US Vietnam war Agent Orange brain cancer and Senator McCain

This video from the USA says about itself:

Sheree Evans Releases Book About Agent Orange and Glioblastoma

14 February 2015

I spent the summer of 2013 riding my motorcycle coast to coast, giving talks about serious health issues that face American veterans. The ride, called “Operation Red Dragonfly,” was organized by a widow in Missouri named Sheree Evans, who goes by the nickname of Tiger.

As I covered more than 11,000 miles in roughly two and a half months, Tiger helped me gain access to many vets who live in the dark with regard to serious [diseases]. I spoke to veteran-oriented audiences all over the US about health hazards they face from serving in uniform. These include contamination from cancer-causing military base toxins, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, and Agent Orange, a chemical defoilant sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam during the US war there.

When I first met Sheree Evans, I knew I was dealing with a special person, who was experiencing a bittersweet victory. Sheree’s husband, Tommy Evans, served in the Vietnam War as a Marine. His body was contaminated with dioxins from Agent Orange, a toxic chemical sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam that has claimed more than a million innocent lives.

In February 2011, I wrote an article about Sheree’s tireless efforts to push Tommy’s illness, a rare brain cancer called Glioblastoma, onto the record… so the Veterans Administration would in part, be forced to accept and admit that Agent Orange had a direct relationship to “Glio” as the disease is often referred.

Dedicated and unwilling to take no for an answer, Sheree Evans made history as her husband did, and I wrote about it in an article called, “Wounded by the Vietnamese, Killed by Monsanto.”

Now Sheree has written her first book, which recalls the story of her husband Tommy, and many other vets and their families, all impacted by Glioblastoma and similar illnesses that the U.S. government has fought to avoid responsibility for.

No words can properly underscore the immense value of Sheree Evans‘s new book, “By the Grace of God – A Promise Kept,” it is an extremely important addition to any veteran’s library, the information is vital and potentially life saving.

Even more importantly, the book is created to give hope to others who, like Sheree, are faced with the most difficult hardships because of U.S. government policy and a company called Monsanto, that prospers from the death its products inflict on human beings, there is no excuse for what Monsanto has done.

By Charles Ornstein / ProPublica and Mike Hixenbaugh / the Houston Chronicle in the USA:

McCain’s Brain Cancer Draws Renewed Attention to Possible Agent Orange Connection

For years, Vietnam vets and their widows have been pushing the VA to extend benefits to those exposed to the toxic herbicide and later stricken with glioblastoma. The VA has said no, but advocates hope the agency will now revisit the issue.

When Amy Jones’ dad, Paul, was diagnosed with glioblastoma last month, she wondered whether it might be tied to his time in Vietnam.

Then, last week, when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with the same aggressive brain cancer, Jones searched online for glioblastoma and Vietnam vets.

She soon learned the disease is one of a growing list of ailments that some Vietnam veterans and their relatives believe is caused by exposure to Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide sprayed during the war.

“Honestly, it’s not easy to even admit that this is happening, let alone to even talk about it,” said Jones, whose 68-year-old father has had surgery to remove a brain tumor and now is receiving radiation treatments. “It’s only been six weeks. It’s such a devastating diagnosis.”

McCain’s diagnosis comes as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is under increased pressure to broaden who’s eligible for Agent Orange-related compensation. During the war, the military sprayed millions of gallons of the herbicide in Vietnam to kill enemy-covering jungle brush, and in the process, may have exposed as many as 2.6 million U.S. service members — including McCain.

News of his illness has prompted Amy Jones and others to call on the VA to study a possible connection between their loved ones’ Agent Orange exposure and glioblastoma.

Under current policy, the agency makes disability payments to veterans who develop one of 14 health conditions, but only if they can prove they served on the ground in Vietnam, where the chemicals were sprayed. Veterans who served off the coast in the Navy and those with other diseases not on the list — such as brain cancer — are left to fight the agency for compensation on a case-by-case basis.

Those with glioblastoma — or widows seeking survivor benefits — must prove the disease was “at least as likely as not” caused by Agent Orange, a cumbersome process that often takes years and more times than not results in denial.

Although McCain primarily served at sea from the deck of an aircraft carrier — and survived more than five years in a prison camp after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam — the VA would presume he was exposed to Agent Orange because he also spent time on the ground in Saigon.

