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Category Archives: News

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Introduces Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act

chopper spraying AO

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Introduces Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act
Jun 27, 2013 Issues: Global Peace & Security

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2013
Contact: Carrie Adams (202) 225-2661

Washington, D.C.— Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2013, which would address the ongoing challenges faced by the victims of Agent Orange, four decades after the toxic defoliants were heavily used during the Vietnam War.

“Generations of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans continue to suffer from the tragic effects of the Agent Orange defoliants,” said Congresswoman Lee. “I am proud to introduce this legislation, which would provide important services and protections for those exposed to Agent Orange and their descendants.”

From 1961-1971, approximately 19 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over the southern region of Vietnam, exposing millions of Vietnamese and tens of thousands of Americans to the toxic chemical. A variety of diseases stem from Agent Orange exposure, including birth defects, Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, and respiratory cancers.

The Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act would direct the Departments of Veterans Affairs, State and Health and Human Services to provide medical services and resources to affected communities, including those still living in contaminated environments, and the descendants of exposed veterans and Vietnamese Americans. The legislation also includes provisions for future research into the impact of Agent Orange exposure.

“We need ensure that individuals affected by Agent Orange have access to medical services relating to their exposure. Our policies addressing Agent Orange do not adequately provide for the children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange, nor for the Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans who have been exposed to this toxic substance,” said Congresswoman Lee. “This legislation would continue lifesaving research into the continuing effects of Agent Orange, as well as provide medical services to those affected by it.”

The former Representative Bob Filner previously introduced the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act as H.R. 2634 in the 112th Congress. Congresswoman Lee is reintroducing the legislation in the 113th Congress order to ensure that the victims of Agent Orange receive medical services and resources. Original cosponsors include Representatives Faleomavaega, Cohen, Conyers, Grijalva, Honda, McGovern, and Pingree.

Vietnam is just a victim of chemical weapons

AO Victims in Hospital

June 27,2013
Vietnam is just a victim of chemical weapons
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has always rejected chemical weapons – the weapons of mass destruction that are condemned by mankind.
The world says “no” to chemical weapons

After nuclear weapons, chemical weapons are one of the most destructive weapons, causing mass destruction because chemicals (sometimes called military poisons) in this type of weapon have a common character – highly toxic, fast-acting to cause major losses to the enemy or direct hazard for many people, animals and plants in general.

Vietnam dioxin story wins best documentary at New York film fest

The poster for "The Tale of An Phuc House"

Vietnam dioxin story wins best documentary at New York film fest
Last Updated: Sunday, June 23, 2013 01:40:00

A film about the daily lives of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims in Ho Chi Minh City won the top prize for documentaries at the New York City International Film Festival Friday.

“The Tale of An Phuc House” by Bulgarian director Ivan Tankushev beat out four other entries to win Best Feature Documentary at the fourth annual edition of the film fest.

Tankushev, known for his work on animation shows such as “Arthur” and “Family Guy,” also wrote the script.

I wonder: What would President Ho Chi Minh have to say about all of this?

20130526_183719

Chuck Palazzo
Da Nang, Viet Nam
June 6th, 2013
Vietnam’s food safety and sovereignty in jeopardy
Last Updated: Saturday, June 08, 2013 06:45:00

Genetically-modified (GM) maize on trial cultivation at a farm in Vietnam. More and more people are concerned about the harmful consequences of GM crops and Vietnam’s plans to cultivate them on a wide scale. PHOTO: QUANG DUAN

The worldwide protests against Monsanto and their various genetically modified products on May 25 were more than successful. We expected and hoped for 200,000 participants, but the latest estimates put the numbers at between 2.5 million and three million participants throughout the world.

At the time, I happened to be in Saigon.

I walked by the Opera House as I often do, as well as the photography exhibit across the street. One picture showed President Ho Chi Minh tilling the soil outside his modest home. It was captioned with a quote from the late president: “Have plenty of food for mighty army.”

