Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 04, 2020

Beirut Explosion

Updated below

At about 15:00 UTC today a large explosion happened at a quayside building in the port of Beirut, Lebanon.

It was followed by a fire and crackling sound that may have come from multiple secondary explosions, probably from fireworks: vid, vid, vid

A few minutes after the first explosion another very, very large one happened which also caused a huge shockwave: vid, vid, vid

Second explosion and shockwave

The explosion could be seen and heard from several miles away: vid

The second explosion as seen from sea: vid, vid

The second enormous explosion blew out many windows and caused serious damage within many structures as well as outside: vid, vid, vid

There are many casualties.

What exploded is not yet known.

The quayside warehouse to the east of a grain silo is where the explosion occurred.


This rumor in Beirut is that this was an accident at a fireworks facility. To me it seems that the first explosion may indeed have been of fireworks. The crackling small explosions after the first explosion point to that.  But the second explosion was way too large for fireworks and must have been of something else.

This may also have been something other than an accident.

This comes at a time where more than half of the people in Lebanon live below the poverty line after a Ponzi scheme run by the Central Bank crashed the Lebanese currency and economy. Many people will not have enough money to pay for new window glass which will be hard to come by as the demand will now be extremely high. It also comes in the mid of the Coronavirus epidemic which currently ravages Lebanon and Syria.

On Friday a UN backed international tribunal will deliver its verdict over four men related to Hizbullah who are accused of planting the truck bomb that murdered the former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri some 15 years ago. The incident could be related to it.

This post will be updated when new information comes in.

As of 17:00 UTC there are still several fires burning in the port area. The grain silo is severely damaged.  Other warehouses were completely destroyed. The military is using helicopters to fight the fires. Hundreds of cars were tossed around and damaged. Some high rises have lost their whole seaside fronts. vid, vid, vid

Preliminary reports speak of at least 18 killed and more than 400 injured.

17:30 UTC:

This sounds like someone did something stupid and may thus be true:

Abby Sewell @sewella - 15:56 UTC · 4 Aug 2020

Lebanese Army source just told me no cause confirmed yet for explosions in Beirut but possibly a "container of fireworks was burning and the fire spread to reach a nitrate warehouse that led to this massive explosions."

Dalal Mawad لال معوض @dalalmawad - 17:04 UTC · Aug 4, 2020

Head of General Security says the blast was caused by a fire in a depot of highly explosive material, including Sodium nitrate, at Beirut's port. He said that material was confiscated from a ship months ago and stored there. #Lebanon

Nitrate in its various forms can be highly explosive. There have been several large nitrate incidents over time.

From an expert:

GeorgeWilliamHerbert @GeorgeWHerbert - 16:44 UTC · Aug 4, 2020

Regarding tragic giant explosion in Beruit; several videos show large fireworks fire then large red smoke combustion that rapidly detonates. This is characteristic of ammonium nitrate fertilizers fires that detonate as Lebanese army suggested.

Another set of views. Slowed down, I can see three distinct explosions; first one from fireworks about 30 seconds before others. Second is bright, large red cloud immediately rising, but no large shockwave. Very shortly after that is very sharp shockwave from same area. - video

We’ll be measuring effects for some time, but my impression is first fireworks explosion was soft - large white cloud and some roof debris, small explosive yields (tons TNT equivalent); second red cloud tens of tons TNT equivalent, third was kiloton(s) equivalent.

18:00 UTC:

The damage throughout Beirut is huge. The sound of the explosion was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus, 240 kilometers / 150 miles away. A main facility of the EDL (Electricité du Liban) has been destroyed. Instead of several hours of electricity per day Beirut may now have none. The port is obliterated. The grain silos are destroyed. Lebanon depends on imports for nearly everything. There will be huge shortages of bread and everything else throughout the next months.

Most large shop windows in the main shopping district were blown out. The owners fear that their shops will be looted tonight.

Posted by b on August 4, 2020 at 15:48 UTC | Permalink

next page »

that ain't fireworks

Posted by: ptb | Aug 4 2020 16:14 utc | 1

Too early to say what caused this maybe just industrial accident, poor storage of hazardous substances or something more nefarious. There are no witness reports of planes or missiles so likely former.

Posted by: Jerzeel | Aug 4 2020 16:16 utc | 2

most unfortunate... thanks for the updates here b..

Posted by: james | Aug 4 2020 16:16 utc | 3

Friends from Cyprus said it was clearly heard there, enough to make them worry.

Posted by: Nikolaos Tsigaridas | Aug 4 2020 16:27 utc | 4

Just reported on BBC Radio 4, PM.
Evan Davies interviewing Layla Melana, from France 24 who lives a few blocks from explosion and witnessed: moments before heard incredibly loud jet, very very low, looked up, blinding flash all windows went immediately, entire apt destroyed and doors blown off hinges everywhere, whole building and whole street in same condition"
Evan Davies interviewer: are you assoc the blast with the plane that came in beforeharnd?
"At the moment I feel that we must."

