U.S. Government Poisoned Booze to Enforce Prohibition

Police & ProhibitionDuring Prohibition, crime syndicates were re-distilling industrial alcohol to supply their speakeasies. In an effort to “poison the well,” the federal government responded by requiring manufacturers to add new, deadly compounds to the industrial alcohol mix, leading to the deaths of thousands nationwide. In an article at Slate.com, Deborah Blum writes:

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

Before hospital staff realized how sick he was — the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom — the man died. So did another holiday party-goer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.

Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskeys and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.

[Full Article at Slate.com]

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  • MoralDrift

    This happened in the USSR as well I believe, industrial alcohol were treated so that if you illicitly drank the workers solvents you would get sick and maybe die

  • Anonymous

    This happened in the USSR as well I believe, industrial alcohol were treated so that if you illicitly drank the workers solvents you would get sick and maybe die

  • DeepCough

    Re-post.

  • DeepCough

    Re-post.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Hell, it’s still going on!

    Our government still requires that taxes be paid on ethanol, or that poison be added to it to render it undrinkable.

    Why else can you walk into Home Depot and buy a gallon of “Denatured Alcohol”?

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Hell, it’s still going on!

    Our government still requires that taxes be paid on ethanol, or that poison be added to it to render it undrinkable.

    Why else can you walk into Home Depot and buy a gallon of “Denatured Alcohol”?

  • http://twitter.com/AlbaandOmegle Alba and Omegle

    10,000 deaths driven by
    unhinged moral justification (we are correct therefor nuclear bomb) as opposed to
    self-limiting moral imperative (we have to do it but we won’t until we work out the kinks)

    but
    3,000 deaths for profit
    no they’d never do that

    • Raytalan

       

      So you have a motive as to why the
      government was behind 9/11 but why would they carry out such an overly
      complicated plot which has so many potential hang ups in it? What if someone
      was seen placing charges within the WTC, what if the hijackers were overpowered
      before they crashed the plane, what if some person involved in the operation
      decided they wanted to go on record and talk about what happened. The sheer
      complexity of the operation would’ve be utterly unnecessary. Just look at the
      excuses given for previous wars. Vietnam involved the gulf of Tonkin, the
      Spanish American war was justified through the sinking of the USS Maine, World
      War I was due to the sinking of the Lusitania, and Panama was invaded to safeguard
      American lives, protect democracy, and fight against drug trafficking. If the
      government was willing to kill its own citizens why wouldn’t it just carry out
      a truck bombing like the one in Oklahoma city, that would be way less
      complicated and would easily give enough pretense for war.

       

      Just look at all the stuff revealed
      from wikileaks, do you really think that the government could trust every
      employee involved to keep their mouth shut? No matter how many threats or
      incentives you give to tell people not to talk about something there’s still
      the potential that word might get out. Why make such an overly complex plot
      when a much simpler one would’ve sufficed.

       

       

       

  • http://twitter.com/AlbaandOmegle Alba and Omegle

    10,000 deaths driven by
    unhinged moral justification (we are correct therefor nuclear bomb) as opposed to
    self-limiting moral imperative (we have to do it but we won’t until we work out the kinks)

    but
    3,000 deaths for profit
    no they’d never do that

  • Jbar

    How would the world ever survive without America, that bastion of morality and fairness…

  • Jbar

    How would the world ever survive without America, that bastion of morality and fairness…

  • Malkiyahu

    I’m sure they’re doing it with other drugs. They’re probably the ones cutting cocaine with all that crazy poisonous crap before they sell it.

  • Malkiyahu

    I’m sure they’re doing it with other drugs. They’re probably the ones cutting cocaine with all that crazy poisonous crap before they sell it.

  • Fat Cat

    as if they are not also human. the kings must have their wishes. 

  • Fat Cat

    as if they are not also human. the kings must have their wishes. 

  • Raytalan

     

    So you have a motive as to why the
    government was behind 9/11 but why would they carry out such an overly
    complicated plot which has so many potential hang ups in it? What if someone
    was seen placing charges within the WTC, what if the hijackers were overpowered
    before they crashed the plane, what if some person involved in the operation
    decided they wanted to go on record and talk about what happened. The sheer
    complexity of the operation would’ve be utterly unnecessary. Just look at the
    excuses given for previous wars. Vietnam involved the gulf of Tonkin, the
    Spanish American war was justified through the sinking of the USS Maine, World
    War I was due to the sinking of the Lusitania, and Panama was invaded to safeguard
    American lives, protect democracy, and fight against drug trafficking. If the
    government was willing to kill its own citizens why wouldn’t it just carry out
    a truck bombing like the one in Oklahoma city, that would be way less
    complicated and would easily give enough pretense for war.

     

    Just look at all the stuff revealed
    from wikileaks, do you really think that the government could trust every
    employee involved to keep their mouth shut? No matter how many threats or
    incentives you give to tell people not to talk about something there’s still
    the potential that word might get out. Why make such an overly complex plot
    when a much simpler one would’ve sufficed.

     

     

     

  • Dunzain

    Poisoning the Poison. 

  • Dunzain

    Poisoning the Poison. 

  • postpunkprometheus

    The thing that I love (not really but it’s an expression) is that this took place in the good ol’ days of our good Christian nation.  When things were innocent.  The days the political right are trying to roll us back to. 

  • http://madmonq.wordpress.com madmonq

    The thing that I love (not really but it’s an expression) is that this took place in the good ol’ days of our good Christian nation.  When things were innocent.  The days the political right are trying to roll us back to. 

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