I think we can extrapolate President Ho’s war-time statement to a time of peace, and it would translate into: “Have plenty of food for all Vietnamese people;” and it would go without saying that it would refer to safe food that also secures the sovereignty it represents for the Vietnamese people.

This is one of several problems with accepting and embracing genetically modified (GM) products and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Vietnam. The business model that Monsanto has created prevents, actually prohibits, the saving/storage/replanting of seeds. The company does so contractually with farmers. It is the farmer who is responsible – not the government. It will be the farmer who will pay the consequences should he or she “violate” the terms of this contract. The farmer could, and likely will, lose everything. And Vietnam would surely lose its sovereignty over food production.

But there are many other reasons why Vietnam, as well as the entire international community, should reject any and all GMOs, including but not limited to genetically modified seed, materials, livestock and fish.
Many expatriates have written to Vietweek concurring that despite the problems they face in Vietnam, it is simply not acceptable that people direct their anger and slurs at all Vietnamese. This forum, “Your two cents”, opens the floor for you, the expats, to hold forth on the changes you see in Vietnam: what disappoints, what pleases and what you would like to see happen. Email your thoughts to editor@thanhniennews.com. We reserve the right to edit your submissions for reasons of space and clarity.

I have been perplexed as to how easy it has been for Monsanto and other biotech companies to implement their diabolical strategy. They do so because they are self-regulated. The US Food and Drug Administration as well as the US Department of Agriculture have granted the company unlimited authority to “self-regulate” their products. From a business perspective, this is ideal.

However, we are indeed talking about the destruction of mankind. Monsanto and Dow approve their own products for consumer consumption – the US government has no say in this whatsoever. How better to make whopping profits each and every quarter, for hundreds of quarters? After all, billions of US dollars are at stake here. In 2012, Monsanto earned, in net sales, US$13,504,000,000. That is no mistake – Thirteen billion, five hundred and four million US dollars.

Another important aspect of this problem that we are all faced with is that these companies, who produce GM products and GMOs, are indeed the very same companies that brought us, among other things, Agent Orange. The very same companies who told the US government that Agent Orange was absolutely safe and would never harm the environment or human beings.

How wrong was that? Today, over three million Vietnamese still suffer and die as a result of Agent Orange. Over 5,000 victims in my home city of Da Nang. 20,000 in neighboring Quang Nam Province. I can continue, but we all know how horrible the Agent Orange problem was, is and will be. It’s now affecting the fourth generation of victims.

But I wonder why, after knowing all of the dark history of companies like Monsanto and Dow, governments, including Vietnam, would allow them to open offices, do business, field test GM seeds – the list goes on.

Monsanto and Dow are responsible for over three million Vietnamese deaths. Neither has paid a single dong to Vietnam. Neither has admitted any wrongdoing. This is surely criminal and, I submit, a war crime and a crime against humanity.

I wonder: What would President Ho Chi Minh have to say about all of this?

I am fairly certain that Uncle Ho would not agree with what has and continues to occur in Vietnam regarding genetically modified products and GMOs.

He was fond of children and would never let them come to harm because of a few companies’ desire to make profits at the expense of people, communities and the environment.

Please consider these and other reasons to stop the proliferation of GMOs in Vietnam.

By Chuck Palazzo*

*The writer is a long-time American peace activist and Vietnam War Veteran who lives in Da Nang. The opinions expressed are his own.

‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’

Len Aldis

Secretary Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society

London, England

June 8th, 2013

It was a sad day for me and for many others when I read that Monsanto had been allowed to open an office in Ho Chi Minh City; sad as I had visited the company’s young victims at the Tu Du Hospital. I spoke to a number of children seriously affected by Agent Orange, a Monsanto product.

