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$54,463
pledged of $74,829 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

$54,463
pledged of $74,829 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

Hi. I’m Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat.

In 2014, I turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for Bellingcat. Thanks to the generosity of 1,701 backers, we’ve spent the past two and a half years using online open source investigations to find truth in what often feels like a post-truth world. 

Now we are back on Kickstarter to raise funds to keep the lights on (to hire staff, run the website, pay our developer, and cover rent), and to expand our training and archiving programs. 

Round two

Soon after our first campaign, we uncovered the location of an Islamic State (ISIS) training camp in Iraq using Google Earth, located where American journalist James Foley had been killed, and showed that the Buk missile launcher linked to the downing of MH17 in Ukraine was under the control of separatists and that it originated from Russian troops.

We’ve secured grants from organizations like the Google Digital News Initiative, Adessium, and Open Society Foundation for some very exciting projects, but this Kickstarter campaign will bridge the gap and allow us to greatly increase Bellingcat’s role in the world. 

Together, we will continue to grow this revolution.

Our investigations

Thanks to your support with our last Kickstarter, we have established ourselves as the go-to-source for online open source investigations.

We are proud of what we’ve accomplished in just two and a half years––much of which has been amplified throughout the media:

Photo by Vadim Ghirda, Associated Press
Photo by Vadim Ghirda, Associated Press

The Group of Bloggers Unearthing MH17 Intel Quicker Than U.S. Spies ––Mashable

Kickstarter-funded journalists found an ISIL training camp using Google Earth and Bing Maps ––Quartz

Photo by Antonio Bronic/Reuters
Photo by Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Meet Eliot Higgins, Putin's MH17 Nemesis ––Newsweek 

 

Report: Russians regularly shelled eastern Ukraine in 2014 ––AP

Photo by Manum Abu Omer / Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images
Photo by Manum Abu Omer / Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

The Citizen Journalists Challenging Assad And Putin’s Story Of War ––The Huffington Post

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Researchers Think the Same People Hacked the DNC and MH17 Journalists ––Fortune

Images created by Timmi Allen / Bellingcat
Images created by Timmi Allen / Bellingcat

In Aleppo’s misinformation war, a 7-year-old girl prompts a fact check ––The Washington Post

We were also just nominated for a European press prize ––France 24

Beyond investigations

Through this Kickstarter, we will expand what we started, and continue to do more than just investigations. 

We are dedicated to extending the role of open source investigations around the globe through work including:

Training

Bellingcat's Aric Toler leads a training session in Kyiv, Ukraine
Bellingcat's Aric Toler leads a training session in Kyiv, Ukraine

We are currently training citizen journalists to perform investigations that will prove just as influential as those listed above.

In 2016 alone, we conducted seventeen training workshops in countries that could benefit the most from well-trained open source investigators––from Iraq, to Georgia, Ukraine, and beyond.

The funds raised in this campaign will allow us to expand our training to more and more countries around the world. Whether we’re in Kuala Lampur, Kyiv, or Tbilsi, the more well-trained investigators there are, the less places there will be for falsehoods to hide.

Bellingcat's Christiaan Triebert leads a training session in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Bellingcat's Christiaan Triebert leads a training session in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Research

Photo from syrianarchive.org
Photo from syrianarchive.org

We've also created projects to collect and share information from conflict zones.

For instance, The Syrian Archive project has joined Bellingcat under the Archive of Conflict Investigations project, funded by the Google Digital News Initiative, to archive videos from the conflict in Syria and ensure that they remain in context thorough investigation work.

By working with international organisations, we’re archiving this information in the best manner possible with a view to use it in future criminal prosecutions. Lessons learnt from this will also be applied to other investigations in the future, ensuring that the best investigations produce the best possible evidence. Again, the funds raised will further these efforts.

We filtered materials to extract videos which refer to Russian attacks against civilians
We filtered materials to extract videos which refer to Russian attacks against civilians

Advocacy work

We are proud to work with a variety of human rights organizations and stand-up for those who need our support the most. This includes supporting projects and individuals working on a variety of subjects, from conflict to financial corruption. 