Still, McCain never has sought to connect any of his health troubles, including prior bouts with skin cancer, with Agent Orange exposure and has a mixed record when it comes to compensating fellow veterans for wartime exposures. His office did not respond to emailed questions about a possible link between glioblastoma and the chemical.

As a senator, McCain voted to approve the original 1991 law that directed the VA to presume every veteran who served in Vietnam was exposed and to begin compensating those with illnesses scientifically linked to it.

In 2011, however, as many Vietnam veterans aged into their 60s and 70s and annual disability payments to them swelled to more than $17 billion, McCain spoke in favor of an amendment that would have required a higher standard of scientific proof before any new illnesses would be covered.

The goal, McCain said in a floor speech, was to ensure that veterans who actually deserved compensation received it, “but at the same time not have a situation where it is an open-ended expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars.” The amendment was defeated — and since then, Vietnam vet disability payments have grown to $24 billion a year — and the episode damaged McCain’s reputation with veterans groups.

In a statement, a VA spokesman said the agency currently does not recognize a connection between Agent Orange exposure and brain cancer but is examining the topic anew in light of the questions that have been raised. In March, the VA asked a National Academy of Medicine panel studying the effects of Agent Orange to focus special attention on glioblastoma. (Previous reports by the group have not found a connection.) The VA also is asking about brain cancer in a sweeping survey of Vietnam veterans now underway.

VA data provided to ProPublica last fall shows that more than 500 Vietnam-era veterans have been diagnosed with glioblastoma at VA health facilities since 2000. That doesn’t include the unknown number diagnosed at private facilities.

ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot reported last year how widows of Vietnam vets were banding together to push the VA to add glioblastoma to its list of diseases linked to Agent Orange. Through a Facebook group, they support one another and offer advice on navigating the VA’s labyrinthian process for seeking disability and survivor benefits.

Since news of McCain’s illness broke last week, dozens like Jones have joined the group, whose members mostly include widows and surviving relatives, but also some veterans living with the disease. “Every one of us, our phones were blowing up the day it came out” that McCain had glioblastoma, said Kathy Carroll-Josenhans, one of the group’s leaders.

The group now has some 450 members, about double its size in December.

One of their challenges is that the VA’s handling of claims related to glioblastoma has been somewhat inconsistent. Between 2009 and last fall, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the VA’s in-house tribunal for adjudicating benefit denials, issued more than 100 decisions in cases in which widows have appealed benefits denials related to their husbands’ brain cancer, according to a ProPublica analysis of board decisions. About two dozen won. (Here are two additional approvals from this year.)

Brad Riddell, a 35-year-old communications specialist living in Austin, Texas, is not a member of the Facebook group but immediately thought of his father when he heard about McCain’s illness. His dad, Jerry Riddell, served in a Navy construction battalion in Da Nang during the war and routinely came in contact with Agent Orange, which was used to clear brush before paving roads and runways.

Riddell was in high school when his father had a seizure while driving from work one day. A brain scan later that day revealed a tumor the size of a grapefruit and a medical term that still makes Riddell shudder: glioblastoma.

His father endured three surgeries — including two at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — before doctors told him there was nothing more they could do. He entered hospice and died in February 1999, just 14 months after the diagnosis.

“I absolutely thought about dad when I heard about McCain,” Riddell said. “Anytime I hear that diagnosis, it just feels like, ‘Man, that person is a goner.’ It’s terrible.”

After his father’s death, Riddell’s mother gave him a bag of his military records and told him to hold onto them: “She said, ‘You need to have all these records in case there‘s ever a connection made between your dad’s cancer and Agent Orange.’”

In the wake of the McCain news, Riddell wonders if it’s time to pull the records out.

Heidi Spencer had a similar revelation a year ago. Her father, Jack Niedermeyer, died of glioblastoma at age 58 in June 2004. Her mother didn’t think to apply for benefits until last year when someone at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post where she works suggested it. Spencer helped her mom fill out the application and the VA approved it in March.

“He never knew his cancer came from Agent Orange. He never talked about his service,” she said of her dad, who worked in a steel mill in Pittsburgh and had six kids.

Spencer, 42, found her dad’s commanding officer in the Marine Corps, who wrote a letter saying her dad had been sprayed by Agent Orange.

“The more you research it, the more it comes into light,” she said. “The VA needs to look at this, they need to link it and they need to look at his [McCain’s] diagnosis and whether or not the Vietnam War played a role in him getting his disease.”

