BEIRUT 4Aug20 Thermobaric Fuel Air Bomb kills 200 maims 4000

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BEIRUT 4Aug20 Thermobaric Fuel Air Bomb kills 200 maims 4000

Post by fish5133 »
A large blast in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has killed at least 27 people and injured more than 2,500 others, the health minister says.

It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the port region. Videos posted online showed a column of smoke followed by a large mushroom cloud.

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings have been destroyed.

Lebanon's internal security chief said the blast happened in an area housing highly explosive materials.

A BBC journalist at the scene reported dead bodies and severe damage, enough to put the port out of action.

The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, with an economic crisis reigniting old divisions. Tensions are also high ahead of Friday's verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

Lebanon: Why the country is in crisis
Some reports suggest the explosion may have been an accident. Lebanon's National News Agency reported a fire breaking out at what it called an explosives depot at the port before the explosion.

Local media showed people trapped beneath rubble. A witness described the first explosion as deafening, and video footage showed wrecked cars and blast-damaged buildings.

President Michel Aoun called for an emergency meeting of the Supreme Defence Council, the presidency said on Twitter. Wednesday has been declared a day of mourning, the prime minister said.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government was "ready to offer help and support" while French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was also ready to offer assistance.

'Glass going down from all over the building'
Hadi Nasrallah, eyewitness speaking to the BBC

I saw the fire, but I didn't yet know there was going to be an explosion. We went inside. Suddenly I lost my hearing because apparently I was too close. I lost my hearing for a few seconds, I knew something was wrong.

And then suddenly the glass just shattered all over the car, the cars around us, the shops, the stores, the buildings. Just glass going down from all over the building.

Literally all over Beirut, people were calling each other from different areas kilometres away and they were experiencing the same thing: broken glass, buildings shaking, a loud explosion.

Actually we were shocked because usually when it happens, just one area will experience those happenings after an explosion, but this time it was all of Beirut, even areas outside of Beirut.

Shock and anxiety
By Sebastian Usher, BBC Arab affairs analyst

The videos and images, not just of the massive cloud of smoke erupting in Beirut but the damage and devastation it is caused kilometres away, have triggered a new wave of shock and anxiety in Lebanon, which is already teetering on the brink of a catastrophic economic collapse.

Just hours before the blast, anti-government protesters had been scuffling with the security forces outside the ministry of energy, demanding yet again accountability from the country's leaders.

There have been grave warnings of hunger in the streets or a reigniting of sectarian conflict if the economy worsens.

And the blast will remind many of the bomb that killed Rafik Hariri. The Lebanese will be hoping that this latest blast will remain a human tragedy - an accident - and not a premeditated act.

What's the situation in Lebanon?
Lebanon is experiencing political turmoil, with street demonstrations against the government's handling of the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Many blame the ruling elite who have dominated politics for years and amassed their own wealth while failing to carry out the sweeping reforms necessary to solve the country's problems. People have to deal with daily power cuts, a lack of safe drinking water and limited public healthcare.

There has also been tension on the border with Israel, which said last week that it had thwarted an attempt by Hezbollah to infiltrate Israeli territory. But a senior Israeli official has told the BBC that "Israel has no connection" to the Beirut blast.

The blast happened close to the scene of a huge car bombing which killed ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. Tuesday's blast also came days before the long-awaited verdict in the trial at a special court in the Netherlands of four men accused of orchestrating the attack.
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BEIRUT Tue 04 August 'Fuel Air Bomb' kills 150 maims 4000

Post by TonyGosling »

Beirut explosion: Large blast rocks Lebanese capital wounding thousands
Scores killed and over 3,700 wounded from blast apparently caused by highly explosive material stored in Lebanese capital's port ... sion-rocks

A helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut (AFP)
By Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut
Published date: 4 August 2020 15:22 UTC | Last update: 1 hour 19 mins ago

A massive explosion ripped through the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, killing scores of people and injuring thousands.

Lebanon's Health Ministry said at least 73 people had been killed with more than 3,700 wounded, following the blast at a warehouse in Beirut's port.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan described the incident as "a disaster in every sense of the word", and warned that the death toll was likely to rise.

"The capital's hospitals are all filled with wounded people," he said.

Among those killed was Nizar Najarian, secretary-general of the Kataeb party, whose headquarters are near the port's entrance.

The National Council for Scientific Research said a warehouse containing ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used for fertilisers, was the source of the incident.

President Michel Aoun said on Twitter that it was "unacceptable" that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored at the warehouse for six years without safety measures, and vowed that those responsible would face the "harshest punishments".

'People around me were in hysterics, they were panicking, they were asking "what’s going on, what's going on"'

- Nour, west Beirut's busy Hamra district

Videos posted online showed a large column of white smoke billowing from the warehouse, followed by a much larger blast that caused a massive mushroom cloud of red smoke to hang over the city.

Windows were smashed across Beirut, with tremors felt as far away as Cyprus.

Late on Tuesday, the streets of downtown Beirut were full of ambulances, and closer to the scene of the blast the devastation was increasingly pronounced.

Forum de Beyrouth, a popular exhibition hall, was left a shattered mess. Shops, bars and restaurants in the nearby Mar Mikhael and Gemmayzeh districts were strewn with debris with security forces out in full.

Infographic - Beirut explosion
Nour, a young woman in west Beirut's busy Hamra district, told Middle East Eye that the city was "all glass".

"The explosion was so loud I thought it was happening in the area I was in. I waited 15 minutes until running to my motor scooter and driving home. I saw a massive pink cloud over Beirut on my way," she said.

"People around me were in hysterics, they were panicking, they were asking 'what’s going on, what's going on'."

