Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 05, 2020

Beirut Blast Wrap-up

Updated below

Yesterday 2.750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, exploded. The blast killed more than 100 people and wounded more than 4,000. Many buildings in Beirut were severely damaged. The pressure wave broke windows as far 10 miles away. Beirut's port is mostly destroyed. Lebanon's national grain reserve, stored in grain silos next to the explosion, is gone.

This comes on top of an economic and currency meltdown in Lebanon and during a exponential growth phase of the Coronovirus epidemic.

In 2013 Lebanese authorities arrested a ship (pdf) that had been abandoned by its owner:

On 23/9/2013, m/v Rhosus, flying the Moldovian flag, sailed from Batumi Port, Georgia heading to Biera in Mozambique carrying 2,750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate in bulk.

En route, the vessel faced technical problems forcing the Master to enter Beirut Port. Upon inspection of the vessel by Port State Control, the vessel was forbidden from sailing. Most crew except the Master and four crew members were repatriated and shortly afterwards the vessel was abandoned by her owners after charterers and cargo concern lost interest in the cargo. The vessel quickly ran out of stores, bunker and provisions.
Owing to the risks associated with retaining the Ammonium Nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port’s warehouses. The vessel and cargo remain to date in port awaiting auctioning and/or proper disposal.

The ammonium nitrate was stored in a quayside warehouse. The picture shows the 1,000 kilogram big bags labeled "Nitroprill HD" in bad storage conditions at the 'Hanger 12' warehouse in Beirut.


"Nitroprill HD" is a knock-off product of the trademarked Nitropril, a premium grade porous prilled ammonium nitrate manufactured and sold by the Orica Mining Services in Australia. It is used as a commercial explosive in mining and quarrying. The safety sheet of the original product says it "May explode under confinement and high temperature, but not readily detonated. May explode due to nearby detonations."

An Orica safety assessment (pdf, Appendix III) sets the TNT (military explosive) equivalence for fire of bulk Nitropril in big bags at 15%. 2,750 tons of Nitropril are thereby the equivalent of 412.5 tons of TNT.


A video taken from the top of the grain silos next to the warehouse shows uncontrolled explosions of small fireworks within a port warehouse near to where the ammonium nitrate was stored. The small crackling fireworks explosions are followed by a very huge one. The video is consistent with other videos taken from further away. What set off the fireworks which set off the ammonium nitrate is as yet unknown but it is assumed to have been accidental (see update below).

The damage as shown in the before-after picture below is huge.


A look at the quay from the east with the crater of the explosion in front of the grain silos. The silos have protected the western part of the city from more damage. Wheat has spilled out. The grain reserves of Lebanon are down to less than a month of consumption.


The ammonium nitrate should not have been stored in a warehouse within the city. But similar could be said of the Iranian ammunition that was stored at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base in Cyprus. It had been seized at U.S. urging en route to Syria in January 2009. On July 11 2011 a wildfire at the base set off the ammunition. The explosion killed dozens and destroyed the main power station of the island.

An aerial video taken this morning shows the utter devastation of Beirut's port facilities. Lebanon depends on imports. 80% of those come through Beirut port.

Pictures and videos from various correspondents in Beirut show their damaged apartments (1, 2, 3, 4). All windows are broken and glass shards are strewn all over the places. The breaking windows must have caused most of the injuries. According to the mayor of Beirut some 300.000 people have lost their homes.

The Middle East correspondent for the Independent tweeted:

Bel Trew @Beltrew - 16:57 UTC · Aug 4, 2020

My flat is completely destroyed. Not just windows blown in- like door and window frames ripped out. The cats are alive thank god.
Utter chaos outside St George hospital which has no electricity- medics are treating patients in the car park where the drive through COVID-19 tests were being done. It is now the ER, since the ER is destroyed. Patients screaming in agony in the background. #Beirut #Lebanon

Bel Trew's full report of the explosion and its aftermath is here.

Syria and Iran have immediately promised aid for Lebanon. An Iranian emergency hospital is currently on its way to Beirut and is expected to open later today. Syria dispatched medical teams and is receiving patients from Beirut's overwhelmed hospitals.

The explosion hit Beirut at a moment where the country is under U.S. sanctions and while its currency is cratering with inflation reaching 90% per month after a Ponzi scheme run by its Central Bank blew up. People who do not own foreign currency will be unable to replace their broken windows. The whole country is disintegrating.

Foreign aid from Arab and other states will now hopefully flow in and help to alleviate the suffering.

Update 13:40 UTC:

RFERL spoke with the captain of the ship that had unintentionally brought the ammonium nitrate to Lebanon. He confirms the ship's arrest. It also reports the cause of the incident:

Lebanon's LBCI-TV reported on August 5 that, according to preliminary information, the fire that set off the explosion was started accidentally by welders who were closing off a gap that allowed unauthorized entry into the warehouse.

LBCI said sparks from a welder's torch are thought to have ignited fireworks stored in a warehouse, which in turn detonated the nearby cargo of ammonium nitrate that had been unloaded from the MV Rhosus years earlier.

Independent experts say orange clouds that followed the massive blast on August 4 were likely from toxic nitrogen dioxide gas that is released after an explosion involving nitrates.

There is a short video of firefighters at the initial fire. Reportedly none survived when the fireworks fire set off the ammonium nitrate. Another video shows the initial fire caused by welding. It burns a while and then sets off fireworks in a first explosion. This takes the roof off the warehouse. A few minutes later the fireworks cause the huge explosion of the ammonium nitrate.

Reuters provides another detail:

The source said a fire had started at port warehouse 9 on Tuesday and spread to warehouse 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored.

That the ammonium nitrate was stored for seven years was not the responsibility of the port management but was caused by some judicial quarrel:

The head of Beirut port and the head of customs both said on Wednesday that several letters were sent to the judiciary asking for the dangerous material be removed, but no action was taken.

Port General Manager Hassan Koraytem told OTV the material had been put in a warehouse on a court order, adding that they knew then the material was dangerous but “not to this degree”.

“We requested that it be re-exported but that did not happen. We leave it to the experts and those concerned to determine why,” Badri Daher, director general of Lebanese Customs, told broadcaster LBCI.

Two documents seen by Reuters showed Lebanese Customs had asked the judiciary in 2016 and 2017 to request that the “concerned maritime agency” re-export or approve the sale of the ammonium nitrate, which had been removed from cargo vessel Rhosus and deposited in warehouse 12, to ensure port safety.

Posted by b on August 5, 2020 at 8:24 UTC | Permalink

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If not for the pandemy, there would have been many more ships and workers.
If not for the eid holidays, there would have been many more dead.
Cui bono?

