Scandinavian Arms Bootcamp – how we collaborated

Screenshot of #EUarms website of the danish arms export.

By @doxsor, NOIR

NOIR and Danwatch arranged a Bootcamp with Lighthouse Reports from Utrecht, Netherlands, between February 17 and February 21 (2020).

The Bootcamp occurred over a week in which seven media and broadcasting organisations met to investigate Scandinavian arms trades. The focus was to find any trades that have ended up in oppressive regimes or embargoed states. The media and broadcasting organisations taking part were TV2 (DK), SR (SE), VG (NO), Berlingske Tidende (DK), Danwatch (DK), NOIR (DK) and Lighthouse Reports (NL). Furthermore, Leone Hadavi and Youri van der Welde joined the research, who are both Open Source investigators. Here is a short biography about them:

  • Leone Hadavi is an Open-Source investigator and analyst. He has an MA in War and Security Studies and an LLM in International Humanitarian Law, International Criminal Law of Armed Conflict. He worked as an intern analyst at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and at the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the ICC he first started applying OSINT techniques to investigate the use of technicals by the Seleka armed group (From Bellingcat’s website).
  • Youri van der Weide is an Open-Source investigator and trainer. He was part of the team that investigated a killing committed by the Cameroonian army (Anatomy of a killing, BBC), #SpanishArms by Lighthouse Reports (Arte, El Diario) and he often contributes to @Quiztime. Training included the investigative desk of Al Jazeera, Radio Liberty Georgia, workshops with Bellingcat in Africa. 

How the Bootcamp went
6 weeks before the Bootcamp representatives of the media organizations, Lighthouse Reports and NOIR established a preliminary research team of investigators, who met every week to discuss angles and leads for the Bootcamp. In this process, there was a representative from each country, who looked into databases, reports and articles about sales to oppressive or embargoed states.

Afterwards, all the investigators and journalists met up for 5 intensive Bootcamp days in late February. The first days, we were taught about skills, tools and methods to investigate the arms industry by Youri van der Weide. We got to know about how to track flights and marines through online open-source platforms (and paid platforms). All these insights became very useful in our investigations. We then spent the remaining time in mixed teams to further investigate the leads that the preliminary team had found.

During the workshop, we agreed on a day to publish all our findings, which has been postponed several times due to COVID-19, but Sunday, May 17, 2020, the results of the investigation were published

Another blogpost will follow about all the findings we did during the Bootcamp!

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