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March 26, 2015

By Chris Biggers

UAE United 40 Block 5 at Test Airfield

DigitalGlobe imagery from November 2014 shows ADCOM’s United 40 Block 5 UAV at the company’s test airstrip located south of Al Dhafra Airbase. When the US denied the sale of armed Predator drones to fulfill UAE Air Force requirements in 2002, the Gulf country set out to fill the gap by developing its own medium…

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March 20, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Assessing Mexico’s Guerra al Narco

A week ago, the Mexican government celebrated another success in its Guerra al Narco: the capture of two drug kingpins. Servando Gómez Martínez (picture above), a.k.a “La Tuta” was arrested in a somewhat peculiar manner in Morelia, Michoacan state. The Mexican security forces located the leader of the Knights Templar cartel, a former primary school teacher, in…

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March 17, 2015

By Peter Jukes

UPDATED Alastair Morgan to Rupert Murdoch “You are in a unique position to help us finally lay Daniel to rest.”

With considerable speed and grace, on Monday 16 March, Rupert Murdoch replied to Alastair’s letter, promising to co-operate with the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel inquiry, and explaining how News Corp‘s Management and Standards Committee have already complied with requests from the police and the IPCC. Questions about the role of News of the World and…

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March 16, 2015

By Bellingcat

The Mosque of Umm

In October 2014, a Chechen woman living in the Netherlands kidnapped two of her children and fled to territory controlled by the Islamic State. Little is known about the fate of the children or their mother, who has been given the pseudonym “Umm” by Dutch media, but the woman has reportedly told relatives and friends on social media…

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March 16, 2015

By Oryx

Iranian Fighter-bombers Operating in Syria

The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF), entangled in a bloody civil war that will soon reach its four-year mark, relies heavily on Russia and Iran to keep attrition from diminishing its firepower. After having upgraded several SyAAF Mi-17s with armour plates and FLIR cameras, stationing Mojaher 4, Yasir and Shahed 129 UAVs in Syria and…

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March 13, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Vladmir Babak and Reuters’ Missile Launch Witnesses – How Do They Fit With What We Know About MH17 So Far?

In the last few days there have been a pair of interesting stories relating to the downing of MH17 in Ukraine that have attempted to shed more light on what happened on July 17th. Vladmir Babak, part of the team that designed the SU-25 and a senior figure at the SU-25’s manufacturer and developer Sukhoi Attack…

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March 13, 2015

By Oryx

Iran’s Expanding Sphere of Influence: Iranian T-72 Tanks in Iraq

Iraq’s fight against the fighters of the Islamic State is one not only fought by Iraq’s Armed Forces and the Peshmerga, but also by an increasing number of Shiite militias, most of which receive extensive support from Iran. Iraq’s equivalent of the Lebanese Hizbullah movement, Kata’ib Hizbullah, is without a doubt the strongest and most…

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March 11, 2015

By Aric Toler

How These Adorable Puppies Exposed Russian Involvement in Ukraine

Данный отчет также доступен на русском языке. On March 2, Elena Kostyuchenko of the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an explosive interview (English) with Dorzhi Batomunkuyev, a 20-year old tankist from Mogoytuy in the Zabaykalsky Krai, bordering Buryatia. Batomunkuyev is a member of military unit 46108, the 5th Tank Brigade, based out of Buryatia, lying…

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March 9, 2015

By Peter Jukes

Appeal to Journalists for Information on the Daniel Morgan Murder and its Cover-Up

Tomorrow marks the 28th Anniversary of the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, and his family’s amazing decades-long campaign for justice. The police corruption around the most investigated murder in British criminal history has been described by an assistant Metropolitan police commissioner as one the biggest stains on Scotland Yard’s history. But Daniel’s murder also leads straight…

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February 22, 2015

By Frederic Jacobs

Control the Internet, Control the Narrative

If you’ve been following the Syrian conflict for almost the last 4 years, you’ve heard about the intermittently working Syrian Internet. Especially in the early days of the revolution, internet disconnection rhymed with fear of massacres for activists. The Assad regime has repeatedly disconnected [1] regions from the Internet before doing an assault to control…

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March 24, 2015

By Bellingcat

Bellingcat at the SKUP Journalism Festival Talking MH17, Ukraine, Russia, and Propaganda

The Norwegian Foundation for a Free and Investigative Press (SKUP, Stiftelsen for en Kritisk og Undersøkende Presse) recently held it’s annual journalism conference in Tonsberg, Norway, and Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins participated in a number of sessions. In this first session, Eliot Higgins talks about Bellingcat’s work on MH17, tracking Russian weapons and artillery attacks…

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March 18, 2015

By Bellingcat

Geolocating the Location Where the Syrian “Caesar” Photographs Were Taken

Bashar al-Assad and his regime are suspected to be behind the disappearance of many thousands of persons in recent years, many of whom are presumed to have been tortured and killed. Following prisoners’ deaths, a team of forensic photographers would be dispatched to document the bodies of the victims of the Assad regime. Defectors have…

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March 15, 2015

By Melissa Hanham

How Tall is That Gantry?

This article was originally posted on Arms Control Wonk.  A little how-to guide to measure the height of any most structures on Google Earth.  As you click through the Twittersphere or even click through TV channels (remember those?), you may hear claims like “North Korea is building a scary big missile” or “Iran’s building a…

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March 3, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Stunt Geolocation – Verifying the Unverifiable

When working on open source and social media investigation there’s occasional images that at first seem as if they would be impossible to verify. The following picture, showing a 9S470 Self Propelled Command Post, was shared with us on Twitter.

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February 12, 2015

By Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project: First Week

On February 3rd, Bellingcat launched the Ukraine conflict vehicle tracking project, a collaborative effort where we collect reports on movement of military equipment in and near Ukraine to determine if Russian units have crossed the border. We opened a channel through Checkdesk through which anyone watching the conflict can submit reports of interesting vehicle sightings. These reports are…

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February 6, 2015

By Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project: First Days

Earlier this week, Bellingcat launched the Ukraine conflict vehicle tracking project, a collaborative effort where we collect reports on movement of military equipment in and near Ukraine to determine if Russian units have crossed the border. The data is collected on a beautiful platform called Silk, where it can be analyzed and visualized in many different…

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February 3, 2015

By Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Bellingcat Launches the Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project

Over the past few months, the Bellingcat team has been working on something slightly different from our previously published work. Now, we’re pleased to launch a crowdsourced effort to track the movements of military vehicles both inside and in the vicinity of Ukraine, primarily to determine if equipment has been transferred across the border from…

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January 27, 2015

By Daniel Romein

Examining the MH17 Launch Smoke Photographs

Just three hours after the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), a picture was published on Twitter that appeared to show a ropeway on the horizon between “Lutugina” and “Tsof” in the area of Torez, which is close to Snizhne. The timestamp of the tweet suggests it was sent at 9:23 AM on 17…

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January 20, 2015

By Bellingcat

A Call to Arms: Open Source Intelligence and Evidence Based Policymaking

Originally posted on King’s College London’s Policy Institute blog Policy Wonkers. By Mick Endsor, Research Assistant and Dr Bill Peace, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Security Analysis. Policymakers have access to a wealth of open source information that has yet to be incorporated into the policymaking process. As Eliot Higgins argued in a previous…

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January 20, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Social Media and Conflict Zones: The New Evidence Base For Policymaking

Originally posted on King’s College London’s Policy Institute blog Policy Wonkers. In recent years, content shared via social media from conflict war zones has allowed us to gain a far deeper understanding of the on-the-ground realities of specific conflicts than previously possible. This presents a real opportunity for providing robust evidence which can underpin foreign and security…

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