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 8:45 utc | 1

I expect this to be historical turning point for Lebanon, it is one of those kind of moments (huge "act of God" event on top of already huge events unraveling).

One of possibility is complete government fall, skyrocketing Hezbollah popularity and complete reorienting towards Iran and against US/Israel.

Posted by: Abe | Aug 5 2020 8:55 utc | 2

Thank you b for your coverage and clarity of reporting. Bless the Lebanese people and their medical teams that try to restore those broken bodies and hearts. The world needs to drown the USA hate with donations to Lebanon and its wonderful people. Thanks to Iran and Syria for their prompt assistance.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 5 2020 9:04 utc | 3

I hope they follow the chain of command to the top and actually punish the incompetent and or corrupt idiots that allowed that much explosive to be stored so irresponsibly. I'm not very confident of this happening since the world seems to operate upon the fail up and steal everything you can along the way strategy. Pretty sure the elite will be able to wrangle out a tax cut and a bail out from this disaster though.

Posted by: dave | Aug 5 2020 9:04 utc | 4

Thank you for the bg info, excellent work as always.

The timing sure does lead one to wonder, 7 years is a long time to plan for a sabotage operation on a ticking time bomb, smack bang (sic) in the middle of your enemy's main port and national grain stores...

Would be interesting to get an independent explosives/demolitions expert's advice on the yield potential of that quantity of Nitropril and verify if it is consistent with the recorded explosion.

Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 5 2020 9:06 utc | 5

So you mean HA had no idea about how this kind of products should be stored? And they were not involved in any level of government, local and national, that could have allowed them to act on where and how it should be stored?
Frankly, it is naive to believe that the Lebanese are not fed up with ALL the patriarchal figures ruling the countries for decades on the basis of the suicidal sectarian constitution they have. Their dependence on importations and the financial sector makes them so vulnerable that adding an explosive cocktail such as the sectarian one makes it a perfect recipe for disaster.
But make no mistake, they are just a miniature model of what the rest of the world has been made into through capitalism and ultra-liberalism.
The Lebanese hails HA as a strong and efficient army but they would probably prefer not to need one as that and its decorum!

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 9:07 utc | 6

B, a big "thank you" for the superb coverage! An astonishing feat!


So it was mining-grade ammonium nitrate. I take it that this is even more expensive than the mere agricultural stuff. If it were the latter, the whole shipment would be worth at least 500,000 Euros. So we are in excess of that handsome sum. It is claimed that the parties involved with this shipment "lost interest" in it. Am I to actually believe that? They didn't even try to sell it at dumping prices to pay off outstanding obligations? Instead, they had it stored, incurring storage fees year after year?

A nice bomb placed in the heart of the enemy, masquarading as an abandoned shipment. Quite a contingency plan.


Regardless of the precise course of events and culpabilities - Hezbollah needs to seize the day! Expell the current elites, get rid off the insane political system, have a referendum on a new one with proportional representation, create an army worthy of that term, and possibly go for a federation with Syria.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Aug 5 2020 9:19 utc | 7

But make no mistake, they are just a miniature model of what the rest of the world has been made into through capitalism and ultra-liberalism.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 9:07 utc | 6

Muslims were never much left-wing, and much preferred capitalism.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 5 2020 9:20 utc | 8

It’s fortunate the Lebanese have the fraternal support of a good neighbor like Syria, and behind them Iran. The Gulf lordlings will write some checks. But if Lebanon’s broken political culture had trapped them in a box canyon before this catastrophe – what now?

Posted by: David G | Aug 5 2020 9:44 utc | 9

Laguerre | Aug 5 2020 9:20 utc | 8

"Muslims were never much left-wing, and much preferred capitalism."

I may be displaying my ignorance (being a white, Australian-born, non-believer), but isn't usury forbidden in Islam?

True Muslims, like true Christians, et al, essentially subscribe to socialist-oriented belief systems if I'm not mistaken.

It appears to me that the capitalist-inclined among the faithful are into the look, rather than the lifestyle per se.

Note to self: Duck! You're engaging in a discussion of religious beliefs...

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Aug 5 2020 9:58 utc | 10

"Lebanon has no looming wheat crisis, despite Beirut’s main grain silos being destroyed, the head of the wheat importers’ union told al-Akhbar.

Ahmed Hatteet told the local paper that the country has enough reserves to last a month and a half.

The Beirut port silos, which can hold 120,000 tonnes of wheat, were near empty at the time of the explosion, he said.

The port itself is a ruin, and Hatteet said four ships carrying 28,000 tonnes of wheat were unable to unload their cargo."

Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 5 2020 9:59 utc | 11

That ammonium nitrate explosion left a rather large crater where the pier and warehouse used to be, as in the pier on that side of the grain silo is mostly gone. It looks a whole lot deeper than the Trinity nuke test crater.

A quick question for all of the experts on tactical nukes in this forum since I mentioned Trinity: It is said that nukes always make a bright flash in the visible spectrum. How bright would that flash be if a small, sub-kiloton device lit off a couple meters underground? And also under a large smoke screen from a pre-existing fire? I am just curious if the flash of light from one of Obama's new modernized nukes would be visible despite all of that interference. Does the flash of light from even a small nuclear detonation have the particular characteristic of going through any obstacles?

I only ask because that could give us an idea what to look for in tactical nuke strikes in the future; that is to say, something like this explosion only with a flash of light.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 10:05 utc | 12

Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 5 2020 9:59 utc | 11 / CONTINUED

Looks like a mountain of wheat on the ground to me... mostly empty??

Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 5 2020 10:10 utc | 13

The fire at the fireworks storehouse could have been another opportunistic no-strategy attack on iranian assets. Just in time for the UN-verdict on Hezbollah, to proof by anonymous source they are still messing with explosives. It went horribly wrong, but who thought a pile of big bags stored for 6 years would explode. Lets see what the MSM is ordered to print and is allowed not to blame if israel is responsible.

Storage in lebanon in 2014 was very convenient to arm the democratic terrorist, the coup end op failing in syria, so the owner lost interest or was afraid to show his true identity for a meagre half million.

Posted by: gary | Aug 5 2020 10:13 utc | 14

What 'exponential growth phase' of the virus? There's no such thing in nature!

Posted by: barovsky | Aug 5 2020 10:24 utc | 15

Tripoli (Lebanon) has a port, right? So at least they still have someplace to unload essential goods like food and fuel while Beirut is knocked out.