Bellingcat believes in the importance of co-operation with organisations across the world, and strengthening networks of organisations and promoting cooperation. This will continue to be a core part of Bellingcat’s ethos moving forward, and only be strengthened by this campaign.

SMART News Agency
SMART News Agency

Why Kickstarter?

Our readers are unbelievably important to us. Your interest, support, and pledges have made Bellingcat possible from the beginning. By crowdfunding here on Kickstarter, we are able to stay completely independent and 100% accountable to the people who matter most––our readers.

Where the money will go

Rewards

Here are some of the rewards you will receive in exchange for your donations.

£25 Vinyl sticker pack for your laptop (plus Kickstarter updates)
£25 Vinyl sticker pack for your laptop (plus Kickstarter updates)

 

£30 Bellingcat mug for much needed coffee breaks (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates + website special thanks)
£30 Bellingcat mug for much needed coffee breaks (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates + website special thanks)

 

£40 Bellingcat t-shirt, in white or black (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates + website special thanks)
£40 Bellingcat t-shirt, in white or black (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates + website special thanks)

 

£50 An A2 size, 200gsm silk Bellingcat poster (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates + website special thanks)
£50 An A2 size, 200gsm silk Bellingcat poster (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates + website special thanks)

 

£50 An A2 size, 200gsm silk Molly Crabapple poster (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates +website special thanks)
£50 An A2 size, 200gsm silk Molly Crabapple poster (plus stickers + Kickstarter updates +website special thanks)

These images are digital mockups and subject to change.

"The Hills of Raqqa" (2017) by Navine G. Khan-Dossos: A digital print on Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm; Hand finished in gouache; 210mm x 297mm; edition of 12 signed by the artist
"The Hills of Raqqa" (2017) by Navine G. Khan-Dossos: A digital print on Hahnemühle Bamboo 290gsm; Hand finished in gouache; 210mm x 297mm; edition of 12 signed by the artist

 

"Seagull in the Mediterranean Sea" by Fares Cachoux. Limited edition (1 of just 10 copies), hand signed 60x80cm poster
"Seagull in the Mediterranean Sea" by Fares Cachoux. Limited edition (1 of just 10 copies), hand signed 60x80cm poster

 

£1,500 to £5,000 Brand sponsorship (desktop sample, price depends on duration of sponsorship)
£1,500 to £5,000 Brand sponsorship (desktop sample, price depends on duration of sponsorship)

Team

We have a team of 3 full time members of staff and 15 volunteers.

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Blog. Eliot focuses on the weapons used in the conflict in Syria, and open source investigation tools and techniques. 

Christiaan Triebert is an open source researcher and trainer with Bellingcat, who focuses especially on armed conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. His research includes the bombed water infrastructure in Yemen and Syriacar bomb attacks in Mosul, as well as reconstructing the Turkish coup attempt by verifying leaked WhatsApp messages – an investigation that gained worldwide attention and is shortlisted for the European Press Prize. Christiaan also geolocates civilian casualty incidents due to international airstrikes for the watchdog Airwars as a volunteer. Next to his open source work, Christiaan has conducted field research and reported as a freelance (photo)journalist from Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine, amongst other areas. Christiaan graduated in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College London, after obtaining two bachelor degrees from the University of Groningen, in International Relations and Political Philosophy.

Aric Toler is Bellingcat's lead on Eastern Europe/Eurasia, where he coordinates research, editing, and translations of Bellingcat's work on the regions. Over the past two years, Aric has led over a dozen training workshops teaching open source research and verification techniques for Russian-speaking journalists and activists in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, the Czech Republic. Before joining Bellingcat full-time, Aric received an MA in Slavic Languages & Literatures and worked in the private sector in the United States as an intelligence specialist.

Hadi Al Khatib has been working on collecting, verifying, investigating and preserving citizen-generated data as evidence of human rights violations with the SyrianArchive project in order to expose and draw attention to human rights violations committed by all sides in the Syrian conflict. He works with Bellingcat as a project lead for open source investigations in the MENA region. He has been doing digital content verification and open source investigation trainings for journalists and human rights activists since 2015. Open source investigations that he did included the use of illegal weapons such as cluster munitions, incendiary weapons and chemical weapons. 

