Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 15, 2021

Guardian Smears Syria's President With Implausible Link To Beirut's Port Blast

On August 4 2020 2.750 tons of ammonium nitrate, stored in a warehouse of Beirut's harbour, exploded. The blast destroyed large parts of the city.

The dangerous load had come on a defect ship which was impounded by the Lebanese authorities. It had been stored since 2013. Despite urgent warnings, the complicate Lebanese bureaucracy had never found a way to get rid of the dangerous load.

Soon conspiracy theories sprang up about the 'real' ownership and purpose of the load and of who might have had an interest in igniting it. None made much sense. The original explanation of a bureaucratic tussle and pure neglect are still the most plausible cause.

But that does not stop the British Guardian from trying to blame the Syrian government for the incident:


Here is how the Guardian 'links' the Syrian government with the explosion:

The company used to ship a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate to Beirut port, where it caused a devastating explosion last August, has been linked to three influential businessmen with ties to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, a new investigation has found.
An investigation by the Lebanese film-maker Firas Hatoum, which aired this week on local television network Al-Jadeed, drew links between Savaro and three figures who had been central to efforts to bolster Assad since the earliest months of the Syrian war.

George Haswani, Mudalal Khuri and his brother Imad are joint Russian-Syrian citizens who have all been sanctioned by the United States for supporting the Syrian leader’s war effort. Companies linked to Haswani and Imad Khuri shared a London address with Savaro, which bought the nitrate in 2013. The official destination of the cargo was Mozambique, but it was diverted to and unloaded in Beirut, where it was stored unsafely until the catastrophic blast.
The Savaro address – 10 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3BQ – was also the registered address of Hesco Engineering and Construction, which was directed by Haswani, a go-to businessman for Assad who was also sanctioned by the US in 2015 for allegedly buying oil from the Islamic State (Isis) terror group on behalf of the Syrian government.

According to documents supplied by Hatoum, another of Savaro’s London addresses is linked to a second company tied to Haswani’s Hesco now defunct company, IK Petroleum, which was directed by Imad Khruri until 2016.

The suspicious 'link' the Guardian describes is solely based on the common address of otherwise unconnected companies.

But all the named companies are just letterbox entities. These get set up and dissolved by the dozens per day. The British government's registrar for such businesses is Companies House. It allows anyone to search for a company's name, address and ownership.

A Companies House search for 10 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3BQ, the common address of the suspicious companies, currently results in 140,871 matches. And yes, they all have the same address.


More that 140,000 active or dissolved companies have been registered at 10 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3BQ. To then claim that some of these companies are suspiciously 'linked' to each other because they share the same nominal letterbox is bonkers. It is like claiming that U.S. companies are 'linked' because they are, for tax reasons, registered in Delaware.

Why Martin Chulov, the Guardian's Middle East correspondent and author of the piece, did not do the basic diligence of checking the records or chose not to tell his readers that such address sharing is extremely common and does not prove anything is beyond me.

One might suspect that any chance to denounce the Syrian government over whatever nonsense has taken priority over journalistic diligence.

In 2015 Chulov won the Orwell price for journalism.

Orwellian that indeed is.

Posted by b on January 15, 2021 at 12:17 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

....bc Horsewhisperer says so.
An example of circular logic.
Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 16 2021 15:13 utc | 88

Try Googling, or Wiki-ing, How a bullet works.
You'll LEARN that bullets have a PRIMER to ignite the propellant.
The impact of the firing pin ignites the PRIMER/DETONATOR.
Imo, had a stickler for precise terms known this it wouldn't have written what you wrote about bullets.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 16 2021 16:31 utc | 101

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 15 2021 14:23 utc | 13

It is so unfair to Russian "journalism" that you neglect to give credit to for making sure that .gov information was spread far and wide.

"The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT."

Oy Vey! I remember that video of Vlad visiting RT editorial and all the pretty women anchors sitting around so still and respectful while PuttyPut said something or another.

It is a curious thing, this Ritter and the rest of Fleet Street English wankers that are given a regular platform by Russian Federation to spread their version of poison.

