By Arjun Walia
- The Facts: More than 4.8 million people in Vietnam have been exposed to the herbicide and over 3 million of them have been suffering from deadly diseases. Vietnam is again demanding that Monsanto (Bayer) be held accountable.
- Reflect On: Things here are quite obvious, the information in the article is just a tidbit. The only thing making these corporations not accountable is their ownership and stranglehold on the government. They own and influence government agencies.
Agent Orange studies were mandated by Congress in the 1980s. These studies were headed by Dr. Frank DeStefano, and Dr. Coleen Boyle of the CDC, who are now in charge of vaccine safety studies at the agency. Frank and Coleen ended the Agent Orange studies two years early, emphasizing that “no link” would be found between illnesses being reported by injured veterans and Agent Orange. The early termination of the study is what allowed the US Department of Veterans Affairs to deny any connection between Agent Orange and medical problems, preventing veterans and their families from qualifying for fair compensation. The Boyle/DeStefano team’s deception was outed by Admiral Zumwalt, who went to the President and laid out the science in a classified report (which has now been declassified):
“Without exception, the experts who reviewed the work of the Advisory Committee disagreed with its findings and further questioned the validity of the Advisory Committee’s review of studies on non — Hodgkin’s lymphomas .”
“a decision which should have been based on scientific data was reduced to vague impressions”
[One impartial review team’s results were] “a stunning indictment of the Advisory Committee’s scientific interpretation and policy judgments”
“1987 Followup Examination Results,” described statistically significant increases in health problems among Ranch Handers including all cancers”
“The work of the Veterans’ Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards, as documented in their November 2, 1989 transcript, has little or no scientific merit, and should not serve as a basis for compensation or regulatory decisions of any sort.”
We are a group of scientists at CDC that are very concerned about the current state of ethics at our agency. It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests. It seems that our mission and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. Some senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviors. Others see it and turn the other way. Some staff are intimidated and pressed to do things they know are not right. We have representatives from across the agency that witness this unacceptable behavior. It occurs at all levels and in all of our respective units.
The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) recently told Reuters that more than 4.8 million people in Vietnam have been exposed to the herbicide and over 3 million of them have been suffering from deadly diseases. Agent Orange was one of many herbicides used by the U.S. military as a weapon during the Vietnam war, and Monsanto was contracted by the government to manufacture it for the Department of Defence. According to Monsanto:
The use of Agent Orange as a military herbicide in Vietnam continues to be an emotional subject for many people. Asian Affairs Specialist Michael Martin notes, ‘[a]t the time the herbicides were used, there was little consideration within the U.S. military about potential long-term environmental and health effects of the widespread use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. (source)
Below you will see pictures courtesy of Reuters of agent orange birth victims.
Millions upon millions of gallons of this stuff was dumped over millions of acres of land in Vietnam and other areas. Even today, countless people have been exposed to the herbicide and many of them continue to suffer from deadly diseases. The US government still maintains that the main objective for the spraying was to kill all of the forest in North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops along with any crops that might be used to feed them.
The millions of dollars that have recently been awarded to victims of Monsanto’s herbicides in America made noise across the world. There are currently more than 10,000 pending cases for herbicides causing cancer, and as a result, Vietnam likely thought it was finally time to seek justice for the victims of Agent Orange. Again, the biotech firm had supplied the US military with the chemical during the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) has written a letter to a US court asking that it restart a class-action lawsuit by Agent Orange victims against American chemical firms, including Monsanto, which the Eastern District Court of New York dismissed in 2004, claiming a ‘lack of evidence’ and asserting that ‘herbicide spraying… did not constitute a war crime pre-1975’.
Last month a jury in San Francisco awarded $80 million in punitive damages to Edwin Hardeman after the court found that Roundup, Monsanto’s infamous glyphosate-based herbicide, was a “substantial factor” in causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer. In a similar case in August 2018, Dewayne Johnson was awarded $289 million after developing cancer from long-term exposure to Roundup. However, after months of legal drama, the terminally ill cancer patient agreed to a reduced payout of $78 million.
Despite the information shared earlier in this article, Monsanto is STILL denying the damage linked to Agent Orange.
It can, in my judgment, be concluded, with a very high degree of confidence, that it is at least as likely as not that the following are caused in humans by exposure to TCDD: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chloracne and other skin disorders, lip cancer, bone cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects, skin cancer, lung cancer, porphyria cutanea tarda and other liver disorders, Hodgkin’s disease, hematopoietic diseases, multiple myeloma, neurological defects and auto-immune diseases and disorders.
In addition, I am most comfortable in concluding that it is at least as likely as not that liver cancer, nasal/pharyngeal/esophageal cancers, leukemia, malignant melanoma, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, brain cancer, psychosocial effects, and gastrointestinal disease are service– connected. (source)
Below is a picture of one of many birth deformities believed to be caused by Agent Orange.
Below is a photo from Vietnam circa 1961-1971. Credit: Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Collection: Agent Orange Subject Files/The Vietnam Center and Archive/Texas Tech University. The land on the right has been sprayed, and the land on the left hasn’t.
The fact that Monsanto is just starting to be held accountable for the damaging effects from their herbicides is unbelievable, and the fact that they have not yet really been held accountable for DDT and substances like Agent Orange and the damage they have caused and continue to do is outrageous. What we can really take away here is the connection between big corporations and the United States government. It shows how powerful these corporations are, and how they sit above the government and influence policies and decision making. We do not live in a democracy, but more so a ‘corporatocracy.’ If you follow the money, corporations like Monsanto (now Bayer) sit above the government, and then the big banks sit above the corporations. This is exactly how the decision making process goes and it’s something that definitely needs to change.
At the end of the day, we are the ones who purchase these products, which is why awareness is key to stopping these powerful corporations from causing so much damage to our health and the environment.
This article was sourced from Collective Evolution.