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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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February 22, 2015

By Ethan Rosen

What is China Building in the South China Sea?

The South China Sea contains some of the planet’s most disputed territory. Six countries — China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei — are squaring off as they compete over the rights to the sea. The dispute centers on the contested Spratly Island Chain, a hodgepodge of small islands and submerged reefs which lie…

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February 21, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Mr Simon and the Queen Bee: Traffickers Above Suspicion at HSBC

From 2002 until 2007 at least, HSBC Private Bank was the scene of an alliance between Atlanta-based ecstasy dealers and an Israeli arms trafficker, former Al-Qaeda supplier and money launderer for Mexican cartels. By François Pilet, Marie Maurisse and Aliaume Leroy Night was falling over an Atlanta suburb on Monday 22 March 2004 when Sergeant…

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February 19, 2015

By Bellingcat

How EchoSec Found Evidence of a Russian Fighting in Ukraine

Recently, the media has been paying close attention to the Donetsk region in northeast Ukraine. We decided to look for ourselves to see if we could identify military personnel of Russian origin in the area. In a military, or global security context, the data pouring from this region can play a pivotal role in command, control, communications and coordination of operations. Quick, informed decisions are the best decisions. We used a systematic, 3-phase approach to find, filter, and investigate the social media coming out of Ukraine and Russia.

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February 19, 2015

By Oryx

From Russia with Love, Syria’s AK-74Ms

The AK-74M has slowly earned its place as the most popular assault rifle currently in use with the various factions fighting for control over Syria. While originally acquired only in small numbers by Syria, recent deliveries ensured a now solid presence of this rifle in the war-torn country. The AK-74M is not only popular with…

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February 17, 2015

By Bellingcat

Bellingcat Report – Origin of Artillery Attacks on Ukrainian Military Positions in Eastern Ukraine Between 14 July 2014 and 8 August 2014

Ukrainian armed forces positioned near the Russian-Ukrainian border were attacked by artillery fire in the summer of 2014. Between 9 July and 5 September 2014, the Ukrainian Border Service and the National Security and Defense Council reported more than 120 artillery attacks from Russia. Russian officials, however, have denied the existence of any artillery attacks on Ukraine originating from its territory. The pressure of sustained artillery attacks through early August led Ukrainian armed forces to lose control of hundreds of kilometers of border territory. Google Earth satellite images of eastern Ukraine from July, August, and September 2014 have enabled the Bellingcat investigation team to find evidence of these artillery attacks, determine their origin, and compare them with local sources. After reviewing and analyzing these satellite images as well as videos from social media, local media reports, and the shifting maps of the ongoing conflict, the Bellingcat investigation team has determined that there is compelling evidence that artillery attacks on Ukrainian territory and against Ukrainian armed forces originated from the territory of Russia.

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February 17, 2015

By Bellingcat

Происхождение артиллерийских ударов по позициям украинских военных в восточной Украине с 14 июля по 8 августа 2014 г.

Краткое содержание Летом 2014 г. украинские военные подразделения, расположенные возле российско-украинской границы, подверглись артиллерийским ударам. С 9 июля по 5 сентября 2014 г. Государственная пограничная служба Украины и Совет национальной безопасности и обороны сообщили о более чем 120 атаках российской артиллерии. В свою очередь, представители России отрицали нанесение каких-либо артиллерийских ударов по Украине со своей…

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February 16, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

HSBC and Shimon Yelinek: Arms, Drugs, Diamonds and Terrorism

#Swissleaks Shimon Yelinek is an Israeli businessman based in Panama. Behind this facade however, he is one of the most notorious criminals you may find among the clients of HSBC Private Bank (PB). An arms, diamonds and drug trafficker, he also took part in the financing of terrorism. His most impressive deal? The Otterloo Incident. At…

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February 14, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Bellingcat Launches Monitoring the Ukrainian Ceasefire with Silk and Checkdesk

Following the success of our Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project Bellingcat is now starting a new project to monitor the Ukrainian ceasefire that comes into effect at midnight local time. As with the earlier project, Bellingcat will be using Checkdesk to crowdsource reports of ceasefire violations, and to also attempt to verify those reports. Once reports are…

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February 13, 2015

By Aric Toler

As Eastern Ukraine Heads Towards the Ceasefire, Russian Armour Heads Towards Ukraine

With the start of the Minsk ceasefire less than 48 hours away, a column of 38 BTR-80 armored personnel carriers (APC) was observed traveling north along the M18/E105 highway in Crimea on February 13, 2015. Their destination, as far as the videos show, is to Dzhankoi, a city lying just a 40km drive from the Ukrainian border. Russian military exercises for…

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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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January 12, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Fact Checking the Russian Ministry of Defence’s July 21st MH17 Press Briefing with Checkdesk

During Bellingcat’s investigations into the downing of MH17 it’s become clear that a number of statements made in the Russian Ministry of Defence’s July 21st Press Briefing on the downing of MH17 were simply untrue. They made claims about the flight path of MH17 and it’s diversion to another heading that were shown to be…

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January 1, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Updated Google Earth Imagery from August 24th 2013 Reveals More Details About The August 21st Sarin Attack

Since the Sarin attacks in Damascus on August 21st 2013 I’ve spent a lot of time examining various aspects of the attack, from the munitions used to various claims and counter-claims about who was responsible for the attack. One point of debate has been the range of the Volcano rockets used to deliver Sarin in the…

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December 19, 2014

By Eliot Higgins

Geolocating Tunisian Jihadists in Raqqa

This article is available in French here. Earlier this week a video was posted online showing Tunisian Jihadists claiming responsibility for the murders of two Tunisian secular politicians in 2013. It was claimed that the video was filmed in territory controlled by the Islamic State, and using a variety of geolocation techniques it is possible…

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December 10, 2014

By Bellingcat

Investigathon – Follow the Money with David Clinch, Executive Editor of Storyful

Follow the Money – Investigations and the Storyful Video Archive. David Clinch, Executive Editor of Storyful, explains the Storyful model and the public-service potential of its archives.

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