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Agent Orange baby - Monsanto Dow Chemical Agent Orange Dioxin Vietnam.

500,000 children born with birth defects from Agent Orange in Vietnam

Photo: internet
Monsanto home of GMO and Agent Orange.

500,000 children born with birth defects from Agent Orange in Vietnam

People hold a sign showing Monsanto as one of the most important producers of Agent Orange used upon Vietnam, as well as its present genetically modified organisms GMO spread around the world, in front of the White House in Washington on May 25, 2013.

Picture: RT/AFP
People hold a sign showing Monsanto as one of the most important producers of Agent Orange used upon Vietnam, as well as its present genetically modified organisms GMO's spread around the world, in front of the White House, May 25, 2013.

Chemical companies, US authorities knew dangers of Agent Orange
Jon DillinghamAugust 10, 2009
Those responsible for exposing Vietnamese citizens and US troops to toxic defoliants kept silent about known health implications, a review of documents finds.
Agent Orange victims march on Le Duan Boulevard in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 Sunday, August 9, 2009, to commemorate the first Orange Day in Vietnam.

Chemical companies, US authorities knew dangers of Agent Orange.

Those responsible for exposing Vietnamese citizens and US troops to toxic defoliants kept silent about known health implications, a review of documents finds.

Photo: thanhniennews
Agent Orange victims march Sunday, August 9, 2009 on Le Duan Boulevard in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1
To commemorate the first Orange Day in Vietnam.
US chemical companies that made Agent Orange and the government and military authorities who ordered its spraying on Vietnam knew the human health toll it could take, according to official and unofficial documents detailing the history of the deadly defoliant.
A review of the documents related to the use of Agent Orange – a dioxin-laden herbicide – in Vietnam, including decades-old declassified papers from the companies that manufactured it and the government and military that used it, provides compelling evidence that those in charge also concealed evidence of the devastating effects it could have on people.
Mum’s the word
A declassified letter by V.K. Rowe at Dow’s Biochemical Research Library to Bioproducts Manager Ross Milholland dated June 24, 1965 clearly states that the company knew the dioxin in their products, including Agent Orange, could hurt people.
In reference to 2,4,5,-trichlorophenol and 2,3,7,8, -tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (components of Agent Orange), Rowe stated:
“This material is exceptionally toxic; it has a tremendous potential for producing chloracne and systemic injury.”
Agent Orange baby - Monsanto Dow Chemical Agent Orange Dioxin Vietnam.

500,000 children born with birth defects from Agent Orange in Vietnam

Photo: internet
Images inserted by TheWE.cc
Rowe worried the company would suffer if word got out.
“The whole 2,4,5-T industry would be hard hit and I would expect restrictive legislation, either barring the material or putting very rigid controls upon it.”
So he said the company should keep quiet about the toxicity:
“There is no reason why we cannot get this problem under strict control and thereby hopefully avoid restrictive legislation ... I trust you will be very judicious in your use of this information.
It could be quite embarrassing if it were misinterpreted or misused ...
P.S. Under no circumstances may this letter be reproduced, shown, or sent to anyone outside of Dow.”
Dow played its cards right, never getting in serious trouble.   The spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam went on for another six years.
Dow did not return phone calls and emails requesting comment on the Agent Orange issue.
Could have manufactured without dioxin but process slower and more expensive
In the latest case of US veterans trying to sue Dow and Monsanto for their cancers related to Agent Orange exposure, Supreme Court Documents related to a petition for a Writ of Certiorari in Daniel Raymond Stephenson, et al., petitioners, v. Dow Chemical Company, Monsanto Company, et al., respondents, further implicates the companies in cover-ups and misinformation.
The petitioners state that the companies knew their dioxins, such as those used in Agent Orange, were harmful and lied about it while concealing information, including the fact that several factory workers had fallen sick after exposure to dioxin.
US attack on Vietnam.

Monsanto Dow Chemical Agent Orange Dioxin Vietnam.

500,000 children born with birth defects from Agent Orange in Vietnam

Photo: internet
US killing Vietnam 400,000 people
Several key facts “remain undisputed,” according to the document:
“Respondents never shared the information in their sole possession about health risks attributable to dioxin.”
“Respondents used proprietary, defective manufacturing processes that dangerously contaminated 2,4,5- T with dioxin.”
That is, the chemical companies could have manufactured their products without dioxin, as other companies had done, but the process was slower and more expensive, so they chose a more dangerous method.
The companies “secretly tested their products for dioxin and hid its extreme toxicity from the military,” according to the petitioners.
The petitioners stated that the companies had been hiding information during the ongoing court process:
“Respondents also misrepresent today’s medical understanding of the injuries caused by exposure to dioxin.
Instead of telling this Court that the NAS/IOM has found that numerous cancers have been related to exposure to dioxin-contaminated 2,4,5-T (ingredient in Agent Orange) they quote a twenty-year-old Second Circuit opinion to say: ‘Even today, . . . no . . . evidence that Agent Orange was hazardous to human health.’”
The petitioners said the companies had misrepresented the health effects with “patently false” assertions that none of their workers had gotten sick from dioxin poisoning.
Agent Orange baby - Monsanto Dow Chemical Agent Orange Dioxin Vietnam.

500,000 children born with birth defects from Agent Orange in Vietnam

Photo: internet
500,000 children born with birth defects from Agent Orange in Vietnam
Inside job
Though numerous studies have uncontroversially demonstrated the devastating effects of dioxin exposure on humans, the companies that manufactured Agent Orange have gone out of their way to offer their own unique perspective.
Through 2004, Dow and Monsanto funded several friendly studies by Dr. Alvin L. Young to show that the exposure of US ground forces to Agent Orange should be of minimal health concern.
Young’s schizophrenic reports go back and forth from saying that dioxins are not harmful to saying they are harmful and his largely debunked studies have drawn the scorn of prominent members of the scientific community.
“Young is paid by the chemical companies,” Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk, a retired senior/advisor at Hatfield Consultants, told Thanh Nien Daily.   “I don’t believe a word he says.” Hatfield Consultants is a research leader in the field of contamination from dioxin herbicides in Vietnam.
US military experts knew
Though reports point to the fact that chemical companies like Dow and Monsanto knowingly hid evidence of dioxin-related medical problems from the government, the declassified 1990 Zumwalt Report suggests that US military experts knew that Agent Orange was harmful at the time of its use.
The report quotes a 1988 letter from Dr. James R. Clary, a former government scientist with the Chemical Weapons Branch, to Senator Tom Daschle. Dr. Clary was involved in designing tanks that sprayed herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, according to the report.
Agent orange spraying - five hundred thousand babies born with deformities from Dow Chemical Monsanto Agent Orange Dioxin in Vietnam.

Vietnam US killing and destruction.

Photo: internet
Clary told Daschle:
“When we (military scientists) initiated the herbicide program in the 1960’s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide.
We were even aware that the ‘military’ formulation had a higher dioxin concentration than the ‘civilian’ version due to the lower cost and speed of manufacture.
However, because the material was to be used on the ‘enemy,’ none of us were overly concerned.
We never considered a scenario in which our own personnel would become contaminated with the herbicide.
And, if we had, we would have expected our own government to give assistance to veterans so contaminated.”
Chemical warfare: calling a spade a spade
Supporters of the US’s Agent Orange Campaign prefer to call it an “herbicide program” rather than chemical warfare.   But official documents reveal that the US Senate knew its real name.
In US Senate Congressional Records dated August 11, 1969, a table presented to senators showed that congress clearly classified 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T (main components of Agent Orange) in the Chemical and Biological Warfare category.
The table also includes Cacodylic Acid, a main component of Agent Blue, another chemical sprayed on Vietnam to kill plants, in the official Chemical and Biological Warfare category.
The table describes it as “an arsenic-base compound... heavy concentrations will cause arsenical poisoning in humans.   Widely used in Vietnam.   It is composed of 54.29 percent arsenic.”
As Vietnam War Scholar and US Veteran W.D. Ehrhart put it concisely in a Thanh Nien Daily interview last week: “It would be hard to describe Agent Orange as anything other than a chemical weapon.   Dioxin is a chemical.”
So is arsenic.
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Copyright © 2009 ThanhNienNews.com
Agent orange - U.S. military dumped 20 million gallons of chemicals on vietnam from 1962 - 1971

