Wednesday, December 23, 2009

LIES!

Lies, Lies, and More Lies!
Now is the Time for TRUTH!


An article published in the December 19 issue of TIME Magazine titled, Agent Orange Poisons New Generations in Vietnam by Martha Ann Overland states: “The U.S. government still spends billions every year on disability payments to those who served in Vietnam — including their children, many of whom are suffering from dioxin-associated cancers and birth defects.”

Those of you who suffer from Agent Orange related illnesses and your affected children know this is a lie.


The article closes with this quote: “Thao Griffiths, country director of Vietnam Veterans of America, which works on lingering war issues, points out that the legacy of each is equally painful. "The issue of MIAs for Americans holds the same importance that Agent Orange does for the Vietnamese," she says.

Thao Griffiths is not a representative of Vietnam Veterans of America and she does not speak for Vietnam Veterans of America.

Those of you who suffer from Agent Orange related illnesses and your affected children know this is a lie.

Don’t Wait For An Army To Die, an article published in the September/October issue of The VVA Veteran described a plan announced on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 by the Ford Foundation that it is funding and launching a full-scale, public-relations campaign to win the sympathy of the American people for the plight of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.

In his written testimony to The House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, Charles R. Bailey, Director, Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin, The Ford Foundation said, “Over the years the Ford Foundation in Vietnam has supported institutions and individuals with grants totaling $100 million over the past 12 years.”

What has the Charles R. Bailey and The Ford Foundation done for American Vietnam Veterans and their families affected by Agent Orange? Nothing. Not one thin dime.


Conducted by the National Organization on Disability with funding from the Ford Foundation, "U.S. Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange: Understanding the Impact 40 Years Later," the 17 page report states that it is “not too late to correct the lapses in the nation's treatment of veterans who were exposed to dioxin during the Vietnam War."

It goes on to state that "One lesson of the Agent Orange experience has been that the consequences of such chemicals are rarely easy to predict, and that the burdens they impose may well be borne for generations."

Those of you who suffer from Agent Orange related illnesses and your affected children know this is the TRUTH.

In June it was unknown the extent of the Ford Foundation media campaign or when it would begin. It was expected that it would roll out in summer with a six figure budget, and use every resource the foundation has developed over the years, including Hollywood, the documentary film industry, the print media, radio, television, and celebrities.

The TIME Magazine article is part of this campaign and confuses the public and blurs the facts.

All victims of Agent Orange exposure and poisoning, both American Vietnam Veterans and their children and Vietnamese are entitled to the truth.

Those of you who suffer from Agent Orange related illnesses and your affected children know this is the TRUTH.

The article also makes an effort to pit veteran’s issue groups against each other, comparing the budget for locating the remains of Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia and compensation for the tragic health effects of Agent Orange exposure.

Those of you who suffer from Agent Orange related illnesses and your affected children and those who are equally passionate about the fullest possible accounting of American servicemen know this is a lie.

If the Ford Foundation's publicity campaign is allowed to focus on the plight of Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange and exclude the American victims of Agent Orange, Vietnam Veterans and their families must use every resource at our disposal and educate Congress, American business, and the American people about the horrors of Agent Orange and its aftermath.

Those of you who suffer from Agent Orange related illnesses and your affected children know this is the TRUTH.

This is not about animosity toward Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, but it is a response to the telling of only one side of the story by the Ford Foundation media campaign.

The pain and suffering of American Vietnam Veterans and their families cannot be allowed to continue without a full-throated response to a well-funded, one-sided disinformation campaign.

It is long past time for the lies to be confronted and for the truth to be placed on the table for all to see.

All Vietnam Veterans, whether you are affected by Agent Orange or not must write and e-mail TIME Magazine immediately to challenge the lies in the article.
Write Letters to The Editor of your local newspapers and contact your local television and radio stations and report the truth to them. Mobilize your local communities to stand for the truth.

(see full article below.)

