The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Politics

Video: Sebastian Junger on War and Restrepo

The good folks over at Made Possible conducted a series of interviews with Outside September cover subject Sebastian Junger. In the first episode, Junger talks about reporting his new book War, shooting his new documentary Restrepo, how witnessing death affects soldiers, and what makes a good soldier.

"A good soldier is one who follows his training very closely, but has enough independence of thought to react to complex situations that aren't covered by his training—that's able to coordinate his actions with everyone else and is not afraid of getting shot. A bad soldier is one who lets his fear overcome him, shuts down psychologically and can't take in information from the guys around him or from the situation, forgets his training, and eventually slips into a kind of individual survival mode at the expense of the safety of the group."

We'll continue to update the blog with more videos. To watch the videos as they come out, head over to Made Possible

Sebastian Junger on War and Restrepo

For more on Junger, read Eric Hansen's September Outside article.

Junger's new movie Restrepo is playing in select theaters and his new book War is out in stores now.

--Joe Spring

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Ten Dolphins Captured at The Cove in Taiji, Japan

The first dolphins caught in Japan this season were herded into the notorious Cove at Taiji today, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society reports.

The Society, an International non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to end the slaughter of sea animals and the destruction of their habitat, says the 10 dolphins will be killed unless people come to Taiji to defend them.

The society is calling on all people who came to Japan to save dolphins to immediately go to Taiji. “The dolphins need defenders at the Cove today and tomorrow,” said Michael Dalton of Sea Shepherd Brisbane who is leading the Sea Shepherd team on the ground at Taiji.

Thursday morning, activist Ric O'Barry handed a petition, signed by 1.7 million people from 155 nations, to an official at the US Embassy in Tokyo, the AP reports.

O'Barry's film, The Cove, won the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary and put Taiji on the map as one of the world's biggest ecological crime scenes. Read more about it and other muckraking movies in Outside's Documentary Canon

--Erin Beresini

Photo courtesy of Jesslee Cuizon on Flickr.

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American Hikers Imprisoned in Iran: One Year Later

Shane Bauer, courtesy of the Bauer family This Saturday will mark the one year anniversary of the imprisonment of three Americans in Iran, the New York Times reports.

Iranian authorities captured Shane Bauer, 27, his girlfriend, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, Bauer's former housemate from the University of California at Berkeley, on July 31 last year while the Americans were hiking in the Zagros Mountains on the border of Iraq and Iran.  Their families and friends still await their return from Evin Prison. No trial date has been set, and the hikers have been denied contact with their lawyer.

Joshua Hammer traced the hikers' footsteps for Outside. Click here to check out his story on how he believes they got into this situation, and what it will take to get them out. Click here for the New York Times blog with interviews of the hikers' family members. Visit for more information.

--Erin Beresini

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Iroquois Lacrosse Team Misses Opener

The Iroquois national lacrosse team was stranded in a Comfort Inn in Ozone Park, Queens Thursday night after being denied visas by the British government, the New York Times reports. The team was forced to forfeit the opening match of the world championship tournament against England.

Last week, the British government told team members that they would not be allowed to travel using their tribal passports without assurance from American federal officials that they would be permitted to return to the United States after the tournament. The necessary permission was denied earlier this week.

The Iroquois members were offered United States passports, but refused to accept them. Players argued that traveling on American passports would tacitly question the sovereignty of the nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

On Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Clinton delivered a one-time waiver to allow the team to travel for the tournament. That evening British officials again denied visas for the team, despite earlier assurances.

The United Kingdom Border Agency has since stated that players would be allowed to enter the country only on the condition that they carry American or Canadian passports in addition to their tribal passports.

The State Department continues to advocate for allowing the Iroquois team to travel, but British officials have yet to make a concession. The team is scheduled to play against Japan tomorrow. It remains unclear whether they'll be able to take the field.

--Riley Blanton

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BP's Latest Oil Spill Solution

Today, BP began testing another cap designed to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to the New York Times. Once the new cap is in place, BP officials will conduct a 48-hour test to see if the cap will withstand the pressure building in the well.

The oil leak began on April 22, two days after a BP oil rig exploded. In early May, BP tried to plug up a leak with a containment dome, but it was quickly removed after the dome suffered complications. BP also tried blasting mud into the well, but abandoned this effort for fear that pressure would build up and force oil to escape horizontally, creating multiple gushers. The current cap slowed some of the oil, but did not stop the leak. As of today, between 89 million and 176 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf. 

--Erin Beresini

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