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Wanted by Interpol, Relaxing in Dubai: Geolocating Isabel dos Santos’ Life of Luxury

On 24 November 2022 DW Africa published an interview with Isabel dos Santos – once Africa’s richest woman and the daughter of former Angolan President José dos Santos. She wore a distinctive pink blouse and sat in front of a nondescript, semi-transparent curtain.  Towards the end of the interview dos Santos was asked “Where are you currently...

Anatomy of a Shelling: How Russian Rocket Artillery Struck Mykolaiv

On April 4, 2022, Russian rocket artillery struck the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv with cluster munitions. On the night of April 3, the Furshet shopping centre and nearby city hospital were attacked. Local media had published images to their Telegram channels at around midnight. At 8:03 in the morning of April 4, eyewitnesses told the Ukrainian website...

Octosuite: A New Tool to Conduct Open Source Investigations on GitHub

GitHub is one of the most popular code-hosting platforms on the internet, with a global community of more than 90 million people reported to use its services. This makes GitHub a key platform for coders and developers. Many useful tools that aid open source investigations can be found on the site (including on Bellincgat’s GitHub repository)....

As QAnon Falters, European Followers Flock to a Financial Conspiracy

Imagine you’re a jaded stalwart of the QAnon conspiracy. The latest batch of ‘drops’ – the cryptic posts into which you’ve read so much – aren’t quite as enticing, and you’re not even sure that Donald Trump will return to the Oval Office. But you’re not ready to reassess your belief system. Luckily for you, there are other doomsday prophecies...

Finding Rundo (Again): US White Supremacist Facing Criminal Charges Located in Bulgaria

Imagine you’re the US far-right extremist Rob Rundo. You don’t want anyone, especially not law enforcement or a pesky researcher from Bellingcat, to know where you are. You’re somewhere in Europe, facing up to ten years in prison if convicted on charges of rioting and conspiracy in a trial due to start next spring in Los Angeles.  But you’ve...

Moscow’s Mule: How Russia Rewrote a Narcotics Case to Get its Spy Back

A series of indictment documents and information from Russia’s data markets show that Moscow’s pretext for recalling a spy behind bars in Brazil appears not only implausible, but impossible, Bellingcat can reveal.When the blond 36–year old man carrying a Brazilian passport in the name of Victor Muller Ferreira landed at São Paulo airport in April 2022,...

How to Maintain Mental Hygiene as an Open Source Researcher

Bellingcat has been overwhelmed with messages from concerned people around the world who want to help us identify and analyse images of potential war crimes taking place in Ukraine. While this increased interest in open source research is encouraging, it comes with costs of which new researchers may not be aware.Those wishing to conduct open source...

Five Kilometres of Destruction: Satellite Imagery Reveals Extent of Damage to Civilian Convoy in Burkina Faso

On 26 September a civilian convoy accompanied by a military escort sought to resupply the besieged city of Djibo in northern Burkina Faso. Access routes into the city have been controlled by Al-Qaeda linked militant group Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) since the beginning of 2022, causing thousands of people to become food-insecure and leaving...

How to Investigate TikTok Like a Pro – Part II: Using TikTok for Ukraine Research

TikTok has emerged as a key platform on which footage of the invasion of Ukraine is shared. This includes footage of missile strikes and their aftermath, damaged or destroyed military equipment, as well as visual evidence of suspected war crimes and other atrocities. Misinformation and disinformation about the invasion can also be found on the platform....

How we Geolocated a Photo of a Russian Missile Programming Team

While conducting research for his latest Bellingcat investigation, Christo Grozev received a group photograph of the missile guidance team that were purported to be behind programming many of the cruise missiles that have hit Ukraine in recent months. As detailed in the article: “Another team member, whose identity is not known as they contacted reporters...

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