Wounded and shocked people have been flooding to Beirut's hospitals. Video from east Beirut's Saint George Hospital showed patients walking among badly damaged corridors.

Representatives of Achrafieh's Hotel Dieu Hospital told LBC it was at full capacity after receiving 500 injured. The Lebanese Red Cross urged people to only go to hospitals if critically ill. The Al Jadeed TV channel reported that the Kazakh ambassador was wounded.

Medical officials are urging people in the country to donate blood if they can.

A journalist at local newspaper the Daily Star uploaded a video of its newsroom approximately 1.5km from the explosion, showing massive destruction inside.

In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that officials would be held to account, and pressed friendly nations to come to Lebanon's aid.

"What happened today will not pass without accountability. The people who are responsible will pay the price. This is a promise to the martyrs and the wounded," he said.

Turkey, Qatar and France all offered to send aid and help to the country while the powerful Hezbollah movement urged rival political factions to unite and overcome the "painful catastrophe."

The incident comes as Lebanon struggles with a crippling economic crisis and awaits the verdict from an international tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of ex-prime minister Rafic Hariri.

In recent months the Lebanese pound has lost 80 percent of its value and food prices have doubled. The government has warned that 60 percent of the population could be living below the poverty line before the end of the year.

Bordered to the south by Israel, which is an enemy state, and war-wracked Syria to the east, Lebanon relies heavily on its port for imports.
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Post by Whitehall_Bin_Men »

[html]<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Moment of <a href=" ... #Beirut</a> port explosion during a mass broadcasted online (due to covid-19 situation).<br>This is what Apocalypse looks like! <a href=""> ... sKi</a></p>— Rayane Moussallem (@RioMoussallem) <a href=" ... fw">August 4, 2020</a></blockquote>
<script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Post by Whitehall_Bin_Men »

AUGUST 5, 2020
‘BREAKING: Israel Bombed Beirut’ – Silverstein
“A confidential highly-informed Israeli source has told me that Israel caused the massive explosion at the Beirut port earlier today which killed over 100 and injured thousands. The bombing also virtually leveled the port itself and caused massive damage throughout the city.” ... lverstein/

By Richard Silverstein, reposted from Tikun Olam

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חשיפה: ישראל היא שפוצצה מאגר תחמושת של חיזבאללה בנמל ביירות, אך לא ידעה מראש שמחסן סמוך מכיל כמות אדירה של אמוניום חנקתי. הממשלה, המומה מממדי הקטל וההרס, מיהרה להכחיש מעורבות ישראלית – עוד לפני שמישהו בלבנון האשים את ישראל

A confidential highly-informed Israeli source has told me that Israel caused the massive explosion at the Beirut port earlier today which killed over 100 and injured thousands. The bombing also virtually leveled the port itself and caused massive damage throughout the city.

Israel targeted a Hezbollah weapons depot at the port and planned to destroy it with an explosive device. Tragically, Israeli intelligence did not perform due diligence on their target. Thus they did not know (or if they did know, they didn’t care) that there were 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a next door warehouse. The explosion at the arms depot ignited the next door warehouse, causing the catastrophe that resulted.

It is, of course, unconscionable that Israeli agents did not determine everything about their target including what was in its immediate vicinity. The tragedy Israel has wreaked is a war crime of immense magnitude.

The ICC has already been investigating Israel for war crimes in Gaza since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. Now, I imagine it will expand the scope to incorporate today’s criminally negligent massacre.

Though Israel has regularly attacked Hezbollah and Iranian weapons depots and convoys in Syria, it rarely undertakes such brazen attacks inside Lebanon. This attack in the country’s capital marks an even greater escalation. The sheer recklessness of this operation is astonishing.

Not surprising though. An operation of this sort can only happen amidst internal political dysfunction. Bibi is on the ropes and desperate to change the subject. When his intelligence officers brought the plan to him he probably rubbed his hands with glee and said: “Go to it!” Israeli intelligence was naturally out to please the boss and probably cut corners in order to make the attack happen. When no one is at the wheel saying “Stop!” the boat hits an iceberg and sinks. That’s possibly what happened here.

The Israeli bombing brings to mind similar bombings orchestrated by its agents in Beirut in the period before and after its 1982 invasion. Ronen Bergman’s book on Mossad assassinations and Remy Brulin have documented multiple Israeli bombings during this period which wreaked widespread death and destruction on the city’s civilian population.

In this case, the damage done was accidental. But that will be little comfort to the thousands of Beirutis whose lives have become a living hell as a result of this Israeli crime.

As an aside, former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin tweeted a quotation from the Bible about the disaster: “There never have been such great days in Israel as the 15th of Av [the day of the bombing] and Yom Kippur.”

Of course, it pains me to admit that Pres. Trump was correct in his earlier statement that the explosion was a “terrible attack,” and that the information was conveyed to him by “his generals.” In this case, he and they were right.

There could (and should) be domestic political repercussions for this disaster. As Netanyahu approved the attack, he is responsible for the consequences. In 1982, a commission of inquiry found Ariel Sharon culpable for the invasion of Lebanon and the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla. He was sent into political exile for a decade. At the very least, this should disqualify Bibi from leading the country. This would be the outcome in any democratic nation in which the leader was held accountable for his failures.

But alas, Israel is not such a nation, and Bibi always seems to weasel out of responsibility for his blunders. The difference here is that the Israeli leader is already under pressure due to his government’s disastrous response to Covid19 and the looming corruption trial on three counts of bribery. This could be the tipping point.

