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June 18, 2018

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Fuel to the Fire: Satellite Imagery Captures Burning Oil Tanks Libya

Recent eruptions of violence in Libya’s so-called ‘oil cresent’ between armed forces loyal to Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and rival  armed groups resulted in another row of burning oil tanks.  In the areas around oil terminals at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, clashes continued for days. As a result of the shelling, various oil…

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June 18, 2018

By Nick Waters

First ISIS, then Iraq, now Israel: IDF Use of Commercial Drones

Over the last two years we have observed large increase in the use of commercial off the shelf drones (COTS) in conflict by both state and non-state actors, whether that be the Islamic State, the Iraqi Federal Police, or the multitude of other users across the world. Recently we have seen Israel join other state-level…

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June 14, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

The Chemical Munitions Used By the Syrian Government 2012-2018

The conflict in Syria has seen the widespread use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces since the end of 2012, with a surprising, and often very unusual, range of chemical munitions used. This article examines the chemical munitions documented through open sources, primarily used to deploy Sarin and chlorine gas. Volcano Rockets Known Period…

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June 13, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

The OPCW Fact Finding Mission Confirms More Sarin and Chlorine Use in Syria

On June 13th 2018 the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) confirmed the use of Sarin and Chlorine in Al-Lataminah on March 24th 2017 and March 25th 2017 in a new report. This would make the 3rd confirmed use of Sarin as a chemical weapon by the OPCW FFM in a 10 day period between March…

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May 30, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

What to Watch Out For in the Upcoming OPCW FFM Report on the Douma Chemical Attack

In the coming weeks it is expected the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) will release its report on the April 7 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Damascus. The purpose of the OPCW FFM is to establish whether or not chemical agents were used, not to assign blame. Prior to Russia vetoing its renewal at the…

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May 25, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

MH17 – Russian GRU Commander ‘Orion’ Identified as Oleg Ivannikov

A joint investigation between Bellingcat, The Insider, and McClatchy DC Bureau has conclusively identified another key person of interest in the ongoing investigation of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17). The person known as ’Andrey Ivanovich’, a.k.a. call sign ‘Orion’, is in fact a high-ranking Russian GRU officer named Oleg Vladimirovich Ivannikov. Русская…

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May 16, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

What the OPCW-FFM Report on the Saraqib Chlorine Attack Tells Us About the Douma Chemical Attack

Today’s OPCW-FFM report on the February 4 2018 chemical attack in Saraqib, Idlib, reveals not only information about the Saraqib attack, but also the broader use of chemical weapons in Syria, and additional evidence to support the theory Syrian government forces were behind the April 7 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Damascus. Consistent with Bellingcat’s…

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May 13, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

“We are going to surrender! Stop shooting!”: Reconstructing Óscar Pérez’s Last Hours

This report (Spanish version) was co-researched and authored by Giancarlo Fiorella (@invenezuelablog), author of In Venezuela, and Aliaume Leroy (@Yaolri), member of the Bellingcat Investigation Team. Bellingcat undertook the investigation in collaboration with Forensic Architecture who have constructed a navigable three-dimensional digital platform of El Junquito in which the more than 60 pieces of evidence…

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May 13, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

“¡Nos vamos a entregar! ¡No sigan disparando! “: Reconstruyendo las últimas horas de Óscar Pérez

Este informe (versión inglesa) fue co-investigado y escrito por Giancarlo Fiorella (@invenezuelablog), autor del blog In Venezuela, y Aliaume Leroy (@Yaolri), miembro del Equipo de Investigación de Bellingcat. Bellingcat hizo esta investigación en colaboración con Forensic Architecture, quienes construyeron un modelo digital navegable de tres dimensiones de El Junquito el cual ubica más de 60…

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May 10, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Full Report: Russian Officers and Militants Identified as Perpetrators of the January 2015 Mariupol Artillery Strike

