by and for citizen investigative journalists

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June 30, 2015

By Nathan Patin

Tracking the Vehicle that Transported the MH17 Buk

Thanks to the generous donations of our supporters last month, Bellingcat was able to purchase 25 square kilometers of satellite imagery from Digital Globe. Our latest report used this imagery to definitively demonstrate that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) falsely dated satellite photos it presented to the international community in the days after the MH17 tragedy last…

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June 30, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Kazakhstan Has Received Four Russian SU-30SM Fighters

In case you missed it, Kazakhstan’s recent military parade in May confirmed that the central Asian country is operating at least four Su-30SM aircraft. The parade, which took place in Astana, commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War II. The Kazakhstan Air Defence Forces took delivery of the 4++ generation Russian-built…

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June 29, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Satellite Imagery Reveals China’s New Drone Base

Satellite imagery of Hangzhou Bay shows that China has recently renovated a reserve airfield for dedicated drone operations in the East China Sea. With military aviation being a priority, China’s been slowly moving toward operating more capable UAVs. Analysts and policy wonks alike have little doubt those capabilities will be put to good use as…

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June 29, 2015

By Bellingcat

De nouvelles images satellites confirment que la Russie a retouché des images concernant le crash du MH17

Dans la rapport de Bellingcat du 31 mai 2015, Forensic Analysis of Satellite Images Released by the Russian Ministry of Defense (Analyse Judiciaire des Images Satellites Publiées par le Ministère de la Défense Russe), l’équipe d’enquête de Bellingcat a souligné de multiples différences entre les images satellites présentées par le ministère de la Défense russe (MoD)…

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June 29, 2015

By Oryx

Fortress T4: An Airbase at War

The Islamic State’s offensive in Central Syria has not only allowed the fighters of the Islamic State to expand their operations into areas previously out of reach, but it now also threatens the regime’s gas supplies, its presence on numerous fronts, its control over the only road leading to the vitally important T4 airbase and…

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June 22, 2015

By Bellingcat

Revealed: How The Metropolitan Police Covered-Up For Rupert Murdoch’s News International

By Joe Public A Bellingcat and Byline investigation can for the first time reveal Scotland Yard had intelligence Mazher Mahmood was corrupting police officers as far back as the summer of 2000. The Yard’s 1999/2000 Operation Two Bridges had surveillance on Mahmood in The Victory pub, in Thornton Heath, south London by CIB3 officers (also…

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June 19, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Did China Just Build a New Midget Submarine?

Imagery acquired by commercial satellite firm DigitalGlobe from October 2014 shows what appears to be a new midget submarine at China’s Wuchang shipyard. The space snapshots captured the vessel berthed at the shipyard’s fitting out pier. According to imagery measurements, the vessel has a load waterline length of approximately 35 meters and a beam of approximately…

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June 15, 2015

By Chris Biggers

Satellite Imagery Shows Saudi Armor Near Iraqi Border

The latest satellite imagery acquired by DigitalGlobe of Saudi Arabia’s northern border region shows the Kingdom bolstering the deployment of its troops with some substantial firepower. With conflict in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, everyone’s on edge in the Middle East. And none more so than the Saudis. Space snapshots from November and December 2014 of Turaif shows…

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June 13, 2015

By Masis Ingilizian

US Caspian Sea Strategy and Azerbaijan’s Shipbuilding Facility

US interests in the Caspian Sea are part of the larger framework of US geo-strategic interests in the Eurasian region. US proxies such as Israel provide support, technical advice and military equipment to the Azerbaijani navy. Both US and Israeli interests against Iranian and Russian influence in the Caspian Sea have aided Azerbaijan in its…

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June 13, 2015

By Christian Borys

Exclusive Access to the Russian Forpost Drone Shot Down in Ukraine

Видео (с русскими субтитрами) Russia’s repeated attempts to convince the international community and its own citizens that there are no Russian troops, or weapons in Ukraine have grown tiresome and farcical, especially when compared against the meticulously researched mountain of evidence to the contrary. Shortly after Ukrainian troops captured two Russian Spetsnaz soldiers, a Ukrainian…

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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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June 9, 2015

By Justin Seitz

Analyzing Bin Ladin’s Bookshelf Part 2

This article was originally published on AutomatingOSINT.com. After running the first part of this series I had a question come in from Charles Cameron (@hipbonegamer) a well known author and terrorism researcher: Charles Cameron (hipbone) – May 26th, 2015 So — did you draw any conclusions from the use of this technique on the trove…

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June 5, 2015

By Aric Toler

Who to Trust, Google or the Russian MoD? A Guide to Verifying Google Earth Satellite Image Dates

Bellingcat recently published an in-depth investigation finding that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) fabricated and misrepresented their satellite photographs in a July 21, 2014 press conference, immediately following the July 17 downing of MH17. The most obvious and compelling evidence of this investigation was in the clear differences in the landscape between Russian MoD…

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June 2, 2015

By Dan Kaszeta

Tactical Nuclear Ambiguity: A short history of incidents mistakenly believed to be nuclear detonations

Recent weeks have seen numerous reports that an explosion in Yemen was a “nuclear bomb” or even a “neutron bomb”.  These particular reports, about a large explosion in Yemen in late May 2015 are largely re-circulating due to articles in the widely derided and generally discredited Veterans Today. It is clear to me, for reasons that…

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May 31, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

How to Find Historical Imagery of Russia’s Faked Satellite Photos

In Bellingcat’s latest report, Forensic Analysis of Satellite Images Released by the Russian Ministry of Defense, we exposed how Russia had falsely claimed satellite imagery from June 2014 was from July 14th and July 17th. As with nearly all of Bellingcat’s work we used open source information, satellite imagery from Google Earth, to expose the fake…

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May 29, 2015

By Melissa Hanham

Photo Interpretation Student Handbook

This article was originally posted on Arms Control Wonk. Sadly, there is no textbook for imagery analysis. I would love to contribute to one someday, but until that becomes an option, here’s the March 1996 Unclassified Photo Interpretation Student Handbook. I picked it up from from a rather unusual meeting on a DC trip and…

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May 29, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Confirming the Location of the Same Msta-S in Russia and Ukraine

During the conflict in Ukraine it has been possible to identify units sighted in Russia that have also been filmed and photographed in Ukraine. The following is an example of the same Msta-S self-propelled 152 mm howitzer filmed in both Ukraine and Russia. Rostov-na-Donu, Russia A video uploaded to YouTube on July 30 shows various pieces of…

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May 28, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Russia’s Pantsir-S1s Geolocated in Ukraine

During the conflict in Ukraine a number of Russian military vehicles not known to be in service in Ukraine have appeared under the control of separatists inside Ukraine. One of these systems is the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft system, with a number of sightings in separatist controlled Ukraine. Using geolocation it has been possible to establish the…

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May 28, 2015

By Aric Toler

Geolocating Stanislav Tarasov

When searching for images near Pavlovka, a site of artillery attacks from Russia to Ukraine, we find a series of images from a soldier named Stanislav Tarasov. These photos can be found on various geomapping services for photos posted to Instagram, including Gramfeed. By looking at other images in his Instagram, one stands out, showing…

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