30 Mar 2013

Brown Moses: the British blogger tracking Syrian arms

Foreign Affairs Correspondent

A British blogger has been monitoring weapons used in the Syrian conflict, providing important analysis of the conflict for human rights groups – while working from his Leicester home.

Brown Moses is the blog of Eliot Higgins, an unconventional “war reporter” who does his best work from the safety of his couch. Without having to dodge any bullets he has broken important stories on the Syrian conflict.

Higgins started blogging in 2012 when he lost his job, now he plays a vital role in tracing weaponry that appears in footage coming out of the war-torn region.

His unique form of citizen journalism has revealed how Croatian weaponry has fallen into the hands of Islamist fighters but he has never received training as a weapons expert or journalist.

Using stills taken from YouTube videos and jihadi websites the blogger was able to show how Jabhat al-Nusra fighters have been using weapons originating in Croatia including an M60 recoilless gun and an M79 Osa anti-tank rocket launcher.

The New York Times followed up his discovery, claiming American intelligence officers had helped Arab governments procure weapons from Croatia.

Amnesty International told Channel 4 News that the Brown Moses blog was vital in proving the Syrian regime was using ballistic missiles, they were then able to use his information to send a research mission to Syria.

“The information is out there if you know where to look for it, he’s can wade through dozens and dozens of YouTube channels, spending hours doing this quite obsessively. He’s got that eagle eye.”