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Category: UK & Europe

April 9, 2018

By Pieter Van Ostaeyen

Separating Facts from Fiction about Belgium’s Oldest Foreign Fighter, Bassam Ayachi

On April 4, 2018 French media reported that the 72 year old Shaykh Bassam Ayachi was arrested in the north of France on March 27. The media portrayed him as “the oldest Belgian Jihadi”, as “the mentor of generations of Belgian Jihadi’s” and above all as “one of the main recruiters for Belgian foreign fighters who left for the war in Syria”. In 2012 Flemish newspaper De Standaard even called him “the personification of radical Islam in our country.” His actual story is a bit more nuanced however, and this brief article aims to separate the fiction from the facts.

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March 12, 2018

By Aric Toler

Russian Meddling in North Carolina Politics, or Cialis Spam?

North Carolina congressional candidate Linda Coleman made national headlines last week when her campaign discovered that an old domain used for a previous election — LindaForNC.com — was hijacked by a Russian. Coleman saw political motives behind the incident, calling the “tampering” an “underhanded and deceptive” move. A number of local and national news articles…

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February 10, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

The Truth Behind the Russian Embassy to the Netherlands’ “Russia’s Strength is in Truth” Branding Proposal

On February 9 2018 the Russian Embassy to the Netherlands tweeted their suggestion for a brand “describing Russia’s position in world affairs”: It’s unclear if this was an attempt at humour, as in world affairs it would be fair to say Russia’s greatest weakness is in truth, as the work of Bellingcat and others has…

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January 5, 2018

By Aric Toler

The Kremlin’s Shifting, Self-Contradicting Narratives on MH17

Just a few hours after the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), the circumstances that caused the tragedy came to light: a Buk-M1 Russian-made anti-aircraft missile system was fired by either Russian-led separatists or Russian forces from an area near Snizhne, Ukraine, leading to the death of 298 civilians aboard the passenger plane. Over…

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January 4, 2018

By Christiaan Triebert

New Objects Identified in Europol’s “Stop Child Abuse” Crowdsourcing Campaign — Third Update

Europol, the law enforcement agency of the European Union, asks the public for help in countering child pornography. Despite all their detection methods, they sometimes encounter objects in child abuse footage of which they have no idea what or where it is. You may be able to help identify these objects and places. Bellingcat started…

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December 26, 2017

By Aric Toler

Details on Newly Uncovered GRU Online Personas

On Christmas, Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post published two widely shared reports on GRU (Russian military intelligence) activities in creating fake profiles on social networks, along with “astroturfed” political activist groups. The first, longer article, entitled “Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options,” was written by Nakashima along with Greg Jaffe and…

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December 20, 2017

By Aric Toler

British Intelligence Report Confirms Russian Military Origin of MH17 Murder Weapon

Today, December 20, the British Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament published its 122-page annual report. This report covers a wide range of topics, including cyber security, the status of the UK’s international relationships, the threat of foreign fighters, and so on. However, one almost anecdotal detail in the Russian objectives and activity against UK and…

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December 8, 2017

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Russian Colonel General Identified as Key MH17 Figure

Русская версия этого расследования опубликована изданием The Insider. Along with The Insider, McClatchy DC Bureau was an investigative partner. Read their article here. A joint investigation between The Insider and Bellingcat used open source research, investigative journalism, and forensic voice analysis to determine the identity of “Delfin,” a key figure sought by the Joint Investigation Team…

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November 14, 2017

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

How the British Government’s Attempts to Fight Corruption and Money Laundering are Already Failing

On 19 August 2017, Bellingcat published an article regarding the new Persons of Significant Control (“PSC”) requirements introduced by the government, intended to deter the owners of Scottish Limited Partnerships (“SLPs”) from using the vehicle’s unique opaque structure as a means to conduct criminal activity.  Subsequently, as reported by the Guardian and the OCCRP, SLPs…

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