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We Are Bellingcat: Global Crime, Online Sleuths, and the Bold Future of News

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The page-turning inside account of the organization solving international mysteries and wielding the power of the internet to fight for facts. In 2018, Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter were nearly killed in an audacious poisoning attempt in Salisbury, England. Soon, the identity of one of the suspects was revealed: he was a Russian spy. This huge investigative The page-turning inside account of the organization solving international mysteries and wielding the power of the internet to fight for facts. In 2018, Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter were nearly killed in an audacious poisoning attempt in Salisbury, England. Soon, the identity of one of the suspects was revealed: he was a Russian spy. This huge investigative coup wasn't pulled off by an intelligence agency or a traditional news outlet. Instead, the scoop came from Bellingcat, the open-source investigative team that is redefining the way we think about news, politics, and the digital future. We Are Bellingcat tells the inspiring story of how a college dropout pioneered a new category of reporting and galvanized citizen journalists-working together from their computer screens around the globe-to crack major cases, at a time when fact-based journalism is under assault from authoritarian forces. Founder Eliot Higgins introduces readers to the tools Bellingcat investigators use, tools available to anyone, from software that helps you pinpoint the location of an image, to an app that can nail down the time that photo was taken. This book digs deep into some of Bellingcat's most important investigations-the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria, the identities of alt-right protestors in Charlottesville-with the drama and gripping detail of a spy novel.


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The page-turning inside account of the organization solving international mysteries and wielding the power of the internet to fight for facts. In 2018, Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter were nearly killed in an audacious poisoning attempt in Salisbury, England. Soon, the identity of one of the suspects was revealed: he was a Russian spy. This huge investigative The page-turning inside account of the organization solving international mysteries and wielding the power of the internet to fight for facts. In 2018, Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter were nearly killed in an audacious poisoning attempt in Salisbury, England. Soon, the identity of one of the suspects was revealed: he was a Russian spy. This huge investigative coup wasn't pulled off by an intelligence agency or a traditional news outlet. Instead, the scoop came from Bellingcat, the open-source investigative team that is redefining the way we think about news, politics, and the digital future. We Are Bellingcat tells the inspiring story of how a college dropout pioneered a new category of reporting and galvanized citizen journalists-working together from their computer screens around the globe-to crack major cases, at a time when fact-based journalism is under assault from authoritarian forces. Founder Eliot Higgins introduces readers to the tools Bellingcat investigators use, tools available to anyone, from software that helps you pinpoint the location of an image, to an app that can nail down the time that photo was taken. This book digs deep into some of Bellingcat's most important investigations-the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria, the identities of alt-right protestors in Charlottesville-with the drama and gripping detail of a spy novel.

30 review for We Are Bellingcat: Global Crime, Online Sleuths, and the Bold Future of News

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    I have to admit that whilst I was aware of Bellingcat, my knowledge of it was sketchy at best. This is a detailed history of Bellingcat and its founder, Eliot Higgins, aka blogger Brown Moses, named after a Frank Zappa song. Higgins outlines his background, becoming obsessed with the Arab Spring and the Libyan Civil War, whilst working as a admin worker in Leicester, using his laptop to scour for information on the internet to add small details on twitter, and other sites, such as the comments s I have to admit that whilst I was aware of Bellingcat, my knowledge of it was sketchy at best. This is a detailed history of Bellingcat and its founder, Eliot Higgins, aka blogger Brown Moses, named after a Frank Zappa song. Higgins outlines his background, becoming obsessed with the Arab Spring and the Libyan Civil War, whilst working as a admin worker in Leicester, using his laptop to scour for information on the internet to add small details on twitter, and other sites, such as the comments section on the Guardian-live blog, focusing on developing stories in the Middle East. Such humble beginnings is later to give birth to the entity, taking on an ever broader range of issues, that is Bellingcat, global truth warriors, a growing community of largely determined and obsessive voluntary contributors, armed only with their laptops, searching the internet, social media and google earth for open source information. Bellingcat are the digital detectives who tracked down the Russian GRU agents responsible for the 2017 deadly Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury, Britain, that targeted Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, an attack that Putin's Russia had denied, a Russia that had previously gone after Alexander Litvinenko. At its heart, Bellingcat, with its collaborative spirit, sets out to take an evidence based approach, to identify, verify and amplify (publicise) the truth in a counterfactual, post truth era, challenging the powerful, politicians and the criminal, demanding accountability and offering training for those interested in their methodology. Amongst their many successes, they have exposed Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria, identified ISIS members in Europe, tracked down the Neo-Nazis responsible for violent attacks in Charlottesville, and proved that the Russians downed the Air Malaysia passenger plane in Ukraine. Needless to say, they have made powerful enemies determined to destroy them, you cannot take on the likes of Putin's Russia without consequences. Bellingcat is the people's intelligence agency at a time when power is in fewer and fewer hands, an organisation that has begun to challenge that old adage that history is written by the victors, now it can be written by the defeated too. It has even charted how people have become radicalised into becoming far right white supremacists, not in itself a new phenomena, by decoding information many had seen but few had understood. It is terrifying just how much information on people is held on the internet, not to mention photographs, and where people can be tracked through family and friends, raising the question whether there is any such thing as privacy. On the other hand, it is Bellingcat's abilities to trawl through this very mass of openly available data that allows it to come up with its ground breaking stories. This is a fascinating and informative read, Higgins provides a mass of intricate details on their biggest operations, including their use of geolocation techniques, and it is written in a riveting and highly readable style. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Wineberg

