The News, Unpackaged

"News" is packaged for the audience that receives it. Lightstalkers, a bulletin board for "unconventional travelers," meaning photographers, journalists, aid workers and security professionals among others, offers a fascinating way around the packaging (read their "manifesto").

Want to know what's really happening in the war in Afghanistan? Read Advice for first-time embeds to Afghanistan, which suggests that

"Basically the situation is that the Americans and NATO have reached a military stalemate. NATO are so thinly spread they can only hold the ares they have now and are not push into any of the Taliban safe havens."

And:

"Kandahar is much worse then in 2007. There are no foreigners outside of the military bases and you ARE a target. I did spend a day out of the KAF, it was fun, but I looked a lot like a Pashtu. If you are a women, not using a burka on the streets should call a lot of attentions there, but saying that I know women who did it last year."

(Typos are on the bulletin board. Hey, they're writing from the field.)

Some advice for visitors to Afghanistan, among many, many other things,

"Don’t wear anything synthetic, as in a blast it will melt into skin and make burns much worse."

And:

"Have insurance that covers medical evacuation from afghanistan. The military will stabilize you if you are wounded, (but) after that you are on your own."

Elsewhere on Lightstalkers you'll find suggestions for travel gear, including the Black Animus Waterproof Backpack, Petzl Headlamp with Red Filter and, for uploading those war photos by satellite, the Hughes 9201 Bgan Satellite Modem for around $2500.

Check it out. It's fascinating. The news, unpackaged.