Posted by: David G | Aug 5 2020 10:25 utc | 16

Maybe someone can translate who the owner is of the privately-owned Lebanese Explosives Company to whom the "Nitroprill HD" was asked to be sold to.
The judge refused to sell it or lacked intere$t to respond.

wikipedia is also reporting the explosive abandoned cargo in a highly volatile environment, which called into the Port of Beirut on September 23, 2013 after experiencing 'technical' difficulties.

Funny thing is the owner of Rhosus was moldavia, a land locked country.

Posted by: Gary | Aug 5 2020 10:49 utc | 17

There is no radiation and no EMP. Dozens of the mobile phones and cameras kept recording undisturbed, no electronic equipment was damaged. This has nothing to do with nukes.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 5 2020 10:58 utc | 18

Your statement "Muslims were never much left-wing, and much preferred capitalism" is biased. Do you think the Lebanese, Syrian, Armenian Christians are more left-wing and less capitalism-inclined?
Just teasing you of course, but in fact, I believe that the reason of the West all-out war against the Arabs is precisely their solidarity networks (even if these are very imperfect, to say the least).

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 11:10 utc | 19

I don’t think this is a ‘’wrap’’ at all !
I think this was a target. Simple as that.
In this day and age and in this region of the world, we should start from that point and work back.
Standard police detective work, look for suspicious circumstances! Are we all blind, deaf and suffering from amnesia I wonder ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Aug 5 2020 11:19 utc | 20

Posted by: Gary | Aug 5 2020 10:49 utc | 17

The owner is/was INTERFLEET SHIPMANAGEMENT BURGAS, BULGARIA. Moldova was where it was registered, as are many ships not owned by Moldovans. It carried cargo for whoever hired it.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 5 2020 11:20 utc | 21

@15 The exponential phase is the beginning phase of growth before any limits start to apply.

Posted by: Anonyst | Aug 5 2020 11:23 utc | 22

The wo main Question to be asked:

Who is the legal owner of the loading? Did they abandon the dangerous loading because retunig is to expensive?

Who was the owner of the vessel?

It is easy to blame the locals - but did Orica check their customer? Did Orica ship it or was transport done by the buyer? Many contracts are performed CIF destination port. Is it possible that Orica was the last legal owner?

Things could become interesting!

Posted by: Chris | Aug 5 2020 11:27 utc | 23

What about the jet that was witnessed coming in fast and low seconds before the first explosion ?
Those small crackling explosions, could they have come from small munitions ect, set off from the heat ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Aug 5 2020 11:30 utc | 24

@ William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 10:05 utc | 12

Just speculating, as I have not studied the harbor blueprints, but..

I would guess that the Beirut wharf on which the warehouse stood was constructed by building a concrete quay wall and then dredging the ocean side to create a channel of sufficient depth to allow fully loaded ships to enter the harbour. The other side of the quay wall is then backfilled with the dredged sand to create the wharf and is finally topped with a concrete floor.

Building a cellar under the warehouse would be quite involved with all the nearby seawater wanting to infiltrate. It is not likely and not even necessary to assume an underground void to explain the crater:

If a huge detonation takes place on top of the wharf, the underlying wet sand will liquify like quicksand from the pressure wave and be easily shoved aside by the force of the explosion. Seawater will quickly infiltrate and create a shallow lake.

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 11:35 utc | 25

Two things happened which may or not be linked to this unfolding drama.

In the past 24 hours, The FBI raided the Cleveland office building connected to Ukrainian monster, Igor Kolomoisky, who is a principal of the Privat Group

As this was happening, two cargo ships that just arrived in Beirut from Ukraine were in and around the exact point of the blast.

It may be nothing or it may be everything.
Or somwhere in between.
Either way, its good to read widely.

RIP to the innocent dead caught up in this relentless death spiral...

Posted by: Skeletor | Aug 5 2020 11:46 utc | 26

The trail of the vessel and its cargo definitely smells shady. It is indeed not a huge stretch to speculate that the AN was destined for jihadi improvised explosives, roadside bombs and the likes of the huge tunnel bombs that have rocked Damascus on several occasions.

What I wonder about is the trail of the fireworks container. The presence of the pile of AN in that warehouse was well known to many foreign agencies, especially if it was unoficially theirs from the start. If the site was designated as a dangerous goods storage, it would be an open invitation to ill-willed actors to arrange for a boobytrapped fireworks container with intentionally dodgy paperwork. The container gets intercepted according to plan and is placed close to the AN. Timer goes off or a remote signal is sent and the boobytrap goes off, setting a catastrophic train of events in motion.

Just some speculation, admittedly not on the basis of much fact, but on quite a bit of possibbility and probabilty.

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 11:48 utc | 27

The fireworks container needs not necessarily be the source of initial ignition btw, but it does fit really well with the above scenario.

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 11:50 utc | 28

The Israeli's attack the fireworks facility believing it to be a Hezbollah asset and this sets off the chain of events.

1. Trump said his Generals told him it was an attack, yeah Trump lies but there is a pattern to his lies, he repeats conspiracy theories or makes them up. He doesn't lie about, 'person X told me Y'.

2. This does not violate Occam's razor. I'm sticking with the conventional explosion in fireworks factory causing a sympathetic explosion of nitrate but why does it have to be accidental to be the most straightforward? Israel routinely bombs neigboring countries to weaken Iran and Iranian allies, has no qualms about bombing civilian areas, considers itself at war w/Lebanon and recently threatened to attack civilian infrastructure. Israel has the means to launch either a sea based cruise missile or glide bomb 50+ miles away. During the Battle of Britain an explosion in London could first be attributed to an accident and then later a bomb but the bomb is equally plausible.

Oh, and Israel has offered to send aid to Lebanon. When has Israel ever sent aid to an Arab country? I'll even say that Israel probably did not know about the nitrate and this is their way of saying, 'oops'.

Do I know this, would I suggest punitive actions against Israel? No, but this should be seriously considered and investigated. If nothing else to at least keep the Lebanese from thinking this. They are not stupid.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 5 2020 11:51 utc | 29

A lebanese connection of the Saker suspects there could be sabotage involved, just because the destruction of Lebanon's major port at this very moment of crisis would serve the interest of Lebanon's enemies well. However, he cautions that there is currently no information available confirming this suspicion:

Posted by: Dieter | Aug 5 2020 11:51 utc | 30

Let's suppose Israel did not exist as the apartheid state that it is. The inappropriately stored hazardous substance would not have blown up.