Posted by: M | Aug 4 2020 16:34 utc | 5

I've seen large uncontrolled fireworks explosions before, this looks nothing like that. I've heard that this was a ship carrying fireworks that exploded, but I suspect (no evidence, yet), it may have been carrying missiles or some other type of military grade ordnance and was targeted. if this was a missile strike it will be easy enough to prove or disprove (a day at most), but it's equally possible it was a torpedo or sabotage (which might take weeks to identify). Lebanon is in no position to respond to this sort of disaster/attack, so it will almost certainly fall to Hezbollah to manage the emergency response.

Posted by: Kadath | Aug 4 2020 16:38 utc | 6

It's perhaps another attention grab by Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad with ambitions to become the next Netanjahu. Also see here ->

Posted by: Dirk | Aug 4 2020 16:38 utc | 7

There are vids in ZeroHedge

"However, some Lebanese broadcasters in the early mayhem and confusion cited possible "missile" impact, though this increasingly doesn't appear to be the case. There appear to be multiple, possibly scores, of dead and wounded...."

Posted by: JC | Aug 4 2020 16:43 utc | 8

M, Layla Melana BBC "moments before heard incredibly loud jet"

chilling. if true, outrageous, horrific.

Posted by: annie | Aug 4 2020 16:43 utc | 9

Maybe not a good idea to have a grain silo next to a fireworks warehouse.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 4 2020 16:52 utc | 10

@10 Jackrabbit.

Indeed. That looks like it could be a silo explosion.

Posted by: S.O. | Aug 4 2020 17:06 utc | 11

@ Jackrabbit | Aug 4 2020 16:52 utc | 10

The attack was against the grain silo

Starve 'em out!

Posted by: Just Me | Aug 4 2020 17:06 utc | 12

grain silo fire/explosions can get quite large, the grain powder in the air is essentially the same as a thermobaric. See: tiny Lycopodium powder used for magic-trick fireballs. Doesn't rule out sabotage/bombing.

Posted by: Imagine | Aug 4 2020 17:11 utc | 13

Posted by: AG17 | Aug 4 2020 17:18 utc | 14

Grain warehouses can be highly explosive. I worked around one in my youth...huge signs everywhere: NO SMOKING! or in this case, NO FIREWORKS!

Posted by: Gareth | Aug 4 2020 17:20 utc | 15

That was a small nuclear detonation.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2020 17:21 utc | 16

The speed of the shockwave shows that the white explosion must have been military explosives - not fireworks, which burn slowly. A munitions dump perhaps, mentioned by some sources. Whether it was the aircraft mentioned by the FR24 reporter, who knows.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 4 2020 17:21 utc | 17

That was a small nuclear detonation.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2020 17:21 utc | 15

All conspiracy theorists think these things should be nuclear, like the one in Yemen.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 4 2020 17:22 utc | 18

@Laguerre | Aug 4 2020 17:22 utc | 17

like the one in Yemen.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2020 17:27 utc | 19

This was not fireworks

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2020 17:30 utc | 20

There is a lot of decent quality clips out there. The big fire caught the attention of a lot of cameras and as a result there are a lots of different views of the fire followed by the explosion.
There is no sign of an aircraft in any of the clips. I wouldn't think you could rule out a missile on those grounds as I'm not sure it would be visible at low resolution.
There was two explosions very close together, The first a relatively low velocity blast blowing a huge red cloud into the air. The second a very high velocity shockwave creating the cloud ball, this requires a C4, Semtex, RDX type of explosive.
These type of explosives are not used in fireworks for reasons that are sadly obvious.

Posted by: Ramon | Aug 4 2020 17:31 utc | 21

There's a twitter thread @joeyayoub where there are a number of new bids than b's links. One is from one guy who is literally right there and shows a warehouse burning with clear fireworks going off and then Boom! Looks like the lucky fucker might have lived even.
Clearly looks benign to me and someone in a thread said that nitro was stored in a nearby warehouse as well.

Posted by: PleaseBeleafMe | Aug 4 2020 17:32 utc | 22

Explosion was felt all the way to Cyprus

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2020 17:41 utc | 23

As I look at the vids more closely I can't see multi-coloured explosions and could very well be munitions cooking off. Can't find anything on the initial explosion though. From one vid seconds after the initial explosion it looks very much like a missile impact but I'm just trying to see all angles.

Posted by: PleaseBeleafMe | Aug 4 2020 17:42 utc | 24

Since it is Lebanon, any conjectures are a possibility. However, it should be noted that a grain elevator explosion can indeed create large blasts such as this one. Thermobaric explosives, the strongest non-nuclear explosives, operate on this principle. Again, lots of potential for monkeywrenching, but keep in mind Occam's Razor.

