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Thread: OSINT: "Brown Moses" & Bellingcat (merged thread)

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  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default OSINT: "Brown Moses" & Bellingcat (merged thread)

    Moderator's Note

    This thread today had two other related threads merged together. 'Brown Moses' work is the focus and is separate from a general open source intelligence thread (ends).


    A true "armchair" expert, who from his home, has become a reputable source of information and intelligence, much of it visual - shown on YouTube. Profiled today in the New Yorker (behind a paywall), but the Huffington Post has a full article too:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...?utm_hp_ref=tw

    A little background:
    From his living room, Higgins was racing to solve the same whodunit confronting world leaders amid claims that Assad had unleashed chemical weapons against rebel sympathizers in the suburbs of Damascus. Was Zamalka a victim of such an attack? If so, who was responsible for the deed?

    On paper, Higgins -- a 34-year-old with a 2-year-old daughter -- brought no credentials for the job. He had no formal intelligence training or security clearance that gave him access to classified documents. He could not speak or read Arabic. He had never set foot in the Middle East...
    Yes he has his critics and supporters - like this un-named CW expert:
    I think Eliot has done a lot more for Syria than the U.N.
    Twitter shows 13k followers and 56k Tweets.

    OSINT in a different way:
    When viewed in isolation, the micro-dispatches posted to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube tended to confuse and overwhelm anyone trying to make sense of events. But if you viewed such posts together, Higgins realized, the photos and videos could yield detailed accounts of events across the globe. The posts could be used to fact check claims, providing clues far beyond what cameramen had intended to show. Arguments could be won, myths disproved, rival commenters put in their place.
    One wonders how OSINT and people like "Brown Moses" will fare when journalists and NGOs will have drones.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-24-2014 at 12:57 AM. Reason: Add note
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    That's extraordinarily well-written for HuffPo.
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The blogger who tracks Syrian rockets from his sofa

    A lengthy article from the Daily Telegraph, if you read the HuffPost piece possibly nothing new, but still of interest. A website is coming soon:
    It is called bellingcat.com, and a stable of about 15 contributors will write on subjects including Africa and the Middle East; they are partnering with Uncoverage, a crowd-funding site for investigative journalists.
    The extent of potential open source footage, first some context:
    In 2007 Assad banned Facebook and YouTube, but after the current uprising began, in early 2011, and his grasp on the country started to weaken, he lifted the ban. The internet has since become a potent weapon for opponents of his regime.....After the Houla massacre Higgins realised that he could subscribe to every YouTube channel uploading footage from Syria, then aggregate the videos by region and organisation on his blog. He began by monitoring several dozen channels. Now he tracks 700.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-his-sofa.html
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    His results have certainly been very impressive. Some months ago I did watch some videos of that tragic and brutal civil war and was surprised by it's youtubezation. The flood of digital data over the net seems to have pushed the importance of that OSINT thing into new dimensions...
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Brown Moses himself

    A very short film clip as he speaks to a Google audience:http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/a...ter-ban-turkey
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    The flood of open-source data and information, reporting and propaganda streaming out of Eastern Ukraine did enable outsiders to get surprisingly quickly a good understanding or what might have happened. It does obviously not replace traditional or other means of gathering information to understand events but it does in many cases greatly aid them.



    The geo-location of digital media like tweets, pictures, videos is greatly speeding up research and makes it far more accurate. Fascinating stuff. In this specific case the close links between Russian news outlets and Russian organizations in Eastern Ukraine and the Russian propaganda overdrive made many events quite visible. Girkins bragging about a downed aircraft, rebel boasting of Buk launchers, videos of said launchers, quick propaganda spread by Russia media and so forth all left leads pointing towards a highly likely chain of events.



    Brown Moses is of course also involved.

    In the great scheme of things OSINT will become increasingly important for all the interested actors.
    Last edited by Firn; 07-18-2014 at 12:34 PM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default OSINT: IDF hit Syrian CW a year ago

    Another example of OSINT, notably satellite photos and videos, can help to explain events. 'Brown Moses' helped too:
    Today marks the first anniversary of one of the biggest air strikes that has been conducted inside Syria, and particularly in the country's third largest city's of Homs, on a strategic Syrian army arms depots. .....Many believed that the attack in Homs on Aug. 1st, 2013, was carried out by Syrian armed opposition groups, launching Grad rockets towards the strategic arms depots of the Syrian army, resulting in a massive explosion that rocked the entire city of Homs.

