BELLINGCAT, OPEN SOURCE INVESTIGATIONS, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT MH17

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

BELLINGCAT, OPEN SOURCE INVESTIGATIONS, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT MH17

2 July @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Free

SPEAKER: Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat

The destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 shocked the world. Russia quickly unleashed a disinformation campaign on a scale not seen in the post-Cold War years. In response, the West announced a number of multi-national and national investigations into the downing. When Russia’s lies were exposed and the truth uncovered, an online collective called Bellingcat was largely responsible. 

Using open-source information, Bellingcat identified the movements in Ukraine of the Buk missile launcher that shot down MH17, the missile launcher’s origin from Russia’s 53rd Air Defence Brigade in Kursk, and the serving senior Russian intelligence officer who was responsible for firing the missile.

By kind invitation of Bob Seely MP, Eliot Higgins will discuss Bellingcat’s work uncovering the truth about MH17. He will also speak about Bellingcat’s efforts to verify and debunk lies, from Ukraine to Russia and Syria, and highlight how Bellingcat’s work has contributed to criminal investigations, many of which have confirmed Bellingcat’s findings often years after Bellingcat’s initial reporting.

Eliot Higgins is an award winning investigative journalist and the founder of the Bellingcat investigative collective. Through the use of open-source and social media investigations, Eliot has been able to shed light on some of the most pressing issues of our time. 

***

EVENT SUMMARY

On the 2nd of July the Henry Jackson Society were pleased to host Eliot Higgins, award winning investigative journalist and founder of Bellingcat. He sat alongside Dr Andrew Foxall, Director of the Russia and Eurasia Studies Centre at HJS. By kind invitation of Bob Seely MP, Mr Higgins led an insightful discussion about how open source data can be useful in determining truth from falsehood.

Mr Higgins opened the discussion by defining the three stages Bellingcat uses in open source identification: identify, verify, and amplify. The identify stage is collecting initial open-source intelligence in an attempt to find where the scene occurred. The verify process took up a large part of Higgins’ presentation: this stage includes a mixture of geolocation, crowdsourcing, social media, government-released information, and other techniques. The amplify stage is how Bellingcat ensures that their findings are heard by the right audience.

Bellingcat ensures that they can verify their sources mainly through geolocation. Mr Higgins gave numerous case studies of how geolocation alone can determine where a scene occurred. For example, in Libya, Bellingcat was able to determine that the rebels had taken over a town by collecting a video the rebels had filmed, after which they were able to verify that the video was legitimate by using Google Maps to make out the same landmarks in the video.

Crowdsourcing can also be a useful technique, as was demonstrated when Bellingcat was able to determine the identity of a neo-Nazi who assaulted a man. Once Bellingcat collected multiple pictures of who this person was they were then able to verify that it was the same person by the markings on his neck. They then released this information to the public who then confirmed who this person was on social media. At the end of the investigation authorities were able to obtain enough information to arrest the neo-Nazi who assaulted a man.

Bellingcat is even able to distinguish truth from falsehood as demonstrated by the MH17 case, the Russian cluster bomb case, and the Russian attack on a Syrian hospital. In the MH17 case Mr Higgins and his team were able to determine where the Buk missile launcher was by information filmed by Ukrainian people and Russian released pictures; what brigade it was fired by, through social media; and from there the team was able to map out who were members of the brigade through additional social media.

When Russian cluster bombs were used in Syria, President Putin denied their use. Mr Higgins was able to determine that the Russians were lying because pictures of Russian soldiers on social media showed them launching cluster bombs from airplanes and Russian soldiers posted pictures of stockpiles of these bombs of social media.

When a hospital was destroyed via an airstrike in Syria the Russians quickly claimed they were not at fault. The Russians provided a side-by-side aerial comparisons of the hospital before and after the attack, seemingly showing no change. But Bellingcat was able to determine that these low resolution documents released by the Russians compared with those of Google Earth do show change. In addition, they were able to determine that the Russians were targeting the hospital by bombing the area around the hospital. All of this was done through open source information.

Details

Date:
2 July
Time:
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Cost:
Free
Event Tags:
,

Venue

Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House
1 Parliament St
Westminster, SW1A 2JR United Kingdom

Other

SPEAKER
Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat
Tickets are not available as this event has passed.