Picture: internet
U.S. military dumped 20 million gallons of chemicals on vietnam from 1962 - 1971
US chemical companies concealed effects of dioxin, say advocates
By An Dien and Jon Dillingham
Thanh Nien — August 6, 2009
An American lawyer and a French activist say chemical companies that produced Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant used by the US Army during the Vietnam War, connived to cover up its dangers.
The following are excerpts from interviews conducted with Gerson H. Smoger, a lawyer who has represented American Agent Orange victims for years, and Marie Hélène Lavallard, a member of the French-Vietnamese Friendship Association, on how US chemical companies hid the fact that they knew how hazardous Agent Orange was.
Thanh Nien Daily:   How can these companies get away with compensating Americans but not Vietnamese?
Smoger:   I would not say that they “got away with compensating,” because I can assure you that the responsible chemical companies had no interest in compensating anyone.
Also, unfortunately, the chemical companies have never really compensated the vast majority of American veterans either.
While there was a settlement entered into in 1984, the money ran out in 1994.
Of the 2.4 million Americans who served in Vietnam, only about 60,000 ever received anything from the companies… Given how long it takes to get cancer from the chemicals, virtually none of the veterans who got cancer have received any compensation from the companies...
...I have reviewed literally millions of pages of documents... It seems that the manufacturers conspired to hide the dangers from the US government and the rest of the world.
The chemical companies knew about the dangers and held secret meetings with the purpose of conspiring to keep the knowledge of the dangers from the US government.
Lavallard:   The first thing to do is consider separately the 1984 agreement [with US Veterans] and the 2004-2008 lawsuit [filed by Vietnamese victims], not because they are separated by 20 years, though they are, but because they have almost nothing in common.
The settlement of 1984 was not a judgment; on the contrary it was made to avoid a lawsuit… Why did the parties choose a private settlement?
One has to consider the background.
In 1980, 1983 and 1984, three studies were published by Dr. George Roush, the medical director of Monsanto.
They asserted, especially the last two, that Agent Orange had no inconvenient effects on human health.
Of course, they were faked but that was discovered only years later.
At the moment, they were “The Truth.”
So the veterans were afraid of losing everything with the lawsuit and preferred a settlement... On Monsanto’s side, they were up to the nostrils in the Times Beach scandal, a small town so contaminated by TCDD that finally the US government bought it all in February 1983 and had it scratched from the surface of the earth.
Monsanto was guilty and was organizing its defense.
It did not need the bad publicity of a lawsuit for Agent Orange. Do not ask if it escaped the Times Beach condemnation, it did, having people destroying the necessary documents.
Not the slightest “moral” feeling in this settlement.
Just a cynical and clever way to pay a small sum to avoid a bigger disgrace.
The amount was ridiculous.
Once the lawyers had taken their share, the compensations for some 40,000 people ranged from US$256-12 800, with an estimated mean of $4,000.
Even in 1984 it was not much.
For those who received their share in the last years up to 1994 it was simply alms ...the judge did not rule in favor of the American victims.
It was a private settlement, such as the American law permits.
It was not generous.
As for the Vietnamese victims, be sure the corporations do not care at all for them.
They knew their herbicides were lethal, and they got along to hide it from the US Army at a Dow-Monsanto secret meeting in 1965.
They could have produced the herbicides with much less TCDD, or even without it, but they were only interested in making as much money as possible selling as many gallons as possible as quickly as possible.
Should the US do more to help clean up Agent Orange “hot-spots” in Vietnam?
Lavallard:   Easy question: The US government requested and obtained $120 million from Hercules, a chemical company who manufactured herbicides for the war and moved to another place without cleaning its former plant.
US militarism
More than a third of land in six central Vietnamese provinces lethally contaminated with unexploded bombs and land mines
Just calculate!
Whatever the “legal” aspect, the USA are responsible for poisoning huge parts of Vietnam.
They made the mess, they have to clean it.
I notice that this question is much easier than the question of sanitary damages.
For those, there are still arguments about proofs, scientific enough or not, diseases due to sprayings or to other reasons, etc.
But for the environment, the question is perfectly clear: the US wanted to destroy the forest, they succeeded.
They wanted to ban the peasants away from their rice fields, they did.
They wanted to destroy the crops, they did, and some contaminated areas remain unsuitable and dangerous to live in.
© Copyright 2005-2009 GlobalResearch.ca
Agent Orange spraying

Photo: GlobalResearch.ca
Agent Orange spraying
Agent Orange’s toxic legacy lingers on
November 17, 2008
More than 30 years after it ended, the Vietnam War is still having a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary people.
Up to five million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, a deadly herbicide sprayed by the U.S. Army over wide areas.
The chemical killed tens of thousands but has left a tragic legacy of birth defects and disabilities in those born long after the war.
Almost 80 million litres of the poisonous herbicide was sprayed by the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam. The aim was to destroy the jungle that provided cover for the Vietnamese army.
But the powerful weed killer contained one of the world’s most toxic chemicals - dioxin.
Cancer, birth defects, psychiatric disorders and diabetes are just a few of the diseases caused by it.
Agent orange spraying - five hundred thousand babies born with deformities from Dow Chemical Monsanto Agent Orange Dioxin in Vietnam.

Vietnam US killing and destruction.

Photo: internet
Vu Tan Kim was a soldier during the war. He says when the chemical was sprayed on their base, they didn’t know how dangerous it was.
Only after his daughter was born he was told by doctors the dioxin he was exposed to had affected his genes.
His daughter is blind, her arms and legs are deformed and she is mentally handicapped.
“If I had my leg cut or went blind, that’s ok. But here my blood was poisoned and even though the war ended in Vietnam, every time I come home I feel very sad when I see my daughter,” he says.
He says the one dollar a day he gets from his government is not enough and that it's the U.S. who should compensate.
However, America's constitution protects those who were responsible at the time, so the victims took the companies who developed Agent Orange to court.
But the judge, who had previously awarded millions of dollars to American veterans who suffered from the poison, threw the case out.
Nguyen Trong Nhan is a leading official of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA).
He says that despite having little faith in America's legal system the battle continues and they hope to win their appeal.
Da Nang International Airport is now a gateway for millions of tourists.
What they don’t know is that it’s also one of Vietnam’s three toxic hot spots.
The American military stored unused dioxin at this former airbase.
Lev Fedorov, Doctor of Chemical Science says:
“Local people here are still being chronically poisoned. The dioxin that was sprayed on the territory doesn't' go anywhere. It's very resistant.”
Residents nearby were warned only last year that vegetables grown here and fish caught in the lake are poisonous.
To learn more, please click the VIDEO button on the right. NOTE: The story contains images which you might find disturbing.
          Click here for video on story   
Russia TV in English —
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Politicians playing with killing.

Robert Mcnamara Vietnam US killing.

Politicians playing with killing.

US killing Vietnam 400,000 people.

Photo: internet
Politicians playing with killing
Vietnam US killing and destruction.

US killing Vietnam 400,000 people

Photo: internet
US killing Vietnam 400,000 people
Robert Mcnamara politicians playing with killing

Agent orange spraying - five hundred thousand babies born with deformities from Dow Chemical Monsanto Agent Orange Dioxin in Vietnam.

Vietnam US killing and destruction.

Photo: internet
Five hundred thousand babies born with deformities from Dow Chemical Monsanto Agent Orange dioxin in Vietnam.
Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.
Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam
Nguyen Thi Thuy remembers crawling into tunnels during the day and covering her mouth with a wet rag when the US military sprayed the landscape with defoliant:
I didn't know what it was then, but it was white.
The sky and earth were scorched.
The earth had lost all its greenery.
We didn't know it was Agent Orange at that time.
When my daughter was born, everyone could see through her stomach.
It was like looking through translucent paper.
You could see her intestines and liver.
She died several hours later.
Tran Thi Hoa:
It wasn't until 27 years later that I started to get sick and my hands and feet started to curl outward and shrivel up.
Before, my hands and feet were not like this.
I was able to work, but now I can't.
I can't even take care of myself.
More Vietnamese are becoming aware of the consequences of Agent Orange.
They are voicing their experiences and expressing their expectations and needs through global channels.
Tran Thi Hoa said she'd like to receive compensation so she can hire an attendant to take care of her as her disability encompasses her.
Nguyen Thi Thuy wants to know who will take care of her disabled children when she is gone.
Thousands of other questions Vietnamese are just now finding the voice to ask their former US adversaries.
Taken from: Ngoc Nguyen/Aaron Glantz - Asia Times
Rehabilitation.

Agent Orange Victim

Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam

Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.

Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.

