BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
The plot continues to thicken surrounding last week’s horrific explosion at the Beirut port, which has caused significant damage to the city and killed upwards of 200 people and left 4,000 seriously injured.
The official narrative has shifted somewhat since the initial blast was recorded and disseminated to the rest of the world.
First, the claim was that it was ammonium nitrate possibly from poorly stored fertilizer or, perhaps, from a Hezbollah weapons cache (ammonium nitrate is used in bomb making and is something that Hezbollah terrorists have long favored as a weapon). When questions were understandably raised about the severity of the blast (the fact there was a secondary explosion), the official narrative shifted to claim that there was a random fireworks warehouse nearby that was ignited by they initial blast.
As if that wasn’t suspicious enough of an explanation, the broken and corrupt Lebanese government waded in and asserted that there had been explosives improperly stored there for the last six years that the military simply forgot about until everything went boom!
While incompetence may be a continual factor in Mideast governance, when it comes to things that can kill and maim innocent people, I’ve often found Mideast regimes–notably those that allow for terrorist groups, like Hezbollah, to live freely in their territory, such as Lebanon’s regime does–aren’t so incompetent when handling weapons. After all, these things are not only expensive but losing them could be bad for their murderous business.
Speaking of which, former CIA agent Robert Baer has stepped out of the shadows to speak with CNN (thus far, this is the only thing I can hold against Baer in terms of this story). According to CNN‘s website, Baer believes that:
there were military munitions and propellants present. He speculated it could have been a weapons cache, but it’s unclear who it belongs to.
For the uninitiated, Robert Baer has decades worth of experience in the Middle East (specifically, Lebanon). He and his wife have written several incisive books on the region and their take on terrorism, oil politics, and overall US foreign policy toward the region. While this author certainly does not agree with every point of Baer’s work, his breadth and depth of experience in the region must be acknowledged. What’s more, he is not the only former intel official who disbelieves the official narrative. Robert Baer was also the inspiration for George Clooney’s pudgy character in the 2005 political thriller film, Syriana.
Here is Baer from that same CNN report:
“You look at that orange ball (of fire), and it’s clearly, like I said, a military explosive.”
Baer noted that white powder seen in the videos of the incident before the major blast are likely an indicator that ammonium nitrate was present and burning. He also noticed a lot of munitions going off ahead of the larger explosion.
Which gels perfectly with The Weichert Report‘s original reportage on the event from last week.
To remind you: there is an explosive substance known as Octogen (or, simply, HMX). This substance is used to augment conventional explosives. More importantly, though, HMX is used as one of three potential shape charges in rudimentary implosion-type nuclear bombs.
While the nuclear angle is the most extravagant (and unverified) claim of my original report (which was only meant to raise questions in the minds of the readers), it is imperative to remember that Iran’s defense ministry announced they were investing heavily in–and surging forward with–production of HMX in their ongoing war against Israel and her allies.
Remember two years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a brilliant presentation in which he announced that his intelligence services had gained access to “half a ton” of covert Iranian military documents proving that Iran had been lying about the extent and efficacy of its nuclear weapons program back in 2015, when the previous Obama Administration had negotiated the ill-fated executive agreement with Iran, which allowed for Iran to gain a legal pathway to nuclear weapons (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
Two years ago, Obama’s successor, President Donald J. Trump made good on his campaign promise from 2016 to abrogate that deal.
Ever since then, the United States and its regional partners (mainly Israel and Saudi Arabia) have been engaged in an increasingly dangerous shadow war with Iran, which has been destabilizing the region at breakneck speed since 2015 (involving itself in the Syrian and Yemen Civil Wars and complicating US plans in both Iraq and Afghanistan). For two years, in the “gray zone” (as Israel aptly calls it) between peace and war, the two sides have traded hostilities with one another across the region.
When thrown into the larger context of geopolitical events in the region, the fact that Hezbollah was known to operate in this area–and that Iran has been looking to strike a damaging blow against Israeli territory–it is quite likely that Iran’s proxies were storing HMX at this port facility. The explosion was felt as far away as Cyprus.
To the keyboard commandos out there: this is not the same thing that happened to the fertilizer plant in Texas in 2013.
This is much, much worse.
In fact, the Beirut blast is one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in history. According to The London Evening Standard, the blast was “one-tenth of the intensity of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb but far bigger than any blast from a conventional weapon.”
Could it be that the facility near the port of Beirut was not just housing HMX for use in enhancing explosives to ultimately be shot at Israel, but in fact was the site where Hezbollah was planning to assemble a nuclear weapon (likely a dirty bomb) of some kind?
As Baer asserts, we will likely never know. As an interesting aside, though, the half ton of Iranian secret documents that Israel claimed to uncover in 2018 included extensive research on HMX as it related to nuclear weapons.
Here is what retired Israeli Defense Force (IDF) military intelligence analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Raphael Ofek (who specializes in Weapons of Mass Destruction) had to say about these findings in 2019 for the Besa Center:
Another important facility that was unknown until the Iranian archive revelation was Sanjarian, adjacent to Tehran. Initial information on the facility, which has not yet been verified, was reported in 2009 by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an opposition organization to the Tehran regime based in Paris. The purpose of the Sanjarian facility was to produce the explosive system that surrounds the uranium core of a nuclear weapon, the function of which is to compress the core through the explosion in order to bring it to super-criticality. This process is called implosion. The explosive system is called MPI (Multi-Point Initiation system) or “Shock Wave Generator.” The main explosive in the MPI envelope is Octol, a mixture of HMX and TNT. The channels inside the shell contain special exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonators that are suitable for simultaneous ignition and are ignited only when high voltage is applied.
The fact that no verifiable source or publication has released information pertaining to potential radiation increases following the explosion likely means no nuclear material was present. But, as I noted in the original post on the Beirut explosion last week, HMX is an important ingredient for making an implosion-style rudimentary nuclear weapon. It is possible, therefore, that the port facility was being used to corral the materiel needed to construct a small, “dirty” nuclear weapons device of some kind–but someone intervened before the work could be complete.
This is especially true in light of the recent events on Israel’s border with Lebanon. The week of July 28, Jerusalem claimed they stopped a Hezbollah attack that was about to commence against Israel. In response, Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, vowed revenge for this Israeli attack on his minions (Israeli forces killed one of Hezbollah’s fighters during the defense of their territory at the end of July). Shortly thereafter, a brief firefight broke out between the two sides. Nasrallah claimed that the firefight was “unrelated” to his organization’s planned retaliation against Israel, which at that point, Nasrallah claimed was “still coming.”
Given the escalating threat vectors arrayed against Israel in the last month, it isn’t that surprising that some grand show was about to be put on by Hezbollah–and that that might have involved, at the very least, one of the most potent non-nuclear (although, possibly nuclear) explosives in history…but someone got to the threat first and mitigated it before it could take shape.
Or, maybe the official narrative is 100 percent correct.
Until independent scientists can actually get into the blast site and collect samples to be analyzed in a lab–and until those findings are released to the public–we will, as Robert Baer suggested above, never know.
Therefore, anyone saying that their interpretation of events, either the official narrative or the one I am suggesting in these pages, is simply conjecturing (hard science, after all, requires actual samples and study in a lab which has yet to be done in this case).
For the record: the Lebanese government is refusing to allow any independent investigators into the damaged site. I wonder why?
For now, one can expect that little pressure will be placed on the Lebanese government, as all interested parties appear quite content with the official narrative–no matter how flimsy it might be.