American Resistance To Empire

The State of America and the Political System That Is Killing the Country

[This election promises to be the final straw, where both hate-filled sides will feel justified to wage open war on their identified enemies.  Look at the photo below, screaming “STOP THE HATE”, when, in fact, both sides are consumed with hate for their political opposite, both believing that they are the “true patriots” defending Democracy against their treasonous enemies.  This is what happens when multiple generations of Americans endure lifetimes of brainwashing and political manipulation.  The end result is something like a political civil war, with both sides actually taking up arms and fighting in the streets.  No matter which side wins in November, the powder keg will surely explode…AND THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT, the Powers That Be, the silent rulers of America, the so-called 1%, a.k.a., “the Deep State”.]

A polarized America: How the partisan divide grew over decades, and why liberals and conservatives just can’t get along

Protestors and counter protestors face off Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Stone Mountain Village, Ga. Experts say ideological divides that have been growing for decades have contributed to an increase in political polarization in the U.S. (Jenni Girtman/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)AP

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Anyone watching the Democratic and Republican presidential nominating conventions over the past two weeks might conclude the two parties have only one thing in common: a mutual disdain for the other side.

Speakers at both conventions presented wildly different outlooks of the political landscape, but they offered the same core message. They argued that the opposing party represents an existential threat to the way of life in the United States of America, and a vote against that threat is the only way to stop it.

Election cycles put a spotlight on partisan divides, and polling numbers show President Donald Trump is a uniquely polarizing figure in the history of U.S. politics. But polls also indicate that polarization started to set in long before Trump’s ascendance. The animosity between Democrats and Republicans has been festering for decades, driven by a growing ideological divide between the parties and amplified by social media and cable TV news, experts say.

In 2020, a year defined by a global pandemic, a highly contentious election and nationwide protests over racial injustice, that divide has seemingly reached a crescendo.

“It goes beyond competition for power, and it goes beyond positions on public policy. It’s a really visceral dislike for one another,” said Dr. John C. Green, the director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron. “There’s always been some of that, but it’s become much more common.”

Experts say part of why people are so divided is because the two major parties have become more homogeneous, with citizens who identify as members of those parties sharing many of the same ideological values. They also tend to nominate candidates who are fervent in supporting the values that most appeal to the base rather than candidates who show a willingness to compromise.

But experts argue it goes deeper than that. Political messaging has permeated nearly every aspect of our lives, even if we don’t recognize it. Researchers have found that someone who posts a photo of a hunting trip on social media is assumed to be a Republican, whereas someone who posts a picture of a farmer’s market is assumed to be Democrat.

Even geography has become more partisan. Cities tend to be overwhelmingly liberal, while rural areas are much more conservative. The effect is that we have very little interaction with people who do not share our political beliefs, said David Barker, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.

“Every single thing about our lives is divided along partisan lines,” Barker said. “We just do not encounter people from the opposite side of the aisle very often. And if you don’t encounter them, you’re not likely to be exposed to any information that could change or moderate your position.”

Ironically, one thing many Americans seem to agree on is a dislike of polarization itself. Most people would prefer it if we could all just get along. The problem is they think the other side is to blame, said Dr. Robert Talisse, a Vanderbilt University philosophy professor who studies political polarization.

“Everyone wants a more congenial, less-heated and less-aggressive brand of politics,” Talisse said. “But we also think the aggressors are only the people on the other side.”

Ideology is closely aligned with party affiliation

Over time, the Democratic and Republican parties have become more homogeneous. In a 2020 study, Brown University political economist Jesse Shapiro and Stanford University economists Levi Boxell and Matthew Gentzkow found the U.S. is polarizing faster than other democracies around the world. One possible explanation is that the two major parties are have become more closely aligned with certain races, religions and political ideologies than they were in the past, the study says.

Those ideologies also tend to be concrete. It’s hard to change someone’s mind if they feel abortion should be outlawed, or if they believe racism is a severe problem in the U.S., experts say.

The electorate tends to nominate candidates who reflect those core ideologies. That has the effect of pushing the parties further apart, said Dr. Thomas Sutton, a political scientist, and director of the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace University.

Political leaders, for their part, have seized on those cultural and ideological differences. Research has shown that negative advertising can motivate a candidate’s base, so Sutton said there’s an incentive to be polarizing.

“The idea that you’d ask people to stop being extreme so they can come together, compromise and listen to each other flies directly in the face of what’s proven to work to win an election,” Sutton said. “What’s proven to work is just the opposite.”

Others have seized on those cultural and ideological differences, too. Special-interest groups have fostered division to advance their agendas or make a profit, experts say.

More nefariously, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified at least 1,000 hate groups in the U.S. in 2018, many of which used race and anti-immigrant sentiments to sow division. And conspiracy theory groups like QAnon, which baselessly claims that a powerful cabal of pedophiles and cannibals are trying to take down Trump, have spread misinformation and even penetrated conservative politics.

Liberals live in cities, conservatives live in the country

Race, religion and ideology aren’t the only things strongly suggestive of a person’s politics. Experts say it’s also increasingly possible to determine how a person may vote based on where they live.

U.S. cities have long favored Democrats, but the gap is even more pronounced today. In 2018, 62 percent of urban voters identified as Democrats and 31 percent identified as Republicans. Back in 1997, only 55 percent of urban voters identified as Democrats compared to 37 percent as Republicans, according to a Pew Research Center study.

Voters used to be evenly split in rural counties, but they have become more conservative. Rural voters actually favored Democrats by a 45-44 margin in 1997. By 2018, 54 percent of urban voters identified as Republicans compared to 38 percent as Democrats, according to the same study.

“I think physical space is a really important part of this,” Green said. “People have increasingly chosen to live in homogeneous neighborhoods.”

Partisan perception is pervasive in everyday life

Our partisan identities have also seeped into how others see us, even if we don’t realize we’re promoting ourselves as a Republican or a Democrat, experts say.

Even things that seem entirely apolitical may carry partisan messages. A 2018 study in the academic journal Political Psychology founds liberals and conservatives decorate their homes differently. Conservatives prefer clocks and flags; liberals like maps and art.

Studies have also found that Democrats and Republicans tend to shop at different businesses, Talisse said. Democrats favor getting their coffee from Starbucks, with its cosmopolitan-feeling coffee shops and its cup sizes in Italian. Dunkin’ skews conservative, with its working-class image emphasized in its slogan “America Runs on Dunkin.’”

Even the clothes we wear can be viewed as partisan, Talisse said. Camouflage is seen as conservative, where yoga attire is considered to be liberal, he said.

“Our partisan identifies has saturated the whole of our lives,” Talisse said.

Those implicit messages can increase polarization when they’re broadcast on social media, said Jaime Settle, an associate professor of government at the College of William & Mary.

Settle, who delves into the topic in her 2018 book Frenemies: How Social Media Polarizes America, said it’s not clear how the average person has come to learn these stereotypes of liberals and conservatives. But they recognize them in everyday life.

“It’s very easy for people to have a loaded conversation or a conversation based on stereotypes, even if they are not talking about the election or [politics],” she said.

The impact of social media and cable news

Social media and the rise of cable TV news networks like Fox News, CNN and MSNBC are often blamed for the increase in political polarization in the U.S. Still, experts mostly believe they are not so much causes, but rather mechanisms by which partisan debate spreads. Fox News provided a TV platform for conservative voices, but those voices already thrived on talk radio, Sutton pointed out.

Cable news networks and social media platforms ultimately thrive because people like what they see, hear and share, Talisse said. It affirms their views, and they feel part of a like-minded community. The phenomenon is known as “confirmation bias.”

“If nobody liked this kind of ‘democratic politics as gladiator combat against the forces of anti-democracy’… there wouldn’t be an audience for it,” Talisse said.

While social media may not be driving polarization, it may be amplifying it, said Dr. Amber Ferris, a University of Akron communications professor who studies social media. She believes people are more likely to say something negative on social media than in person because they don’t have to deal with the immediate consequences behind a computer or smartphone screen.

“If I said it to your face, I’d have to look at the hurt in your eyes,” Ferris said. “I think that’s a deterrent.”

Settle noted that the U.S. has been polarized before. Americans held very different views during the industrial transformation at the turn of the 20th century and during the New Deal era as the country recovered from the Great Depression. It may seem worse now because social media has made polarization more visible, she said.

The most significant impact of all this visibility is on moderates, Settle said. When partisans promote an aggressive brand of politics on social media, it could turn off moderates who may be in the best position to compromise and help bridge the gap between the two parties, she said.

“The noisiest social media users are creating problems for everyone else who doesn’t care that much about politics, but are now unable to avoid it,” Settle said.

Can it get better?

No one expects Democrats and Republicans to suddenly agree on the issues that divide them. But is there a chance we could be more decent to each other?

Experts are pessimistic. Some suggest there could be a way to alleviate some of the tension between partisans, but they struggle to come up with ideas for how that might happen.

Ferris said she makes a point of following a broad spectrum of news sources on social media, so she gets her information from both sides of the aisle. It’s not a cure-all, but she believes it could help decrease the echo-chamber effect that social media can have for some users.

Green agreed, saying it’s important to be exposed to different viewpoints.

“It’s a lot easier to be insular today,” he said. “You can disappear into your little cocoon and watch the TV shows you like, be on the website and Twitter feeds you like, and never have to come across, let alone engage with, someone who has different ideas.”

Settle isn’t sure that moderating the noisiest social-media users could have the desired effect. The underlying issues that led those users to be that contentious – the ideological and cultural divides within our society – would still exist.

“I think if you got rid of the really noisy people who talk about politics all the time, you might be able to decrease the perceptions of polarization based on issue preferences,” she said. “But I don’t think that would deal with the broader problem of the social polarization we’re facing right now.”

Barker thinks it could take a generational change to shift our perceptions of one another. The oft-maligned Millennials and Gen Z – basically anyone under the age of 40 – are more agreeable on some of the major cultural and ideological issues that divide older Americans, Barker said. They tend to be broadly supportive of gay rights and climate change, for example.

“When the entire electorate is them and people younger than them … then these things that divide us so strongly won’t be divides anymore,” he said. “They may be arguing about different things, but those may be things that are less sensitive, and motivate us less to want to hate each other.”

Greece and Turkey’s Claims To the Same Seabed and Whatever Lies Beneath

Turkish EEZ claims(left) vs Greek EEZ claims(right)

One follows the UNCLOS, which stipulates that islands with actual living settlements on them have an EEZ and that the distance between one country’s islands and the mainland of another country should be split in half, the other is the turkish claim that greek islands shouldn’t exist.


The Future of Energy Security in Southeastern Europe and the Establishment of the Greek EEZ

Documenting the Coronavirus Post-Protests Surge

April 30, 2020, Lansing, Michigan experienced the first anti-lockdown protests, with heavily armed protesters inside the State Capitol in Lansing…

LANSING CHART FOR MAY 14, 1,191 TOTAL (2 weeks), …

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered.  The following charts are from riot-torn major cities after the protests began…













France Escalates Turkish Med. Confrontation…Stationing Fighters On Cyprus

“Rafale (head-on)” by Phil Bull is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 A.M.) – The Turkish Foreign Ministry considered that “the landing of French military aircraft in the Republic of Cyprus under the pretext of conducting maneuvers violates the 1960 Treaty.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that, with this step, France “seriously encourages Greece, which is responsible for the tension in the eastern Mediterranean, to escalate the tension further.”

The ministry confirmed that Turkey “will thwart all attempts by those who seek to exclude Ankara and Turkish Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean.”

The Greek Ministry of Defense announced that Greece, France, Italy and Cyprus will hold military exercises from Wednesday, August 26 to Friday, August 28 to the south of the island of Crete in the eastern Mediterranean, where tensions have recently escalated between Athens and Ankara.

“Cyprus, Greece, France and Italy have agreed to deploy a joint presence in the eastern Mediterranean within the framework of the Quartet Cooperation Initiative (SQAD),” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement pointed out that “tension and instability in the eastern Mediterranean have increased disagreements on issues regarding the maritime domain (demarcation of borders, migrations, the influx of refugees …)”.

In addition, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday that exercises will be held in the eastern Mediterranean.

It explained that the Turkish “TCG Barbaros” frigate, the Turkish “TCG Burgazada” corvette, and the American destroyer “USS Winston S. Churchill”, carried out the exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean.

IDF Attacks Lebanese Civilian, Environmental Group, Calling Them “Hezbollah”

[UNIFIL peacekeeping troops mandate for Lebanon expires at the end of the month…Zionist forces (Israel/US) want mandate changed from monitoring Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon across the southern border and enforcing separation with Hezbollah forces, to monitoring all of Lebanon for the purpose of disarming Hezbollah, the only force capable of keeping the armed Israeli invaders at bay.  The UN Security Council rejected the latest Zionist demands, setting the stage for yesterday’s IDF attack upon the the Lebanese NGO environmental group “Green Without Borders”.  Their stated purpose is to restore Lebanese Cedars in southern Lebanon, after IDF forces destroyed most of them on the Lebanese side of the border.  Israeli claimed, among other charges, that GWB was intentionally planting their trees strategically, to provide cover for Hezbollah forces.  The map below allegedly marks those positions.  Almasdar news named four of those sites, all coincide with yesterday’s bombing mission.]

“Al-Manar TV reported that Israel fired phosphorous shells at the borders of Lebanon. Their TV correspondent confirmed that the Israeli army fired more than 20 incendiary phosphorous shells in the vicinity of the road between the towns of Mays al-Jabal and Hula and the vicinity of the town of Aitaroun and the Kfar Shouba hills in Lebanese territory.”

