Gaza and Ferguson: Security Forces that Stink - Literally

What do Gaza and Ferguson have in common? Security forces that stink.

I mean it literally.

What do Gaza and Ferguson have in common? Security forces that stink.

I mean it literally.

Thanks to Missouri’s open records law, it has been confirmed that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is one of a slew of US city police forces to add a new Israeli crowd control spray to their arsenal. The spray, called skunk, is a vile smelling liquid that an Israeli company called Odortec has developed with the help of the Israeli military.

Israel’s so-called Defense Forces have been firing skunk on Palestinians – trying it out -- since 2008. A professor I know who got skunked in Gaza this summer described the smell as a mix of sewage and excrement and rotting flesh – impossible to wash off – even after weeks back home.

An Israeli spokesperson told the BBC it’s a non-lethal non-toxic alternative to bullets and pepper spray. It’s “100 percent eco-friendly” too.”

That doesn’t mean it’s friendly. Human rights groups have videotape of Israeli water cannon soaking fields and farms and homes with skunk.

Now it’s here. Mistral Security, a firm based in Bethesda, sells skunk in fire extinguisher or grenade form, and also in “Bulk Skunk”– “264-gallon barrels to treat large areas in a very short period of time.”

“Applications include, but are not limited to, border crossings, correctional facilities, demonstrations, and sit-ins,” says Mistral.

The stench of all this confirms the thesis of a new book by Jeff Halper, whom I first met two decades ago in the hills above Jerusalem, where he was directing the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Wars between states are largely a thing of the past, he writes in his book War Against the People. What’s needed now are the counter-insurgency weapons and Israel leads the world in those.

For skunk, there is an antidote soap – the St. Louis PD has bought a good amount of it already. But is there an antidote for what Halper calls the globalization of Palestine? That’s what we need.

You can watch my interview with Tim Wise, author of Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America, this week on The Laura Flanders Show on KCET/LINKtv and TeleSUR and find all my interviews and reports at To tell me what you think, write