In approving her mom’s claim, the VA wrote that glioblastoma was not recognized as a disease that automatically warranted benefits linked to Agent Orange but that “current medical research has shown a causal relationship between herbicide exposure and glioblastoma multiforme.” This is contrary to the VA’s official policy.

Regardless of McCain’s position on the matter, advocates hope his diagnosis will spark a conversation.

In a statement last week, John Rowan, the president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said he was saddened to learn “yet another Vietnam veteran” had been diagnosed with glioblastoma.

“Unfortunately, brain cancer is not on the presumptive list for exposure to Agent Orange,” Rowan said in a statement, “despite the efforts of our fellow veterans and their family members.”

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom.

Agent Orange still linked to hormone imbalances in babies in Vietnam: here.

A fraction of the money poured into devastating wars would alleviate the ongoing suffering of people affected by Agent Orange, writes JOHN GREEN.

TRUMP FUNERAL BAN Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), reportedly nearing the end of his life, does not want Trump at his funeral. The Arizona senator has been reflecting on his time in office, and wishes he had not picked former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) as a running mate in 2008. [HuffPost]

HISTORY: British imperialism and the Tet offensive. KEITH FLETT looks back 50 years to one of the turning points of the Vietnam war: here.

Agent Orange, veterans’ health threat long after Vietnam war

This video says about itself:

Chilling Legacy of US Chemical Warfare in Vietnam

Agent Orange: The US herbicidal compound known as Agent Orange has scarred Vietnam

July 2004

For downloads and more information visit here.

The use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War means that for many the war never ended. They’re still suffering the effects of chemical warfare.

“I try hard to improve our life but we cannot,” sobs Mr Quy. His stomach, liver and lungs are riddled with cancer and the hospital refuses to treat him. Now he’s too weak to care for his severely handicapped children. He believes it was his exposure to Agent Orange during the war which blighted his family. His only hope is that the law suit against the US companies who manufactured Agent Orange will succeed. But many are angry that it’s taking so long to receive compensation. As the Head of the Association for Victims of Agent Orange states: “The Vietnamese people have suffered but unfortunately, the Americans have avoided their responsibility.”

By Lynne Peeples in the USA:

Agent Orange Posed A Health Threat To Servicemen Long After Vietnam: Study

02/21/2014 5:59 pm EST

Military veterans who say they were sickened by lingering amounts of the herbicide Agent Orange aboard repurposed airplanes after the Vietnam War now have some strong scientific support for their claims.

A study published on Friday refutes the U.S. Air Force and Department of Veteran Affairs’ position that any dioxin or other components of Agent Orange contaminating its fleet of C-123 cargo planes would have been “dried residues” and therefore unlikely to pose any meaningful exposure risks.

That contention has been the basis for the VA’s denial of benefits to sick veterans.

“It’s a question of science and ethics,” said Jeanne Stellman, an Agent Orange expert at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and senior author of the paper, which found standard-exceeding exposures likely occurred after the war — via skin contact, inhalation and ingestion.

“The VA has set up policy that is based on bad science,” she added. “That’s resulted in really inequitable treatment.”

Veterans who sprayed or handled Agent Orange herbicide during the war, or who spent any time on the ground in Vietnam, are automatically eligible for health care and disability compensation under federal Agent Orange legislation. The government presumes that certain conditions such as prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 diabetes are a result of exposure to the chemical.

Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, told The Huffington Post that, in her opinion, the VA’s presumption should be expanded to include those who flew in the post-war planes.

“We can’t prove it, but everything in here is supportive of the fact that they were exposed and could have been quite highly exposed,” said Birnbaum. “In fact, it would be reasonable to assume that those who flew in these planes after the war were more likely to be exposed than those servicemen who had boots on the ground in Vietnam.”

Perhaps no one knows better than retired Lt. Col. John Harris the consequences of the VA’s apparently arbitrary distinction between possible pre- and post-war exposures.

When HuffPost first covered the concerns of Harris and other veterans last July, he described how the VA initially denied him Agent Orange-related benefits for his diabetes, despite his 12 years of working, eating and sleeping onboard what he refers to as “noxious” C-123s after the war. But when he later found records of a one-hour refueling stop he’d made with a fighter jet in Vietnam during the war, the VA granted his refiled claim.

While Harris is happy to have coverage, he remains frustrated for his comrades.