Mays al-Jabal (Meis al-Jabal), Hula, Aitaroun, Kfar Shouba hills (Kfarchouba)


UN council at odds over peacekeeping operation in Lebanon–Aug. 12, 2020

“Military in civilian clothes” .. The Israeli army accuses “Green Without Borders” of spying for Hezbollah–July 15, 2020

The US supports Israel’s demands for expanding the peacekeeping mission’s mandate in southern Lebanon, however, most security council members back a continuation of its current mandate.

A view of a damaged building in the aftermath of a massive explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, August 12, 2020.
A view of a damaged building in the aftermath of a massive explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, August 12, 2020. (AFP) 

France has circulated a draft resolution that diplomats say would extend the mandate of UN’s peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon for a year.

The move comes as the UN Security Council remains at odds over the way mission known as UNIFIL operates on the ground, with the United States backing Israel’s demands for major changes including the expansion of its current mandate in terms of access to sites.

After the French release of the draft on Wednesday, diplomats are predicting tough negotiations before the UNIFIL mandate expires on August 31. The diplomats were speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private.

At a closed UNSC meeting on UNIFIL on Tuesday, US Ambassador Kelly Craft stressed the need for a new mandate.

“The US has long reiterated publicly and privately that the status quo in Lebanon is unacceptable,” Craft said. “Now is the time to empower UNIFIL, end the long complacency, and enable the mission to fully achieve what it was set out to accomplish.”

But Israel’s staunched ally, the US, faces an uphill struggle because most members of the UNSC back a continuation of the current mandate.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres wrote to the council on July 29 recommending a 12-month renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate, stressing the importance of maintaining high troop strength.

In his latest report to the Security Council, the UN chief underscored the importance of UNIFIL’s work as it continues to maintain peace and provide stability at a difficult time for the country, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Hezbollah: Israel’s claims of border clashes ‘completely false’

UNIFIL was created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops after a 1978 invasion.

The mission was expanded after a 2006 war between Israel and Iran-linked Hezbollah militants so that peacekeepers could deploy along the Lebanon-Israel border to help Lebanese troops extend their authority into their country’s south for the first time in decades.

Macron warns Iran against ‘interference’ in Lebanon

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday warned Iran against any interference in Lebanon after the gigantic blast last week that has prompted a political crisis in the country.

In telephone talks with President Hassan Rouhani, Macron emphasised the “necessity for all the powers concerned… to avoid any outside interference and to support the putting in place of a government which can manage the emergency,” the Elysee said.

Macron, who was the first world leader to visit Beirut after the explosion, has taken the lead role in coordinating the international response and at the weekend chaired a virtual aid conference that drummed up more than $295 million (250 million euros) in pledges.

‘Importance of UNIFIL presence’

Germany’s deputy UN ambassador Günter Sautter told the council on Tuesday in remarks circulated by the country’s UN mission that “recent tensions and the danger of escalation only underline the importance of UNIFIL presence on the ground.” He said “the new political reality” since last week’s devastating explosion at Beirut’s port made it “more important than ever.”

“UNIFIL’s mandate continues to be of utmost importance,” Sautter said. “It is clear that UNIFIL will not be able to do more with less. We therefore fully support UNIFIL in its current mandate and strength, and we hope that the council will once more show unanimous support to this important mission.”

READ MORE: UN renews peacekeeping mission amid Israel-Lebanon tensions

Hezbollah’s threat

Craft said at that time that UNIFIL was being “prevented from fulfilling its mandate” and Hezbollah had “been able to arm itself and expand operations, putting the Lebanese people at risk.”

She said the Security Council “must either pursue serious change to empower UNIFIL or realign its staffing and resources with tasks it can actually accomplish.”

As of June 15, UNIFIL comprised 10,275 military personnel from 45 troop-contributing countries, 238 international civilian staff and 580 national civilian staff.

Its Maritime Task Force comprised six vessels, two helicopters and 864 of the force’s military personnel. However, one vessel was damaged in last week’s deadly explosion and 23 naval personnel from Bangladesh were injured, two critically. Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said on Wednesday that four remain hospitalised in stable condition.

Jan Kubis, the United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon, and UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed Tuesday’s virtual council meeting.

Kubis urged the rapid formation of a new government following Monday’s resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his Cabinet.

The UN quoted him as telling the council: “There are immediate humanitarian needs that need to be addressed and necessary reforms that need to be undertaken without any delay to restore the trust of the Lebanese people, and of the international community in Lebanon.”



US Special Forces Oil Company (Delta Crescent Energy) Looting Eastern Syria, Pillaging Oil

This picture taken on July 19, 2020 shows a general view of a makeshift refinery using burners to distill crude oil in the village of Bishiriya in the countryside near the town of Qahtaniya west of Rumaylan (Rmeilan) in Syria’s Kurdish-controlled northeastern Hasakeh province. Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images.

map_syria_block_26Gulfsands is the Operator of the Block 26

Syria announces discovery of new gas field near Homs–Aug. 17, 2011

Executive Order 13582– Blocking Property of the Government of Syria–August 18, 2011

Suncor, Gulfsands declare force majeure in Syria–Dec 12, 2011

Gulfsands Petroleum shareholders scramble for the exits ahead of delisting–21 March 2018

Shares in Gulfsands Petroleum (GPX:AIM) are down nearly 80% at 0.98p as the company reveals plans to delist from AIM as it secures a new £4m financing deal with its major shareholders.


– XLON  At the request of the Company the following securities have been cancelled from trading on AIM with effect from the time and date of this notice. GULFSANDS PETROLEUM PLC

August 5, 2020,  Former Army Delta Force officer, US ambassador sign secretive contract to develop Syrian oil fields

Delta Crescent Energy LLC, was incorporated in Delaware in February 2019, according to its business license. Its partners include former U.S. ambassador to Denmark James Cain; James Reese, a former officer in the Army’s elite Delta Force; and John P. Dorrier Jr., a former executive at GulfSands Petroleum, a U.K.-based oil company with offices and drilling experience in Syria.
Reese, the former Delta Force soldier was also a founder at North Carolina-based consulting and private security firm TigerSwan

There are 250 companies that have an address matching Corporation Trust Center 1209 Orange St Wilmington, DE 19801.  delaware domestic limited-liability company, File Number 7273402

How Mike Pompeo Built a Blood-for-Oil Pipeline

The State Department, a conservative-connected shell company, and a key Kurdish crime family team up to siphon Syrian oil for U.S. investors.


Donald Trump’s plan in Syria is simple: Commit war crimes. Last October, the president unilaterally withdrew most American troops from their positions in Syria. He was convinced to leave only a few soldiers behind by the defense establishment, which prevailed on Trump by telling him the troops were necessary to protect the region’s oil fields for future American exploitation. “We’re keeping the oil,” Trump has said repeatedly.

That likely counts as “pillaging,” a crime of war under the United States-ratified Geneva Conventions. “It’s very hard to see how that’s not a war crime,” Carl Bruch, a senior lawyer at the Environmental Law Institute, told The New Republic.

Trump’s advisors aren’t trying to ship the oil directly to the U.S., as the president clumsily suggested. Instead, they’ve settled on ensuring exclusive profits from Syrian energy production for a shadowy American shell company.

This, along with Syria’s ongoing civil war, means the legal question of whether Americans are engaged in illegal pillaging is more complex, said Bruch: It hinges in part on whether the Syrian State or the Syrian people have actual ownership of oil under Syrian law. While the U.S. is occupying Syrian oil fields, the broader territory is controlled by the Syrian Kurdish rebel groups fighting against Bashar al-Assad, the genocidal dictator in Damascus. The rebels are eager to sell this oil to support their fledgling breakaway region.

Regardless of potential violations of international law, Trump’s plan is moving ahead. With the backing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Delta Crescent Energy, a Delaware-based company, has obtained the exclusive right to exploit Syrian oil fields. On July 30, Al-Monitor confirmed that Delta Crescent had secured a 25-year agreement with the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria, which controls most of the country’s oil wealth, to develop and market oil fields in areas under its control.

Neither the State Department nor the White House responded to requests for comment but this concession was brokered at the State Department’s highest levels, a government source with knowledge of the deal told The New Republic. Pompeo appeared to acknowledge this while speaking to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham during a Senate hearing on July 30. “The deal took a little longer, Senator, than we had hoped, and now we’re in implementation,” Pompeo said.

Whether or not the President’s cronies end up being tried in The Hague for pilfering overseas petroleum, the Delta Crescent contract is more of the dipshit diplomacy that has become normal under Trump’s leadership. The U.S. government risks inflaming regional tensions and enabling potential corruption, all to goose a politically connected domestic company’s profits. “We’re really driving home the idea that we just want to steal resources from this part of the world,” said Ben Friedman, policy director of Defense Priorities, a libertarian think tank.

The deal’s specifics make this much clear: Syria’s Kurds didn’t have any real choice in partners. Companies involved in the Syrian oil business risk punishing sanctions that would cut them off from the U.S. financial system. To avoid sanctions, companies need a sanctions waiver from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Four companies applied for one but only Delta Crescent received a waiver. (The Government Accountability Project, where I work, has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for a copy of this waiver as well as Delta Crescent’s application to the government for it.)

Little is known about Delta Crescent, whose acknowledged ownership so far includes the following: James Cain, a Republican donor, Bush-era ambassador to Denmark, and former president of the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team; John Dorrier, an oil executive with ties to Syrian regime financiers, who has made recent campaign contributions to Trump as well as to Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham; and James Reese, a former Army Special Forces officer and Fox News contributor who founded TigerSwan, a security contractor company with a history of civil rights violations. None of the three responded to requests for comment.

But beyond Pompeo, the company has friends in high places—both in Washington and in Iraqi Kurdistan, which borders Syria. Photos show Delta Crescent officials meeting a variety of powerful members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which controls the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil, including the region’s president, Nechirvan Barzani, and his chief of staff, Fawzi Hariri. Jim Jeffrey, the United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and his deputy Joel Rayburn have also been meeting with Barzani about Delta Crescent’s plans.

The U.S. company needs the notoriously corrupt Barzani family’s buy-in for the plan to work. Delta Crescent wanted to use a pipeline connecting Kirkuk, Iraq, to Turkey in order to export the Syrian oil, according to the government source. They “wanted to batch it with Iraqi Kurdish oil,” concealing its point of origin, said the source, “because they are slimy underhanded people.”

Multiple Iraqi analysts dismissed that plan as unlikely to succeed, with one telling The New Republic that it was “dumbass.” Syrian crude oil was of poor quality, and smuggling it could damage the Iraqi Kurdish government’s relationship with oil traders. “If you are the [Kurdistan Regional Government], why fuck it up?” said one analyst, who requested to speak on background for safety reasons.

Instead, sources suggested it’s more likely that Barzani companies will buy the fuel from Delta Crescent, potentially to process it at Iraqi Kurdistan’s Lanaz refinery where Syrian fuel has already been shipped. The refinery is controlled by Mansour Barzani, the region’s special forces chief, who is the brother of the Kurdish prime minister and the cousin of regional president Nechirvan Barzani.* Photos show Delta Crescent meeting with other Barzani-connected politicians as well as with potential middleman companies connected to their families.

Beyond engaging corrupt actors to promote a private business, this U.S. policy is already causing a diplomatic mess. Assad’s Damascus government, along with its Russian and Iranian patrons, is already screaming bloody murder over the alleged oil theft; but even if one ignores the accusations of a genocidal dictator like Assad, the American oil deal could also cause issues with Turkey and Iraq.

The pipeline that Delta Crescent wants to use is the joint property of the Turkish and Iraqi government, and Baghdad alleges that the Iraqi Kurdish regional government is using the pipeline without the necessary permissions and revenue-sharing commitments. Iraq’s government has filed a case in an international arbitration court to reclaim the pipeline and is unlikely to be pleased with the State Department’s role in its use.

The situation with Turkey is even worse. The Turkish government believes the Syrian-Kurdish fighters are associated with a separatist group, the PKK, that it considers terrorists. “With this step, the PKK/YPG terror group has revealed its intention to advance its separatist agenda by seizing the Syrian people’s natural resources,” a Turkish government statement said about the Delta Crescent deal.

Delta Crescent’s Reese outlined his plan to solve these problems to a Washington Examiner columnist last October: Get the U.S. government to help his company, the same way it helped him get the contract in the first place. “If Turkey doesn’t want to support this plan, the U.S. can do it anyway and/or sanction the Turkish economy,” that columnist Tom Rogan wrote of Reese’s plan.

Delta Crescent’s defenders and State Department officials may argue that the oil deal is about supporting Syrian rebels and cutting Damascus off from fuel; they make nitpicky arguments about how this isn’t technically a war crime. But fundamentally, it’s about using American hard power to take Syria’s oil. Reese has even said it himself in April 2018 during a Fox News segment on “the right approach” for the U.S. in Syria.

“We own the whole eastern part of Syria. If you take a line from Kobane and run it down the Euphrates River, all the way back [to] Iraq? That’s ours,” he said, a miniature Purple Heart shining on his jacket lapel. “We can’t give that up.”

A previous version of this article misstated Mansour Barzani’s title.

Turkish Gas Looting Spree Setting-Off Confrontation w/Greece, France, UAE, US

[Interactive Cyprus map featuring Turkish drilling sites]

[Turkey claims half the Med.]

