We've just published a new long-form investigation by @kooleksiy detailing how American religious conservative groups have attempted to restrict the expansion of rights for the LGBT community in Ukraine: bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-eu…
Our findings suggest that Steve Weber, longtime head of the Ukrainian branch of the US Christian Broadcasting Network, initiated the creation of a “pro-family” umbrella organisation whose members run nationwide anti-LGBT campaigns and oppose anti-discriminatory changes to laws.
Public records in Ukraine link Steve Weber to American veteran pastor turned lobbyist Dale Armstrong who in 2018 was involved in an effort to oust US Ambassador Yovanovitch.
In 2015 CBN and American Pastors Network, a “network of biblical and faith based pastors and church liaisons”, inserted themselves into the discussion about the possible introduction of marriage equality anti-discriminatory protections for LGBT people into Ukraine’s Constitution.
CBN Ukraine introduced American conversion therapy practitioners to Ukraine through its CBN Family Academy project initiated by Weber. It remains active to this day.
Bellingcat’s findings should inform a deeper understanding of anti-LGBT actors in Ukraine and their ties to like-minded American groups.

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More from @bellingcat

17 Oct
In our new MH17 article, we revisit the recordings with Russian DNR commander Igor Bezler that previously linked him to the MH17 downing. We examined new unpublished intercepts, Bezler’s unpublished testimony, and new information introduced at the trial.
The Dutch prosecution had revealed new details about the so-called “birdie conversation” in which Bezler subordinate Stelmakh informs Bezler that it was observed how a birdie (a plane) flew in his direction shortly before the MH17 downing. MH17 flew on a similar path. ImageImage
It turns out that birdie conversation was recorded just short of two minutes before the MH17 downing, which has cast doubt on the theory that it concerned MH17 or contributed to the downing–reasons why Bezler has not been indicted. ImageImage
Read 9 tweets
13 Oct
Earlier this month, we worked with @LHreports, @SkyNews and @Guardian to show that US police had used UK-made anti-riot gear to harm journalists and forcefully subdue protesters at #BLM protests.

This is how we did it. bellingcat.com/uncategorized/…
@LHreports @SkyNews @guardian Over the summer, the UK government stated that it reviewed potential uses of British-made anti-riot equipment at BLM protests in the US.
@LHreports @SkyNews @guardian This review found “no evidence” that UK exported equipment was used. However, it left open the “possibility” UK products could have been in the hands of US police given the wide number of end users for such products in the country
Read 9 tweets
10 Oct
How have UK-made sniper rifles ended up in Yemen, Syria and Ukraine?

This investigation, in conjunction with @LHreports @SkyNews and @guardian, sought to trace the journey of one brand of British-made weapons from license, to export to deployment.

@LHreports @SkyNews @guardian The UK states it has one of the most comprehensive arms export control regimes in the world.

It also has rules and commitments which include taking caution in granting licenses for sale to countries where human rights abuses have been established.
@LHreports @SkyNews @guardian But we found British-made sniper rifles being used by Turkish troops in Syria as well as Saudi forces in Yemen.

Both nations have been criticised by human rights groups for some of their actions in these countries.
Read 6 tweets
8 Oct
As the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh rages, credible reports have been published about foreign fighters on the battlefield. Accordingly, some observers wonder whether Russian mercenaries have also found their way to the South Caucasus.
In the spotlight is PMC Wagner, Russia's largest private military contractor which has already made its mark on several foreign conflicts. And now, a Telegram channel linked to Wagner has been dropping hints that its mercenaries are now in Nagorno-Karabakh.
But geolocation of some of the channel's photos has revealed that they were not actually taken in the South Caucasus — but in Syria. These hints appear to have been a hoax; there is no evidence that Wagner has boots on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Read 4 tweets
7 Oct
We're running three free webinars on conflict verification, focusing on the Karabakh conflict.

The first will be in English (w/ @AricToler) on Friday: events.eventzilla.net/e/free-conflic…
The second in Armenian (led by @narin_kh) next Tuesday (link coming soon).
The third in Russian (TBD).
Please only sign up for one, picking the language you are most comfortable with!

The Russian-language training is tentatively with @aiganysh_aidar and likely be next week as well. We'll share links to all three webinars once we get them up and running.

Only 30 people per event.
The content of each webinar -- focusing on basic verification methodologies and geolocation around photos/videos coming out of the conflict -- will be the same, just in different languages.
Read 6 tweets
7 Oct
Today in Germany we have the start of the trial of a Russian citizen for the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin, a case Bellingcat did a significant amount of investigation into, revealing Russian intelligence link to the assassination.
Our first investigation showed the suspect travelled using fake identity documents, the first clue that the suspect was linked to the Russian intelligence services bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-eu…
Our next investigation showed further connections between the assassin and the Russian state, and that a tip received by German investigators to the real identity of the suspect was a false lead bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-eu…
Read 6 tweets

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