Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Interesting that those caught in the crossfire and those trying to help will be arrested along with the opposition. When a nation is split into two factions — the government and everyone else — the government has failed.

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called Royal Torture: Bahrain princess charged with activist abuse.

From Texas on the Potomac blog in the USA:

Ex-Rep. Solomon Ortiz among U.S. pols to speak at government-sponsored conference in Bahrain

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A former Texas Democratic congressman has joined a controversial ultraconservative Republican on the speaking roster for a government-organized conference in a Middle Eastern country known for its record of human rights abuses.

Former Rep.  Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi is listed as one of the featured speakers and is set to give closing remarks at the Bahrain International Symposium that will take place March 31 – April 2. Ortiz joins former congressman Dan Burton of Indiana, a conspiracy theorist and bitter political enemy of former President Bill Clinton.

Burton is also a featured speaker at the event. No current members of Congress are on the list of speakers.

Burton made news last year…

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Activism is Common Sense

We need to be aware of how our actions or inactions affect not only those around us, but those on the other side of the globe. When we allow those in power to continue as they see fit, we collude with those in power to exploit ourselves, and those in even harsher conditions. We have been needlessly involved in wars based on faulty intelligence (a.k.a., lies) for over ten years now. We send money to foreign countries for security purposes, when those being secured are using this money to further victimize others.

 

It is easy to feel powerless. Essentially, you are. You need to take power. You need to actively fight for it. You need to militarize the pacifists. You don’t need bombs or guns: you need knowledge, social capital (i.e., friends), and the desire for change. You need to take your iPhone and use it for something more than playing Angry Birds. You need to make phone calls. Organize. You need to write emails. You need to stand up and call politicians out when they allow profits to win over people.

 

There will always be obstacles. There will always be something else you have to do. You don’t have to fight 24 hours a day. Even soldiers on the front have down time. But you do have to start. What can you accomplish in 15 minutes today?

 

Today you can call Combined Tactical Systems CEO Don Smith at 724-932-2177; my guess is you will get his voicemail, so have some reading material handy. Leave a message for him, be it a very simple statement regarding how his company’s chemical weapons are responsible a rise in miscarriages and the suppression of free speech, or a creative insult. {I left an admittedly teary voicemail for him yesterday: even so, still waiting for that return call about my case, Don.} Post the number on bathroom walls, subway stations, school desks, telephone poles… Let’s use some ingenuity.

 

This week I have followed up yet again with the University of Washington President’s office, also ccing correspondence to the UW Board of Regents and the UW Graduate Student Workers Union representative. I am also in communication with the US State Department’s Legal Advisors, based on the fact that injury of a US citizen by a chemical weapon produced by a US company must fall under their jurisdiction. I am still waiting to hear when my case will be heard by the WA State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.  

 

As always, if you have advice or relevant research for others wishing to help join the fight, feel free to comment or send an email to banteargasnow (at) hotmail.com.

 

Suzanne

Fighting Giants

This is the start of my day. Every day, two years and counting. How do I get closure? Am I closer or farther? Why am I fighting Goliath when most days I don’t even know what I did with my slingshot?

There are a series of smaller fights that must take place every day, but I can’t stop until the bigger fight is won. Every day my thoughts are focused on how do I make others understand the importance of my mission to ban the production, distribution, and use of tear gas, and then from there, how do I use that shared understanding to effect change.

Right now, I am gathering rocks. Like this one. Or this one.

Every day I put more information in my arsenal.

While I’m gathering ammunition I may be missing sight of other opportunities to win the war, but this is all I can do until I find that damn slingshot.

Please join my cause. Help stand up for those who can’t. Write your local authorities about the ethics of using chemical weapons on citizens. Challenge politicians, bureaucrats, producers and distributors of “less lethal” technologies who profit from killing and denying citizens their basic rights. You can contact Combined Tactical Systems at 724-932-2177. Leave a voicemail for CEO Don Smith, who is conveniently out for the day.

Share this mission with others who are willing to fight. You can also show support by liking the Ban Tear Gas Now! Facebook page and following us on Twitter @BanTearGasNow.

