Death By Miracle-Gro?

I was an avid TV non-watcher for years. Until COVID quarantine. Since March I have viewed more hours of television than in the preceding decade combined. One of the series we whiled our way through was the FX show Justified. It is network TV, to be sure, but it has its charms. One of which was the knavish-yet-sometimes-sympathetic anti-villain of the series, Boyd Crowder.

Boyd knew two things: how to use forty words when just four would do; and how to blow shit up.

I am certain the fictional Boyd Crowder would have something to say about the explosion that rocked Beirut last week. And I am sure that would be to tell us that there is no way that a warehouse of ammonium nitrate alone could have caused that cataclysm.

I am not a demolitions expert. I don’t know much about fertilizer. But I know when I smell bullshit coming from the American media. Funny how they try to sell us the plausibility of an explosion like Beirut’s from just ammonium nitrate.

From the New York Times (emphasis added):

John Ismay was a bomb disposal officer in the U.S. Navy before he became a reporter for The Times Magazine’s At War section. Here is the information he has gathered about the explosion in Beirut.

Lebanese officials say that thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port in Beirut caused the powerful explosion that devastated the city on Tuesday, killing more than 130 people, injuring at least 4,000 and displacing 300,000 from their homes.

Ammonium nitrate is used in fertilizer and in the mining industry as an explosive to blast rock and move mounds of earth. It has some military applications as well.

It has been the cause of previous industrial accidents, and an ingredient in acts of terrorism as well. It was used by white supremacists to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. in 1995. ….

… According to the Lebanese government, about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was stored in a warehouse on the Beirut waterfront and caught fire, later exploding. The fertilizer arrived in the city more than six years ago aboard a Russian-owned cargo ship that made an unscheduled stop in the city. Lebanese port officials said they made several requests to the courts to have the stockpile removed, but got no response. …

… Ammonium nitrate, by itself, is relatively harmless. But if added to a fuel source, and subjected to intense stresses like heat and pressure, it can explode. Although we do not know exactly what happened yet in Beirut, the sheer size of the collected ammonium nitrate offers some clues. If subjected to fire in such bulk quantities, and in a semi-contained environment like a warehouse, the potential for detonation is strong.

Other mainstream new sources are also eager to conjure up the image of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City: CBS News, ABC News, BBC News, NPR, and more.

Here’s where the bullshit detector goes off: Timothy McVeigh’s truckload of fertilizer could not possibly have caused the blast crater of the magnitude it supposedly did. I remember at the time an interview with Retired Air Force Brigadier General Benton K. Partin, former commander of the Air Force Armament Technology Laboratory. He was adamant that a fertilizer bomb by itself would not do such damage: there had to have been demolition charges around the bases of the building.*

So when I hear the Beirut explosion being compared to OKC in ’95, I know already that the media experts are making a false analogy, inflating the potential destruction of an ammonium nitrate explosion by comparing it to a planned act of demolition. The analogy is falsified all the more by the fact that McVeigh’s truckload was (purportedly) concocted precisely to be a bomb—it was NOT just a bunch of bags of fertilizer lying around. Some pretty elaborate chemistry had to have taken place to get any kind of explosion (i.e., more than just an intense fire, but an actual concussive reaction).

Fertilizer is not an explosive. This is a myth perpetrated by the media to keep us scared of homegrown terrorists all around us near and far. Fertilizer can be used to make explosives … just like cold medicine can be used to make crystal meth. But in both cases, you have to really know what you are doing and also have the right equipment.

If you follow the news links above, you will see that they all admit as much, but only in passing: ammonium nitrate by itself does not explode. It needs to be  well mixed with a fuel source (like diesel oil) AND have an effective detonation event. Furthermore, a random collocation of these three things together is unlikely to cause the kind of massive explosion that Beirut experienced. It’s not like dropping Mentos in Diet Coke. Only a careful preparation of NH4NO3 plus fuel plus detonator gets the Big Bada Boom of an ANFO bomb. So said Prof. John Goodpaster, a researcher in explosives at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis back in 2010: “The fertilizer and the fuel have to be combined in a just the right proportions, Goodpaster said, or else nothing will happen. ‘If they’re not mixed the right way, the detonator could go off, but there will be no explosion. It would just burn,’ he said.”

This paragraph (from here) spells it out in chemical terms:

ANFO /ammonium nitrate fuel oil/ consists of 94% ammonium nitrate prills coated with an anti-caking agent and 6% absorbed fuel oil.