Photo: Tim Lockett
Rehabilitation
Photo: Tim Lockett
Spectre orange
Nearly 30 years after the Vietnam war, a chemical weapon used by US troops is still exacting a hideous toll on each new generation.
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report
Saturday March 29 2003
Hong Hanh is falling to pieces.   She has been poisoned by the most toxic molecule known to science; it was sprayed during a prolonged military campaign.
The contamination persists.
No redress has been offered, no compensation.
The superpower that spread the toxin has done nothing to combat the medical and environmental catastrophe that is overwhelming her country....
Hong Hanh's story, and that of many more like her, is quietly unfolding in Vietnam today.
Her declining half-life is spent unseen, in her home, an unremarkable concrete box in Ho Chi Minh City, filled with photographs, family plaques and yellow enamel stars, a place where the best is made of the worst.
Hong Hanh is both surprising and terrifying.
Ranch Hand — a US government operation
Destroyed 1.2 million acres of land in Vietnam
4.8 million gallons of chemicals
Here is a 19-year-old who lives in a 10-year-old's body.
She clatters around with disjointed spidery strides which leave her soaked in sweat.
When she cannot stop crying, soothing creams and iodine are rubbed into her back, which is a lunar collage of septic blisters and scabs.
"My daughter is dying," her mother says.
My youngest daughter is 11 and she has the same symptoms.
What should we do?
Their fingers and toes stick together before they drop off.
Their hands wear down to stumps.
Every day they lose a little more skin.
And this is not leprosy.
The doctors say it is connected to American chemical weapons we were exposed to during the Vietnam war.
650,000 alive victims — 500,000 have already died — estimated 3 million Vietnamese people died in the attack by the US
There are an estimated 650,000 like Hong Hanh in Vietnam, suffering from an array of baffling chronic conditions.
Another 500,000 have already died.
The thread that weaves through all their case histories is defoliants deployed by the US military during the war.
Some of the victims are veterans who were doused in these chemicals during the war, others are farmers who lived off land that was sprayed.
The second generation are the sons and daughters of war veterans, or children born to parents who lived on contaminated land.
Now there is a third generation, the grandchildren of the war and its victims.
Iraq tank destroyed by depleted uranium weapons
This is a chain of events bitterly denied by the US government.
Millions of litres of defoliants such as Agent Orange were dropped on Vietnam, but US government scientists claimed that these chemicals were harmless to humans and short-lived in the environment.
US strategists argue that Agent Orange was a prototype smart weapon, a benign tactical herbicide that saved many hundreds of thousands of American lives by denying the North Vietnamese army the jungle cover that allowed it ruthlessly to strike and feint.
New scientific research, however, confirms what the Vietnamese have been claiming for years.
Portrays US government as one that has illicitly used weapons of mass destruction
It also portrays the US government as one that has illicitly used weapons of mass destruction, stymied all independent efforts to assess the impact of their deployment, failed to acknowledge cold, hard evidence of maiming and slaughter, and pursued a policy of evasion and deception.
 


Friday, 29 April, 2005
3-year-old Xuan Minh, believed to have genetic defects from Agent Orange

Vietnam doctors believe the effects of Agent Orange are ongoing
The legacy of Agent Orange
Thirty years after hostilities ended between the US and Vietnam, relations remain strained by one of America's most notorious weapons during the war, the chemical Agent Orange.
The Vietnamese believe that the powerful weed killer — the use of which was intended to destroy crops and jungle providing cover for the Vietcong — is responsible for massively high instances of genetic defects in areas that were sprayed.
Nguyen Trong Nhan, from the Vietnam Association Of Victims Of Agent Orange and a former president of Vietnamese Red Cross, believes the use of Agent Orange was a "war crime".
He told BBC World Service's One Planet programme that Vietnam's poverty was a direct result of the use of Agent Orange.
"They are the poorest and the most vulnerable people — and that is why Vietnam is a very poor country," he said.
"We help the people who are victims of the Agent Orange and the dioxins, but the capacity of our government is very limited."
Contaminated areas
Campaigners such as Mr Nguyen believe they have been left with little choice but to resort to legal action, and in 2004 took the chemical companies that produced Agent Orange to court in the US.
But last month an American Federal District Judge dismissed the case on the grounds that use of the defoliant did not violate international law that the time.  An appeal has been lodged against this decision.
The US sprayed 80m litres of poisonous chemicals during Operation Ranchhand.  There were many Agents used, including Pink, Green and White, but Agent Orange was used the most — 45m litres sprayed over a 10th of Vietnam.
It was also used — mostly in secret — over parts of neighbouring Cambodia.
Children at a Friendship Village for victims of Agent Orange
It's not going to go away, because it affects a huge number of people in Vietnam
But Agent Orange in particular was laced with dioxins — extremely toxic to humans.  Dioxins accumulate in the body to cause cancers.  Anyone eating or drinking in contaminated areas then receives an even higher dose.
Spraying stopped in 1971, after more than 6,000 missions and growing public disquiet.
But the ground in many areas of Vietnam remains contaminated by Agent Orange.  A number of people in these areas believe they are victims of the chemical.
One woman said the herbicide had caused a skin disease which gave her "great suffering".
"If the US and Vietnamese governments could care for people like me, that would be comforting," she added.
Another man said his legs have "wasted away" as a result of Agent Orange.
"When I realise I have been contaminated with poisonous chemicals, and the US government hasn't done anything to help, I feel very said, and it makes me cry," he added.
"Now I always get severe headaches.  My first child has just died — he had physical deformities.  The second one is having headaches like me."
Cancers and disease
Food and supplies are still delivered to victims of Agent Orange.  Many were not born when the US sprayed the area — but there is strong evidence the chemicals are still having an effect.
A disproportionately large number of children in the areas affected are born with defects, both mental and physical.  Many are highly susceptible to cancers and disease.
And Vietnamese doctors are convinced Agent Orange is to blame.
Planes spraying Agent Orange over Vietnam
Agent Orange was intended to defoliate the jungle
"This is due to the US sprayings," said Dr Hong Tien Dong, village doctor who has lived in the area all his life.
"Before, in this area, the environment was quite clean.
"Now it has become like this."
In the late 1990s, a Canadian study tested soil, pond water, fish and duck tissue, as well as human blood samples, and found dangerously high levels of dioxin travelling up the food chain to humans.
Dioxin concentrations have been found to be 13 times higher than average in the soil of affected areas, and, in human fat tissue, 20 times as high.
A Japanese study, comparing areas sprayed with those that were not, found children were three times more likely to be born with cleft pallets, or extra fingers and toes.
There are eight times as many hernias in such children, and three times as many born with mental disabilities.
In 2001, scientists found that people living in an Agent Orange "hotspot" at Binh-Hoa near Ho Chi Minh City have 200 times the background amount of dioxin in their bloodstreams.
Spectre orange
Nearly 30 years after the Vietnam war, a chemical weapon used by US troops is still exacting a hideous toll on each new generation.
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report
Saturday March 29 2003
Teams of international scientists working in Vietnam have now discovered that Agent Orange contains one of the most virulent poisons known to man, a strain of dioxin called TCCD which, 28 years after the fighting ended, remains in the soil, continuing to destroy the lives of those exposed to it.
Evidence has also emerged that the US government not only knew that Agent Orange was contaminated, but was fully aware of the killing power of its contaminant dioxin, and yet still continued to use the herbicide in Vietnam for 10 years of the war and in concentrations that exceeded its own guidelines by 25 times.
As well as spraying the North Vietnamese, the US doused its own troops stationed in the jungle, rather than lose tactical advantage by having them withdraw.
On February 5, addressing the UN Security Council, secretary of state Colin Powell, now famously, clutched between his fingers a tiny phial representing concentrated anthrax spores, enough to kill thousands, and only a tiny fraction of the amount he said Saddam Hussein had at his disposal.
Vietnamese government has own phial — 80g of TCCD — enough to kill entire population of New York if dropped into water supply.   US sprayed 170kg over Vietnam
The Vietnamese government has its own symbolic phial that it, too, flourishes, in scientific conferences that get little publicity.
It contains 80g of TCCD, just enough of the super-toxin contained in Agent Orange to fill a child-size talcum powder container.
If dropped into the water supply of a city the size of New York, it would kill the entire population.
Ground-breaking research by Dr Arthur H Westing, former director of the UN Environment Programme, a leading authority on Agent Orange, reveals that the US sprayed 170kg of it over Vietnam.
Ranch Hand — a US government operation
Destroyed 1.2 million acres of land in Vietnam
4.8 million gallons of chemicals
Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.
John F Kennedy's presidential victory in 1961 was propelled by an image of the New Frontier.
He called on Americans to "bear the burden of a long twilight struggle ... against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself."
But one of the most problematic new frontiers, that dividing North and South Vietnam, flared up immediately after he had taken office, forcing him to bolster the US-backed regime in Saigon.
Kennedy examined "tricks and gadgets" that might give the South an edge in the jungle, and in November 1961 sanctioned the use of defoliants in a covert operation code — named Ranch Hand, every mission flown signed off by the president himself and managed in Saigon by the secret Committee 202 — the call sign for defoliating forests being "20" and for spraying fields "2".
Ngo Luc, 67, was serving with a North Vietnamese guerrilla unit in the Central Highlands when he saw planes circling overhead.
"We expected bombs, but a fine yellow mist descended, covering absolutely everything," he says.
We were soaked in it, but it didn't worry us, as it smelled good.
We continued to crawl through the jungle.
The next day the leaves wilted and within a week the jungle was bald. We felt just fine at the time.
Today, the former captain is the sole survivor from his unit and lives with his two granddaughters, both born partially paralysed, near the central Vietnamese city of Hue.
When US troops became directly embroiled in Vietnam in 1964, the Pentagon signed contracts worth $57m (£36m) with eight US chemical companies to produce defoliants, including Agent Orange, named after the coloured band painted around the barrels in which it was shipped.
The US would target the Ho Chi Minh trail — Viet Cong supply lines made invisible by the jungle canopy along the border with Laos — as well as the heavily wooded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that separated the North from the South, and also the Mekong Delta, a maze of overgrown swamps and inlets that was a haven for communist insurgents.
US dropping "poison."   Federation of American Scientists — Vietnam being used as laboratory experiment
A reporter for the St Louis Dispatch witnessed a secret spraying mission and wrote that the US was dropping "poison".
Congressman Robert Kastenmeier demanded that the president abandon "chemical warfare" because it tainted America's reputation.
Instead, William Bundy, a presidential adviser, flatly denied that the herbicide used by America was a chemical weapon, and blamed communist propagandists for a distortion of the facts about the Ranch Hand operation.
Only when the Federation of American Scientists warned that year that Vietnam was being used as a laboratory experiment did the rumours become irrefutable.
More than 5,000 American scientists, including 17 Nobel laureates and 129 members of the Academy of Sciences, signed a petition against "chemical and biological weapons used in Vietnam".
Cluster bomb dropped by US
Najaf, Iraq
Eight years after the military launched Operation Ranch Hand, scientists from the National Institute of Health warned that laboratory mice exposed to Agent Orange were giving birth to stillborn or deformed litters, a conclusion reinforced by research conducted by the US department of agriculture.
These findings coincided with newspaper reports in Hanoi that blamed Agent Orange for a range of crippling conditions among troops and their families.
Dr Le Ke Son, a young conscript in Hanoi during the war and now director of Vietnam's Agent Orange Victims Fund, recalls:
The government proposed that a line of runners carry blood and tissue samples from the front to Hanoi.
But it was more than 500 miles and took two months, by which time the samples were spoiled.
How could we make the research work? There was no way to prove what we could see with our own eyes.
In December 1969, President Nixon made a radical and controversial pledge that America would never use chemical weapons in a first strike.
He made no mention of Vietnam or Agent Orange, and the US government continued dispatching supplies of herbicides to the South Vietnamese regime until 1974.
That year, Kiem was born in a one-room hut in Kim Doi, a village just outside Hue.
For her mother, Nguyen, she should have been a consolation because her husband, a Viet Cong soldier, had been killed several months earlier.
"The last time he came home, he told me about the spray, how his unit had been doused in a sweet-smelling mist and all the leaves had fallen from the trees," Nguyen says.
It soon became obvious that Kiem was severely mentally and physically disabled:
"She can eat, she can smile, she sits on the bed.
That's it.
I have barely left my home since my daughter was born."
Brain injured - Agent Orange - clawed hand

