Israel sprays “skunk water” into Palestinian homes
September 22, 2014

A new report highlights Israel’s use of supposedly “non-lethal weapons” against unarmed Palestinian protesters.

The report – “Proven Effective: Crowd control weapons in the Occupied Territories” – was published by the group Who Profits and launched at a conference in Jerusalem on 10 September.

Focusing on tear gas, skunk water and “The Scream” (a high volume acoustic device strapped atop Israeli military vehicles), the report documents their regular use to violently crush unarmed Palestinian demonstrators throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

It begins by reiterating two immensely important facts reported time and again by The Electronic Intifada: firstly, that Israel’s “non-lethal” weapons, in fact, often kill Palestinians, and secondly, that the manufacturing of weapons used against Palestinians is an extremely lucrative business.

American supplier

Who Profits focuses on tear gas produced by the American company Combined Systems, Incorporated (also known as Combined Tactical Systems), which produces “less lethal” weapons and “provides support to military forces and law enforcement agencies worldwide,” according to its website.

CSI also produces tear gas grenades and sting-ball bombs, or small devices that explode and shoot out dozens of tiny steel balls at demonstrators.

Its tear gas canisters, clearly labeled with the initials CSI or CST, are often found in Palestinian villages after the Israeli military raids them or attacks protests.

CSI is represented by M.R. Hunter, a Tel Aviv-based company that claims to be “the largest provider of tear gas munitions to the Israeli army, prison service and police,” according to Who Profits.

Repression across the globe

As Alex Kane of Mondoweiss recently wrote, CSI tear gas was used last month against unarmed protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where militarized US police forces laid siege after demonstrations erupted in response to a police officer’s killing of an unarmed black teenager.

During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, regime forces used CSI tear gas transported via Israel. Who Profits notes that at least forty Egyptians were killed by tear gas, and another 2,000 were injured either through inhalation or from being struck by the canisters.

CSI provides tear gas and other weapons to repressive regimes across the globe, including Bahrain, Tunisia and Yemen.

A 2008 cable published by WikiLeaks shows the US government’s direct involvement in transferring CSI weapons to Israeli occupation authorities. Though this was never a secret, the cable shows the lucrative nature of weapons sales.

The same cable also suggests that Israel transferred weapons shipments to departments not approved by the US Secretary of State.   

The Secretary of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, which seeks to ensure American weapons are being used in a pre-approved manner and setting, sought an investigation into whether weapons intended for Israeli police use were being used by Israeli prison authorities.

According to the cable, an investigation was necessary because “inconsistencies were noted in the license application supporting documents.” It includes an itemized list of such weapons – mostly “CS” tear gas – that amounts to a total worth more than $5.1 million.

Repulsive odor

The Israeli military has for years sprayed Palestinians in protest settings and outside of them with skunk water, a foul smelling liquid generally fired from a high power turret atop a military vehicle.

Known as “The Skunk,” the weapon’s safety data sheet concedes that it “causes skin irritation, eye irradiation and redness and abdominal pain,” Who Profits notes.

First employed by Israel against Palestinians in 2008, it has become a regular form of attack against unarmed protesters in West Bank villages like Nabi SalehBilin and Kufr Qaddoum.

Mariam Barghouti, a Ramallah-based activist and writer, said the weapon “projects water at a high velocity so there is a risk of that injuring you,” adding that many have started referring to it as “the shitter” in Arabic.

“Due to its intense smell that gnaws at your nostrils, it makes it difficult to breathe,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “If you only get sprayed with it, that is an agony you have to live with for a few days to a few weeks. The water lingers on your skin to a point when you want to rip your skin off.”

“It smells like sewage mixed with rotten food,” she explained.

Passed out from the smell

Israel’s frequent use of skunk water “raises suspicions that The Skunk is being used punitively against villages where regular weekly demonstrations are held,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

B’Tselem also notes that in 2012 Israeli forces sprayed a funeral procession with skunk water in Hebron, a city in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. 

Who Profits and B’Tselem both point out that skunk water is often sprayed directly into the homes of Palestinians, despite Israel’s claim that it is used solely for “riot control” purposes.

In July 2014, Israeli occupation forces sprayed skunk water into 75-year-old Rubhiya Darwish’s home in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.

“I saw a burst of water breaking through the window, when suddenly an intense odor hit and I passed out from the smell, so they had to take me to the hospital,” the elderly woman told Ma’an News Agency.