Posted by: jadan | Aug 5 2020 11:54 utc | 31

Poor people of Beirut, their city has descended from a paradise into a third world slum like Mogadishu, Johannesburg or Leicester.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Aug 5 2020 12:02 utc | 32

Well, it is at least curious that in the comments section of The Saker almost nobody buys the ammonium nitrate theory, except may be for the "Indian" commenter who repeats verbatim the line of some here yesterday...

Those alleging it was a bird, what Daniel Etulin deemd a misle coming from the left in the video posted, fail to explain why a natural bird would fly directly towards the huge smoke cloud in the aftermath of the first blast, and no as fas as it can the opposite side, as its natural instinct would advise, only first response rescue teams and foreign drones would fly towards the first explosion site...

I continue to mantain sabotage to bring Lebanon to its Israelis themselves or sold to them Lebanese makes no difference...At the same tiem the US show it means business to everyone trying to get rid of his yoke...

More explosions to come, especially in Europe so that "we can avoid peace in Europe", as Esper warned...They need chaos everywhere to cover for the coming chaos in the US with hundreds of thousands of evictions and bankrupt to come...Nazi formations in Ukraine have announced their expansion fase abroad...reported by Oleksy Kuzmenko, retwitted by Dmitry Poliansky...These are the European ISIS the same EU helped to grab power in the Ukraine...

Russian press review at TASS name various experts who are not so sure about industrial accident and consider all possibilities open...

Russia has sent 5 cargo aircraft with emergency help, France help also arriving, the EU also assured help coming to Lebanon...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Aug 5 2020 12:05 utc | 33

ThePaper @18

Thanks! I'm kinda stupid on the subject and thought that high frequency EMP was generally only generated by air bursts, and that underground detonations generally only created low frequency EM that is not only harmless to electronics but difficult to detect even with specialized equipment more than a few kilometers from the blast site. I suppose I need to watch more Hollywood movies to get these facts about nuclear weapons that I am lacking.

OK, so we get a flash of light that goes through anything and EMP that knocks out all electronics from ALL nukes. See? I learned something today! Of course, that does make me wonder why there was so much debate over whether North Korea had actually tested nukes, since the EMP alone would be detectable by anyone with simple radio equipment anywhere on Earth, but maybe nobody was tuned into North Korean frequencies at the time. Who ever listens to those Norks anyway?

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 12:10 utc | 34

Who was paying for the storage of the AN? Who, if anyone, now gets an insurance payoff for the AN?

Posted by: lysias | Aug 5 2020 12:16 utc | 35

Important points from a person in Lebanon on Saker site:

1. Israeli officials few days ago were warning the Resistance that if they struck Israeli army targets (a response to recent Israeli crimes by Resistance was imminent), Lebanon’s infrastructure will be targeted

2. The 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (that exploded) were reportedly stored there 6 years ago, and they have been described as a ticking time bomb. Is it really coincidental that this ticking time bomb goes off today, at the worst possible moment for Lebanon (Country is falling on all levels, coronavirus, US siege at its peak etc)?

I would add that the IDF certainly gets a break now from waiting for Hez to respond. Seems something more than naive to suggest this was "accidental." One blast entirely changes the calculus of the existing ROE. Also, Trump has a a clear pattern of signaling responsibility on Twitter after ops that have the patina of plausibly deniablity but are distinctly sabotage.

Posted by: j. casey | Aug 5 2020 12:24 utc | 36

There have been clashes amongst Saad Hariri security team and volunteer workers working at the port when Hariri decided to visit the affected zone...It would seem volunteers blame him...

Macron is said to visit Lebanon being Lebanon the battle ground of the fight amongst the Rotschilds and the Rockefellers..?

The blasts left a crater of more the 100m diameter....

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Aug 5 2020 12:33 utc | 37

Would like to refer to that comment from July 28 ("Expect another event in the next few days or weeks.")

Posted by: thedoc | Aug 5 2020 12:34 utc | 38

So an obscure party 'abandons' 2500+ conveniently packaged 1-ton bags of industrial grade high explosive, in Beirut, while all kinds of war and terrorism going on in the region? Not suspicious at all. A tragedy and a crime also, in all likelyhood. The residents there did nothing to deserve this.

Posted by: ptb | Aug 5 2020 12:37 utc | 39

Do you think the Lebanese, Syrian, Armenian Christians are more left-wing and less capitalism-inclined?

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 11:10 utc | 19

Not at all, I don't know anything about Christians. I Just find it interesting that when Muslims come to the West, and once they've got over the problem of being an "immigrant", they frequently join right-wing parties and forget their former immigrant brethren. At least it's like that in UK. And it's the same with the Jews who formerly constituted the mainstay of the Labour party. They now spend their time trying destroy the Labour party by campaigns of fake accusations of anti-semitism.

It's all quite understandable. Muslims from the Middle East have a strong tradition of commerce and trade. If they don't have other constraints, like being labelled an immigrant, they would tend to gravitate towards the party that represents that capitalist interest, and where you can make money, forgetting their poorer brethren.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 5 2020 12:37 utc | 40

For the absolute deniers of nuke possibility and radiation of yesterday thread, there is an interesting point made at The Saker about radiation readings at Pedara station in Sicily...some other commenter is stating this fact:

Judging by the time stamps of their live news, they use local Lebanese time on the site, which is UTC+3. So explosion happened before 3:29 PM UTC, that is before 15:29 UTC, when the article was put on their site.

Wikipedia says the second explosion occurred at about 18:08 local time, which is 15:08 UTC.

High readings in Pedara, Sicily start at 14:51:44 UTC, good 15 minutes before the second explosion in Beirut port.

BTW, Elijah Magnier continue missing at this hour of noon Europe...with his forst estimate fixed on his Twitter account....the same as happened when the strike on US base in Iraq...may be he was late to bed reading was I...very late indeed.. and I am already on my feet some time ago and even had breakfast...and I am not ME especialist making my living on this...but a surfer afficcionate to geopolitics...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Aug 5 2020 12:45 utc | 41

Are "Nitropril" (1 l) and "Nitroprill" two distinct proucts?

Posted by: Michele | Aug 5 2020 12:45 utc | 42

Bird or missile debate:

A bird flying near the camera can look as fast as a distant missile in video footage.

But a bird flying nearer to the camera than the site of the explosion would have flown well in front of the smoke cloud and intervening structures, but instead seems to disappear from the video at about the point where it would begin to pass in front of the smoke... almost like it disappeared into the smoke. Of course, that's impossible because a bird that far away would have had to be moving very fast to cover that much distance in the video's frame. That ignores the question by H.Schmatz @31 of why the bird would fly into the smoke, but perhaps it was a Firebird? I understand those are large and fast.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 12:55 utc | 43

Looks like a typical capitalist failure to me: lack of regulations, abandonment by the authorities (minimum State), complete disregard for human life. Those kind of catastrophes were common-place during Industrial Revolution England and elsewhere, and are still common in the Third World.