For use in explosives–99% purity, water content of not more than 0.15%, should contain only small amounts of ether-soluble and water insoluble materials, sulfates & chlorides; 99.5% purity for nitrous oxide manufacture, ammonium phosphate is sometimes introduced as a stabilizer in the amount of a fraction of a percent.

There is no way that ammonium nitrate stored in a coastal warehouse in humid Beirut for six years could be anywhere close to the dryness specified above (less than two-tenths of one percent). Nor was there any way for the entire heap to be consistently suffused with exactly 6% fuel oil. Could it burn if ignited? Yes. Could there be some explosive events around the warehouse? Maybe. But the huge detonation and shock wave that were inflicted on Beirut could not have transpired due to a fireworks accident at a neighboring warehouse. It’s like thinking that jet fuel can burn hot enough to melt structural steel beams.

Zdenek Urbánek’s words ring true more than ever: “In one respect, we [who live behind the Iron Curtain] are more fortunate than you in the west. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and watch on television, nothing of the official truth. Unlike you, we have learned to read between the lines, because real truth is always subversive.” Indeed, there is more to disbelieve now than ever, especially with social media being new venues for propagandists to work. It is  curious to watch how “average” people on the Internet have such certain opinions about the Beirut explosion being due to a failure of the government. For example, Reddit threads like this one seem to exist so that know-nothings from across the Atlantic can pile opprobrium on the only-recently formed Lebanese government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab (since January 2020). This photo supposedly speaks for the people of Beirut …

Remarkable work with a spray-paint can, no? In fact, impossible. Every line, straight or curved, is the identical thickness. No hand is so steady that it could hold a spraying can exactly the same distance from a concrete barrier (while also certainly stooping down) for graffiti of this size. This looks to me like a Photoshop job.

The point of the photo is to pin blame on the current administration, because (we are to understand) that’s what the locals are doing. Indeed, many young people are. But the subtext of the photo is to push the idea that no Beiruti is contemplating the possibility that this explosion might not have been accidental. This is most certainly false. It is a red herring. The comments on Reddit condemn the administration for storing the confiscated ammonium nitrate (“that explosive fertilizer”!) in the warehouse for the last six years … although, again, the present government has only been in place since January. Then there are comments like this one from user MessoGesso:

“As horrible as this situation and outcome is, I’m relieved that it wasn’t an attack from another country.”

Isn’t that judgment a wee bit premature? Sort of like that convenient “random” man-on-the-street interview on 9/11 that laid out succinctly the official story of how fires weakened the structures enough to cause the collapses, long before the 9/11 Commission came to the same conclusion.

To be honest, the Reddit comments read like a brilliant piece of Israeli propaganda. Don’t be surprised if Lebanon’s neighbor to the south decides that it needs to invade in order to ensure “stability” for its citizens in Galilee. Perhaps, though, once again, he who offers the solution is also he who caused the original problem and incited the ensuing reaction. This is not to say absolutely that “Israel did it.” It is equally conceivable that the Empire based in Washington, D.C. did it.

Which may explain why we see—like something out of a Neocon wet dream—reports that other warehouses near the ammonium nitrate were holding … Iranian rocket fuel! Self-styled “weapons analyst” Carlos Osweda (aka Thomas Wictor) claims that Iran has taken to storing its weapons of mass destruction in civilian centers (inside of other countries!), thinking that puts them beyond the reach of their enemies. He claims further that the explosion took out the entirety of Iran’s rocket fuel supply. He cites the sound of multiple explosions as proof that “someone” took out an Iranian arms depot. Of course, multiple explosions are equally consistent with an attack by use of explosives as they are with the detonation of stored explosives. And in any case, rocket fuel near ammonium nitrate is not the same as fuel mixed in with ammonium nitrate.  They are playing on our ignorance of chemistry.

Fertilizer is not an explosive. Or, at least, not without a whole hell of a lot of sophisticated chemistry under exactly the right conditions. Warehouses of ammonium nitrate do not blow up spontaneously. Do not be afraid of the box of Miracle-Gro in your garage.

One more point can be made about this quite obvious attack on Beirut: people died. There were, without a doubt, deaths and injuries and people who lost their homes and possessions. I know that our friendly professional commenters will step in and assure us that—as on 9/11 and in war after war—no one at all died. These shills are liars, and all the more deceitful for charging money to let you read their lies.

What would Boyd Crowder say?