Israel’s targeting of homes and businesses not involved in demonstrations has been roundly denounced by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights groups.

Israeli military forces also sprayed several other homes in the refugee camp and the surrounding area that day.

European involvement

The weapon was developed by Israeli police in collaboration with Odortec, an Israeli company that agreed to develop scent-based weapons for occupation authorities at a heavily discounted rate.

Though Odortec is owned by Israeli businessmen, Who Profits adds that the weapon’s production involves the German company MAN, which provides the chassis for the military vehicles that carry the weapon.

In 2013, MAN, which also sells its trucks and equipment across Europe, enjoyed a revenue of €16.7 billion Euros (more than $20 billion), according to a July 2014 Reuters report.

Another Israeli company, Beit Alfa Technologies, provides the actual military vehicles that carry the weapon. According to its website, it provides “riot control gear” to more than 35 countries across the world.

“The Scream”

Since 2005, Israeli occupation forces have also employed the use of “The Scream,” a device described by manufacturer Electro-Optics Research and Development as emitting “sound levels that are unbearable to humans at distances up to 100 meters.”

The Long Range Acoustic Devices Corporation (LRAD) has been providing a newer version of the weapon to the Israeli military since 2012. In 2011, LRAD announced that its first shipment of “The Scream” to Israel rang up a bill of $293,000.

Numerous victim testimonies contradict the claims of Israel and the manufacturers that the weapon is safe. 

According to Who Profits, the group Physicians for Human Rights – Israel collected several complaints that the weapon caused “dizziness, nausea, headaches, ataxia and a general sense of weakness.”

Lethal

All three of these weapons are part of a broader arsenal of “non-lethal weapons” that maim Palestinians. In some cases, these “non-lethal weapons” are lethal.

In January, Said Jasir, an 85-year-old Palestinian man from Kufr Qaddoum, died after reportedly inhaling tear gas fired liberally by Israeli occupation soldiers in the village.

Noha Qatamesh, a Palestinian woman who had asthma, suffered a similar fate when she died in April after Israeli forces attacked Palestinians with tear gas in Bethlehem.

In other cases, fatal injuries were inflicted when the tear gas canister was fired by Israeli soldiers at Palestinians from a close range. In April 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmeh died shortly after being shot at close range in the chest with a tear gas canister.

Other weapons, such as rubber-coated steel bullets, have also killed more frequently. According to a January 2013 B’Tselem report, Israeli forces’ use of rubber-coated steel bullets killed at least eighteen Palestinians (twelve of whom were children) between 2000 and December 2012.

“Human lab”

Yet even in cases when the “non-lethal weapons” don’t kill, they often inflict serious injuries on their victims and sometimes render them maimed and disfigured.

As I reported for The Huffington Post earlier this year, Israeli soldiers often ignore their own regulations designed to make these weapons “safe.”

In some cases, such as that of six-year-old Mousab Sarahnin, the damage is irreparable. Nowhere near a protest as he walked home with his mother and siblings, this child was shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet, as reported by The Electronic Intifada at the time.

As a result of the shooting by an Israeli soldier, Mousab lost an eye.

These weapons “are first tested in labs, and then ‘monitored exercises’ are conducted on human beings, Palestinians, Israelis and foreign citizens demonstrating in West Bank villages,” Who Profits explains.

“After these experiments, the manufacturer can use the results to market the products.”

The use of these weapons in breach of regulations and in a reckless fashion can “violate numerous basic human rights of Palestinians, and in some cases may rise to the level of war crimes as defined by international law,” the Who Profits report concludes.

Source

4

Custom

A rather impressive AR-10 build with the owner’s specifications and parts list seen below. What interesting and rather desirable on this rifle is the rare Mega Arms Maten Monolithic Upper receiver which is now out of production.

List is what the owner priced out, so I’m not sure how accurate it would be to rebuild this. The wildcard is that hard to find upper.