Normally, Israelis would not bat an eye at such a massacre. They have become inured to the suffering they inflict on their Arab neighbors. But given Netanyahu’s collapsing popularity, this could hasten his end.

Israel couldn’t have picked a worse time to inflict such suffering on Lebanon. The country is in deep economic crisis. Businesses are going bankrupt, people have nothing to eat, politicians quarrel and blame while doing nothing. Lebanon is a basket case. Suffering is everywhere. There is little appetite from its Arab brethren like Saudi Arabia to come to its aid. If any country did not need this added tragedy it is Lebanon. But there you go–Israel doesn’t seem to have any sense of shame or restraint when it comes to inflicting pain on its neighbors.

Of course there will be doubters. Those who disbelieve my source. But to them I point out two pieces of circumstantial evidence which are telling. Normally, if Israel has undertaken a successful terror attack (such as those against Iran) it will either refuse to comment or a senior military or political figure will saying something like: While we refuse to comment, whoever did it did the world a favor.

In this case, Israel immediately denied responsibility. Even Hezbollah supposedly said Israel hadn’t caused the damage (likely protecting itself from the inevitable blame that will fall upon it for storing its weapons next to a building filled with explosive material).

The second tell-tale sign is that Israel never offers humanitarian aid to its Arab neighbors. During the Syrian Civil War the only group to whom Israel offered humanitarian assistance was its Islamist anti-Assad allies. Israel has never offered such aid to Lebanon, until today. Instead, it has rained down death and destruction for decades. For it to do so now is the height of chutzpah.

Richard Silverstein began the Tikun Olam blog in 2003. According the website, he earned a BA and BHL from Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, an MA in Comparative Literature from UCLA, and studied for a PhD at UC Berkeley. He spent an undergraduate and graduate year studying Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University. He adds: “I have been interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967 and have worked all my adult life to promote justice and tolerance.”

Editor’s note: Some readers find the information from Silverstein’s informant unlikely; others, like Silverstein, believe his information. To see and post comments about the report on the Tikun Olam website go here.

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'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Post by Whitehall_Bin_Men »

Similar weapon used in Syria
Výbuch v Sýrii
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Post by Whitehall_Bin_Men »

Gantz Instructs IDF to Bomb Lebanese Infrastructure If Hezbollah Harms Soldiers or Civilians

By Yoni WeissFriday, July 31, 2020 at 5:32 am | י' אב תש"פ ... civilians/

IDF tanks seen stationed near the border between Israel and Lebanon in the Golan Heights on Monday. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday instructed the IDF to bomb Lebanese infrastructure if Hezbollah harms IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians.

A senior defense official told Yisrael Hayom that Gantz issued the order to prepare such a response during meetings on Thursday with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and other members of the general staff.

Tensions have rapidly escalated between Israel and the terrorist organization since the death of Hezbollah terrorist Ali Kamel Mohsen Jawad, along with two other terrorists, during an airstrike on Damascus International Airport earlier this month.

Hezbollah has vowed revenge for Jawad’s death, leading the IDF to move reinforcements to the northern border in preparation for an attack by the Shiite terror organization.

In Thursday’s meetings, Kochavi presented the IDF’s position on the matter, saying Israel must hold Hezbollah and the Lebanese government responsible for any future attack and its consequences.

According to the defense official, Israel didn’t kill the Hezbollah terrorists who attempted to carry out an attack in the Har Dov area on Monday, and didn’t release footage of the incident, in order to give the terror group a chance to save face and de-escalate the situation, but that Hezbollah was not taking the opportunity.

“If [Hezbollah] tries perpetrating another attack, we will see an unusual response from the IDF against [the organization] and the country of Lebanon,” the official said.

Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006 – in which Israel did not destroy government infrastructure – Israel has emphasized that it will also target Lebanon in any future conflict with Hezbollah. And while this threat has only generally applied to a broad conflict with Hezbollah, Thursday’s order marked the first time Israel has officially declared it will harm Lebanon even in response to an isolated tactical attack.

In recent years Israel has tried implementing this deterrence strategy in other sectors as well. Throughout the Syrian civil war, Syrian infrastructure was hit every time a terrorist attack emanated from Syrian territory. In Gaza, too, Israel targets Hamas when terrorist attacks are carried out by other groups.

Now, for the first time, Israel is applying this deterrence policy to Lebanon. This is a dramatic policy shift because in previous rounds of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah, Israel has avoided bombing Lebanese infrastructure. Although the current Lebanese government is extremely weak and is effectively controlled by Hezbollah, the expectation in Israel is that the coronavirus pandemic and country’s dire economic straits – combined with the fear that an Israeli offensive would be devastating – will provide the impetus for heavy pressure on Hezbollah to call off another attack.

IDF officials on Thursday assessed that Hezbollah is determined to carry out a successful attack, but one that incurs a minimal risk of an escalation.

“The coming days will be critical,” a senior IDF official said. “The IDF is on high alert for an attack” and ready to execute a harsh response.
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Post by TonyGosling »

Israel destroys East Beirut with a new weapon
by Thierry Meyssan

The first Israeli Prime Minister has ordered the destruction of a Hizbollah weapons warehouse in Beirut with a new weapon. The weapon, which is not well known, caused considerable damage in the city, killing more than 100 people, injuring 5,000 and destroying many buildings. This time it will be difficult for Benjamin Netanyahu to deny it.


JPEG - 35.9 kb
On September 27, 2018, Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out to the United Nations General Assembly forum the warehouse that will explode on 4 August 2020 as a Hezbollah arms depot.
The first Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, authorized a strike against a Hezbollah arms depot using a new weapon that has been tested for seven months in Syria. It is not known whether the second Prime Minister, Benny Gantz, gave his consent.