“I’m absolutely positive that I was exposed to Agent Orange and dioxin in that 12-year period,” he told HuffPost after hearing about the new study. “I think the VA is lying, cheating and stealing to prove a case that is unprovable.”

In a statement to the HuffPost last July, a VA spokeswoman stated that “even though residual Agent Orange may be detected in C-123 aircraft by laboratory techniques years after Agent Orange use, any residual [dioxin] in the aircraft would have solidified and be unable to enter the human body in any significant amount.”

VA spokeswoman Genevieve Billia told HuffPost in email on Friday that the agency “wants to ensure that all Veterans, including those who served on C123s, receive the benefits to which they are entitled under the law,” and that it will “continue to review new scientific information on this issue as it becomes available.”

“VA does not presume by regulation that these Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange,” said Billia.

To show that such exposures likely did happen, Stellman said, her research team had to be “very clever.”

After a decade of spraying more than 10 million gallons of Agent Orange to destroy enemy cover and crops, the C-123s underwent no testing — or decontamination, for that matter — prior to their new stateside assignments with the Air Force Reserve. Between 1971 and 1982, about 1,500 men and women served aboard 34 C-123s that were previously deployed in Operation Ranch Hand.

It wasn’t until 1979, when crews complained about chemical smells, that officials took the first measures of potential contamination. Samples of wiped surfaces in 1994, and again in 2009, supplemented this 1979 air sample data. All but three of the planes have since been smelted.

Stellman, Richard Clapp of the Boston University School of Public Health, Fred Berman of Oregon Health and Science University and Peter Lurker, an environmental engineering consultant and former U.S. Air Force researcher, used this sparse data in three different models. All resulted in estimated exposure levels that exceeded health guidelines for the contaminants.

The team noted that their findings may be extremely conservative.

The levels of toxic chemicals — measured years, even decades, after the veterans were aboard the C-123s — were likely much higher immediately after the war, researchers said. Airborne levels may also have been particularly high while the planes were airborne, due to extreme temperatures, changes in pressure and vibrations.

One of the models that researchers used, which Stellman suggested was based on a “high school chemistry” concept, demonstrated how the old herbicide could have evaporated and attached to dust particles.

“The VA, whether out of ignorance or malice, has denied the entire existence of this entire branch of science,” said Stellman. “They have this preposterous idea that somehow there is this other kind of state of matter — a dried residue that is completely inert.”

Clapp, one of the co-authors, emphasized how “exquisitely toxic” dioxin is at any dose. The chemical has been linked to a host of health effects including cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

“Exposure to even tiny quantities is not ignorable,” he said.

“We do show plausible exposure,” added Clapp. “These veterans should be compensated, too.”

Retired Maj. Wes Carter, who himself served aboard C-123s after Vietnam, has been leading the effort on behalf of this group of post-war veterans. He said he knows of only one such comrade who has received Agent Orange benefits from the VA, his close friend retired Lt. Col. Paul Bailey.

Bailey was among those struggling to secure benefits for himself and his family last July, when he was gravely ill with cancer. He died of the disease in October.

Bailey expressed his frustrations to HuffPost back in July.

“We’ve proved over and over that we’ve been exposed to dioxin, but the VA is refusing to accept the evidence,” said Bailey, who worked as an air medical technician and flight instructor aboard the C-123s. “They’re just dragging their feet.”

Weeks before Bailey’s death, the VA reversed its initial denial of his claim.

“The fact that Bailey got approved, that gives me hope,” said Harris, adding that his hope is further bolstered by the new scientific findings. “There are a lot of others out there that need this help, too.”

During the Vietnam War, United States aircraft sprayed more than 20 million gallons of herbicides, including dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange, on the country’s rain forests, wetlands, and croplands. Agent Orange defoliated the thick jungle vegetation concealing Viet Cong fighters and destroyed a portion of the country’s food crops, but it was primarily the dioxin contaminant that harmed so many Vietnamese and U.S. military personnel. A new article from the University of Illinois and Iowa State University documents the environmental legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam, including hotspots where dioxin continues to enter the food supply: here.

Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam at last

This video says about itself:

US starts landmark Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam

The $41m project was inaugurated at a former US air base near the city of Danang.

For thousands of babies in Vietnam, however, the cleanup is decades too late.

Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane explains.