The full investigation can be downloaded here  A collection of intercepted phone conversations that were used as research materials in this investigation can be accessed here Our directory of archived videos of the Mariupol shelling and its aftermath can be accessed here Our map summarizing the estimated trajectories and potential firing sites near Mariupol can be…

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June 14, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

New Spaces Available for Amsterdam and London 5 Day Workshops

A small number of new spaces have become available for the following Bellingcat workshops: Amsterdam June 25th – 29th London July 2nd – July 6th London July 9th – July 13th The workshop will be split into two main sections. The first three days will be dedicated to teaching participants a range of open source investigation…

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June 8, 2018

By Aric Toler

Anatomy of a Russian ‘Troll Factory’ News Site

When browsing through stories on the newly-established media outlet USAReally.com, you may think that you are reading a procedural-generated site that exists entirely from search engine optimization tricks, stealing articles from more established outlets and reposting them as if they were original. However, a closer inspection shows that there are no advertisements on the site…

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June 1, 2018

By Aric Toler

Colangelo’s Sock Puppets? Open Source Sleuthing Methods in Recent NBA Scandal

On May 29, The Ringer published an investigation into five Twitter accounts that had apparent links to Bryan Colangelo, the President of Basketball Operations of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Colangelo has since confirmed that he does operate one of these accounts — @phila1234567 — but is apparently only used for monitoring news, and does not tweet. The…

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May 1, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

Additional London 5 Day Workshop Announced for July and US Workshop News

Due to high demand, Bellingcat will be offering an additional London workshop on the week of July 9th to 13th. In addition, we are currently measuring interest for workshops in Washington, New York, and San Francisco. If you are interested in potentially participating in a 5 day Bellingcat workshop in one of those 3 cities…

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April 19, 2018

By Syrian Archive

Methodology: How we Tracked the Illegal Shipment of Sarin Precursor from Belgium to Syria

On 18 April 2018 Syrian Archive and Knack revealed information that Belgium violated EU sanctions against Syria according to the summons of an upcoming lawsuit. The Belgian customs found that without having requested the appropriate export licenses three Flemish companies have exported 96 tonnes of isopropanol in a concentration of 95% or higher to Syria…

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March 8, 2018

By Dan Kaszeta

Nerve Agents: What are they?

The former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter have been deliberately poisoned, in an apparent act of chemical terrorism.  This  poisoning occurred in Salisbury, in the UK,  on Sunday 4 March 2018. It has recently been disclosed that this particular act involved the use of a “nerve agent”.  Already, there are numerous examples…

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February 22, 2018

By Aric Toler

How to Archive Open Source Materials

Throughout this story, click on any of the images to view in full resolution. When conducting open source investigations, an ever-present issue is how to archive away the materials you are researching. For example, a social media post may be deleted by a user after you publish an investigation, or a video on YouTube showing…

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February 21, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

New Bellingcat Workshops Announced for London and Amsterdam

Bellingcat is holding a series of workshops in Europe in 2018, where participants can learn the tools and methodologies used by Bellingcat in their investigations. Currently 5 day workshops are planned for the following dates: Amsterdam June 25th – 29th FULL London July 2nd – July 6th FULL Participants are required to bring their own laptops, and…

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February 10, 2018

By Thomas Mulder

Dutch Police Social Media Activity Raise Privacy Concerns

Following a Bellingcat workshop, a group of investigative journalists from the Dutch public broadcaster KRO-NCRV spent the last six months investigating social media platforms used by the Dutch National Police Force. After analyzing data and footage from YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, we reached the following conclusion: Dutch police are sometimes careless with…

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January 29, 2018

By Aric Toler

How to Use and Interpret Data from Strava’s Activity Map

Recently, the fitness app Strava published a “heatmap” of trillion of data points visualizing the information of users who submitted or synchronized their fitness activity to their servers. This data includes both fitness information recorded directly on the fitness app and data synchronized with the app from a number of physical fitness trackers, such as…

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