    Bellingcat is a lovely invented word that perfectly describes a new discipline- tracking down the hidden truth and lassoing the culprits - the powerful - using open source data. In We Are Bellingcat, founder Eliot Higgins tells the remarkable and always fascinating – when not totally gripping – story of how it came to be, how it found itself front and center on the world stage, and how it achieved its numerous, significant accomplishments. It’s an exciting book, because all of their campaigns wi Bellingcat is a lovely invented word that perfectly describes a new discipline- tracking down the hidden truth and lassoing the culprits - the powerful - using open source data. In We Are Bellingcat, founder Eliot Higgins tells the remarkable and always fascinating – when not totally gripping – story of how it came to be, how it found itself front and center on the world stage, and how it achieved its numerous, significant accomplishments. It’s an exciting book, because all of their campaigns will be familiar to all readers. The process of uncovering the truth is worthy of the finest spy fiction. With no training, and out of a combination of curiosity and boredom, with nothing grand in mind, Higgins began to explore open source databanks to fill in some blanks. He found that not only were significant data freely available, but that social media went far above and beyond its claims to level the playing field. Untold millions of people are forever uploading images and videos to various websites and services. And though it is not in any way organized for retrieval, a little screen time can help pinpoint an unidentified location, name the unnamed, and track the untraceable. It’s a true detective story unfolding daily, right now. In story after story, from Syrian chemical warfare to downed passenger planes, Bellingcat has employed tools freely available to all to expose the truth and the coverup lies around newsworthy incidents. Given a photo of an intersection, they were able to place it perfectly on a map, using the image/satellite function of Google Earth. Elements in the background, from buildings under construction to a row of trees or a billboard allow them to zero in on the exact location. The color of the ground, the style of the neighborhood and numerous other factors allow researchers to narrow the otherwise infinite possibilities. The angle of the shot can sometimes be traced to the specific apartment window it was taken from. Software fed with a precise location can interpret shadows and light to tell the exact time of day. Doing all this repeatedly can establish a timeline. Bellingcat was able to trace the path of the gun used to shoot down an Air Malaysia passenger plane over Ukraine. They traced it right back to its home base in Russia, and identified the actual gun out of a flotilla of eight of them sent to Ukraine, because later photos showed one missile newly missing from the unit. Some things as simple as dents and scratches on the wheel skirt allowed them to follow individual launchers as they trundled towards and through the country. Fingerprints come in many guises. People today take thousands of times as many photos as they used to when they required printing from negatives. And they upload them to all kinds of social media, with no specific intent in doing so because it is easy and free. But it all becomes data and evidence if someone wants to use them that way. Reverse image searches are becoming reliable if not universal. And once uploaded, images are generally out of the reach of those with something to hide. Bellingcat takes no chances though. They download their evidence to preserve it. Among the cases Bellingcat has solved, the book describes in great detail the path to truth of Syrian chemical warfare, Charlottesville white supremacists, downed passenger airliners, the Yemen proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Novichok poisonings. The investigators fear nothing and no one; no story is off limits. Thanks to the internet, language is no longer a barrier, and the internet itself, often accused of promoting lies, has proven to be a remarkable tool for outing the truth. In the case of the Malaysian airliner (flight MH17 from Amsterdam), Bellingcat was able to identify and track down the Russian military unit responsible, and profile its officers, using social media. When there is no profile of someone who needs to keep his identity secret, Bellingcat goes after everyone around them, from soldiers and classmates to family. Their social media profiles and posts provide the missing clues, including photos of the now secretive, which can be used to identify them in the field today. Young soldiers are more social and chatty. So are younger sisters and daughters. False passports are a hindrance but not a dead end. With open source databanks, real names can be found, home addresses, auto registrations, voter registrations and on and on. It just takes work to find them. And all the while, Russia maintained it had nothing to do with any of it, and that is was a Ukrainian gun and gunner that brought it down. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, it still holds to that total fabrication. Which brings up the issue of why no one else is doing this. Why is Bellingcat able to get to the bottom of events when police, newspapers, commissions and detectives cannot? Higgins has been amazed to learn that with all the money and resources available to others “we were the only ones doing this.” With no money at all. He has been asked several times to testify before tribunals, not so much for the stunning facts he has uncovered and the crimes he has solved, but how he does it. He always gets a receptive audience, simply fascinated by it all. The book works the same way. His answer is obsession and passion. It’s not often easy, though sometimes a puzzle piece just presents itself in less than hour. In many other cases, sleuths have to keep monitoring for years. But if it’s in you to dig, the rewards can be exhilarating, and the book reflects that wonderfully. Bellingcat findings have graced the front page of the New York Times, and Bellingcat alums have been hired by the paper to set up its own investigative unit. More and more organizations want to partner. But as much as journalism is in thrall, criminals and politicians are aghast. Outsider Bellingcat is playing in the top leagues. Making a liar out of Vladimir Putin (several times) leads to hacking, harassment, shaming, doxxing, outside pressure and death threats. And we are now certain Russia will not hesitate to poison anyone it dislikes, with chemical compounds it has invented itself. Some Bellingcat alumni suffer from PTSD as if they had been in a shooting war. In getting to the bottom of the Skripal Novichok poisoning case, Bellingcat proved the Russians to be total frauds and liars. The two accused poisoners claimed to be simple tourists, visiting Salisbury England to admire the steeple of the cathedral. Only Bellingcat was able to prove they were from the military intelligence service GRU. They traced auto registrations back to the GRU building, and their apartments just across the street. They went back to their hometowns to get corroboration, and even found the rest of the hit team, because it was not just the two wildcat poisoners themselves. No other publication or service knew that. The leader was involved in numerous assassinations in the UK and throughout Europe, eliminating critics of the Putin regime one by one. He would arrive beforehand, and leave early, escaping all scrutiny. Higgins’ team got cellphone numbers and called to get voice samples to verify identity, plus mentions by neighbors, and evidence of false passports. Flight tracking going back years showed the same team members doing Putin’s work repeatedly. If not for Bellingcat, there would still be the usual diplomatic niceties peppered with unsubstantiated allegations. Higgins cut through it all with a bunch of volunteers in an open-source investigation. Higgins faces the same alternative facts from extremists that we all see daily. They lie, make up stories, and when the stories don’t stick, they make up new ones. ”What strikes me most is their (the Counterfactual Community’s) lack of dissonance: they failed to prove the previous claim, or the one before, yet make the next with equal certainty,” he says. Those with something to hide continually lash out at Bellingcat in an attempt to shred its reputation. They get called armchair detectives, rank amateurs, unprofessional with zero credibility, and just playing dangerous games -badly. Higgins brushes it off and gets back to his screen, where the truth lies, hiding in plain sight. He says: “We are not exactly journalists, nor human rights activists, nor computer scientists, nor archivists, nor academic researchers, nor criminal investigators, but at the nexus of all those disciplines.” Higgins’ writing style is delightfully simple and free of fluff. He is direct and clear about everything. It is a pleasure to read and it moves smoothly and quickly, taking readers to places unheard of in the news media. He is taking his show on the road too, teaching others to do the same thing Bellingcat does, all over the world. It doesn’t require a four year degree, a license or 15 years’ training. It requires dedication and persistence, making 100% sure of claims by getting at the same fact from multiple angles. The more widespread such research spreads, the better protected everyone in the world would be. It doesn’t make you rich, but its reward is true accomplishment and pride in the achievement of solving a real mystery. As time goes on, Bellingcat is proving to be the single most credible and valuable news source there is. It derives real value from the dross of social media. For that alone it deserves a medal. In this era of ever more sophisticated fabrications, Bellingcat, both the service and the book, are most worthy of readers’ attention. This, for once, is an optimistic vision of the future – of journalism if not justice. David Wineberg