    Today and after almost a year after that strike, a number of never released before satellite photos revealed for the first time that the target was not the arms depots, rather a secret underground chemical weapons storage facility south of Homs.
    Link:http://www.businessinsider.com/israe...#ixzz398mH7FT0

    Note this was a year ago today and citing in part the conclusion:
    This incident also suggests that Israel targeted the Syrian chemical weapons program at least once before the August 21st Sarin attacks in Damascus.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Bellingcat: Open-Source Intelligence vs. ISIS / ISIL

    A group of crowd-funded citizen journalists seem to have located a training camp for the militant group ISIL using only online mapping services and some old-fashioned detective work. Bellingcat, which raised almost £51,000 ($85,000) to do its own unique form of journalism, was founded by Eliot Higgins, who became famous (and was profiled by the New Yorker) for proving Syria was using chemical weapons from his bedroom in Leicester, England using only images and videos available online. His team includes a mix of bloggers, research analysts, and traditional reporters.
    http://www.defenseone.com/technology...g-camps/92267/
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  9. #9
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Video Presentation – OSI in Conflict Zones

    A twenty-five minute video, mainly PPT, which explains how Brown Moses works:https://bellingcat.com/resources/art...onflict-zones/
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    'Brown Moses' aka Eliot Higgins has been working on the MH17 shoot down again, supplying help to the police investigation and the Australian version of 'Sixty Minutes'. The later's report is available via:http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/0...uction-of-mh17

    YouTube links found by Outlaw09 have been disabled due to copyright claims.

    A short 4.5 minute interview with Eliot once more reveals how much can be found and verified from open source video:http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60min...4240894610001/

    Note within the Ukraine: non-military thread are a number of posts on how the MH17 investigation has gone. Yes they are not easy to find, so this post has been added for reference.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    'Brown Moses' aka Eliot Higgins has been working on the MH17 shoot down again, supplying help to the police investigation and the Australian version of 'Sixty Minutes'. The later's report is available via:http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/0...uction-of-mh17

    YouTube links found by Outlaw09 have been disabled due to copyright claims.

    A short 4.5 minute interview with Eliot once more reveals how much can be found and verified from open source video:http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/60min...4240894610001/

    Note within the Ukraine: non-military thread are a number of posts on how the MH17 investigation has gone. Yes they are not easy to find, so this post has been added for reference.
    Next Phase in Bellingcat’s Ukraine Vehicle (Russian) Tracking Project via @bellingcat https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2015...cking-project/

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    Social media open source analyst using a Russian mapping satellite actually confirms it was a Russian invasion not an incursion—maybe someone should let DoS and the White House know about this satellite imagery if the US IC does not have it.

    Russian owned Yandex has been quite helpful to further expose the Russian invasion into Ukraine last summer... :P.

    But Yandex also revelas this battery of D-30 heavy artillery a little bit more south.
    https://maps.yandex.com/?ll=38.29919...19&l=sat%2Cskl … pic.twitter.com/lAw3IvxuHy

    Like these MSTA-S reported by @JulianRoepcke
    https://twitter.com/JulianRoepcke/st...43483592847361 … pic.twitter.com/kONJFCDXql

    Yandex also shows a lot of Russian artillery positions at height of Komsomolske-Telmanove. pic.twitter.com/19trsHCgRz

    Yandex still shows some military vehicles on that invasion route into Ukraine.
    https://maps.yandex.com/?ll=38.82076...18&l=sat%2Cskl
    @JmmJhnsn pic.twitter.com/GgyyxDKvsE

    Yandex shows where Russians massively crossed border to cut off Ukraine army at Saur Mogila
    https://maps.yandex.com/?ll=38.81279...17&l=sat%2Cskl … pic.twitter.com/HUMVmnwdVu

    It looks like Russian Hollywood produced another idiot video of OSCE dragging a dead Azov soldier behind their car. https://twitter.com/hellmuthcstuven/...16967540002817

    Yandex reveals where Russians crossed the border to arm and supply their militia in Dmytrivka
    https://maps.yandex.com/?ll=38.92793...19&l=sat%2Cskl … pic.twitter.com/wIcjIqzmNj

    Yandex reveals yet another not seen before MLRS & artillery location from Russia into Ukraine
    https://maps.yandex.com/?ll=38.91726...18&l=sat%2Cskl … pic.twitter.com/83vuX6Ygju

    Some more (other kind of) vehicles can be seen nearby too:
    https://maps.yandex.com/?ll=38.95734...19&l=sat%2Cskl … pic.twitter.com/20BZuYMY6I