RELATED EVENTS

Global Britain and the Future of Europe

16th January 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

As the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union, its position in relation to the continental mainland is once again … Continued

The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties

14th January 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the … Continued

Lessons from Churchill for the Contemporary Age

8th January 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Since the last major biography of Churchill, forty-one sets of papers have been deposited at the Churchill Archives, and The … Continued

Future Politics

19 December @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Future Politics confronts one of the most important questions of our time: how will digital technology transform politics and society? … Continued

Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy Is Threatening Our Future

12 December @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Though mankind has traded tangible goods for millennia, recent technology has changed the fundamentals of trade, in both legitimate and … Continued

Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order – Implications for “Global Britain”

4 December @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

China’s Belt and Road strategy is acknowledged to be the most ambitious geopolitical initiative of the age. Covering almost seventy countries by land … Continued

Why Middle Eastern Jewish Refugees Are Key to Understanding and Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict

27 November @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Jews lived continuously in the Middle East and North Africa for almost 3,000 years. But in just 50 years, indigenous communities … Continued

Secular States, Religious Politics: India, Turkey, and the Future of Secularism

22 November @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

India and Turkey were the two exemplars of twentieth-century ‘secular states’ outside of the West. Professor Sumantra Bose believes that … Continued

Movie screening ‘Better Angels’

21 November @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

At a time when the world’s two acknowledged superpowers seem to be moving closer towards economic and political conflict, a … Continued

Nationalist Populism and the Future of Political Risk in the West

20 November @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

The political events of recent years have sent shockwaves throughout the established order of Western liberal democracies. Election after election … Continued

Global Britain and Vietnam

20 November @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

As global trade becomes increasingly maritime in nature, so too it is beginning to follow the centre of the global economy, … Continued

The McCain Legacy and the Magnitsky Act

15 November @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The United States’ adoption of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 marked a watershed in America’s, … Continued

The Future of ‘Global Britain’ as a ‘Seapower State’

13 November @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Prof. Andrew Lambert’s new book, Seapower States examines how Britain and four other seapowers used their special identities to inform … Continued

The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism

8 November @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Dave Rich’s updated edition of The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Antisemitism (2018) contends that antisemitism is a … Continued

Adam Smith: What He Thought and Why It Matters

6 November @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

At a time when economics and politics are ever more polarized between left and right,  Jesse Norman MP in his 'Adam … Continued

The Road to Unfreedom

5 November @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Long before the election of Donald Trump, Timothy Snyder began to issue warnings concerning threats to American democracy. A leading … Continued

Women, Peace and Security Index

1 November @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The status of women offers key insights into a nation's prosperity and security. The first-ever Women, Peace and Security Index offers … Continued

Polonium, Novichok, Propaganda

23 October @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 2000, a defining trait of his regime has been its use … Continued

Women and Sharia Law

17 October @ 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm

Human Rights activist and Arab scholar Dr. Elham Manea in her book Women and Sharia Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in … Continued

Global Britain and the South China Sea

16 October @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Over the past 4 years, the People’s Republic of China has built a number of fortress islands in the South … Continued

Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take It Back

15 October @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Moneyland is the secret country of the wealthy and unscrupulous, the place where they put their assets, their children and … Continued

How Russia Abuses Interpol – And How To Stop It

25 September @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

It is widely recognised that Russia abuses Interpol. Russia uses the International Criminal Police Organization to harass dissidents, political opponents, … Continued

Ending the Endless War? A New Strategy for Afghanistan

17 September @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

The Afghanistan War has now lasted for 17 years, and estimates suggest has cost the US government upwards of $750 … Continued

Under Siege: The Persecution of Minorities in the Middle East

13 September @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

The Middle East remains one of the most tumultuous regions in the world today, with its many ethnic and religious … Continued

UK-US Financial Cooperation After Brexit

13 September @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The level of cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United States has been described as “unparalleled” among major powers. … Continued

HJS Report Launch: Negotiating the Peace: Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula

12 September @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The past 18 months have seen an immense amount of economic, diplomatic, and even military activity relating to the Korean … Continued

Nine Lives: My Time as MI6’s Top Spy Inside Al-Qaeda

11 September @ 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm

As one of al-Qaeda's most respected bomb-makers, Aimen Dean rubbed shoulders with the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and swore … Continued

Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age

6 September @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The most dangerous threat we face today is no longer military, but rather the increasingly pervasive exposure of our personal … Continued

President Trump, the EU and the UK

30 August @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Donald Trump campaigned in 2016 by explicitly rejecting the foreign policy of recent presidents, Democrat and Republican. Perhaps nowhere was … Continued

HOW TO RIG AN ELECTION

23 August @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

To book for our next event, Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age, press here.   SPEAKERS: Dr … Continued

END OF AN ERA: HOW CHINA’S AUTHORITARIAN REVIVAL IS UNDERMINING ITS RISE

31 July @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

SPEAKER: Professor Carl Minzner, author, End of an Era China’s reform era is ending. Core factors that characterised its political stability, … Continued

COLLAPSE: EUROPE AFTER THE EUROPEAN UNION

24 July @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

SPEAKER: Dr Ian Kearns, author, Collapse: Europe After the European Union Could the European Union collapse in the near future? Following … Continued

IN THE SHADOW OF THE AMIA BOMBING: GLOBAL TERROR AND THE THREAT TODAY

18 July @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

SPEAKERS: His Excellency Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisano - The Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Dr. Shimon Samuels - … Continued

RUSSIA’S ASSASSINATIONS ABROAD

17 July @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

SPEAKERS: Marina Litvinenko, activist and campaigner; Luke Harding, Guardian correspondent; and Giles Udy, historian and author During Vladimir Putin’s time in power a … Continued

PESHMERGA: ‘THOSE WHO FACE DEATH’

16 July @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

  SPEAKER: Dr Simon Ross Valentine, author, Peshmerga: 'Those Who Face Death' Before the invasion of northern Iraq by ISIS in … Continued

TRUMP AND TRADE DEFICITS

9 July @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

SPEAKER: Dr Linda Yueh, economist and author As we anticipate the visit of President Donald Trump to the UK, many … Continued

BY MORE THAN PROVIDENCE: GRAND STRATEGY AND AMERICAN POWER IN THE ASIA PACIFIC SINCE 1783

5 July @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

SPEAKERS: Dr Michael Green - Author of By More Than Providence and Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair … Continued

GLOBAL BRITAIN AND INDIA: A NEW ‘SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP’?

3 July @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

In the midst of some great changes in the international system, countries have been left with the qaundry of how … Continued

BELLINGCAT, OPEN SOURCE INVESTIGATIONS, AND THE TRUTH ABOUT MH17

2 July @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

SPEAKER: Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat The destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 shocked the … Continued

ASIAN WATERS: THE STRUGGLE OVER THE ASIA-PACIFIC AND THE STRATEGY OF CHINESE EXPANSION

27 June @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

SPEAKERS: Humphrey Hawksley, author of Asian Waters: The Struggle Over the Asia-Pacific and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion ; Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow … Continued

THE SECRET WORLD: A HISTORY OF INTELLIGENCE

26 June @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

SPEAKER: PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER ANDREW, Author of The Secret World: A History of Intelligence Partly because of official secrecy, no 20th century … Continued

BETWEEN KIN AND COSMOPOLIS: AN ETHIC OF THE NATION

20 June @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

PROFESSOR NIGEL BIGGAR, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford University, in conversation with Douglas Murray The nation-state is … Continued

THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN PEACE PROCESS: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

19 June @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

SPEAKER: EHUD OLMERT, former Prime Minister of Israel It’s been 10 years since the last meaningful peace deal was put … Continued

HORIZON 2020: WHAT WILL THE MIDTERMS TELL US ABOUT THE FUTURE OF U.S. ELECTIONS?

13 June @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Whatever one’s feelings toward the outcome of the 2016 US elections, there can be no doubting the historic impact and … Continued

NATO: EUROPEAN SECURITY AT A TIME OF TRANSATLANTIC UNCERTAINTY

12 June @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

As Britain considers its relationship with Europe, European security has never been more precarious, with Russian revanchism on the rise … Continued

HJS-event-banner-generic-image

HJS REPORT LAUNCH: “DEFENDING EUROPE: ‘GLOBAL BRITAIN’ AND THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN GEOPOLITICS”

11 June @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, geopolitics is returning to the European continent. Germany and France are squabbling … Continued

ON TWITTER

HJS



Lost your password?

Not a member? Please click here