massacre, torture and mass arrests, citing "strong rumors" as the sole evidence for the story. Editors at whatever newspaper,... Read More
Does It Matter?
I once shot at Donald Trump, property magnate and possible Republican candidate for the presidency, with a small green plastic frog that squirted water. It was at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at the Washington Hilton in about 1994. His chunky form was an easy target as he walked between the tables, though he... Read More
Why Media Coverage of Natural Disasters is Most So Bad
The media generally assume that news of war, crime and natural disasters will always win an audience. "If it bleeds, it leads," is a well-tried adage of American journalism. Of the three categories, coverage of war has attracted criticism for its lies, jingoism and general bias. Crime reporting traditionally exaggerates the danger of violence in... Read More
A Distorted View of War
Embedded journalism earned itself a bad name in Iraq and Afghanistan. The phrase came to evoke an image of the supposedly independent correspondent truckling to military mentors who spoon-feed him or her absurdly optimistic information about the course of the war. To many, the embedded journalist is a grisly throwback to First World War-style reporting,... Read More
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Patrick Cockburn
About Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn is the Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent. He was awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting. His book on his years covering the war in Iraq, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction.


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