    UPDATE Now Yandex shows Russian BUK battery near Marynivka in its full glory #MH17http://ukraineatwar.blogspot.co.uk/2...images_20.html
    @finriswolf pic.twitter.com/d9J3S5w6LH

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    Default Bellingcat: Open-Source Intelligence vs. ISIS / ISIL

    The Independent @Independent

    A crowdfunded site may have just exposed Isis using Google Maps http://bit.ly/1qCJctb

    Moderator adds: This website is partly founded by "Brown Moses", an open source SME and documented on a thread 'OSINT: "Brown Moses" better than the UN on Syria':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=19471
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-26-2014 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Copied for context

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    The UK blogger bellingcat who identified the IS training camp in Mosul via open source materials as well as working the open source location ID for the US journalist killing has been hit by a massive DDoS attack all day---this is interesting for two reasons 1) the IS did not believe open source could be so effective and 2) his work was also used in the MH17 open source materials.

    So he has two groups angry at him that has the IT abilities of a DDoS---the IS and the FSB.


    bellingcat @bellingcat

    Bellingcat is still being DDoS'd by *someone*, if you don't know what a DDoS attack you can learn more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-26-2014 at 11:54 AM. Reason: Copied for context

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    Reference the shot down of MH17.

    bellingcat @bellingcat
    Who to Trust, Google or the Russian MoD? A Guide to Verifying Google Earth Satellite Image via @bellingcat https://www.bellingcat.com/resources...-verification/

    bellingcat @bellingcat
    Does Ukraine Have 9M38M1 Missiles? via @bellingcat https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-a...15/06/04/4010/ … pic.twitter.com/spTPihTgxC
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-05-2015 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Copied from Ukraine thread as useful update

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    Eliot Higgins @EliotHiggins
    Just been reviewing the Russian MoD images for our new report, just noticed this little issue

    pic.twitter.com/7SGuBxDXC2

    Note: appears to be a BUK missile launcher.

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    Inspired by @EliotHiggins, Google’s New YouTube App Crowdsources War Reporting with the help of @Storyful
    http://www.wired.com/2016/04/googles...war-reporting/ … via WIRED

    Social media open source analysis has now gone mainstream.....will be interesting to see if western MSM keeps up.....

    Eliot Higgins ‎@EliotHiggins
    Details about Montage, the new conflict video analysis platform
    https://medium.com/jigsaw/montage-th...aff#.nqpk2btk5
    Access it here http://montage.storyful.com
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-21-2016 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Copied from Ukr thread and edited down to suit here.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator adds

    There are numerous posts which show Bellingcat aka Eliott Higgins at work elsewhere. Notably a 100 plus on the Syria and Ukraine threads. This thread appears to be mainly about his early period and the tools he has developed.
    davidbfpo

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    Azor...you do realize and hopefully accept the simple fact that OSINT provides roughly 80% of ALL intel....the remaining 20% is the technical side that usually is used to confirm...deny and or to monitor further developments.


    If you have been following both this thread and Ukrainian thread you know that...it was the lonely Brit sitting on his sofa that did the world's first really solid OSINT reporting and analysis on the 2013 Assad CWs attack when the rest of the entire MSM still was doubting it was a CW attack...since then he and others around him have developed a number of analysis tools for social media and media in general that are rapidly outperforming even intel OSINT tools...and they are free and open source.

    Out of that came @bellingcat now a premier OSINT analysis team and trainers for investigative journalism and a heavy users of social media for a number of things....

    LIKE basically calling CENTCOM lairs when they claimed they hit IS/AQ in a mosque not civilians...which would be a war crime and it was a war crime...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-29-2017 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Copied from Russian disinformation thread

  20. #20
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Eliot Higgins talks

    If you get to Oxford, England he is giving a public talk on 22nd January 2018 @ Nuffield College, the hosts are Oxford Intelligence Group (OIG). From their announcement:
    Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins examines the way in which a wealth of open source information is changing the way we understand conflict, and the implications in a range of fields, from journalism to justice and accountability.
    Eliot Higgins is an award-winning investigative journalist, and founder of the Brown Moses Blog and Bellingcat. He publishes the work of an international alliance of fellow investigators using freely available online information. He has helped inaugurate open-source and social media investigations by trawling through vast amounts of data uploaded constantly onto the web and social media sites. His enquiries have revealed extraordinary findings on subjects such as the downing of flight MH17 in Ukraine, and the 21 August 2013 Sarin attacks in Damascus.
    More details PM me please.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-18-2017 at 07:51 PM. Reason: 90,721v
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