* GA Precision 1-11.25 twist 19.5” in length, 5/8-24 (made to the same specs of a GAP-10 barrel) ($1,100)
* Geissele SDE trigger ($235)
* JP Silent Captured Spring ($145)
* JP LPK ($50)
* KNS Anti-Rotation Pins ($35)
* Paladin Machine 3-way adjustable gas block ($100)
* Mega Arms Maten Monolithic receiver set w/ ambi, rifle length ($1,000)
* UPG-16 pistol grip ($35)
* Armalite AR10 BCG ($300)
* Badger Ordnance Latch Handle ($20)
* Badge Ordnance Thruster brake ($68)
* Installation ($200)
* Magpul PRS stock ($220)

@295tactical RRA 9mm AR SBR with Eotech and Xproducts drum, Glock 21C with Insight M6X light/laser and RRA Piston AR SBR with Eotech, Xproducts drum and Crimson Trace vertical grip/light/green laser. #eotechhws #eotech #insight #laser #light #weaponlight #ar15 #ar #556 #9mm #xproducts #drum #magazine #crimsontrace #vertical #grip #green #tactical #training #gear #igmilitia #picoftheday #photooftheday #guns #gunporn #weapons #firearms #rifle #glock #pistol

4

The German MG-34 General Purpose Machine Gun,

Perhaps the most advanced machine gun design of the 1930’s and early 1940’s, the MG-34 was a new concept of warfare called the general purpose machine gun.  During World War I and the post war era, machine guns came in two general classes.  Heavy machine guns were large mounted weapons used primarily in defensive roles because of their exceptional firepower and lack of mobility.  Light machine guns were made to be man portable, and thus used for offensive actions.  However they often lacked the firepower of the heavy machine guns.  During World War II, the German Wehrmacht revolutionized warfare by introducing the concept of the general purpose machine gun, a man portable machine gun which also sported exceptional firepower, and thus could be utilized in a number of roles.

The MG-34 was designed in 1934 by Rheinmetall and based on an earlier design called the MG-30.  It was first introduced to the German Army in 1936 after Adolf Hitler formally denounced the Versailles Treaty and began the large scale rearmament of the Germany Army. It was also supplied to the fascist government in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.  During the 1930’s and throughout World War II, the MG-34 would serve as the primary infantry machine gun of the Wehrmacht.  What made the MG-34 truly unique among other machine guns of its era was its incredible firepower at 800 rounds a minute.  Most other machine guns of the time, whether light or heavy, could only manage around 500-600 rounds per minute.  This combined with its portability gave the common German infantry platoon an incredible amount of firepower.   Such high rate of fire was accomplished using an open short recoil action.  The MG-34 was both semi and fully automatic, utilizing a special double crescent trigger.  The upper trigger fired the weapon in semi auto, the lower trigger fired it in full auto.  

The MG-34 was air cooled, but had a detachable barrel which could be quickly switched out in case of overheating.  It was chambered for 8x57 Mauser, also the standard infantry rifle round of the Wehrmacht.  

The most important aspect of the MG-34 was its versatility as a general purpose machine gun.  In different forms it was used in three main roles; as an offensive machine gun, as a light machine gun, and as a heavy machine gun.  In its light machine gun form, it was carried by only one man, firing from a 50 or 75 drum magazine.  In its light machine gun role, it was operated by two men, firing from an ammunition belt. In a pinch, the MG-34 could even be fired from the back or shoulder of another soldier.

In its heavy machine gun role, the weapon was mounted on a large tripod for added stability, which also included a range finder and telescopic sight. In addition, the MG-34 could be mounted on vehicles and aircraft, or mounted in groups of two or four as light anti-aircraft guns.

Throughout World War II German infantry tactics, both offensive and defense, revolved around the general purpose machine gun, with two or three MG-34’s serving as the backbone of a German platoon, while it was the duty of the other infantry to support the machine guns. Later, an improved version of the MG-34 was introduced called the MG-42.  Simpler to mass produce, it had a blistering rate of fire at around 1,200 - 1,500 rounds per minute.  As great as it was, German production could not produce enough for wartime demands.  As a result the MG-34 remained the most popular general purpose machine gun in the German Army. After World War II, the concept of the general purpose machine gun became a mainstay of almost all modern military’s.

3

Images from Afghanistan show soldiers from 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES) on the ground. They use the sights on their weapons to view movements at long range and in very clear detail without the risk of mistaking intent when viewed at distance with the naked eye. 

5 RIFLES soldiers use a rare patch of vegetation to shelter themselves from view as they rest during a patrol in Afghanistan. The rest is only brief and the troops will soon be back on their feet as they continue the patrol and complete their mission.

Photographer: Cpl Daniel Wiepen; Crown Copyright.

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