Even if this was an Israeli terrorist attack, you have to face the fact that this was a too glaring weakness by Lebanon, in a way that it may be virtually impossible to prove it really was Israel. That nitrate simply shouldn't be there in the first place and, after seven (!!) years, it becomes public knowledge that it is there.

The best plausible deniability your enemy can get always comes from your most glaring and unforced weaknesses and errors. There is a point where you must blame yourself for your enemy's successes.

Posted by: vk | Aug 5 2020 12:59 utc | 44

This is a great write-up, thank you.

It remains to be seen, if ever, if the blast itself was due to an intentional act or not.

I am generally cynical of conspiracy theories. I am now, however, quite convinced that the Lebanese people are the victims of the ultimate result of a chain of events that started with what amounts to an act of legalised high seas piracy back in 2013. Whether it was opportunistic at the time or a carefully planned delivery of explosives for Lebanon's cottage arms industry, we might also never know.

Posted by: Rhianne | Aug 5 2020 12:59 utc | 45

Michele 40

Both are granulated ammonium nitrate. this looks to be the definition of Prill - "A prill is a small aggregate or globule of a material, most often a dry sphere, formed from a melted liquid."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 13:02 utc | 46

If they can figure out why the fireworks went off when they did, the picture may become clear?

Posted by: Anon | Aug 5 2020 13:04 utc | 47

@ H.Schmatz | Aug 5 2020 12:45 utc | 39

Unlikely, given that winds were blowing eastwards at the time. This is also in line with reports that dust from the explosion was noticed in Damascus a few hours later.,36.65,1666

It is very unlikely that a nuclear detonation occurred. None of the video evidence shows the bright flash. You claimed earlier that a video shows a white flash, but that was just the condensation trail shell of the detonation blast wave. A nuclear flash is really really bright, so bright that if you look at it you are blinded. As bright a someone stickwelding right onto your eyeball bright. There was none of that in any video. Nor were there any image sensor artefacts, which would also have been present due to emp disturbance to the camera electronics.

Anybody shouting nukes on the basis of no positive evidence and abundant negative evidence is discrediting themselves, either as a disinfo mill operator or as a gullible dolt. Sorry.

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 13:09 utc | 48

Israel's Moshe Feiglin: " I feel happy about what happened in Beirut, this is a gift by God to the Israelis on the event of the Jewish holiday of love that started yesterday and ends today"

Posted by: j. casey | Aug 5 2020 13:11 utc | 49

@ William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 12:55 utc | 41

Compare the size and scale. Obviously the bird was flying in the foreground, far away from the fire and small fireworks explosions.

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 13:12 utc | 50

Without the dirty occupiers this wouldn't have all know this..It's not so important the kind of explosion but what this explosion will bring to Lebanon(already strangled in the economy)..Zionists want to get rid of hezbollah(and Shiites in general) and you know they can use all kind of weapons or do heavy sabotages..they want the country to collapse so that a zionist entity could take power..and they need this before the new borders will be redefined in Palestine..I just heard DJT saying it's been a terrorist attack..Yes it is,like Suleimani death.

Posted by: LuBa | Aug 5 2020 13:17 utc | 51

Re the HD on the bags. High density?
"High Density Ammonium Nitrate (HDAN) and Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) are nitrogenous dry fertilizer products. HDAN is differentiated from Low Density Ammonium Nitrate (LDAN), which is a grade used primarily in explosive applications and is sometimes referred to as Industrial Grade AN."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 13:18 utc | 52

The bird. Just above the buildings and at the right of the main column of smoke is a small billow of very white smoke. The bird flies behind or into that billow. If it flew in front of the white smoke it would stand out like dogs balls.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 13:26 utc | 53

Lurk @48

So it is a bird in the foreground that happened to switch on its cloaking device at the appropriate moment and disappeared from view. That's what I thought too.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 13:35 utc | 54

Thanks for your coverage b, as always.

Posted by: beq | Aug 5 2020 13:39 utc | 55

@Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 13:09 utc | 48

I would deem "disinfo mill operator" anyone discrediting anyone considering all possibilities open to this time..It is not onky the nuke possibility, but the bird, mate! What explanation do you have for this? Are we allowed to discuss this or will yo ucall for the Mossad to shut us up?

An author at VT, has been already menaced with death by some Israelis on Twitter for considering the nuke possibility...
Why would anyone would go to such extent if it would be a crazy claim?

Anyway, I think I better go surfing now...after all there is a sunny day...Do not leave for tomotrrow what you can do today...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Aug 5 2020 13:58 utc | 56

Schmatz, the mere fact you quote VT here discredits you as well..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 5 2020 14:20 utc | 57

Before going surfing....Thanks for pointing out at the judicial usual imbroglio for the presence of the Rhosus´requisitioned cargo in the port still to this date untouched ( as would be anywhere in the still "law abiding world" waiting for judicial resolution...) as so many of the usual suspected US operatives, here and there, are pointing out at Lebanon as failed state and disfunctiovnal state of always as the main cause for this disaster, further advancing Canvas orchestrated color revolution goals and intends on that basis months ago...

Lebanon was a reflourishing tourist outpost in the Mediterranean when I visited, still in the middle of Syrian war, especially the center of Beirut had seen a whole effort in rebuilding offering a beautiful stamp...To this add the economic possibilities coming from the exploitation of Leviathan oil reserves recently discovered off its coast...which Israel disoutes for itself...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Aug 5 2020 14:23 utc | 58

@Posted by: Lozion | Aug 5 2020 14:20 utc | 57

And your efforts here, including discrediting me, as well, mate!

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Aug 5 2020 14:26 utc | 59

This video b has put in the update pretty much covers it. The initial fire, then the first smaller explosion, shortly after that explosion the flames build up to where it is roaring and then the main explosion.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 14:37 utc | 60

Put the conspiracy theories on hold please. If they indeed stored 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in a single warehouse, well, well, well you are actually asking for trouble. Now anyone familiar with explosives knows that ammonium nitrate is not entirely deemed stable, and should not be stored in such large quantities.
Houston in 1947 felt the same, as a freight ship with 4000 tonnes exploded in the harbor. Google Houston disaster.
Ammonium nitrate is easy to make in your kitchen. Don't. IF absolutely must, 50 grams a batch, so you only lose a hand and an eye.
The blame must go to the port authorities of Beirut, they failed inspections, the failed to demand that a highly volatile chemical be split up, stored in several locations, they did not demand the stuff disposed of after a few years, when it probably was safe to handle.
Old explosives are a devil to handle, it might not like you looking sternly at it.
In my Army days I have blown several old and new'ish artillery and mortar pieces away and believe me approaching them was not amusing, not to mention placing a 200 gram charge on them.
Anyways condolences to Lebanon, this was a disaster they did not need, well nobody needs disasters.