Basic rule of thumb (which includes host 'b'): unless proven otherwise, it is rational to consider any information organ operating untouched in this world to be an instrument of proganda.

otherwise-proof: Real journalists have a very short life, or public exposure, expectancy in this world. One way or another, their information is burried.

Posted by: PointedDragon | Jan 16 2021 17:15 utc | 102

Smith | Jan 16 2021 16:11 utc | 99

"How to defeat it? The recognition of this fact and dealing with this unimonster as a united bloc, not two".

Leaving aside BidenStrump for a moment. We should be concentrating on what the "bit-players" are doing while the attention is being distracted elsewhere:

Pompeo is sanctioning just about every country and person he can think of. (Iran is now claiming that the US has 1'400 sanctions on Iranians and Iranian affairs). The ostensible "reason" given is to make it "harder for the incoming Biden Presidency". It does nothing of the sort. If we leave out "Good ol' Joe" and his image as the bumbling-but-kind doddery grandfather figure, the incoming Democratic heavy weights are rabid Ziocons. Many figured largely in the history books as being behind "the war on terror" after 9/11. ie. Cookie monster et al- There are even some representatives on the Republican side, A Cheney daughter will do as a Papa Cheney did. (She islmost certainly a Trojan horse).

Pompeo is the enabler.

By "sanctioning" Cuba, Houthis, Iran a gogo, and calling them "Sponsors of Terror", and also sanctioning people in Syria (New foreign minister), Venezuela, Russia, China, he is actually HELPING the Neocon agenda. The new alibi for the Dem-ziocons being "He" (under Trump) started the new aggressions. It is therefore easier for the Neocons themselves to continue along the same line of permanent agresssion. As they can claim that "It was all Trump's fault", and we are "just" coping with "his" Presidency. Biden is squeaky clean and all the wars to come can be attributed to T-rump.

Anyone who thinks that the Two "parties" are not following exactly the same script, is missing the point.

Even during the TRumpi-era the Military were already doing their own thing as well. What will change? (Rhetorical question as the answer is - nothing).

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 16 2021 17:23 utc | 103

there is indeed a tiny amount of HE in the cartridge cup but i thought i explained clearly this mechanism with the mining example. how the detonator gives the initial umph to the booster and the booster to the charge. that is a blasting cap or alternatively detonating cord may be used to initiate the booster. that would be a true detonator causing a shockwave.

my response concerning the firearm was to dismiss that bullets are loaded with explosives & detonators.....i stated it is a propellant which propels the bullet out of the casing through the barrel bc of the hot gas expansion. it follows my assertion that if it was loaded with HE insteas the resulting shockwave would melt the gun’s barrel and incinerate your hands.

what takes place in the cartridge cup is initiation by the primer shooting flames through the hole which ignites the propellant.

the propellant has no need for a shockwave and it is doubtful that the tiny mass of primer will overcome its physical parameter limits like critical mass or like its critical diameter to reach a stable detonation velocity. if it just shoots flames out of the holes in the cartridge cup this is hardly a detonation

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 16 2021 17:26 utc | 104

@ Stonebird

I won't defend Trumpie here, just saying any article wasted on him could be made use for foreign leaders instead, like this one. Trump was a shit magnet that took a lot of heat.

But now, with Biden elected, "democracy" is back in town, so focus is back to empire building narrative, rationalizing on why americans have to invade other countries.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 16 2021 17:39 utc | 105

The Guardian? One of the russophobic propaganda voice in the UK. Nothing to expect from it except manipulation of information. No one is fooled.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 16 2021 17:45 utc | 106


“a little knowledge is a little dangerous”

my turn to advise you to LEARN! how the primer LS used in bullets and in many military applications just “deflagrates” but doesn’t detonate.... if you are happy to call it a detonator to prove me wrong knock yourself ..... but if you wish to learn then do it

LS is widely used in military hot-wire application (electric initiators) wherein the LS accepts the transfer of heat from a bridgewire, deflagrates, and initiates energetic trains/outputs.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 16 2021 18:07 utc | 107

Who the F8ck cares about what the proper term is for the blast in Beirut?
What a lot of off topic drivel.

