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Armory shop-partner of the CIA was looking for resale napalm – a combustible mixture for military bombing

The seller claims that the substance was required for the client for peaceful purposes, but refused to disclose them and the name of the customer.

The effects of napalm shock in South Vietnam. Holiday pictures AP
Arkansas company Thor Global Defense , supplying special weapons for the CIA, tried to acquire a large stock of napalm for resale. This information became known after the government raid to the office of the company on May 2, 2018 – agents of the special department of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that they had begun an investigation against Thor.

As BuzzFeed found out , there is no evidence that the raid is directly connected with the CIA or Thor’s attempt to sell dangerous flammable liquid to unknown customers. Nevertheless, history attracted the attention of journalists – a private contractor of the government tried to buy napalm for resale by order of certain people.

The document Thor of December 2017 refers to the purchase of a hazardous substance and its supply to the client every two months, but the name of the receiving party is not specified. The representative of the company refused to disclose information about the client to journalists, explaining this by a privacy policy. She added that the recent raid by the special services is not connected with the order of napalm. It is also unknown whether the goods were purchased for local or foreign customers, and how they were planned to dispose of it.

Thor employees with customers at the company’s personal shooting range. Photo from company page on Facebook
Napalm is a thickened gasoline used as an incendiary and flamethrower mixture. It is easily ignited and burns for a very long time, causing additional damage to the affected area, and also emits dense black smoke. He was invented by scientists at Harvard University in collaboration with the US Army Chemical Service in 1942, the same year the substance was used first in land encounters in Europe, and then for the bombing of occupied France.

The United States used napalm during the Korean War, but it gained large-scale use only in the Vietnam War (then the substance was partly produced in Canada). Due to its viscous structure, the mixture adhered well to transport, buildings, clothing and human skin.

Military specialists explain that napalm is a weapon of intimidation, since it leaves strong lesions on the body, leading to excruciating death. During the war in Vietnam, the US Air Force organized large-scale bombing of the insurgent territories with napalm, destroying kilometers of vegetation and sometimes mistakenly burning villages with civilians.

As military experts believe, in theory, napalm can be used to burn out terrorists sheltering in forests or mountains, or to destroy poppy fields from which plants are extracted opium.

Thor’s note on the acquisition of napalm says that the company will act as a “buyer and / or importer” of the mixture for the customer. A source familiar with the situation said that the firm had been trying to find suppliers of substances for many months, but it is unclear whether it found it. Representatives of Thor argue that the client did not plan to use napalm for military purposes, but did not name the area of ​​its non-military use.

In 1969, the American manufacturer Dow Chemical ceased to supply napalm to the Pentagon because of civil protests against the war in Vietnam and the use of such formidable weapons against civilians. In 1980, a convention on the prohibition or restriction of the use of specific types of weapons was published in Geneva , including the use of incendiary weapons. After that, most European countries refused to use napalm.

The US ratified and signed a law banning the use of napalm against civilians or military targets within the civilian defenses only in 2009. This agreement does not prohibit the production, sale or use of a combustible mixture, although the Pentagon claims to have destroyed all of the stocks of napalm in 2001.

Prior to BuzzFeed’s investigation, Thor’s plan for selling napalm was not known. At the time of writing, the investigation against the company continues, and the customer of the fuel mixture remains in the shadows.

The author of the book “Napalm: American Biography” Robert Neer (Robert Neer) is skeptical of the statement that the buyer was interested in the substance not for military purposes. Sometimes the mixture is used by enthusiasts in the design of portable flamethrowers or the burning of weeds on the lawn, but these are rare examples that do not whitewash the notorious reputation of napalm, the writer concludes.

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