The United States finally began to clean up the defoliant Agent Orange today – 50 years after it was first sprayed by US planes on Vietnam‘s jungles: here. See also here.

US Agent Orange scandal in Japan

This video is called Decades On, Agent Orange Still Stalks Vietnam.

By Jon Mitchell, The Asia-Pacific Journal:

US Military Defoliants on Okinawa: Agent Orange

Thursday 15 September 2011


On August 19th, 2011, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement in response to recent media coverage about the US military’s use and storage of defoliants (including Agent Orange) on Okinawa during the Vietnam War. MOFA announced that, although it had requested the US Department of Defense to investigate these allegations, Washington had replied that it was unable to find any evidence from the period in question. As a result, Tokyo asked the US government to re-check its records in more detail. This was the first time that the Japanese government had asked the US about military defoliants since 2007 – and its refusal to accept the Pentagon’s stock denial was rare. The current announcement arose after two weeks of unprecedented press reports which alleged that these chemicals had been widely used on Okinawa during the 1960s and ‘70s.

With fresh revelations coming to light on a regular basis, this is still a rapidly developing issue. However in this paper, I will attempt to unravel the situation as it currently stands. Starting with a brief overview of the role of Okinawa during the Vietnam War and the military’s use of defoliants during the conflict, I will then explore the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rulings of 1998 and 2009 that appeared to offer official recognition of the presence of these defoliants on the island. Following this, I will summarize US veterans’ accounts of their experiences handling these defoliants on Okinawa – including their transportation, storage, spraying and burial. In conclusion, I will assess the obstacles that these veterans and Okinawan residents face in winning an admission from the Pentagon – plus possible signs of hope that, while difficult, such an acknowledgement is achievable.

Children of Agent Orange: here.

“Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam”. Fred A. Wilcox, Seven Stories Press: “The old soldier wears a long-sleeved shirt and shorts. His feet are bare and when he talks he appears to be listening carefully to his own words. Once, he says, this area of Cu Chi was covered with mangrove forests and jungles. Then, the spray planes appeared, moving slowly and quite low over the trees, back and forth until everything shriveled up and died”: here.

It’s Time to Compensate the Victims: Looking Back at Vietnam and Agent Orange. H. Patricia Hynes, Truthout: “In ‘Waiting for an Army to Die,’ Fred A. Wilcox … recounts the stories of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and also of Oregon mothers, Arizona potters, and others living near sprayed public lands, all of whom were suffering from a plague of cancers, nervous system effects, miscarriages and birth disorders of their children…. Wilcox takes us inside the tragic, yet gutsy lives of young, working-class vets who were left to die by ‘government stonewalling, bureaucratic shell games and the contempt of multinational corporations'”: here.

A mere 34% of 1940-1960s US Vietnam war records have been released: here.

Britain: Shocked MPs are organising a Westminster fundraising event for young Vietnamese victims of US defoliant Agent Orange after witnessing tragic suffering in a Ho Chi Minh City hospital: here.

Japan’s Illegal Environmental Impact Assessment of the Henoko Base. Sakurai Kunitoshi, The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus: “Before dawn on December 28, 2011, with the end of the year looming, the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) delivered a load of cardboard boxes to the office of the Okinawa Prefectural Government. The boxes contained copies of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for a base in the Henoko district of Nago that is planned as the replacement for the US Marines Corps Air Station Futenma”: here.

The United States has announced its intention to pull 9,000 marines out of Japan’s southern Okinawa and redeploy them to other locations in the Asia-Pacific region: here.

Vietnamese say Bush wrong on both Vietnam and Iraq

This video says about itself on YouTube: ‘A former Viet Cong soldier tells her story. Torture by US troops. Ravages of Agent Orange. Still she is hopeful.’

It would be amusing, if Iraqi civilians and US soldiers would not continue to die by the thousands as they do day after day, to watch how George W. Bush’s Iraq-Vietnam war analogy has brought trouble to Bush apologists like Christopher Hitchens, who have wasted so much time shrilly proclaiming that such comparisons are anathema.

From Associated Press:

Bush Iraq War analogy strikes a nerve in Vietnam

HANOI, Vietnam: U.S. President George W. Bush’s latest effort to rally support for his Iraq policy has touched a nerve in Vietnam, where a previous American military intervention led to the deaths of millions of people.