Posted by: arby | Jan 16 2021 18:18 utc | 108

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 16 2021 16:27 utc | 100

So basically you didn't say anything? That's cool.

If it all went over your head, it's cool.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 16 2021 18:44 utc | 109

Also, not to beat a dead horse, but,
Even if an explosive substance is yeilded by processing horsepoop (amonium nitrate fertilizer), and is detonated,
It does not produce a geometrically perfrect spherical energy release.
I guess there's that...

Posted by: Josh | Jan 16 2021 18:45 utc | 110


Lots of people care because of careless ignoramuses propagating and disseminating what they do not understand. They do not understand the risks and have reached their peak of maximum incompetence. If you do not know how to produce, store, handle Ammonium Nitrate you better call the professionals. This level of of stupidity and carelessness has lead to untold casualties and mayhem like in Oppau Germany, Tesenderloo Belgium, Texas City TX, Port Neal Iowa,Tolouse France and now Beirut Lebanon to mention just a few of the infamous accidents.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 16 2021 19:29 utc | 111

"If you do not know how to produce, store, handle Ammonium Nitrate you better call the professionals."

Oh, and here I thought this thread was about placing blame on Syria for the , Blast, Detonation, explosion, whatever it's called in Beitut.

My Bad.

Posted by: arby | Jan 16 2021 20:10 utc | 112


you may place the blame on whomever you want but it doesn’t take away the criminal: incompetence, carelessness, negligence and/or complicity of the Beirut Port Authority

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 16 2021 20:23 utc | 113

arby | Jan 16 2021 20:10 utc | 112



Is it to stop us asking the correct questions? As to why the BANG filmed showed the sequence of a column of red "smoke", from a presumably burning "something". Followed by a spherical white blast wave, but the red pillar of smoke was not affected.

Either there were two different sites for the centre of the blast, or two origins of the BANG itself.

It seems to me that the "missile" theory was a very bad photoshop addition. (For distraction-disinformation. Easily refuted, which would then exclude Israel from the BANG) That doesn't exclude an earlier sabotage attempt by them or anyone else.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 16 2021 20:28 utc | 114

Sun Tzu @Jan16 20:23 #113

... incompetence, carelessness, negligence and/or complicity ...

I suspect complicity.

They say "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" (Hanlons's razor) But the case for malice (in the form of sabotage) in the Beirut Port calamity is just overwhelming. No commercial enterprise is THAT stupid and the forces arrayed against Hezbollah have clearly benefited by pointing fingers at Hezbollah.

See my comment @Jan15 16:35 #21 for more.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 16 2021 20:40 utc | 115

It is obvious why Syria doesn't respond, as some above have asked. It is because a conflict might lead to the end of the Damascus regime. I have no doubt Putin is advising that policy.

One might also ask how important the Israeli attacks are. The threat to Israel is from Hizbullah, who have enough missiles underground to wreck Israeli cities. Iran is not much interested in destroying Israel, but in supporting Syria. I wouldn't have thought Syria is likely to get MAD independence from Israel in the near future.

Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the only Israeli force still capable of offensive action is the airforce. It's all a show. And why Israel is trying to bring down the Lebanese government. Unforunately for Israel, Hizbullah is an independent organisation, with an agricultural base, not likely to be affected by what happens in Beirut.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 16 2021 21:16 utc | 116

Mikhas #6

Thank you for the link to Platosguns. His latest piece (Nov 24 2020) is helpful in understanding Hezbollah and so a useful counterpoint to the drivel from the grauniad.

and he poses the following:

When will citizens of the West and of America realize that Hezbollah is by far more on their side than the tax-fleecing, warmongering Zion? After all, Hezbollah exists to liberate, not to rob the Mints of Europe and America, not to warmonger for wars of choice that cost mega dollars and Euros and rivers of blood. And most certainly, Hezbollah does not in any measure oppress the Western people’s rights to freedom of speech – a right that the Israel lobbies of Europe and America are fixated on denying the people.

