Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the category “Resources for those exposed”

US Troops Injured by US Chemical Weapons in Iraq

According to mulitple sources including the Global Research’s condensed article based on the New York Time’s investigative report, the US did in fact find chemical weapons in Iraq, but they were our own. Having researched this issue for years now, through scholarly articles, historical documents, alternative news sources, and conversations with injured military vets, I am surprised that this information is just now coming to light in the mainstream media. There are a few questions that this “new finding” brings up:

1: Is it somehow worse that the people who are trained/ paid to deploy these weapons have been injured by said weapons to which innocent civilians have been subjected for decades?

2: Will further evidence that Americans can be and are injured by these weapons be enough to put an end to the production and export of these technologies?

Humans unfortunately have a history of staying silent in the face of genocide as long as our own tribes are not affected. We saw it during World War II. The media forced us to see Vietnam and even now, US vets are still suffering from the long-term effects of the chemical agents used there.  We’re seeing it in the Middle East, and what’s more, we are still responsible. We can point to the terrible things being done by ISIS to men, women, and children (which are indeed truly, utterly irredeemable), but our hands are not clean.  Our leaders claim that chemical weapons are necessary to our defense, but the liabilities of these weapons far outweigh any potential benefit. Chemical weapons have poisoned water and soil around the world. They have killed and permanently injured countless victims. Birth defects are on the rise.

We can no longer focus on stopping the “bad guys” from getting these weapons. Regimes change, policies change, and our friends today may very well be our enemies tomorrow — especially given the US tendency of creating enemies where there could be friends. If we want to protect our troops and stay the “good guys,” we need to ban the production, distribution, and stockpiling of chemical (and nuclear) weapons.

So what do we do?

We vote. We question politicians on their stance, and we lobby. We put forward our own candidates who will make the necessary changes to protect the global community from chemical weapons. We stop pretending like these issues don’t affect us or are too big for us to solve. We read and we talk to friends about the importance of this issue.

If you agree with me, share this article. Write your local representatives. And comment below if you have more information or solutions.

–Suzanne

 

Update on Turkey

Tear gas is being continuously used in Instanbul, so much so that other parts of the city are being impacted.

The most telling detail of the tragedy unfolding comes from the same article: that protesters are now writing their blood type on their forearms.

There are no words. This is not right. Citizens should be allowed to speak out without harm or fear.

America: stop the sales of this dangerous weapon! US companies should not be permitted to profit from this reckless abuse of authority. More and more often, tear gas is only used to suppress democracy and protect those illegitimately in power. Stop poisoning innocent civilians!

Popular Articles about Tear Gas forget the Majority of Citizens

In the days since the Turkish protests have begun, I have come across at least two (here’s one) misleading articles in the Slate online magazine regarding the relative safety of tear gas (while still being against its use).  Both Slate articles failed to recognize the difference in effects that tear gas has on healthy young males and the rest of the population, especially women, children, the elderly, and others with compromised immune systems. The commenters also failed to recognize this fact, instead jumping to the question of if a government can’t use tear gas for unruly protesters, what can it use?

To address the commenters – Let’s set aside the obvious and often repeated fact that a government’s definition of unruly protest and the public’s definition of peaceful assembly often happen to collide. First of all, violence against your people or the people of another country should not be the go to solution. It seems as though politicians have forgotten about true diplomacy, and the fact that consensus building is not a conflict resolution tool that should only be extended to leaders of other countries with large arsenals. The people deserve to be heard before policies are imposed from above: failure to recognize the values of the governed is the key cause for “unruly” protests.

Slate is not the only magazine guilty of this failure to recognize the potential harm to reproductive health, or the health of those outside the “norm”.  Although weapons manufacturers state tear gas is safe to use, the studies relied on as proof of its safety are outdated and were not conducted on a wide swath of the population (as ethically, chemical weapons cannot and should not be tested on pregnant women) – they were conducted over a short period of time on relatively healthy male Army recruits.  By downplaying the dangers of tear gas, those who are not soldiers with access to protective gear or healthy immune systems are put at higher risk. It’s time to tell the truth. For the sake of those suffering silently, the rest of us need to speak out. Chemical weapons are not the answer.

Resource regarding Tear Gas and Turkey

Here’s a link to a great article by UK scholar Dr. Anna Feigenbaum: “What Turkey Reminds Us About Tear Gas“. Many thanks to Jeff Nguyen for sending this and other resources my way!

