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News:

September 20, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Skripal Suspects Confirmed as GRU Operatives: Prior European Operations Disclosed

In the previous part of a joint investigation, Bellingcat and The Insider – Russia established that: Alexander Petrov – a fake cover persona for a yet unidentified Russian individual – is not a civilian but linked to one of Russia’s security services. This assessment was based on an exhaustive analysis of “Petrov” passport dossier as…

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September 18, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

Pour la troisième fois cette année, du chlore a été utilisé comme arme chimique à Douma, banlieue de Damas

Alors que les préoccupations internationales grandissent au sujet de l’utilisation d’armes chimiques par la Syrie, de nouvelles preuves de leur utilisation par l’armée syrienne continuent à émerger. Le matin du 1er février 2018, des activistes locaux ont rapporté l’utilisation de roquettes chimiques remplies de chlore envoyées sur l’ouest de la ville de Douma, située à…

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September 17, 2018

By Keith B. Ward

La létalité du gaz de chlore – Une explication possible du nombre élevé de victimes et décès à la suite des attaques du 7 avril 2018 à Douma, en Syrie

Un rapport précédent d’Eliot Higgins a rassemblé les preuves concernant au moins deux bouteilles de gaz jaunes associées aux attaques du 7 avril 2018 à Douma, en Syrie. Ce rapport examine les similitudes avec les précédentes attaques qui ont impliqué du chlore en Syrie, et dénombre les bilans humains rapportés depuis Douma allant de 43…

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September 14, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Skripal Poisoning Suspect’s Passport Data Shows Link to Security Services

Read The Insider Russian report on this same topic here. An ongoing Bellingcat investigation conducted jointly with The Insider Russia has confirmed through uncovered passport data that the two Russian nationals identified by UK authorities as prime suspects in the Novichok poisonings on British soil are linked to Russian security services. This finding directly contradicts…

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September 11, 2018

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Burning Borderlands: Open-Source Monitoring of Conflict-caused Wildfires in Iraq

Iraq is on fire. Since late June, media has reported on wildfires in northern parts of Iraqi Kurdistan among the border with Turkey, along the border with Iran in the northeast and in the southeast of Iraq at the Hawizeh marshes, bordering Iran. A hazardous cocktail of climate change-induced increased summer heat, water shortages, military…

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September 9, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

The Battle of Idlib Opens with the Bombing of Medical and Rescue Facilities

Medical and rescue facilities in opposition held areas have frequently been the target of air strikes by pro-government forces, and what appears to be the open stages of the Battle for Idlib is no different. On September 6th 2018 the Syrian Civil Defence Twitter account posted images of what was described as a White Helmets…

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September 6, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

“God-level Trolling” – Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zakharova Promotes Debunked Internet Conspiracy Theories on The Skripal Nerve Agent Attack

Following the recent publication of information about the two suspects in the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal a number of attempts have been made to debunk the evidence, most notably from the informal network of individuals and websites who have a long history of pushing conspiracy theories about other allegations against Russia, such as the…

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August 30, 2018

By Oleksiy Kuzmenko

Ukrainian Far-Right Fighters, White Supremacists Trained by Major European Security Firm

Summary of Findings Since 2016, the European Security Academy (ESA) an EU-based company that offers advanced training programs for security, law enforcement and military professionals, has provided sophisticated training geared towards combat application to elements of Ukraine’s controversial Azov Regiment, also known as the Azov Battalion, which has been integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard…

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August 30, 2018

By Noor Nahas

Russia Ramps Up Chemical Weapon Disinformation Leading-Up to Idlib Offensive

As a potential offensive into the remaining Syrian rebel strongholds in Idlib from the Assad government becomes more likely, Russian propaganda outlets like RT (formerly known as Russia Today), their various embassies, and their network of friendly media outlets have started pushing stories of potential chemical attacks in Idlib and Hama. Various stories spread by…

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August 22, 2018

By Noor Nahas

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Attempting to Consolidate Power Ahead of Idlib Offensive

The Syrian regime continues to indicate that an offensive on rebel-held Idlib in coming, publishing videos of ammunition and soldiers being moved to borders of the region and dropping leaflets calling for reconciliation. Opposition forces have also begun preparations: digging trenches, merging organizations and groups into their umbrella, and asking civilians to begin moving from…