Where is your own Hezbollah, dear American? Where is your resistance to your occupier? Where is your resisting mind? Your resisting vote? Your resisting words? Your resisting art? Your resisting gun?

As an American expat witnessing the damage and dire divisions inflicted on our society by Jewish elites, I advise you not turn your guns against one another. This is absolutely a ruinous folly. This is what your insidious occupier is betting on. Your division emboldens and empowers them. To fleece more out of you for the sake of Israel, the enemy in your midst needs you further divided and weaker. Do not submit, but do circumvent. Circumvention through unity. You do not have to love one another to death, but you do have to unite and resist against your enemy within if a life of freedom, peace and prosperity is what you think you deserve. Unite despite your differences. Unite despite your rage. This is your key to liberation.

Yes it is single minded in laying blame at the feet of zionist elites as there are many others playing the same game. But the essence remains. Unity and solidarity is the first and every step of the remedy to the malign destruction of western people's and their economy.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 16 2021 21:17 utc | 117

Shame Robert Fisk is no longer with us.

Posted by: Sky Pilot | Jan 16 2021 21:27 utc | 118

I have just caught up with the balance of this thread and I must say that the mere mention of the grauniad has clearly sent many measured commenters into a semantic rage. I no longer read anything published by said drivel sheet as it has had nothing good to say for at least a decade. Once upon a time it was worth a glance. So after reading these comments and the hilarity in semantics, I will continue avoiding its idiocy. I trust you will all recover soon and return to the bar :))

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 16 2021 21:38 utc | 119

@ uncle tungsten | Jan 16 2021 21:17 utc | 117 who wrote
Yes it is single minded in laying blame at the feet of zionist elites as there are many others playing the same game. But the essence remains. Unity and solidarity is the first and every step of the remedy to the malign destruction of western people's and their economy.

I posit that unity and solidarity around public/private global finance will get you a lot more remedy than unity and solidarity around the feet of zionist elites......until and unless someone can prove to me that these enemies of humanity are one and the same, I will always favor the reality I know exists over the myth of all the religious "ism"'s.

To me, zionism is a head fake distraction away from the global private financial elite behind the curtain.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 16 2021 21:39 utc | 120

By the way, it's important to understand that Israeli attacks on Syria are only a repeat of what they've always done. Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall showed that Israeli settlers began raids on Syrian villages in the immediate wake of the 1948 war. In the beginning it was not approved by the Israeli government, but later it was, and now we see the consequence. Agression works as long as it works....

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 16 2021 21:54 utc | 121

Being that this thread has become severely infected with the hyper-semantic virus over 'explosion' versus 'detonation' I want to put in my two-cents. My definition of a 'detonation' is simply a supersonic shock wave generating explosion. Since that definition is good enough for me, it must be good enough for everybody else. It is physically impossible to detonate anything in outer space. There is no air up there, so there can be no sound there either. Therefor there can exist no supersonic detonations.

Now for my real important point about the fascist aristocrat dictatorship of the USSA. The ruling class aristocracy is certainly not at all in the business of increasing their profits by acquiring yet more money. That's just a very stupid notion. For all relevant purposes they already possess all the money. Let's get real. Their sole real business is simply to retain power. Period. And how do they do that? Easy. They establish and constantly maintain a churnatistic society. They just keep the commonalty spinning around in circles by constantly churning 'current events'. They start a war, or an obviously fake election, or an economic depression, or a mass shooting, or any outlandish disaster they can churn up to keep the masses in a constant state of bewilderment. And then they drop the cherry on top by publishing narratives in media such as the Guardian that the poor serfs always know deep down make no sense at all. Therefor no revolt is possible because the serfs are in a perpetual state of disorientation. All fascist societies are ultimately based on churnatism.

Posted by: blues | Jan 16 2021 22:53 utc | 122

The Guardian? One of the russo-phobic propaganda voice in the UK. Nothing to expect from it except manipulation of information. No one is fooled.