About Bellingcat

We use open source and social media to investigate a variety of subjects, from Mexican drug lords to conflicts being fought across the world. Bellingcat brings together contributors who specialise in open source and social media investigation, and creates guides and case studies so others may learn to do the same.

Thank you for listening.

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk is that we do not reach our goal, and can no longer pay for the infrastructure that makes Bellingcat possible.

Beyond that, we are working with fulfillment companies to help us produce and ship rewards. While delays are always a possibility, we will push for you to receive your rewards in a timely manner, and always keep you updated if that's not the case.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Support this project

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

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    Pledge £10 or more About $12

    Backer-only updates + special thanks

    You will get access to our Kickstarter backer-only updates, which include exclusive insight into Bellingcat and the work of its contributors, the background story of the development of Bellingcat from the Brown Moses Blog, and Bellingcat’s goals and aims for the future
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    We will also give you the thanks you deserve in a special page on the Bellingcat website

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    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack

    You’ll receive a vinyl sticker 3-pack of the Bellingcat upside down question mark logo to apply to the back of your laptop or anywhere you'd like (free shipping worldwide!)
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    Weekly backer-only updates
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    A special thanks on our website

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    Pledge £30 or more About $37

    Bellingcat mug

    You’ll receive a black mug with the Bellingcat upside down question mark logo. Perfect to keep you awake during those long, investigation-filled nights
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    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
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    Weekly backer-only updates
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    A special thanks on our website

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    Pledge £40 or more About $49

    Bellingcat t-shirt with logo

    You’ll receive a t-shirt* with the Bellingcat upside question mark logo
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    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
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    Weekly backer-only updates
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    A special thanks on our website

    *T-shirt available in both black and white, which you'll pick in the post campaign survey

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    Pledge £50 or more About $61

    Bellingcat poster

    You’ll receive an awesome A2 size, 200gsm silk poster with the Bellingcat upside question mark logo
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    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
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    Weekly backer-only update
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    A special thanks on our website

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    Pledge £50 or more About $61

    Molly Crabapple poster

    You’ll receive an awesome A2 size, 200gsm silk poster by activist artist Molly Crabapple*––specially made for Bellingcat
    +
    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
    +
    Weekly backer-only updates
    +
    A special thanks on our website

    *The poster is based on a hand-drawn piece of art capturing the classic fable behind Bellingcat. Called "an emblem of the way art can break out of the gilded gallery" by the New Republic, Molly has drawn in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Dhabi's migrant labor camps, and with rebels in Syria. Please visit her website for samples of her artistic style: www.mollycrabapple.com

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    Pledge £55 or more About $68

    Bellingcat mug + t-shirt

    You’ll receive a black mug with the Bellingcat upside down question mark logo. Perfect to keep you awake during those long, investigation-filled nights
    +
    You’ll receive a t-shirt* with the Bellingcat upside question mark logo
    +
    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
    +
    Weekly backer-only updates
    +
    A special thanks on our website

    *T-shirt available in both black and white, which you'll pick in the post campaign survey

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    Pledge £70 or more About $86

    Two Bellingcat t-shirts

    You’ll receive two t-shirts* with the Bellingcat logo at a discounted rate
    +
    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
    +
    Weekly backer-only updates
    +
    A special thanks on our website

    *T-shirts available in both black and white, which you'll pick in the post campaign survey

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    Pledge £80 or more About $98

    Both Kickstarter posters

    You’ll receive both the Kickstarter exclusive Molly Crabapple poster and Bellingcat poster at a discounted price
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    One Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
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    Weekly backer-only updates
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    A special thanks on our website

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    Pledge £1,500 or more About $1,842

    Bellingcat brand sponsor level 1

    If you or your like-minded institution believe in this project and its mission we’d love for you to join us as a sponsor. For a week we'll feature your brand in a banner at the top of every page on our site.

