Beirut Explosion

Approaching Infinity

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Ammonium nitrate requires multiple chemical processes before it becomes an effective explosive. As a fertilizer in farming, it is stored in large amounts in rural areas all around the world. That wouldn't be common practice if there was a general risk of it exploding.

The most likely scenario in Beirut seems to be that a large bomb was transported and assembled there. The fire that preceded the explosion was perhaps a decoy, along with some amount of fireworks thrown in as further decoy. And then the bomb was remote-detonated.

That's what a lot of the sources I've been reading have been saying. But it seems there are dozens of examples where ammonium nitrate on its own (or with another explosive material) caught fire and ended up exploding, including trucks that were transporting it, got in a wreck, caught fire, and then exploded after a while:


A truck carrying 12 tons of ammonium nitrate experienced an electrical fault and caught fire north of Taroom. After the driver stopped and parked the burning truck, two brothers from a nearby cattle property who saw the fire rode up on motorbikes to assist. The three men were killed when the truck exploded. The explosion burnt out more than 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of surrounding bushland, and left a deep crater where the truck had been parked. A memorial to the three men was unveiled at the accident site in 2013

The Roseburg Blast: A truck carrying dynamite and 4.5 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire early in the morning of August 7, 1959. When it exploded it killed 14 people and injured 125 more. Several blocks of downtown Roseburg were destroyed. The accident is locally referred to as "The Blast".

A fire was detected on the Finnish cargo ship Tirrenia on January 23, 1953, while it was carrying approximately 4,000 tons of ammonium nitrate. Attempts to extinguish the fire with steam were unsuccessful, and the ship was abandoned before it exploded later in the night.

The Norwegian cargo ship Ocean Liberty was loaded with 3,309 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and various flammable products when it caught fire at 12:30 July 28, 1947. The captain ordered the hold to be sealed and pressurised steam was pumped in. As this did not stop the fire, the vessel was towed out of the harbour at 14:00, and exploded at 17:00. The explosion caused 29 deaths and serious damage to the port of Brest.

Texas City disaster: The cargo ship Grandcamp was being loaded on April 16, 1947, when a fire was detected in the hold: at this point, 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate in sacks were already aboard.[9] The captain responded by closing the hold and pumping in pressurised steam. One hour later, the ship exploded, killing several hundred people and setting fire to another vessel, the High Flyer, which was moored 250 metres away and which contained 1,050 tonnes of sulfur and 960 tons of ammonium nitrate. The Grandcamp explosion also created a powerful earthshock that broke windows as far as 40 miles away and knocked two small planes flying at 1,500 feet (460 m) out of the sky. The High Flyer exploded the next day, after having burned for sixteen hours. 500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate on the quayside also burned, but without exploding, probably because it was less tightly packed. All but one member of the Texas City fire department died.

On April 4, 1925, and May 3, 1925, two carloads, each containing 220 barrels of ammonium nitrate, were dispatched from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and caught fire in transportation. The barrels had been stored in a warehouse with varying humidity for 6 years, so it is believed that they were ignited by friction with their nitrate-impregnated manila paper lining. Other shipments were reportedly more successful.

If it was a bomb, perhaps the culprits knew about the nitrate and figured that into their plans. That would provide plausible deniability in the event that the nitrate didn't actually explode on its own.
 

Rhansen

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Ammonium nitrate require only being mixed with diesel fuel making what is called ANFO, but it is so safe that it can be mixed and delivered in a truck similar to a concrete truck. This info come from a mining engineering book I read long time ago. There was also reports of large AN detonation like in Texas 1947, but frankly I do not understand the mechanism of progression from a combustion to a detonation and I suspect that heat and nearby equipment explosion may have contributed.

To make such a badly maintained storage of AN detonate would only need to empty some diesel fuel at top of one or couples of those big bag of AN, gravity and adsorption will do the mixing, then place a C4 charge on the side of the sensitized bag.
I did some training with (US Army - Robin Sage) special forces where they briefly touched on improvised explosives. What I recall being told is that all you would need is fertiliser with >50% nitrogen content and diesel fuel, though they were intentionally vague about detonators. No doubt C4 or Det cord would get the job done...
 

Alejo

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Sorry if it's too off topic, but just caught this from RT of an explosion that took place in China, could an electrical phenomenon have been involved in Beirut?

