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News:

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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November 28, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Open Source Survey of the Alleged November 24 2018 Chemical Attack in Aleppo

Introduction On the evening of November 24 of this year, a large number of people were admitted to hospitals in Aleppo complaining of difficulty breathing. Initial reports, such as this archived article from Sputnik, stated that there had been multiple fatalities. However, these reports were then revised, detailing only injuries as a result of the…

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November 25, 2018

By Bellingcat Contributor

China Launches Additional Type 094 SSBNs

Workers at the Bohai Shipyard at Huludao have constructed two additional Type 094 JIN-class ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN), satellite imagery from Planet Labs suggests. One Type 094 relocated from the shipyard’s fabrication hall to the nearby fitting-out pier in November 2017, while another relocated in October 2018. The Type 094 is the People’s Liberation…

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November 22, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Second GRU Officer Indicted in Montenegro Coup Unmasked

Two officers from Russia’s military intelligence (GRU) are sought, via Interpol, as suspected organizers of an unsuccessful 2016 coup in Montenegro, a small country on the Adriatic Sea in Southeastern Europe. The true identity of one officer is public, while the other officer is known only under his cover identity. Bellingcat has been able to unmask the real identity of the second suspect indicted by the Montenegro prosecutor, and to confirm that he is indeed a senior GRU officer.

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November 16, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Spies Without Borders – How the FSB Infiltrated the International Visa System

One of the unanswered questions lingering after Bellingcat’s unmasking of the identities of suspects in the botched-up poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal, is how two (or, likely, more) undercover GRU officers were able to obtain visas to travel to the UK. Securing a visa to the UK – as to most of EU destinations…

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November 14, 2018

By Bellingcat Contributor

Angola Takes Delivery of Four Su-30KN

Four Su-30 multi-role fighters have been delivered to Angola as of October 2018, as confirmed by satellite imagery. The aircraft are part of a $1 billion deal for 12 airframes signed with Russia in 2013. Fresh satellite imagery captured the aircraft parked on the apron at the Lubango civil-military airport in the Huila province. The…

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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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October 18, 2018

By Hannah Ellis

How to Prevent, Identify and Address Vicarious Trauma — While Conducting Open Source Investigations in the Middle East

Whether it involves victims of a chemical attack or a bombing, open source investigators are required to watch and interact with raw footage from the field — it lies at the core of online open source investigation. As a consequence of the increase in eyewitness media, investigators come in contact with a high amount of…

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October 15, 2018

By Dan Kaszeta

Use of Ricin: Is This Amateur Hour?

Recent incidents have brought up the subject of the biological toxin known as ricin as a possible terrorist weapon. A Utah man, one William Clyde Allen III, was arrested by the FBI for having sent letters laced with ricin to the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the Chief of Naval Operations. In June of 2018,…

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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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