hand in blue glove taking pellets of ammonium nitrate from bag

New Africa/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Conspiracy theorists twist facts around missing ammonium nitrate to push false flag claims

A quick glance at the facts surrounding the incident shows how the conspiracy theory is false.


Mikael Thalen


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Conspiracy theorists are using news regarding missing ammonium nitrate, a substance used in both explosives and fertilizer, to spread the claim that a false flag attack is imminent. 

But a quick glance at the facts surrounding the incident shows how the conspiracy theory is false.

Earlier this month it was revealed that 30 tons of ammonium nitrate had vanished from a rail car as it was being transported from Wyoming to California. Headlines regarding the incident quickly caught the attention of conspiracy theorists online.

Ryan Fournier, founder of the Students for Trump group, noted on Twitter that ammonium nitrate was also used in the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing and insinuated that something nefarious was afoot.

“A 30-ton shipment of chemical explosives went missing in California…” he wrote. “To be exact, 60,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the same stuff used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. What’s happening?”

Others were much more transparent in their remarks. Another Twitter user known as “The Patriot Voice” argued that the chemical was allowed to be taken before urging his followers to be “vigilant.”

Stew Peters, the notorious conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, stated unequivocally that the shipment had been stolen.

“Your government is going to blow up Americans, again,” he tweeted.

Yet had any of these conspiracy theorists read past the headlines, they would have quickly discovered that there is more to the story.

For starters, according to the company that owned the material, none of the seals had been broken on the train car. This indicates that the doors were never opened during transit.

A spokesperson for the company instead noted that initial findings suggested that the substance, which was being transported in pellet form, had simply leaked from the rail car.

“The railcar was sealed when it left the Cheyenne facility, and the seals were still intact when it arrived in Saltdale,” the spokesperson local news outlet KQED. “The initial assessment is that a leak through the bottom gate on the railcar may have developed in transit.”

While the investigation is ongoing, the rail company tasked with transporting the goods has said that it does “not believe there is any criminal or malicious activity involved.”

Why it matters

News headlines at times can be accurate but also be missing pertinent information. A simple glance at a headline regarding the missing ammonium nitrate would cause just about everyone to assume the material had been stolen.

But simply reading reports on the incident shows that there is a much simpler explanation. This case is a reminder to everyone to read past the headline in order to ensure you have all the facts.

The Daily Dot