This looks like special FX but it isn’t. This huge explosion was captured on film for real after lightning struck a power line in Shenyang in North Eastern China. Apparently no one was injured.
http://instagr.am/p/CDfsUZACHan/
Edit :Added RT's description
 

herondancer

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Heading a little towards more exotic explanations (with all due cautions), here is an excerpt from an article on Lebanese politician Rafik Hariri's assassination in 2010 by Thierry Meyssan. It includes some very curious pictures of the crime scene.

Revelations on Rafik Hariri’s assassination

Indeed, we deemed it desirable to delve into the circumstances of Rafik Hariri’s assassination. The data we unearthed has opened a new avenue, making one wonder why it had never been explored until now. In the course of our lengthy investigation, we encountered a great number of actors, too many no doubt, so that the news of our work spread quickly, alarming those for whom the assassination trail implicating the armed Lebanese Resistance represents a real godsent. Aiming to intimidate us, the Jerusalem Post on 18 October launched a preventive attack through a piece referring to our work. In a purely libelous vein, it accuses the author of this article of having received 1 million dollars from Iran to exonerate Hezbollah.

Getting down to facts, Rafik Hariri’s convoy was attacked in Beirut on 14 February 2005. Twenty-three people were killed and one hundred injured. A preliminary report commissioned by the Security Council calls attention to the unprofessional conduct of the Lebanese magistrates and police. To redress the situation, the SC assigned its own investigators, providing them with the important means that Lebanon was unable to offer. From the outset of the investigation, it was generally accepted that the attack had been perpetrated by a suicide bomber driving a van packed with explosives.

Having been established to compensate for the Lebanese lack of professionalism, one would have expected the United Nations mission to scrupulously observe the classical criminal procedures. Not so! The crime scene - on the basis of the topography still intact as well as the photos and video footage shot on that day - was not examined in detail. The victims were not exhumed and no autopsies were performed. For a long time, no attempt was made to ascertain the modus operandi. After discarding the hypothesis of a bomb buried in the ground, the investigators espoused the one involving the van without bothering to verify it.

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And yet, this version is implausible: looking at the crime scene, anyone can easily observe the very large and deep crater that a surface explosion could not have dug out. Faced with the adamancy of the Swiss experts who refused to endorse the official version, on 19 October the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) recreated the crime scene behind closed doors. It didn’t take place in Lebanon, nor in the Netherlands which is the seat of the STL, but in France, one of the countries funding the Tribunal. The buildings surrounding the crime scene were reconstructed and earth was brought in from Beirut. The convoy was reconstituted, including the armoured vehicle. The aim was to demonstrate that the height of the concrete buildings had confined the explosion, making it possible for the blast to produce the crater. The results of this costly experiment have never been divulged.

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When looking at the photos and videos taken immediately after the attack, the first most striking feature is the blaze. Car parts and various types of objects are burning all around. Then, the bodies of the victims: they are charred on one side and intact on the other. An astonishing phenomenon which bears no resemblance to what is normally caused by conventional explosives. The theory that the van was transporting a mix of RDX, PETN and TNT does not account for the damages occurred.

What is more, from the photos showing Rafik Hariri’s corpse one can observe that his solid gold wristwatch has melted, whereas the collar of his luxury shirt still hugs his neck in pristine condition.

So, what really happened?

The explosion generated a blast of an exceptionally intense heat and exceptionally brief duration. Thus, the flesh exposed to the blast was instantly carbonized, while the body underneath was not burnt.

High-density objects (such as the gold watch) absorbed the heat and were destroyed. Conversely, low-density objects (like the delicate fabric of Hariri’s shirtcollar) didn’t have enough time to absorb the heat and were unaffected.

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Rafik Hariri’s remains.

Moreover, the videos show that a number of limbs were severed by the explosion. Oddly, the cuts are clean, as if made on clay statues. There is no sign of shattered or jutting bones, nor of any torn flesh. The reason is that the explosion sucked up all the oxygen and dehydrated the bodies, rendering them friable. In the hours that followed, several on-the-spot witnesses complained of breathing ailments. Wrongfully, the authorities interpreted them as a psychosomatic reaction following their psychological trauma.

Such observations constitute the abc of any criminal inquiry. They should have been the starting point, yet they do not figure in any of the reports submitted by the "professional experts" to the Security Council.

When we asked a number of military experts what kind of explosives would be capable of generating such damage, they mentioned a new type of weapon which has been developed over several decades and is featured in reports appearing in scientific journals. The combination of nuclear and nonotechnology science can trigger an explosion the exact strength of which can be regulated and controlled. The weapon is set up to destroy everything within a given perimeter, down to the nearest centimeter.

Always according to the same military specialists, this weapon can also produce other types of effects: it exerts a very strong pressure on the area of the explosion. The minute it stops, the heaviest objects are propelled upwards. Accordingly, cars were sent flying through the air.