Erdogan rages at Greece over plans for military drills near oil and gas site

UAE sends F-16 jets to Crete for joint drills with Greece

French conduct military exercises with Greece off Crete as disputed ‘energy’ waters row with Turkey worsens

France sends jets and ships to tense east Mediterranean

Turkey and Greece to hold rival military exercises near Crete

  • Turkey extended the mission of oil exploration vessel, the Oruc Reis. Screenshot of taken on 25 August 2020. (Photo: MarineTraffic)

Turkey and Greece have announced they will both hold military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and Crete.

Tensions between both Nato countries had earlier mounted, after Turkey announced it would extend the oil-exploration mission of its research vessel, the Oruc Reis, in the disputed area until 27 August.

Initially, the mission was meant to have ended on on Sunday (23 August), but Turkey sent out a so-called “navtex”, a naval alert, saying the Oruc Reis and two supply vessels would continue their seismic exploration in order to prepare for new oil drillings.

Athens reacted by issuing its own “navtex” on Monday, announcing that its air and naval forces would conduct joint exercises in an area that overlaps with the one reserved by Ankara.

“Greece is responding calmly and with readiness both on a diplomatic and on an operational level. And with national confidence it does everything needed to defend its sovereign rights,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.

But for his part, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted by saying: “Greece does not have the right to declare a ‘navtex’ in the region,” and that it would be responsible for any “negative developments”.

“Turkey will not take even the smallest step back from the activities of either the Oruc Reis or our naval elements escorting it,” he added.

More complications

On Tuesday, Germany’s foreign minister is flying to Athens and Ankara in order to try to calm down the situation.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has tried to ease the tensions between Greece and Turkey by calling Erdogan and Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis several times in the past few weeks.

France, however, is fully supporting Greece and has asked Nato and the EU to condemn Turkey and impose new sanctions on the country.

On 13 August, French president Emmanuel Macron ordered the deployment of two Rafale fighter jets and two navy vessels to Crete to provide support for Greek naval patrols.

Defence sources in Athens say these ships and jets have arrived in Crete and already carried out joint manoeuvres with Greek forces.

In the beginning of July, there was already an incident in the Mediterranean between a French frigate and three Turkish military vessels that were escorting a cargo ship, suspected of smuggling arms to Libya in violation of a UN embargo.

EU foreign ministers are to have an informal meeting (Gymnich) in Berlin on 27 and 28 August.

On 24 and 25 September, there is a special EU summit on the situation in the eastern Mediterranean.

Belarus President Warns NATO Is Preparing Border Provocation

Defence24 Reveals Details of the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement [EXCLUSIVE]

“…establishment of a forward division command in Poznan, stationing of a rotationally-present armoured brigade in Żagań-Świętoszów, deployment of Reaper UAVs squadron to Łask, the establishment of a Polish-US combat training centre (CTC) in Drawsko Pomorskie, the establishment of an airlift cargo hub for USAF in Wrocław-Starachowice, the establishment of the presence of an Army Aviation Brigade on a rotational basis, and a logistics battalion as well as special ops facility in Powidz, and another special ops facility in Lubliniec.
…increase the number of US troops stationed in Poland up to 20 thousand”

Poland To Close “Suwalki Gap” Between Kalingrad, Russia, Using New “Fort Trump”

Why the Suwalki Gap Keeps Top U.S. General in Europe Up at Night

Lukashenko orders military to react without warning to violations of western border

The Defense Minister reported to the President that NATO troops in Lithuania “are approaching the border, turning around and leaving”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko BelTA/TASS

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko


MINSK, August 22. / TASS /. The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko ordered the leadership of the Ministry of Defense to react without warning to violations of the border in the western direction on Saturday. Lukashenko set this task before the Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin during his visit to the training ground near Grodno.

“There won’t be a warning. We warned them. If they violate the state border, we react without warning,” Lukashenko said. The broadcast was conducted by STV TV channel.

The Defense Minister reported to the President that NATO troops in Lithuania “are approaching the border, turning around and leaving.” “But we see them. If on Sunday it is [the movement of forces] in our direction if this happens, then we will act in accordance with the situation,” Khrenin said.

He also drew attention to the development of the situation inside the country. “The most difficult situation can develop in the western regions of the country, where a number of measures have been implemented for a long time to convince our population of their ethnic and cultural belonging to one of the closest neighbors of the Republic of Belarus,” Khrenin said.

Also, according to him, “it is possible that destructive forces, supervised by the special services of Western countries, enter the territory of the western regions of Belarus, both by legal and illegal means to increase efforts to destabilize the situation.” “At the same time, various provocations are possible to violate the airspace and the state border,” the concluded.

Malian Coup Leaders Special Forces Trained By Both Russian and US Militaries

Mali Coup Leaders Seized Power Days After Returning From Military Training Camp in Russia 

Assimi Goita and his brothers in arms: who are the leaders of the coup d’état in Mali?

Scene of joy at the passage of the militaryImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionScene of joy as the soldiers pass through Bamako

The deputy head of a military camp and a general trained in France are among the leaders of the coup that overthrew President Ibrahim Keïta on Tuesday.

BBC Monitoring has profiled three high-ranking military leaders who are believed to have played key roles in the coup.

1-Colonel Assimi Goita

Colonel Assimi GoitaImage copyrightMALIK KONATE
Image captionColonel Assimi Goita is the commander of the Autonomous Battalion of Special Forces of Mali (BAFS)

Colonel Assimi Goita, senior officer of the Malian army, presented himself on Wednesday as the leader of the soldiers who took power in Mali, the day after the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

“Let me introduce myself: I am Colonel Assimi Goita, the president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP),” this senior officer, who appeared on national television alongside other soldiers, told reporters on Tuesday evening. .

This man, at the head of the CNSP which overthrew IBK the day before, is the commander of the Autonomous Battalion of Special Forces of Mali (BAFS).

Colonel Goita, very discreet, would have participated in all the operations leading to the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

– Col Malick Diaw

Colonel Malick Diaw is the deputy leader of the Kati camp where the mutiny beganImage copyrightEPA
Image captionColonel Malick Diaw is the deputy leader of the Kati camp where the mutiny began

He is the deputy chief of the Kati camp where the mutiny began.

There is very little information about him other than reports that he recently returned from training in Russia.

He was alongside the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Col-Maj Ismael Wagué, who on Wednesday read a statement on behalf of the junta to announce the military takeover.

“Colonel Diaw is said to be the leader of the mutiny at the Kati camp, 15 km from Bamako. He is said to have asked the president of the republic to leave power before 2:00 p.m. GMT, according to a tweet about him.

– Col Sadio Camara

Col Camara is a former director of the military academy of Kati.

The Mali Tribune website reports that he was born in 1979 in Kati, in the Koulikoro region, in southern Mali.

He graduated from the Koulikoro Military Academy (EMIA) with first class honors.

He was then deployed to northern Mali where he served under General El Hadj Gamou until 2012.

Col Camara then became the director of the Kati military academy, a post he held until January 2020, when he left for Russia for military training.

Mali Tribune reports that he returned to Bamako earlier this month to take his month-long leave.

“Col Camara was appreciated by all where he worked and he is respected and adored by all his subordinates. To them, he represents righteousness, seriousness and determination,” writes the website.

General Cheick Fantamadi Dembélé presented at the start of the crisis as one of the putschists does not seem to be part of it according to several media. BBC Africa is trying to get in touch with him to confirm whether or not he is one of the actors in Tuesday’s coup.

Resignation at gunpoint

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says he resigned to avoid a bloodbathImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIbrahim Boubacar Keita says he resigned to avoid a bloodbath

Mali soldiers who ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita have said they plan to set up a transitional civilian government that will hold new elections.

The president appeared on state television to announce that, to avoid a bloodbath, he had resigned after he and his prime minister were arrested at gunpoint.

In recent months, mass protests have taken place in Mali to ask Mr. Keita to leave, blaming him for worsening jihadist violence and mismanagement of the economy.

Around the world, declarations follow one another to condemn the coup d’état in Mali. Sanctions and suspensions were inevitable.

It is not yet clear how long it will take for the military who pushed President Keita to leave to keep their promise to hand over to civilians to hold the elections.

International pressure could accelerate this process. Many in the country are waiting to see if popular conservative Imam Mahmoud Dicko, who led the protest movement, will have a role to play.

With Mali at the center of the jihadist rebellion that is spreading across West Africa at an alarming rate, the country is in desperate need of political stability.


Biden Cuts His Own Throat On Day One of Campaign, Promises To Shut Down Entire Country

[Remember Hillary’s self evisceration?  ]


Biden: ‘I would shut [country] down’ to prevent spread of COVID-19 if scientists recommended

Biden, Harris’ first joint interview airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC

Former Vice President Joe Biden said in an exclusive interview with ABC “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir on Friday that as president, he would shut the country down to stop the spread of COVID-19 if the move was recommended to him by scientists.

“I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” Biden told Muir Friday, alongside his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., during their first joint interview since officially becoming the Democratic Party’s presidential and vice presidential nominees.

Biden also criticized what he argued is the “fundamental flaw” of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, that the nation cannot begin to recover economically until the virus and public health emergency is under control.


Former President Frequent Flyer On Epstein’s Pedophile Plane

Bill Clinton…receiving neck massage from Epstein victim, 22, in never-before-seen photos during trip on pedophile’s plane to Africa in 2002

  • Bill Clinton is seen enjoying a neck massage from a Jeffrey Epstein victim in never-before-seen photographs obtained exclusively by
  • The pictures are an ill-timed reminder of Clinton’s links to Epstein as the former President, 72, prepares to endorse Joe Biden tonight at the Democratic Convention.
  • Clinton is seen sitting comfortably and laughing as Chauntae Davies, then a 22-year-old massage therapist, rubs her hands into his shoulders 
  • The images show Clinton, then 56, leaning back while Davies kneels on a chair behind him, and in a second image, he seems to be smiling in relief 
  • The former President had complained of a stiff neck after falling asleep on Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’ while on a humanitarian trip to Africa in 2002
  • Epstein’s accused madam Ghislaine Maxwell encouraged Davies to give Clinton a massage while the group was refueling at a small airport in Portugal
  • Maxwell, 58, was arrested in July and is currently in prison on charges in connection to Epstein’s sex trafficking ring  
  • After Maxwell’s insistence, Clinton asked Davies: ‘Would you mind giving it a crack?’
  • Clinton’s office previously issued a statement in regards to his travels on the plane and denied knowing anything about the financier’s crimes 

Bill Clinton grins with pleasure as he enjoys an intimate neck massage with a young Jeffrey Epstein victim in never-before-seen photographs obtained exclusively by

The troubling pictures are an ill-timed reminder of Clinton’s links to Epstein as the former President, 72, prepares to endorse Joe Biden tonight at the Democratic Convention.Clinton traveled numerous times on the dead pedophile’s private Jet, the Lolita Express, socialized with his alleged Madame, Ghislaine Maxwell, and faced a slew of sexual misconduct accusations himself during his years in public life.

Yet the 42nd President of the United States is still revered in progressive circles despite the renewed focus on Epstein’s crimes and the predatory behavior of rich, powerful men laid bare by the #MeToo movement.

In the photos, Clinton sits comfortably and laughs as Chauntae Davies, then a 22-year-old massage therapist who acted as Epstein’s personal masseuse, rubs her hands into his shoulders to get out the kinks in his neck.

Bill Clinton is seen enjoying a neck massage from a Jeffrey Epstein victim in never-before-seen photographs obtained exclusively by Clinton sits comfortably and laughs as Chauntae Davies, then a 22-year-old massage therapist, rubs her hands into his shoulders
Clinton, then 56, had complained of having a stiff neck after falling asleep on Epstein’s notorious private jet while on a humanitarian trip with the pedophile to Africa in September of 2002. After Maxwell’s insistence, Clinton asked the twenty-something: ‘Would you mind giving it a crack?’
Davies, who has claimed she was raped by Epstein after being recruited by Maxwell, said Clinton was a ‘complete gentleman’ on the trip as she described how the encounter occurred
The pictures emerged as Clinton is set to make a rallying speech in support of Joe Biden at the Democratic convention on Tuesday night

Clinton, then 56, had complained of having a stiff neck after falling asleep on Epstein’s infamous private jet, nicknamed The Lolita Express, while on a humanitarian trip with the pedophile to Africa in September of 2002.

Maxwell, who is now in prison on sex trafficking charges, repeatedly encouraged Davies to give Clinton a massage while the group was refueling at a small airport in Portugal after flying in from New York.

After Maxwell’s insistence, Clinton asked the twenty-something: ‘Would you mind giving it a crack?’

The images show Clinton dressed in a yellow button down shirt and beige slacks with his hands resting on his lap, as he leaned back while Davies knelt on a chair behind him for a better angle.

In a second image, Clinton seems to be smiling in relief as a sweatpants-clad Davies massages him.

Davies, who has claimed she was raped by Epstein several times after being recruited by Maxwell, said Clinton was a ‘complete gentleman’ on the trip.

She previously said she was invited to travel to Africa one week before the departure, and when she arrived to the airfield, she was instructed to wear a uniform to look professional.

Davies acted as an air stewardess on the flight and described being shocked when Clinton boarded the plane, saying he was ‘charming and sweet’.

Davies, now in her early 40s, said of the massage pictures: ‘Although the image looks bizarre, President Clinton was a perfect gentleman during the trip and I saw absolutely no foul play involving him.’

She explained the massage happened when ‘we had a stop-over for the jet to refuel and while we were in the terminal the ex-President was complaining of stiffness from falling asleep in his chair.’Ghislaine chimed in to be funny and said that I could give him a massage.

