“For some, the most intriguing angle to the Engel story is the question of how the Times got onto it in the first place. The gist of it, after all, had been hiding in plain sight since Dettmer’s piece more than two years ago.” Vanity Fair, April 24, 2015.
This blog is named after the hilltop Lazio village of Celleno. The village sits on the heights running north from Viterbo and heading into Umbria where I keep a vacation home. I am a journalist and broadcaster reporting across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe for Voice of America.
In 2014 I covered Ukraine reporting for several months form the front lines in the Donbas region as well from Kyiv and Crimea. One of my major exclusives was unearthing video footage suggesting Russian-trained shooters from Ukraine’s intelligence service were responsible for the massacre on the Maidan.
Much of my reporting for the past four years has focused on the Syrian civil war, Libya, Iraq and Lebanon and on the rise of the Islamic State terror group. I have made several trips into northern Syria, reporting from the front lines and chronicling the impact of war on civilians and fighters alike. I have reported from flash-points along the border between Lebanon and Syria, from northern Iraq as ISIS made its land grab in the summer of 2014 and all across Libya as well as from Cairo. I covered in 2012 events in Benghazi and broke new ground on the assault on the US mission and the death of ambassador Christopher Stevens. I have reported across the region on the unfolding Mediterranean migration crisis.
For the past four years I’ve been variously based out of Tripoli, Beirut and Istanbul and until this summer was shared by VOA and the Daily Beast. Now I report exclusively for VOA.
During my journalism career I have written on U.S. politics, national security, international affairs and political economy. I have been a foreign correspondent in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa and have run bureaus in Washington DC, Moscow, Kuwait City and Belfast. And I have been on the staffs of The Times (London), Sunday Telegraph, The Hill, the Scotsman Group, Bonnier, Washington Times and the New York Sun. I was a longtime columnist for the Irish Sunday Tribune, Irish Independent Group and Canberra Times. I have written also for Newsweek, the Guardian, Maclean’s, Glasgow Herald, Sunday Herald, Belfast Telegraph, Irish Times, Yorkshire Post, New Statesman, South China Morning Post, the Australian, New York Observer, American Journalism Review, and El Universal (Mexico), and Lebanon’s Daily Star.
I am a regular TV commentator, and have appeared on CNN, France 24, CCTV, ABC and other broadcasting outlets. I have been on panels for the Jamestown Foundation and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
I am a British-born American.