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    We Are Bellingcat is the page-turning inside account of the organization solving international mysteries and wielding the power of the internet to fight for facts. In 2018, Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter were nearly killed in an audacious poisoning attempt in Salisbury, England. Soon, the identity of one of the suspects was revealed: he was a Russian spy. This huge investigative coup wasn't pulled off by an intelligence agency or a traditional news outlet. Instead, the scoop came We Are Bellingcat is the page-turning inside account of the organization solving international mysteries and wielding the power of the internet to fight for facts. In 2018, Russian exile Sergei Skripal and his daughter were nearly killed in an audacious poisoning attempt in Salisbury, England. Soon, the identity of one of the suspects was revealed: he was a Russian spy. This huge investigative coup wasn't pulled off by an intelligence agency or a traditional news outlet. Instead, the scoop came from Bellingcat, the open-source investigative team that is redefining the way we think about news, politics, and the digital future. We Are Bellingcat tells the inspiring story of how a college dropout pioneered a new category of reporting and galvanized citizen journalists-working together from their computer screens around the globe-to crack major cases, at a time when fact-based journalism is under assault from authoritarian forces. Founder Eliot Higgins introduces readers to the tools Bellingcat investigators use, tools available to anyone, from software that helps you pinpoint the location of an image, to an app that can nail down the time that photo was taken. This book digs deep into some of Bellingcat's most important investigations-the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria, the identities of alt-right protestors in Charlottesville-with the drama and gripping detail of a spy novel. A fascinating, accessible and exciting read, this reads every bit like a fictional spy novel rather than the exploits of a real-life citizen-run company. With case studies and examples of work Bellingcat has carried out all over the world you receive a small glimpse in to how vital they have become. As someone who enjoys true crime and mystery I found myself eating into the page count rapidly and for those interested in mysterious happenings and maintaining a factual news outlet that can be relied upon this is a must-read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gem ~Zero Shelf Control~

    I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher, in return for an honest review. This review is based entirely on my own thoughts and feelings. My brother always used to share super dubious news articles on Facebook. I always used to say do you actually know that that’s true? Have you even read the article? 9/10 times he hadn’t and yes it was nonsense or a news story reused from years before. I’m sure we’ve all seen the footage this week from the US. And maybe you’ve seen the video of the w I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher, in return for an honest review. This review is based entirely on my own thoughts and feelings. My brother always used to share super dubious news articles on Facebook. I always used to say do you actually know that that’s true? Have you even read the article? 9/10 times he hadn’t and yes it was nonsense or a news story reused from years before. I’m sure we’ve all seen the footage this week from the US. And maybe you’ve seen the video of the woman rubbing her eyes with a towel in which you can just about see an onion? Half of the news stories id seen were saying she was doing it to make it look like she’d been attacked. However was she actually doing it because onions can take away the side effects from tear gas because she was somewhere doing something she shouldn’t have? Either way how do we know what to believe when we see things posted online. We are Bellingcat is a brilliant example of an organisation trying to prove whether the news, videos and articles we read are true and if they aren’t prove the facts, solely through open-source investigations. This book explores news stories such as the downing of the MH17 plane over Ukraine, the Salisbury novichok poisonings, the Syrian war, the New Zealand mosque terrorist attack which was broadcast live on Facebook and whether what we are reading online about them are facts, or someone’s spin on them maybe having a hidden agenda. If you want to dig deeper into the news stories you read I implore you to read this. I also ask you to think about the news article you’re reading and sharing and question if there’s a chance you’re spreading fake news.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    Having come across ah but a couple of articles by this outfit, I'm up for learning about them. Those articles? -Effingham Junction grade of terrifying!! Having come across ah but a couple of articles by this outfit, I'm up for learning about them. Those articles? -Effingham Junction grade of terrifying!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Humaira

    Really interesting take on online sleuthing and citizen journalism. This book is incredibly detailed and not so much a how-to but rather a history of how the organisation started and how they uncovered some huge misinformation including the Malaysian flight that was shot down and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. The book talks about how the organisation started with Eliot Higgins as an amateur sleuth to the organisation in its present form. I found it really interesting and d Really interesting take on online sleuthing and citizen journalism. This book is incredibly detailed and not so much a how-to but rather a history of how the organisation started and how they uncovered some huge misinformation including the Malaysian flight that was shot down and the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. The book talks about how the organisation started with Eliot Higgins as an amateur sleuth to the organisation in its present form. I found it really interesting and different from anything I've read before, but it is incredibly dense and detailed so if this is something you're interested in, I'd recommend this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate Vane