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 5 2020 14:39 utc | 61

I hope China gets involved with rebuilding the port. They're really the experts in port construction and management plus it's one more entry into the BRI. Watch some "intelligence" from the spooks at Langley claim Hezbollah did it so China could get weave their tentacles into Lebanon. Get ready for the NYT exclusive from inside sources.

Posted by: One Too Many | Aug 5 2020 14:40 utc | 62

There are a abundance of nutter commenters here now. MoA is going down the drain. This site is slowly becomming like UNZ.
I would recommend b shutting of commenting from the US, because they are clinically insane.

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 5 2020 14:47 utc | 63

Den lille abe | Aug 5 2020 14:39 utc | 61
"Newcastle's stockpile of between 6,000 to 12,000 tonnes is stored at Orica's Kooragang Island plant in the Port of Newcastle, according to the company.

"That factory is only three kilometres from Newcastle's CBD and only 800 metres from North Stockton residents," said chemical engineer and community campaigner Keith Craig"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 14:51 utc | 64

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 10:05 utc | 12

Might want to watch this video of a sub-surface detonation of a 1-kiloton nuke back in 1955. Not much of a flash due to the sub-surface detonation.

Also this one, which was a test of the smallest nuke ever made with a yield of .19 kilotons, per Wikipedia's "Suitcase Nuclear Device" entry:
Exclusive: First Known Video of Nuclear Test Shot Yuma (Operation Redwing)

Then there are a bunch of nuke explosions here from restored footage released a few years ago - the one at about 5 minutes is another small one at 1.2kt.

For the record, I accept that the Beirut explosion was ammonium nitrate. No conspiracy theories will be entertained by me absent some seriously hard intel.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Aug 5 2020 14:52 utc | 65

So a few here are saying ‘’ nothing to see here please move along’’
Let’s blame the victem (Lebanon)
Well NO actually——— see my comment @ 22
That looks and sounds like a cruse missile attack. Low and fast to evade radar.
I witness confirms that.
You all need to prove it wasn’t (to sides to that coin)

Posted by: Mark2 | Aug 5 2020 15:07 utc | 66

A correct comment from Twitter about the conspiracy theories:

MalwareTech @MalwareTechBlog
I'm really enjoying reading comments from Twitter nuclear weapons experts authoritatively stating what the Beirut explosion was, based on no understanding of anything whatsoever.

Posted by: Mark2 | Aug 5 2020 15:07 utc | 66 I witness confirms that.

Just proved it wasn't. Q.E.D.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Aug 5 2020 15:09 utc | 67

If some fools had stored 2.700 t of ammonium nitrate in the harbour since 2013, it's a wonder it hadn't exploded earlier. Whatever, that shit was bound to explode sooner or later...

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Aug 5 2020 15:10 utc | 68

HSD @ 67
I think you may have jumped to a wrong conclusion. I don’t think it was nucular I think it would be conventional explosives in the cruse missile.


Posted by: Mark2 | Aug 5 2020 15:18 utc | 69

How soon do we think that Pompeo will announce sanctions against any country that tries to help Lebanon recover from this disaster?

Posted by: AntiSpin | Aug 5 2020 15:32 utc | 70

There's no cruise missile, that's utterly stupid. The bird or whatever it is flies straight ahead, it doesn't plunge toward the flaming site. Besides, a jet wouldn't fly that low, you don't bomb built-up areas from that close, unless you have to rely on low-tech like Syrian military choppers over rebel areas. You're the IDF, you fly over the Mediterranean and send your nasty surprise from miles away.

Besides, how retarded are you to assume that a big bunch of explosive shit sitting just there in the middle of a host of minor explosions going around wouldn't be enough to cause the first big explosion, but that you'd actually need some outside cause like a missile to go boom? That's happened plenty of times before, we know very well how it goes.
If there was any act of sabotage, it would involve setting fire to the fireworks before any of the released vid, because this would've happened before smoke and fire poured from that warehouse. Absolutely everything that happens after the initial fire has started makes perfect sense and is actually tragically logical if not unavoidable. But with the entire place literally cratered, tough chance for anyone to find any evidence of how that actually happened.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Aug 5 2020 15:33 utc | 71

Richard Steven Hack @65

No doubt that the Beirut explosion was ammonium nitrate. I am just curious how we can say that conclusively from the video evidence. After all, the yield is certainly in the range that Obama's new trillion dollars of tactical nuclear devices cover. More importantly, tactical nukes are designed to actually be used and are not intended to be nor useful as a deterrent, so we will be seeing them in action at some point. I also suspect that trillion dollars wasn't spent on just reproducing what the US already had back in the early 1960s, so I would guess that today's tactical nukes are a bit more refined than the old W-54 backpack bombs. I would think that this might involve reducing the amount of fissile material used and deriving more of the "Boom!" from "cleaner" fusion, though that is just a wild guess. After all, if you want to actually use nukes in America's average run-of-the-mill day-to-day wars then you would want to clean up some of their less desirable traits. You know Obama, and you know he would be satisfied with nothing less than a nice green" atomic device that isn't bad for the environment.

With that said, how will we go about telling one of these new Obama bombs from a particularly large pile of fertilizer cooking off? I'm thinking it might not be so easy to tell as the assertions about bright flashes and EMPs suggest.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 15:39 utc | 72

Very terrifying event for Lebanon and its people. IMO, the dysfunctional Lebanese government owns responsibility for the irresponsible storage of such a massive quantity of explosive material at such a vital location, making on open invitation to any malevolent actor to exploit, although in this case it appears to be a tragic coincidence.

Lebanese must fix their dysfunctional national government and replace the private banks with public institutions. Zionists reveling in the carnage must be exposed for the extremists they are and sanctioned internationally.

The gravity of the tragedy has swept what would otherwise be headline news under the rug, like this important announcement by China:

"World’s first COVID-19 vaccine production line wins approval:

"The Beijing institute took only two months to finish building the facility on April 15. Related government departments conducted a thorough biosecurity examination of the production workshop in July, and concluded the facility met national standards, and could go into operation for mass production of COVID-19 vaccines, read the statement.