In a speech to U.S. war veterans on Wednesday, Bush invoked the Vietnam War, saying that widespread death and chaos would envelop Iraq if the U.S. troops left too quickly, as he said happened when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam three decades ago.

But people in Vietnam, where opposition to the U.S. intervention in Iraq is strong, said Thursday that Bush had drawn the wrong conclusions from the Southeast Asian conflict.

“Doesn’t he realize that if the U.S. had stayed in Vietnam longer, they would have killed more people?” said Vu Huy Trieu of Hanoi, a veteran who fought against the U.S. troops in Vietnam. “Nobody regrets that the Vietnam War wasn’t prolonged except Bush.”

Vietnam’s official government spokesman offered a more measured response during a regular media briefing Thursday.

“With regard to the American war in Vietnam, everyone knows that we fought to defend our country and that this was a righteous war of the Vietnamese people,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung. “And we all know that the war caused tremendous suffering and losses to the Vietnamese people.”

Dung said Vietnam hoped that the Iraq conflict would be resolved “very soon, in an orderly way, and that the Iraqi people will do their best to rebuild their country.”

Although Vietnam opposed the U.S. intervention in Iraq, Dung stressed that ties between Hanoi and Washington have been growing closer since the former foes normalized relations in 1995.

In his remarks to U.S. military veterans in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday, Bush said that a hasty retreat from Iraq would lead to terrible violence.

“One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like ‘boat people,’ ‘re-education camps’ and ‘killing fields [which, as most people, though not Bush, know, were in Cambodia, not Vietnam],'” Bush said.

Many people in Vietnam said Bush’s comparison was ill-considered.

The U.S. could not have overcome the will of the Vietnamese people no matter how many bombs it dropped, said Trieu, the Vietnamese veteran.

“Does he think the U.S. could have won if they had stayed longer?” Trieu asked. “No way.”

The only way to restore order in Iraq is for the U.S. to leave, said Trinh Xuan Thang, a Hanoi university student.

“Bush sent troops to invade Iraq and created all the problems there,” said Thang, adding, “Suicide bombing was unheard of before.”

If the U.S. withdraws, he said, the violence may escalate in the short term but the situation will eventually stabilize.

“Let the Iraqis determine their fate by themselves,” Thang said. “They don’t need American troops there.”

Bush was unwise to stir up sensitive memories of the Vietnam conflict, said Ton Nu Thi Ninh, former chairwoman of the National Assembly’s committee on foreign affairs.

“The price we, the Vietnamese people on both sides, paid during the war was due to the fact that the Americans went into Vietnam in the first place,” Ninh said.

Israel Warned US Not to Invade Iraq after 9/11: here.

The Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal: here.

Christopher Hitchens and the Iraq war in October 2007: here.

Vietnam war Agent Orange victims court case

This video is about Agent Orange during the Vietnam war, and its persistent deadly effects.

By John Percy in Australia:

Agent Orange victims go to court in the US

14 June 2007

An estimated 3 million Vietnamese are suffering from the horrendous health effects inflicted by the dioxin-laden herbicide Agent Orange, which was employed liberally by the US during the Vietnam War.

In 2004, the victims, represented by the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), initiated a legal action in the US against nearly 40 chemical companies that supplied the chemical.

A rejection of the case in early 2005 is being appealed and oral argumentation will begin in a New York court on June 18.

See also here.

Vietnam war glossary: here.

Agent Orange still hurts New Zealand Vietnam war veterans

This video is about the consequences of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

From ScienceDaily:

Agent Orange Causes Genetic Disturbance In New Zealand Vietnam War Veterans, Study Shows

A study published in the journal “Cytogenetic and Genome Research” shows that exposure to Agent Orange, and other defoliants, has led to genetic disturbance in New Zealand Vietnam War veterans which continues to persist decades after their service.

From July 1965 until November 1971, New Zealand Defence Force Personnel fought in the Vietnam War.

During this time more than 76,500,000 litres of phenoxylic herbicides were sprayed over parts of Southern Vietnam and Laos to remove forest cover, destroy crops and clear vegetation from around military installations.

The most common of these defoliant sprays is known as ‘Agent Orange’, and has been shown to lead to adverse health effects and cause genetic damage in humans.

Support for Agent Orange victims of the Vietnam war

This video is about the consequences of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

From Green Left Weekly in Australia:

Support for Agent Orange victims


12 April 2007

Nearly 700,000 people have signed an international online petition in solidarity with Vietnam’s victims of Agent Orange, which was sprayed extensively by the US military during the Vietnam War.