‘Everyone had a little chuckle but Ghislaine in her prim British accent insisted and said I was good. The President then asked me ”would you mind giving it a crack”.

Clinton’s team said he had only taken four trips with Epstein on the Lolita Express in 2002 and 2003. But flight logs showed he had taken a total of at least 26 individual flights in the course of those years
Epstein’s silver and black Boeing 727 airliner – dubbed the ‘Lolita Express’ – carried prominent passengers including President Bill Clinton and British royal Prince Andrew
Epstein was accused of using his private plane to transport underage girls to his various luxury homes in New York, Palm Beach, New Mexico and even Paris. But Clinton has denied any knowledge of the pedophlies predilections

‘He turned his back to me and I reached up and I started to rub out the kink in our former President’s neck and shoulder.’

The massage therapist then revealed her embarrassment after innocently telling Clinton: ‘I’ve got a bad angle, would you mind getting on your knees?’

Describing the incident she said: ‘I’m not at all sure what came over me.

In an excerpt from her soon-to-be-released memoir, Davies added: ‘I was groggy and have also always been the queen of putting my foot in my mouth.’

‘For a moment the room fell silent. I couldn’t believe I’d said that. The words just shot out before I realized what I was saying or who I said it to.

‘Then, although his face had turned the color of fire, he laughed. The whole room was laughing too. And, being the good sport he was, he sat down so I could get a better angle.’

Epstein and Maxwell, along with other celebrities, accompanied Clinton on the trip to Africa in September 2002. It was part of a project for Clinton’s foundation to raise awareness about poverty and the AIDS crisis in the continent.

Clinton and Ghislaine were pictured posing together as they boarded Epstein’s plane.

Other pictures show the politician traveling on the infamous jet while playing cards with a cigar in his mouth.

The star-studded group – which included actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker – visited the countries of Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mozambique and South Africa during the five-day humanitarian trip.

Epstein was previously accused of using his private plane to transport underage girls to his various luxury homes in New York, Palm Beach, New Mexico and even Paris. American dignitaries and rich and powerful figures also traveled on the jet.

Clinton’s office previously issued a statement in regards to his travels on the plane and denied knowing anything about the financier’s crimes.

His team said he had only taken four trips with him in 2002 and 2003 – although flight logs showed he had taken a total of at least 26 individual flights in the course of those years.

‘President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has previously been charged in New York,’ a statement read.

‘In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the Clinton Foundation.

‘Staff, supporters of the Foundation, and his Secret Service detail traveled on every leg or every trip.’

Davies claims she was sexually abused by Epstein for several years and finally escaped his clutches in 2005.

She previously said she was invited to join the trip one week before they departed, and when she arrived to the airfield, she was instructed to wear a uniform to look professional (pictured)
Davies was thrust into Epstein’s (pictured together) inner circle when she was training to be a massage therapist at a college in Los Angeles. She wound up meeting Ghislaine at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. And just hours after meeting the now jailed socialite, Ghislaine contacted Davies and asked her to take a private jet with her to Epstein’s Palm Beach home

In July 2019 she was interviewed by the FBI and the Assistant Attorney General of New Mexico. Epstein was arrested and charged in New York five days later. He committed suicide inside his jail cell in August.

Davies was thrust into Epstein’s inner circle when she was training to be a massage therapist at a college in Los Angeles. She wound up meeting Ghislaine at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

And just hours after meeting the now jailed socialite, Ghislaine contacted Davies and asked her to take a private jet with her to Epstein’s Palm Beach, Florida home.

Within weeks she was jetting around the world on the Lolita Express and was flown to Epstein’s private island where she said she was attacked.

Davies said earlier this year that revisiting the photos made her question how such powerful people were pulled into Epstein’s circle as he was committing heinous sex crimes.

‘It’s clear that Epstein was using this private jet and his wealth to get close to rich and powerful people,’ Davies said.

‘Looking back at these images now it raises a lot of questions about why Bill Clinton was using the plane and what perhaps Jeffrey may have been trying to accomplish by having him around.’

After Maxwell’s insistence, Clinton asked the twenty-something: ‘Would you mind giving it a crack?’

The images show Clinton dressed in a yellow button down shirt and beige slacks with his hands resting on his lap, as he leaned back while Davies knelt on a chair behind him for a better angle.

In a second image, Clinton seems to be smiling in relief as a sweatpants-clad Davies massages him.

Davies, who has claimed she was raped by Epstein several times after being recruited by Maxwell, said Clinton was a ‘complete gentleman’ on the trip.

She previously said she was invited to travel to Africa one week before the departure, and when she arrived to the airfield, she was instructed to wear a uniform to look professional.

Davies acted as an air stewardess on the flight and described being shocked when Clinton boarded the plane, saying he was ‘charming and sweet’.

Davies, now in her early 40s, said of the massage pictures: ‘Although the image looks bizarre, President Clinton was a perfect gentleman during the trip and I saw absolutely no foul play involving him.’

She explained the massage happened when ‘we had a stop-over for the jet to refuel and while we were in the terminal the ex-President was complaining of stiffness from falling asleep in his chair.

‘Ghislaine chimed in to be funny and said that I could give him a massage.

‘Everyone had a little chuckle but Ghislaine in her prim British accent insisted and said I was good. The President then asked me ”would you mind giving it a crack”.

‘He turned his back to me and I reached up and I started to rub out the kink in our former President’s neck and shoulder.’

The massage therapist then revealed her embarrassment after innocently telling Clinton: ‘I’ve got a bad angle, would you mind getting on your knees?’

Lebanon Tribunal Clears Hezbollah Leadership and Syria In Hariri Assassination

Rafik Hariri’s Business Dealings More Relevant Than Beirut Phone Records

The Same People Who Arranged the Bombing of Rafik Hariri Are Now Forcing Lebanon’s Collapse

(Rafik Hariri’s LAST Interview) “Assassinating me is improbable–it is a big decision, one that is dangerous and costly.”

Rafik Hariri and Hezbollah leader Hassan NasrallahFormer Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, May 25, 2001. Photo by AP
Rafik Hariri and Nasrallah Were Prepared To Work Together Before Beirut Assassination

Lebanon Tribunal Judge: Hezbollah Leadership, Syria Not Involved in Hariri’s Assassination

Verdict in bombing by Hezbollah members that killed former prime minister comes as Lebanon continues to reel from the aftermath of the massive Beirut explosion and an economic crisis

File photo: A Lebanese man shouts for help for a wounded man [Rafik Hariri] near the site of a car bomb explosion in Beirut that killed Hariri, February 14, 2005.Credit: Mohamed Azakir / Reuters

There is no evidence that the leadership of the Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, or the Syrian government, were involved in the 2005 bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, a judge said on Tuesday.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reading the verdict in the trial of four Hezbollah members charged with conspiracy to kill Hariri and 21 others. “The trial chamber is of the view that Syria and Hezbollah may have had motives to eliminate Mr. Hariri and his political allies, however there is no evidence that the Hezbollah leadership had any involvement in Mr. Hariri’s murder and there is no direct evidence of Syrian involvement,” said Judge David Re, reading a summary of the court’s 2,600 page decision.
Hariri, a Sunni Muslim billionaire, had close ties with the United States, Western and Sunni Gulf Arab allies, and was seen as a threat to Iranian and Syrian influence in Lebanon. He led efforts to rebuild Beirut following the 1975-1990 civil war.

The verdict comes as Lebanese are still reeling from the aftermath of a huge explosion that killed 178 people this month and from an economic meltdown that has shattered their lives.

Hariri’s assassination plunged Lebanon into what was then its worst crisis since the war, setting the stage for years of confrontation between rival political forces.

The Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the February 14, 2005 bombing.

Judge David Re, Presiding Judge, Judge Janet Nosworthy and Judge Micheline Braidy at the United Nations-backed Lebanon Tribunal in Leidschendam, Netherlands August 18, 2020.
Judge David Re, Presiding Judge, Judge Janet Nosworthy and Judge Micheline Braidy at the United Nations-backed Lebanon Tribunal in Leidschendam, Netherlands August 18, 2020. Credit: PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW/ REUTERS

‘International Justice Defeats Intimidation’ read a headline in Lebanon’s an-Nahar daily with a caricature of the slain Hariri’s face looking at a mushroom cloud over the devastated city, with a caption: “May you also (get justice),” referring to an investigation that could unveil the cause of the blast.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that if any members of the movement were convicted, the group would stand by their innocence.

But views of the case are mixed.

Beirut tour guide Nada Nammour, 54, speaking before the reading of the verdict began, said that the 2005 bombing was a crime that should be punished. “Lebanon needs to see law and justice … We were born in war, we lived in war and will die in it, but our children deserve a future.”The verdict in The Hague may further polarize the already divided country and complicate an already tumultuous situation after the August 4 blast at the Beirut port, where authorities say ammonium nitrate stored unsafely detonated, fuelling public outrage and leading to the government’s resignation.
Harri’s killing removed a powerful Sunni leader and allowed the further political expansion of Shi’ite power led by Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon.

Justice 15 years on

The judgment had initially been expected earlier this month, but was delayed after the port explosion.

The investigation and trial in absentia of the four Hezbollah members has taken 15 years and cost roughly $1 billion. It could result in a guilty verdict and later sentencing of up to life imprisonment, or acquittal.

DNA evidence showed that the blast that killed Hariri was carried out by a male suicide bomber who was never identified.

Prosecutors used cell phone records to argue the men on trial, Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, Assad Hassan Sabra and Hussein Hassan Oneissi, carefully monitored Hariri’s movements in the months leading up to the attack to time it and to put forward a fake claim of responsibility as a diversion.

Court-appointed lawyers said there is no physical evidence linking the four to the crime and they should be acquitted.

The reading of the verdict is set to last several hours.

Hariri’s son Saad, who took his father’s mantle and has served as premier three times, is expected to attend. He has said he was not seeking revenge, but that justice must prevail.
Some Lebanese say they are now more concerned with finding out the truth behind the Beirut port blast.
“I do want to know what the verdict is … but what matters now is who did this (port blast) to us because this touched more people,” said Francois, a volunteer helping victims in a ruined district.

SecState Pompous Ridicules Idea of “American Police State”

Pompeo feels insulted when quizzed about US crackdown on protesters at home after he bashed ‘authoritarian regimes’ for same

Pompeo feels insulted when quizzed about US crackdown on protesters at home after he bashed ‘authoritarian regimes’ for same
ALSO ON RT.COMPompeo says US may impose sanctions & suspend oil deliveries for Belarus amid post-election crackdown

“The difference between the US and these authoritarian regimes couldn’t be more clear,” Pompeo insisted, reminding his interviewer, “we have the rule of law, we have the freedom of press, and every one of [the protesters being arrested] gets due process.”

“To somehow suggest that America’s moral authority is challenged by the amazing work that our police forces, our law enforcement do all across America, I frankly just find the question itself incomprehensible and insulting.”

It’s hardly the first time Pompeo has been reminded of US inconsistency regarding its sanctimonious pronouncements about other countries’ crackdowns on “peaceful protesters” – or the press, for that matter.

A staunch defender of the right of some Hong Kong residents to express their discontent with Chinese rule by destroying their city, Pompeo was confronted with the disconnect between Washington’s indulgence of those “protesters” and its brutality toward some Black Lives Matter protesters back in June. Then, too, he brushed off the notion of a “moral equivalency between what takes place in these countries where they repress their people” and the US.

Despite Pompeo’s praise of their “amazing” work, US cops have killed more people in the few months following George Floyd’s death at police hands than Chinese cops have in the entirety of the Hong Kong protests. And while the US diplomat spent the past few months praising America’s press freedoms, the Trump administration was kicking dozens of Chinese journalists out of the US and severely curtailing the operations of Chinese media organizations.

ALSO ON RT.COMSetting Pompeo loose on the concept of ‘human rights’ is a warning the US is about to violate a lot more of them

Even the secretary of state’s invocation of religious freedom as that which sets the US apart rings a bit hollow given that American places of worship have been prohibited for months from holding services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while Wal-Marts and military contractors have been able to operate uninterrupted.

Pompeo launched what US media called his “anti-China, anti-Russia tour” in the Czech Republic earlier this week. He promised to deliver “freedom” to Belarus, where a landslide election in favor of incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko has brought hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets declaring the vote to have been rigged.

SecState Pompeo Exonerates Himself Over “Emergency” Arms Sales To Saudis, Ignoring the Civilians He Killed w/the Deal

Congressman Eliot Engel objected to the State Department’s ‘pre-spin’ summary and accused the department of trying to ‘distract and mislead’ by briefing prior to report’s release

US President Donald Trump fired the lead investigator in the probe back in May at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AFP)
By Sheren Khalel in Washington

An internal probe into a controversial US arms sale to Saudi Arabia has cleared Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of any wrongdoing, according to a senior State Department official, who briefed reporters prior to the report’s release.

The State Department on Monday said the inspector general’s report found that Pompeo did not violate the law when he declared a state of emergency that bypassed congress to approve an $8.1bn arms sale to Saudi Arabia in May 2019.

The administration used an obscure emergency procedure to push the sale through, garnering abuse of power accusations from congress which had objected to the arms deal.

Fired US investigator was looking into arms deal with Riyadh: Top Democrat

Read More »

Those objections triggered the IG office’s probe, which the State Department said has now “essentially confirmed… that the department acted in complete accordance of the law, [finding] no wrongdoing in the administration’s exercise of the emergency authorities that are available”.

