For the Vietnamese Facebook user Trần Mạnh the past year meant big business. He worked tireless, often nights, to sell wood. He described in one post in late March when he laments: “Another night, not sleepy. Around, still one thing $$$$$”.
Trần Mạnh sells wood logs on Facebook, often by the container. Most come straight from a ship delivered from African deforestation sites. Some may breach established log export bans, we find.
Trần Mạnh’s operation, which may have really kicked off in June 2019 when his WhatsApp number changed, is by no means an isolated case.
At least two dozen…
This guide describes several basic techniques for monitoring and measuring destruction and pollution from illegal mining and how to examine corporate involvement and victims.
Global supply chains and human rights violations show that illegal mining isn’t only a problem for the developing world. Risks span across the entire global supply chain. Illegally mined minerals, causing havoc in source countries, naturally find their way into products (often undetected). This guide is for investigative journalists and reporters aboard researching illegal and destructive mining with open-source intelligence and data (#OSINT).
This guide consists of three case studies:
Covid-19 lockdown periods have been a boon for crime rates. In some realms of the criminal spectrum, crime decline considerably.
In the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found a 32 per cent reduction in total crime excluding fraud and computer misuse during April and May, last year.
With more people at home, fewer criminals dared to commit burglary during the pandemic — some prudently eschewed risky in-person encounters with homeowners.
However, crime in some categories noticeably increased. One of such areas includes dog theft. Criminal activity flourished as demand for the cuddly four-legged friends mounted.
Criminal gangs prefer…
There is hardly space to stand, let alone dig another hole. Images from last week’s scene of labouring gem diggers in the small South African town of KwaHlathi featured exhausted men and women, some with children strapped to their backs.
Similar scenes last witnessed during the great diamond rush in Marange, Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands, in September 2006, when a mineral rush broke out that had devastating consequences. A government takeover accelerated the momentum in subsequent months. The situation culminated in 10,000 illegal artisanal miners working tiny plots, triggering a water, sanitation and housing crisis.
So far, the current events in…
Protests grow more common that involve issues like the lack of essential resources such as water. With our climate warming, more frequent and more severe droughts and more extreme weather events on the rise, increasingly fewer people tolerate missteps by their local or federal leaders. More people take their anger and frustrations to the streets.
When in May last year, in the city of Hermosillo in the Mexican state of Sonora, around 50 people gathered to protest, demanding improved water services, few officials bothered.
Perceived in isolation, these mostly peaceful demonstrations represent just single data points. Few barely generate enough…
Last April, a 114.2 meters long vessel called LAUREN, just vanishes from earth. Days later, it re-surfaced on international AIS screens at the same spot where it ‘disappeared’. It then enters UAE waters to ‘rendezvous’ with two other ships on separate occasions, one operated by a US sanctioned company.
What reads like the beginning of a John le Carré novel turns stranger than fiction. Within around ten days at the end of April of last year, the LAUREN performs the magic trick not once but twice. …
On a per-capita basis, Brits rank second in using the most plastic, just behind Americans, according to a study published in Advances Science last year. What does the UK do with all the plastic waste? Much of it is exported, with a seemingly clean conscience by the government, critics say.
Anything that can’t be recycled or adequately incinerated, shouldn’t be exported in the first place. British plastic waste that isn’t recycled often lands in foreign landfills and the ocean, affecting humans and animals at sea and land.
If plastic exported waste is incinerated, it’s often burned in the open in…
In Europe, the US and Britain, it’s becoming trickier to detangle whether surveillance equipment is connected to human rights violations in Xinjiang — China’s surveillance and oppression of minorities in Xinjiang is well documented.
By selling to third parties which place their own brand labels on the equipment, companies mask the real origin and support companies’ profit footing the bill for more human rights violations.
It makes buying ethical surveillance equipment trickier for both private and public entities in the west, this news analysis finds.
The situation in Myanmar is deteriorating. Mobile phone video footage can provide journalists with important open-source evidence of what happens on the ground. But in order to trust it, we have to verify it first. Shocking videos surfaced in February after the coup when police decided to use live ammunition on unarmed protesters (Source: an analysis of videos by Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab).
Last week, I was asked to work on a training case study. The starting point was a video without a description. For the purpose of knowledge sharing, I’d like to provide my insight. It’s fairly basic…
The crackdown by the military government on unarmed protesters left many dead and the country in shambles. The military junta’s violent rule introduced on February 1 with a coup d’état bears other sad consequences, namely an increased risk for the environment.
Apart from the mass protests since the military seized control, there is new evidence emerging that under the new military’s rule, unsustainable deforestation burgeoned. The main driver, according to experts, is quick profit-making, marked by illegal timber sales previously confiscated by the military.
Open-data confirms large-scale forest clearing even before the coup and the amount of clearing and felling…
Investigative journalist with a technical edge, interested in open source investigations, satellite imgs, R, python, AI, data journalism and injustice