Birth Defects and Cancer as after-effect of US military “intervention”

Time to turn my rage back against the larger system for a purpose other than my own sorrow.

 

Please please please hold the US military and government officials and the corporation heads who profit off making these weapons responsible for destroying so many lives.

 

I’ll just say two more things today.

 

One, click on this link to the article in the Huffington Post about this subject.

 

Two, someone get the Hague on the phone. Why are more American leaders not prosecuted for war crimes? Why is our government exempted from protecting human rights?

 

Suzanne

Call for Collaboration

 

During my senior year in college, many years ago, my professor accused me of always trying to reinvent the wheel. It was in my nature to be as independent as possible, and being in an arts focused program at the time, I felt the need to make sure I didn’t steal inspiration from other artists. It was more about a code of ethics than stubbornness. Although I can be found guilty of this quality, too. You need to be stubborn if you are going to accomplish your goals. So I let the criticism slide off my back.

 

But now, as I push forward in my research, I have realized that collaboration is a necessary aspect of what I am trying to accomplish. First of all, in order to avoid repeating history, learning from others is just common sense. That’s why one purpose of my site has been to promote the work of others who have also written about this subject from a knowledgeable standpoint (and not the one promoted by the corporations who profit from weapons sales).  Secondly, the efforts of many will (most often) trump the efforts of one: if it’s just lonely little me on a soapbox, there’s only so far this message can go.

 

So I am asking for help as I ramp up my efforts to stop the further victimization of citizens through the use of tear gas and other chemical weapons. I want to partner with other organizations that may not have the exact same purpose as me, but also are working towards making a more socially just world. I would love to work with artists, lawyers, researchers, scholars, and other activists as I pursue this goal. (Many thanks to Jeff Nguyen for his contributions of resources; I will be posting them soon!!)

 

If you know of or work for an organization that would be willing to sponsor my efforts this summer as I conduct interviews and create activist toolkits/ materials, please contact me at banteargasnow (at) hotmail (dot) com.

 

Thank you for your support of this cause, and for the efforts you take each and every day to make this a better world.

 

— Suzanne

 

 

Link to Katriel’s “Health impact of Tear Gas?”

And another older work by an author from 2006, Jacob Katriel, who tried to get answers about tear gas from a military representative of the Israeli Governmental Radio. Read what he wrote here.

Link to Terry Allen’s article, “Chemical Cops: Tear Gas And Pepper Spray Can Be Deadly”

This article addresses the dangers of tear gas and pepper spray after the 1999 Seattle WTO riots. Although 13 years have passed since Terry Allen wrote about the dangers of allowing corporations to define safety of these weapons, what has changed?

Chemical Weapons Deployed in Syria

According to a NBC news report, chemical weapons were deployed against Syrian citizens yesterday, killing 25 (so far):

 

“There was ‘a state of panic and fear among the civilians and dozens of cases of suffocating and poisoning,’ [Rebel spokesman Fahd al Masry] said.

Masry said the attack would not have happened if foreign governments had taken stronger action.

‘They wouldn’t have used it if not for the silence of the international community on the crimes and massacres committed in Syria for the past two years,’ he said.”

 

I can only state the obvious. This is a tragic abuse of power, that in order to retain authority at any costs, so many can be killed – indiscriminately at that. And it will continue to happen over and over again, in Syria and other locations across the globe, if the vulnerable are left to fend for themselves.

I’d be interested to know what others think should happen in this case. What are concrete measures that can be taken to stop this from happening again, and to give some sense of justice to those who have lost loved ones in this attack. I’d especially want to hear from those familiar with the region. Post your thoughts in the comments below.

10 year Anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s Death – Moment of Action

Rachel was a devoted activist who attended the same college as me. She was so committed to the cause of social justice that she traveled halfway around the world to protect others. Her parents have since taken up a daunting fight to make the government of Israel admit to what anyone who has followed her case already knows. (To learn about her story and get inspired, see the Rachel Corrie Foundation website.) 

I think a moment of action is more appropriate than a moment of silence to honor her.

Do something to change the world for the better. Feel free to post your ideas and actions in the comments below.

Don’t let her and countless others’ deaths have been in vain.

Suzanne

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