"After the Beijing manufacturing workshop and another production facility belonging to CNBG's Wuhan institute of biological products begin operations, CNBG will be capable of ensuring an annual capacity of 220 million doses of vaccines, according to its developer.

"The 220 million doses are large to first immunize medical staff and personnel working at airports and border checkpoints, Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine researcher, told the Global Times Wednesday."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 5 2020 15:51 utc | 73

Thanks for the excellent and comprehensive summary.

A series of bungling events culminating in a needless and tragic industrial accident that the Lebanese people do not deserve. Just horrible.

A fantastic birdlike drone/missile and nuclear whimsies indeed...there appear to be some would-be fiction writers amongst the local commentators. Entertaining distractions.

Posted by: snow_watcher | Aug 5 2020 15:57 utc | 74

Bodies are recovered some 500 meters from the shore.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 16:05 utc | 75

William Gruff "I am just curious how we can say that conclusively from the video evidence."

The orange smoke. Takes a lot of nitrate to create that much smoke. There also seems to be plenty of evidence that the cargo of 2750 tons was offloaded and stored there.
This video clearly shows how the initial fire progressed to a small explosion, then a roaring fire building up just prior to the second explosion which released the orange smoke.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 16:07 utc | 76

Thanks b. Apologies for comments.
Prayers for the people of Lebanon.
Thanks to all who give aid.


Posted by: juliania | Aug 5 2020 16:09 utc | 77

The nuclear explosion generates much higher temperature than chemical one. It would turn the blast site into radioactive glass. If that happened, we would not see civilians in plain clothes milling around the ruins at the port, but bunch of people in funny alien overalls roaming around with Geiger counters. Also, arrays of detectors in Europe will pick up the spike in radioactivity in the air.
Such an event so close to Russian naval base would be... very interesting.

Posted by: hopehely | Aug 5 2020 16:12 utc | 78

As for the ammonium nitrate being stored in the port, Orico store 6-12000 tons in the port of Newcastle.
Orico ammonia nitrate plant

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 16:16 utc | 79

that explains why it looked and sounded like a bomb. the mutual denial that israel was responsible cleared things up a bit and the fact that trump said "it looked like a bomb" was a good sign it wasn't. the likudniks probably love the timing, though.

Posted by: the pair | Aug 5 2020 16:25 utc | 80

Although not at all related to Lebanon, Francis Boyle reviews the illegality of nukes, including those used on Japan 75 years ago. They were against the laws of war then and remain even more so today. That ought to put Obama and Trump's decisions to expand and upgrade the Outlaw US Empire's illegal nukes into perspective.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 5 2020 16:30 utc | 81

Macron going to Beirut tomorrow, Le Drian, who was there less than a week ago, making a pathetic speech about France and Lebanon as sister countries... let me puke.
They are trying to reclaim the Lebanese Christians who had been very critical of the role of France in letting (or rather enabling, with a number of other players using it as a financial hub) Lebanon fall into utter corruption (seems that they couldn't ask they cousins in Africa about their local experiences) during the demonstrations.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 16:30 utc | 82

Just curious: where's the Christian squad of the MoA? Funny how their God suddenly disappears from the picture when something bad happens and they get all scientific and pro-conspiracy theories...

Posted by: vk | Aug 5 2020 16:45 utc | 83

Please stop speculating in nuclear devices. Nuclear devices leaves residual radiation ALL the time.
This was just a case of mismanagement and very poor judgement. No, idiotic and oblivious judgement. The port authority was staffed with imbeciles, period. No one in their right mind would store that amount of highly explosive chemicals in a build up location. Unless you are a dimwit and a moron.
Ammonium nitrate is not inherently unstable, but is not entirely stable either. You would rather consider TNT instead, to save your fingers and eyes.
Storing 2750 tonnes of this shit in a harbor is just... somebody need to shot at dawn or maimed and quartered, completely irresponsible beyond comprehension.
I will promote this story to the Darwin awards, it has all the hallmarks of ignorance and stupidity.
And it was not even the US this time!

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 5 2020 16:47 utc | 84

@ vk | Aug 5 2020 16:45 utc | 83

What christian squad are you talking about? I have never noticed any.

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 16:52 utc | 85

Posted by: vk | Aug 5 2020 16:45 utc | 83

"Just curious: where's the Christian squad of the MoA?"

I'm not sure what you mean, who are the Christian or god's squad?
Maybe they did not pray hard enough or god not listening or busy?

Posted by: JC | Aug 5 2020 16:53 utc | 86

@ Den lille abe | Aug 5 2020 16:47 utc | 84

Nobody has put forward arguments against my little conspiracy speculation a few posts back. No missiles or nukes involved, just a wee bit of cunning.

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 5 2020 16:57 utc | 87

I think now that we know the quantity of mining grade AN that was stored, and the blast looked pretty appropriate, there's no particular reason to suspect a mini-nuke was involved. I'm hoping Hezbollah will ask the judge some pointed questions about whether he was paid by Mossad to ensure the AN remained there, or was simply corrupt and waiting for someone to grease his palm before agreeing to release it. I strongly suspect to former. Regardless, after this many years it would clearly be a well known and pre-determined Israeli target, whether by a remote-control bomb planted in the warehouse or by cruise missile/drone.

With this undeniably being pretty high on Israel's target list, and with all the threats of hitting Lebanese infrastructure, it is far more likely than not this was an Israeli strike. Whether the fireworks fire was part of the operation as a "cover," or the Israelis just decided to seize upon the fireworks fire to trigger their hit, it would make sense that they would think "Why are we sitting here peeing our pants waiting for Hezbollah's retaliatory strike and promising we'll hit Lebanon if they do, when we can just hit Lebanon now and Hezbollah will be too busy trying to deal with that to hit us?" Of course, in typical zionist/neocon short-term thinking fashion, this may ultimately strengthen Hezbollah as the government is discredited and the people are forced to turn to Hezbollah for their aid and protection.

Posted by: J Swift | Aug 5 2020 17:01 utc | 88

American "news" media is already saying in their "news" reports that it was "Russian" ship the cargo was confiscated from. It's NOT "Russian", it's Moldavian.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Aug 5 2020 17:16 utc | 89

@ Posted by: JC | Aug 5 2020 16:53 utc | 86

I think God doesn't like Lebanon. And loves the USA and Israel. etc. etc.

The world is so simple when you're a Christian...