There is one unequivocal fact: this weapon is equipped with a nano-quantity of enriched uranium, emanating radiations which are quantifiable. Now, it just so happens that one of the passengers in Rafik Hariri’s armoured car survived the explosion. Former Minister Bassel Fleyhan was taken to a topnotch French military hospital for treatment. The doctors were astounded to discover that he had been in contact with enriched uranium. But no one linked this to the attack.

Technically speaking, the weapon is shaped like a small missile, a few tens of centimeters long. It must be fired from a drone. Actually, several witnesses assured they had heard an aircraft flying over the scene of the crime. The investigators asked the United States and Israel, whose surveillance satellites are permanently switched on, to provide them with the pertinent images. On the day of the attack, the United States had deployed AWACS aircraft over Lebanon. The live feeds could help to establish the presence of a drone and even to determine its flight path. But Washington and Tel Aviv - which indefatigably urge all parties to cooperate with the STL - turned down the request.

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Hezbollah intercepted and released videos from Israeli drones surveying Rafik Hariri’s movements and the scene of the crime.

At a press conference held on 10 August 2010, Hassan Nasrallah showed a video which, according to him, was shot by Israeli military drones and intercepted by his organisation. All of Rafik Hariri’s movements had been registered for months, until the final day when all the surveillance converged on the bend in the road where the attack was staged. Thus, Tel-Aviv had been surveying the area prior to the assassination. Which is not to say, as Mr Nasrallah himself points out, that they were the authors of the crime.

So, who fired the missile?

Some tweets mention seeing a drone prior to the explosion. So it's possible a wily group might take advantage of poorly stored explosive material and "help" it along. None of the videos I've seen of ammonium nitrate explosions have shown the vapor bubble recorded in Beirut. Per Meyssan, it would be interesting to see if there are traces of radiation in the area. Or would it even enter the heads of the investigators to check for it?
 

tschai

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Well, technically nowedays there are much more cameras because of cellphones (there are good cellphones cameras now) compare to back then in the 9/11 event.
And also, people were already filming the fire that was happening right before the big explosion happened! BUT of course whoever did this (I think we know who could have done it 😏) was thinking on the coverage this would have as well, so everything could be connected in a indirect way.
Surveillance cameras as well seem to have caught the blast
 

Windmill knight

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Whitney Webb posted on Twitter:



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 its 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 fertilizer, causing the catastrophe that resulted.

I suppose it boils down to how trustworthy this guy Richard Silverstein is. I don't remember coming across him before, although a search on Sott results in several articles of his as a critic of Israel. Here's his bio on his website.
 

Approaching Infinity

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I did some training with (US Army - Robin Sage) special forces where they briefly touched on improvised explosives. What I recall being told is that all you would need is fertiliser with >50% nitrogen content and diesel fuel, though they were intentionally vague about detonators. No doubt C4 or Det cord would get the job done...
Thanks for the info, Rhansen.

I think it's safe to say that even though ammonium nitrate explosions do happen 'on their own' to some degree, they're very rare. And it sounds like the experts are never quite sure why the ones that happen do happen. In those Wiki entries, they speculate that maybe one exploded and the other didn't because it was more tightly packed; another was made with various impurities or something, etc. You'd think they'd have this stuff figured out... Maybe they do and it's just in chemistry journals and IED manuals?

Operating on the assumption that it was a bomb, there are a couple theories going around so far. State of the Nation blames Mossad and says it was a mini-nuke:


And there's this one from Richard 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.

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.

So his idea is that they only intended to destroy some arms (perhaps those were the 'fireworks' going off in the initial explosion and fire), and only accidentally ignited the ammonium nitrate. I guess that's possible. The other option would be that it was intentional, and they somehow made sure to detonate it to achieve that massive explosion. Or a third option, that the massive explosion was from a massive bomb, and any contribution by the nitrate was negligible.
 

fabric

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Or a third option, that the massive explosion was from a massive bomb, and any contribution by the nitrate was negligible.

I'm leaning towards some kind of massive bomb. Something about the shape of the shockwave and resulting mushroom cloud remind me of a focused explosion rather than a massive pile of AN going off. In other videos I've seen of explosions involving AN had an amorphous form instead of a more contained shape like this did.

The shock wave didn't seem to budge the observers or that truck. Smaller blast, I guess?

I noticed that too. It seems strange to me. Even if it were a smaller blast, it doesn't look like they're standing too far away and should have been affected by the shockwave in some way.
 