    We Are Bellingcat is a fascinating account of the history of investigative news site Bellingcat and how they pioneered using open-source intelligence (OSINT) to uncover the truth about crime and conflict. Higgins explains his research began as a hobby when he decided to put his time spent online and his attention to detail to use. He began gathering evidence about the war in Syria, realising that there was plenty of publicly available information. He found ways to verify or debunk claims made on s We Are Bellingcat is a fascinating account of the history of investigative news site Bellingcat and how they pioneered using open-source intelligence (OSINT) to uncover the truth about crime and conflict. Higgins explains his research began as a hobby when he decided to put his time spent online and his attention to detail to use. He began gathering evidence about the war in Syria, realising that there was plenty of publicly available information. He found ways to verify or debunk claims made on social media using techniques such as matching video footage to landmarks on Google Earth, or gauging the timing and location of images using an app which photographers use to measure light levels. From there, he connected with other people with expertise and the same singleminded focus, and eventually they created Bellingcat through crowdfunding. It has grown to a formidable news site accumulating evidence on everything from the MH17 air crash over Ukraine to the Salisbury Novichok poisonings. We Are Bellingcat covers the ethos of the organisation, its commitment to evidence and openness and contrasts it with conspiracy theorists who form opinions first and look for evidence later. Higgins highlights what happens when you go up against powerful actors and the steps they will take to discredit or harass the people who expose them. He also addressed a couple of my questions. First, why the focus on war and conflict? He explains that they are now applying their techniques to environmental issues. Second, why are most of the key players male? He talked about the legacy of online sexism, particularly referencing Gamergate, and said that now Bellingcat has the funding to expand beyond an informal network of likeminded people, they are making conscious efforts to be more representative. The beauty of open source intelligence is that you can replicate the work and check it for yourself. It is the opposite of the cliquey world of political journalism in particular, when reports are based on anonymous sources. Higgins shares some of his techniques, so that you (or in my case, my fictional investigative journalist!) could begin your own research. But what the book makes clear is that this isn’t easy. You need skills, commitment, attention to detail — and the willingness to confront powerful interests. * I received a copy of We Are Bellingcat from the publisher via Netgalley.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    Reads like a spy novel yet it’s not a spy novel; it’s real life. First things first, this is a great read, it is easy to understand and does not attempt to be an academic textbook for those who wish to learn how to do what Bellingcat does. I had heard of Bellingcat, like many people when they published their investigation into the Skripel poisoning. At the time I remember thinking “wow, look at this, an independent organisation has published evidence that could lead to justice being done”. I was n Reads like a spy novel yet it’s not a spy novel; it’s real life. First things first, this is a great read, it is easy to understand and does not attempt to be an academic textbook for those who wish to learn how to do what Bellingcat does. I had heard of Bellingcat, like many people when they published their investigation into the Skripel poisoning. At the time I remember thinking “wow, look at this, an independent organisation has published evidence that could lead to justice being done”. I was naive really, because the evidence they published meant that Governments and leaders across the world would have to publicly acknowledge and take action against a superpower, and what could they really do that had not been done before? Sanctions, condemnations from the majority, but not anything that would prevent or deter them from such acts in the future. In relation to Syria, I can’t watch a documentary on what Syrians suffered without feeling an immense sense of blame/shame for those who should have took a stand and instead made a choice to allow people to suffer some of the most horrific atrocities since WWII. I believe what Bellingcat says, that one day justice will be done and it will be in large part down to the work carried out by those who work together with and as Bellingcat. Whilst I understand that this is a book review I think it is important to add context as to why I believe this is a must read book. When you are someone whose skill set includes how to draw inferences from facts and evidence so that your reader, listener or audience make the conclusion you wish/need them too, you cannot underestimate what is at stake for us all if we don’t use verifiable evidence to assert our conclusion. Bellingcat don’t offer inferences to their readers, listeners or audience; they offer verified evidence, conclusive fact. Bellingcat is the lighthouse in a constant fog trying to guide us from the threat of disinformation; the biggest threat we may ever face.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sami Eerola

    Excellent autobiography of the organization of investigative journalists of Bellingcat. The book is full of detailed information on the rise of the organization and its methods. The best thing after the description of how the organization came to conclusion in its most famous cases, is the description of the fight between Bellingcat and the "contrafactual media" (conspiracy theorists and extreme anti-Western-imperialists aka redbrown activists). The author shows clearly how wrong the later about Excellent autobiography of the organization of investigative journalists of Bellingcat. The book is full of detailed information on the rise of the organization and its methods. The best thing after the description of how the organization came to conclusion in its most famous cases, is the description of the fight between Bellingcat and the "contrafactual media" (conspiracy theorists and extreme anti-Western-imperialists aka redbrown activists). The author shows clearly how wrong the later about everytging and how different Bellingcat is from other "similar" orgs like Wikileaks and The Grayzone (the later is not mentioned by name). The main differences is openness in its sources, methods and funding. Great book and a exciting read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for sharing this ARC. Like many I think, I had not heard of Bellingcat until their recent work with CNN investigating the Russian poisoning of Putin’s nemesis, Alexai Navalny. So when I saw this title I was intrigued to find out who and what they are. It’s a fascinating history of how the organization organically developed, expanded and continues to expand their work and setting standards for online investigations. Lots of good information about disinformation Thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for sharing this ARC. Like many I think, I had not heard of Bellingcat until their recent work with CNN investigating the Russian poisoning of Putin’s nemesis, Alexai Navalny. So when I saw this title I was intrigued to find out who and what they are. It’s a fascinating history of how the organization organically developed, expanded and continues to expand their work and setting standards for online investigations. Lots of good information about disinformation as well and what they’re working on to help educate citizens to question more of what they see online. Overall, very interesting for anyone and more so for those interested in digital sleuthing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sue Chant

    A fascinating look at the rise of citizen journalists using open-source channels and tools to uncover some of the worst war atrocities and unmasked state misinformation and lies in the past decade. A well written, lively and optimistic counterblow to the acres of dismal “fake news” we see gushing across social media.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate Potapenko

    A brilliantly written story looking into open source intelligence (OSINT) and how it is used in real life. A technique I love and use a lot for work and to satisfy my personal curiosities..It is so often that you find something on the subject of your interest, but it ends up being an absolute disaster. This is an exception! It is very well written, evolves around some very interesting cases and hopefully will be an eye opener to many! It also shows how enthusiasm and some self-education can take A brilliantly written story looking into open source intelligence (OSINT) and how it is used in real life. A technique I love and use a lot for work and to satisfy my personal curiosities..It is so often that you find something on the subject of your interest, but it ends up being an absolute disaster. This is an exception! It is very well written, evolves around some very interesting cases and hopefully will be an eye opener to many! It also shows how enthusiasm and some self-education can take this far. The book is amazing on so many levels, it's hard for me to be concise. But if you want to learn anything about disinformation, OSINT and how it works or just a fan of detective stories - read this! You won't regret it! I am a number one fan of Eliot Higgins for sure now! Thank you #NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest feedback

  13. 5 out of 5

    Muhammad Ahmad

    It’s more gripping than a detective novel. Except the crimes are real, the sleuths are smarter, and the stakes are higher. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lachlan Finlayson

