Truth, and Nothing But / Eliot Higgins

May 23, 2024

We live in a world where facts are everywhere, recorded and shared ubiquitously. That ought to make this an era where arguments, journalism, and politics are routinely rooted in fact; unfortunately, it is more a world where too many people insist not only their own opinions, but on their own “facts.”

The problem is technology running amok, a bit like the broom in Goethe’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice (or the perhaps more familiar versions starring Mickey Mouse or Nicolas Cage). Wouldn’t it be a better world if endless open-source information and smart, widely distributed technology shed light instead of heat?

The good news is that there are people trying to do exactly that, starting with Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, an investigative collective focused on online open-source investigation. Listen to this episode of New Thinking for a New World, as he discusses how he and Bellingcat separate fact from fiction.

 Tell us what you think and comment below.


Find the New Thinking for a New World podcast on a platform of your choice (Apple podcastSpotify, Google podcastYoutube, etc


Eliot Higgins is the founder and creative director of Bellingcat, a pioneering investigative collective specializing in online open-source investigation. He gained recognition during the Syrian conflict by identifying munitions used by the Syrian Air Force and investigating chemical weapon usage. In 2014, Higgins launched Bellingcat, which quickly gained international acclaim for its work, notably in identifying the Russian origin of the missile launcher used in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Bellingcat has grown into a renowned NGO with 30 staff members, advancing online open-source investigation across various fields. Higgins authored the Sunday Times bestseller “We Are Bellingcat” in 2021 and recently launched Bellingcat Productions BV to expand into film and media.


  1. Datu Kharakjak RONIE MORATO ER-ER

    The volume of information act like a great idea to have this opportunity of injustices in the waring sect in Gaza strip for the irony that the Indigenous Peoples customary history is totally dismounted by both parties. If both side is willing to create peace and justice in their lives there must be a thorough review of the time to get together with their past history and same as customary to heal the nation.

  2. Hilda Neh Nkwenti

    I like the method using open – source investigation online because many people have reliable sources or information but they found it difficult to share since distance was a barrier but with online information can be easily shared and verified

  3. Uaifo Ojo

    Generative AI is both a Blessing and a curse to society and the ability of genAI chatbots to drown out human discourse on topics is frightening and we really need to figure out a way to stop making it easy for those who do it to continue doing so all willy-nilly

  4. petra Vahle


    In today’s digital age, information is ubiquitous. Every second, countless facts are recorded, shared, and disseminated across the globe. This should be an era where arguments, journalism, and politics are deeply rooted in verifiable truth. Sadly, the reality is far different. Too many people now insist not only on holding their own opinions but also on crafting their own “facts,” leading to a fragmented and often misleading information landscape.

    The root of this problem lies in the unchecked spread of technology, much like the runaway brooms in Goethe’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” or its more familiar adaptations with Mickey Mouse or Nicolas Cage. Technology, once a tool for enlightenment, now often sows confusion. The endless streams of data and the democratization of information, while having the potential to illuminate, often end up creating more heat than light.

    Imagine, however, a world where this wealth of information and advanced technology was harnessed to clarify rather than obfuscate, to unite rather than divide. This is not merely a dream; it is a vision being pursued by dedicated individuals and organizations.

    One such trailblazer is Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, an investigative collective that has made significant strides in online open-source investigation. Bellingcat’s mission is to sift through the deluge of information, verifying and cross-referencing data to separate fact from fiction. This collective has shown how technology can be a powerful ally in the quest for truth, using open-source tools to uncover facts and hold the powerful accountable.

    In a recent episode of the podcast “New Thinking for a New World,” Eliot Higgins discusses the ethos and methodologies of Bellingcat. He explains how his team meticulously analyzes digital data—from satellite images to social media posts—to uncover the truth behind some of the most complex and controversial issues of our time. Their work is a testament to the potential of technology when used responsibly and intelligently.

    Bellingcat’s approach is a beacon of hope, demonstrating that with the right tools and a commitment to transparency, we can navigate through the noise and misinformation. It underscores the importance of critical thinking and rigorous analysis in our current information landscape.

    As we reflect on this, it’s crucial for each of us to engage critically with the information we consume. We must champion the pursuit of truth, holding ourselves and our sources accountable. By doing so, we contribute to a more informed and cohesive society.

  5. Dr. Brajesh Kumar Gupta

    Very exquisite and impressive

  6. Eseh (Mazien) Alabi

    Honestly the root of this is Lack of LOVE, and this would always promote separation. we fail to act like we all exist in One Earth, even if we all want to pretend to not be aware that this our One Earth is a living Spirit being. that Exists in a Universe: which is also another spirit being Co Existing within A spirit, without “a beginning, or an end” that is “called LOVE”.

    MJ words: “we are one” is one of the truest words ever spoken in history till date. but we would rather feed attention to that which separates us than that which unites us all. how manage? we are fighting to live together on earth, that we all woke up to? why?