Posted by: Virgile

As well as being one of the proponents of the concoction of the Labour anti-Semitism smear through its uber-Zionist Freedland.

Posted by: chet380 | Jan 16 2021 23:35 utc | 123

This thread was pretty much wasted. Too bad, because Lebanon is worthy of discussion.

Next time.


By the way, if lex talionis is reading this - you asked what a strawman argument is. You'll find a perfect example in comment #111 replying to #108 - actually not replying, just filling the air with more smoke, avoiding the point of the comment and heaping a bit of false virtue signalling (the modern term for sanctimony) on top. All to perpetuate the nonsense rant, while pretending to be on top of the topic and deep in discussion.

Strawman - it's how you defeat a true discussion and waste a thread

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 16 2021 23:38 utc | 124


Constipated, you doth protest too much me thinks....easy on your meds, take care

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 17 2021 0:32 utc | 125


Semantics and Physics are 2 different disciplines, in case you didn’t know.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 17 2021 0:40 utc | 126

Good try but not quite.

A strawman fallacy is when someone that is unable and incompetent to mount a sound argument creates a fake target that is indefensible because it is fake. So, the strawman creator walks away thinking and pretending he won the argument because he defeated his own strawman creation.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 17 2021 0:51 utc | 127

Mikhas @ 6, Uncle T @ 117:

Plato's Guns! Thanks to you both for reminding me! Unless I miss my guess that's the successor blog to Syrian Perspective. I see Canthama is already a regular PG visitor.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 17 2021 2:18 utc | 128

i highly doubt, none of the proclaimed conspiracy theories made no sense. I am pretty sure that, like most with any common sense would look at the isreali gov being involved. there is no way that they cannot be factored into the equation, not mentioning them is a complete disregard to the most probable and likely suspects as they have the most to gain from this.

Posted by: Frank G | Jan 17 2021 6:19 utc | 129

Aside from the fact that this Guardian article seems to be a propaganda piece, one thing that seems to be lost in this discussion is any mention of motive. Looking at motive alone should be enough to debunk the claims of Assad's involvement. In what way could he possibly benefit by doing this? It makes no sense.

Similar to the accusations of him using gas warfare... especially when you consider it might've served as a pretext that would trigger further US/Western involvement/bombing... for him to have done so would be like shooting himself in the foot... it would just make no sense. That's why I think, based on motive alone... you could pretty much rule it out. Same in this case.

This is just more Western/US bs propaganda, IMO.

Posted by: Steve M | Jan 17 2021 7:56 utc | 130

Great to see that lying piece of shit Chulov being called out. What's Charles Lister doing these days?


Taxi writes this comment-


Like the dad of an old friend used to say to us when we were spunky teens: The reward of patience is more patience. Understand this and you understand the Iranian mind.

Four days ago, the Lebanese master analyst and Hezb and Iran insider, Anis Nakash, for the first time EVER told a discussion panel: “We (the Axis of Resistance) are extremely confident of our military position and of our victory. The big war that will destroy israel is coming within months, not years.” “Months, not years”, he reiterated to a stunned and joyful audience. Mr. Nakash is known for gravitas, not sensationalism.

“Months, not years”, is my new slogan. Months, not frigging years! Oh man, I just love the sound of that!
December 1, 2020 at 9:17 am Reply

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 17 2021 11:00 utc | 131

Steve M @130.

One part of the nature of propaganda is that it creates it's own motive in the mind of the consumer. It's a self reinforcing lie.

His motive is because he's evil he does pointlessly evil things which are evidence that he's evil which proves he does pointlessly evil things which is evidence it was him because he's evil.

You'll note it only really works when the information consumer is trapped within the loop so if they start to question the idea you can bounce them off another one.

His motive is that he's evil and does pointlessly evil things because he done another pointlessly evil thing proving that he's evil and proving that he's done this new pointlessly evil thing too.

Assumed guilt in point A means automatic guilt in point B. Guilt in Point B retroactively justifies the accusation of guilt in point A.

