NEWS

New Israeli Stink Bomb Provides Safe Way to Disperse Protesters

By Matthew Harwood

Israeli defense scientists have designed a crowd control device that can effectively disperse protesters or rioters without causing any bodily harm. It's known as the Skunk.

In early August, the foul-smelling concoction was used by Israeli Border Guards to quell a demonstration protesting the construction of a separation fence in the West Bank village of Naalin. The Skunk had its intended effect, according to The Jerusalem Post. Once the stench enveloped the protesters, they fled the scene for a shower.

One journalist, Wyre Davies, of the BBC, described Skunk like this:

Imagine the worst, most foul thing you have ever smelled. An overpowering mix of rotting meat, old socks that haven't been washed for weeks - topped off with the pungent waft of an open sewer.

Imagine being covered in the stuff as it is liberally sprayed from a water cannon.

Then imagine not being able to get rid of the stench for at least three days, no matter how often you try to scrub yourself clean.

The beauty of Skunk - if beauty is the right word - is that it is said to be completely organic.

According to the BBC, Skunk does not contain illegal chemicals or proscribed substances—just yeast, baking powder, and other "secret" ingredients.

Superintendent David Ben Harosh told Davies that the putrid brew was safe enough to drink. Davies declined the offer.

Skunk was developed to be a more humanitarian way to handle out-of-hand protesters and rioters, one which avoided "irreversible physical damage,"  Israeli security officials told the Post.

And as YnetNews.com notes:

Until now, forces used rubber bullets, tear gas and shock grenades in order to disperse crowds who burned tires and threw stones at soldiers.

The BBC says that Israel's police force is so enthusiastic about the Skunk's effectiveness, it will try to market it to other police forces around the world.

The U.S. military is also developing a similar weapon, according to David Hambling, a reporter for Wired.com and the Guardian. It's called the XM1063 and it works like this:

The first part of the weapon is an artillery round - or as the army puts it, "a non-lethal personal suppression projectile" - fired from a 155mm howitzer, with a range of 28km. It scatters 152 small non-explosive submunitions over a 1-hectare area; as each parachutes down, it sprays a chemical agent.

But there's one catch to the XM1062, says Hambling, it could be classified as a chemical weapon and thus violate the Chemical Weapons Convention.

 

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