by and for citizen investigative journalists

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February 10, 2016

By CyberBerkut

CyberBerkut is already here

Cyber Berkut continues struggle against western conquerors and their minions. Ruslan Leviev is the one who needs to be cured much more then to be published. Bellingcat is a pro-NATO and pro-American british provocateur organisation. They lie and spy. Troubles of others is their food. They are scavengers, not investigators. For those, who want some…

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February 8, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Cluster Bombs Used in Talbiseh, Homs, Match Type Seen at Russia’s Syrian Airbase

Today’s Human Rights Watch report Russia/Syria: Daily Cluster Munition Attacks documents further use of cluster munitions in the Syria conflict, following earlier reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on the use of cluster munitions in Syria. These reports triggered denials from the Russian Defence Ministry, who denied such munitions were even present at their airbase in Syria….

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February 5, 2016

By Christiaan Triebert

Yemen’s Bombed Water Infrastructure: An OSINT Investigation

By Brendan Clifford* and Christiaan Triebert The conflict in Yemen has caused immense suffering, exacerbating the longstanding water crisis in the country. For nearly a year, Yemen’s water infrastructure appears to have been under deliberate attack. This open source intelligence (OSINT) investigation looks into the latest attack (allegedly January 8, 2016) on a water facility,…

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January 29, 2016

By Chris Biggers

Iran ISOICO Imagery Update

The latest commercial satellite imagery shows some new developments at Iran’s ISOICO shipyard near Bostanu. In December, the extension on the yard’s smaller syncrolift appeared complete with new winches and a larger platform visible in imagery. Workers in the eastern part of the yard should now be able to handle heavier vessels. This may be…

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January 28, 2016

By Adam Rawnsley

Syria’s “New” Iranian Drone

Iran has sent another model of drone to northern Syria, according to imagery posted on social media in the latter half of 2015. Pictures of wreckage taken inside Syria indicate that Turkey shot down the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in a May border incident in which Turkish officials claimed the aircraft violated Turkish airspace. The drone also…

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January 27, 2016

By Aric Toler

A Ferrari for a 13-Year-Old Boy: OSINT Methods in a Ukrainian Corruption Investigation

On January 23, the 112 Ukraine television channel aired an investigation into a former Ukrainian prosecutor who, among other things, reportedly purchased a Ferrari for his 13-year old son. This former prosecutor, Aleksandr Nikolayevich Bondarenko (Oleksandr Mikolayovich in Ukrainian), was appointed during the years of Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency in Ukraine, and was lustrated in late 2014. Bellingcat…

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January 23, 2016

By Chris Biggers

Is the U.S. Expanding an Airfield in Syria?

Low resolution Landsat imagery shows new activity at an airfield rumored to support a U.S. military presence in Syria’s Al-Hasakah province. The imagery acquired via the U.S. Geological Survey suggests the U.S. could be establishing further supply lines to Kurdish and friendly forces in the region in the effort to fight the Islamic State. Space…

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January 16, 2016

By Askai707

Russia’s 200th Motorized Infantry Brigade in the Donbass

The following post originally appeared on the Russian-language blog of the author, Askai707 Below is an English translation of the post (translated by Aric Toler), which concerns the direct open source evidence regarding the participation of the 200th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade (military unit 08274) in the conflict in eastern Ukraine in the summer and…

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January 15, 2016

By Aric Toler

Were Russian Combat Robots Used in Syria?