Posted by: Roy G | Aug 4 2020 17:43 utc | 25

Ramon | Aug 4 2020 17:31 utc | 20

I agree. Third explosion shock velocity seems more like HMX, I forget the V, anyway the numerous real experts with all this video will be more or less sure. Just like 911, or Black Tom. A con job.

Posted by: Walter | Aug 4 2020 17:47 utc | 26

How long before Pompeo declares that this was the work of Iran or 'Iranian proxies' and that this is confirmed by U.S. Intel sources. He lies about everything, he might as well throw in a link to China and TikTok.

Pompeo is the most disgusting and irresponsible human being I've seen in the U.S. govt, I can't see him passing up an opportunity to create harm.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Aug 4 2020 17:49 utc | 27

Ship from Mariupol arrived in Beirut earlier today:

Posted by: Anon | Aug 4 2020 17:51 utc | 28

Whatever this explosion is,place and time smell of zionism.

Posted by: LuBa | Aug 4 2020 17:53 utc | 29

The reddish smoke is curious, looks similar to the smoke given off on some recent missile tests.. I wonder if it was munitions and propellant.

Posted by: jack lockwood | Aug 4 2020 18:22 utc | 30

Not sure whether Mayssan is reliable, but he has said that the Hariri asassination was carried out with a kind of uranium-enhanced explosive dart, developed in Germany, and delivered by plane. Given the Hariri trial verdict expected soon, maybe some neighbor of Lebanon thought it would be cute to pull that trick out of the hat and destroy the port at the same time. Now, what will Hez do?

Posted by: j. casey | Aug 4 2020 18:38 utc | 31

poor Lebanon; this comes at the worst possible time and thw worst possible season of the year


Dalal Mawadدلال معوض
"I might be too emotional now, but I was born in a country that is cursed. End of story. #Lebanon "


I sometimes feel that way about the world.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Aug 4 2020 18:58 utc | 32

Hariri's assassination is mentioned by b, which was done by Mossad. Hezbollah hacked the Zionist drones used to monitor the hit and went public with it to defend itself and finger the actual murderers. When the initial indictments were made in 2005, Nasrallah said the 4 would never be handed over to a kangaroo court where the verdict was already decided. Recap of Nasrallah's 2010 video speech revealing the hacked drone footage. I once had the link to Nasrallah's video speech where all the hacked drone video was revealed, but I don't have it on this computer as that link's now 10 years old. Some segments exist on YouTube, but I haven't been able to locate the entire speech, which as I recall was almost 3 hours long. Nasrallah explained why Hezbollah sat on the video footage for so long as being related to its security--it didn't want to reveal its capabilities to the Zionists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 4 2020 19:06 utc | 33

Getting reports from our office in Lebanon that the explosion was probably related to a Navy warehouse which stored a Russian ship wreck salvaged back in 2016 which contained ammonium nitrate.

Posted by: steph o. | Aug 4 2020 19:08 utc | 34

Seen something similar years ago. Illegally stored fireworks (more than was allowed) that caused a huge explosion.
Enschede fireworks disaster
Youtube footage See from 01:25. It starts getting worse and then the whole batch detonated at once.

Not to say that the other options are not viable. The Sodium nitrate and grain all seem very plausible.
For those that do not believe it: Dust explosion wiki

Am curious as to the amount of damage and the crater. You can tell a lot from that. The worst is the shockwave that shatters glass and can cause horrible injuries.

Posted by: Gehennah | Aug 4 2020 19:21 utc | 35

There must be russian ship wrecks in Syria as well, here is one from December 2019. Notice similarity.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 4 2020 19:22 utc | 36

Can this be the Russian Navy Admiral Grigorovich seen in the same port in Feb 2018? - you'll have to search the google maps photos in the area:


Google maps: Al Marfa'a photos (Johnny Waked Feb 2018 (adjacent dock) ) - (understandably I'm not linking direct to that image)

I'm sure the speculation will run for some time as to what happened here. Google maps appears to be a bit off with the location (if one watches a few of the video's the main explosion seems centred on the middle of the dockside building rather than the space between that building and the silos. Understandably this can be to remain neutral to businesses involved). A terrifying incident that if deliberate, is shocking to negligence of civilian life and should bring shame on all those who have any culpability.

Posted by: dennis | Aug 4 2020 19:23 utc | 37

Roy G #25 beat me to it. Sorry did not see your wiki post.

