ISIS Prison Break: Deploying Open Source and Visual Methods for Investigations
Imogen Piper and Sanjana Varghese will show how they carried out this investigation as part of Airwars, what their initial challenges were, and how to effectively use technology, social media and visual methodologies to understand a rapidly evolving story.
They will also demonstrate how they used shoe-leather reporting and traditional reporting methods to bolster their investigation – and change it from an account of an event to a rigorous interrogation of the role of the US in Syria and the fragile balance of power in the region. As part of their workshop, they will offer a hands-on practical exercise – to walk people through the practical elements of working with open source and visual material, as well as how these methodologies can be used to call for justice, accountability, and transparency.
In January 2022, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria launched one of their most daring prison breaks in years – carrying out a raid on the notorious Ghweiran detention facility in Hasakah, north-east Syria. Using open-source investigative methods, visual storytelling and old-fashioned reporting methodologies, the Airwars Investigations Unit worked with VICE News and Showtime to produce a documentary detailing how this raid happened – and how we were able to identify the failures that led up to it.