36 thoughts on “Latakia, MSM, and Why Rodney Dangerfield was Right – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. According to the British newspaper The Sunday Times, the target was a consignment of 50 Russian-made Yakhont P-800 anti-ship missiles delivered to President Bashar Assad’s armed forces this year. The strike was actually carried out by an Israeli Dolphin class submarine which fired a cruise missile from the sea. [source YnetNews]

    Jerusalem Post covered the CNN story – US Official: Israel Launched Airstrike in Syria Last Week.

    The attack on Latakia, for which there was no claim of responsibility, was the work of the Israel Air Force, the officials said. [erroneously claims attack by IAF – Oui]

    My first comment is awaiting moderation because of a 3rd url, so I made this new post.

  2. Greatest surprise the Kremlin has remained silent on the Israeli attack, this is not what can be expected of Vladimir Putin. Possible complexity of Snowden overstaying his hospitality at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. Perhaps, since previous Israeli attack, the Assad regime has taken the initiative and done quite well, conquered Qusayr and laying siege to Homs and Aleppo. The rebel forces now killing each other’s commanders is also welcomed by Damascus.

    The RT readers are quite vocal on a copied CNN story – link.

  3. I think it’s best that Russia would wait with the supply of the s-300 to Assad, unless of course Assad pays in advance and there are no guarantees that the s-300 would stay intact in Syria for more than 30 seconds 🙂

    “Amos Harel wrote a story for Haaretz in which he claimed the Latakia attack “has largely flown under the radar.”
    Which is nonsense, because it discounts my own reporting which, of course, he didn’t credit.”

    Richard, I think Amos Harel had you in mind when he wrote “has largely flown under the radar” so it is not nonsense at all and it does not discount your reporting. Also I am not sure that from Amos Harel’s perspective you should have gotten any credit for a scoop – that is if the Israeli reporters had the story when you had it or before but were bound by the Israeli censors from publishing it.

    1. @Itai: Harel credited sources like CNN for the story, who weren’t the first to report it. If he had the story first, why did he even bother to credit CNN? No, sorry it’s an insular guild. If you’re a member you’re cool, if not, you’re chopped liver.

      In journalism, credit goes (or should go) to the one who reports it, that is, publishes it first. If I have a story and choose not to report it I deserve no credit.

  4. Richard, the scoop here is not that Israel attacked Syria. Israel gets blamed for attacking neighboring countries all the time. The scoop is that some unnamed US officials confirmed it, and CNN did that, not you.

    1. @Matan: And you’re an idiot who doesn’t even make any sense. Israel attacks other countries with great frequency and when it does so this is indeed important news.

      It’s why idiots like you come to this site to talk trash as you do because your goal is to obfuscate & devalue my contribution to the debate.

  5. From the satellite image, it doesn’t look like they hit anything explosive, though. If they hit a missile store, there should have been secondary explosions, and it is clear there were not. Anti-ship missiles would need quite a large explosive warhead. However only the roof has been knocked off, and the interior burnt out, while the walls are standing in good condition.

    Maybe they hit the wrong building.

    1. Or maybe the buildings contained sub-systems of the
      missile, like its radar, or launch vehicles and the missiles are
      stored elsewhere.