Agent Orange Victim

Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam

Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.

Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.

Photo: David Lockett
Brain injured — Agent Orange — clawed hand
Photo: David Lockett
Friday, 11 March, 2005
Vietnam fury at Agent Orange case
Nguyen Van Quy, 49, weeps while sitting with his son Nguyen Quang Trung, 17, at his house in Hai Phong, Vietnam on July 2004.
Former soldier Nguyen Van Quy says he will not stop campaigning
Vietnamese plaintiffs have condemned a US court's decision to dismiss their legal action against manufacturers of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
"It is a wrong decision, unfair and irresponsible," said Nguyen Trong Nhan, vice president of Vietnam's Association of Agent Orange (VAVA).
He said his group was thinking of filing an appeal.
The judge in the case said allegations the chemical caused birth defects and illness had not been proved.
"There is no basis for any of the claims of plaintiffs under the domestic law of any nation or state or under any form of international law.  The case is dismissed," said US District Judge Jack B Weinstein.
But Mr Nguyen disagreed.
"Weinstein has turned a blind eye before the obvious truth.  It's a shame for him to put out that decision.  We just want justice, nothing more.
Dr. Nguyen Thi My Hien with an Agent Orange victim
Many handicapped come from villages that were sprayed
"This is just another war that could be long and difficult, as was the Vietnam War.  We are determined to pursue it until the very end, until the day we will be able to ask for justice," he said.
Test case
Former North Vietnamese solder Ngyuen Van Quy, who is being treated for liver and stomach cancer and whose two children are disabled, also said he would not give up his struggle for compensation.
"I'll fight, not just for myself, but for millions of Vietnamese victims.  Those who produced these toxic chemicals must take responsibility for their action," he said.
The plaintiffs had sought compensation from pharmaceutical firms including Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Hercules Incorporated, for the alleged effects of Agent Orange, a defoliation agent used to deprive communist Vietnamese forces of forest cover.
The plaintiffs argued that the chemical caused birth defects, miscarriages and cancer.
The civil action was the first attempt by Vietnamese plaintiffs to claim compensation for the effects of Agent Orange.
The defendants argued that the US government was responsible for how the chemical was used, not the manufacturers.
Legal precedent
However, in 1984, several chemical companies paid $180m (£93m) to settle a lawsuit with US war veterans, who said that their health had been affected by exposure to the substance.
Ngo Thanh Nhan, a professor who participated in a campaign to drum up support for the case, said this fuelled the Vietnamese plaintiffs' argument.
"If the medical files [of Vietnamese victims] are not convincing enough, we will use the ones of the American soldiers," he said in Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Le Van Chien was born with no legs
"There's no reason why those who sprayed chemical products got compensation for their contamination... and the direct victims' suit is rejected by an American court."
Agent Orange was named after the colour of its container.  As well as herbicides which stripped trees bare, it contained a strain of dioxin.
In time, some contend, the dioxin entered the food chain and caused a proliferation of birth defects.
Some babies were born without eyes or arms, or were missing internal organs.
Activists say three million people were exposed to the chemical during the war, and at least one million suffer serious health problems today.
Spectre orange
Nearly 30 years after the Vietnam war, a chemical weapon used by US troops is still exacting a hideous toll on each new generation.
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report
Saturday March 29 2003
By the time the war finally ended in 1975, more than 10% of Vietnam had been intensively sprayed with 72 million litres of chemicals, of which 66% was Agent Orange, laced with its super-strain of toxic TCCD.
But even these figures, contained in recently declassified US military records, vastly underestimate the true scale of the spraying.
Ranch Hand — a US government operation
Destroyed 1.2 million acres of land in Vietnam
4.8 million gallons of chemicals
Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.
In confidential statements made to US scientists, former Ranch Hand pilots allege that, in addition to the recorded missions, there were 26,000 aborted operations during which 260,000 gallons of herbicide were dumped.
US military regulations required all spray planes or helicopters to return to base empty and one pilot, formerly stationed at Bien Hoa air base between 1968 and 1969, claims that he regularly jettisoned his chemical load into the Long Binh reservoir.
"These herbicides should never have been used in the way that they were used," says the pilot, who has asked not to be identified.
US Government 'indemnified' from lawsuits
Almost immediately after the war finished, US veterans began reporting chronic conditions, skin disorders, asthma, cancers, gastrointestinal diseases.
Their babies were born limbless or with Down's syndrome and spina bifida.
But it would be three years before the US department of veterans' affairs reluctantly agreed to back a medical investigation, examining 300,000 former servicemen - only a fraction of those who had complained of being sick - with the government warning all participants that it was indemnified from lawsuits brought by them.
When rumours began circulating that President Reagan had told scientists not to make "any link" between Agent Orange and the deteriorating health of veterans, the victims lost patience with their government and sued the defoliant manufacturers in an action that was finally settled out of court in 1984 for $180m.
It would take the intervention of the former commander of the US Navy in Vietnam, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, for the government finally to admit that it had been aware of the potential dangers of the chemicals used in Vietnam from the start of Ranch Hand.
The admiral's involvement stemmed from a deathbed pledge to his son, a patrol boat captain who contracted two forms of cancer that he believed had been caused by his exposure to Agent Orange.
Every day during the war, Captain Elmo Zumwalt Jr had swum in a river from which he had also eaten fish, in an area that was regularly sprayed with the herbicide.
Two years after his son's death in 1988, Zumwalt used his leverage within the military establishment to compile a classified report, which he presented to the secretary of the department of veterans' affairs and which contained data linking Agent Orange to 28 life-threatening conditions, including bone cancer, skin cancer, brain cancer — in fact, almost every cancer known to man — in addition to chronic skin disorders, birth defects, gastrointestinal diseases and neurological defects.
Because the material was to be used on the 'enemy' none of us were overly concerned
Zumwalt also uncovered irrefutable evidence that the US military had dispensed "Agent Orange in concentrations six to 25 times the suggested rate" and that "4.2m US soldiers could have made transient or significant contact with the herbicides because of Operation Ranch Hand".
This speculative figure is twice the official estimate of US veterans who may have been contaminated with TCCD.
Most damning and politically sensitive of all is a letter, obtained by Zumwalt, from Dr James Clary, a military scientist who designed the spray tanks for Ranch Hand.
Writing in 1988 to a member of Congress investigating Agent Orange, Clary admitted:
When we initiated the herbicide programme in the 1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide.
We were even aware that the military formulation had a higher dioxin concentration than the civilian version, due to the lower cost and speed of manufacture.
However, because the material was to be used on the enemy, none of us were overly concerned.
Vietnam tears
1971
The Office of Genetic Counselling and Disabled Children (OGCDC) operates out of a room little bigger than a broom cupboard.
Dr Viet Nhan and his 21 volunteers share their cramped quarters at Hue Medical College with cerebral spinal fluid shunt kits donated from Norfolk, Virginia; children's clothes given by the Rotary Club of Osaka, Japan; second-hand computers scavenged from banks in Singapore.
Vietnam's chaotic and underfunded national health service cannot cope with the demands made upon it.
The Vietnamese Red Cross has registered an estimated one million people disabled by Agent Orange, but has sufficient funds to help only one fifth of them, paying out an average of $5 (£3) a month.
Dr Nhan established the free OGCDC, having studied the impact of Agent Orange as a student, to match Vietnamese families to foreign private financial donors.
"It was only when I went out to the villages looking for case studies that I realised how many families were affected and how few could afford help," he says.
Children need to run before they die
"I abandoned my research.
"Children need to run before they die."
Wheel chair - Agent Orange victim — eye affected — claw hand

Children need to run before they die

Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam.

Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.

Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.

Photo: David Lockett
Wheel chair — Agent Orange victim — eye affected — claw hand
Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam.
Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.
Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.
Photo: David Lockett
Sunday, 30 December, 2001
Agent Orange hotspots located
Map of Agent Orange hotspots
By BBC Science's Helen Sewell
Scientists investigating the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam have found that people living in a so-called hotspot have the highest blood levels of its poisonous chemical dioxin ever recorded in the country.
Agent Orange, which has the dioxin (TCDD — short for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) as one of its constituents, was last used in 1973.
But today, some residents of Binh-Hoa, near Ho Chi Minh City, have 200 times the background amount of dioxin in their bloodstreams.
Agent Orange was widely used by the US military during the Vietnam War as a defoliant so that Vietnam's dense jungle could not provide cover for Viet Cong forces.
'Startling' results
It was when US veterans started to become ill with a variety of health problems that investigations suggested that Agent Orange could be involved.
The most dangerous ingredient was the dioxin, a pollutant that stays in the environment for decades.
There are still about 12 dioxin hotspots in Vietnam, in areas where very heavy spraying took place.
US soldier fighting
Agent Orange was used to destroy tree cover
Scientists from the United States have been working with the Vietnamese Red Cross in these areas, testing residents to see whether they are suffering any ill effects.
The lead scientist, Professor Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas, says they are "very startled" by the results.
Export worry
In a paper to be published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, he says that in Binh-Hoa, 95% of people sampled had elevated levels of dioxin in their bloodstream, and some had 200 times the average amount.
Dioxins, which include TCDD and other related compounds, can cause cancers and problems with reproductive development, the nervous and immune systems.
It is thought the high levels of dioxin found in Binh-Hoa residents result from the chemical leaching into watercourses where it is absorbed by fish and ducks, which form part of the Vietnamese diet.
The issue is very sensitive for Vietnam, which exports these foods all over the world.
Spectre orange
Nearly 30 years after the Vietnam war, a chemical weapon used by US troops is still exacting a hideous toll on each new generation.
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report
Saturday March 29 2003
The walls of Dr Nhan's room are plastered with bewildering photographs of those he has helped: operations for hernias and cleft palates, open-heart surgery and kidney transplants.
All of the patients come from isolated districts in central Vietnam, villages whose names will be unfamiliar, unlike the locations that surround them: Khe Sanh, Hamburger Hill, Camp Carroll and the Rock Pile.
Children need financial backers.   Cannot wait for the US to change its policy
"I am not interested in apportioning blame," Nhan says.
"I don't want to talk to you about science or politics.
What I care about is that I have 60 sick children needing financial backers.
They cannot wait for the US to change its policy, take its head out of the sand and clear up the mess."
Ranch Hand — a US government operation
Destroyed 1.2 million acres of land in Vietnam
4.8 million gallons of chemicals
Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.
He takes us into an intensive care ward to meet nine-year-old Nguyen Van Tan, who two weeks before had open-heart surgery to correct a birth defect thought to be connected to dioxin poisoning.
There is no hard proof of this, but his father, who sits beside the bed, talks of being sprayed with defoliants when he fought with the Viet Cong.
The area they live in was repeatedly doused during the war.
Almost all of his former battlefield comrades have disabled children, he says.
Nhan ushers us away. "I don't want to tell the family yet, but their boy will never fully recover.   He is already suffering from total paralysis.   The most we can do now is send them home with a little money."
Sent by veterans' organisation because US government refuses to supply maps
Back in his tiny office, the doctor gestures to photocopies of US Air Force maps, sent by a veterans' organisation because the US government refuses to supply them.
These dizzying charts depict the number of herbicide missions carried out over Quang Tri, a province adjacent to the DMZ, from where almost all Nhan's patients come.
Its topography is obliterated by spray lines, 741,143 gallons of chemicals dropped here, more than 600,000 of them being Agent Orange.
"I'm just scratching the surface," he says.
The Vietnamese government is reluctant to let us travel to Quang Tri province.
It does not want us "to poke and prod" already dismal villagers, treating them as if they are medical exhibits.
We attempt to recruit some high-powered support and arrange a meeting in Hanoi with Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, who until last year was the vice-president of Vietnam.
She receives us at the presidential palace in a teak-panelled hall beneath an enormous photograph of Ho Chi Minh in a gold frame writhing with dragons.
"Thank you, my young friends, for your interest in Vietnam," Madame Binh says, straightening her grey silk ao dai, a traditional flowing trouser suit.
Returning veterans had a burning desire for children
She looks genteel, but old photographs of her in olive fatigues suggest she is a seasoned campaigner.
As minister of foreign affairs for the Provisional Revolutionary South Vietnamese government, she negotiated at the Paris peace talks in 1973.
"I must warn you, I will not answer questions about George W Bush," she says, casting a steely gaze, perhaps conscious of the fact that, since the lifting of the US economic embargo in 1994, trade with America has grown to £650m a year.
Madame Binh does, however, want to talk about chemical warfare, recalling how, when she returned after the war to her home province of Quang Nam, a lush region south-west of Hue which was drenched in defoliants, she found "no sign of life, just rubble and grass".
She says: "All of our returning veterans had a burning desire for children to repopulate our devastated country.   When the first child was born with a birth defect, they tried again and again.   So many families now have four or five disabled children, raising them without any hope."
Vietnam Letter
Nguyen Thu Anh
Can be contacted at:
www.danangquangnamfund.org
What should the US do?
Madame Binh laughs. "It's very late to do anything.   We put this issue directly on the table with the US.   So far they have not dealt with the problem.   If our relationship is ever to be normal, the US has to accept responsibility.   Go and see the situation for yourself."
She sends us back to Hue.
Over chilled water and tangerines, we talk to a suspicious party secretary who asks us why we have bothered to come after all these years.
"There is no point," he says. "Nothing will come of it."
But he opens his file all the same and reads aloud: "In Hue city there are 6,633 households affected by Agent Orange and in them 3,708 sick children under the age of 16."
He eventually agrees to take us north-west, over the Perfume river, beyond the ancient royal tombs that circle this former imperial city, towards the DMZ.
We arrive at a distant commune where a handyman is sprucing up a bust of Ho Chi Minh with white gloss paint.
Eventually, the chairman of the People's Committee of Dang Ha joins us, and our political charabanc stuffed with seven officials sets out across the green and gold countryside, along crisscrossing lanes.
The chairman tells us proudly how he was born on January 31 1968, the night of the Tet offensive, the turning point of the war, when the Viet Cong launched its assault on US positions.
By the time we stop, we are all the best of friends and, holding hands, he pulls us into the home of the Pham family, where a wall of neighbours and an assembly of local dignitaries dressed in shiny, double-breasted jackets stare grimly at a moaning child.
Parents taking it in turns to mop his mouth
He lies on a mat on the floor, his matchstick limbs folded uselessly before him, his parents taking it in turns to mop his mouth, as if without them he would drown in his own saliva.
Wednesday, 15 November, 2000
Agent Orange's toxic legacy
Nguyen Thuong Hai at centre for Agent Orange victims
Nguyen Thuong Hai at centre for Agent Orange victims
Is Agent Orange affecting a third generation?
By Owen Bennett-Jones in Hanoi
One of the key issues likely to come up during President Bill Clinton's visit to Vietnam this week is the legacy of Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used by US forces which has been blamed for huge numbers of birth defects.
The Vietnamese authorities say they fear that illnesses caused by Agent Orange are now being passed on to a third generation of victims.
During the war in Vietnam the Americans sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange on the country in an attempt to deny food and cover to the enemy.
To Tien Hoa is a 65 year old grandfather who spent seven years fighting against the Americans.
Nguyen Kim Thoa, 15, at centre for Agent Orange victims
Nguyen Kim Thoa, 15, at centre for Agent Orange victims
This girl's skin is covered in black spongy blotches
He was repeatedly sprayed by agent orange.  "My son was born with a deformed foot and now my grandson has no legs and a deformed hand.  I can confirm this is because of Agent Orange."
Scientists say it is not that simple.  The US does pay compensation to some of its own serviceman for Agent Orange related illnesses, but proving a link between various medical conditions and Agent Orange is difficult and highly controversial.
There is, however, widespread agreement the dioxin which Agent Orange contained is very dangerous.
Some parts of Vietnam, especially the sites of former US air bases where the herbicide was stored, have high concentrations of dioxin.
The most thorough survey yet has been conducted by a Canadian, Chris Hatfield, who says that in some places it appears dioxin has not really reduced at all.
"Dioxin has moved from the soils to the sediment of fish ponds and into the fish themselves that are raised in the ponds for food — right up into the blood and breast milk," he added.
Clean-up
The suspicion that 25 years after the war, dioxins could still be infecting foetuses through the placenta and infants through breast milk has added urgency to the demands for a clean up.
The US sprayed 20 million gallons over Vietnam
"So far the Vietnamese government has not been able to do anything to clean up," said Professor Le Cao Dai, the Executive Director of the Agent Orange Victim Fund and one of Vietnam's leading experts on the issue.
To break down dioxin, affected soil has to be heated to very high temperatures — an expensive process.
President Clinton is expected to stress the US's commitment to international research on the issue.
In recent months the US has also, for the first time, begun to discuss the possibility of providing technical assistance for a clean-up of Agent Orange.
Pete Peterson, the US ambassador in Vietnam and a former prisoner of war during the conflict, says they are beginning a "full research effort on Agent Orange".
Spectre orange
Nearly 30 years after the Vietnam war, a chemical weapon used by US troops is still exacting a hideous toll on each new generation.
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report
Saturday March 29 2003
Hoi, the boy's mother, tells us how she met her husband when they were assigned to the same Viet Cong unit in which they fought together for 10 years.
But she alone was ordered to the battle of Troung Hon mountain.
"I saw this powder falling from the sky," she says.
I felt sick, had a headache.
I was sent to a field hospital.
I was close to the gates of hell.
By the time I was discharged, I had lost the strength in my legs and they have never fully recovered.
Then Ky was born, our son, with yellow skin.
Every year his problems get worse.
Her husband, Hung, interrupts: "Sometimes, we have been so desperate for money that we have begged in the local market.   I do not think you can imagine the humiliation of that."
Vietnam Letter
Nguyen Toa
Can be contacted at:
www.danangquangnamfund.org
He lives with disease and death
And this family is not alone.
All the adults here, cycling past us or strolling along the dykes, are suffering from skin lesions and goitres that cling to necks like sagging balloons.
The women spontaneously abort or give birth to genderless squabs that horrify even the most experienced midwives.
In a yard, Nguyen, a neighbour's child, stares into space.
He has a hydrocephalic head as large as a melon.
Two houses down, Tan has distended eyes that bubble from his face.
By the river, Ngoc is sleeping, so wan he resembles a pressed flower.
"They told me the boy is depressed," his exhausted father tells us.
"Of course he's depressed.   He lives with disease and death."
How long will this go on?
This is not a specially constructed ghetto used to wage a propaganda war against imperialism.
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has long embraced the free market.
This is an ordinary hamlet where, in these new liberal times, villagers like to argue about the English Premiership football results over a glass of home-brewed rice beer.
Here live three generations affected by Agent Orange: veterans who were sprayed during the war and their successors who inherited the contamination or who still farm on land that was sprayed.
Vietnam's impoverished scientific community is now trying to determine if there will be a fourth generation.
"How long will this go on?" asks Dr Tran Manh Hung, the ministry of health's leading researcher.
Women pass it through the placenta to the foetus
Dr Hung is now working with a team of Canadian environmental scientists, Hatfield Consultants, and they have made an alarming discovery.
In the Aluoi Valley, adjacent to the Ho Chi Minh trail, once home to three US Special Forces bases, a region where Agent Orange was both stored and sprayed, the scientists' analysis has shown that, rather than naturally disperse, the dioxin has remained in the ground in concentrations 100 times above the safety levels for agricultural land in Canada.
It has spread into Aluoi's ponds, rivers and irrigation supplies, from where it has passed into the food chain, through fish and freshwater shellfish, chicken and ducks that store TCCD in fatty tissue.
Samples of human blood and breast milk reveal that villagers have ingested the invisible toxin and that pregnant women pass it through the placenta to the foetus and then through their breast milk, doubly infecting newborn babies.
Is it, then, a coincidence that in this minuscule region of Vietnam, more than 15,000 children and adults have already been registered as suffering from the usual array of chronic conditions?
Vietnam Letter
Nguyen Thanh Xuan
Can be contacted at:
www.danangquangnamfund.org
Aluoi Valley microcosm of country
"We theorise that the Aluoi Valley is a microcosm of the country, where numerous reservoirs of TCCD still exist in the soil of former US military installations," says Dr Wayne Dwernychuk, vice-president of Hatfield Consultants.
There may be as many as 50 of these "hot spots", including one at the former US military base of Bien Hoa, where, according to declassified defence department documents, US forces spilled 7,500 gallons of Agent Orange on March 1 1970.
Dr Arnold Schecter, a leading expert in dioxin contamination in the US, sampled the soil there and found it to contain TCCD levels that were 180 million times above the safe level set by the US environmental protection agency.
Once TCCD enters body it is there to stay
It is extremely difficult to decontaminate humans or the soil.
A World Health Organisation briefing paper warns: "Once TCCD has entered the body it is there to stay due to its uncanny ability to dissolve in fats and to its rock solid chemical stability."
At Aluoi, the researchers recommended the immediate evacuation of the worst affected villages, but to be certain of containing this hot spot, the WHO also recommends searing the land with temperatures of more than 1,000C, or encasing it in concrete before treating it chemically.
Steady ministeps - Agent Orange victim — body affected — claw hand