“A man who speaks out of both sides of his mouth deserves to have it permanently shut.”
Amen, Brother Crowder.

 

MR

 

*Another site says this: “… according to Department of the Army and Air Force Technical Manual No. 9-1910, entitled Military Explosives, ANFO requires a greater than 99% purity of ammonium nitrate, as well as a specific dryness, before it can be mixed with diesel fuel to create an explosive substance. The manual further spells out that even under ideal conditions (not often reached even by experts) 4,800 pounds of ANFO explosive would create a much smaller crater than the one left in front of the Murrah building, and its shock wave could not possibly wield the force necessary to compromise the building’s concrete support structure. The FBI claims that the ANFO charge was made from 50 bags of fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate fertilizers comes in much weaker concentrations than the 99%-plus required for explosives. Creating concentrated amounts of ammonium nitrate is quite complex, and would require many bags of fertilizer.”

 

19 thoughts on “Death By Miracle-Gro?

  1. Random fact: This is Piece of Mindful post #3,000.

    Excellent work…Maarten raising the bar. Off topic, but it boggles the mind that one truck-load of fertilizer is claimed to explain OKC. Those comparisons are as insincere as you say they are. There is no way that exact mixture occurred here. Certainly not by random chance, and likely not at all. When you add in the obvious incentive to the Western powers with the Iranian rocket fuel there…forget about it.

    Probabilities and facts highly favor a deliberate act.

    What I liked most about this piece is how it showed that the propaganda effort can actually expose the highly secret happenings behind the scenes. You can almost picture all of the CIA-backed newspaper editors telling their writers “make a comparison to OKC, blame the new Lebanese administration”. Classic tells of the propaganda machine at work.

    Well done…compelling case.

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  2. Thank you Maarten … good piece. It is funny how, if I do not specifically pay attention to something, how the news narrative becomes reality for me. Of course those explosions were something other than what we have been told. I’ve seen videos of the blast, and it reminded me of watching TV news during the Second Gulf War, and immensely powerful explosions in Baghdad, for which we were supposed to cheer, of course. This was a monstrous crime.

    Time I got my head back in the game. Vacation is oveur.

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  3. Fertilizer as a recurring culprit seems like a bit of Langley humor… They’re practically saying to your face that the story is bs. Relying on peoples’ ignorance of chemistry (mine included) as you say.

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  4. Off topic question: I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about the “Hollywood pedo ring” or whatever you call it, from people on FB. These are just online contacts that I probably connected with over anti-mask sentiment. But they’re on this pedo topic 24/7, some saying that corona and masks etc. are just a distraction from that atrocity.

    I might suspect the distraction goes the other way, at least in terms of the sort of bizarre intel-sounding stories that are talked about, all the drama and intrigue.

    But I just wondered if others are seeing that topic dominate, in whatever circles they follow? Or is it just the random group I see on FB?

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    1. I have long questioned the existence of pedo “rings,” though anything in life can surprise me. The reason is this: How does one recruit for such an endeavor? If you search for Jon Benet Ramsey here in the POM search engine (reminds me, it needs an update), you’ll possibly agree with me that the whole affair was a hoax, no such child existed, and that a Boulder CO pedo ring was a hoax too. So why is Intel pushing pedo rings?

      Yes, there are individual pedophiles, I am aware. Such a person would have to really know another person before admitting to his affliction, and asking another person to join. I do not see that happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s fear mongering as you have stated before. Take the Epstein scenario, who supposedly was a teacher turned Bear Stearns financial advisor…ya right! And that smiling female sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell who was the ring leader of young girls that catered to the Elite. Notice how the news reports of Pedo Island and flight logs really amped up about the time of the March lockdowns and it’s still getting prime time news attention. Wealthy men do not need pimps or agencies for sexual pleasure offerings.

        You can look at your County Sex Offender Registry. Those people rarely get news attention, other than the local commitment report in the local newspapers.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not sure if it’s worth responding to an off-topic question on a sliding-down-the-scrollbar post, but here goes.

        There is a lot of nonsense and fear-mongering in the pedo-ring-conspiracy crowd, but I don’t think that means there’s nothing to it. To sexualize children is to mentally control and enslave them.