    2. Note the change in appearance of surrounding structures due
      to disappearance of vegetation. Indeed, some things are now exposed
      which were nearly hidden before the attack. (One of several good
      reasons for always having a good look after you’ve bombed
      something, because you can see what other objects you might have
      missed.) Concrete roof completely removed from large structure,
      too, rather than being holed and collapsed. The surrounding
      structures are clearly very tough, but it’s also clear that there
      was blast and heat. The Dolphin class have some 26″ torpedo tubes,
      because the US refused to supply Tomahawk missiles capable of being
      fired through standard 21″ tubes. These can be used for a variety
      of mines and torpedoes in theory, though in practice it’s almost
      certainly for a variant of the Popeye missile substituting for a
      Tomahawk. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popeye_%28missile%29 This
      allegedly exists in nuclear and conventional forms, though some of
      the performance figures seem like hype to me, borne out of
      frustration of not getting Tomahawks. There is much more damage to
      the main structure than could have been caused by one conventional
      Popeye, and multiple hits would have left things looking less tidy.
      I think the big structure must have been contained some fairly
      large munitions and was struck by a single Popeye, which caused the
      secondary explosions you don’t think happened, blowing the roof
      off, incinerating vegetation which had been screening nearby
      structures, and shifting soil. Based on other places where the
      Syrians store munitions, the big structure would have had a
      concrete roof, one to three feet thick, and with blast walls not
      quite reaching the roof, in order to vent heat from propellent
      fires and such so as not to risk detonation of warheads. In this
      case, with quite a large munition causing the initial explosion,
      this arrangement didn’t prevent a big secondary explosion, but it
      probably did send that explosion mostly upwards, along with the
      roof. Had the roof been the fifteen to thirty feet of
      ferro-concrete and other materials seen on Nazi installations of
      similar purpose, the Popeye might not have succeeded, but if it
      had, the secondary would have turned the whole site into hole. I
      think the secondary explosion would have involved a lot of missile
      fuel as much as warheads. The warheads might have been in one of
      the other structures, in fact. The one that looks slightly curved,
      “above” the main structure, could contain either warheads or (more
      probably) guidance systems needing calibration and commissioning
      work. (The internal logic of these sites hasn’t changed a lot from
      Northern France in the summer and autumn of 1944.) Popeyes can be
      launched from aircraft flying offshore as easily as submarines, the
      reason for using the latter would be to demonstrate a capability to
      hit similar installations a lot further away from Israeli

    3. The P800 missile reportedly has a 300KG warhead, which is a
      baby by the standards of some Soviet anti-ship missiles. It’s a
      very high speed missile, however, and I expect that most of the
      300KG will be metal rather than explosive. There’s a soild fuel
      booster and a ramjet sustainer motor, so lots of fuel, both
      self-oxidising and otherwise. It would have been good practice not
      to have the warheads fitted unless the weapons were about to be
      deployed for launch, but I’ve met Arab armourers before so I’m not
      betting on this. Likewise, it’d be good practice not to have the
      liquid ramjet fuel loaded. (Depending on what it is, it can be
      volatile and toxic as well as flammable.) I think they almost
      certainly hit the missiles, which are quite big things, which I
      can’t really visualize in numbers in the smaller structures. At
      least one of which should be a survival structure for the personnel
      on the site.

  6. Though *we* have much respect for you, corporate media will never offer it.

    I also have much personal respect for you, which is why I commented when you first broke the story, that it might be time to better vet your sources. I was just headed back there, to finally follow up, on my remarks. I was waiting for *this.*

    [I have never heard of an entire fleet of anything being *grounded,* for one silly malfunction. Personally, I wonder if they are bidden hidden , for reasons of safety.

  7. Though *we* have much respect for you, corporate media will never offer it.

    I also have much personal respect for you, which is why I commented when you first broke the story, that it might be time to better vet your sources. I was just headed back there, to finally follow up, on my remarks. I was waiting for *this.*

    [I have never heard of an entire fleet of anything being *grounded,* for one silly malfunction. Personally, I wonder if they are bidden hidden , for reasons of safety.]


      1. Explosions in Latakia: Before and After

        Israel Defense: anlysis of the satellite photography

        According to several Syrian opposition websites, the attack took place in the area of the village of Samiyah on the way from the port city of Latakia to Al Haffah – where a military complex containing a network of 20 bunkers and an isolated area with a warehouse stretching across 80 meters is located.

        Intelligence researcher Ronen Solomon obtained satellite photography of the same area, and an examination of the satellite photography and comparison to the photos taken before the supposed date of the attack yields several findings.

        1. “Intelligence researcher Ronen Solomon obtained satellite photography”…..

          Hmmm, the pictures do seem to show at least six bunkers were taken out as well as that large building, which might tend to rule out a submarine-launched strike, since the Dolphin-class have only four tubes capable of launching popeye cruise missiles.

  8. Richad, correct me if i’m wrong: you first reported that
    “The target were components of Russia’s SA-300 anti-aircraft
    missile system which had been shipped by Russia to Tartous and
    stored in Latakia” and only in Update I (which aired when ?) you
    stated that your source now claims it the target was Yakhonts
    (after other media outlets made that claim) I think that the
    variations in the information you publish (according to the
    information relayed to you by your source) makes your reporting
    looks like speculation and not a substantive report based on
    information. In my opinion, that is the reason you do not get
    credit for said story.

    1. @EladR: Sorry, doesn’t hold water. I reported that Israel attacked Latakia, which was true. I also reported that Israeli coordinated with the FSA, which no other outlet reported. True as well.

      What the target of the attack was is important, but secondary. It’s even possible that my source & those who carried out the attack believed there were SA-300 components at the depot and the IAF found they were Yakhonts instead.

  9. How did you know that Israel did that? Do you have sources
    in the Israeli Army or did you make an educated guess? Thanks for
    your blog!

  10. Richard, I’d like to know why are you sure that all the
    reporters that you’ve mentioned above read your blog and aware of
    the fact that you are the first to come with this story , so they
    have to credit you when they review it ? Furthermore , you have to
    consider that maybe those reporters have been waiting for a
    creditable source to confirm this story before they come out with
    it in a major media in Israel.

    1. It’s the job of a reporter to do research for his or her stories. Any simple Google search about the Latakia bombing would bring up my post. If a reporter can’t be bothered to do such research they shouldn’t be a reporter. Not to mention that I believe I emailed Aluf Benn with the link to my story.

      And as for “creditable” sources (by which I think you meant “credible”), I AM a credible source. Working for the NYT or CNN does not make you any more credible than I am. In fact, because I report stories they won’t or can’t in some ways I have MORE credibility than they do.

  11. @ Richard,

    although we have our many differences i do believe that where credit is due you should give it – so top of the hat to you Richard – and i hope you’ll get the proper credit from MSM as well.


  12. Like Noam above, I have to admit that I frequently do not agree with your reporting. You should know, however, that one Israeli media source did acknowledge your reporting on the Latakia attack – Ehud Yaari quoted you on Channel 2 news last Sunday night (a week ago). He then went on, however, to say that your site is generally unreliable and that your report should be ignored. I haven’t heard him since, so I don’t know if he has rescinded this comment.

    1. @Edmund: I wrote to Yaari challenging him to discuss my ideas & take them seriously instead of engaging in ambush journalism of this sort. Guess what? I never heard back from him. He’s a perfect example of what I was criticizing in the MSM.

  13. See my earlier post with link – Israel Defense: analysis of the satellite photography.

    “A large cargo terminal of sorts was constructed at the entrance to the ammunition complex in the past two years, from which convoys of vehicles have arrived and departed, as can be seen on the photography from July 7. From an analysis of the satellite photography from the past few years and from the recent period, it seems that the terminal itself, near the main road, was not hit.

    The main damage is visible in the photo of the warehouse that collapsed inwards after being hit, and vehicles can be seen in the July 7 photo, including a crane, apparently carrying out evacuation activities. Several bunkers that were hit can be discerned in another photo.”

    These satellite photo’s showed the impact of multiple strikes: a large depot and up to 5 or 6 additional bunkers/buildings.

    I have searched Google maps for the exact location near village of Samiyah (route from Latikia to Al Haffah). Have been unable to pin-point this area. The researcher Ronen Solomon kept open the possibility of another target north of Latikia. This would be the target you wrote about in first article.

    “An additional report referred to a strike in the area of the Syrian naval base north of Latakia, which is used for deploying two Bastion batteries used to launch Yakhont missiles, and it is possible that they were also an attack objective.”

    1. “I have searched Google maps for the exact location near village of Samiyah (route from Latikia to Al Haffah). Have been unable to pin-point this area. ” Google is probably showing you the images from 2003, because those photos have the least cloud cover. But that predates the construction of that side. Move the slider to 2012, and then follow the highway from Al Haffah towards Latikia; you’ll see the bunkers just on the “Al Haffah side” of half-way.

  14. It’s here: 35°33’52.60″N 35°56’15.57″E Doesn’t appear on
    the 2003 image, which is the default display. First appearance is
    12/31/2004, along with the bunkers. The larger “cargo terminal”
    north of the bombed site (the one mentioned as being untouched by
    the raid) still isn’t there in the 10/05/2011 image, but you can
    see that the site was being levelled and work was

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