Children need to run before they die.

Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam.

Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.

Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.

Photo: David Lockett
Steady ministeps — Agent Orange victim — body affected — claw hand
Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam.
Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.
Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.
Photo: David Lockett
Wednesday, 29 March, 2000
Agent Orange link to diabetes
Agent Orange was used widely in the Vietnam War
A US Air Force report suggests a significant link between the defoliant Agent Orange, used widely in the Vietnam War, and diabetes in veterans, it is reported.
Servicemen with high levels of dioxins — a chemical constituent of Agent Orange — were more likely to develop diabetes than those with low levels.
The Washington Post says it obtained the report from a "government source".
Eight other diseases, including some cancers, are already linked with Agent Orange, which was used as a herbicide to clear tracts of heavily vegetated terrain during the conflict.
It was used to destroy crops and enemy hiding places.
If diabetes were to be added to that list, it would permit tens of thousands more veterans to apply for compensation from the US government.
All Vietnam veterans are assumed for compensation purposes to have had contact with the chemical at some point.
Later problems
The finding applies to type II diabetes, which normally develops in middle age or later.
The body is unable to properly regulate the levels of sugar in the blood, and sufferers often need to take medication.
Diabetes can lead to disabling circulation problems in the extremities such as the feet, as well as an increased risk of heart disease and eye problems.
The study reported in the Washington Post only shows a link between dioxin levels in the blood and diabetes, rather than absolute proof that the chemical causes the illness.
Obesity, a risk factor for adult-onset diabetes, could allow more dioxin from the environment to be stored in the body's fat tissues.
Many Vietnamese also claim that Agent Orange exposure has caused long-term illness in both adults and their subsequent children.
Some of the diseases linked with the defoliant are cancers such as soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, prostate and cancers of the lung, larynx and trachea.
Other diseases associated to dioxins include nerve problems in the extremities, and defects such as spina bifida in children of veterans.
Veterans' groups claim many other illnesses have their roots in exposure to the herbicide and others like it used in the war.
Spectre orange
Nearly 30 years after the Vietnam war, a chemical weapon used by US troops is still exacting a hideous toll on each new generation.
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report
Saturday March 29 2003
At home, the US takes heed.   When a dump at the Robins Air Force Base in Georgia was found to have stored Agent Orange, it was placed on a National Priority List, immediately capped in five feet of clay and sand, and has since been the subject of seven investigations.
Dioxin is now also a major domestic concern, scientists having discovered that it is a by-product of many ordinary industrial processes, including smelting, the bleaching of paper pulp and solid waste incineration.
The US environmental protection agency, pressed into a 12-year inquiry, recently concluded that it is a "class-1 human carcinogen".
Vietnam Letter
Cao Van Sanh
Can be contacted at:
www.danangquangnamfund.org
No money is forthcoming, no aid of any kind
The evidence is categoric.
Last April, a conference at Yale University attended by the world's leading environmental scientists, who reviewed the latest research, concluded that in Vietnam the US had conducted the "largest chemical warfare campaign in history".
And yet no money is forthcoming, no aid in kind.
For the US, there has only ever been one contemporary incident of note involving weapons of mass destruction —
Colin Powell told the UN Security Council in February that, "in the history of chemical warfare, no country has had more battlefield experience with chemical weapons since world war one than Saddam Hussein's Iraq"
Why the Vietnamese are still dying
The US government has yet to respond to the Hatfield Consultants' report, which finally explains why the Vietnamese are still dying so many years after the war is over, but, last March, it did make its first contribution to the debate in Vietnam.
It signed an agreement with a reluctant Vietnamese government for an $850,000 (£543,000) programme to "fill identified data gaps" in the study of Agent Orange.
The conference in Hanoi that announced the decision, according to Vietnamese Red Cross representatives who attended, ate up a large slice of this funding.
One of the signatories is the same US environmental protection agency that has already concluded that dioxin causes cancer.
"Studies can be proposed until hell freezes over," says Dr Dwernychuk of Hatfield Consultants:
"But they are not going to assist the Vietnamese in a humanitarian sense one iota.
"We state emphatically that no additional research on human health is required to facilitate intervention or to protect the local citizens.
America continues to spend considerably more on dead than millions of living and long-suffering
There is cash to be lavished in Vietnam when the US government sees it as politically expedient.
Over the past 10 years, more than $350m (£223m) has been spent on chasing ghosts.
In 1992, the US launched the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting to locate 2,267 servicemen thought to be missing in action in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Jerry O'Hara, spokesman for JTF-FA, which is still searching for the remains of 1,889 of them, told us, "We don't place a monetary value on what we do and we'll be here until we have brought all of the boys back home."
So it is that America continues to spend considerably more on the dead than it does on the millions of living and long-suffering — be they back home or in Vietnam.
Vietnam Baby
Cao Than Ha
Can be contacted at:
www.danangquangnamfund.org
Thankfully, none of these dioxin babies ever wake up
The science of chemical warfare fills a silent, white-tiled room at Tu Du hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
Here, shelves are overburdened with research materials.
Behind the locked door is an iridescent wall of the mutated and misshapen, hundreds of bell jars and vacuum-sealed bottles in which human foetuses float in formaldehyde.
Some appear to be sleeping, fingers curling their hair, thumbs pressing at their lips, while others with multiple heads and mangled limbs are listless and slumped.
Thankfully, none of these dioxin babies ever woke up.
Ravaged infants whom no one has the ability to understand
One floor below, it is never quiet.
Here are those who have survived the misery of their births:
Ravaged infants whom no one has the ability to understand.
Babies so traumatised by their own disabilities.
Luckless children so enraged and depressed at their miserable fate.
That they are tied to their beds just to keep them safe from harm
Vietnam Letter Luong Kinh

