Russell Bentley – Fort-Russ Aug 18, 2020
In these days of gaslighting, misinformation, disinformation and downright bullshit, the fevered postulations of some self-styled “pundits” about a secret weapon or mini-nuke being used in the Beirut blast are as irritating as they are inaccurate and improbable. That the US and or Israel are responsible for the detonation is indeed, highly likely, but yet to be proven, and not the point in question. But the irresponsible and absolutely unsubstantiated claims of a Hezbollah weapons depot, mini-nukes and secret weapons are not only preposterous, but provably false, and the otherwise respectable authors and news outlets that have published them have done themselves and their readers a real disservice. Allow me to set the record straight.
Before I get into the facts of the explosion in Beirut, I’d like to mention that I served three years as a 12-B Combat Engineer, a demolition specialist, in the US Army, and I have been trained on, worked with, and detonated pretty much every non-nuclear explosive, including quite a bit of ammonium nitrate. I’m not saying I am an expert, but I can assure you I know more about explosives than any of these armchair experts who have never even thrown a hand grenade. So, let’s get to it.
THE HEZBOLLAH “WEAPONS DEPOT”
The first thing I notice about all these sensationalist, bogus and unfounded articles is that they all seem to take for granted that Hezbollah (HZB) actually had a weapons depot at the port. That’s bullshit right off the bat. HZB DID NOT STORE WEAPONS OR AMMO AT THE PORT. HZB certainly knew, as probably every secret service in the world did, that there was a ticking time bomb sitting there since 2013, and if they stored ANY weapons ANYWHERE near the port, they’d be giving the zionist entity (ZE) a perfect excuse to destroy half of Beirut and blame it on HZB. Furthermore, they (HZB) couldn’t have stored any kind of weapons there, even if they wanted to. The port is controlled by Hariri’s “Future Movement” political party, the true source of corruption in Lebanon, and the true enemies of HZB, and has been since before the Rhosus docked there in 2013. The port is in the affluent north of Beirut, HZB’s political base is in the proletarian south. Hassan Nasrallah himself has said, “No weapons, no ammo, no rockets, HZB stored _nothing_ at the port”. It makes sense, and there is NO reason to doubt his word. For HZB to store weapons at the port, under the control and observation of their main political rivals in Lebanon, next to a enormous explosives stockpile that could be detonated by an ostensibly “justified” strike by Israel on HZB weapons, is as counter-intuitive and absolutely illogical and self-defeating, not to mention needless, as Assad gassing civilians in Ghouta or Russians poisoning the Skripals in the UK. It just doesn’t make sense. So, HZB says they didn’t store weapons there, there was zero reason for them to do so and myriad reasons not to, and they literally could not have, even if they had wanted to.
SECRET WEAPONS AND MINI-NUKES
Some authors have posited that the explosion was “too powerful” to be anything but a “mini-nuke” or some new “secret weapon”. First of all, this is baseless speculation on their part, and furthermore, proves that they know nothing about explosives. Well, I do, so let me explain. First of all, the smallest “mini-nuke” is the M-388 “Davy Crockett”, a true “mini-nuke” with an explosive payload between 10 and 20 tons of TNT. The explosion in Beirut of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was equal to about 1,800 tons of TNT. Explosives vary in their detonation speed, which is directly related to their explosive power. TNT is the standard explosive by which other explosives are compared. The Fat Man atomic bomb , dropped on Nagasaki 75 years ago this month, had an explosive power of 21 Kilotons, which is the explosive equivalent of 21,000 tons of TNT. Ammonium nitrate is, in fact, a low explosive, with a detonation speed 2,700 meters per second, as compared to TNT’s speed of 6,900 m/s. TNT is a high explosive. There were 2,750 tons of AN stored at the Beirut Port. 2.75 kilotons of AN have the explosive power of between 1.2 and 1.8 kilotons of TNT. As you can see from the blast calculator below, a 1.8 kiloton explosion would in fact be quite similar to the destruction and damage actually caused by the Beirut Port blast, with heavy damage out to 0.22 Km, moderate damage out to about 1 Km. and lighter damage in an area of about 6.5 square kilometers.
So, in fact the damage is actually precisely what could be expected from a detonation of 2,750 tons of AN. And while AN is considered a stable explosive, it does NOT require fuel oil to be added to make it explosive, and it can be set off in a chain reaction with a relatively small amount of Semtex, TNT, C-4 or dynamite. In fact a small backpack with 20 pounds of high explosive, placed correctly, would certainly be enough to detonate the entire warehouse of AN, which was haphazardly stored in 2,750 one ton bags. As you can see, they were stored close together, touching, in fact, which would allow for sympathetic detonation. Once one went, they all would go. Instantly.