Posted by: vk | Aug 5 2020 17:16 utc | 90

This is a different take on the Beirut blast:

Posted by: vector | Aug 5 2020 17:23 utc | 91

@ Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 16:07 utc | 76

Possibly more useful is the term 'oxidation'; slow oxidation relates to rusting; fast oxidation to fire; and chaotic oxidation to explosion. According to contemporary videos of yesterday's events, no discernible smoke that could be attributable to a fireworks explosion is seen against a rising column of coloured smoke that can be attributed to burning ammonium nitrate by distinctive colour of NxOx which changed from a reddish to greyish colour half-way down the column. The question is: how long elapsed for that column of smoke to reach the altitude seen. Early witness stated a first explosion followed by small peppering of sounds followed by a large explosion and then shock wave. The shock wave would indicate chaotic oxidation had overtaken the surface burning of the ammonium nitrate store, emerging from the greyish volume near the bottom and encompassing quite rapidly the complete column. Curiously, a shock wave can be seen traversing the water's surface quite some distance ahead of the airborne shockwave cloud, likely an estimated six seconds ahead of the large explosion described by witnesses.

The Oklahoma bombing involved about 10 tons of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and its effect on nearby structures. History records what happened in Houston with kilotons involved, also in Halifax during WW II if memory serves. Curious thing about containing burning explosives is that containment causes chaotic oxidation of ignited explosives - the paper wrapping of firecrackers does the job of containment until explosion occurs. It is highly likely (to coin a phrase) that the Boston events were actually intended to be smoke bombs, devised from firecracker materials intended to burn fast producing smoke but through lack of knowledge were placed in pressure containers assuring chaotic oxidation of the burning materials with unhappy results for all concerned. The column in Beirut was likely released with the initial explosion allowing fast oxidation and coloured smoke seen at top of column and as further materials were involved the change in colour below out of which the final chaotic oxidation shockwaves emerged. Once the shock wave cloud cleared and the column was observed again, little disturbance of the column bottom was seen. What was curious was the intense fire on the opposite side of the grain silos from the explosion. Where was the power generation that was destroyed, was it there?

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Aug 5 2020 17:40 utc | 92

May be it was not an accident, see the map of Beirut that Netanyahu is showing specially the place marked as “site 1”, and may be the number means order of importance:

Posted by: DFC | Aug 5 2020 17:50 utc | 93

Nothing to see here, just the normal non-responsibility of a plutocratic middle eastern "country".
The whole disaster is a good analogy on the future of this failed state. Drawing borders on a map by UK and France does not create nations, only failed states failing sooner or later.
Maybe a breakdown on Lebanon alog ethnic lines is for the best. A Saad Hariri will never feel responsible for the Shia or Christians, will only plunder, as it would be the other way around.
The middle eastern modus operandi of only feeling responsible for one's own family and sect is at the heart of this. You can not enrich yourself with taking over resposibility that has no financial benefits.
Funny enough, one could say the same of the US.
Artificial countries leading to disintegrating, leading to failed states. And the natural carnage along the way.
Maybe just ending this experiment of a country now would be the most humane thing to do. The populating is already sharply divided in their areas, let them rule and be responsbile for their own sect. Maybe as a Federation of independent states, or not. But this current pseudo state can never be a solution.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr | Aug 5 2020 17:53 utc | 94

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2020 13:35 utc | 54


So it is a bird in the foreground that happened to switch on its cloaking device at the appropriate moment and disappeared from view. That's what I thought too.

I appreciate the sarcasm, but the unidentified flying object must have activated its cloaking device an additional time before the moment you appear to refer to. Specifically on frames 22 23 24 (counting frame 1 = first frame the object appears)...

But no... there are simpler compounding explanations: a) object's umbra too slim to register in the camera sensor, insufficient contrast b) lossy compression artifact - the video encoder could not find in its i-frame index a sufficient representation and simply suppressed the expected detail in a sequence of predicted frames (happens more often that we would like). The latter likely explains the apparent disappearance behind the smoke later on (no repeatable dark spot against white smoke background available in the previous intra frame which only had against sky blue available)

Our observations are highly filtered we must be very careful interpreting them.


A bird flying near the camera can look as fast as a distant missile in video footage.

Exactly! To our benefit here are some spatial sense of scale. Video is taken around 2.3km away from epicenter, confront with scale of objects in the video and their distances. Notice also object's trajectory implies a northwest origin in a southeast route.

Another curiosity is this: the last frame with a dark spot is frame 43 (~1.43s @30fps), roughly extrapolating the number of frames to reach its supposed target (center of the explosion) it would take an additional 18 frames (0.6s), the explosion itself happens 52 frames (1.73s) later instead - corresponding to a full second later than expected. This would imply a delayed detonation.

My main point: this is not good enough hard evidence to base whatever speculation we wish (or not) to engage in, specially if we think about the potential consequences and the echo chamber effect of the medium we are discussing on.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Aug 5 2020 17:56 utc | 95

Formerly T-Bear | Aug 5 2020 17:40 utc | 92

Tis video shows the full sequence. First just a lot of smoke coming out of the building, then flames are seen shortly before the first blast that gives off dark grey smoke. After the initial explosion no flames for a bit, then the flames build up to where it looks to be roaring just prior to the main blast. he column changing color I took to be dust and smoke drawn up beneath the rising hot gas from the blast.

This vid was taken from close to the blast so the red smoke cloud isn't seen, but its very good to see the sequence to that stage.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 17:59 utc | 96

thanks b! and thanks to marie on the previous thread - the ex pat living in beirut... i feel sorry for the ordinary people of beirut... the zillionaires ripping off lebannon should flip the bill, but we know that predators don't think that way...

Posted by: james | Aug 5 2020 17:59 utc | 97

Formerly T-Bear

One other thing, the ships captain said he was carrying ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate.

Interview with the ships captain. (in Russian)
"– What kind of cargo was needed to be transported?
– Ammonium nitrate, saltpetre. Fertilizers."

And this was the ships owner.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 18:09 utc | 98

Let's pause and compare the stupidity of humans and the intelligence of animals..sobering

Posted by: Mina | Aug 5 2020 18:21 utc | 99

@ Peter AU1 | Aug 5 2020 17:59 utc | 96

Thanks for quick reply. That is about what I surmised from yesterday's videos. The first explosion opened the ammonium nitrate (AN) warehouse likely from a fire at fireworks storage, no large or noticeable explosion, just small sounds easily hidden from noises of a large city but the ignition source for the AN, but large explosion drawing attention to the fireworks fire. Once the warehouse is opened to environment and fire enlarges until chaotic oxidation happens. Is there another source for that video? Twitter last time wanted me to agree to contractual terms - fat chance - don't even click their enticements.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Aug 5 2020 18:21 utc | 100

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