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January 22, 2019

By Dan Kaszeta

Isopropyl Alcohol and Sarin: One Is Needed For the Other

Recent sanctions enforcement cases in Belgium and Switzerland have demonstrated that organisations within Syria have been attempting to purchase large quantities of isopropyl alcohol, also known as propan-2-ol, 2-propanol and isopropanol. European Union sanctions have controlled traffic in isopropyl alcohol to Syria since 2013. After Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention in late 2013,…

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January 10, 2019

By Nick Waters

Houthis Use Armed Drone to Target Yemeni Army Top Brass

On January 10, 2019 a drone reportedly targeted a Yemeni government base during a military parade, allegedly killing six people and wounding many others, including several senior officers. Analysis of the attack indicates that a variant of an Ababil T drone, referred to as a Qasef 1 by Houthi forces, was used to attack the…

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January 9, 2019

By Narine Khachatryan

The Mysterious Disappearance of Jeannette Island (on Google Maps)

If you are browsing around Google Maps and, for some reason, looking at islands in the East Siberian Sea, you will come across something peculiar — a nightmarish black blob covering up what should be a landmass named Jeannette Island. This island, in reality, is quite small, at only three square kilometers, and part of the…

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January 3, 2019

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Heavy Rains in Hasakah: An Open-Source Analysis of Catastrophic Damage

When the season of heavy rainfall began in war-torn Syria, the misery local residents and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have faced over the years was compounded by environmental setbacks. This open-source monitoring blog of the situation in north eastern Syria, currently controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), will look how the rains in the…

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December 22, 2018

By Giancarlo Fiorella

Identifying Aircraft in the Canaima Operation in Venezuela

All times are shown as UTC-4 local time. On December 8, 2018, reports appeared on Twitter claiming that YV2030—an airplane used by President Nicolás Maduro’s nephews during their failed drug trafficking career—was taking part in a military operation in Canaima, a remote town located in Venezuela’s Bolivar state. The news came via a journalist named…

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December 18, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Chemical Weapons and Absurdity: The Disinformation Campaign Against the White Helmets

A joint report in collaboration with Newsy The Syrian Civil Defence (SCD), also known as the White Helmets, is a search-and-rescue organisation based in opposition-held areas. They have recorded some of the worst atrocities carried out in Syria and provided vital evidence of gross human rights abuses by the Syrian government and the Russian military….

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December 18, 2018

By Vincent Triest

How Albania Accidentally Exposed Its Own Intelligence Operatives

The Republic of Albania, a NATO member, has been posting sensitive information about its secret service online, publishing thousands of payments made by the spy agency. By doing so the identities of foreign and domestic operatives have been uncovered, and number plates used by the intelligence officers, and other sensitive details published to the web….

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December 16, 2018

By Christiaan Triebert

Tracking Italy’s Arms Trade (#ItalianArms)

Italy’s arms industry is growing, and the country has already been one of the world’s biggest arms exporters for years. Since 1990, thousands of arms exports licences have been granted, with some of the biggest customers being Algeria, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The European Union (EU) has safeguards in place to prevent weapons…

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December 7, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Did Someone Fake this Picture of Restrained Men in Damascus?

Has the Syrian government been forced to chain young men together to recruit them into the military? An image purporting to be from Damascus certainly gives this impression, showing several young men being forced into a van, apparently tied together with a chain or rope, with soldiers standing by. The image and the explanation for…

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November 30, 2018

By Michael Cruickshank

Investigating The Kerch Strait Incident

On the 25th of November, Ukraine and Russia were involved in one of the most serious confrontations of the almost 5-year long conflict between the two countries. Russian Navy vessels first rammed and then later fired on and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels, marking the first time Russian-flagged military units had officially attacked those of…

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January 4, 2019

By Justin Seitz

How To Blow Your Online Cover With URL Previews

URL previews are a nice feature found in most messaging applications. They allow you to paste a URL to a friend or colleague, and have a handy miniature view of the website you are about to view. The downside is that a lot of applications generate these previews without you knowing what is happening behind…

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January 4, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

New Bellingcat Workshop Announced for Toronto (May 20 – 24) [Workshop Full]

Update: The Toronto workshop is now full. If you are interested in being added to the wait-list for any of our future workshops, please send a message to workshops@bellingcat.com Bellingcat will hold a series of workshops in Europe and the United States in early 2019, where participants can learn the tools and methodologies used by…

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December 28, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

Bellingcat is Hiring – Investigator/Trainer

Bellingcat is recruiting a candidate to both conduct digital investigations and work as a trainer in workshops teaching open source research and verification skills across the world. Candidates should demonstrate a track record in producing open source investigations, would preferably have some experience as a trainer or teacher, and must be willing and able to…

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November 21, 2018

By Benjamin Strick

Geolocation of Infrastructure Destruction in Cameroon: A Case Study of Kumbo and Kumfutu

Geolocation is crucial in open source investigations. In countries in conflict and/or countries under dictatorship, verifying evidence on the ground can be difficult. Video and photographic materials make it possible to have a working knowledge of events occurring out of reach — and it is always important to geolocate such materials. Cameroon, for example, has…

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November 20, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

Bellingcat is Hiring – Business Director

Gross Salary – 70,000 to 90,000 Euros per year Place of work – Remotely, then The Hague Start date – Immediate, based on availability Duration – 1 year minimum Bellingcat is currently seeking a Business Director to manage the day to day operations of Stichting Bellingcat, and play a key role in the long term…

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November 19, 2018

By Benjamin Strick

Using Time-Lapse Satellite Imagery To Detect Infrastructure Changes: Case-Studies via Myanmar, Nigeria and the South China Sea

Identifying changes in infrastructure is an important task for those of us surveilling areas for investigative purposes. Satellite imagery can show evidence of everything from the destruction of buildings, the erection of temporary structures, as well as newly constructed permanent facilities. This kind of information is important for analysis of events in conflict areas, as…

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November 8, 2018

By Daniel Romein

Europol’s Asian City Child Abuse Photographs Geolocated

Since 2017 the European Union Agency of Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol, has been crowdsourcing parts of or heavily censored photographs, related to child abuse crimes in their “Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object” campaign. Within two weeks after the start of their campaign Europol received 10.000 contributions from the public. Bellingcat,…

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November 1, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

New Bellingcat Workshops Announced for Berlin, London, Washington, and Amsterdam (All workshops now full)

Bellingcat is holding a series of workshops in Europe and the United States in 2018 and early 2019, where participants can learn the tools and methodologies used by Bellingcat in their investigations. Currently 5-day workshops are planned for the following dates: Berlin : November 26-30 (FULL) London : January 14-18 (FULL) Washington, D.C. : January 28-February 1 (FULL)…

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October 24, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Dali, Warhol, Boshirov: Determining the Time of an Alleged Photograph from Skripal Suspect Chepiga

On 11 October 2014, a Facebook profile to a person named “Ruslan Boshirov” — the cover identity of Skripal poisoner Anatoliy Chepiga — posted a lone photograph of Prague, showing the heavily trafficked Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock. The upload date of this photograph coincides with a report from the Czech publication Radiožurnal that…

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October 22, 2018

By Aiganysh Aidarbekova

Corrupt Latin: How Orthography Revealed Corruption in Kyrgyzstan

In 2013, Russian political activist Alexey Navalny published a blog post in which he exposed a corruption scheme used on state procurement websites. Generally, in public procurement processes, the state customer publishes an advertisement for the purchase of goods or services, and the contractor offering the lowest price wins the tender and delivers the goods/services….

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