THE MUSHROOM CLOUD
There have also been ridiculous claims that mushroom clouds “prove” the explosion was nuclear. The fact is, that mushroom clouds are commonly caused by conventional explosives in large amounts, (such as, say, 2,750 tons, and even much less) and even by volcanoes. So anyone who tells you the mushroom cloud is significant as an indication of a nuclear component has exactly zero credibility. ZERO. The reddish-brown color of the smoke is also consistent with large detonations of AN, and the white vapor clouds seen forming with the shock wave are also completely common in large explosions and are in no way indicative, much less proof, of a nuclear blast. Again, if anyone tries to tell you this is proof of a nuclear detonation, it only proves they don’t know what they are talking about, at all.
THE RADIATION “SPIKE”
Of course, the most conclusive proof that the explosion was non-nuclear is the total lack of radiation increase. There was a fake news piece passed around about a “strong spike in radiation levels” picked up in Sicily shortly after the blast. Apparently, the image being touted was actually a malfunction, since the “spike” actually occurred several hours before the blast itself. You can also see the monthly and annual radiation levels of the exact monitor here, and note the “spike” is well within normal parameters, and in no way remarkable. Here is the fake reading –
Looks pretty scary, until you look at the timestamp of the spike, 1:30 PM. The explosion in Beirut happened at 6:08 PM, and there is only one hour time zone difference between Italy and Beirut. Any competent or responsible journalist would have noted the timestamp and realized the data was irrelevant. Furthermore, Sicily is 1,200 miles from Beirut. So if a radiation “spike” had registered in Sicily, it would have also registered in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and even in southern Russia. If it did, none of the monitors in any of these places have seen fit to mention it. Which, if there was evidence that an actual nuke had been used against a civilian target for the first time in 75 years, (which could have only been done by one of nine nations) you’d think one of these monitoring nations would have had something to say about it. They didn’t. No radiation, no nuclear detonation. Period.
SHAVING THE MONK AND THE HITMAN’S LOGIC
In the early 1300’s, a philosopher and theologian named William of Occam developed the Law of parsimony, a principle of logic and problem solving later to be known as Occam’s Razor. The law, in its essence, states that the simplest explanation for an event is usually the correct one, and that when presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions. Likewise, a soldier or a hitman, faced with a life or death mission, will remember Murphy’s Law and choose the method to accomplish the mission with the fewest possible things that can go wrong.
The ammonium nitrate was a sitting duck, an easy target and a ticking time bomb. Personally, I have little doubt that the Zionist Entity, in connivance with neo-con elements in the US (and other fascist governments) were the culprits and the cause of the explosion, most likely along with Lebanese traitors. But the method by which they destroyed the Beirut Port and have attempted to bring Lebanon and above all The Resistance to its knees neither used nor required mini-nukes or new secret weapons. If a single competent, reliable and trusted operator could have detonated the AN with a small backpack full of untraceable conventional explosive, then why would the enemies of Lebanon even consider using F-16’s and missiles, much less mini-nukes or secret weapons? The simplest way is the most reliable, the most deniable, the most effective and in fact, the most inexpensive. Israel and other enemy countries have at least hundreds of trained operators in Lebanon, with access to any weapon they might need. An F-16 costs about $15 million, and $8,000 per hour to operate. Why risk one of those, with or without a secret weapon or mini-nuke, when a dude with a backpack can bribe a port guard for a hundred bucks or so and leave an absolutely reliable and untraceable detonator that will do the job even better?
The point of all this is don’t fall for sensationalist bullshit. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. When someone gives you an incredible story, remember exactly what “incredible” means. Trust your gut, use your common sense. Don’t fall to the temptation to be the first to share some secret revelation or amazing story or “inside information” that later turns out to be bullshit We’ve all done it, and I have too, but it’s pretty sheepish when you realize you got chumped. The bullshit artists are usually the first with the wild hypothesis that falls apart in a few days. Don’t let them fool you. Truth and our own credibility are among our most valuable assets and our most important weapons. Don’t buy no magic beans or trust the old hag in the gingerbread house. We’ve got a lot of important work to do, and avoiding bullshit is job one. Understanding, discerning and sharing the truth. the objective truth, goes right along with it. As Bob Dylan wrote, “There are many here among us who think that life is but a joke. But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate, so let us not talk falsely now, the hour’s getting late.”