by and for citizen investigative journalists

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April 1, 2015

By Peter Jukes

Coulson, Cameron. Brooks: the political element in Phone Hacking

Given the current febrile atmosphere of the election campaign here in the UK, this is worth revisiting. A comprehensive report by the Media Standards trust shows how politically targeted phone hacking at News of the World was – mainly under the editorship of Andy Coulson (the only surviving phone records to confirm hacking date from a…

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March 30, 2015

By Aric Toler

MH17 Joint Investigation Team’s New Video Brings New Facts to Light

On March 30, the Joint Investigation Team investigating the cause of the downing of MH17 released a video calling for witnesses in eastern Ukraine to come forward with information regarding the transport of a Buk anti-aircraft system through eastern Ukraine on July 17th (the day of the MH17 crash) and 18th, 2014. In the video,…

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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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April 24, 2015

By Melissa Hanham

Metadata: MetaUseful & MetaCreepy

This article was originally posted on Arms Control Wonk. One of the easiest and most useful methods for an open source analyst is to extract metadata from imagery. Metadata is data that is often included with an image, such as the time it was taken, the type of camera that was used, and yes, if…

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April 12, 2015

By Andrew Haggard

Geolocating the Walter Scott Shooting

On April 4, 2015, a police officer named Michael Slager of the North Chaleston Police Department shot and killed Walter Scott as he attempted to flee from the officer. The case has made national headlines in the United States and has been picked up in international media as well. Since the shooting, several major events…

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April 10, 2015

By Melissa Hanham

There’s a Map for That

This article was originally posted on Arms Control Wonk. Many people ask where they can get satellite imagery. Working at a nonprofit, my preferences tend towards the free, but there are some great resources on the cheap too. Why check more than one map? Because: Volkel. Here’s a list of my favorites:

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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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