The strike was carried out on August 4, 2020, at the exact location designated by Benjamin Netanyahu in his speech to the United Nations on September 27, 2018 [1].

It is not known what weapon was used. However, it has already been tested in Syria since January 2020. It is a missile with a tactical nuclear component in its warhead that causes a smoke mushroom characteristic of nuclear weapons. It is obviously not an atomic bomb in the strategic sense.

JPEG - 10.5 kb
Israeli test in Syria.
The weapon was tested in Syria on a plain in the countryside and then in the Persian Gulf on the water against Iranian military vessels. This is the first time it has been used in an urban environment, in a particular environment that made the air blast and vibrations reflect off the water and the mountains. Far from destroying only the port of Beirut, it killed about a hundred people, injured at least 5,000 others, and largely destroyed the eastern part of the city (the western part was largely protected by the grain silo).

JPEG - 42.4 kb
These satellite photos show the destruction of the Hezbollah warehouse and part of the port.
Israel immediately activated its networks in the international media to cover up its crime and lend credence to the idea of the accidental explosion of a fertilizer stockpile. As is often the case, false culprits are named, and the international media machine repeats this lie over and over again in the absence of any investigation. Yet there was indeed a smokestack incompatible with the thesis of a fertilizer explosion.

JPEG - 20.7 kb
The smoke mushroom observed in Beirut has nothing to do with what would have been caused by a conventional explosive.
Just as neither Syria nor Iran had communicated about this weapon when they were hit, the Lebanese political parties immediately reached an agreement not to say anything in order not to demoralize their population. An investigation was opened, not into the cause of the explosion, but into the responsibility of the port’s personnel for the storage of the fertilizer allegedly responsible for the explosion. However, this lie soon turned against the political parties that had imagined it.

The United Nations Tribunal for Lebanon, which was due to make public its verdict in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, decided to postpone it for a few days. Identically in that case, the explosion of a pickup truck masked the firing of a missile with a new weapon, just as this time the explosion of nitrate masked the firing of a missile with another new weapon.

JPEG - 18.3 kb
Five years later, five years too late, I revealed in a Russian magazine the manner in which Rafik Hariri had been killed [2], while Hezbollah published a video attesting to Israel’s involvement.

It is important to note that the 2005 assassination targeted a former Sunni Prime Minister and that the 2020 attack targeted not Shiite Hezbollah, but the Lebanese Resistance as a whole.

This time, several embassies carried out surveys, including taking grain samples and air filters from ambulances that immediately went to the scene. They are already being examined in their respective countries.

Thierry Meyssan
Roger Lagassé
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Post by Whitehall_Bin_Men »

Unseen footage shows moment of Beirut explosion in 4K slow motion ... low-motion

Filmed on Tuesday 04th August 2020 Ahmad Moukhtar Bayhoum, Bayrut, Beirut, Lebanon

ecord them coming and put out the fire. I left my iPhone outside on the terrace, propped up on a handrail, and left it recording at around 5.50 pm.

"At 6 pm I had my therapy session with a client. Five minutes after I started the session, I heard a bigger explosion. I noticed it had escalated, so I told my client to stay there, and I checked the explosion. I was getting nervous. I went out with my camera, and I noticed it was getting bigger and bigger, some huge flames came out and suddenly there was this, 'boom.'

"It was something I could not get away from. I experienced this white-hot glass exploding. I don't know if I jumped or the shock waves pushed me, and I found myself on the floor. I don't know how much time passed. I noticed shattering glass and people screaming. I looked around and saw this huge orange cloud above me.

"Then I stood up and took some pictures and video. I didn't know if the building would collapse. Shortly after my fiancé called me, she was four or five kilometers away but also felt the blast around her."

Nemeth also told Newsflare about his now damaged apartment, that he has lived in since January 1, 2019, with his Hungarian fiancé, who works for an international organisation.

"After the blast, I saw our apartment completely demolished, completely destroyed. Clothes, books, the bed, furniture - everything mixed with glass," he said.

"Yesterday (August 6) we went back to the apartment to rescue some stuff. I saw the table on the terrace - there was one piece of glass inside the tabletop that was one centimetre deep. When my fiancee arrived she could see the metal elevator door was displaced. And I saw the walls and stairs had blood, handmarks with blood, people were all over the place injured. I could smell blood. My apartment is still in pieces now, three days on."

Nemeth continued: "Once you visit Lebanon, you fall in love with it. I cannot pinpoint one thing, its the whole thing. It's terrible. I'm in shock, the first day I was in 'doing' mode. I was so active I couldn't even sleep, maybe two hours. The next day I was very active, but I was completely numb. I had to check my whole body to see if it hurt. I started to realise how lucky I was when I saw the glass stuck in the table. And now I feel guilty. Not everybody was that lucky. I was extremely lucky to be this close but didn't get hurt at all. I have some bruises in my shoulder but that's all, most likely from when the blast waves pushed me to the ground."

On Friday (August 7) Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan confirmed that 154 people were killed in the explosion and more than 5,000 residents were injured. ... low-motion
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Post by TonyGosling »

Escobar: Who Profits From The Beirut Blast? ... irut-blast
Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Planes heard, seen in skies of Beirut before blast
Senior Western sources said Western reconnaissance craft were in the skies around the time of the blast, but did not carry out any attack ... ore-blast/

Escobar: Who Profits From The Beirut Blast? ... irut-blast

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

The narrative that the Beirut explosion was an exclusive consequence of negligence and corruption by the current Lebanese government is now set in stone, at least in the Atlanticist sphere.

And yet, digging deeper, we find that negligence and corruption may have been fully exploited, via sabotage, to engineer it.

Lebanon is prime John Le Carré territory. A multinational den of spies of all shades – House of Saud agents, Zionist operatives, “moderate rebel” weaponizers, Hezbollah intellectuals, debauched Arab “royalty,” self-glorified smugglers – in a context of full spectrum economic disaster afflicting a member of the Axis of Resistance, a perennial target of Israel alongside Syria and Iran.

As if this were not volcanic enough, into the tragedy stepped President Trump to muddy the – already contaminated – Eastern Mediterranean waters. Briefed by “our great generals,” Trump on Tuesday said:

“According to them – they would know better than I would – but they seem to think it was an attack.”

Trump added, “it was a bomb of some kind.”

Was this incandescent remark letting the cat out of the bag by revealing classified information? Or was the President launching another non sequitur?

Trump eventually walked his comments back after the Pentagon declined to confirm his claim about what the “generals” had said and his defense secretary, Mark Esper, supported the accident explanation for the blast.

It’s yet another graphic illustration of the war engulfing the Beltway. Trump: attack. Pentagon: accident.

“I don’t think anybody can say right now,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I’ve heard it both ways.”

Still, it’s worth noting a report by Iran’s Mehr News Agency that four US Navy reconnaissance planes were spotted near Beirut at the time of the blasts.

Is US intel aware of what really happened all along the spectrum of possibilities?

That ammonium nitrate
Security at Beirut’s port – the nation’s prime economic hub – would have to be considered a top priority. But to adapt a line from Roman Polanski’s Chinatown: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Beirut.”

Those by now iconic 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut in September 2013 on board the Rhosus, a ship under Moldovan flag sailing from Batumi in Georgia to Mozambique. Rhosus ended up being impounded by Beirut’s Port State Control.

Subsequently the ship was de facto abandoned by its owner, shady businessman Igor Grechushkin, born in Russia and a resident of Cyprus, who suspiciously “lost interest” in his relatively precious cargo, not even trying to sell it, dumping style, to pay off his debts.

Grechushkin never paid his crew, who barely survived for several months before being repatriated on humanitarian grounds. The Cypriot government confirmed there was no request to Interpol from Lebanon to arrest him. The whole op feels like a cover – with the real recipients of the ammonium nitrate possibly being “moderate rebels” in Syria who use it to make IEDs and equip suicide trucks, such as the one that demolished the Al Kindi hospital in Aleppo.

The 2,750 tons – packed in 1-ton bags labeled “Nitroprill HD” – were transferred to the Hangar 12 warehouse by the quayside. What followed was an astonishing case of serial negligence.

From 2014 to 2017 letters from customs officials – a series of them – as well as proposed options to get rid of the dangerous cargo, exporting it or otherwise selling it, were simply ignored. Every time they tried to get a legal decision to dispose of the cargo, they got no answer from the Lebanese judiciary.

When Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab now proclaims, “Those responsible will pay the price,” context is absolutely essential.

Neither the prime minister nor the president nor any of the cabinet ministers knew that the ammonium nitrate was stored in Hangar 12, former Iranian diplomat Amir Mousavi, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies and International Relations in Tehran, confirms. We’re talking about a massive IED, placed mid-city.

The bureaucracy at Beirut’s port and the mafias who are actually in charge are closely linked to, among others, the al-Mostaqbal faction, which is led by former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, himself fully backed by the House of Saud.

The immensely corrupt Hariri was removed from power in October 2019 amid serious protests. His cronies “disappeared” at least $20 billion from Lebanon’s treasury – which seriously aggravated the nation’s currency crisis.

No wonder the current government – where we have Prime Minister Diab backed by Hezbollah – had not been informed about the ammonium nitrate.

Ammonium nitrate is quite stable, making it one of the safest explosives used in mining. Fire normally won’t set it off. It becomes highly explosive only if contaminated – for instance by oil – or heated to a point where it undergoes chemical changes that produce a sort of impermeable cocoon around it in which oxygen can build up to a dangerous level where an ignition can cause an explosion.

Why, after sleeping in Hangar 12 for seven years, did this pile suddenly feel an itch to explode?

So far, the prime straight to the point explanation, by Middle East expert Elijah Magnier, points to the tragedy being “sparked” – literally – by a clueless blacksmith with a blowtorch operating quite close to the unsecured ammonium nitrate. Unsecured due, once again, to negligence and corruption – or as part of an intentional “mistake” anticipating the possibility of a future blast.

This scenario, though, does not explain the initial “fireworks” explosion. And certainly does not explain what no one – at least in the West – is talking about: the deliberate fires set to an Iranian market in Ajam in the UAE, and also to a series of food/agricultural warehouses in Najaf, Iraq, immediately after the Beirut tragedy.

Follow the money
Lebanon – boasting assets and real estate worth trillions of dollars – is a juicy peach for global finance vultures. To grab these assets at rock bottom prices, in the middle of the New Great Depression, is simply irresistible. In parallel, the IMF vulture would embark on full shakedown mode and finally “forgive” some of Beirut’s debts as long as a harsh variation of “structural adjustment” is imposed.

Who profits, in this case, are the geopolitical and geoeconomic interests of US, Saudi Arabia and France. It’s no accident that President Macron, a dutifulRothschild servant, arrived in Beirut Thursday to pledge Paris neocolonial “support” and all but impose, like a Viceroy, a comprehensive set of “reforms”. A Monty Python-infused dialogue, complete with heavy French accent, might have followed along these lines: “We want to buy your port.” “It’s not for sale.” “Oh, what a pity, an accident just happened.”

