24. Bellingcat: Fact-Checking in a Post-Truth World

This is a conversation with Eliot Higgins, founder and executive director of Bellingcat, an online open-source investigation collective.

Bellingcat rose to prominence over its team’s investigation of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July of 2014 by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, which killed all 298 passengers on board. The evidence, which linked that group to the Russian army’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, was later confirmed by the joint investigation team (JIT) which includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, Australia, and Malaysia.

So I spoke to Eliot about that case and about some of the many investigations that Bellingcat has done in the past six years. Among the cases mentioned are: the Latamneh and Ghouta chemical attacks by the Assad regime in Syria in 2017 and 2013 respectively; ISIS’ oil refineries and the environmental and humanitarian catastrophes they’ve caused; the US bombing of Al-Jineh Mosque in Aleppo in 2017; the Skripal Affair in the UK; the Saudi bombings in Yemen; and Europol’s #StopChildAbuse campaigns.

One thing I wanted to focus on is how Bellingcat’s investigative techniques can be used in both human rights and journalism worlds. So while this episode features a lot of concrete examples, we also spoke about how anyone listening to this podcast can take part in these investigations following well-established and always-developing tools and techniques.

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Bellingcat Investigations mentioned in the episode:

Music by Tarabeat.

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