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Resources:

September 5, 2018

By Nathan Ruser

How to Scrape Interactive Geospatial Data

With few exceptions, everything that appears in your browser can be downloaded and transformed into useable data formats, with many organisations or individuals maintain complex and publicly accessible datasets containing valuable information. Despite being publicly viewable, in many cases the underlying data is not able to be downloaded and further analysed. This guide will focus…

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September 4, 2018

By Benjamin Strick

How to Identify Burnt Villages by Satellite Imagery  — Case-Studies from California, Nigeria and Myanmar

Evidence of human rights abuses often remains in some of the world’s most regional and unreachable parts. It is in these areas, where a view from satellite imagery above can be the sole method of visual evidence of bombings, attacks, and the destruction of communities. As satellite imagery becomes more available and technology permits for…

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August 23, 2018

By Aric Toler

Creating an Android Open Source Research Device on Your PC

Most digital research can be done without any issues on a desktop or laptop computer; however, sometimes you may need to use a mobile device to use particular applications. This guide will provide a walk-through on setting up a virtual Android device on a PC to conduct open source research. Android emulation is also possible…

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August 13, 2018

By Dan Kaszeta

Why are Nerve Agents so Difficult to Make?

Nerve agents, both in the form of Sarin in Syria and in the form of the so-called Novichok A-234 in the UK, continue to claim both victims and headlines. A recurring theme, aired early on in the Syrian chemical war, and oft-repeated, is that somehow nerve agents are easy to make. Many conspiracy theories and…

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July 27, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

Bellingcat is Hiring – Editor – Applications Closed

Bellingcat is looking for an experienced editor to oversee commissioning, writing, and publication of our investigations. This is an exciting role in a pioneering investigative outfit that works with some of the world’s leading lawyers, think-tanks, NGOs, and media outlets. The right candidate will have a solid understanding of open source investigative techniques, excellent written English, and will be a motivated self-starter. There are opportunities to work on important international investigations and to learn from the best in this field. This role will be mainly home-based.

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July 20, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

New York, Washington, and San Francisco September and October Workshop Details Announced

Bellingcat will be holding a series of five 5-day workshops in September and October 2018 in New York City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. Please be aware that some workshops will not be open to government employees. Dates The dates of the workshops are listed below: September 17th to 21st – New York City (Open…

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July 19, 2018

By Rao Komar

كيفية التحقق رقمياً من انتماء العناصر المسلحة في الصراعات في الشرق الاوسط

لقد أدى انتشار وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي والهواتف الذكية في جميع أنحاء الشرق الأوسط إلى خلق قدر هائل من الوثائق المتاحة للجمهور حول النزاعات في المنطقة. سواء في شكل مقاطع فيديو أو صور و مقاطع من المعارك والاشتباكات إلى جرائم الحرب المحتملة,و يتم توثيق الكثير من هذه الاشياء بشكل روتيني وتحميلها إلى مواقع مختلفة مثل فيس…

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July 10, 2018

By Noor Nahas

How to Collect Sources from Syria If You Don’t Read Arabic

Information from groups involved in international conflicts has never been as accessible as it is now. Rebel groups run social media accounts, video of missile launches are posted to Twitter, and the production value of propaganda has skyrocketed. For researchers and journalists who do not master the Arabic language, the same problems still exist: how…

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July 9, 2018

By Rao Komar

How to Digitally Verify Combatant Affiliation in Middle East Conflicts

The spread of social media and smartphones throughout the Middle East has created a truly enormous amount of publicly available documentation of conflicts in the region. Whether in the form of videos or photos, from combat footage to potential war crimes — a lot of things are routinely documented and uploaded to various sites like…

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July 8, 2018

By Foeke Postma

After Strava, Polar is Revealing the Homes of Soldiers and Spies

Polar, a fitness app, is revealing the homes and lives of people exercising in secretive locations, such as intelligence agencies, military bases and airfields, nuclear weapons storage sites, and embassies around the world, a joint investigation of Bellingcat and Dutch journalism platform De Correspondent reveals.  In January Nathan Ruser discovered that the fitness app Strava revealed sensitive…

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