Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the tag “chemical weapons”

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 Having researched this issue for years now, through scholarly articles, historical documents, alternative news sources, and conversations with injured military vets, I am surprised that this information is just now coming to light in the mainstream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

 

Chemical Warfare

Correction:

At least 35 of the 125 victims killed in last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria were children. Since the original posting, the number of casualties has risen to more than 1400, more than 400 of whom were children. They were hiding in their homes, in bathrooms with useless towels, dead on arrival to hospitals if they made it that far, their parents unable to protect them or themselves.

In Israel, children wait in line with parents to try on gas masks in preparation of US intervention in Syria.

There is not a lot to say that has not already been said. I truly believe based on history and common sense that US intervention strikes would only kill more civilians and not actually stop those responsible for chemical attacks.

Furthermore, we need to examine the implications of our interference in the Syrian Civil War based on chemical weapons as the red line that hooks us in. The US government use of chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, bullets, tanks, prisons, torture cells, and other enforcement methods of authoritarian rule go far beyond the Syrian (or any other) government’s capabilities,  but who would dare intervene in our country’s actions? Intervention strikes in response to American military actions would be considered Terrorism. Even acknowledging what our military has done can be considered terrorism. Whistleblowers are being punished more harshly than war criminals.

Military strikes will only stoke the flames of civil war and encourage more “terrorist” attacks on US targets. If our country’s leaders really want to send an effective message to Syria and other “rogue” nations regarding the use of chemical weapons, we need to lead by example. If we expect to stop others from engaging in chemical warfare, we first must stop the American use and production of chemical weapons of all grades.

Despite manufacturers’ claims, there is no such thing as a safe chemical weapon.

It is dangerous to become numb to the U.S.’s hypocrisy and the ongoing tragedy in Syria and elsewhere. We the People need to take a stand for innocent victims everywhere. Contact your local representatives and federal officials. Join lobbying efforts to ban the use of chemical weapons.

We can’t seriously expect other countries to make changes that we ourselves refuse to make.

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.

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

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.

The Red Line

Obama has pointed to using chemical weapons as the red line that Syria should not cross, but what is the difference between foreign countries using specific types of chemical weapons versus others, or foreign countries and our own homeland using chemical weapons on its citizens?

It’s a big red line that the US has already crossed, but it’s not too late to step back. Let’s lead by example. Ban ALL chemical weapons, especially the ones we produce on American soil.

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?

Inequality, Complicity, and Rights

Today I wish to address the larger issue of social inequality. Until the government provides protection for citizens without money from those with money,  the barrier to the elimination of chemical weapons and justice for those victimized by chemical weapons will remain.

There are many politicians and corporate executives that make a living by ensuring others’ deaths, destruction of property and livelihoods, and submission, which is arguably death in itself. Ironically, these are often the same politicians who like to draw support based on their “family values”. I question the values of anyone who wastes taxpayers’ money on challenging women’s right to reproductive care only then to turn around and fund weapons which kill and maim innocent families across the globe.

The US legal system is theoretically meant to establish rule of law in order to assure citizens’ rights are protected. Every day, however, I become more and more disillusioned about how this protection of the citizen without access to large sums of money can actually occur. We in many ways have not progressed past the original philosophy of rights as belonging to the property owners; rights are not shared equally. The property owners still include the poorer citizens amongst their chattel, and those running the government allow this exploitation to continue as they, too, benefit from this arrangement.

Until there is equal access to the courts for victims and their families, regardless of income level or nationality, the fight for justice will remain a pipe dream for many around the world. In reality, those who have been affected by chemical weapons are not in a position to challenge their exposure in court. We need to recognize that if we allow victims who can’t fight for themselves to continue to be victimized by weapons our tax dollars pay for, we are complicit in their suffering. If we allow our government to continue to conceal evidence of its wrongdoing against innocent citizens, we are complicit. If corporations operating within our borders help other governments victimize their citizens, then we are complicit.

Step up and help right the wrongs of our government and American corporations. Seek accountability from the corporations who profit off of the production of chemical weapons. Contact your local politicians and tell them why you want to see reform of our current laws which allow the production and use of chemical weapons in any context. Share information regarding the dangers of chemical weapons with your loved ones and get them involved in the fight for justice for all.

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