The unnamed State Department official who briefed reporters on a conference call did not say when the official report would be published, but the department released excerpts in a statement, adding that the full release of the report was “imminent”.

In a scathing statement on Monday, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel highlighted that the official briefer was not a member of the inspector general’s office and accused the department of holding the briefing in order to control the narrative.

“This obvious pre-spin of the findings reeks of an attempt to distract and mislead,” Engel said.

The chairman accused Pompeo of “pulling directly from the Bill Barr playbook”, seemingly in reference to the attorney general’s 2019 “summary” release ahead of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign last year.

Ousting the investigator general

Democrats are likely to challenge the legitimacy of the IG’s report, given the fact that former inspector general Steve Linick, who started the probe, was ousted by US President Donald Trump in May, mid-investigation.

The Trump administration has denied accusations that Linick’s firing was related to the probe.

Linick was asked to investigate the 2019 arms sale by House Democrats last summer.

“From the beginning, we have been seeking the truth about why an emergency declaration was used to sell weapons to the Saudis and the UAE when there was no emergency,” Engel said in Monday’s press release.

Top US Democrat warns of another Pompeo-Saudi arms deal

Read More »

“Hopefully, the IG report will shed light on that question. However, the American people still deserve answers about why Mr. Linick was fired and why the State Department is trying to hide the facts about why he was fired and what he was investigating. I remain determined to get those answers.”

Congress initially sought to block the sale over the state-sanctioned killing of Middle East Eye columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. A US intelligence service probe released last year found that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the murder, which took place in the kingdom’s embassy in Turkey.

Congress has also objected to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has resulted in the deaths of 17,500 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch, and has caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Linick was also said to be investigating allegations that Pompeo and his wife used staff for personal favours such as walking their dog.

Trump said he fired Linick on Pompeo’s advice, sparking further outrage.

Linick’s acting successor, Stephen Akard, abruptly resigned last week as his office was finalising the report on Pompeo and the Saudi arms deal.

The department said Akard was returning to the private sector after years of government service. The hiring of Akard, a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence, was widely seen as a way to keep a friendly figure in the investigator’s seat.

Iran Posts Radar Images of 4 USNAVY Drones Over Beirut At Time of Detonation

Possibility of US sabotage in ‌Beirut explosion

TEHRAN, Aug. 05 (MNA) – Following the explosion in Beirut on Tuesday, radar images of “unusual patrols and reconnaissance operations” of four US Navy spy planes on the Lebanon-Syria coastline were released.

Some radar images of unusual patrols and reconnaissance operations of four US Navy spy planes on the Lebanon-Syria coastline were released after the powerful explosion in the port of Beirut.

In this regard, some security experts said that there is possibility of US sabotage, adding that US forces may have planned a sabotage operation in recent days.

Security analysts believe this is unprecedented.

The importance of this point and the release of these radar images is that the American intelligence sources were aware of the existence of 50 tons of nitrate that had been stored in this port for about nine years.

A massive explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon, with the force of an earthquake followed by a shock wave that devastated much of the city.

The blast appeared to have followed a fire that had broken out in the city’s port area, based on a video from the scene. The cause of the blast was immediately unknown. The force of the blast shook buildings, which were then hit again by the shock wave that blew out windows, sending shards of glass flying.

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan said that more than 50 people have been killed and 2,700 are wounded in a massive explosion at the port in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.

Beirut’s governor Marwan Abboud called it a “national catastrophe” and the prime minister declared a day of mourning.

2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, 850 Tons Beyond MVRhosus Capacity

“Gross tonnage 1900 tons”

[It has been reported that there were 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in the warehouse at Beirut Port, all reportedly from the MV Rhosus.  That is 850 tons more than the Rhosus was capable of holding…on top of that, it is reported that the Rhosus originally stopped at Port of Beirut in hopes of taking on extra cargo on top of their full load.]

RHOSUS, IMO 8630344

IMO number 8630344
MMSI 214181621
Name of the ship RHOSUS
Former names RHOSUS CL (2012, Moldova)
RHOSUS (2012, Georgia)
SEOKJUNG NO.505 (2005)
Vessel type General cargo vessel
Operating status Active
Flag Moldova
Gross tonnage 1900 tons
Deadweight 3226 tons
Length 86 m
Breadth 12 m

Damage Map–Beirut Explosion Aftermath

NASAs ARIA team, in collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore, used satellite data to map the extent of likely damage following a massive explosion in Beirut.

NASA’s ARIA team, in collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore, used satellite data to map the extent of likely damage following a massive explosion in Beirut. Dark red pixels represent the most severe damage. Areas in orange are moderately damaged, and areas in yellow are likely to have sustained somewhat less damage. Each colored pixel represents an area of 30 meters (33 yards).

The map contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by ESA (European Space Agency) and analyzed by ARIA team scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, and Earth Observatory of Singapore. Based in Pasadena, California, Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information on ARIA can be found here:

View all Images

Zionists and Neocons Fumble Sympathy Bid, Seize Opportunity To Blame Beirut Explosion On Hezbollah

[SEE: Zionist State Feigns Sorrow Over Beirut Blast, After Everyone Started Blaming Them]

Hezbollah is responsible for the Beirut disaster


S. Nasrallah: Hezbollah has nothing to do with the explosion of the port. The accusers are despotic liars.


Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks on the latest national events and incidents on August 7, 2020.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dedicated his entire speech to the tragedy that struck Lebanon by the nitrate explosion at the port of Beirut.

He began his speech by offering his condolences to the victims, the martyrs, the wounded and the missing, their families and those who lost their homes and were injured by this incident that cost more than 150 people and wounded more than 5,000.

“We are facing an exceptional incident in our modern history, which requires a specific related reaction in all areas”, he stressed.
Paying homage to the state, medical corps, civil defense and popular institutions that rushed to rescue the victims, Sayyed Nasrallah also praised the help and support efforts that have been provided by foreign states and organizations, according to him, which should “give opportunity to lift the embargo imposed on Lebanon ”.

However, he stopped at the third scenario, the Lebanese political scenario, where some political leaders, in addition to some regional states and their media, explored the incident to settle their accounts with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the government of Hassan Diab and especially with the Hezbollah.
“Even before they understood what had happened, these parties began to accuse Hezbollah, either by claiming that it has weapons and ammunition deposits in the port of Beirut, or by saying later, when the preliminary investigation certified that the shipment of nitrate nitrate to origin of the problem, what faith Hezbollah who deposited it in the port. They wanted to tell the affected Lebanese that Hezbollah is responsible for this disaster, for the death of people, for the wounded and for the destruction of their homes ”, he lamented, assuring that it is only lies and misinformation.

“These are unjust and arbitrary accusations against us. These are unfair claims that I wanted to answer, ”he said.
Nasrallah continued: “I can be sure that there has never been a deposit of Hezbollah weapons or ammunition at the port, neither in the past nor now. The investigation will soon reveal all the truths ”.

Proposing that the investigations be carried out by the Lebanese Army, which enjoys the confidence of all Lebanese protagonists and of all communities, the leader of Hezbollah, insisted on the need for them to be carried out, and that those to be tried should be punished he “the only eats from that the Lebanese Government really exists or from that there is hope that it can exist ”.
Addressing those who blame Hezbollah, he Garantieu that his efforts will fail.

“Anyone who has opened a war against us, against resistance and the axis of resistance, knows that their efforts will not have the desired results. This resistance thanks to the confidence of the people, their national and regional positions is certainly greater than being wronged by liars who incite civil war and deforming reality, the despotics. They will fail ”, he concluded.

Key speech ideas

I had announced that I wanted to speak last Wednesday before this tragic incident, some issues related to the current situation, about the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine, about the international tribunal and the date of August 7 (the announcement of his verdict final) and about the new coronavirus that had a new increase in Lebanon and the national fuel crisis besides some regional problems. But when this tragic incident happened I decided to change it and I will only talk about this tragic incident that happened in the last few days.
We are facing a large-scale disaster, which has affected all Lebanese. Beirut is home to all communities. There were more than 150 Lebanese, Syrian and other national martyrs.Thousands of wounded, dozens of people missing and homeless. The population experienced a panic seeing the buildings trembling as if there was an earthquake. Its side effects are very dangerous and the scenes that we have all seen show this very well.

We are facing a real tragedy, an exceptional, unprecedented incident and this will have consequences in several areas, aggravating the economic and financial crisis.

I extend my condolences to all families that have been harmed and affected by this explosion. I ask God for the healing of all the wounded and to give us patience and we demand a specific reaction in all areas.

It has a collegial feeling of solidarity and compassion that deserves great national and moral esteem that characterizes our people. Several State institutions took to the streets, but the most captivating was the popular enthusiasm that followed, civil organizations, young people, citizens came down to sweep the streets and remove debris, in addition to blood donation campaigns. Many families offered their homes to shelter the victims of the disaster.
Hezbollah, for its part, has not failed in its duty and all its institutions and human and material capacities are at the service of the institutions of the State and our people.The shelter project for those who lost their homes must be given priority and be taken seriously and we are fully prepared to help families who have lost their homes to find shelter and accommodation.

The second scene that presents itself comes from outside: the positions of many states of the world, religious, Christian and Muslim references, Sunnis and Shiites, political forces and others were part of a great movement of compassion and solidarity. We can only greet and thank them.
It is the various delegations that have come to Lebanon, including the visit of the French President, whom we welcome. All calls for help from Lebanon and to unite Lebanese are welcome. We want to emphasize the positive aspects, although some of these should be treated with caution. This opens up a new opportunity for Lebanon to exit the embargo.

The third scene before us is at the Lebanese national political level:

It is said that people who enjoy a certain moral standard and a certain sense of responsibility, when a tragedy or catastrophe occurs, all freeze their conflicts and suspend their internal disputes. They act morally in order to overcome the disaster and then open their notebooks again.
What happened, unfortunately, since the early hours of the disaster, when people didn’t even know what had happened yet, about the nature of the explosion, what the nature of the explosion was for, about the nature produced, whether fortuitous or premeditated , certain forces together with their media have gone out to spread a clear and definitive version, according to which the explosion of the deposit is due to Hezbollah missiles, or is a deposit full of Hezbollah ammunition and weapons.

Even when official authorities assured that there were no missiles or ammunition and that it was the nitrate that exploded, they went on to accuse Hezbollah of having done so.

In addition to the fact that it was a fortuitous accident, or due to missiles or aircraft attacks, the main thing for them was to accuse Hezbollah, to tell the Lebanese that it was this party that destroyed their homes.
This is a great injustice and is not called freedom of expression. We were also wronged, and we were directly affected in the incident, as we lost lives, we have many injuries in addition to material losses and jobs.

Although this subject does not deserve to be talked about, but a category of people can be influenced by this speech and really believe that Hezbollah is to blame because it has not reacted. I was told it was not worth talking about, but I made a point of raising this injustice.
I can say with certainty that there was never a deposit of Hezbollah weapons in the port, neither in the past nor now. Tomorrow the investigation will reveal all the truths.

It is important that these unjust and arbitrary lies and manipulations pass.
No foreign media serialized this version of events that remained the prerogative of these local and Arab political forces. Some have adopted another version that although Hezbollah does not have an arms depot at the port, it will be held responsible for the disaster because it controls the port. That is a big will lie.

We have nothing to do with the port, we do not know what is happening there, or what is stored inside.
Yes, we know what is happening in the port of Haifa much more than in the port of Beirut, because it is related to the conflict with the enemy. We know that we will always hear this symphony from this oppressive and despotic people who have always continued to speak.
The investigations will allow in the near future to clarify everything about what happened, and I hope that Lebanese public opinion will judge these media that have sown lies by abstaining from hatred and resentment, and not follow them because they will no longer have credibility and are part of the battle that the country craves.

This is not a political charge, when you lie to people by accusing a party and blaming it for death and destruction. In addition, we saw the political exploration of the event. Who has problems with the head of state, with the government and with us has to abstain.

We do not want to talk about this because now is the time for solidarity and action to reverse the aftermath of this tragedy. But as soon as it ends catastrophe, we will shelter the files. I don’t want to raise controversy now. The priority today is solidarity and compassion.

The main thing now is to carry out investigations to appoint those responsible and hold them accountable. An investigation must be carried out, at the request of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, ensuring that all involved are judged. This will be a good start.

What the Lebanese unanimously aspire to is a serious and diligent work for a transparent and complete investigation, to punish those responsible.
We are among those who demand this. It is not allowed to hide reality. We must avoid the ancestral means that have always governed Lebanon on a confessional basis and on confessional balance sheets. Those responsible must be tried in public for their crimes and responsibilities. They should not be spared because they are members of the community. Nor to condition that there is community balance and verdict.

I want to give answers to the political forces that ask which parties will carry out this investigation and that express their suspicions. Knowing that all Lebanese protagonists trust the Lebanese army, they are the ones who must carry out the investigations. All Lebanese have to trust our security agencies and encourage them to do a thorough job and a serial investigation. The army is the best choice.

On this point, I would like to add something:

As the incident is exceptional, the behavior of the Lebanese state must also be serious and responsible, as this is not an issue related only to the head of state or the government. All state institutions are concerned. It is not allowed to politicize an event like this.
The behavior of these institutions will have an impact on the fate of the country, whether or not there is a state in Lebanon or whether there is hope that there is one. If the State institutions do not carry out this investigation, it means that there is no State and that there will never be ‘.
Even if the incident was accidental or premeditated, this disaster reflects the problem of corruption and neglect.If we cannot elucidate what happened and try those responsible, it means that there is no state. This would mean that we are facing a crisis in the state system.
I appeal to be extremely serious and determined to prosecute those responsible for this incident to give hope to the Lebanese people.