Already a month ago the IMF was “warning” that “implosion” in Lebanon was “accelerating.” Prime Minister Diab had to accept the proverbial “offer you can’t refuse” and thus “unlock billions of dollars in donor funds.” Or else. The non-stop run on the Lebanese currency, for over a year now, was just a – relatively polite – warning.

This is happening amid a massive global asset grab characterized in the larger context by American GDP down by almost 40%, arrays of bankruptcies, a handful of billionaires amassing unbelievable profits and too-big-to-fail megabanks duly bailed out with a tsunami of free money.

Dag Detter, a Swedish financier, and Nasser Saidi, a former Lebanese minister and central bank vice governor, suggest that the nation’s assets be placed in a national wealth fund. Juicy assets include Electricité du Liban (EDL), water utilities, airports, the MEA airline , telecom company OGERO, the Casino du Liban.

EDL, for instance, is responsible for 30% of Beirut’s budget deficit.

That’s not nearly enough for the IMF and Western mega banks. They want to gobble up the whole thing, plus a lot of real estate.

“The economic value of public real estate can be worth at least as much as GDP and often several times the value of the operational part of any portfolio,” say Detter and Saidi.

Who’s feeling the shockwaves?
Once again, Israel is the proverbial elephant in a room now widely depicted by Western corporate media as “Lebanon’s Chernobyl.”

A scenario like the Beirut catastrophe has been linked to Israeli plans since February 2016.

Israel did admit that Hangar 12 was not a Hezbollah weapons storage unit. Yet, crucially, on the same day of the Beirut blast, and following a series of suspicious explosions in Iran and high tension in the Syria-Israeli border, Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted , in the present tense:

“We hit a cell and now we hit the dispatchers. We will do what is necessary in order to defend ourselves. I suggest to all of them, including Hezbollah, to consider this.”

That ties in with the intent, openly proclaimed late last week, to bomb Lebanese infrastructure if Hezbollah harms Israeli Defense Forces soldiers or Israeli civilians.

A headline – “Beirut Blast Shockwaves Will Be Felt by Hezbollah for a Long Time” – confirms that the only thing that matters for Tel Aviv is to profit from the tragedy to demonize Hezbollah, and by association, Iran. That ties in with the US Congress “Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019” {S.1886}, which all but orders Beirut to expel Hezbollah from Lebanon.

And yet Israel has been strangely subdued.

Muddying the waters even more, Saudi intel – which has access to Mossad, and demonizes Hezbollah way more than Israel – steps in. All the intel ops I talked to refuse to go on the record, considering the extreme sensitivity of the subject.

Still, it must be stressed that a Saudi intel source whose stock in trade is frequent information exchanges with the Mossad, asserts that the original target was Hezbollah missiles stored in Beirut’s port. His story is that Prime Minister Netanyahu was about to take credit for the strike – following up on his tweet. But then the Mossad realized the op had turned horribly wrong and metastasized into a major catastrophe.

The problem starts with the fact this was not a Hezbollah weapons depot – as even Israel admitted. When weapons depots are blown up, there’s a primary explosion followed by several smaller explosions, something that could last for days. That’s not what happened in Beirut. The initial explosion was followed by a massive second blast – almost certainly a major chemical explosion – and then there was silence.

Thierry Meyssan, very close to Syrian intel, advances the possibility that the “attack” was carried out with an unknown weapon, a missile -– and not a nuclear bomb – tested in Syria in January 2020. (The test is shown in an attached video.) Neither Syria nor Iran ever made a reference to this unknown weapon, and I got no confirmation about its existence.

Assuming Beirut port was hit by an “unknown weapon,” President Trump may have told the truth: It was an “attack”. And that would explain why Netanyahu, contemplating the devastation in Beirut, decided that Israel would need to maintain a very low profile.

Watch that camel in motion
The Beirut explosion at first sight might be seen as a deadly blow against the Belt and Road Initiative, considering that China regards the connectivity between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as the cornerstone of the Southwest Asia Belt and Road corridor.

Yet that may backfire – badly. China and Iran are already positioning themselves as the go-to investors post-blast, in sharp contrast with the IMF hit men, and as advised by Hezbollah Secretary-General Nasrallah only a few weeks ago.

Syria and Iran are in the forefront of providing aid to Lebanon. Tehran is sending an emergency hospital, food packages, medicine and medical equipment. Syria opened its borders with Lebanon, dispatched medical teams and is receiving patients from Beirut’s hospitals.

It’s always important to keep in mind that the “attack” (Trump) on Beirut’s port destroyed Lebanon’s main grain silo, apart from engineering the total destruction of the port – the nation’s key trade lifeline.

That would fit into a strategy of starving Lebanon. On the same day Lebanon became to a great extent dependent on Syria for food – as it now carries only a month’s supply of wheat – the US attacked silos in Syria.

Syria is a huge exporter of organic wheat. And that’s why the US routinely targets Syrian silos and burns its crops – attempting also to starve Syria and force Damascus, already under harsh sanctions, to spend badly needed funds to buy food

In stark contrast to the interests of the US/France/Saudi axis, Plan A for Lebanon would be to progressively drop out of the US-France stranglehold and head straight into Belt and Road as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Go East, the Eurasian way. The port and even a great deal of the devastated city, in the medium term, can be quickly and professionally rebuilt by Chinese investment. The Chinese are specialists in port construction and management.

This avowedly optimistic scenario would imply a purge of the hyper-wealthy, corrupt weapons/drugs/real estate scoundrels of Lebanon’s plutocracy – which in any case scurry away to their tony Paris apartments at the first sign of trouble.

