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June 19, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Identifying the Separatists Linked to the Downing of MH17

The full report can be viewed here (mirror) The Bellingcat Investigation Team has previously published a number of reports demonstrating that the deployment of the Buk missile launcher used to shoot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Ukraine on 17 July 2014 involved senior officers of the Russian Ministry of Defense and its military…

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June 7, 2019

By Eric Woods

Alabama, North Carolina, And Other States Move Billions In Weapons To Saudi, UAE

Individual U.S. states such as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Arizona, and others have exported hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since the Saudi-led war in Yemen began. Altogether, per publicly available data released by the U.S. government, 11 states plus the District of Columbia have each exported over…

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June 3, 2019

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Torching And Extortion: OSINT Analysis Of Burning Agriculture In Iraq

In early May 2019, it was reported that agricultural areas of central and northern Iraq were being set ablaze — allegedly by remaining pockets of fighters from the so-called Islamic State. The motive was said to have been punishment of farmers who refused to pay protection money to the terrorist organization. There is evidence that in…

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May 17, 2019

By Borderline Watch

Self-Appointed Defenders Of “Fortress Europe”: Analyzing Bulgarian Border Patrols

The peak of the migration crisis in Europe might be over, but it has provided lasting excuses for paramilitary proto-militias to continue to mobilize support in Bulgaria. Via their “defense of the European fortress” from a new “Islamic conquest,” they provide a platform for both overt and covert international cooperation between leading figures of the…

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May 15, 2019

By Marwan Khoury

When Old Videos Resurface: The Curious Tale Of A 2005 Hezbollah Operation

Online videos may be today’s most efficient information vector. They are the closest thing to a real-life event happening in front of your eyes, as opposed to pictures, texts, or even a combination of both. Nevertheless, the emergence of maliciously altered videos and deepfakes puts us at risk of being dangerously misinformed. To counter this,…

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May 10, 2019

By Bellingcat Contributor

Additional EA-03 Arrive At China’s Yishuntun

New satellite imagery acquired by Digitalglobe shows that China has increased the deployment of Guizhou Aviation Industry Group (GAIG) EA-03 Xianglong high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to Yishuntun airbase in Jilin province. The platform, identified by its unique box wing design and V shaped vertical stabilizers, is often considered China’s answer…

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May 2, 2019

By Giancarlo Fiorella

“Operation Liberty”: Overview Of The “Definitive Phase” In Venezuela’s Political Crisis

All times appear as local time UTC-4. Venezuelans awoke to a tumultuous morning on April 30, 2019. Leopoldo López, the leader of the Voluntad Popular [Popular Will, VP] party — under arrest since 2014 — had been freed. In a pair of messages shared on his Twitter account, López appeared beside National Assembly president Juan…

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April 30, 2019

By Dan Kaszeta

Can Ammonia Be Used As A Weapon? Likely Not

In the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, there have been sporadic reports involving the use of different kinds of industrial chemicals. In Syria in particular, but also in Iraq, a variety of commentators invariably try to link reports of practically every such instance to use as a chemical weapon, or else use as a…

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April 28, 2019

By Robert Evans

Ignore The Poway Synagogue Shooter’s Manifesto: Pay Attention To 8chan’s /pol/ Board

On April 27, 2019, at around 11:30 a.m. local time, a young man with a semi-automatic rifle walked into the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, California. He opened fire, killing one worshipper and wounding three others. In the hours since the shooting, a manifesto, believed to be written by the shooter, began circulating online….

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April 25, 2019

By Yemen Project

The Yemen Project: HAJ 10005 – The Abs Prison Strike

Open sources, including satellite imagery, indicate that on 2015/05/12 sometime after 1515 AST two buildings in Abs were destroyed, and other buildings damaged, in an airstrike by the Saudi-led Coalition (SLC). Although there were multiple reports of different locations being attacked, it was consistently stated that a prison was one of the targets of this attack. We identified what we believe to be this prison in the report.

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May 23, 2019

By Dan Kaszeta

Analysis Of The Park Patriot “Sarin Lab” In The Moscow Region

West of Moscow is a theme park called Patriot Park.  One interesting exhibit at this park is an alleged Sarin production laboratory, said to have been captured in Syria.  But is this really a production rig for the nerve agent Sarin? Photographs of the “Sarin Lab” courtesy of the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) Sarin Production…

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May 6, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

New Bellingcat Workshops Announced for Munich, Berkeley, and Zurich

Update: Our future workshops are all full, but with a wait-list available. Please message us if you are interested in being added to any of these events’ wait-lists. Bellingcat will hold workshops in Europe and the United States in the coming months, where participants can learn the tools and methodologies used by Bellingcat in their…

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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

Update: SearchFace is dead, long live FindClone! This guide is now mostly for historical interest, as SearchFace has been taken offline and replaced with FindClone, a far easier tool to use than SearchFace was. You need to use a mobile telephone number to create an account for FindClone, which then gives you 30 searches over a…

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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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