The petition, which was launched in 2004, will be presented to the judges of the US Court of Appeal on the eve of an expected June ruling on a victims’ lawsuit against the nearly 40 chemical companies that produced the deadly chemical for the US military.

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese victims who have died over the years from exposure to Agent Orange, there are an estimated 3 million mostly poverty-stricken victims still living in Vietnam.

Of the 80 million litres of herbicides/defoliants that the US military sprayed in Vietnam as a war weapon, more than half were nicknamed Agent Orange, which contains the class-one human carcinogen dioxin.

To garner further support for the victims’ case, Andre Bouny, chairperson of the international committee in support of the Vietnamese Agent Orange/Dioxin victims and the New York trial, addressed a March 27 meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Meanwhile, solidarity was also extended by South Korean veterans who fought as US allies in the Vietnam War and, like some US soldiers, also fell victim to the effects of Agent Orange.

An estimated 150,000 out of a contingent of 320,000 Korean soldiers were affected.

Just 6795 of these were granted a total of US$62 million as compensation by a South Korean court in January 2006.

Dow Chemical and Monsanto were the two companies ordered to pay, and both are also being sued by the Vietnamese victims in the US lawsuit.

On April 9, a delegation from the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) met with the Korean veterans in Seoul seeking to learn from the Korean court case.

Vietnam: wildlife still suffers from US warfare

Saola, Vietnamese stampFrom British daily The Independent:

Vietnamese wildlife still paying a high price for chemical warfare

By Jessie King

Published: 08 July 2006

Forty years on, much of the environmental damage caused to Vietnam by American forces during the Vietnam War has still not been repaired, according to a new study.

In particular, the effects of the massive amounts of chemical defoliants sprayed from the air to destroy the jungle hiding places of the Vietcong guerrillas are still being felt, says the study, the first comprehensive account of Vietnam’s natural history written in English.

Between 1961 and 1971, more than 20 million gallons of herbicides, the most notorious being “Agent Orange“, were sprayed by the US to defoliate forests, clear growth along the borders of military sites and eliminate enemy crops.

Some of the herbicides also contained dioxins – compounds potentially harmful to people and wildlife – while one, “Agent Blue” – used mainly for crop destruction – was made up mainly of an organic arsenic compound.

Repeated applications of the chemicals “sometimes eradicated all vegetation”, according to the study – Vietnam: A Natural History – and the environment has still not recovered in many places.

Weedy plant species such as alang-alang (also known as cogon or American grass) often invaded cleared areas, killing other plants and preventing normal regeneration of the forest.

“In many areas, these weeds continue to dominate the landscape decades after the defoliants were sprayed,” says the study.

As the spray was often concentrated along strategic waterways, it is believed to have had a long-term impact on wetlands and riverside vegetation.

Scientists are finding that dioxins still surface in freshwater animals.

The study adds: “In addition to effects on individuals, the defoliants undoubtedly modified species distribution patterns through habitat degradation and loss, particularly in wetland systems.”

Direct attempts to eradicate Vietnam’s forests were not the only military activities to affect its environment.

The estimated 14 million tons of bombs or cluster-bombs dropped on to northern and southern Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia left an estimated 10 to 15 million large bomb craters.

In addition to the effects of these bombs, the impact of napalm, land mines, and other wartime technology on Vietnam’s biological communities must also be taken into account, says the study.

It has been written by three wildlife specialists at the American Museum of Natural History – Eleanor Jane Sterling, Martha Maud Hurley and the Vietnamese expert Le Duc Minh.

They say: “A country uncommonly rich in plants, animals and natural habitats, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam shelters a significant portion of the world’s biological diversity, including rare and unique organisms and an unusual mixture of tropical and temperate species.”

Most remarkably of all, in the past 15 years a whole suite of species hitherto unknown to science has been discovered in Vietnam, deep in jungles where scientific access had been made impossible by the war.

They include the saola, a large hoofed mammal of an entirely new genus – an antelope-like wild ox which is the world’s largest land-dwelling animal discovered since 1937.

Vietnam: A Natural History is published by Yale University Press.

Last chance to save the saola from extinction? Here.

Vietnam, Korea wars and conservation: here.

Rattan planting for livelihoods and conservation in central Vietnam: here.