Posted by: Gehennah | Aug 4 2020 19:23 utc | 38

just watching reporter on the ground. she says "word on the street" is fireworks (she says "bomb" at one point; probably just a slip though).

what's interesting is how she frames the other "gossip": she posits that it was a "weapons cache" and puts the blame on an unnamed owner of said "cache". because how dare a country have weapons on its own goddamn soil.

the timing is odd and the location does fit with the starvation siege tactics of the pompenyahu "b team". it also follows recent trash talk about the impending assassination of nasrallah. just from my (layman) perspective the red color of the smoke was noticable but even if it was produced by certain exploding chemicals the sheer size of the mushroom cloud and visible shock waves brought to (again, my layman) mind a "bunker buster" sized blast. i defer on technical matters to technical people.

Posted by: the pair | Aug 4 2020 19:40 utc | 39

apologies for double post, but the cbc is now showing a france24 reporter who was close enough to be injured and to have been "deafened" by the blast after hearing a jet engine sound. again - could have been a crazy doppler effect from the first explosion but still suspicious.

that said:

keep in mind the source comes from the same people who recently shot at imaginary hezbollah ghosts on the border.

Posted by: the pair | Aug 4 2020 19:47 utc | 40

Related to this event is the reporting about it and its believability. Here's a new study about how that pans out within the Outlaw US Empire:

"For the 2020 American Views survey, Gallup and Knight polled more than 20,000 U.S. adults and found deepening pessimism and further partisan entrenchment about how the news media delivers on its democratic mandate for factual, trustworthy information. Many Americans feel the media’s critical role of informing and holding those in power accountable is compromised by increasing bias. As such, Americans have not only lost confidence in the ideal of an objective media, they believe news organizations actively support the partisan divide. At the same time, Americans have not lost sight of the value of news — strong majorities uphold the ideal that the news media is fundamental to a healthy democracy.

"Gallup and Knight publish these sobering findings at a moment when America’s media landscape is increasingly shaped by the financial exigencies of the attention economy — and when journalism, like other democratic institutions, is growing more vulnerable to polarization and eroding trust." [My Emphasis]

Journalism is a "democratic institution"? IMO, Caitlin Johnstone, John Pilger, Julian Assange, and many others have proven that to be a Big Lie. The full report and synopsis are at the above link.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 4 2020 19:48 utc | 41

Lebanese PM has discarded fireworks as the reason of the blast equating it to the one in Hiroshima, he has called for help, we should all help so that nobody gets behind, we could be next in the unleashed roguery...

When saw your post once I took my phone back in my car from the beach, found way too coincidental that there are only explosions in Iran and Lebanon. This is Pompeo taking advantage of his last months as SOS to bring in the rapture... Another intend to bring Lebanon to its knees after they refused the path to indebtedness slavery pictured for them by the IMF..

I hope this time we do not leave this new genocide and intend of wiping up a country from the face of Earth unpunished..

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 20:05 utc | 42

Cui bono? Who benefits? Israel. Possibility is high for israeli hand in this. A great way to starve Lebanon and weaken Hezbollah. With plausible deniability.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 4 2020 20:10 utc | 43

Interesting how the first rumorus appearing here are about a - Russian shipwreck, of all shipwrecks!

Is this a build up to another - the Russians did it, 'highly likely' and similar BS.
Is that ever going to stop?

Posted by: JB | Aug 4 2020 20:18 utc | 44

A possible clue to the perpetrators? This just a few weeks earlier...

US Ambassador To Lebanon Insolently Threatens PM Diab: Report

Posted by: John Gilberts | Aug 4 2020 20:19 utc | 45

Karlof1 It would be a neat counter if Nasrallah released this footage before Friday, to sink the carefully constructed frame job on Hezbollah.

Posted by: Roy G | Aug 4 2020 20:32 utc | 46

Incredibly, the lead story on the Washington Post website, leads with discussion of whether Israel was responsible for the blast.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 4 2020 20:32 utc | 47

TASS reports that from 30 to 50 people died and from 2.2 to 3 thousand were injured.
As a result of the explosions, the building of the Russian embassy was damaged, and one of its employees was injured.
The consul of Kazakhstan in Lebanon received minor injuries.
Also reported about damage to buildings of other diplomatic missions, including the Finnish embassy, which is located two kilometers from the explosion.
General Secretary of the Lebanese Party Kataib Nizar Najaryan was killed.
The family and advisers of Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab were injured.

Posted by: alaff | Aug 4 2020 20:36 utc | 48

fyi: Grain silos can and do explode. These are grain dust explosions that can occur when the mixture air/grain dust is just right.

Posted by: passerby | Aug 4 2020 20:37 utc | 49

Rt is reporting that, in spite of IDF denying any part in the blasts, Twitter accounts sympathuzeesbif Israel are pointing at the epicenter of the blasts as the place where Hezbollah stores its rockets...
Thus suggestion, already denied by Hezbollah, points at a clear intend to undermine the wide support and good name Hezbollah enjoys in its own country, Lebanon.