When being a nasty little propaganda shite towards a target you want to avoid specifics like a defined motivation. Specifics are too easy to pick apart and can quickly fail the absurdity test.

Posted by: S.O. | Jan 17 2021 13:42 utc | 132

Printed and/or Spoken language is the main thing that differentiates us from other primates.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 16 2021 12:54 utc | 81

Inversely, could it be that all primates (and most other members of the kingdom Animalia) have spoken language, and it is just that almost all species (epecially the primates) have inherited genetic traits that just make them terrible listeners and comprehendors, creating a global inter-species syndrome somewhat akin to Wernicke's aphasia?

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 17 2021 17:52 utc | 133

In this discussion, William Gruff is entirely correct - haggling over the exact meanings of words is infantile, passive-aggressive and ultimately, irrelevant to the main thrust of the article.

So why don't you boys grow up, or get some ego-therapy?

Posted by: Jams O'Donnell | Jan 17 2021 19:38 utc | 134


no, the shockwave does not generate an explosion. instead the initial shockwave is made even more powerful from the detonation of the charge


this started at the tower of Babel.... and it didn't end well.


having and opinion is like having your own ass, everyone has their own and proclaims is better and more functional

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 17 2021 20:19 utc | 135

Sun Tzu -

I appreciate your detailed analysis.
Question- do you or can you share your thoughts regarding the explosion?
Do you lean towards it being an accident of negligence or an intended attack of opportunity?

I would like to have a better understanding of the probabilities as to whether this was an accident or made to appear as an accident but was intentionally set off?

Posted by: CitizenX | Jan 17 2021 20:24 utc | 136


Citizen, I do not have first hand forensic proof to conclusively state whether it was accidental or deliberate. Thus, I could only speculate and perhaps maybe I could rule out unlikely hypothetical scenarios

There was talk about a fire and i read that someone was welding right where the center of the crater appeared. Welding anywhere near the storage of bulk ammonium nitrate (AN) fertilizer even if in 1 ton big bags is asking for trouble. Could it initiate the pile? Certainly, once AN becomes hot, decomposes and starts bubbling it may become as sensitive to shock as nitroglycerine. In such a case it doesn’t even need confinement. There was another scenario, fire. AN supports combustion bc it has its own source of Oxygen. But unconfined AN storage fires have proven time and time that it just cigar burns without transition to detonation. Except, AN bulk trucks. Once they are on fire the whole area should be evacuated and cordoned off at once. there is something inherently dangerous about AN truck fires. I have been a public advocate to never fight an AN truck fire but to advise the Fire Chief or Commander on scene to let it burn down and evacuate to at least a couple of miles and cordon off the area. Preserve fire fighters lives and prevent onlookers foolishness is my main concern in such situation. With regards to the fire in a Port warehouse like that, with such a high demographic density I would have advocated to evacuate immediately. No fire fighting activity but just leave and let it burn down. Since this wasn’t done immediately I have to suspect that there was a degree of complicity. Everyone knows who the Port authorities were at that time. These were Sunni not Shia and I will leave it at that

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 17 2021 20:57 utc | 137


Citizen, when I refer to the giving of an order to evacuate immediately is because between the onset of the fire ( typically accompanied with red orange fumes) and the detonation at the Port there were at least 15 minutes. As with the onset of AN Truck fires you may have 15 minutes to escape with your life. AN is very stable and safe and that is what it has largely replaced other energetic but less stable materials in mining and quarries. But you can’t take chances with AN because it will not forgive your mistakes.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 17 2021 22:46 utc | 138

It must be remembered that recent Anon document leaks demonstrate the extent to which UK FCO and intelligence assets have been influening government officials and security forces in Lebanon.

