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News:

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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March 1, 2019

By Eliot Higgins

The OPCW FFM’s Report on the April 7th 2018 Douma Chemical Attack Versus The Open Source Evidence

The OPCW Fact Finding Mission’s new report on the April 7, 2018 Douma chemical attack provides more details about what occurred in Douma nearly a year ago — and also allows us to compare those details and their conclusions to open source evidence and statements made by various parties. The Open Source Investigations A few…

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March 1, 2019

By Alexander McKeever

Wrath of the Olives: Tracking the Afrin Insurgency Through Social Media

Concluding in late March 2018, Operation Olive Branch resulted in the capture of Kurdish-populated Afrin district of Aleppo by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and allied Free Syrian Army (TFSA) factions. The bulk of Afrin’s YPG and YPJ defenders and over a hundred thousand of its inhabitants fled east to the nearby Shahba region during…

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February 25, 2019

By Bellingcat Contributor

Iran Builds A New Tanker at Sadra

Iran’s Sadra Island shipyard is currently constructing another AFRAMAX tanker, satellite imagery acquired by Planet Labs confirms. Workers at the shipyard began laying the keel in late April 2018 but very little progress was made until November—the targeted month for the return of U.S. oil sanctions. New international orders have not been revealed in public…

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February 21, 2019

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

The Search for Denis Sergeev: Photographing a Ghost

In the previous part of this report, Bellingcat and its investigative partners The Insider (Russia) and Respekt (Czechia) identified Denis Sergeev, the GRU officer who was present in the UK during the poisoning of the Skripals in March 2018, and was also in Bulgaria during the poisoning, with similar symptoms, of a Bulgarian arms dealer…

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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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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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