Cui bono? Obviously, Israel and the Trump administration,a good way to keep Hezbollah distracted from retaliation, and, at the same time, the people in the US and Israel distracted from their own disastrous performance by their governments through the whole pandemic.
If proved the authorship, which could well not happen ever, the war Trump needs to scape justice for treasury fraud and avoid election he surely was going to lose.. Netanyahu is about to be overthrow by the protests...

We all know how the far-right solve their problems when risking losing power... Remember Bologna Station blast, whose anniversary was just past day....

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 20:39 utc | 50

Elijah Magnier, who usually posts a lot, is strangely silent... The same happened when Iran was retaliating after Soleimani assassination..

Why that could be? I find it very strange, bring as he is most focused in the ME and especially Lebanon...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 20:45 utc | 51

I'm curious as to what Elijah Magnier will say, I imagine he hasn't said anything yet as he is trying to get more information on what happened

Posted by: Kadath | Aug 4 2020 20:47 utc | 52

Not only port, but also airport destroyed..

Thus equates first times of bombing of Iraq, damaging essential infrastructure and providing darkness so as that people scares...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 20:48 utc | 53

H. Schmatz @51--

Magnier said this at his Twitter:

"The huge Explosions in Beirut #Lebanon is not targetting anyone in particular. It happened at the harbour where a container of fire-work exploded.

"I repeat: no terror attack."

He lives in Lebanon, so I imagine he's out investigating, which is why he hasn't tweeted for 5 hours.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 4 2020 20:53 utc | 54

It was not a US strategist who said that "every ten years or so the US needs to throw a tiny shut hole country against the wall so that it is understood we mean business"?

Do not recall the name.. When did the US mean less business than now?

I would put every country in high alert as I fear more blasts will come to cause shock and confusion amongst the people after the first shock of the pandemic...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 20:58 utc | 55

The orange smoke appeared behind the shock wave from the main blast. Nitrogen oxides from nitrate fertilizer or nitrate mining explosives?
"The generation of orange post-blast NO2 clouds, more commonly referred to as yellow or orange smoke,
is not uncommon in the commercial explosives’ industry. The occurrence of such post-detonation fumes
has historically been associated with wet conditions and has generally not been viewed with alarm due to
the rapid dispersion of the gas into the air. Current cast-blasting in some surface coal mining operations
have resulted in the use of millions of pounds of ANFO and ANFO/emulsion agents in a single blast.
While NO2 dissipation into the atmosphere from relatively small shots is generally achieved in a matter of
seconds, comparable NO2 dissipation from huge casting operations may take minutes. Faced with the
noticeable levels of NO2 in the form of orange/red clouds which may drift off the mine property, the
mining industry has requested assistance from NIOSH to identify potential causes for generation of these
orange clouds, and to recommend ways to minimize their occurrence."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2020 20:59 utc | 56

One shipload of ammonium nitrate will generate a shockwave just like that. If Ag fertilisers are stored there then it was a recipe for disaster. There are precedents of this human folly.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2020 21:01 utc | 57

Mossad. I concur with PasserBy @43. Israel benefits when its Arab neighbors suffer. Israel invaded Iraq and eliminated Saddam with its US proxy. It has perpetrated as much hell in Syria as it can get away with and the incidents in Iran b proclaimed to be accidents, were also Mossad terror. Let's recall that the state of Israel was founded by terrorists. So was the USA, for that matter, so that's not saying much more than whenever there are suspicions acts of violence and death in the Arab world, the first suspect should be Israel. Mossad is clever and efficient, more effective in its evil doing than the CIA. The Israelis live in existential desperation and their survival depends on a relentless program of destabilization of the Arab world. Whatever it takes. No matter how many rag heads die.

Posted by: jadan | Aug 4 2020 21:17 utc | 58

karlof1 #41

Thank you, I sense that people's loss of confidence is with corporate media - journalism encapsulated by a corporate cell. People seek trusted journalist informers and critical writers and observers much more than paid shills. For me, everytime I see a headline attacking Russia or China I immediately consider if Integrity Initiative or the Institute for Statecraft 'own' the reporter. The seed of doubt is always fertile.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2020 21:17 utc | 59

My first thought which I said to my wife was it was a shipload of fertiliser, I said a few hundred tons of amonium nitrate. A couple of mins later my son a chemist came in and said it looked like amonium nitrate.
In large bulk it can explode without any reducing agent added.
The first time this was observed was in Oppau Germany in 1921 when a BASF stockpile of fertiliser exploded causing hundreds of casualties.
Prior to then it was thought that amonium nitrate was only explosive with an added reducing agent, such as aluminum powder (amonal) or oil as used by the IRA.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Aug 4 2020 21:25 utc | 60

@karloff 54,

If he is out investigating, how do you explain he deemed it a fireworks explosion prior to investigation, and so sure and fast discarded terrorist attack, being the ME and the current state of affairs with Lebanon being drowned down by the bullies of always?

