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Category: Case Studies

July 4, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

Getting the Message Out: Coordinating International and Regional Communication in the Syrian Conflict

Tracing the evolution of communication in the Syrian conflict reveals complex networks of coordination. The lack of direct access is at the core of this evolution—for international actors to provide humanitarian and monitoring support, for regional actors to be included in the decision- making process, and for civilians’ concerns and experiences to be considered. Changing…

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June 8, 2018

By Aric Toler

Anatomy of a Russian ‘Troll Factory’ News Site

When browsing through stories on the newly-established media outlet USAReally.com, you may think that you are reading a procedural-generated site that exists entirely from search engine optimization tricks, stealing articles from more established outlets and reposting them as if they were original. However, a closer inspection shows that there are no advertisements on the site…

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June 1, 2018

By Aric Toler

Colangelo’s Sock Puppets? Open Source Sleuthing Methods in Recent NBA Scandal

On May 29, The Ringer published an investigation into five Twitter accounts that had apparent links to Bryan Colangelo, the President of Basketball Operations of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Colangelo has since confirmed that he does operate one of these accounts — @phila1234567 — but is apparently only used for monitoring news, and does not tweet. The…

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April 19, 2018

By Syrian Archive

Methodology: How we Tracked the Illegal Shipment of Sarin Precursor from Belgium to Syria

On 18 April 2018 Syrian Archive and Knack revealed information that Belgium violated EU sanctions against Syria according to the summons of an upcoming lawsuit. The Belgian customs found that without having requested the appropriate export licenses three Flemish companies have exported 96 tonnes of isopropanol in a concentration of 95% or higher to Syria…

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February 10, 2018

By Thomas Mulder

Dutch Police Social Media Activity Raise Privacy Concerns

Following a Bellingcat workshop, a group of investigative journalists from the Dutch public broadcaster KRO-NCRV spent the last six months investigating social media platforms used by the Dutch National Police Force. After analyzing data and footage from YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, we reached the following conclusion: Dutch police are sometimes careless with…

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October 27, 2017

By Collin Anderson

Bahamut Revisited, More Cyber Espionage in the Middle East and South Asia

Introduction In June we published on a previously unknown group we named “Bahamut,” a strange campaign of phishing and malware apparently focused on the Middle East and South Asia. In the Bahamut report, we documented a capable actor interested in a diverse set of political, economic, and non-governmental targets, which suggested espionage rather than criminal…

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April 19, 2017

By Alberto Fittarelli

Forecasting An Internet Shutdown: An Exercise With Indicators

Internet shutdowns happen – more frequently than we often hear. An impressive 56 countrywide shutdowns were documented in 2016, according to Access Now’s campaign #KeepItOn, which also defines a shutdown as “an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable, for a specific population or within a location, often to exert control over the flow of information.”

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March 10, 2017

By Wim Zwijnenburg

Water Filtration Plants and Risks of a Chlorine Mass-Casualty Event in Donetsk

Over the last two months, increased shelling in and around industrial sites north of Donetsk have, apart from the direct civilian casualties costs, posed huge public health and environmental risks.  Apart from the wider environmental impacts caused by targeting industrial sites, on several occasions, Russia-backed forces have hit various water treatment stations. These facilities host…

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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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