Ocean

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CGI? Initially the folks on the left seem to be moving but at (0:03) when the 'show' starts they seem to be completely frozen. I mean, something extraordinary starts happening and nobody turns a head or moves a limb... :huh:

I thought exactly the same thing, but then I realised that they were Arabs and that is typical behaviour of them.
 

Keit

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I read in Hebrew an interview with an Israeli that lives in Beirut. And according to him apparently Lebanese authorities don't suspect Israel, but blame Hezbollah for the incident. Well, obviously this will be Israel's angle. I just find it very interesting in a disturbing way, how Israelis suddenly feel for the Lebanese people, and even project their flag on Tel-Aviv's city-hall.

Apparently they also offered Lebanon help, but so far Lebanon hasn't replied. Amazing to see how perplexed Israel is that their offer isn't being immediately accepted :rolleyes: :

Israel has already been recognized for offering support to Lebanon. But Lebanon’s authorities have been slow to respond.[...]

The reason Lebanese authorities remained silent in the morning hours of August 5 regarding Israel’s offers is likely due to Hezbollah’s stranglehold on Lebanon.


photo_2020-08-06_12-42-14.jpg
 

Gary

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From the Saker:

Beware of sensationalism clickbaiting and crazy rumors: Beirut was NOT a nuclear explosion
Dear friends,

As soon as I heard about the tragic explosion in Beirut I told my family “you will see, there will be some idiots who will say it was a nuke”. Sure enough, today I already see nonsense posted about the usual suspects about the Israelis nuking of Beirut. Some even claim this was a thermonuclear explosion! This just proves to me that I was right when I added this rule to the moderation guidelines:

“I am banning any and all references to use of tactical nuclear weapons, including alleged use of tactical nukes by Israel in Syria or Lebanon, or by anybody (including the USA or Israel) in Yemen. In fact from now on, I am the ONLY person allowed to report the use of tactical nuclear weapons.”
However, considering how huge this explosion was, I feel that I ought to post these few reminders:

  1. It is quite impossible to conceal the use of a nuclear device, even a low-yield one, in particular in a densely populated area and in a warzone.
  2. Most (all?) major explosions produce a “nuclear mushroom” simply because the air rushes back into the place from where it expelled by the explosion.
  3. You can clearly see two colors in the explosion, which points to a chemical, not nuclear, event.
  4. There is a complete absence of any nuclear flash and fireball.
  5. In the case of the Beirut explosion, you can clearly see in the footage that there is/are a (few) primary explosion(s) and a much bigger secondary explosion. You don’t see that with nukes. See for yourself:
video link here.

But most importantly is this: if the Israelis were crazy enough to actually strike Lebanon’s capital with a nuke (or even with a huge conventional bomb/missile) you could be sure that Hezbollah and Iran would strike at cities like Tel Aviv and a number of other Israeli cities (and ports). To visualize this, just think of the Iranian strike on the US base in Iraq, but aimed at key Israeli government buildings and facilities.

What happened in Beirut is an immense tragedy and my heart goes out to all the wonderful people of Lebanon, whom I love and admire. Trying to make money by generating clickbaiting nonsense about what actually took place is absolutely repulsive and shows a total lack of respect for the victims.

Shame on those who engage in such behavior!

The Saker

PS: One more thing: some speculated that this was a weapons depot. I cannot be categorical, but in most cases when weapon depots blow up, there is a primary explosion followed by MANY smaller explosions; that kind of stuff can last for days. In the case of Beirut, after the huge mega-explosion there was silence. This also indicates to me that it was one major chemical explosion. This is now confirmed by pretty much the interested parties. Well, except for Trump and some of his general who initially seemed to believe that it was a bomb of some sorts.

PPS: by the way, I am not saying that sabotage is not possible or that Israel had nothing to do with this. All I am saying is that nukes (even less so thermonuclear devices) were not used.
 

Voyageur

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Here is Jimmie Oxley's take on the explosion as a professor and explosives expert. In her words at the end, she cannot judge what the 'initiating event was' - and ends with it likely being just carelessness.

Not so sure on the last part, yet no proof. AN would certainly need a specific type of initiator to cook it off - it has to carry through fairly quickly as a large energy shock initiator. Oxley does say the colour (red/orange) was indicative of AN and possibly other chemicals.

 

susy7

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I was saddened, cat for me it's like the destruction of Athens. I went to this country and its capital many times, I wanted to live there, so yesterday I did not post anything. Now, it would be necessary to ask that it is the origin, there is for me no coincidence but I await the answers
 

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