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April 19, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

An Open Source Survey of the Shooting of Lyra McKee

On the night of April 18 2019, a confrontation between Republican dissidents and police in the Creggan area of Derry/Londonderry resulted in the killing of Lyra McKee, a journalist who was at the scene covering the unrest.

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April 11, 2019

By Leone Hadavi

Logbook, Part I: The UAE’s BMP-3 IFV in Yemen

This project, divided into two parts, originated from an open source collection of photographic/video material I acquired for an investigation into the identification and tracking of the UAE Army’s BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) and Leclerc Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) operating in Yemen. This article will focus on vehicles of the first type. This effort…

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April 5, 2019

By Nick Waters

Are Historic Mosques In Xinjiang Being Destroyed?

Activists on Twitter have recently claimed that China has been destroying historic mosques across Xinjiang province, which is home to a large population of Uighurs, a primarily Muslim minority in China. By using open sources and satellite imagery we can locate these mosques and check such claims. We can also potentially narrow down when the…

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April 4, 2019

By Giancarlo Fiorella

Russians In Venezuela: What We Know So Far

On March 23, 2019, Twitter lit up with a series of images showing two Russian aircraft at the Simón Bolívar International airport just north of Caracas, Venezuela. The images also showed a group of individuals in uniform disembarking from one aircraft, and cargo being unloaded from the other. Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian…

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March 20, 2019

By Dan Kaszeta

Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics: Why London’s Murder Rate Is Not Higher Than NYC’s

On April 3, 2018, an article in USA Today stated that the murder rate in London exceeded that of New York City for the first time. A large numbers of articles and posts have since repeated this claim. These various articles and posts continue to be cited as evidence that London is more dangerous/violent than…

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March 19, 2019

By Henk Van Ess

Locating The Netherlands’ Most Wanted Criminal By Scrutinising Instagram

A fugitive convict from the Netherlands is taunting Dutch police with provocative pictures and videos from Iran, playing a game of “catch me if you can” on Instagram. “I love my freedom. And the weather,” he has stated. Bellingcat was able to reveal the last known location of the criminal with the help of over…

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March 15, 2019

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Mystery Spill At Mosul Lake: Analyzing Potential Causes Of Pollution

During the monitoring of the ongoing situation in Syria and Iraq via open-access satellite imagery, a curious situation presented itself in early January at the Mosul Lake. A black sludge stream resembling an oil spill appeared in the northwest part of the lake. The sludge stream disappeared late January, only to show up again on…

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March 15, 2019

By Robert Evans

Shitposting, Inspirational Terrorism, and the Christchurch Mosque Massacre

On Friday, March 15th, one or more gunmen opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. As I write this, three men and one woman have been taken into custody by local law enforcement. It is unclear to what extent they were all involved. The only thing we know is that one of the…

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March 10, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Fire on the Border: Analyzing Venezuela’s February 23 Border Clashes

On Saturday February 23 2019, hundreds of volunteers and political activists hoped to deliver over 600 tonnes of humanitarian aid into Venezuela on two bridges connecting Colombia’s Norte de Santander department with Venezuela’s Táchira state, and a road connecting Roraima and Bolívar states in Brazil and Venezuela, respectively. The highly anticipated event was part of…

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March 2, 2019

By Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Falcon vs Bison: Verifying a MiG-21 Wreck

On February 27th amid heightening tensions between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, an Indian Air Force MiG-21 aircraft was shot down by Pakistan. In the ensuing war of words over the incidents, both sides made varying claims about the incident, with India saying they had downed a Pakistani aircraft, while Pakistan stated it had downed…

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April 8, 2019

By Aric Toler

Using Phone Contact Book Apps For Digital Research

Popular apps such as TrueCaller or GetContact advertise the ability to see who is really calling you, even if you do not know the number, and alert the app user of spam or scam calls. However, the way that these apps gather information to determine the name of an unknown caller is not as broadly…

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March 26, 2019

By Brenna Smith

How To Track Illegal Funding Campaigns Via Cryptocurrency

After posting a tutorial on tracking GRU agents’ bitcoin (BTC) transactions, I’ve received numerous responses asking how to find out even more. I aim to please, so I’ve put together another tutorial using Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ bitcoin funding campaign as a case study. What You’ll Need To effectively analyze any bitcoin address, I rely…

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March 21, 2019

By Nathan Patin

Bellingcat’s Invitation Is Waiting For Your Response: An Investigative Guide To LinkedIn

Whether you’re investigating a company purporting to have damning information on Robert Mueller or conducting research on anti-Islamic State foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria, LinkedIn can serve as a useful resource for online researchers across a wide variety of subjects. This guide aims to provide helpful tools and techniques for identifying LinkedIn profiles and…

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March 8, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

New Bellingcat Workshops Announced for Sydney (April 1-5) and Melbourne (April 8-12)

Bellingcat will hold workshops in Australia for the first two weeks of April, where participants can learn the tools and methodologies used by Bellingcat in their investigations. We will hold a workshop in Sydney on April 1-5 and in Melbourne on April 8-12. Participants are required to bring their own laptops, and Google Earth Pro…

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March 5, 2019

By Benjamin Strick

How To Use Google Earth’s Three Dimensional View: Feat. Syria, Yemen, Sudan

It has become abundantly clear that geolocation and remote sensing is fundamental to knowing what happens in conflict areas where it is often too dangerous for journalists, observers and analysts to be present on the ground. This is a satellite-based case study on vetting a three-dimensional view of an area via Google Earth, featuring examples…

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March 4, 2019

By Timmi Allen

Geolocation and a Philosopher’s Stone in Kashmir

On February 27 of this year, a MiG-21 Bison aircraft of the Indian Air Force was shot down over the contested Kashmir region of Pakistan. Soon afterward, pictures and videos showing the wreck of an Indian MiG-21 Bison at various locations were published across both traditional and social media. Bellingcat initially reported on this incident…

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February 19, 2019

By Aric Toler

Using the New Russian Facial Recognition Site SearchFace.ru

In September 2018, the Russian website FindFace was taken offline in order to provide “solutions tailored for government and business”. This site received international press for its accuracy in its facial recognition capabilities, with a focus on finding someone’s profile on the Russian social network Vkontakte (VK). Recently, a new site has emerged from the…

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February 19, 2019

By Dan Kaszeta

Pesticides as Poisons: Analysis of the Gebrev Case

There has been a recent investigation here on Bellingcat, of a poisoning incident in Bulgaria in April 2015, where an individual named Emilian Gebrev was posioned. An angle of this investigation has been to see if it is at all connected to the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal. One particular aspect of recent publicity has…

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February 14, 2019

By Aiganysh Aidarbekova

Creating Your Own Citizen Database

A Case Study, Featuring the Electoral Roll of the Kyrgyz Republic When conducting digital investigations, using the tools already made available by the government can be a real help. Let’s use Kyrgyzstan as an example here. You may be looking for a witness or even a suspect in a crime, but you only know the…

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February 1, 2019

By Brenna Smith

Tracking Illicit Transactions With Blockchain: A Guide, Featuring Mueller

In recent years, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin  have been used by terrorists to conduct funding campaigns, authoritarian governments to subvert its citizens’ human rights, and GRU agents to hack the Democratic National Committee as well as the Clinton campaign. Though many people utilize virtual currencies for legitimate purposes, the technology is an enticing tool for…

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