I end with a colon

Disaster days are days of sacrifice and additional burdens, but they must also offer new opportunities. The reaction of different countries and states of compassion to the disaster presents this opportunity and we must take advantage of it.

The final point: all those who have opened a battle against our party, against resistance and the axis of resistance, know that they will not achieve any of the desired results. Their efforts will end in failure because the national and regional powers of our resistance, in addition to the trust of the people, are greater than being wronged or judged by unjust and despotic people who incite civil war, as faith always does. They are liars who disguise reality.


Source: Al-Manar

Speed of Beirut Blast Wave Confirms Ammonium Nitrate, NOT Military Grade Bomb

giant plumes of black smoke from a ship burning with tall buildings in the background
Early reports of the blast revealed that the building that sparked the eruption may have been storing large quantities of ammonium nitrate, a flammable chemical that has relatively harmless manifestations as fertilizer but has also been experimented with as a rocket fuel.PHOTOGRAPH: AFP/GETTY IMAGES


A blast injury specialist explores the chemistry—and history—of explosions like the one captured in videos that swept across the world.

ON AUGUST 4, 2020, a massive explosion blasted deadly waves through downtown Beirut. Then, video of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly. Now, details of the blast that started in a fireworks storage area by a small storage building at the end of a Beirut pier trickle in as the world waits to hear what the final death, injury, and destruction tallies will be. However, in a way, the world already has some idea what to expect, because similar blasts have occurred before.

As a biomedical engineer with a doctorate in the patterns of injury and trauma that follow an explosion, scraping together information from accidental blasts is part of my daily work. The more mundane explosions are rarely this size, but the same principles of physics and chemistry apply. Science, along with a few case studies from history, let me do some preliminary calculations to puzzle out this explosion, too.

In 1917, an accidental detonation of 6 million pounds of hodgepodge high explosives in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, left a swath of wreckage that, at least until Tuesday, was the largest nonnuclear explosion ever created by humanity. As we learn more about Beirut, which could possibly challenge that record, the story of Halifax tells us what we might expect to learn about the ensuing trauma, and the modern cell phone videos, along with the blast physics gleaned by scientists in the intervening century, tell us why those patterns of trauma occurred in quite the way they did.

The Frisky Chemistry of Ammonium Nitrate

Every fire is a rearrangement of molecules, and an explosion is basically a fire turbocharged into a hyper-energy-fueled frenzy. Unstable structures barter and swap atoms with one another until all of them, happy with their trades, blissfully settle into more relaxed, lower-energy states, like rocks reaching the bottom of a hill. But their excess energy has to go somewhere. In a campfire, where the chemical reactions are facilitated in a leisurely way by the oxygen in the air alone, energy is released slowly as enjoyable levels of heat and light. In an explosion, however, the devilish little instigator that is oxygen shoves the process into overdrive.

Early reports of the blast revealed that the building that sparked the eruption may have been storing large quantities of ammonium nitrate, a flammable chemical that has relatively harmless manifestations as fertilizer but has also been experimented with as a rocket fuel. Oxygen is the key to ammonium nitrate’s deadly habit of exploding, and given that 47 known, major, accidental ammonium nitrate explosions have occured in the last century, it is undeniably a habit. “Ammonium” is a nitrogen atom with four hydrogens, written NH4+, whereas the “nitrate” part of the mix is a nitrogen with three oxygens, NO3. Under boring everyday conditions, the + of the ammonium and the  of the nitrate pull the two molecules into a harmless hug, but when you add a spark—or a firework—the molecules realize that their very atoms can get a little friskier and convert into something completely new.
When ammonium nitrate is manufactured as fertilizer, it is mixed with other chemicals that usually stop this reaction from happening, though as the 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer Company proved, those chemicals are not always successful. The first reports out of Beirut suggested fertilizer may have once again been the culprit. However, photos shared on social media showed bags marked “Nitroprill HD” supposedly being stored at the Beirut pier, and some have speculated that if those photos are accurate, Nitroprill may be a knockoff of the name-brand blasting agent Nitropril. Nitropril is designed for use in coal mines, so this particular breed of ammonium nitrate would not have been mixed with quieting chemicals like a fertilizer would be; rather, it would have been mixed to blow.

And nitrate, when mixed to blow, wants to ditch those little Os. It’s chemically unstable, meaning the bonds between the Ns and the Os vibrate with an unhappy level of physical tension. Overloaded with three oxygens, NO3 is eager to shove some onto any neighbor, and with a little bit of heat to get things moving, it will do so willingly. NH4+ is all too happy to accept.

The chemical rearrangement of ammonium nitrate answers a lot of the public questions about the videos, including the source of the startling red color of the plume. One of the byproducts of NO3 as it sheds all that oxygen is nitrogen dioxide, which has a logically obvious chemical structure of NO2 and looks deep, blood red. Many explosive materials give off tints and hues during a blast that suggest their chemical composition—chemical additives to color both smoke and explosions have been around since before the 1920s and are how we get different-colored fireworks and signaling flares—and it’s nitrogen dioxide that gives an ammonium nitrate explosion its signature, ominous blood-like tone. A small blast can look subtle and orange-ish, but on a large scale like at Beirut, the sunlight helps deepen its hue.

According to Brad Wojtylak, a special agent bomb technician and certified explosive specialist with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, when smoke plumes are large enough, they begin to catch the sunlight, and refraction will darken the normal colors produced by any explosion. Wojtylak is not directly involved in the Beirut investigation but has 16 years of experience investigating blast accidents. He says as sunlight bounces around within the cloud of contaminants, other, less determined wavelengths get refracted off in different directions. When a smoke plume happens on such a large scale, only the longest wavelengths, the red shades, persevere all the way through to the viewer on the other side. So, the natural reddish color becomes even deeper, richer, darker than it would be for a small blast.

An explosive with a pure burn, like any explosive used in military-grade weaponry, will produce smoke that looks equally pure: snowy, billowy white, or sometimes a pale grey. But accidental explosions are far less tidy, and their sloppy combustion also produces ash, particulates, and gross black charred contaminated matter. This black gunk billows into the sky along with the other byproducts, coloring the smoke plume, like the charcoal residue left behind after the more efficient parts of the campfire wood have burned away. To a blast expert, the videos, with their roiling cloud of black and red curling over the pier of Beirut, scream “ammonium nitrate.”

Not a Shock Wave

The videos also show an unnervingly uniform hemisphere of white propagating outward from the blast site, a dome of vicious vapor that eventually hurtles toward every person filming and announces its arrival in the audio with a crash. This hemisphere is the pressure wave produced by the explosion.

No, it’s not a shock wave. It’s a pressure wave, and that key difference affects the number of casualties expected. A shock wave goes from zero pressure to its absolute maximum pressure in literally zero seconds. The impact of a pressure wave is like hitting the ground after rolling down a steep cliff; the force of a shock wave is like hitting the ground after falling through the air and reaching terminal velocity. High explosives produce shock waves; low explosives, like ammonium nitrate, produce pressure waves, which have a bit of slope to their shape, a period of time over which the pressure increases more gradually.

Shocks, because of their fascinating and complex physics, travel faster than the speed of sound, and they cause far more damage than pressure waves. Thankfully, we know this blast did not produce a shock because the speed of the water-vapor-filled white dome can be measured.

The speed of sound in air is 343 meters per second. Based on the viewing angle and distinctive red chairs pictured in some of the later frames, I traced one of the Beirut videos posted by The Guardian to its filming location on the rooftop terrace of La Mezcaleria Rooftop Bar, and measured it to be 885 meters from the center of the blast. From that vantage, the pressure wave can be seen neatly traveling from the center of the blast first to the point halfway between the end of the pier and the edge of the long, massive gray grain silo building, a distance of 151 meters, then to the end of the pier, 262 meters, then eventually to La Mezcaleria.

By measuring the times at which the pressure wave reaches these landmarks on the video, we know that, as it blazed down the pier, its rampage occurred at a speed of only 312 meters per second. That’s slow for a bomb. Then by the time the audible crash and mayhem reached the formerly peaceful and picturesque outdoor bar, it had slowed to at most 289 meters per second. The pressure wave, slower than the 343 meters per second speed of sound, caused destruction, horror, confusion, shattered glass, torn-apart flat surfaces, and disorientation for onlookers as their ears were subjected to the rapid pressure fluctuations. But a shock wave could have caused them to drop dead from lung trauma as they watched.

In the 6 million-pound Halifax explosion of 1917, the propagation of the shock wave through downtown left a swath of fatalities reaching 1.5 miles from the center of the blast, killing an estimated 1,950 and leaving another 8,000 with devastating injuries. (The ships that exploded in the harbor were known to be carrying high explosives, which by their nature always make shock waves.) In Beirut, thankfully, while building damage has been reported up to 5.6 miles away, because the low-explosive ammonium nitrate made a pressure wave rather than a shock wave, the fatality estimates so far are still in the hundreds, even though the charge size was likely larger than the bomb in Halifax.

Thanks to modern technology that charge size can be calculated scientifically too, even while waiting for more complete information to trickle out, using the size of the telltale crater. Analysis of the aerial photographs of the pier shows a crater in the range of 120 to 140 meters in diameter; blast physics mixed with history tell us that to carve a chunk that size from the side of the planet requires a charge equivalent to 1.7 to 5.4 million kilograms of TNT (that’s 3.8 to 11.8 million pounds for any Americans dragging their feet on converting to metric). For reference, the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 used the equivalent of 1.8 thousand kilograms of TNT. So, Beirut was at minimum a thousand times more boom than Oklahoma City.

As an aside, nuclear weaponry is set to detonate several hundred feet above ground level, and therefore doesn’t exert enough force directly on the soil to create a crater. The detonation of the first atomic weaponry above Hiroshima occurred almost exactly 75 years ago to the day, and despite its historically unprecedented trauma to the city and populace, it left behind no crater.

Germany, too, knows the destructive power of improperly stored ammonium nitrate, and an accident in that country reinforces the calculation of the charge size. In 1921, a fertilizer explosion in Oppau, Germany, carved a remarkably similar crater. At 120 meters in diameter, following the explosion of 4.1 million kilos of ammonium nitrate, the size of the Oppau crater supports the idea that the Beirut pier, which early reports said held only 2,750 metric tons—2.75 million kilograms—may have held some number of millions more kilograms of charge. However even using only those 2,750 metric tons, Special Agent Wojtylak says his preliminary calculations indicate that those safe from all risk of carnage would have needed to be at least 15 kilometers from the Beirut pier.

Within that radius, the injuries from such a massive blast in a downtown location can be as varied as the victims who experience them, but a number of them are likely from glass and other flying projectiles. Flat, delicate, frangible, and installed in large sheets, glass is the perfect target for a blast wave of even minuscule magnitude; it shatters and flies easier than any other substance.’

In Halifax, the fire that eventually triggered the main explosion meant that citizens were already positioned at their windows to watch the excitement when the bomb detonated. As a result, of those wounded on that morning in 1917, injuries of shattered glass penetrating the eyes of onlookers were described as “extraordinarily prevalent.” The accident of the fireworks storage area and its alarming plume of smoke similarly guaranteed plenty of onlookers for Beirut. Without smoke drawing these witnesses, we would not have such ample cell phone footage, but there also might have been fewer injuries.

After the Blast

The Halifax explosion resulted in the same series of events that, according to Duke University Hospital emergency room physician Dan Buckland, still occurs in emergency rooms today after mass casualty incidents. Buckland treated casualties following a natural gas explosion in Durham, North Carolina, in 2019 which, while substantially smaller in size, occurred in a densely populated downtown area. The first wave of patients are those who were physically near emergency services, he says, those unlucky enough to get hurt but lucky enough to do it in close proximity to an ambulance. After that, the hospitals get flooded by “walking wounded,” those who are wounded enough to seek medical care but intact enough to transport themselves. The key to increasing the number of survivors, Buckland says, is getting the third wave of patients through the door, through the crowds of this second wave. The third wave is made up of those at the core of the site, too injured to walk, whom the emergency responders combing the wreckage medically prioritize next.

After a blast in a civilian area, emergency responders aren’t the only heroes. Just after 9 am on December 6, 1917, in Halifax, mustachioed 45-year-old train dispatcher Vincent Coleman knew the lazy plume of smoke coming from the explosive-laden vessel in Halifax harbor was a terrifying portent of worse to come. But as the other dispatchers ran for their lives, Coleman realized the number of train passengers set to arrive at Halifax any moment, and so he stayed long enough to send one final telegram: “Hold up the train. Munitions ship on fire and making for Pier 6 … Goodbye boys.” Coleman died in the blast at 9:05, but his final message saved thousands, not just the passengers on the trains that were able to stop before entering the zone of destruction, but also the citizens already in Halifax: The telegram signal reached every operator in the surrounding region, and because of Coleman’s quick thinking, every doctor who felt the earth rumble, up to 160 km away, had almost immediate access to news about what had happened. They rushed in to help.

Medical personnel dealt with as many of the first, second, and even third waves of injured patients as fast as humanly possible, some of them even creating makeshift treatment centers on trains. From Beirut too, will gradually emerge stories of heroism and savvy, along with the final accounting of lives lost. But in the meantime, between those who filmed the blast and the application of physics, we can prevent any escalation of conspiracy theories or misunderstandings. The explosion wasn’t a military-grade bomb; it most certainly wasn’t a nuclear one. It was, sadly, tragically, history repeating itself yet again: Explosives can be devastatingly lethal, and we should never underestimate their destructive fury.