Couple that with Hezbollah’s very successful social welfare system – which I saw for myself at work last year – having a shot at winning the confidence of the impoverished middle classes and thus becoming the core of the reconstruction.

It will be a Sisyphean struggle. But compare this situation with the Empire of Chaos – which needs chaos everywhere, especially across Eurasia, to cover for the coming, Mad Max chaos inside the US.

General Wesley Clark’s notorious 7 countries in 5 years once again come to mind – and Lebanon remains one of those 7 countries. The Lebanese lira may have collapsed; most Lebanese may be completely broke; and now Beirut is semi-devastated. That may be the straw breaking the camel’s back – releasing the camel to the freedom of finally retracing its steps back to Asia along the New Silk Roads.
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Post by TonyGosling »

The Strange Case of Beirut’s Missing Port ... sing-port/
Gordon Duff

On the afternoon of August 4, 2020, two explosions occurred in Beirut’s port area. One was small, the other one left a crater 550 feet across and, according to most recent reports, over 100 feet deep, perhaps well over.

Reports on events have been the subject of a massive disinformation campaign, a massive censorship campaign and, as usual, rewriting history, science and physics to fit “alternative facts.” Here, President Donald Trump gets it right and sticks to his guns when challenged.

During a press conference regarding the event, President Donald Trump made the following statement:

“We will be there to help. It looks like a terrible attack.”

He was immediately attacked in the media, across the board, and mention of his answer was banned on Facebook as was the president’s remark. Then the next day in a press conference, President Trump “doubled down” on his answer:

Question: You called this an attack, are you confident that this was an attack and not an accident?

President Trump: “It would seem like it based on the explosion. I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel It was. It was not a…some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event.

This was a…seems to be according to them, they would know better than I would, but they seem to think it was an attack.

It was a bomb of some kind.”

That day, Secretary of Defense Mike Esper stated that he “believed” President Trump was mistaken. Within hours Secretary of Defense Esper walked back his statement. From CNN:

“Washington (CNN) Defense Secretary Mark Esper is downplaying any differences he had with the White House’s assessment as to what caused the deadly explosion in Beirut after his speculation that the blast was likely the result of an accident drew push back from the White House.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows went even further when asked about Esper’s assessment that the explosion was likely an accident, saying: “From Secretary Esper’s standpoint, he doesn’t know.”

On Tuesday, Trump said that he had spoken to some of ‘our generals’ and that they had assessed the explosion to be a bombing attack.”

The next day, the White House put out a short announcement that Secretary of Defense Esper would not be asked to join the new administration should Donald Trump be reelected in November.

Let us then examine why Trump said what he said, why Esper backed down but also why social media and the MSM are carrying an alternative narrative and now pretend that the President, speaking for the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies, never said what he said.

Trump is no longer attacked, he has simply been “obliqued” by an orchestrated disinformation campaign, but why?

Let’s look at what happened, what everyone agrees upon, and move from there.

The first explosion was small and started a fire in a warehouse. The second explosion, based on the crater size and 3.5 Richter scale reading was equal to 6 kilotons of TNT or at least 12 kilotons of ANFO explosive, a hybridization of ammonium nitrate and heavy fuel oil which can only be exploded with a shockwave, typically using TNT.

These figures come from real explosives experts familiar with nuclear testing. You see, only nuclear explosions typically put out multiple kiloton level blasts and only nuclear weapons experts have any experience whatsoever in studying cratering and blast effects of such explosions.

There are no “conventional explosive experts” who specialize in exploding fertilizer or rocket plants. This job description does not exist nor do any so-called experts.

Key to understanding the story is this, there are hundreds of “facts,” missile sightings, eyewitness and video, plane sightings, eyewitness and many videos, and a series of narratives that closely resemble “big lie” propaganda.

As is the case, if one looks at everything then nothing is settled. Simply put, the disinformation campaign is predicated on this being a blast of 2750 tons of fertilizer abandoned in Lebanon 6 years ago, a story not everyone is comfortable with including sources inside the Lebanese government. We begin with MP, Nohad Machnouk, former Interior Minister, in a story from Mideast Monitor:

“Former Lebanese Interior Minister and current MP, Nohad Machnouk, has become the first senior Lebanese politician to blame Israel for the blast at Beirut Port last week.

During a press conference, Machnouk said Israel was “clearly” responsible for the huge explosion which has killed over 200 people and wounded thousands.

‘This operation in Beirut was carried out by Israel in a clear and explicit manner,” Machnouk said. “It is clear we are looking at a crime against humanity, and therefore no one dares to claim responsibility for it.’

The high-ranking politician served as Lebanon’s interior minister in 2014 and again in 2016. He is a member of ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, the country’s Sunni bloc and opposes the Hezbollah movement. In the aftermath of the explosion, he said: ‘This is the first time since the Phoenician era that we don’t have a port in Beirut.’”

Privately, a former Defense Minister contacted Veterans Today an hour after the explosion and credited it to an Israeli attack, first by a sea based small missile, which started a fire and then an air attack from an F 16 which launched, according to the source, a missile with a tactical nuclear warhead, much as described by President Donald Trump, quoting his Pentagon sources.

Similarly, in response to claims this was a fertilizer explosion, a spokesman for Hezbollah, speaking directly to VT Bureau Chief Nahed al Husaini in Damascus made the following observation.

“Fertilizer can’t explode, it burns.”

Thus, we outline our controversy, and the only real fact we can all agree on and that one is hard science, ammonium nitrate fertilizer can’t explode without extreme effort and certainly not under the circumstances as seen in Beirut.

Attempts to “massage” science and technology to conform to disinformation are underway but as yet unsuccessful. The best thing written on this comes from a Lebanese mining engineer writing in response to claims Beirut was a “fertilizer explosion.”