Posted by: BF | Jan 18 2021 11:02 utc | 139

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 17 2021 22:46 utc | 138

Do I understand correctly that the important things are to keep it dry and cool?
Thank you.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 18 2021 11:15 utc | 140

@ Bemildred | Jan 18 2021 11:15 utc | 140

Nope, you don't or rather you can't due a lack of proper information. Sun Tzu, obviously, doesn't have any formal education in chemistry and particularly so in the chemistry and physics of energetic materials.
What does 'cool' mean? 30 -70° C, not a problem with plain AN. Back in the days we used to dry AN, admittedly in small quantities of around a pound and in a lab environment at 110° C prior to crushing - no troubles at all, not once.

What's the definition of 'dryess' in this regard? AN is hygroscopic. Wet AN tends to desensitize, meaning stimuli for a runaway reaction need to be substantially higher - AN slurries make use of this effect.
Yes there's a few things that need to be considered when dealing with wet AN, for example keep AN (dry or wet, unless you really know what you're doing) away from certain metals / metal powders irrespective of its content of water otherwise one will land oneself in a world of hurt rather sooner(very) than later, all the more if the AN is under confinement.
While being chemically and physically quite stable AN does have one major vulnerability, that is overheating under confined conditions, be it self-confinement or otherwise.

Posted by: Hmpf | Jan 18 2021 11:49 utc | 141


Bemildred, the reason for my advice in not engaging in fire fighting activities in a situation like that of the Beirut Port or the scenario that I have likened it to, an AN Truck fire is because you have 15 minutes to escape with your life. What are you going to do with those precious 15 minutes? Try to flood a pile of AN and hope to quench the fire? or you are going to organize an evacuation of perhaps thousands of people living near the Port?

There are two types of AN prills available commercially: Low Density which is the Technical Grade (yellow placard UN 1942) and much more common High Density which is the Fertilizer Grade (yellow placard UN 2031). The first one is used in blasting because its porosity allows for the adsortion of fuel oil in stoichiometric quantities so that it is Oxygen balanced. Once fuelled is no longer considered an Oxydizer but a Blasting Agent receiving the generic name ANFO and then it is accordingly transported with an Orange placard reserved for Blasting Agents. The Fertilizer Grade on the other hand is a lot harder, but not impossible, to make into a blasting agent. Its yield (% of the mass that will undergo detonation upon initiation ) unfueled and even fueled would be lower. We don’t know exactly what grade of AN was stored in this warehouse. Contamination with Chlorides, Acids, Metals and Reducing agents (fuels and oils) sensitize AN to a point that no one knows and firefighters would know even less of what they are dealing with. The AN in this warehouse is suspected of being contaminated with unknown sensitizing agents over several years of improper storage. Both commercially available Grades are hygroscopic and would absorb water. A little amount of water adsorbed will not adversely affect its behaviour. The heat due to the fire that was happening prior to detonation will evaporate water and cool it but this is not the way of cooling an AN fire. Water needs to be sprayed in a water fog fashion to be able to have any effective heat suppression. At the end of the day, is it worth to spend all your precious 15 minutes to fire fight something out of control without even knowing the degree of contamination of this AN pile? Remember the September 21, 2001 detonation of the scrap AN warehouse in the TOTAL - Grande Paroisse plant in Toulouse France? IIRC, it was about 200-400 tons of way too contaminated scrap AN that detonated. It killed people in the Toulouse city outside the TOTAL-GP plant. Err on the side of caution and declare a general evacuation. My comment about firefighters is not to be construed as forbidding the use of water, but you need to know the history of the material that you are dealing with and if you are to quench the fire then spray it in water fog fashion to make any difference. Many fatal surprises have occurred for just pumping water into a burning AN pile washing and dissolving AN into floor and underground culverts that confined the AN slurry which then detonated. Like I stated, err on the side of caution.


You could try to make a living pretending to be a clairvoyant and advertise as a psychic but what you can’t is tell the truth. That much is proven.

