It started with an email from a source at Interpol. The subject line of the email said: "Brace yourself." Attached to the email was a video that showed four men at sea, swimming frantically and trying to escape, as each of them was shot and killed by someone with a semi-automatic weapon. At the end of the video witnesses celebrate and pose for selfies. With limited results, I investigated this brutal crime culminating in this story. (Beware: the footage includes graphic violence.) This story was part of a larger series called The Outlaw Ocean, which explores lawlessness on the high seas.
Still, no government has agreed to investigate this crime. This speaks to some of the problems the series sought to highlight. But the inaction also bothered me. So, I recently compiled a Document Reader which consists of new information about the killing. The Document Reader is meant as a comprehensive archive of accumulated knowledge from the investigation (an opening of my notebook, if you will). My thought was that perhaps in this hyper-connected and perpetually online world, by making these materials public, it would empower others -- be they governments, NGOs or, quite possibly just smart, interested readers -- to push this investigation forward.
The Document Reader is a bit of a slog. But have at it, if you're interested. And please don't hesitate to email me with input: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ian Urbina is an investigative reporter for The New York Times based in the Washington Bureau. His investigations most often focus on worker safety and the environment.