    This book tells the story of Bellingcat; an independent, international collective using open-source and social media data to undertake online investigations into some of the world’s most pressing stories. I have been aware of Bellingcat for some time, thanks to The Browser website which has recommended their published articles. The book provides a rich history and timeline of Bellingcat’s evolution from a small scale blog to the respected and influential organisation is has become today. It is fa This book tells the story of Bellingcat; an independent, international collective using open-source and social media data to undertake online investigations into some of the world’s most pressing stories. I have been aware of Bellingcat for some time, thanks to The Browser website which has recommended their published articles. The book provides a rich history and timeline of Bellingcat’s evolution from a small scale blog to the respected and influential organisation is has become today. It is fascinating the investigative journalism Bellincat have done, largely with publicly available online data; along with hard work, diligence and the patience of staff and volunteers. The book describes how Bellingcat investigates news events by identifying people, locating places, dates and even the time of day from publicly available online data ( photos & videos on Social Media, satellite imagery, online databases, specially developed software). These events may be military, political or criminal in nature, well known, unknown or misreported by the worlds media. Examples are given of phone hacking, military actions, terrorism, government actions and war crimes. The online data investigated is often coming from active participants or bystanders in these events. Bellingcat’s innovative investigative methods often provide more accurate, more reliable reporting than the major news organisations or official government investigations. The book describes Bellingcat’s online methods, internal and sometimes external collaboration with news organisations, like-minded non-government organisations and sometimes governments or legal authorities. Examples are given that expose and sometimes bring to justice perpetrators and enablers of local, national and international crimes. Truth and justice are recurring themes in Belligcat’s work; something the book makes clear they strive to retain as their organisation and influence grows. The book also delves into the problems of the growing influence of Counter-Factual information often disseminated via Social Media. Debunking incorrect stories is as much a part of their work as providing their own factual, evidence-based accounts. Recurring themes of integrity, ethics, verified evidence, truth and justice are constant throughout the book. The books closing chapters discuss the future direction of their work, including how Artificial Intelligence, Bellingcat and like-minded organisations or individuals (perhaps with training and online resources) can address the ongoing problems of factual media and reporting. Bellingcat is providing an outstanding service in these difficult times when it is sometimes difficult to trust the many sources of information we are exposed to in our daily lives. The Bellingcat organisation, their brave staff and collaborators deserve our thanks. An important book, deserving a wide audience. This book is a great read for anyone interested in the media, truthful accounting of current events and an insight into the future.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    When the Russian Novichok poisonings happened in Salisbury, UK, Higgins was just a normal office worker with an ‘unsatisfying job’ and an interest in the news and computing. This book is the story of how Higgins went from leading an ordinary life to becoming an obsessive online sleuth of world events. His obsession led to the formation of Bellingcat an organisation that has been consulted on by NGOs, Government intelligent agencies, and journalists to help solve crimes, such as the downing of fl When the Russian Novichok poisonings happened in Salisbury, UK, Higgins was just a normal office worker with an ‘unsatisfying job’ and an interest in the news and computing. This book is the story of how Higgins went from leading an ordinary life to becoming an obsessive online sleuth of world events. His obsession led to the formation of Bellingcat an organisation that has been consulted on by NGOs, Government intelligent agencies, and journalists to help solve crimes, such as the downing of flight MH17. The book tries to show how we, as everyday internet users, with a little skill and a lot of time can also use freely available online information to create the connections that reveal the true timelines and culprits behind a number of world events and war crimes. As a librarian I’m passionate about digital and media literacy. In a world where information is so freely available, how do you know what is true and what is a lie? Higgins takes you back to the main principle of seeking out the primary data and double checking everything. Higgins makes much of the fact that Bellingcat always makes it clear where their information has come from and citing all sources. Good practice for all of us, but later in the book he does say how they paid a Russian to gain access to hidden records. Those records are the catalyst for the rest of that particular search and they would not have been able to solve that particular crime without those sources. So though Bellingcat may have started as an open source platform of truth, but can it really still claim those credentials if they are paying someone for access to secure documents? Throughout the book I kept on wondering what really drove Higgins to devote so much of his time to this work. I never felt that this was satisfactorily dealt with, and I say this as someone who knows the buzz of finding something that everyone else has struggled to locate. There is a certain satisfaction in being able to pull all the pieces together and follow a trail to the pot of information gold but I’m not sure I could devote hours of my life to watching video footage of war crimes as something that started as a hobby. I also kept on asking myself why is this organisation needed, why aren’t intelligence agencies around the world doing this work, why aren’t news organisations doing it? It’s interesting that a book with an upside down question mark on the cover left me with so many questions of my own. I’d really recommend this book to anyone interested in journalism, politics, world affairs and media, digital or information literacies. Higgins raises some very important issues on how we get our information, how we fight against ‘fake news’ and how important it is for all of us that each generation has those skills.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Davis

    We are Bellingcat, by Eliot Higgins; Bloomsbury Publishing: New York; $28.00 hardback Frustration characterizes reading news today. Can we ever know what is factual? Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat online researchers, contends we can discern truth amidst a miasma of online rhetoric. ‘Global Crime, Online Sleuths, and the Bold Future of the News’ is quite literally his theme. What’s more, he shows how truth discernment is freely available. He notes traditional investigative reporting, with c We are Bellingcat, by Eliot Higgins; Bloomsbury Publishing: New York; $28.00 hardback Frustration characterizes reading news today. Can we ever know what is factual? Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat online researchers, contends we can discern truth amidst a miasma of online rhetoric. ‘Global Crime, Online Sleuths, and the Bold Future of the News’ is quite literally his theme. What’s more, he shows how truth discernment is freely available. He notes traditional investigative reporting, with confidential sources, some dubious collection methods, peer reviewed in newspapers is no longer the sole source of discerning fact. Rather, where the news reporters stagnate, ‘citizen researchers’ can provide not only details previously missed but scoops as well. Bellingcat’s research talent is revealed through well told stories. We are hooked as we discover validated truth behind the shoot down of Flight MH17 in the undeclared Ukrainian war. Bellingcat research revealed a Russian spy involved in the sinister plot to attempt murder by poison of a defector in Britain. An obsessive news consumer, Higgins found he could not only find details left out of the press by searching social media, but also discover unidentified leads as well. As he describes his sojourn from obscure blogger to internationally consulted researcher, we discover Bellingcat’s methods. Moreover, we discover how these methods identify truth, even in a world where dictatorships try to suppress it through lies, distortions, and disinformation. His examples are plentiful. An entire Russian orchestrated deception was brought down when Bellingcat, through global map triangulation, Youtube feed verification, and other explained methods identified who, how, when, and where a war crime took place. Case studies are magnificent. Revelations about chemical weapons in Syria, missile shots in Yemen and other uninvestigated incidents show how his researchers objectively work. They identify overlooked information found online, verify that evidence, and amplify this factual, non- speculative information. They post all sources. Their goal is to help victims, to discover truth, and to help bring about justice. Non partisan, they investigate any country or organization. Higgins shows too how his work attracts determined adversaries. Nation-state orchestrated smears and hackers challenge Bellingcat’s objectivity. His answer? Transparency. He shows how he builds factual firewalls, discerns reality, and exposes bogus conspiracy theories. He does so through absolute transparency. All Bellingcat’s claims are identified and checkable online. A powerful, valuable book. A first step in combating falsehood.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    While I have been an avid reader of Bellingcat and their investigations, I had very little knowledge of how these digital detectives, this "people's intelligence service" first got started. But that is exactly what Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, describes in detail in this book. Starting as a bored office worker with an interest in the Arab Spring and the Libyan Civil War, Higgins would spend his free time in the comment section underneath The Guardian liveblogs, adding little details he p While I have been an avid reader of Bellingcat and their investigations, I had very little knowledge of how these digital detectives, this "people's intelligence service" first got started. But that is exactly what Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, describes in detail in this book. Starting as a bored office worker with an interest in the Arab Spring and the Libyan Civil War, Higgins would spend his free time in the comment section underneath The Guardian liveblogs, adding little details he picked up from on-the-ground reporters. Via online message boards and blogs, he met a whole community of people who would fact-check claims made online or help spread important details of major news stories. Slowly but surely, this evolved into a core group of people, all with their own speciality and focus, who realised that there was a tsunami of fake news coming towards us and that someone had to stand up for truth and fact. And so Bellingcat was born. The organisation, named after a fable in which mice want to tie a bell around a cat's neck to warn whenever the cat approached, is best known for their work in identifying the perpetrators of the assassination attempt against the Skripals in Britain and their investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by Russia in Eastern Ukraine. Those two cases, and more, are discussed in this book, with Higgins going through Bellingcat's work method in precise detail. I didn't think anything in this book would shock me, but there were a few moments where I had to physically get up and walk around to contemplate what I had just read. From sketching out a street map based on a shaky video and identifying a specific neighbourhood in a Libyan city, to finding a social media profile for the wedding videographer used by the daughter of a Russian military officer and thus stumbling on a picture of an assassin, at times it was undeniable that fact is always more absurd than fiction. And fact, truth, evidence matters, today maybe more so than ever before. (I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Peter K