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 21:27 utc | 61

uncle tungsten

I drove through a site where a B double worth of mining explosive had gone off. I would guess around forty or fifty tons. A truck had crashed and caught fire. Blast was somewhat contained as it was down in the watercourse, but still stripped the trees over a big area. The blast was heard well over 100km away.

The local fire brigade got the driver out of the burning truck and had just backed the fire truck over the crest when it went of. The boys in the lead fire truck got knocked around a bit but survived. The rail bridge beside the road was knocked sideways but still standing.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2020 21:29 utc | 62

On 21 September 1921, when the technician was preparing the holes for the firings in the "silo 110" at 7.00 am, a very powerful explosion took place in the silo at 7.32 am, creating a 90m X 125m crater and 20m deep!
According to witnesses, there were two successive explosions, the first one being weak and the second one devastating. Seismographic readings from Stuttgart, at 150 km from Oppau also showed two distinctive explosions that occurred at an interval of half a second.
The explosion was heard in Munich, 275 km from the plant and caused panic among the masses. Material damage was reported at several dozens of kilometers
away from the accident site. A dark green cloud overcast the skies of Ludwigschafen and Mannheim. The entire region was then covered in thick smoke that along with the interruption of telegraph and telecom services made rescue operations even harder.
Soon after the explosion, there were multiple fires on the facility and other less intense explosions occurred on the site and the air was heavy with ammonia vapours.


Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Aug 4 2020 21:31 utc | 63

In response to this Twitt by a Lebanese, a person is pointing out this happens so timely when the port of Haifa is being privatized right now :

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 21:34 utc | 64

Nasrallah was scheduled to give a speech tomorrow. Should give us some indication as to what happened today..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 4 2020 21:42 utc | 65

There was a nitrate blast at a Chinese port a couple years back that had a similar shock wave, but I do not remember the orange smoke. Given the politics of the time and place it seemed suspicious.

This is all too similar given current place and politics

Posted by: les7 | Aug 4 2020 21:53 utc | 66

This is going to cause a revolution in Lebanon.
More than the explosion itself, the economic consequences are going to be felt in a matter of days. A main electricity production facility for Beirut has been destroyed and the main import hub for Lebanon is gone.

If the government doesn't resign, I'll be surprised if the Lebanese don't violently overthrow it.

The geopolitical consequences are going to be significant as well. Along one axis : Who will rebuild the port? China ... and then the US response? Along another axis, Syria will have to play a role to support Lebanon, integrating the two countries even further ... Along another axis, Iran will step in with aid that cannot be refused bringing the Lebanese state closer to the Iranian orbit ... How will the US, Saudi and Israel respond?

The humanitarian role of Hezbollah will become amplified further as it's support of the poor becomes more critical, if Hezbollah was entrenched before, it will probably become an even larger component of the Lebanese state now ...

If Israel was planning any attack on Lebanon, this would *on the surface* seem to be the best time to attack. Of course, Hezbollah would probably respond with the full backing of the Lebanese and much harder than 2006. So, maybe not.

The current, Anglo-European-US centric leaders of Lebanon have been exposed as the useless puppets and scamsters they are and this tragedy has hammered that point home. If the Lebanese people tolerated them up until now, they certainly will not tolerate them further.

Posted by: Traiano Welcome | Aug 4 2020 21:54 utc | 67

@65 Correction: Speech postponed..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 4 2020 21:55 utc | 68

re my post @62

Looking at the pics again, the fire trucks were a lot closer than I thought but no one killed...

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2020 21:58 utc | 69

Robert Fisk lives somewhere around there. I hope he is ok.

Posted by: jef | Aug 4 2020 22:05 utc | 70

Daniel Estulin points at the video of aftermath of first blasts, filmed by a Lebanese family, at 6 seconds footage, that the sudden huge blast and mushroom is a missile... And so seems all the way...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 22:10 utc | 71

So fireworks, grain silo, sodium nitrate. A nice deadly mix. Pretty dumb. Could be accidental as they say. Or someone who knows the terrain there helped pull the trigger

Lebanon is a target of you know who. It also has discovered great amounts of gas and oil off its coast , making it a greater prize. You have to keep an open mind.

I suppose if things go south and they start fighting each other , Hizbollah and Iran will be blamed and Israel and US will move to help the Lebanon people keep the peace

Posted by: Kay Fabe | Aug 4 2020 22:17 utc | 72

In times like this every event takes on meaningful character, deserved or not.

Accident or not the people of Lebanon will suffer.

Traiano Welcome above in # 67 asked good questions about what will happen now.