Rachel Lance is a biomedical engineer who specializes in patterns of injury and trauma from explosions. Her investigations of historical blasts include incidents from WWI, WWII, and the explosion set by the submarine *HL Hunley*, which was the topic of her recent book [In the Waves: My Quest to Solve… Read more

Trump Gives Our Most Incompetent “Diplomat”/Troublemaker Elliot Abrams the Job of Destroying Iran

Trump Starts Regime Change War In S. America, By Giving Notorious Repub/Neocon War Criminal Elliot Abrams the Job of Venezuelan Dissection

US special envoy for Venezuela has long, controversial history in Latin America

Failing upward? After botched Venezuelan regime-change, Elliott Abrams picked as Iran rep

The US is putting Iran on regime-change notice, appointing Iran-Contra convict Elliott Abrams as Special Representative for Iran in addition to his duties as Special Representative for Venezuela, a State Department release shows.

Abrams, who oversaw a series of failed coups in Venezuela both in the past year and during the botched 2002 coup against then-President Hugo Chavez, will take over from Brian Hook, who has “decided to step down,” according to a press release from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo lauded Hook’s efforts in the statement, declaring he had “achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime.” The outgoing official oversaw the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, leveling sanction upon sanction against the Islamic Republic after withdrawing the US from the JCPOA nuclear deal in 2018. Hook praised his own record to the New York Times on Thursday, declaring that

by almost every metric, the regime and its terrorist proxies are weaker than three and a half years ago.

We have been very successful,” he said.

Tensions between the two countries nearly spiraled into war in January after a US airstrike killed Quds Force leader Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, provoking a barrage of missiles from Iran targeting two coalition bases in Iraq. The US has also flooded the Persian Gulf with military assets and placed bounties on Iranian ships and other military assets.

The promotion comes ahead of a hotly-anticipated UN Security Council vote on extending the arms embargo on Iran. If the measure does not pass, the US has threatened to trigger “snapback” sanctions agreed upon as part of the 2015 nuclear deal – despite having pulled out of the deal years ago and therefore lacking an ability to enforce its provisions as a “participating nation.”Abrams has been a ubiquitous presence in the US’ regime-change efforts in Latin America, helping to replace left-leaning governments with right-wing dictatorships in El Salvador and Guatemala and attempting similar makeovers in Nicaragua and Venezuela. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to two minor criminal counts regarding the Iran-Contra scandal, in which the CIA illegally funneled weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras. However, he was subsequently pardoned by then-President George HW Bush and went on to continue undermining democratically-elected governments under George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

Zionist State Feigns Sorrow Over Beirut Blast, After Everyone Started Blaming Them

Netanyahu Says ‘Hezbollah Playing With Fire’ After Lebanon Border Incident

The Dahiya Doctrine and Israel’s Use of Disproportionate Force

Israel is in shock, in a sickening show of hypocrisy - Israel News ...An Israeli woman sits as the municipality building is illuminated with the Lebanese flag In Tel Aviv, Israel, August 5, 2020.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner,AP

Official Israel presented itself as shocked at the disaster that struck its neighbor, Lebanon, yesterday. Almost everyone put on a sorrowful face. Except for Richard Silverstein, who writes a blog, Tikkun Olam, no one accused Israel of causing the disaster. Except for Moshe Feiglin and a few other racists, no one expressed satanic joy over it. Fortunately, former Israeli army spokesman Avi Benayahu ran Feiglin out of the race: “With such statements, you don’t belong to the Jewish people,” declared Benayahu, the man of Jewish morality, and the stain was removed.

Benayahu is right: The Jewish state never caused such disasters, and when our enemies fell it never rejoiced. The Israel Defense Forces, whose voice Benayahu was, never such caused destruction and devastation, certainly not in Lebanon, certainly not in Beirut. What does the IDF have to do with the destruction of infrastructure? An explosion in the Beirut port? Why would the most moral army in the world have anything to do with bombing population centers? And so the country’s leaders hastened to offer help to the stricken land of the cedars, such a typical Jewish and Israeli gesture, human, lofty and moving to the point of tears.
True, the Israel Air Force thumbs its nose at Lebanon’s sovereignty and flies through its skies as if they were its own. True, Israel has devastated Lebanon twice in war, but who’s counting. Israel’s president issued a statement of condolences to the Lebanese people, the prime minister and the ministers of foreign affairs and defense said they had “given instructions to offer humanitarian and medical assistance to Lebanon.”
As if all this beneficence was not enough, the mayor of Tel Aviv ordered the municipality building illuminated with the colors of the Lebanese flag. Words fail. All past hatred has been set aside, Israel is now a friend in need to its suffering neighbor. Maybe it was Tu B’Av, the holiday of love, marked yesterday. But still, a vague memory threatens to spoil the how-beautiful-we-are party, which we love so much around here.
Was it not that same defense minister that only last week threatened that same Lebanon with destruction of infrastructure? Didn’t the prime minister also threaten Lebanon? And how does destruction of infrastructure look in Lebanon? Just like what was seen in Lebanon on Tuesday. The sound of thunder shook the city, black smoke billowed over it, destruction and devastation, civilian blood spilled, 4,000 injured at hospital doors, as described in horror by the ambassador of a European country in Beirut, who had previously served in Israel. She was injured Tuesday in the blast and was in shock.

Half of Israel and the entire IDF General Staff know how to recite the acclaimed Dahiya Doctrine. Every second politician has threatened to carry it out. That is our language with Lebanon and Gaza. It’s the doctrine espoused by the Israeli Carl von Clausewitz, former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, the current hope of the Israeli left, when he was chief of the Northern Command.

And what is this sophisticated doctrine? It’s the use of disproportionate, unbridled force against infrastructure, the sowing of destruction and shedding of as much blood as possible. “Flattening” – to teach the enemy a lesson “once and for all.” The IDF has tried this more than once in the past, in Lebanon and in Gaza, and it was a dizzying success story. It looks just like what was seen in Beirut on Tuesday.
Not a week had passed since Israel threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lebanon if Hezbollah dared avenge the killing of one of its fighters in a limited military action on the border, and Israel the destroyer becomes Israel the merciful. Would you accept humanitarian aid from such a country? Is there a more sickening show of hypocrisy?

When Israel demolished Dahiya and other neighborhoods in Beirut, the Tel Aviv Municipality building was not illuminated with the colors of the Lebanese flag. When Israel killed thousands of innocent women and children, old and young, in Gaza during the criminal Operation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge, the municipality was not lit up in the colors of the Palestinian flag. But on Wednesday we were all so humane, so Lebanese for a moment. Until the next Dahiya.

At 8:15 a.m. August 6, 1945…

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the single greatest acts of terrorism in human history?

new statesman

Surely 70 years is long enough for us to put to rest the tired canard of the atomic bombings on Japan being “the lesser of the two evils”, and recognise the true gravity of this crime against humanity.

The ground crew of the bomber Enola Gay. Photo: Getty
The ground crew of the bomber Enola Gay. Photo: Getty

Seventy years ago today, the Unites States dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second nuclear weapon, “Fat man”, was dropped over Nagasaki. To date, these are the only nuclear attacks in the history of human warfare.

The devastation caused by this new weapon was terrifying. The shockwave instantaneously obliterated almost everything within the blast radius. Houses, buildings and trees were levelled to the ground, as if they had been constructed of mere paper. The toll on the cities’ hapless inhabitants was even more dreadful, with the bombs claiming as many as 250,000 lives – the overwhelming majority civilian.

Around half the number died on the day of the bombings. The intense heat and pressure of the nuclear reaction wrought unspeakable horror on the soft bodies of the victims in its path – their blood rapidly boiling inside them, before leaving them as dried husks that crumbled to ash.

h02Shadows of people were etched onto walls and pavements, eerily marking the spot they had been standing only moments before incineration. Subsequent pressure waves squeezed the survivors until their internal organs ruptured inside them.


Those who survived the initial explosion succumbed to their dreadful injuries over the following days, or developed strange new illnesses from radiation exposure in the bomb’s aftermath.

It is difficult to survey the carnage and devastation, even in the cold light of day 70 years later, and not be appalled at this flagrant crime against humanity. The key justifications for the bombings still rest on the fallacy that they were necessary to end the war in the Pacific, representing the lesser of the evils. Apologists for the bombs claim the only alternative would have involved a protracted ground offensive that would have proved too costly for the Allies.

The somewhat racialised argument goes that the Japanese adhered to a “bushido” warrior ethic of sacrifice, considered surrender to be dishonourable, and were committed to the notion of “total war”, in which every man, woman and child would be mobilised for war, armed with rudimentary bamboo spears if need be. In other words, the Japanese, having rejected all opportunities to surrender, had vowed to fight to the bitter end. Consequently the planned invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall, would have resulted in much higher casualty figures. The US anticipated losing up to 1m US soldiers during the invasion, alongside another 10m Japanese deaths.

However, none of this cold calculation detracts from the fact that the bombings were indisputably heinous acts of state terrorism, fitting the standard definition almost perfectly: the use or threat of violence against civilians, to instil fear and achieve a political goal. Indeed, the Secret Target Committee in Los Alamos proposed that the large population centres of Kyoto or Hiroshima should be deliberately targeted for the “greatest psychological effect,” and to ensure the bombs’ “initial use was sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognised”.

Incidentally, this curious phrasing also points to the true targets of the bombs – the Soviet Union. This atomic diplomacy was effectively a display of strength and a warning to Stalin, representing the opening salvos of the Cold War.

The selection of the cities to be bombed was also more akin to a scientific experiment, rather than a purely strategic military calculation. The nominated cities had thus far been left deliberately untouched during the regular nightly bombing raids, in order to accurately assess the full capacity and damage inflicted by the atomic bombs.

The decision to use the bombs was also predicated on racist and dehumanising attitudes towards the Japanese. The Japanese were frequently depicted as “yellow vermin”, “living snarling rats” or “monkeys”. Indeed, the dehumanisation was such that the mutilation of Japanese soldiers became widespread. US servicemen frequently removed ears, teeth and skulls as grisly war trophies. Even President Roosevelt was infamously sent a letter opener carved from a Japanese bone by a US congressman. It was easier to drop inhumane weapons on those who were not really human to begin with.

But perhaps the greatest condemnation of the bombings is that they were unnecessary on the eve of the inevitable Allied victory, as the 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey later concluded. The Japanese were militarily exhausted and on the verge of defeat at this stage. In addition to staggering casualty figures, and extensive devastation of infrastructure through the aerial bombardment and firebombing campaigns, the naval blockade codenamed Operation starvation had also completely crippled the wartime economy.

Yes, unconditional surrender was publicly rejected by Japan’s leaders. However, privately, they were also making desperate entreaties to the then neutral Soviet Union, to mediate peace on more favourable terms. The Japanese would also have been keenly aware that the collapse of Nazi Germany had worrying implications for the redeployment of Allied forces.

The “betrayal” by the Soviets, who declared war on Japan on 9 August, just before Nagasaki was bombed, was the final straw. The Soviet army quickly defeated the Japanese in Chinese Manchukuo, crushing any vestige of hope that Japan might survive the conflict intact.

There is little disagreement that the atomic bombings constituted war crimes, even amongst its architects. As the US Secretary of Defence, Robert S. McNamara, famously reflected: “If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.”

Surely 70 years is long enough for us to put to rest the tired canard of the lesser of the two evils, and recognise the true gravity of this crime against humanity.

Dr Akil N. Awan is associate professor in Modern History, Political Violence and Terrorism at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Victoria, Australia Covid Restrictions Adopt Draconian Measures To Control

Police have been forced into the extraordinary measure of smashing car windows to get Victorians to comply with second wave COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. “On at least three or four occasions in the past week we’ve had to smash the windows of people in cars and pull them out of there so they could provide us their details because they weren’t telling us where they were going, they weren’t adhering to the chief health officer guidelines, they weren’t providing their name and their address,” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said. Mr Patton said the discretion period for COVID-19 rules in Victoria had “virtually closed” and more than 1500 patrolling officers and PSOs would enforce the restrictions every day. “It will only be in an exceptional circumstance – in an exceptional circumstance – that Victoria Police will be using discretion because we just have to stop this movement,” he said. “In the last week we’ve seen a trend, an emergence if you like, of groups of people, small groups, but nonetheless concerning groups who classify themselves as sovereign citizens – whatever that might mean – people who don’t think the law applies to them. “We’ve seen them at checkpoints baiting police, not providing their name and address. “There are consequences for your actions, and if you’re not doing the right thing we will not hesitate to issue infringements, to arrest you, to detail you where it’s appropriate.”
5km radius Covid Limitations

Info On Massive Fireworks-Caused Beirut Port Explosion

Extremely close up video of the Beirut Port explosion shows the fireworks before explosion

Beirut Blast Wrap-up

Yesterday 2.750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, exploded. The blast killed more than 100 people and wounded more than 4,000. Many buildings in Beirut were severely damaged. The pressure wave broke windows as far 10 miles away. Beirut’s port is mostly destroyed.

Lebanon’s national grain reserve, stored in grain silos next to the explosion, is gone.

This comes on top of an economic and currency meltdown in Lebanon and during a exponential growth phase of the Coronovirus epidemic.