    This is a very important book for the times we find ourselves in. Minority biography, majority and explanation of how Bellingcat - the advocates for open source information gathering that is open to all - came into being from the work of the author in his spare time at his desk job to the current loosely formed collective of citizens around the world. The work that Bellingcat does can be very unpleasant , the ceaseless review of footage from scenes of murder and war crimes , but it is very necessa This is a very important book for the times we find ourselves in. Minority biography, majority and explanation of how Bellingcat - the advocates for open source information gathering that is open to all - came into being from the work of the author in his spare time at his desk job to the current loosely formed collective of citizens around the world. The work that Bellingcat does can be very unpleasant , the ceaseless review of footage from scenes of murder and war crimes , but it is very necessary work as it shines a light on who has committed such atrocities that otherwise would be lost owing to the control that the perpetrators have over the geography and / or the media locally. Making sense of Syrian war crimes, identifying the weapons that shot down the Ukrainian airliner in 2014, identifying the identities of the Russian agents who poisoned the Skripals in the UK - all this and more has been the key work of Bellingcat - described in precise detail in this book showing that it is not flashy grandstanding that achieves results but painstaking analysis of open source information to find and verify the information that is there to be found. Eliot Higgins is equally interesting and insightful when writing about the future of social media and the internet in general encouraging us not to be miserablists and rather than be dismayed about the negative elements that we all see to be part of the positive force that could not have succeeded without the access to information that the internet provides. Interesting also is the consideration of AI and the impact it can and could have on people's faith in their sources of news - again Higgins sets out a credible agenda for how such attempts at distortion and creation of chaos can be weeded out and prevented from damaging public discourse. A very important book from the person at the heart of a very important organisation and above all else I will try to remember the call to arms of Bellingcat Identify Verify Amplify

  19. 4 out of 5

    Val Robson

    This is a hugely well-researched and detailed account by British journalist, Eliot Higgins, who founded Bellingcat in July 2014. I’d never heard of Bellingcat but thought this sounded like an interesting read and a subject I should learn more about. Bellingcat is a website that is run as a place where independent investigative journalists and any interested individual can work collaboratively to publish facts about world news. They have no political leanings and use open-source intelligence to u This is a hugely well-researched and detailed account by British journalist, Eliot Higgins, who founded Bellingcat in July 2014. I’d never heard of Bellingcat but thought this sounded like an interesting read and a subject I should learn more about. Bellingcat is a website that is run as a place where independent investigative journalists and any interested individual can work collaboratively to publish facts about world news. They have no political leanings and use open-source intelligence to unearth the truth about events which are often being misreported on purpose by governments, groups or individuals. It evolved from a blog, under the name of Brown Moses, that Elliot Higgins, wrote to publish his detailed findings on the Syrian Civil War. Bellingcat;s first big case was reporting the truth about flight MH17 which was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine. There is a huge amount of detail in the book about the methods and techniques used by people world over used to contribute to discover to the truth about many terrorist and war incidents, the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury and the Christchurch mosque massacre among others. The dedication, that could be described as obsession, of those who give their spare times to search through thousands and thousands of images and videos is quite astounding. They will spend days and weeks searching Google Earth to geolocate the exact location of an incident in order to corroborate the truth. Bellingcat basically represents the ultimate positive use for having many eyes – tens of thousands potentially – to ensure that the truth and facts prevail over spin and lies. With thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Lynch

    I chose to read this book as I had a vague understanding of Bellingcat but wasn't really aware of how they actually work. The book explains the organisation and how it started with Eliot Higgins, sat at his desk in his office job, moonlighting as an amateur detective, to recruit other volunteers to the cause through twitter, to how the organisation has developed. We are given insight into the incredible the work Bellingcat do, with an evidence based approach and fact checking meticulously, they sc I chose to read this book as I had a vague understanding of Bellingcat but wasn't really aware of how they actually work. The book explains the organisation and how it started with Eliot Higgins, sat at his desk in his office job, moonlighting as an amateur detective, to recruit other volunteers to the cause through twitter, to how the organisation has developed. We are given insight into the incredible the work Bellingcat do, with an evidence based approach and fact checking meticulously, they scour the internet for data to prove or disprove facts, such as in the cases of MH17 downing, the Novichok attack in Britain and the New Zealand Mosque attack, leading to big revelations and the finding of the truth, in a much better way than governments can, or are willing, to do. I think it's amazing how they even search on Google Streetview to try and corroborate the exact locations of photos, matching up roads, trees and even signs. It's fantastic work and they are a very dedicated group of people. It is a very long read and I was quite slow getting through it, but the information is very interesting in itself. I just wanted to mention that it is a very thorough and detailed book, so you can decide whether that is your thing or not. Bellingcat are a great investigative source to follow as the information they publish will have been meticulously checked. They are an independent international group of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists using open source and social media investigation to probe events, and are a trustworthy source in these days of so much fake news. Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury publishing for a free copy in return for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Glen Robinson