Can be contacted at 

www.danangquangnamfund.org

Children need to run before they die.

Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam.

Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.

Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.

Photo: David Lockett
Vietnam Letter
Luong Kinh
Can be contacted at:
www.danangquangnamfund.org
Ranch Hand — a US government operation — defoliated 1.2 million acres of land and dispensed 4.8 million gallons of chemicals over Vietnam.
Doing this has created more than 1 million Agent Orange victims.
Monsanto, Dow Chemical, let off hook by New York Federal Court for Agent Orange toxic herbicide manufacture.
Sunday, 10 March, 2002
New study into Agent Orange
Agent Orange victim
The research will focus on the long term medical effects
Vietnam and the US have agreed to conduct joint research on the effects of Agent Orange, the defoliant widely used in the Vietnam war, US officials said on Sunday.
Anne Sassaman, of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and Nguyen Ngoc Sinh, head of Vietnam's National Environmental Agency, signed an agreement laying out specific priorities for future research.
The move follows a landmark conference on Agent Orange which took place in Hanoi last week, the first ever joint conference on the issue.
"This framework for collaboration is an important step forward, but the real difficulties lie ahead — agreeing to do the research is the easy part.  " Dr Sassaman said in a statement.
"The more difficult task will be to develop research studies that are definitive and address the underlying causes of disease in Vietnam," she added.
Contaminated areas
Key areas for research include spontaneous abortions, miscarriages, congenital malformations, neurological disorders and cancers.
Agent Orange being sprayed
The defoliant was sprayed over enemy territory
In a pilot project scientists from the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are helping their Vietnamese counterparts to study the impact of Agent Orange at a contamination hotspot near the country's third largest city of Danang.
Priority will also be given to identifying and cleaning up "hotspots," where high concentrations of dioxin still exist.
Call for help
US forces sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange on Vietnam during the war that ended in 1975, to deny communist soldiers jungle cover.
The US stopped spraying in 1971 after it was discovered that it contained the most dangerous form of dioxin, TCDD, and caused cancer in rats.
On Wednesday, Vietnam's Red Cross appealed for urgent help for victims of Agent Orange — the poisonous chemical dioxin used during the Vietnam War.
"People affected by Agent Orange need help now and cannot wait years for more research, said the head of Vietnam's Red Cross," said Professor Nguyen Trong Nhan.
Friday, 19 November, 1999
Vietnam War poison
Agent Orange victim
Julian Pettifer speaks to Kim Thoa: is she a victim of Agent Orange?
By Arlene Gregorius
Kim Thoa is a bright and cheerful fourteen-year old girl from the North of Vietnam.
She speaks some English, and has a talent for drawing and painting.
She also suffers from a very disfiguring skin condition: her face and body are covered in patches of inky-black, scaly skin.
That's why she's taught at Than Shuan Peace Village, one of several special boarding schools in Vietnam for children with a range of mental and physical disabilities.
Why should Thoa's black skin patches put her in a class with pupils who have severe learning difficulties?
Because all these children, regardless of the nature of their various conditions, are alleged to be victims of Agent Orange, the herbicide and defoliant sprayed over much of South Vietnam during the war.
But how could the children, none of whom is older than sixteen, possibly be victims of the Vietnam war, which ended in 1975?  And how could they be affected by a substance sprayed only up until 1971?  We asked the deputy director of the Peace Village, Nguyen Huy Long.
Disabled
Agent Orange has been linked to mental and physical problems
"Although the war ended long ago", he said, " the children here are still considered victims of the war, because their parents fought in the battlefields in the South, and were affected by Agent Orange."
In other words, according to Nguyen Huy Long, Agent Orange caused the veterans to father children with mild or severe birth defects.
The children probably get better medical care here than they would otherwise, and they're not made to feel freaks.  But we had a strong feeling that the brighter children here were unlikely to reach their full intellectual potential.
And it also seemed to us that these children were being used for propaganda purposes.  Their future appeared to be sacrificed to the greater good of gaining international sympathy, and funding.
For, as we found out, there is now a veritable Agent Orange trail, well trodden by foreign journalists, charity workers, and anyone else who shows a serious interest in the matter.  All are taken to the same places.
After the Peace Village, our next stop was the 10-80 committee, so-called because it was set up by the Vietnamese government in October 1980 to investigate the effects of Agent Orange on people's health and on the environment.  We asked Professor Hoang Dinh Cau, the chairman of the Committee, about their findings.
"What we discovered is that Agent Orange causes diseases in victims' eyes, as well as the lungs, the liver and other organs.  But especially, we discovered birth defects in the children of affected people."  He then showed us a number of statistical charts.  There was one about the number of babies born with birth defects in one of the main hospitals of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).  It showed that the number of such births rose dramatically after the Vietnam war.  Another graph showed that levels of dioxin in mothers' breastmilk were up to seventeen times the maximum safety level. 
Banners warn of the dangers of dioxin
Agent Orange is a compound of two herbicides, and the combination of these created a type of dioxin as a by-product.  This substance is the most toxic chemical known to mankind.  Five parts per trillion are known to kill laboratory animals.  No scientist, whether in Vietnam or the West, would dispute that dioxin can cause a whole range of cancers, and some other diseases.  But birth defects?
Professor Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School of Public Health is one of the world's leading experts on the subject.  He's made fifteen working trips to Vietnam, two of them this year.  He insists that it's extremely unlikely that most of the deformities shown to people in Vietnam are caused by Agent Orange.
The higher levels of dioxin in breast milk only exist in a small number of women in the South, and not in the North, he says, so it's almost impossible that the conditions of the children in the Thanh Shuan Peace Village, for instance, are caused by Agent Orange.
Professor Schecter admits that "Vietnam is the world's worst dioxin incident", and that therefore when quoting Western evidence, one might not be comparing like with like.  However he says scientists have learnt enough from other dioxin contaminations — in Italy, Taiwan or Japan — to be sure that the vast majority of birth defects are not caused by Agent Orange.
We took the train south, to Quang Tri province just south of the former DMZ, the "demilitarised zone" on both sides of what was the border between the Communist North and the American-backed South Vietnam during the war.  Quang Tri province was one of the most heavily sprayed areas of Vietnam, and where some of the toughest fighting took place.
Khe Sanh, Hamburger Hill, the Ashau Valley, Camp Carol, Con Tien — all these former U.S. marine bases and battlefields were Quang Tri.  The U.S. bases repeatedly sprayed their surroundings with Agent Orange to give clear fields of fire in every direction.
We went to a village near Con Tien to meet a local farmer, who has seven children.  The three eldest were born whilst the family lived in an area that had not been sprayed, and they were healthy.
The disturbing fact was that the four youngest were born here, in Quang Tri province, and they were all both mentally and physically disabled.  "When the oldest of the four was born", hed told us, " the doctor said that maybe I was affected by a poisonous chemical.  He advised me not to have any more children."
As we walked away from the village, we met another team of journalists.  Quang Tri province, too, is a firm fixture on the Agent Orange trail.  But could the conditions of the farmer's four youngest children really be caused by dioxins in the soil, and hence the food chain, here?
This farmer had three healthy, then four disabled children
Professor Arnold Schecter doubts it.  To prove it, one would have to test blood samples of the farmer and his family to see if they contain elevated dioxin levels.  This is expensive, costing up to US $1,000 per sample.  Few laboratories in the world — and none in Vietnam — can do it.
The high cost is only one reason why more research on Agent Orange's legacy has not been done.  Both Vietnam and the US are reluctant to fund it.  And the reasons for that reluctance are political.
The Vietnamese government isn't united on the issue.  Those concerned with public health want more research done, but those dealing with commercial interests don't want any adverse publicity about dioxins which could affect food exports, such as rice, and tourism.
The US attitude is also ambiguous.  No-one from the US Embassy in Hanoi or at the State Department in Washington was prepared to speak to us.  But it's clear that the US is worried about possible compensation claims from Vietnam.
There are already claims for a billion dollars compensation for Agent Orange damage, from South Korean veterans who fought on the American side during the Vietnam war.  So the US too is playing for time.
Saturday, August 21, 1999
Newspaper reports in the United States say the American army carried out secret tests of the highly toxic chemical, Agent Orange, in Panama, in the 1960s and 70s.
A US army veteran who served in Panama said in the Dallas Morning News that hundreds of barrels of Agent Orange — a defoliant — were sprayed close to the Panama Canal, in densely-populated areas and near a lake which is a source of water for Panama City.
 