Your description of the impact of water in AN slurries is totally inaccurate and non sensical. AN Slurries and Emulsions actually seek to make a non-ideal HE like AN, behave closer to an ideal HE because of the small size of the micelle that puts the reducer and oxidizer in more intimate contact than with ANFO. AN slurries and Emulsions may add sensitizers also but that is for another reason and I won’t teach you Explosive Technology. Keep reading clueless anarchist sites through Google and Wiki and keep regurgitating gibberish while you fancy that it is giving you an education in Chemistry and Physics

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 18 2021 13:49 utc | 142

Sun Tzu | Jan 18 2021 13:49 utc | 142

You're a funny man.
I prefer dealing with e.g. Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics or Journal of Applied Chemistry. You've been a member of the International Pyrotechnics Society?
What's your choice of reading? Please, tell me.

Posted by: Hmpf | Jan 18 2021 13:59 utc | 143

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 18 2021 13:49 utc | 142

I think you are still engaged in arguing with other posters, but that was informative enough for my purpose, and thank you. I have had it around as fertilizer, and wanted to get a better idea of the issues. Most of the time I studiously avoid looking into explosives, or having them around. I quite agree with your get the hell out of town approach, but we hate to have our lives disrupted, and it's hard to be "really sure if it's necessary". Much the same dynamic at work in the failure to deal adequately with the pandemic.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 18 2021 14:05 utc | 144


I have to disagree with your opening statement. It sounds like groupthink. This thread didn’t have to be sidetracked with arguments just because I asked the host to use more precise language. That was just one post and it didn’t solicit arguments. What I saw then was a lot of ego / testosterone launching written verbal diarrea and back slapping among fellow posters. My concern is that misinformation about AN is propagated carelessly on the web. As a result, the public doesn’t take the risk and hazards of storing AN near populated areas, seriously enough. So they group it with the more generic explosion hazard. Since Oppau, Tessenderloo, Texas City, Port Neal, Toulouse and now Beirut, bulk AN detonations re occur leaving large number of fatalities. It doesn’t have to be so. We need to speak / propagate clear language. We need to understand the lessons learnt and educate accordingly so that it doesn’t happen again. We won’t achieve that by spreading misconceptions. I won’t apologize for having that zeal. The posters who engaged me with respect got my respect, back but those who attacked me got what they deserved. I won’t apologize for that either. It is not important at all for me to come across as a know all. But it is important for me that AN is known accurately and its hazards and risks understood and respected. So I think that misinformation must be ridiculed and obliterated from the web.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 18 2021 15:33 utc | 145

Having a generic Port warehouse converted to storage of bulk AN Fertilizer is typical. However, an AN bulk Fertilizer storage must NOT HAVE any floor drains leading to underground culverts or tunnels. No tunnels or culverts on such warehouses are legally allowed. So, if a warehouse was converted to store AN at the Beirut Port, from grain or even from other Fertlizers like Urea or Potash, whatever, all underground cavities must have to be permanently sealed with concrete. You would’t have such problems with Urea or Potash but with AN, the storage has to be without underground cavities. It would be a matter of looking at the blueprints of the AN storage warehouse and / or inspecting if there were underground cavities or if there were culverts that all of them were previously permanently sealed with concrete. A firefighter arriving at the Port to fight an AN fire may not necessary know these requirements or know if the storage is meeting Codes and Regulations. Molten AN may reach these cavities, become confined and level the place leaving a crater as a memento.

Another issue, how many times was an evacuation drill scheduled in the Beirut Port to get the population of the Port exercised and ready and to determine if 15 minutes was even going to be enough to evacuate the high rises near the Port? I betcha, they never had such drill. So they never had a chance! Criminal: negligence, incompetence, complicity

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Jan 18 2021 16:46 utc | 146

S.O @ 132

Yes, it's why they demonize intended targets for regime change. They have to construct this two-dimensional, cardboard cutout, cartoonish, evil character so that you won't even think about trying to see things from their POV... or consider them in any way a rational actor.. or concede the possibility they might even have a point about something. And should you attempt to defend them on anything you automatically become an apologist for evil. It's a very effective means of suppressing debate… which tends to act as an insidious form of censorship where it's not necessary to actually have to impose censorship on internalize the meme... and you impose censorship on yourself. It’s very (Michel) Foucault-ian.

Posted by: Steve M | Jan 18 2021 17:52 utc | 147

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