The Beirut explosion: A bird? A plane? A faked video of a missile?

Although we often believe “a lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on”, in this case the truth had a head start. In major incidents like this, the very earliest videos are much less likely to have been edited, because editing takes a little bit of time and a little bit of planning. Within a few minutes after the explosion, we had scores of videos showing the explosion from a multitude of angles, none of which showed any munition impacting the warehouse. Therefore, any video which appears later that claims to show a missile should be scrutinised with caution. In this case it is clear that a person or persons has created several fake videos of this incident in an attempt to manipulate and deceive those who view them.

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The question of the reported sounds of jets is more interesting. In this case multiple people reported hearing a similar sound, yet there doesn’t appear to be any other verified open source information which supports the presence of low flying jet aircraft. The nature and evolution of the fire at the warehouse appears to provide a likely explanation for this, increasing in intensity to create a roaring noise shortly before an interim explosion.

Questions do remain about this disaster: what started the initial fire? Was there some other material stored in Warehouse 12 that was ignited before spreading to the ammonium nitrate? Who is responsible for the ammonium nitrate remaining at the port for so long? However, when answering these questions, care must be taken, because it is clear that some actors are already attempting to inject false information into the public discourse.

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