[News] St. Louis police bought Israeli skunk spray after Ferguson uprising

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 13 17:25:18 EDT 2015

  St. Louis police bought Israeli skunk spray after Ferguson uprising

Rania Khalek <https://electronicintifada.net/people/rania-khalek> Rights 
and Accountability 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blog/rights-and-accountability> 13 
August 2015

Three months after Ferguson erupted in protest over the police killing 
of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, the St. Louis Metropolitan 
Police Department (SLMPD) added an Israeli weapon called skunk to its 
protest-crushing arsenal, arms industry news website /Defense One/ has 

Skunk is a crowd control “malodorant” developed by the Israeli police 
in collaboration with Odortec, an Israeli company that specializes in 
scent-based weapons, and tested on Palestinians.

Released at high pressure from a water cannon, canister or grenade, 
skunk liquid emits an odor—described as a mix of rotting animal carcass, 
raw sewage and human excrement—that sticks to walls, clothing, hair and 
skin for days to weeks and is impossible to wash away without a special 
soap that is only accessible to police. Ramallah-based activist and 
writer Mariam Barghouti once told 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/israel-sprays-skunk-water-palestinian-homes> The 
Electronic Intifada’s Patrick Strickland that “the water lingers on your 
skin to a point when you want to rip your skin off.”

First deployed by Israeli armed forces in 2008, skunk water has become a 
fixture in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Israeli forces routinely douse entire Palestinians neighborhoods 
in skunk water, deliberately spraying it 
into private homes 
businesses, schools 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/palestinian-parents-tell-israeli-police-stop-harassing-jerusalem-children/14267> and 
funerals <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adhGYqdjIsg> in what the 
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calls “a collective punitive measure 
<http://http://www.btselem.org/publications/2012_alfa/skunk>” against 
Palestinian villages that engage in protest against Israel’s colonial 

While Odortec insists skunk spray is non-toxic and even drinkable, the 
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) warns 
<http://www.acri.org.il/en/2014/08/10/skunk-ej/> that it “can cause pain 
and redness if it comes into contact with eyes, irritation if it comes 
into contact with skin and if swallowed can cause abdominal pain 
requiring medical treatment.

    Stockpiling skunk

Thus far, the putrid substance has only been deployed against 
Palestinians. But that won’t be the case for much longer.

According to a 14 November purchase order 
obtained by /Defense One/ through Missouri’s open records law, SLMPD 
purchased fourteen 1.4 liter canisters of Skunk for $428 along with two 
types of portable skunk delivery canisters 
<http://www.mistralsecurityinc.com/Our-Products/Crowd-Control-Skunk> that resemble 
fire extinguishers. Among them were two refillable MK-46 HE canisters 
for $1,284, which can spray up to 60 ounces of Skunk as far as 40 feet 
away, and five single use MK-20 Titan canisters totaling $198.90, which 
can hold up to 20 ounces of skunk with a spray range of 24 feet.

A second invoice shows that SLMPD modified its order on 12 January, 
increasing its purchase of special soap decontaminant from one to four 
gallons, totaling $121.40. The revision is labeled an “EMERGENCY PURCHASE.”

While the invoice does not identify the vendor, it was likely Mistral 
Security <http://www.mistralsecurityinc.com/>, a subsidiary of Mistral 
a US company based in Bethesda, Maryland, that deals in the production 
and sale of military and law enforcement equipment.

Speaking at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Armament 
Systems Forum in April, Mistral general manager Stephen Rust announced 
<http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/04/americas-police-will-fight-next-riot-these-stink-bombs/111430/>, “We’ve 
provided some Skunk for the law enforcement agencies in Ferguson.”

Rust, who is a former 
<https://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-rust/23/8b7/756> project manager for 
the US army and Department of Defense, noted that the US military had 
also expressed interest in purchasing skunk. “We’ve demoed it at Fort 
Bragg. Why? Because they asked about it,” boasted Rust.

Mistral markets skunk spray to US police as ideal for controlling crowds 
and individuals at “border crossings, correctional facilities, 
demonstrations and sit-ins.”

It has also been promoted as means for targeting people for arrest. “I’m 
going to be able to drill [a specific target in a crowd] with a … round 
while I put him in the dirt. I can mark him with Skunk and he will be 
easy to locate when the crowd disperses,” said Rust at the armaments expo.

Just how many US police agencies have stockpiled the putrid substance 
remains unknown. /Defense One/ reported that Mistral sold Skunk to 
police departments in Bossier City, Louisiana. Mistral did not respond 
to repeated inquiries from The Electronic Intifada.

    Global pacification industry

US police departments taking repression cues from their Israeli 
counterparts is not new.

Decades of testing methods and weapons of domination and control on has 
given rise to a booming “homeland security industry 
<http://www.alternet.org/world/racist-policing-and-mass-incarceration-shared-values-america-and-israel>” in 
Israel that refashions occupation-style repression for use on 
marginalized populations in other parts of the world. This dystopian 
arrangement has placed Israel at the core of what Israeli activist Jeff 
Halper terms the “global pacification industry 

While Gaza serves as a testing ground 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israel-firing-experimental-weapons-gazas-civilians-say-doctors> for 
the West Bank is Israel’s preferred laboratory 
for testing and refining crowd control technology 

Like most Israeli weapons, skunk is advertised by Odortec as having been 
“field-tested <http://www.skunk-skunk.com/121755/The%2DProduct>,” 
meaning Palestinians were used as human test subjects during the 
development process.

David Ben Harosh, head of the Israeli police’s department for 
technological development  — which partnered with Odortec to develop 
skunk water — stated in 2008 that skunk water was tested in “monitored 
exercises <http://www.haaretz.com/making-a-stink-1.253207>” in the 
Palestinian villages of Bilin 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/bilin> and Nilin 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/nilin>, which he referred to as an 

Under the cover of “counterterrorism training” senior commanders from 
nearly every major US police agency, including departments in Baltimore 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-trained-police-invade-baltimore-crackdown-black-lives-matter> and 
St. Louis 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israel-trained-police-occupy-missouri-after-killing-black-youth>, have 
received training from Israel’s occupation regime on junkets that allow 
Israeli companies like Odortec to market their products 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/lapd-goes-israel-falls-love-drones-and-mass-surveillance> directly 
to US law enforcement executives.

As the BBC reported 
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7646894.stm> in 2008, “The 
Israeli police force has high hopes of turning skunk into a commercial 
venture and selling it to law-enforcement agencies overseas.”

Those hopes have finally been realized, as US police departments search 
for more effective ways to subdue growing resistance to racist policing, 
further exposing the collusion 
taking place among purveyors of racist state violence in the US and Israel.

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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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