And the band played on........

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 4 2020 22:23 utc | 73

Great thread here from Hala Jaber:

.8/ How the Amonium Nitrate in 2day’s explosion ended in #Lebanon.
Sept 2013: A vessel flying the #Moldovian flag, with 2,750 tons of #Ammonium_Nitrate in bulk, heading from #Georgia to #Mozambique, encountered technical problems forcing the master to enter #Beirut port.

9/ Apparently, owing to the risks associated with retaining the Amonium nitrate on board the vessel, the #Lebanese 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.

Link to the original istory here:

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 4 2020 22:24 utc | 74

2750 tons of ammonium nitrate...

Incompetence kills.
Lebanese Prime Minister says #Beirut explosions caused by an estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate left unsecured for 6 years in a warehouse. 6 years! 6 years!

Accidents happen and accidents can be made to happen. No doubt the Israeli's and Americans would have been aware of what was stored there. Plausible deniability?

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2020 22:27 utc | 75

les7 #66

That Chinese blast was the result of fire fighters attempting to extinguish a small blaze with water. Unknown to them and contrary to regulations the warehouse stored a massive quantity of a material that gasses off acetylene through water contact and that gas ignites. Not an orange cloud like nitrate bang but entirely white and persistent afaik.

Nitrate bangs give bright orange dust cloud. The white instantaneous cloud we see here is water vapour in the atmosphere compressed to a veil as it is pushed in front of the pressure wave.

The best regulations in the world cannot counter accidents, bribes, arrogance, and mendacity.

so it goes

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2020 22:28 utc | 76

Peter AU1 #75

6 Years !!! tragic

Storage costs after third month would be the value of the load.

Why not just give it away to the farmers to grow grain etc.

Free up the warehouse for more rental space and so on.

Corrupt institutions of private sector or government with constipated decision trees are a threat to humanity as always.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2020 22:35 utc | 77

Curious, to say the least, that now Trump talks about an attack...

White and in a bottle, use to be lait...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 22:41 utc | 78

A photo of the area around the warehouse. Click on the pic to enlarge

In the final count there will be a lot of people killed and injured. Total destruction on a big radius.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2020 22:41 utc | 79

I was not a reader in 2011, well, did not have even computer and lived the happy ignorant life, but, to those here so reassured about the ammonium nitrate option, I must recall you that at that time also, many people, included the US government at the time, assured some comercial aircraft had traversed the twin towers libe butter...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 22:51 utc | 80

This is not a grain silo explosion. That sort happens in a silo which is nearly empty but the air inside is full of extremely fine dust. They do explode with a lot of force but nothing like in the videos.The total amount of explosive energy comes from the suspended dust. I have been at the site of a silo explosion although I did not see it happen. It threw great chunks of concrete a hundred yards but did not even scorch the surrounding grass and didn't damage nearby buildings.

Posted by: rjb | Aug 4 2020 22:52 utc | 81

Ammonium nitrate has current value of $550/ton. Sits for six years? Danger of ammonium nitrate well known, widely known. Lebanese/Phoenicians have been operating worlds shipping and ports since the Bronze Age. 5000 years experience. Incompetence? Just an accident? Cui bono?

Posted by: oldhippie | Aug 4 2020 22:54 utc | 82

"The Canadian ambassador is requesting that the mouthpiece of MbS remove this fake news being circulated."

It is apparently alleged there were indications Canadian consular officials had prior knowledge of the Beirut blast.

Posted by: John Gilberts | Aug 4 2020 23:00 utc | 83

Hi everyone, I came across this thread while googling for some answers about the Beirut explosion. I am an American expat living in Beirut (have been here since 2013) and am about 4 miles from the blast site. I am not an expert in chemistry or explosives, but I’m just trying to find answers to the following questions, if anybody can give educated input:

1. Questions about the detonation: I have read that ammonium nitrate needs a booster to explode. Is there evidence that common fireworks are potent enough to detonate ammonium nitrate? If so, would the fireworks need to be going off in the same warehouse for close enough proximity, or does it seem plausible that a fire in a “nearby” warehouse would be able to ignite it? Or am I misunderstanding something about tertiary explosives? If fireworks cannot explain the detonation, could this have been intentionally started?
2. Questions about health: what kinds of issues should I be concerned about in relation to toxic fumes or particulate matter in the air?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

Posted by: Marie | Aug 4 2020 23:02 utc | 84

> fyi: Grain silos can and do explode.
That's correct! But in this case the silo was clear outside of the blast. And a grain blast doesn't emit NOx.
IHMO the silo protected some lives and property behind it.
See this video:

2,750 tons of NH4NO3 is a huge value when ignites. It goes completely into gaseous state during detonation.