In 2013 Lebanese authorities arrested a ship (pdf) that had been abandoned by its owner:

On 23/9/2013, m/v Rhosus, flying the Moldovian flag, sailed from Batumi Port, Georgia heading to Biera in Mozambique carrying 2,750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate in bulk.En route, the vessel faced technical problems forcing the Master to enter Beirut Port. Upon inspection of the vessel by Port State Control, the vessel was forbidden from sailing. Most crew except the Master and four crew members were repatriated and shortly afterwards the vessel was abandoned by her owners after charterers and cargo concern lost interest in the cargo. The vessel quickly ran out of stores, bunker and provisions.

Owing to the risks associated with retaining the Ammonium Nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port’s warehouses. The vessel and cargo remain to date in port awaiting auctioning and/or proper disposal.

The ammonium nitrate was stored in a quayside warehouse. The picture shows the 1,000 kilogram big bags labeled “Nitroprill HD” in bad storage conditions at the ‘Hanger 12’ warehouse in Beirut.

“Nitroprill HD” is a knock-off product of the trademarked Nitropril, a premium grade porous prilled ammonium nitrate manufactured and sold by the Orica Mining Services in Australia. It is used as a commercial explosive in mining and quarrying. The safety sheet of the original product says it “May explode under confinement and high temperature, but not readily detonated. May explode due to nearby detonations.”

An Orica safety assessment (pdf, Appendix III) sets the TNT (military explosive) equivalence for fire of bulk Nitropril in big bags at 15%. 2,750 tons of Nitropril are thereby the equivalent of 412.5 tons of TNT.

Specific hazards arising from the chemical:
Explosion risk in case of fire, especially if contaminated or confined. Molten product may explode from friction, shock
or containment. In the case of an intense fire evacuate all personnel to at least 1000 m.
Oxidizing substance. Increases intensity of a fire, even in the absence of oxygen. Ammonium nitrate on its own is not
combustible, however it supports the combustion of other materials. Contact with combustible material may cause fire.
Decomposes on heating emitting irritating white fumes and/or brown fumes. Brown fumes indicate the presence of
toxic oxides of nitrogen.

A video taken from the top of the grain silos next to the warehouse shows uncontrolled explosions of small fireworks within a port warehouse near to where the ammonium nitrate was stored. The small crackling fireworks explosions are followed by a very huge one. The video is consistent with other videos taken from further away. What set of the fireworks which set off the ammonium nitrate  is yet unknown but it is assumed to have been accidental.

The damage as shown in the before-after picture below is huge.

A look at the quay from the east with the crater of the explosion in front of the grain silos. The silos have protected the western part of the city from more damage. Wheat has spilled out. The grain reserves of Lebanon are down to less than a month of consumption.

larger image (huge crater)The ammonium nitrate should not have been stored in a warehouse within the city. But similar could be said of the Iranian ammunition that was stored at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base in Cyprus. It had been seized at U.S. urging en route to Syria in January 2009. On July 11 2011 a wildfire at the base set off the ammunition. The explosion killed dozens and destroyed the main power station of the island.

An aerial video taken this morning shows the utter devastation of Beirut’s port facilities. Lebanon depends on imports. 80% of those come through Beirut port.

Pictures and videos from various correspondents in Beirut show their damaged apartments (1234). All windows are broken and glass shards are strewn all over the places. The breaking windows must have caused most of the injuries. According to the mayor of Beirut some 300.000 people have lost their homes.

The Middle East correspondent for the Independent tweeted:

Bel Trew @Beltrew – 16:57 UTC · Aug 4, 2020My flat is completely destroyed. Not just windows blown in- like door and window frames ripped out. The cats are alive thank god.

Utter chaos outside St George hospital which has no electricity- medics are treating patients in the car park where the drive through COVID-19 tests were being done. It is now the ER, since the ER is destroyed. Patients screaming in agony in the background. #Beirut #Lebanon

Bel Trew’s full report of the explosion and its aftermath is here.

Syria and Iran have immediately promised aid for Lebanon. An Iranian emergency hospital is currently on its way to Beirut and is expected to open later today. Syria dispatched medical teams and is receiving patients from Beirut’s overwhelmed hospitals.

The explosion hit Beirut at a moment where the country is under U.S. sanctions and while its currency is cratering with inflation reaching 90% per month after a Ponzi scheme run by its Central Bank blew up. People who do not own foreign currency will be unable to replace their broken windows. The whole country is disintegrating.

Foreign aid from Arab and other states will now hopefully flow in and help to alleviate the suffering.

Gigantic Blast At the Port of Beirut

Beirut explosion: footage shows massive blast shaking Lebanon’s capital

Lebanese army soldiers stand while behind a helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. STR / AFP

Dozens killed, thousands wounded in Beirut blast: Live updates

Officials expect death toll to rise after huge blast rips through Lebanon’s capital.


Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan says more than 50 people have been killed and 2,700 are wounded in a massive explosion at the port in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.

The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.

Here are the latest updates:

19:38 GMT – More than 50 people killed: health minister

In televised remarks, Lebanon’s health minister says more than 50 people have been killed and 2,700 have been injured.

19:35 GMT – Lebanon PM says those responsible for Beirut explosion will pay the price

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said that those responsible for an explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse in Beirut port area that rocked the capital would pay the price.

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability… Those responsible will pay the price,” he said in a televised speech.

“Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations”.

A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking
A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut [STR/AFP]

19:33 GMT – Israel offers humanitarian aid

Israel says it has offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon via foreign channels, as the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

“Under the direction of Minister of Defence Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel approached Lebanon through international defence and diplomatic channels to offer the Lebanese
government medical humanitarian aid,” the two said in a joint statement.

19:22 GMT – Explosion destroys Italian civilian ship

Orient Queen

19:22 GMT – Explosion destroys Italian civilian ship

At the port Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari spoke to Vincenco Orlandini, 69, a crew member of an Italian civilian ship, the Orient Queen, that was docked near the blast site.

Orient Queen, approx. 1500′ from blast, on far right.

Orient Queen

At the port Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari spoke to Vincenco Orlandini, 69, a crew member of an Italian civilian ship, the Orient Queen, that was docked near the blast site.

He was covered in blood after the explosion threw him across a room of his ship, while several people on board were wounded and taken to hospital, Azhari said.

“I heard the blast and I flew to the opposite [side] of the lobby. I landed on the carpet and I’m lucky; I think that saved me. The ship is totally destroyed – the cabins, the lounge, everything,” Orlandini said.

A civil defense worker who has worked in the sector for 20 years was in disbelief at the scale of the damage.

“I’ve seen the assasinations and the explosions but this is something else. There is something wrong here,” he told Al Jazeera.

19:13 GMT – Israel: No reason not to believe Beirut blast was an accident

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi says the massive explosion in Beirut “was an accident caused by a
fire. I suggest caution with speculation – I do not see any reason not to believe the reports from Beirut”.

He made the comments to Israel’s Channel 12.

19:07 GMT – UK PM Johnson offers support to Beirut

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the UK is ready to provide any support it could to help Beirut.

“The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident.

“The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”

18:53 GMT – More than 25 people dead, 2,500 wounded: health minister

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan says more than 25 people have been killed and more than 2,500 are wounded.

“It is a disaster in every sense of the word,” Hassan said in an interview with several television channels while visiting a hospital in the Lebanese capital.

18:50 GMT – Iran ready to help Lebanon, Zarif tweets

Iran is ready to help Lebanon in any way necessary, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has tweeted.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon. As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary. Stay strong, Lebanon,” Zarif tweeted.

18:48 GMT – More than 2,200 injured: Lebanese Red Cross

The Lebanese Red Cross says that more than 2,200 people have been injured and that the numbers are likely to rise, local broadcasters have reported.

Lebanese army soldiers stand while behind a helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. STR / AFP
Lebanese army soldiers are seen while a helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut [STR/AFP]

18:34 GMT – Secretary General of Lebanese Kataeb Party among the dead

Among the dead is the Secretary General of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, the party has announced.

The headquarters of the Kataeb Party, one of the oldest parties in the country, is located right next to the port.

18:31 GMT – Some 400 – 500 people wounded: hospital sources

Local television quoted hospital sources as saying some 400 to 500 people have been wounded, and that all of the hospitals in the capital are overwhelmed as people are brought in.

18:20 GMT – Dozens of people being turned away from hospital

Dozens of people are trying to enter a hospital in Beirut and are being turned away, Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari said.

“People are discussing about which hospital they can get to across the city. This hospital, the Hotel-Dieu hospital has formally announced that people should stop coming here.”

“There are corridors lined with wounded, bloody people,” Azhari said.

“There are people crying. The hospital itself has sustained damage; its ceiling looks very precarious, it looks like it’s going to fall apart.”

18:17 GMT – PM calls for day of mourning on Wednesday

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called for an emergency meeting of the country’s Supreme Defence Council, according to the presidency’s Twitter account.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called for a day of mourning on Wednesday.

18:08 GMT – Ammonium nitrate stored in the port: Interior Minister

The Lebanese Interior Minister has said that ammonium nitrate was stored in the port, which is what caused the explosion, local media reported.

He said Lebanese customs should be asked about why it was there.

Lebanon-based broadcaster Mayadeen cited the country’s customs director saying tonnes of nitrate exploded.

17:51 GMT – In Pictures: Lebanon’s capital Beirut shaken by massive explosion

A massive explosion has rocked Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, causing many casualties, damaging buildings and shattering windows.

The blast, which flattened much of the capital’s port, was felt across the city as a giant mushroom cloud rose above it.

View the photo gallery here.

People help a man who was wounded in a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging building
People help a man who was wounded in a massive explosion in Beirut. [Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]

17:38 GMT – ‘Cars were thrown three floors up onto roofs of factories’: Al Jazeera correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari reaching the Beirut port shortly after the explosion, said the site looks like a “wasteland” with debris seen everywhere.

“Cars [from the ground] were thrown three floors up onto roofs of factories here,” Azhari said.

“Rescue services have not been able to reach the actual site of the explosion yet because fires are still raging. Helicopters are circling the area trying to extinguish the fire.

“It really was an incredible explosion. People here are saying that they have never seen anything like it.
Even on the way here the roads were covered in glass,” Azhari said.

17:27 GMT – Explosion ’caused by highly explosive material stored in warehouse’: Official

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reporting from Beirut said the head of General Security, General Abbas Ibrahim, visited the site of the explosion and said it appears the explosion was caused by highly explosive material that was stored in a warehouse.

According to Ibrahim, the explosive material was confiscated years ago.

“We are at the entrance of Beirut’s port, you can see behind me the chaos. Ambulances continue to arrive, continue to evacuate the casualties,” Khodr said.

“So far according to security sources, at least 10 people have been killed, but we are expecting that number to rise because we understand from the health minister as well as the Lebanese Red Cross that there has been hundreds of injuries.

“Ambulances have been called from across the country to help in the rescue effort. It was a massive explosion; you can see the fire trucks arriving at the scene trying to put out the flame.”

17:25 GMT – Newsfeed: Large explosion rocks Lebanon’s capital

Large explosion rocks Lebanon’s capital

17:22 GMT – Israel not involved in Beirut explosion, Israeli official says

Israel has nothing to do with a huge explosion at the Beirut port area, an Israeli official has said.

“Israel has nothing to do with the incident,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told Israeli N12 television news that the explosion was most likely an accident caused by a fire.

16:51 GMT – At least ten people killed in explosion: Report

At least 10 bodies have been taken to hospitals following the explosion in Beirut’s port area, a Lebanese security source and a medical source has told Reuters news agency.

16:50 GMT – Hundreds of people wounded: health minister

Hundreds of people have been wounded in a huge explosion that ripped through Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, Hamad Hassan, the country’s health minister, told Al Jazeera.


“Jewish Power” In the US Is Very Real, But To Say So Is “Anti-Semitic”

Jewish Press Boasts On Jewish Political Domination Of US Homeland Security Funds


NY Times Fails To Debunk “Canard” of Jewish Money Dominating Congress, Because It Is the Cold Truth

Mainstream Media Giant, Newsweek, Breaks Ultimate Taboo, Mentions Jewish Domination of American News Media

Mueller’s Trump Probe Inadvertently Exposing Juicy Center of Jewish Patronage

[SEE:  “Jewish Power“]

Congress is now three times as Jewish as the US is

Jews make up only 2 percent of the nation’s population, but have 34 representatives in Congress, or 6 percent of 535 lawmakers in both chambers


Members are sworn in at the House of Representatives during the opening session of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 3, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

JTA — More than 6 percent of the new Congress is Jewish, with 34 Jews among the total of 535 lawmakers in the US House of Representatives and Senate.

Jews make up 2% of the US population, so Congress as a whole is more than thrice as Jewish as the country in general, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center on religion in the new Congress, which was inaugurated Thursday.

The number is even larger in the Senate, where eight, or 8%, of the 100 members are Jewish.

This Congress has four more Jews than its predecessor, which had 30 Jewish members. But it’s far from the most Jewish Congress ever. That was the 1993 Congress, which boasted 51 Jews — nearly 10% of the total.

All of the Jews in the Senate are Democrats, as are all but two in the House. The Republican exceptions are Reps. Lee Zeldin and David Kustoff, from New York and Tennessee, respectively. They are the only non-Christian Republicans in the Congress, according to Pew.

Congress as a whole is overwhelmingly Christian — even more so than the country. Seventy-one percent of Americans identify as Christian, compared to 88 percent of Congress. Both Protestants and Catholics are overrepresented on Capitol Hill.

The most underrepresented group is unaffiliated Americans. Twenty-three percent of Americans don’t identify with a religion, but that’s true of just a sole member of Congress — new Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Unitarians are also represented in Congress.