In 1928 two American chemists, Corson and Stoughton, discovered a series of chemicals with strong irritating effects in the respiratory tract, including CS. In the 1950s, the chemical industry contacted research into alternative agents, due to the limited “effectiveness” of CN. The British Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment developed CS, which was first ap-
plied by the British during the invasion in Cyprus in 1958 - 59. Following this “successful” application, CS was soon standardized by the US armed forces and was broadly applied during Vietnam War for tunnel denial, where there were many casualties due to suffocation and pulmonary edema. Its use was quite common for military purposes between 1968 and 1969, as well as during the civil
war in N. Ireland. In the USA, after the protests of 1967 in Newark and Detroit, the use of irritating agents gained ground. CR was developed by the British Ministry of Defense, but its use was limited, due to the lack of data regarding its repercussions. OC was first used by the US Police Force during the 1970s and since 1989, it has been massively used by the FBI.
Breath-taking policies By Niki Chronopoulou, Chemist
The use of tear gas is against the Results of experiments on guinea the consequences of international Law, given the fact that pigs have shown that the exposure the use of such chemiaccording to the Geneva Protocol to such substances is responsible cals both to man and the (the USA being the only country that for teratogeneses, carcinogeneses, e n v i r o n m e n t , have not signed it) and the Chemical clastrogenic and mutagenic effects. taking into Weapons Convention, the use of In the international bibliogra- c o n s i d e r a t i o n , all types of chemical, bacteriologi- phy, there are various cases of however, the cal and biological substances in war casualties, due to the use of tear p o p u l a r is outlawed. Nevertheless, in many gases, both in open and confined countries, their use by the po- spaces (e.g. one person in Ham- interest and not the lice forces is legal (e.g. CS was used by the Israelis against We need to take action Palestinian protestors in the and organize our response Palestinian territory, by the South to these forms of state violence. Korean Government in Seoul, against protestors in Lusaka, Zambia in 1997, against World Trade burg in 1960, three people in New interest of the capitalist system. Organization protestors in 1999 in York prisons in 1975, a young In this context, it would be useful Seattle e.t.c), while some types of protestor in Brockdorf, Germany that the WFTU organized an internasuch weapons (e.g. pepper spray) are in 1986, two Korean students in tional meeting of scientists, in order legalized to be used even by civilians! 1987, and at least 68 people in the to thoroughly examine the matter in In Greece, the Chemical Palestinian concentration camps its full dimension: at medical, politiWeapons Convention was validated during 1987 – 1988). cal, legal, trade-union level. It is also by the Law 2254/94 and was brought The use of these dangerous chemi- very important to launch an internain force by the Law 2991/2002. cals as a means of repression of the tional effort to raise the awareness of However, these laws concern the popular and labour movements is workers and youth, people on the prohibition of chemical weapons one more example of the way the repercussions of the use of chemiintended for use at war. On scientific achievements are exploited cal weapons use for the repression the contrary, the “aims of within the existing capitalist system of labour, popular, youth movemaintenance of public order, and to benefit of the ruling class. ments, aiming to further unite including also the repression of riots We need to take action and orga- and mobilize people, so as to in the State” are considered as “aims nize our response to these forms of forbid their use in practice, to resist that are not prohibited by the present state violence. Scientists must take this type of state violence against convention” (Law 2254/94, ar.2, par. 9). responsibility and investigate in depth anyone fighting for his/her rights.