“I have to say I disagree with this gentleman. The moment he hesitated to answer the very first ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question posed to him when asked if a match tossed on a pile of ammonia nitrate would initiate a catastrophic explosion, he hesitated for a few seconds before answering and I knew immediately that whatever he was going to say was may be a bit cloudy and opaque.

I’ve worked in the open pit mining industry all my life as a surveyor and a blasting technician. For my last two years at a large open pit coal operation in the British Columbia foothills, my job was designing the blast patterns and deciding which explosive product to load into the drill holes.

We used ANFO, a mixture of ammonia nitrate and diesel fuel. The AN stands for ammonia nitrate and FO stands for fuel oil or diesel fuel. We used a product called HANFO or what is called heavy anfo. It was called heavy anfo because it had a higher concentration of diesel fuel in its mixture, hence the term Heavy anfo.

Both anfo and heavy anfo have to be used in dry holes. If the holes are wet, the diesel component would wash out and the ammonia nitrate by itself would not ignite.

In those instances we would line the drill holes with plastic liners and then load the anfo or heavy anfo into the plastic liners. If it still proved too wet, we went to a very expensive product called Magnafrac. It was a slurry based emulsion that was more or less water proof, but still, if left to sit too long, the slurry would decompose and fail to ignite.

Heavy anfo has a higher power factor than regular anfo. That means more bang for the buck or more explosive energy. The name of the game was always to blast the most amount of rock with the least amount of actual product loaded. This is called the powder factor. The lower you can keep the powder factor and still break the host rock, the cheaper the cost. Anfo cheapest, hanfo, more expensive, Magnafrac very expensive which drove the powder factor up. The goal was to maintain a balance.

I’ve handled all of these products, loaded them, helped the blast crew tie the pattern in with DET cord and basically pulled the trigger. We used blasting wire connected to a blasting machine like you see in the old movies where the bad guys are trying to blow up railroad tracks. In the early 90’s, the wire and blasting machine was replaced with a much more efficient system we called non-electric blasting.

There was no electric charge produced to run down the yellow blasting wire to the DET cord and initiate the blast.

What was used was a product called ‘shock tube’. It was a small diameter hollow plastic tubing about 3 or 4 millimeters in diameter that had a very small powdery dusting of an explosive called ‘pentlandite’ a type of your basic TNT. It was called shock tube for a reason because it was non-electric. It is basically a fundamental shock wave generator, (shock tubes) either compressed air-driven or detonation-driven). It produces a ‘blast shock wave’. This is the lead shock wave that then in turn initiates the DET cord, then the explosive.

To initiate the detonation there was a small, for lack of a better word, I will say clacker, that you could step on. The non electric energy released when the clacker was stepped on was sufficient to ignite the very minute amount of powdered explosive in the shock tube that ran and initiated the DET cord which of course ran into each drilled hole filled with the actual explosive product used in the blast pattern itself.

Now here is where the rubber meets the road. Up until now we are talking inert elements and components that combined or by themselves couldn’t blow up a box of Kleenex.

The key to all this were the 500 gram TNT detonators placed at the bottom of each drill hole at the bottom of the explosives. We generally used 2 500 gram TNT detonators per hole.

That is where the ignition took place. Now listen carefully, it takes a TNT detonation to initiate or ignite a load of Anfo, Hanfo or Magnafrac. What I mean by that is that for Anfo to detonate, it needs the violence of a TNT initiation before it itself will actually detonate. I’ve watched Anfo catch fire and burn numerous times.

It won’t explode, it will just burn. And if it doesn’t have the diesel fuel mixture it won’t even do that. Ammonia Nitrate is a commercial fertilizer. The company employees were each given two twenty Kilo bags of Ammonia Nitrate every spring to fertilize their lawns. It will quite literally turn a brown lawn a vibrant green over night. That practice was discontinued in about 1993, at least at the mine I was employed at during that time span.

An automobile or truck perhaps running at speed, exploding and slamming into a mound of anfo etc. might be able to deliver the explosive force necessary to detonate the explosive product. Or the shock wave required. (or a missile or bomb)

We used to make the ammonia nitrate prills off mine site at a facility that was used by the explosive company that provided all the explosive product to our site. This is a huge, explosive company that is global in scope. And I will add that in all my time working with them and handling the various products, they/we used, they had a stellar safety record.

I’ve probably missed a lot and/or left out some information but this is all that I can recall to mind without having to refer to my various texts and notes.

So were there pumps, in this storage facility, was there fuel oil saturating the ammonia nitrate that gradually was absorbed over time?”

That answer is simple, if ammonium nitrate was stored in Warehouse 12 as some claim, it was fertilizer and could never explode.

The rationale for carrying this broad explanation with more than a bit of unnecessary detail is simple, it can be checked at any university that has a program for mining engineers, reviewed by any chemist and certainly any explosives expert, even those with no familiarity with nuclear weapons.

Beirut has a hole the size of a nuclear crater and destruction at levels unimaginable.

An American president has said Beirut was hit with a bomb that left a 500 foot crater. The US has no such conventional weapon. The Mark 84 penetrator will leave a 50 foot wide crater 36 feet deep, around 6200 square feet.

The crater in Beirut is approximately 700,000 square feet in area.

Thus, we reiterate, Trump said bomb, Esper said accident then Esper announced officially that he really doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about.

What can we prove? Fertilizer, like so many people have in their garages and sheds, isn’t going to blow us all to kingdom come.

We can prove only a fool would listen to the mainstream media.

We can also prove something happened that is impossible. What would Akum’s Razor tell us?
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