Tear Gas Exposure

Tear gas exposure is harmful, and others may be impacted by it more than you. Pregnant women, children, elderly, and those with immune deficiency disorders or other medical conditions (such as asthma) are especially prone to tear gas’ effects. If you are able to do so, assist others in seeking medical help. Even if you don’t immediately feel the effects, seek medical assistance quickly. Rinse your eyes and skin with cold water, and discard clothing that has been exposed as soon as possible. In some cases, water can actually reactivate the tear gas, which is why it is important to seek medical attention.

If you are pregnant, remain calm, but immediately leave the area. Tell others so that they can assist you. Get to the nearest emergency room and explain what has happened. Demand an ultrasound and a plan for follow-up care. Do not let a doctor brush off your exposure due to a lack of experience on his or her part. US Poison Control may state that at as long as you were in an open area, you probably are ok: this is not necessarily true.

If you are a police officer, please remember that innocent people may be harmed irreparably if you choose to use tear gas.

If you are a government official or concerned citizen, please join our efforts to ban CS gas and other chemical weapons.

Please share widely. If you would like to translate this into a foreign language so that this message can be more widely spread, email banteargasnow [at] hotmail [dot] com .

Suzanne

What is Happenning in Istanbul?

Turkish police are violently cracking down on peaceful citizens trying to make their voices heard. Innocent civilians have been killed by tanks and critically injured by tear gas and pepper spray (most likely of American origin). Please share with your friends. Contact your government representatives: don’t let the citizens of Istanbul stand alone.

Camp Lejeune

Camp Lejeune is an example of the military’s dangerous practices coming to light several decades too late. Thankfully there are people like Mary Blakely, who is working to provide dignity for the memory of the smallest victims of this disaster. I am glad that the Stars and Stripes is publishing the full story on their website. Read it here, and join Mary and other activists in the fight to stop the military from harming innocent citizens of any nation, including our own.

Agent Orange linked to Cancer in US Veterans

… And these vets actually got to leave Vietnam after dropping the chemical weapon, so imagine the devastation on those victims who were hit and had to stay. Read NBC’s article for a quick comprehensive understanding of Agent Orange.

For a Safe May Day!

May Day has a long revolutionary tradition. As protests and demonstrations take place today, I hope that both protesters and police will act peacefully.

If tear gas is deployed and you are exposed, please remember that this is not a joke. It is not harmless, and others around you may be impacted by it more than you. Even if you don’t immediately feel the effects, seek medical assistance quickly. Rinse your eyes and discard clothing that has been exposed as soon as possible. In some cases, water can actually reactivate the tear gas, which is why it is important to seek medical attention.

If you are pregnant, remain calm, but immediately leave the area. Tell others so that they can assist you. Get to the nearest emergency room and explain what has happened. Demand an ultrasound and a plan for follow-up care. Do not let a doctor brush off your exposure due to a lack of experience on their part. US Poison Control may state that at as long as you were in an open area, you probably are ok: this is not necessarily true.

Assist others in seeking medical help if you are in an area where tear gas is deployed. Pregnant women, children, elderly, and those with immune deficiency disorders or disabilities are especially prone to tear gas’ effects.

If you are a police officer, please remember that innocent people may be harmed irreparably if you choose to use tear gas.

Please share widely. If you would like to translate this into a foreign language so that this message can be more widely spread, email banteargas [at] hotmail [dot] com .

Suzanne

Close to Home

Yet another family member, who lives in the immediate vicinity of Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, has been diagnosed with cancer, despite being a non-smoker. That brings the total to my grandfather, two aunts, an uncle, and now my dear cousin, all of whom have had to deal with some form of this disease: three different kinds in the last five years.

I was planning to head down to Alabama after graduation to research the area before this sad news, but this weekend I started researching the base (via Internet) a little earlier than anticipated. Apparently, Redstone Arsenal is an EPA Superfund site, due to chemical weapons production (beginning in World War II) and training exercises (conducted from 1972-1986, officially). The soil is still contaminated. 

As our nation continues to produce these weapons for use far from sight of the typical US civilian, would the fact that our local communities are also exposed change policies regarding chemical weapons? Or would production just be shifted to even poorer communities elsewhere? I would love to hear from others who live in the areas surrounding this and other weapons manufacturers. Do you think these facilities’ practices have affected your health? What difficulties have you faced as a result?

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