    *We will schedule the exact dates for your sponsorship after the Kickstarter campaign. All advertisements are subject to evaluation for content. We do not advertise political organisations, adult services, etc. Advertisements will be displayed in order of donation, although a donor can choose to have their advertisement displayed during a later period, say for an event or other special date. Queries can be sent to contact@bellingcat.com

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    Pledge £2,500 or more About $3,070

    Bellingcat brand sponsor level 2

    If you or your like-minded institution believe in this project and its mission we’d love for you to join us as a sponsor. For two weeks we'll feature your brand in a banner at the top of every page on our site.

    *We will schedule the exact dates for your sponsorship after the Kickstarter campaign. All advertisements are subject to evaluation for content. We do not advertise political organisations, adult services, etc. Advertisements will be displayed in order of donation, although a donor can choose to have their advertisement displayed during a later period, say for an event or other special date. Queries can be sent to contact@bellingcat.com

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    Pledge £2,500 or more About $3,070

    Limited edition poster by Fares Cachoux

    You’ll receive a limited edition (1 of just 10 copies in the world), hand signed 60x80cm poster entitled “Seagull in the Mediterranean Sea”* by the incredible Syrian artist Fares Cachoux.**

    *"Seagull in the Mediterranean Sea" confronts the Syrian refugee crisis. The text that coincides with the piece reads "The sea is a cemetery for the innumerable migrants who try to cross it, to escape death... she waits for them, in the abyss of the waves of the Mediterranean." You can find a photo of the poster on our campaign page and on www.farescachoux.com.

    **"Fares Cachoux, a Syrian artist and graphic designer from Homs, is perhaps one of the most internationally recognized names in the Syrian visual arts scene. He was dubbed the “Designer of The Revolution” for his series of simple, yet powerful posters that offer a timeline of the country’s journey from civil uprising to bloody civil war. Cachoux’s works have been showcased in numerous art galleries and exhibitions in Europe, where he hopes the world will see the heartbreaking story of his people and his country. His striking artworks capture everything – from the Syrian government’s crackdown on activists, the Houla massacre, the rise of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and the Russian government’s support of Assad." Read more in the Huffington Post (http://huff.to/2nGFZ60).

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About $6,141

    Bellingcat brand sponsor level 3

    If you or your like-minded institution believe in this project and its mission we’d love for you to join us as a sponsor. For one month we'll feature your brand in a banner at the top of every page on our site.

    *We will schedule the exact dates for your sponsorship after the Kickstarter campaign. All advertisements are subject to evaluation for content. We do not advertise political organisations, adult services, etc. Advertisements will be displayed in order of donation, although a donor can choose to have their advertisement displayed during a later period, say for an event or other special date. Queries can be sent to contact@bellingcat.com

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    Pledge £300 or more About $368

    Limited print by Navine G. Khan-Dossos

    You’ll receive a hand-finished limited edition print titled "The Hills of Raqqa"* by activist artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos**, made specially for Bellingcat
    +
    Bellingcat vinyl laptop sticker pack
    +
    Weekly backer-only updates
    +
    A special thanks on our website

    *"The Hills of Raqqa" is a hand finished limited edition print by Navine G. Khan-Dossos made specially for Bellingcat. Commissioned by Witte de With in Rotterdam (NL), My TV Ain’t HD It’s Too Real was a site-specific mural painting that started with a direct reference to the research done by Eliot Higgins using geo-location. This new print combines the stencil used to make that wall painting made up of diagrams of satellites that let us see the earth from above, as well as the landscape as seen from the ground, bringing together machine vision and human sight. The work of Bellingcat has been crucial to the practice of Khan-Dossos in how she has been able to make new images that integrate investigative journalism into the process of making art about the world we live in today.

    **Navine G. Khan-Dossos’s painting practice is based on a rigorous training in Islamic art and History of Art. But instead of following the expected religious, cultural or academic frameworks of these modes, she has asked more of her work. She is constantly dealing with the complexities of Orientalism and Other, in both historical and contemporary. Please visit her website for samples of her artistic style: http://www.khandossos.com/

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