No doubt there has been pressure from the US to allow Monsanto into Vietnam so soon after the effects of Agent Orange was becoming known. Now the second threat, and it is a threat, to the people of Vietnam is Monsanto’s killer genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds. Yes, there are scientists that state there is no danger with GMO, I just wish they would say that to the many thousands of Indian widows of farmers who, having planted GMO cotton, saw their crops fail and committed suicide, unable to repay debts incurred in cultivating the crop.

But there are many more scientists who have opposed the use of GMOs and continue to do so. On May 25, over two million people in 465 cities in many countries marched to express their opposition to Monsanto, the message has got across, and we must hope that in Vietnam the authorities will also hear that message and say to Monsanto: You brought Agent Orange to our country and left thousands of families mourning the loss of their children, mourning to see their crippled child unable to speak, move or play as a normal child. Now you bring us your GMO seeds. Enough is Enough. Get out of our country.

“March against Monsanto” in Copenhagen, Denmark, was held on Saturday, May 25th.

Monsanto and Agent Orange

Copenhagen, Denmark
June 4, 2013

Monsanto and Agent Orange
“March against Monsanto” in Copenhagen, Denmark, was held on Saturday, May 25th in front of the Danish Parliament (Christiansborg Palace Square). Local Vietnam activist Wilfred Gluud spoke as a private person, on the connection to the Vietnam War. The demonstration was attended by upwards of 500 people. The slogan was “Boycott Monsanto products”. Monsanto is known for GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), the herbicide Roundup and the defoliant Agent Orange.

Vietnam in the Aftermath of a Chemical Holocaust

chopper spraying AO

Evaggelos Vallianatos
Adjunct professor of environmental analysis, Pitzer College

Vietnam in the Aftermath of a Chemical Holocaust
Posted: 04/03/2013 5:54 pm

The Geneva Agreement of 1954 ended the French colonial rule of Vietnam. However, the Eisenhower administration subverted the idea of a united and independent Vietnam. It funded a puppet government in Saigon to resist Hanoi, thus precipitating a twenty-year American War in Indochina.

In 1961, president John Kennedy approved the use of herbicides to defoliate the dense jungles of Vietnam. This decision turned a bitterly fought war into an illegal, immoral, and humiliating contest for the United States and an ecological catastrophe for Vietnam.

Vietnamese school trains disabled victims of Agent Orange

Friendship Village

Child victims of Agent Orange are taught vocational skills at Friendship Village. Photo: AFP

In a special school, about 11 kilometres southwest of Hanoi, more than 100 students learn to read, write and count, and also pick up vocational skills such as embroidery, sewing and making decorative plastic flowers.

Vietnam war veterans unite to help Agent Orange kids

News Desk

Viet Nam News

Publication Date : 15-02-2013

The Vietnam war ended nearly 40 years ago, but its effect does not. Many soldiers, with great efforts and sacrifice, are joining hands to help national construction and ease the pain of loss.

For many soldiers, it is good luck to return home safely from the battlefields. But for some, such luck turns into great pain upon seeing their children born with birth defects as they have to bear the impact of dioxin, the toxic chemical in Agent Orange, herbicides sprayed by the US during the war.

Hatfield Supports Development of a Plan for Dioxin Remediation at Bien Hoa Airbase, Viet Nam

Posted: 30 Jan 2013 12:00 AM PST

Hatfield is providing support to the Government of Vietnam to develop a plan to remediate extensive dioxin contamination at the Bien Hoa airbase in Viet Nam. The plan will review existing knowledge describing the extent and nature of dioxin contamination throughout the airbase, data gaps if any, and recommended remedial options. Hatfield is providing a senior advisor who will work collaboratively with Vietnamese authorities and other international scientists to develop the plan that will result in either the remediation or removal of contaminated soil and sediment from the base.

US dioxin cleanup politically driven

Wayne Danang Article Global

Global Times | 2012-9-9 20:50:03
By Wayne Dwernychuk

For over three decades, the US has claimed that no proof exists that the use of Agent Orange by their military during the Vietnam War is the cause of significant health complications in Vietnamese citizens who may have been exposed to the herbicide.