Saturday, August 21, 1999
Agent Orange blights Vietnam
Robin Denselow reports that poisons dropped by US forces during the Vietnam War have left a long-lasting legacy.
The Vietnam war has been over for 23 years, and the nation is now at peace.
Areas once famous for brutal high-tech battles are today a tourist destination.
Agent Orange has dramatically changed the Vietnamese landscape
However, one weapon that was used by the Americans is still lethal.
New research shows it is still creating environmental chaos, poisoning the food chain and causing serious concern over its effects on human health.
Dioxin was found in Agent Orange, one of the herbicides sprayed from giant C 123 cargo planes to destroy the forests and fields that gave cover to the VietCong fighters.
In total, 11m gallons were poured over South Vietnam between 1961 and 71, over 10% of the country — 14% of the area targeted was farmland.
Agent Orange was a cocktail of chemicals that were stored in drums marked with an orange band.
It was contaminated with TCDD, the most poisonous dioxin, known to cause cancer and other diseases.
The Vietnamese have long claimed that Agent Orange — and the dioxin it contained — has seriously damaged the health of those living in the areas where it was used.
11m gallons of Agent Orange were poured over South Vietnam
The US says there is no proof and that all this is just propaganda.
And yet, in the States, Vietnam veterans who handled Agent Orange can claim compensation for a whole range of other diseases recognised as being associated with dioxin.
They range from skin diseases such as Chloracne, through to conditions that affect the nerves and lymphatic glands as well as a range of cancers — of the lung, larynx and prostate.
Vietnamese scientists studying dioxin levels have been hampered by lack of resources.
Proof of contamination
But an independent Canadian team, Hatfield Consultants, have studied the levels of dioxin that still exist in one area that was heavily sprayed and found disturbing results.
Team member David Levi said: "We should not think of this as a historical problem.
This is a present-day contamination issue.
The lasting legacy of the Agent Orange drop has even staggered some war veterans.
Chuck Starey, of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, said: "Any sprays, poisons that are sprayed from the airplanes and helicopters you have to have some concerns about, but I never imagined it would be as devastating as apparently it has been over the years."
Vietnamese scientists have been shocked by the Canadian team's findings.  There is talk of evacuating contaminated areas — a quarter of a century after the spraying stopped.
Remains of old trees stand on bare hillsides
High dioxin levels were found in the blood of local children
Dr Nguyen Viet Nhan, who has studied child health in areas where Agent Orange was used, is aware that dioxin is known to cause cancer and brain damage in children, but argues that it is also causing the large amount of deformities found in the sprayed areas.
Dr Nguyen's pilot study compared the health of children in one area that had been sprayed with those in another that had not.
"The dioxins that are present are entering the food chain today, and also being taken up by the people living in the area today."
Children in areas that had been sprayed were:
  • More than three times as likely to have cleft palates
  • More than three times as likely to be mentally retarded
  • More than three times as likely to have extra fingers or toes
  • Nearly eight times as likely to suffer hernias
  • The Vietnamese government claims there are so many children born with problems caused by dioxin that they have had to set up a network of 11 special schools — so called 'peace villages' — across the country.
    Dioxins have found their way into the food chain
    Unexploded bombs
    Agent Orange is not the only still-remaining lethal legacy of the American war.
    Areas such as Quang Tri Province, north of the Aloui valley, are still littered with unexpoded bombs.
    In total, it is estimated that six million are still scattered across Vietnam.
    Detonating unexploded bombs in areas where dioxin is in the soil is likely to re-activate the chemical.
    This means demining must be followed by decontamination if land is to be made fully safe.
    In addition to the Aluoi Valley it is thought there could be at least nine other heavily contaminated 'hot spots'.


    High dioxin levels were found in the blood of local children
    The cost of a clear-up operation could be enormous.
    1962
    The decision to begin destroying crops with herbicides was longer in coming, even though President Diem was an early and enthusiastic advocate of crop destruction.
    He maintained that he knew where the Viet Cong crops were, and South Vietnamese officials had difficulty in understanding why the Americans wouldn't give them a readily-available chemical that would accomplish with much less effort what they were already doing by cutting, pulling, and burning.
    Although the Defense Department favored chemical crop destruction, several influential people in the State Department, notably Roger Hilsman and W. Averell Harriman, were opposed.
    They argued that there was no way to insure that only Viet Cong crops would be killed, and the inevitable mistakes would alienate the rural South Vietnamese people.
    Hilsman maintained that the use of this technology would enable the Viet Cong to argue that the U.S. represented "foreign imperialist barbarism,” and Harriman urged that crop destruction should be postponed to a later stage in the counterinsurgency struggle when the Viet Cong would not be so closely intermingled with the people.
    October 2, 1962, President Kennedy decided to allow restricted crop spraying to proceed.
    Operation Ranch Hand
    Spread the message, carry the fight
    Len AldisAugust 10, 2009
    Agent Orange victims march on Le Duan Boulevard in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 Sunday, August 9, 2009, to commemorate the first Orange Day in Vietnam.

Chemical companies, US authorities knew dangers of Agent Orange.

Those responsible for exposing Vietnamese citizens and US troops to toxic defoliants kept silent about known health implications, a review of documents finds.

Photo: thanhniennews
    Agent Orange victims march Sunday, August 9, 2009 on Le Duan Boulevard in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1
    To commemorate the first Orange Day in Vietnam.
    Over the past week and especially today, the call for justice for victims of Agent Orange has been heard and seen around Vietnam and the world, through print and through radio and television.
    The Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), and VTV4 have done valuable work to advance the cause.
    All are to be congratulated, and mention must be of the role played by Thanh Nien through its informative articles published these days, giving voice to international friends of Vietnam and the Vietnamese victims.
    Today via the Internet with its stupendous reach, the message of Orange Day has been carried far and wide, and no one can be unaware of the tragic legacy that has been borne by hundreds of thousands of innocents by the use of chemicals in the Vietnam War, and in particular Agent Orange.
    We have seen and read of the tragic stories of the victims, we have seen the horrific photographs of them and their families, we have also seen the humanitarian work being carried out within Vietnam by VAVA, the Vietnam Red Cross and international NGOs.
    Our thanks should also go to the American NGOs working in Vietnam helping to remove from the soil of
    Vietnam massive amounts of unexploded bombs that, today, thirty-four years after the end of the war, are still killing and maiming innocent men, women and children.
    The past ten days have been remarkable in bringing the message of international solidarity to the victims of Agent Orange from many corners of the world with the continuing call for justice.
    And after August 10th?
    All of us must increase our roles and strengthen the international campaign for justice.
    The companies responsible – Monsanto, Dow, etc, cannot and must not escape from the horrific crimes they carried out with Agent Orange.
    Until they accept their responsibility, and compensate all the victims and their families, we should campaign for an international embargo on all their products.
    Len Aldis is the Secretary of the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society
    Click here for comment article
    Copyright © 2009 ThanhNienNews.com
    ...Monsanto, Dow Chemical and more than a dozen other companies, including Hercules Inc., Occidental Chemical Corp, Thompson Hayward Chemical Co., Harcros Chemicals Inc. and Uniroyal Chemical Co. Inc., were named in the case.
    In November 1961, President Kennedy approved the launch of Operation Trail Dust, a campaign of military herbicide operations in Vietnam designed to prevent 'the enemy' from using vegetation for cover and sustenance.
    Lawyers for Vietnamese people sued U.S. companies, saying the program caused miscarriages, birth defects, breast cancer, ovarian tumors, lung cancer, Hodgkin's disease and prostate tumors.
    They said the military's use of Agent Orange violated international, domestic and Vietnamese law and that companies aided the violations or committed their own by helping the military.
    They sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and an environmental cleanup program.
    Lawyers for the companies and the U.S. government had argued that there was no evil intent when Agent Orange was used to clear the Vietnamese landscape for troops.
    Agent Orange has been linked to cancer, diabetes and birth defects among Vietnamese soldiers and civilians and American veterans.
    In 2002, the United States and Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding providing for scientists from both governments to work together to determine the effects of Agent Orange on people and ecosystems, along with methods and costs of treatment and environmental remediation.
    The United States, though, has never agreed it has a legal duty to provide funds or assistance to remediate harms allegedly caused by Agent Orange.
    In a separate opinion, the appellate court also said companies are protected from lawsuits brought by U.S. military veterans or their relatives because the law protects government contractors in certain circumstances who provide defective products.
     
     
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