by and for citizen investigative journalists

News:

August 31, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Military Ramp At Abu Dhabi International Is Operational

Over the last decade, the UAE has improved its transport capabilities with the acquisition of some of America’s best strategic and tactical aircraft. The latest satellite imagery acquired by DigitalGlobe shows a new operational military ramp dedicated to the country’s transport aircraft located on the north-eastern side of Abu Dhabi International. The Directorate of Military…

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August 26, 2015

By Nathan Patin

The Other Foreign Fighters: An Open-Source Investigation into American Volunteers Fighting the Islamic State

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 foreigners have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight with the Islamic State (IS) and other Sunni jihadist groups. Of those, roughly 150 to 200 are American citizens. This report seeks to shed light on a related, yet understudied phenomenon, namely, that of Americans traveling to Iraq and Syria to fight against…

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August 23, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Satellite Imagery Captures China’s Divine Eagle UAV at Shenyang

China’s enormous Divine Eagle UAV is larger than the U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawk, recently released satellite imagery suggests. While China’s UAVs are getting better, if not bigger, little is known about one of its latest models. Photos of China’s mysterious UAV appeared in May and June while a concept of operations along with payload specs was released earlier…

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August 22, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Rastreando Relojes Suizos en Sinaloa: Las 6 Marcas Más Populares Entre Los Narcotraficantes Mexicanos

François Pilet (L’Hebdo) y Aliaume Leroy. Traducción del inglés al español por Diego Recinos.  Para el artículo en inglés En los viejos tiempos, la discreción era la regla a seguir para los capos de la droga en México. Tomemos el ejemplo de Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, conocido como “el traficante más poderoso del mundo.” El hombre de…

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August 21, 2015

By Type 63

Hell Cannons: From Minor Nuisance to Major Threat – The Evolution of Syrian Opposition Siege Artillery

When historians discuss defensive capabilities in conventional wars between two major powers, traditionally each power tends to have either domestic arms manufacturing or has secured the services of another nation (or nations) to do most of the heavy lifting for their defense needs. For the Syrian regime, it is a mix of the two, with most…

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August 20, 2015

By Dan Kaszeta

Reviewing the Sarin Attacks: The Chemical Trail from 8/21 to the End of the Year.

The purpose of this post is to detail the various investigations I undertook between 21 August 2013 and the end of the year. As Brown Moses’ first commentator on chemical weapons, I was immediately involved in the investigation of events in Ghouta in August 2013. Early on in the process, a natural division of labour…

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August 13, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Billy Six Interview – Investigating the Luhansk MH17 Buk Video

Freelance journalist Billy Six has recently come to the attention of the world’s media after publishing previously unpublished footage of the MH17 crash site filmed shortly after impact, as well as featuring in Russia Today’s recent MH17 documentary. In this interview with Bellingcat, Billy Six details some of his other investigations into the events surrounding the downing of Flight MH17

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August 7, 2015

By Aliaume Leroy

Tracking Swiss Watches in Sinaloa: Top 6 Luxury Brands Among Mexican Drug Lords

By François Pilet (L’Hebdo) and Aliaume Leroy Spanish Version In the old days, secrecy and discretion were the rule for Mexican drug lords. Take Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, for example. Known as “the world’s most powerful trafficker,” the 60 year old only appears on a handful of pictures. He does not need to cultivate his fame,…

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August 7, 2015

By Aric Toler

The Weird World of MH17 Conspiracy Theories – Part 1

Just over a year after the anniversary of the tragic downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, a new trickle of conspiracy theories have emerged, including the use of an Israeli rocket launched from a Georgian aircraft downing MH17 and an undercover CIA agent working for the BBC plotting the plane’s downing. These new narratives are…

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August 1, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Additional Saudi Deployments on Iraqi Border

The latest space snapshots of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s northern border region show additional construction activity to support the presence of its troops. With the current conflict in Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia has had no choice but to rush equipment and supplies to defend the border area. Imagery from January and June 2015…

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August 28, 2015

By Justin Seitz

Automatically Discover Website Connections Through Tracking Codes

This article originally appeared on the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. Fellow Bellingcat contributor Lawrence Alexander did some really interesting OSINT work on analyzing the hidden links between websites using tracking and analytics codes. In his how-to titled “Unveiling Hidden Connections With Google Analytics IDs” he shows how you can begin to see how websites are connected to…

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August 19, 2015

By Aric Toler

Yachtspotting: OSINT Methods in Navalny’s Corruption Investigation

Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, found himself embroiled in a scandal over his wristwatch, which was prominently displayed during his wedding to former Olympic ice dancer Tatiana Navka. Anti-corruption activist and Kremlin opponent Aleksey Navalny revealed that a watch worn by Peskov was worth upwards of $600,000, despite Peskov’s approximate annual…

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August 13, 2015

By Justin Seitz

Using Python to Mine Common Crawl

This article was originally posted on the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. One of my Automating OSINT students Michael Rossi (@RossiMI01) pinged me with an interesting challenge. He had mentioned that the Common Crawl project is an excellent source of OSINT, as you can begin to explore any page snapshots they have stored for a target domain. Michael wanted…

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August 7, 2015

By Aric Toler

Shadow of a Doubt: Crowdsourcing Time Verification of the MH17 Missile Launch Photo

While much open source investigation is done through crowd sourcing, the administrator of the MH17 webtalk.ru forum has taken a unique approach: a single-blind poll to collaboratively determine the timing of a photograph. While this experiment does not have the scientific rigor of a pharmaceutical trial, the methodology of administrator “bootblack” is worthwhile of some examination. The…

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July 27, 2015

By Aric Toler

Interview with “WowihaY,” the Man Who Narrated MH17 as it Happened

The anonymous Twitter user @WowihaY has long been documenting the conflict in eastern Ukraine, especially as it has affected his hometown of Torez. He came to a degree of notoriety on July 17, 2014, as he was one of the most influential Twitter users in chronicling and deciphering the downing of MH17. Along with documenting…

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July 25, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Searching the Earth: Essential Geolocation Tools for Verification

As verification and open source investigation techniques and methodologies have been developed over the last few years various tools and platforms have been used to access the information that makes this kind of work possible. This includes pre-existing tools such as Google Earth and new tools developed over the last few years. In this article…

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July 23, 2015

By Lawrence Alexander

Unveiling Hidden Connections with Google Analytics IDs

Imagine you are researching an anonymous website with no clues as to its authorship. A single string of code could link that site to another, which perhaps reveals the identity of the owner. With the right tools, this information can be surprisingly easy to uncover. Site fingerprinting with embedded code Google Analytics is a popular…

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July 23, 2015

By Justin Seitz

Gaming Meets OSINT: Using Python to Help Solve Her Story

This was originally posted to the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. There is a very cool game called Her Story. The premise is that you are a cop sitting in front of a 1990s-era computer system that enables you to punch keywords in to view videos about a murder case. When you punch in a keyword, there are…

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June 23, 2015

By Justin Seitz

Mapping Where Sex Offenders Can Live

This article was originally posted to the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. Recently I was listening to an episode of the Freakonomics podcast titled, “Making Sex Offenders Pay – And Pay and Pay” which you can listen tohere. The premise behind the episode was that sex offenders are a bit unique in how they are punished by the…

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June 17, 2015

By Dan Kaszeta

Tactical Nuclear Ambiguity (Part II): Mushroom clouds, Flashes, and Bangs

If we are going to use video and still images to make pronouncements about whether or not certain explosions are nuclear or not, then we must make full advantage of the audio and visual cues available to us on the image or recording.  The purpose of this post is to provide some basic information on…

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