    Bellingcat is in direct response to the challenge of fake news and disinformation that starts with Russia and extends to anyone who wants you to believe their way and doesn’t want you to see for yourself what the facts are. Bellingcat is an organization based (now) out of The Netherlands and staffed by 30 full-time researchers with hundreds of volunteers around the world. The sole intent is to research open source information on the Internet regarding news events. Most of them are not news peopl Bellingcat is in direct response to the challenge of fake news and disinformation that starts with Russia and extends to anyone who wants you to believe their way and doesn’t want you to see for yourself what the facts are. Bellingcat is an organization based (now) out of The Netherlands and staffed by 30 full-time researchers with hundreds of volunteers around the world. The sole intent is to research open source information on the Internet regarding news events. Most of them are not news people at all. The founder, Eliot Higgins, started off working in an office and started doing it in his spare time in the UK. But since they started in the past 20 years, they have discovered the truth behind many atrocities in the Syrian Civil War, the shooting down of a Ukranian airliner by pro-Russian separatists, the identification of attackers in Charlottesville, North Carolina, and helped track down Russian spies. In fact they discovered they were so good at what they do that they could find the answers faster than any high-powered news agency or even the CIA or MI-6. The author writes this story not to entertain, and tells the story matter-of-factly, giving point-by-point explanations as to how they went about gathering their information. You get the feeling sometimes that perhaps even he is surprised at their success. But he also goes into the dangers inherent in revealing secrets that Russians, right-wing extremists and other dangerous people don’t want the world to know about, including the emotional trauma associated with what they do. It’s a great book. I need to tell you that there is a website (bellingcat.com) and a documentary that is available.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Luca

    I received this as an ARC on NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review Actual rate: 5.0! Good: - SO GRIPPING! - Engaging narration which was easy to listen to (voice) - Taught me a lot about a field I didn't even know existed Bad: - I wanted more explanation of some stories, and found myself googling them for context occasionally. This was a fascinating and gripping origin story of one of the internets most interesting groups, intertwined with information on the nature of the internet and how we can I received this as an ARC on NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review Actual rate: 5.0! Good: - SO GRIPPING! - Engaging narration which was easy to listen to (voice) - Taught me a lot about a field I didn't even know existed Bad: - I wanted more explanation of some stories, and found myself googling them for context occasionally. This was a fascinating and gripping origin story of one of the internets most interesting groups, intertwined with information on the nature of the internet and how we can make it better. It gave us true and hard hitting stories with context and detail, which kept me listening right to the end. The storylines were mostly followed through, and stayed focussed, although with minor distractions within context that made sense. To be honest, this was pretty much my perfect book. I would read again and buy for friends in a heartbeat. Fascinating, informative and easy to access. CWs: war, misogyny, suicide, PTSD, racism, murder motivated by prejudice, terrorism, bombing, in depth discussion of weapons, child death. I would recommend this book to anyone who uses the internet, and to be honest, to anyone who wants to learn more about the internet/digital sleuthing, and to political and law enforcement officials. Also, to true crime junkies. Overall: 5/5

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Kaye

    I have followed the progress of Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat almost since its inception. The founder's book is on an important subject, well-written and absorbing in its research, the way Eliot and his team handled the depth of enquiry needed to produce an organisation that holds many to account. The 'intelligence agency for the people' is real and growing in scope and effectiveness. The book is a story of how this happened and the real impact Bellingcat has had and continues to have. Using onlin I have followed the progress of Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat almost since its inception. The founder's book is on an important subject, well-written and absorbing in its research, the way Eliot and his team handled the depth of enquiry needed to produce an organisation that holds many to account. The 'intelligence agency for the people' is real and growing in scope and effectiveness. The book is a story of how this happened and the real impact Bellingcat has had and continues to have. Using online and open material to prove activities of real interest exist and to disprove the counter-intelligence that seeks to consume us is brilliantly executed and the book shows how this has happened. I am in awe of Belingcat's abilities and impact. As Eliot shows in the final chapter, the world online will evolve to make the Matrix seem real. Yet, there is a reality beneath all the intrigue of Russians and others that seek to deceive. We think of the secret services as our guardians but Bellingcat, started in a flat somewhere in Leicester, is now a valued member of this club. This book is an excellent and highly readable way to understand why it needs to exist.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Verity W

    *****Copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review**** If you’re a casual news consumer you’ll probably have come across Bellingcat as a result of their investigation into the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. But the open source investigation team has its roots further back – in the Arab Spring and the dawning of citizen journalism via social media. It’s an absolutely fascinating read, but a warning: if you worked in a newsroom in the period 2011-2015 (roughly) *****Copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review**** If you’re a casual news consumer you’ll probably have come across Bellingcat as a result of their investigation into the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. But the open source investigation team has its roots further back – in the Arab Spring and the dawning of citizen journalism via social media. It’s an absolutely fascinating read, but a warning: if you worked in a newsroom in the period 2011-2015 (roughly) approach this book with care. I wanted to read this book because I was interested in their verification techniques, mission statement and how they work – after all my day job is in a newsroom. But reading it brought back some memories that I’d rather not think about. It’s not that the book is overly graphic – or even excessively so. But if you watched the sort of pictures they’re talking about first time around – most of which didn’t make the TV news because they were so graphic, you’ll find it coming back to you. I started at the BBC fulltime almost exactly ten years ago – and my first job was in picture intake. That first year – through the Arab Spring, Japanese Tsunami, Utoya Island, the assassination of Mummar Gaddafi – I saw so much really grim footage that I invented the Panda scale of how many times did I have to watch my video of baby pandas playing to cheer myself up. And I didn’t even get the worst of it. This brought back some of the images from that time that I thought I had forgotten. But if you’re interested in open source investigation and in how the masses of UGC (user generated content) from the conflicts of the last decade are being preserved and the hopes for how it might be used in the future- this is the book for you.

