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The Olivebranch Network

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Blog Created by Perth Youth Labeled "Most Insightful reporting on Iraq War Found Anywhere" by NBC TV News

A few nights ago NBC TV in the USA ran a feature on the Olivebranch Network, a group blog created by 19 year old Perth youth Luke Skinner. In the feature Mike Wendland, the NBC news Tech reporter labeled The Olivebranch Network "the most insightful reporting on the Iraq war found anywhere". The more than 20 Iraqi writers, a US soldier and two professors in Middle-Eastern studies provide detailed information stories the situation in Iraq as well as about the people and their cultu

Perth, Australia, September 15, 2006 --( The Olivebranch Network, a group blog created by 19-year-old Perth boy Luke Skinner was labeled by NBC TV news reporter Mike Wendland as “the most insightful reporting about the Iraq war, found anywhere” on September 12, 2006.

This group of amazing Iraqi writers is the largest ongoing network of Iraqi bloggers still writing from both within and outside of Iraq to this day and continues to grow in both quantity and quality of service.

The bloggers chronicle the difficult situations they face in their everyday lives and often manage to maintain a positive outlook and find silver-linings despite lives filled with bombings, sectarian warfare, assassinations and the seemingly endless loss of family and friends.

Some of the Olivebranch Network contributors have worked for international media companies and non-governmental organizations as journalists, translators and editors but most remain anonymous for safeties sake.

One of the contributors, Khalid Jarrar tells his grueling story of being wrongly detained by the “Mukhabarat” known commonly as the Interior Ministry “special forces” last June. Though eventually released Khalid Jarrar was exposed to un-imaginable horrors whilst detained in a small cell with 34 other detainees and upon release he, and his family had no choice but to leave the country permanently for fear of assassination.

In the first six months the network grew quickly and has become very popular among members of the Iraqi-blogosphere, the tight-nit community of blogs which spawned around the blogs of average Iraqi citizens.

The Olivebranch Network was created in late January, 2006, after Mr Skinner won a competition ran by professional Australian journalist/author Antony Loewenstein which was to provide free years worth of domain hosting to an aspiring young Australian journalist, and the network has since grown to include the voices of 23 unique Iraqi bloggers as well a US soldier and two university professors with a background in Middle-Eastern studies.

The network aims to use the words of Iraqi’s and others with expertise and experience living or working in Iraq in order to bridge the cultural gap and fill the void of information about the Iraqi people and their culture. We do not just report on the war and its horrors, rather we hope to eventually enable Westerners and Iraqi’s to develop a strong bond and fix the cultural rift created by the many atrocities witnessed in Iraq since Gulf-War 1, but most particularly since the US-lead invasion of 2003.

For more information about the Olivebranch Network and the content of this press release see these sources: (The Olivebranch Network main page) (Antony Loewenstein writing about the Olivebranch Network, September 13, 2006) (Antony Loewensteins’ competition) (Mike Wendlands’ blog post containing the NBC story) (First Month of the Olivebranch Network) (Part One of Khalid Jarrar’s story) (#5 News in USA story on Olivebranch Network)

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The Olivebranch Network
Luke Skinner

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