According to Sputnik and multiple Russian-language blogs, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) recently deployed ten Russian combat robots in a battle in the Latakia province, leading to “about 70” dead rebel fighters and no dead SAA soldiers in fighting. Per the reports, these ten robots included six “Platform-M” systems and four “Argo” robots, which were…

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January 11, 2016

By Chris Biggers

China Ramps Up Rotations at Tibet’s Gonggar Airfield

China has increased the size of rotations at its Lhasa Gonggar airbase located in Tibet, satellite imagery has revealed. DigitalGlobe space snapshots from November 2014 show eight Chengdu Aircraft Corporation J-10s parked on the operations apron at the Lhasa-based civil-military airport (above image). The airport is located approximately 130 miles from the disputed territory of…

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February 3, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

“That’s Not a Cluster Bomb” – The Differences Between OFAB 250-270s and RBK-500s

In December 2015 Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both published reports that included claims that Russia had used cluster munitions in its air campaign in Syria. The Russian Defence Ministry responded to those accusations by denying Russia had them at their airbase in Syria: Concerning the suppositions on cluster bombs. Russian aviation does not…

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January 22, 2016

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Using Citizen Science to Assess Environmental Damage in the Syrian Conflict

  For new and ongoing conflicts across the world, the need to document their impact on civilians and the environment upon which they depend is encouraging the development of new research tools and methodologies. Traditional approaches for monitoring environmental risks are notoriously reliant on field access for experts. But with civilians increasingly able to access…

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January 11, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Misattribution, Verification, ISIS, and Madaya

One frequent issue encountered by anyone working with user generated content is the misattribution of videos and photographs, something that can occur for a number of reasons. With the conflicts in Syria and Iraq many shocking videos and photographs are shared online on a variety of platforms, and it’s very important to anyone interested in…

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January 11, 2016

By Justin Seitz

Automatically Finding Weapons in Social Media Images Part 1

This article was originally published on the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. As part of my previous post on gangs in Detroit, one thing had struck me: there are an awful lot of guns being waved around on social media. Shocker, I know. More importantly I began to wonder if there wasn’t a way to automatically identify when…

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December 22, 2015

By Dan Kaszeta

Case Study: The Wikipedia page on Sarin

Wikipedia is used widely as a reference tool. The nature of Wikipedia, however, means that it’s accuracy and reliability can be suspect at times. In the area of chemical and biological weapons, Wikipedia is not optimum. It has proven to be inaccurate in some cases, misleading in others, or containing only part of the story….

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December 17, 2015

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Online Identification of Conflict Related Environmental Damage

With the conflict in Syria soon to enter its fifth year, large parts of the country have been laid to waste by intense fighting, bombardment and shelling. Understandably, most of the focus has been on the fighting and the direct victims of armed violence, with rather less on other impacts and their consequences, particularly the environmental damage and pollution caused by the conflict.

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December 8, 2015

By Bellingcat

Women in OSINT: Diversifying the Field, Part 1

Women’s relative invisibility in traditional media has crossed over into digital news delivery. The Bellingcat bootstraps the effort to gender rebalance OSINT investigation. We have curated a list of women in OSINT and are partnering with initiatives aiming to diversify foreign policy and international security. Every week, a news piece or a report is released that…

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December 2, 2015

By Justin Seitz

Automatically Reverse Image Search YouTube Videos

This post originally appeared on the AutomatingOSINT.com blog. Eliot Higgins had an excellent post where he shows how to grab preview images from YouTube videos and use them for verification, or potentially to find additional sites where that video might be shown or linked to. This technique is called reverse image searching which I have covered…

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November 23, 2015

By Bellingcat

How We Found One of the Paris Suicide Bombers on Facebook

On 16 November, three days after the Paris Attacks, the Bellingcat Investigation Team identified the Facebook profile of one of the assailants, Bilal Hadfi. Here is how we did it. In the evening of 13 November, six simultaneous terrorist attacks happened in France’s capital city of Paris. One of these happened in the vicinity of the…

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November 6, 2015

By Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Overly Social Media and Risks to Law Enforcement: San Diego Shooting

Just after 9AM on November 5th, 2015, police in San Diego responded to a domestic violence call in the Bankers Hill area. Upon arriving at the scene, officers immediately came under high-powered rifle fire. After the officers retreated and started setting up a perimeter, the suspect in the shooting, later identified as 33-year-old Titus Colbert,…

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