  25. 4 out of 5

    adventuresinabookshop Jo DM

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook of We Are Bellingcat for review purposes. I had not heard of Bellingcat until a few days ago when I first saw this book mentioned. I thought it sounded fascinating so I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook. Bellingcat are an independent investigation agency who use open source information to solve crimes such as the bombing of civilians. Among the perpetrators they have identified are the operatives responsible for Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook of We Are Bellingcat for review purposes. I had not heard of Bellingcat until a few days ago when I first saw this book mentioned. I thought it sounded fascinating so I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook. Bellingcat are an independent investigation agency who use open source information to solve crimes such as the bombing of civilians. Among the perpetrators they have identified are the operatives responsible for the Salisbury poisonings and the downing of Malaysian Flight 17. This was a fascinating book which covered the author’s first forays into online investigation, how Bellingcat was formed and information about how they got to the bottom of some of their biggest cases. I was so enthralled by this book that I listened to 50% on the first day and I’m not normally as interested in non-fiction. This is an engaging and enthralling book which I would recommend to anyone interested in current affairs or true crime.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Oliver

    If you'd asked me before I read this, I'd have said that I was pretty on top of how internet sleuthing works, the role that social media played in the Arab Spring, and the value of primary sources in a world deluged with news and 'news'. We are Bellingcat, however, opened my eyes in a whole new way. Although it's not always a gripping read (there are times when such pains are taken to show the workings that I lost patience), it's a truly fascinating one, and truly necessary, maybe particularly f If you'd asked me before I read this, I'd have said that I was pretty on top of how internet sleuthing works, the role that social media played in the Arab Spring, and the value of primary sources in a world deluged with news and 'news'. We are Bellingcat, however, opened my eyes in a whole new way. Although it's not always a gripping read (there are times when such pains are taken to show the workings that I lost patience), it's a truly fascinating one, and truly necessary, maybe particularly for those of us who feel a little jaded - although some of the conclusions are bleak, I found this quite a hopeful read. I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in current affairs, 'echo chambers', investigative journalism, or the huge and terrifying world of figuring out how social media shapes our lives. 4.5/5 stars. My thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    This is an inspiring book about the open-source organization that describes itself as “...something that has never been before: an intelligence agency for the people. Written by its founder Eliot Higgins, the book tells of the feats pulled off by individuals and small groups scattered all over the world in the last decade in the field of ‘online open-source investigation’. It makes the world’s large and powerful intelligence agencies look inept, old-fashioned and ill-adapted for a world where 90 This is an inspiring book about the open-source organization that describes itself as “...something that has never been before: an intelligence agency for the people. Written by its founder Eliot Higgins, the book tells of the feats pulled off by individuals and small groups scattered all over the world in the last decade in the field of ‘online open-source investigation’. It makes the world’s large and powerful intelligence agencies look inept, old-fashioned and ill-adapted for a world where 90% of the evidence for crime is open for all to examine. Although Bellingcat is scarcely 10 years old, its modus operandi reminds one of the early days of the internet. Despite being full of details about ammunition, war and weapons, the book is really about how individuals with genuine intent have been more successful than ‘big media’ and ‘big intelligence’ at uncovering some of the most important truths about global affairs.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eliska Herinkova

    Let me start by saying I have heard of Bellingcat approximately 6 months before seeing this book, and even back then, I greatly admired the work they do and the techniques they use. So Bellingcat wasn’t entirely new for me and I picked up this book with the expectation to learn a bit more about them. I have learned a lot about them as I was reading this book. I think it is great for everyone - whether you are someone who knows about Bellingcat, or whether you have never heard of them. Whether you Let me start by saying I have heard of Bellingcat approximately 6 months before seeing this book, and even back then, I greatly admired the work they do and the techniques they use. So Bellingcat wasn’t entirely new for me and I picked up this book with the expectation to learn a bit more about them. I have learned a lot about them as I was reading this book. I think it is great for everyone - whether you are someone who knows about Bellingcat, or whether you have never heard of them. Whether you are one of the OSINT enthusiasts or have never heard about image reverse searching. This book talks about the beginnings of Bellingcat, how it all started, about the growth of the organisation, about the biggest cases up to date, but also about techniques used for online investigations. Very interesting reading, very informative, and very well written.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Veronica Marshall

    We are Bellingcat: Global Crime, Online sleuths, and the Bold future of News by Eliot Higgins. We are Bellingcat gives you a front row seat of how social media dominates and takes over frontline newspapers. By doing dangerous online sleuthing in dangerous times and situations. For example Syrian War with Assad when it first came on to Russia poisoning with novichok. A group of in-depth investigative journalists. Who look for valid information and sources and try bring the truth to light. Who als We are Bellingcat: Global Crime, Online sleuths, and the Bold future of News by Eliot Higgins. We are Bellingcat gives you a front row seat of how social media dominates and takes over frontline newspapers. By doing dangerous online sleuthing in dangerous times and situations. For example Syrian War with Assad when it first came on to Russia poisoning with novichok. A group of in-depth investigative journalists. Who look for valid information and sources and try bring the truth to light. Who also expose the ugly truth that people would rather have not upfront. Eliot Higgings searching for the truth and by exposing it and to bring forth Bellingcat is a great gift to society. I’m glad I got a chance to read this book. This Arc was given to me by Netgalley in Exchange for an honest review. March 2nd 2021 is when We are Bellingcat comes out grab a front row seat.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mexscrabbler

    Respect. This is a very good book detailing the work of a very good organization which uses crowd-sourced data to attempt to solve international war crimes, airplane crashes, environmental disasters, etc. Founded initially as a blog by the author, Elliot Higgins, this effort has expanded to become a multi-user, multi-country effort. It is quite altruistic and follows a highly disciplined, transparent approach to its work in an effort to present unassailable results. They have quite a few successes Respect. This is a very good book detailing the work of a very good organization which uses crowd-sourced data to attempt to solve international war crimes, airplane crashes, environmental disasters, etc. Founded initially as a blog by the author, Elliot Higgins, this effort has expanded to become a multi-user, multi-country effort. It is quite altruistic and follows a highly disciplined, transparent approach to its work in an effort to present unassailable results. They have quite a few successes under their belt, including many having to do with Syria and Russia. But their emphasis is on *teaching others* their techniques to expand the activism of ordinary citizens. While it is easy to despair about the garbage flowing through the internet, this group responds with a highly organized and optimistic approach. Highly recommended!

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