Jerome Starkey

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Jerome Starkey (born 1981, London) is an English journalist, broadcaster and motivational speaker[1] best known for covering wars and the environment.[2] He challenged US forces over civilian casualties in Afghanistsan[3][4] and was deported from Kenya in 2017[5] after reporting on state-sponsored corruption and extra-judicial killings.[6]

Early life[edit]

Starkey grew up in London and won an academic scholarship to attend Stowe School in Buckinghamshire.[7]


After graduating from Newcastle University with a degree in English literature[8] he joined The Sun in 2003 as a gradaute trainee.[9]


In 2006 he moved to Kabul, Afghanistan to write propaganda for Nato's International Security Assistance Force[10] (Isaf). He served with the Combined Joint Psy-Ops Taskforce (CJPOTF) which produced a fortnightly newspaper called Sada-e Azadi, or Voice of Freedom in Dari. He resigned after six months, complaining that the newspaper was "terrible".[10] Later he wrote in The Times how Sada-e Azadi was sold by the kilogram as scrap before it could reach readers.[11]

Starkey returned to Kabul as a freelance journalist. From 2008 until 2010 he worked for a range of broadcasters and newspapers including Sky News, France 24, The Scotsman and The Independent. At The Independent he led a successful campaign to free a student journalist[12] Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Civilian Casualties[edit]

Starkey claimed that he was black-listed by the military in Afghanistan as a result of his work on civilian casualties.[13][14][15]

In 2010 his investigation into a Night Raid on Narang, in Kunar Province, eastern Afghanistan, led NATO’s International Security Assistance Force to admit it had killed eight schoolboys by mistake.[16]

The previous year he linked the newly formed Marine Special Operations Command (MASROC) to three of the worst civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan's recent history[17] including the Granai Airstrike in Bala Balouk, the Azizabad Airstrike in Herat province and the Shinwar Massacre in Nangahar province.

Gardez night raid[edit]

In 2010, together with his colleagues Shoib Najafizada and Jeremy Kelly, Starkey exposed a cover-up by US Special Forces after an operation known as the Raid on Khataba[18][19][20][21] which inspired the Oscar-nominated documentary Dirty Wars.

During the raid, on 12 February 2010, unidentified special forces soldiers killed five innocent people including two pregnant women, a teenage girl engaged to be married and two brothers who worked for the local government in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan.[18] All of the victims were from the same family. Initially the soldiers said the women were victims of a triple honour killing.[22] They said they discovered the women's bodies "tied up, gagged and killed"[23] and that the dead men were insurgents.[23]

When Starkey challenged Nato's account they accused him of lying.[24][25] However, four weeks later William H. McRaven, the commander of America's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), admitted his soldiers were resopnsible.[26] McRaven travelled to the family's compound, outside Gardez and offered to sacrifice a sheep outside their door in a ritual act of Nanawatai, to seek their forgiveness.[26][27][28]

Close calls[edit]

In 2010, Jerome was nearly killed during an embed with British troops in Helmand Province when an Improvised explosive device (IED) exploded fewer than 10 metres in front of him.[29][30] The explosion, inside a designated safe area which had recently been cleared by the Royal Engineers, killed Corporal David Barnsdale[31] and injured two others. The British army tried to censor his account on the grounds that it was too graphic. Senior officers, who were not at the scene, claimed the bomb was not inside the safe area.[32]


In 2012 The Times posted Starkey to Nairobi, Kenya and appointed him Africa Correspondent.[33]

He was deported from Nairobi in 2017[34][35] as a result of his work. The government of Uhuru Kenyatta gave no official explanation.[36]


Starkey won the Frontline Club award for excellence[37] in 2010, and the Kurt Schork memorial prize in 2011.[38][39]


  1. ^ UK, Alternatives (12 November 2019). "Co-founder of the Extinction Rebellion DNA - Skeena Rathor in multi speaker event - Navigating through an urgent time of change". Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  2. ^ "2010". Frontline Club. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  3. ^ "NATO Tries To Silence Journalist Jerome Starkey Over Afghan Slayings (VIDEO)". HuffPost UK. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ "U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan are committing atrocities, lying, and getting away with it".
  5. ^ App, Daily Nation. "Police deport British journalist Jerome Starkey". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Kenyan beauty spot blighted by 'all the bodies washing up'". The Times. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Struck by a rocket that killed his brother, boy brings out the best in man". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  8. ^ ""An Extra Degree of Debt" - The Journal (Newcastle, England), August 5, 2003 | Online Research Library: Questia". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Despatches from the front line". Evening Standard. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b Satterlee, Saundra (9 June 2008). "Dispatches from the Afghan front". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  11. ^ story, Jerome Starkey: Behind the (12 November 2009). "Nato's voice is stifled as propaganda newspaper ends up as food wrapping". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  12. ^ Kim Sengupta in Kabul (22 October 2011). "Free at last: Student in hiding after Karzai's intervention". The Independent.
  13. ^ "Reporter complains of blacklisting in Afghanistan". Stars and Stripes.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Rethink Afghanistan: Independent Media Stands Up to Pentagon Propaganda". The Huffington Post. 6 April 2010.
  16. ^ Kabul, Jerome Starkey (25 February 2010). "Nato admits that deaths of 8 boys were a mistake". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Rumsfeld's renegade unit blamed for Afghan deaths". The Independent. 16 May 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Login".
  19. ^ Scahill, Jeremy (1 June 2016). "Pentagon: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was "Appropriate" Use of Force: Pentagon: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was "Appropriate" Use of Force". The Intercept. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Afghans: U.S. Troops "Covered-Up" Civilian Deaths". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  21. ^ Khataba, Jerome Starkey (13 March 2010). "Nato 'covered up' botched night raid in Afghanistan that killed five". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  22. ^ "Bodies believed to be 'honor killing' victims". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Joint force operating in Gardez makes gruesome discovery". DVIDS. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  24. ^ "ISAF Rejects Cover up Allegation | Military-World Website".
  25. ^ Jr, Richard A. Oppel; Wafa, Abdul Waheed (5 April 2010). "Afghan Investigators Say U.S. Troops Tried to Cover Up Evidence in Botched Raid". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  26. ^ a b Gardez, Jerome Starkey, Khataba (9 April 2010). "US army chief begs Afghans to forgive". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Apologizing for Afghan Deaths With Sheep?". ABC News. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  28. ^ "US military offers sheep in apology for Afghanistan deaths". Christian Science Monitor. 8 April 2010. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Final, fatal step of 'a really brilliant bloke'". The Times. 21 October 2010.
  30. ^ mirror Administrator (22 October 2010). "30 feet from the brutal reality of the Afghan war: Death of a soldier". mirror.
  31. ^ "Corporal David Barnsdale killed in Afghanistan".
  32. ^ "Blast that killed British soldier was in area cleared of bombs". The Times. 12 July 2011. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  33. ^ Friday; December 9; 2016 16:10. "British journalist held overnight at JKIA". Business Daily. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  34. ^ Independent, The (10 December 2016). "British journalist deported from Kenya". The Independent Uganda. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  35. ^ "Award-winning British journalist deported from Kenya after unexplained detention". Westminster World. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  36. ^ "Kenya expels Times reporter after night in cells". The Times. 10 December 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  37. ^ "Times Afghanistan correspondent wins Frontline Club excellence award". 22 November 2010.
  38. ^
  39. ^