        If you have the stomach for it, watch any live action Nickelodeon kids’ show for ten or fifteen minutes. You’ll see kids being blithely, subtly, not-so-subtly, and even brazenly sexualized, especially if the show was created by a deeply creepy individual named Dan Schneider. Schneider-produced shows like Victorious and iCarly have generated millions or billions in revenue for Nickelodeon because parents who are so keen about protecting their children by muzzling them with face masks either don’t watch the shows their kids are watching, or are lulled by the familiar sitcom beats and comforting laugh track into thinking this dehumanizing garbage is just harmless silly kid stuff. The long-standing rumors about Schneider sexually abusing his stars are at least as numerous and compelling as the rumors about Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, but if he’d been given the same media treatment they were given during the MeToo farce, parents might have scrutinized his shows more closely, and it would have killed some enormous cash cows. Nickelodeon quietly let him go during MeToo, calling it a mutual decision and giving no reason for it, which was strange because he was still their biggest moneymaker, but nobody in the mainstream media questioned it.

        I realize this is a far cry from some of the more outlandish rumors of institutionalized pedophilia, but I can see how pedophiles would be extremely useful to people in the business of cradle-to-grave mind control. Creeps like Schneider don’t just warp the minds of their audience. They also exert control over impressionable young entertainers like Ariana Grande. Institutionalized pedophilia seems like a logical component of the mind-fuckery we examine here at POM.

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          1. With all due respect, Mark, you surely realize that most people dismiss ALL conspiracy talk with pretty much the exact same line of thinking. “How could so many people doing such horrible things organize and communicate without getting caught?”

            Admittedly, most of the pedophilia-in-high-circles stuff I’ve read doesn’t seem credible. I can’t help thinking that this could be by design, to make anyone who raises the subject seem like a crackpot, and create an automatic it’s-all-bullshit, there’s nothing-to-see-here response to the subject from everyone else.

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            1. It’s a little different trying to understand the activities of uber-wealthy and oath-bound people, the few who rule the multitudes, and those who are not wealthy or connected and who engage in perversions. How do they find one another?

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              1. Well, we’re at a disadvantage, obviously, since we have no experience with what goes on in the rarefied world of uber-power.

                I’m a little confused by the distinction you’re making, though. Most of the people we talk about here are, as I believe you yourself have said, are middle-management. They are not the uber-wealthy, oath-bound people; they just do the bidding of the top rulers. To me, it’s just as difficult to wrap my head around the organization and communication that has to take place among low-level folk to create a psy-op like George Floyd as it is to imagine how powerful middle-management pedophiles do whatever the hell they do. But there’s plenty of evidence that it goes on. To me, it’s not difficult to see how the uber-wealthy would understand that pedophiles under their employ would be useful in grooming and preparing their chosen young people for a lifetime of mind-control. (I’ll link to a video of young Leonardo DiCaprio flirting back and forth with convicted sex offender Brian Peck, though watching it isn’t necessary, as we all know this stuff goes on.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZP3DR0qEms

                Also, if the Epstein island was a movie set and all the stuff about famous people on his flight lists is garbage, well, it’s garbage that’s been sold to us–by “alternative” and mainstream media–for a very long time. Why go to all that trouble? I think it’s a worthy topic that has been largely buried even among the conspiracy crowd because it’s obscured by a smokescreen of controlled-opposition bullshit.

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                1. In our regular search for truth we are dealing with vast networks of corrupted people who take part in payops and management of public perceptions. But they do not imagine they are doing anything wrong. At the very lowest level, they work for pay and sign NDAs. They lead otherwise normal lives and do not speak up. They are not afraid of being exposed. We have witnessed this. Pedophiles are compromised, live in shame. They cannot possibly imagine they are otherwise good people. They are surely living private lives of disgrace and shame … the idea that they take joy, fly to private places to partake with others like them, simply does not sit with me. They are deathly afraid of being caught and exposed. Who protects them? How does one build a pedophile network? The worst I’ve seen is kiddie porn, pretty ugly, where the clientele go to great length to avoid exposure, and who are easily entrapped. They do get organized though, not by choice, as registered sex offenders.

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                  1. We’d like to think they live in shame and self-loathing… but do they? I’m not going to search for links because I’m not sure either one of us really wants to go deep into this, but there absolutely are (or have been, maybe they’ve been shut down) websites and organizations committed to the idea that children enjoy sex and that the real monsters are those of us who demonize adults having sex with children. It’s easy for me to imagine how that mentality could be encouraged and capitalized upon by the sick-os who rule the world. The idea that all pedophiles live in shame and self-loathing is false. They justify their evil just like anyone else, from what I can tell.

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