    LOVE is Diversity. Love is intentional about all in Existence, so why are some feeling more important than others? this is the grass root “Casted system”, that would always promote Massive death of the termed or tagged “less significant others”, this is casted. a deep sense of lack of love, if we are to indeed give the term the right word.

    we fail to see all Existing in LOVE isn’t an option for some. not even a choice. we are all on earth. to evolve into higher consciousness of LOVE that is our souls, in which we all co-exist in.

    it is mainly because we exist in LOVE that makes our Souls equal to LOVE. and never the other way around. its because all souls is LOVE, that all humanity do all that they may “feel good”. For this is a nature of LOVE ( no one can fight against), now no matter what we have defined as what would fill this space of feeling good, the only “feeling good” the Soul seeks is LOVE. for LOVE is as FOOD to our soul. so the only truth is LOVE must be fed with love.

    and love being the highest level of “feeling good” is a universal truth in all realms.

    the other nature of LOVE is its “binds together”, as love is the only bond or reason for any union. and not until we see this original truth of LOVE as One, can we eradicate likes of Gaza.

    I personally am only interested in deep work, and not mere surface work. and dissolving the actual poising in this Tree that connects us all? isn’t by merely shading off dead leaves, but taking the roots into account.

    Each individual is an infinite expression with ‘infinite possibilities’ but we often don’t welcome change, we are often scared of change. forgetting change is Creation. and LOVE is Creation.

    Love is change, and we can’t stop the change of LOVE, while existing in LOVE. like I have honestly been waiting to see if anyone can escape being in this same Spirit we all exist in. its an illusion of separation that would make anyone treat another alien to themselves. in this, I am referring to that feeling that one life is less to another.

    we are chain of connected events all in existence connected individually and collectively. we can never be truly separate. anything promoting separation is a lie to the nature of love that is only unity. and this increase the need for unity in diversity, because each of us individually is infinity as well as a finite expression ourselves of an infinite spirit being.
    this foundation for example, exists intentionally to unite all, this root of Desire is from our souls individually and collectively.

    and this is as a result of the nature of love. LOVE is unity literally, if you love something what happens is attraction is generated. so we see the binding power of LOVE in likes of electrons and protons and co.
    love isn’t something I just made up today.

    i my self am intentional by love, let me tell you what intentions it had when thinking of my existence?
    the idea is that, through me? it get’s to test unconditional LOVE and so it can demand this same unconditional love from all.
    well it made me to desire unconditional love, to where i can feel it. and once i can feel it? this means Unconditional LOVE is found in the system of love. and then all hearts starts to desire this Love. but this didn’t start with me as the originator. a lot has come before me to see this is a reality.

    so this foundations Seeks LOVE that unites all, as this is the will of all souls.
    and this is like an AI we exist in. this brings me to the Tech world of AI, if used in love can speed human dynamics, and this is a future in the desire of LOVE, and its an honor to behold such a future. we waste so much energy on lack of love that only promotes separation. than feed energy to what would bring us even much more.

    so i affirm, I wish more for LOVE, than -which we all exist in- this we have now. LOVE wants to “feel GOOD” through all. and this is my only heart desire. unconditional LOVE to all. i desire that as many conscious eyes that read these words, all can also experience unconditional Love within forever. yeah, that one desire is a strong yawning of our souls through me.

    we are all being experienced life, through us all.

  7. Sally Wambui Gakuo

    It’s fascinating to see how Eliot Higgins and his team at Bellingcat are using online open-source investigation to sift through the vast amount of information available and distinguish fact from fiction. In a world where misinformation can spread quickly, their work in shedding light on the truth is crucial. Leveraging technology and open-source data to uncover facts can indeed help combat the spread of false information and promote a more informed society. It’s inspiring to see efforts like these that aim to bring clarity and accuracy to the information landscape.

  8. Sally Wambui Gakuo

    A second thought spanning from my recent study of peace from a program I completed. It’s crucial to acknowledge the complexities and consequences of the Hamas-Israel conflict, as highlighted by journalist Armin Rosen. The evolving nature of the conflict and its global ramifications underscore the need for a deeper understanding of the political dynamics in the Middle East.

    When considering the potential for peace, it’s essential to differentiate between negative peace, which is the absence of violence, and positive peace, which involves addressing underlying issues and building sustainable peace. Achieving peace in this context would require addressing root causes, promoting dialogue, and fostering mutual understanding between the parties involved.

    While the situation remains challenging, efforts towards peace are possible through diplomatic initiatives, dialogue, and international cooperation. It’s important to consider the long-term implications of the conflict on regional stability and the well-being of all affected populations.


    Information has always been considered a form of power—whoever possesses information holds power. However, after listening to this podcast, I believe that power has shifted, and information has become a means to manipulate the world. Today, it is impossible to trust the information you access. It is frustrating to be forced to verify whether what you read or observe is real or simply the product of manipulation or AI. I believe that BELLINCAT’s proposal to educate and train those who investigate and generate information is a beacon of hope for those of us who still believe in the importance of reliable and real information to lead processes focused on working towards a better world.


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