Posted by: Wolle | Aug 4 2020 23:05 utc | 85

Marwa Osman is reporting the ammonium nitrate was confiscated from a shipment destined to the Wahabi Contra, thus the owners surely knew it was there..
Also she is reporting a whole warehouse of medicines for incurable diseases has been wiped out in the blasts...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 23:08 utc | 86

After the 2013 West, Texas ammonium nitrate explosion (15 killed; 160+ injured), the state of Texas *stopped* disclosing information on hazardous chemical storage to citizens, and state law still forbids rural localities (where these facilities mostly are) from enacting fire codes that might, say, require sprinklers.

Posted by: David G | Aug 4 2020 23:08 utc | 87

Disturbing images from AL Jazeera, via Marwa Osman Twitter, show other popular neighborhoods where shocked badly injured people try to get to a hospital...

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 23:14 utc | 88

Marie | Aug 4 2020 23:02 utc | 84

When ammonium nitrate is stored in bulk, all that is required is a heat source.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2020 23:18 utc | 89

@ Marie | Aug 4 2020 23:02 utc | 84

Find a lot of practical expertise on there:

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 4 2020 23:19 utc | 90

> I have read that ammonium nitrate needs a booster to explode.
Yes, in this case there was a primary fire with something like fireworks or small ammunition and a second blast/fire with nitrate inside also. See here:
IMHO this person is dead or badly injured.
More then enough to ignite the NH4NO3.

Posted by: Wolle | Aug 4 2020 23:21 utc | 91

As happened to me when those vessels damaged in the Persian Gulf, that I was aware all of a sudden how many of you where US Navy, I am astonished now how most of you are experts in ammonium nitrate and it's behavior...
Who you are, people?

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 23:22 utc | 92

Marie | Aug 4 2020 23:02 utc | 84:

I’m glad you’re ok, Marie!

I’m no expert, but if it were that hard to set off ammonium nitrate, there wouldn’t have been so damn many of these explosions over the years.

As to what sort of hazardous materials may have been put into the air, I think those answers will emerge locally or not at all, not from the know-it-alls on this thread, though the MoA blogger does a good job marshaling available info, so it might be useful to check back in coming days.

Posted by: David G | Aug 4 2020 23:22 utc | 93

Excuse the pun, but an explosion of that size, at this time, in the port of Beirut, feels very very fishy...

Posted by: Et Tu | Aug 4 2020 23:22 utc | 94

Tianjin 2015

Funny how countries that the empire defines as "enemies" seem to have big explosions.

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 4 2020 23:25 utc | 95

Daniel Estulin points at the video of aftermath of first blasts, filmed by a Lebanese family, at 6 seconds footage, that the sudden huge blast and mushroom is a missile... And so seems all the way...

Yes... looks like a third generation wing flapping missile looking for another cosy nest. Increasingly rare on those parts. /s

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Aug 4 2020 23:30 utc | 96

H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 23:22 utc | 92

There has been a number of nitrate explosions in the past. It is an easy subject to research. I have also been through an area where there was a nitrate explosion. My sons school mate was caught in it though he survived.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 4 2020 23:37 utc | 97

Marie #84

Thank you for your request for evidence to explode ammonium nitrate. It is commonly used to blow tree stumps from the paddock when clearing and break up large rocks etc. Also special effects technicians in movie making. A mixture of the nitrate with diesel fuel and a simple electric detonator or cordex wrapped around a few litres is sufficient to trigger it to explode.

I am not dismissing the possibility of a deliberate sabotage if the storage and co location of a fireworks factory was common knowledge.

No competent port authority should ever permit a fireworks factory anywhere within 50 kilometers given the wide variety of goods and volatile products in transit and should strictly regulate any dangerous co location of compounds. But human error seems more likely here right now. Time will tell perhaps.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 4 2020 23:38 utc | 98

@David G(#93):
> I’m no expert, but if it were that hard to set off ammonium nitrate,
> there wouldn’t have been so damn many of these explosions over the years.
NH4NO3 is one of the best fertilizer. Normally it's not used in pure form especially it's more then 100kg.
There are some Calcium compounds(also fertilizers) that can NH4NO3 protect to detonate.

Posted by: Wolle | Aug 4 2020 23:40 utc | 99

Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 22:51 utc | 80
Posted by: H. Schmatz | Aug 4 2020 23:08 utc | 86

Two notes on your posts: the first makes no sense. The second claims medicines for 'incurable diseases' were destroyed. Are these medicines for treating incurable diseases? Obviously they're not cures... This too is unclear. I wish people would proof-read their posts via preview. Any claim to serious argument can be increased with a simple edit for clarity. My favourite posts on this site are always the elegant, concise, economical, well-written and competently edited ones. Readers will always be well-disposed to good writing even when they disagree with the content.

Posted by: Patroklos | Aug 4 2020 23:40 utc | 100

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