Beirut seems to be a coursed city under permanent civil war, now also troubled by tragic blasts, like the one on August 4th that caused over 200 deaths and about $15 billion in property damage. Official explanation for it is a fire in ammonium nitrate storage that didn’t have proper safety measures. This material is as a strong of an explosive as TNT and from the same family of chemicals.
It was stored there for the last six years, and during that time customs official sent multiple letters to judges requesting the resolution of the issue.
The chemicals were confiscated from a Moldovan-flagged cargo ship that set sail from Batumi, Georgia to Beira Mozambique. Back in November 2013 the ship made port in Beirut, officially due to technical problems, but it seams that the owner didn’t have the funds to pay tolls for the Suez Canal. To get the money, he had taken additional cargo of heavy machinery, which was stack on the top of the cargo space causing the doors to buckle, and an inspection of the port state control deemed in not seaworthy, it was not allowed to leave and this is how the ammonium nitrate ended up in the warehouse on the shore. The ship sank in the harbour in February 2018 by the way.
In a press conference after the explosion president Trump said that according to his Generals, it was a bomb and so it was an attack. The media didn’t pick up on this statement, but the interesting thing is what he didn’t say, because he couldn’t.
A stash of explosive chemicals sitting in the middle of a war-thorn city where tensions run high will give someone ideas sooner or later. In the aftermath of the event the whole Lebanese government resigned.
Beirut is a happening place these days and for all the wrong reasons.
On September 10 the port was ablaze again with black smoke rising into the sky causing panic and people leaving the city for safety. Official explanation was a fire in the oil and rubber warehouse.
Truth is – the city is on fire.
And I get the feeling that there is something deeper going on there and I’m uneasy with it, but I know full well that we will never find out.
Media provides mostly bullet news and the message is kept simple, which is easier to coordinate. What’s more important – local media outlets can’t afford to keep reporters all over the world, they need to buy the news from one of the big guys, like Reuters or Bloomberg, so it’s really a narrow feed.
And there are other ways to coordinate the message and I can give you a real life example from a chief editor of a newspaper in Poland. Back in the day the Batory Foundation, paid for by one of Soros’s funds, was publishing the annual donation amounts to specific media outlets. So, it was no surprise when you open a newspaper what’re going to read - they were then singing from the same key (Batory stopped publishing the info since). I suppose it’s no different in other countries.
I also got an early glimpse into how newspapers work long time ago – so this young journalist discovers some irregularities in the local supermarket operation (that’s in the US), writes an article about and gives it to the editor.
He takes it, goes to see the owner and comes back with a fat advertising contract. Nothing gets published.
Apparently everybody cares about the integrity of the media and the journalists.
My experience is - when everybody says that they care about something that means nobody really cares.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler