Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.
WASHINGTON – While FBI, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs, the U.S. Coast Guard, state police and local law enforcement sources are publicly downplaying terrorism fears in the shooting of a guard at a BASF Corp. ammonia terminal in Freeport, Texas, some of those same sources are telling Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, off the record, they strongly suspect the guard stumbled into a terrorism reconnaissance operation.
The FBI, state and local law enforcement are all involved in investigating the incident Friday night on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The gunman, described as a dark-complexioned, mustachioed man with dark hair and a thick Middle Eastern accent and a 5 o’clock shadow, was driving a white, club cab, half-ton Chevrolet pickup with black trim at the bottom and dark-tinted windows. The truck had no front license plate.
Robbie House, the guard, questioned the driver of the truck about why he was in the vicinity of a large, multi-story ammonia tank. He told police the truck driver explained that he was taking pictures of it. When the guard turned to radio for help, the driver pulled out a handgun and shot House in the shoulder.
Disaster struck Texas City in 1947
Freeport is about 60 miles south of Houston, but only a few miles from Texas City, where one of the worst disasters in the history of the United States took place April 16, 1947, when the French ship SS Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, exploded at the docks. The entire dock area was destroyed, along with the nearby Monsanto Chemical Company, other smaller companies, grain warehouses, and numerous oil and chemical storage tanks.
Smaller explosions and fires were ignited by flying debris, not only along the industrial area, but throughout the city.
Fragments of iron, parts of the ship’s cargo, and dock equipment were hurled into businesses, houses, and public buildings. A 15-foot tidal wave caused by the force swept the dock area.
The concussion of the explosion, felt as far away as Port Arthur, damaged or destroyed at least 1,000 residences and buildings throughout Texas City. The ship SS High Flyer, in dock for repairs and also carrying ammonium nitrate, was ignited by the first explosion; it was towed 100 feet from the docks before it exploded about 16 hours later, at 1:10 a.m. the next day.
The first explosion had killed 26 Texas City firemen and destroyed all of the city’s fire-fighting equipment, including four trucks, leaving the city helpless in the wake of the second explosion. No central disaster organization had been established by the city, but most of the chemical and oil plants had disaster plans that were quickly activated. Although power and water were cut off, hundreds of local volunteers began fighting the fires and doing rescue work. Red Cross personnel and other volunteers from surrounding cities responded with assistance until almost 4,000 workers were operating; temporary hospitals, morgues, and shelters were set up.
Probably the exact number of people killed will never be known, although the ship’s anchor monument records 576 persons known dead, 398 of whom were identified, and 178 listed as missing. All records of personnel and payrolls of the Monsanto Company were destroyed, and many of the dock workers were itinerants and thus difficult to identify. Almost all persons in the dock area – firemen, ships’ crews, and spectators – were killed, and most of the bodies were never recovered; 63 bodies were buried unidentified. The number of injured ranged in the thousands, and loss of property totaled about $67 million.
The Texas City incident was the result of an accident. Terrorism experts have been examining the tragedy to determine the potential damage in a deliberate attack on a port city by a ship laden with chemicals, explosives – even, perhaps, a nuclear weapon. And that was before this latest, highly suspicious attack.
G2B sources say a mysterious armada of al-Qaida ships has been purchased to target, among other things, civilian ports, cruise ships and oil rigs.
House was listed in good condition today at an area hospital where he was recovering from the gunshot wound to the shoulder.
Chemical plants and refineries have tightened security since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for fear they may be targets in a future attack. Ammonia can be explosive when mixed with air. In addition, it should be noted that BASF is the second largest producer in the world of ammonium sulfate, a fertilizer with explosive tendencies.
The Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF is one of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers. The Freeport complex includes 16 plants, including an ammonia plant next to the deepwater cargo port. The facility produces adhesives, super absorbers, paints, nylons and plastics.
“We don’t believe we have any kind of a terrorist threat or that there was any way any kind of a terrorist planning or organization was going on with what occurred last night,” said Bob Doguim of the FBI’s Houston office immediately following the attack.
But other law-enforcement sources say common sense dictates that, in this case, with this extraordinary set of circumstances, “terrorism is everyone’s first guess.”
One law enforcement source said the signs point to this incident being a “terrorist reconnaissance operation.”
“There are no signs of any explosives,” he said. “There are no signs of any renegade ships in the area. But there is a strong likelihood this shooter and any companions that may have been with him were scoping out a possible target for terrorism.”