TIME Magazine, December 19, 2009
Agent Orange Poisons New Generations in Vietnam

By Martha Ann Overland / Danang Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009
This lonely section of the abandoned Danang air base was once crawling with U.S. airmen and machines. It was here where giant orange drums were stored and the herbicides they contained were mixed and loaded onto waiting planes. Whatever sloshed out soaked into the soil and eventually seeped into the water supply. Thirty years later, the rare visitor to the former U.S. air base is provided with rubber boots and protective clothing. Residue from Agent Orange, which was sprayed to deny enemy troops jungle cover, remains so toxic that this patch of land is considered one of the most contaminated pieces of real estate in the country. A recent study indicates that even three decades after the war ended, the cancer-causing dioxins are at levels 300 to 400 times higher than what is deemed to be safe.
After years of meetings, signings and photo ops, the U.S. held another ceremony in Vietnam on Dec. 16 to sign yet another memorandum of understanding as part of the continuing effort to manage Agent Orange's dark legacy. Yet there are grumblings that little — if anything — has been done to clean up the most contaminated sites. Since 2007, Congress has allocated a total of $6 million to help address Agent Orange issues in Vietnam. Not only does the amount not begin to scratch the surface of the problem or get rid of the tons of toxic soil around the nation, but there are questions about how the money is being spent. And several parties have noted with growing frustration that the money is primarily going to study the issue and hire consultants rather than implementing measures to prevent new generations from being exposed.
"There is still risk to people living in those areas," says Thomas Boivin, president of the Vancouver-based Hatfield Consultants, an environmental firm that has been identifying and measuring Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam since 1994. The good news is that Hatfield's studies indicate that even though 10% of southern Vietnam was sprayed with dioxins, only a handful of hot spots — all former U.S. military installations where the herbicide was mixed and stored — pose a danger to humans. The bad news? "If those were in Canada or in the U.S., they would require immediate cleanup," Boivin says.
Responding to complaints that America is dragging its feet, U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak said the $1.7 million most recently allocated to conduct an environmental assessment of the Danang air base is being done to comply with both U.S. and Vietnamese law and is a necessary step toward cleanup. "We're investigating many promising techniques," Michalak said following the signing ceremony in Hanoi. Careful study is required if the job is to be done right, he added. "We know there is dioxin in the soil," he said. "But what method do we use to remove it? Where do we tell the diggers to dig? It's just another step on the road."
But critics believe the U.S. is playing a grim waiting game: waiting for people to die in order to avoid potentially costly lawsuits. For a country currently engaged in two wars, accepting comprehensive responsibility for wartime damages could set an expensive precedent. "They know what the problem is and where it is," says Chuck Searcy, country representative of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "Why do they now need an environmental impact assessment? They are studying this to death."
Scientists have been raising the alarm about dioxins since the 1960s. After TCDD, the dioxin in Agent Orange, was found to cause cancer and birth defects, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) slapped an emergency ban on the herbicide in 1979. Dow and Monsanto, the chemical's largest manufacturers, eventually shelled out millions in damages to U.S. troops who were exposed to it while it was being used as a wartime defoliant from 1961 to 1971. The U.S. government still spends billions every year on disability payments to those who served in Vietnam — including their children, many of whom are suffering from dioxin-associated cancers and birth defects. In October, the Department of Veterans Affairs added leukemia, Parkinson's and a rare heart disease to the list of health problems associated with Agent Orange. Yet U.S. official policy maintains that there is no conclusive evidence that the defoliant caused any health problems among the millions of exposed Vietnamese or their children.
Meanwhile, private foundations and individuals have taken the lead. Early efforts to identify and measure dioxin levels at Agent Orange hot spots were undertaken by the U.S.-based Ford Foundation in the 1990s. Later, with technical assistance from the EPA, Ford "capped" the most contaminated section of what is now the Da Nang International Airport, installing a filtration system to stop dioxins from flowing into the city's water supply and building a wall to keep people from entering the area. At another abandoned U.S. air base in the Aluoi Valley, a Vietnamese botanist raised $25,000 in donations to plant cactus-like bushes and thorn trees around contaminated areas to prevent villagers from entering to fish there. (Dioxins quickly accumulate in animal fat.) Though these are not long-term solutions, Hatfield found that after the simple barriers went up, dioxin levels in the blood and breast milk of nearby residents dropped dramatically.
Charities in Danang have voiced concerns about how U.S. money is being spent when it comes to providing care to the disabled in the region. A portion of the $6 million allocated by Congress was awarded to humanitarian groups working with disabled residents around Danang. But it is difficult to find evidence of the money at work. Save the Children was given $400,000 to help people with disabilities find employment. But the sole case the organization cited for a reporter was their work finding a job for a college graduate with a hair lip. Another chunk went to equip and refurbish a wing at Binh Dan Hospital in Danang, which sits largely empty. Because the American Rehabilitation Center has virtually no medical equipment, it has a difficult time attracting patients. Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Hanoi is spending $500,000 for a health and remediation adviser.
Groups caring for children born with horrific deformities from Agent Orange — such as malformed limbs and no eyes — are wondering why they haven't seen any of that money. Bedridden and unable to feed themselves, many patients need round-the-clock care. As they age, and parents die, who is going to look after them? asks Nguyen Thi Hien, director of the Danang Association of Victims of Agent Orange. She says donations to her group, which cares for 300 children, are down 50% because there is a belief that local charities are flush with cash thanks to the U.S.'s latest allocation. "The $1 million [being spent by the Americans] is not for care but mainly for conferences and training," said Hien. "This money should go to caring for the victims."
But determining who should benefit is a nightmare. Tests to establish dioxin levels in individuals run as high as $1,000 per person — a price tag Vietnam says it can't afford. U.S. negotiators and scientists are frustrated that Vietnam seems to blame all the population's birth defects on the defoliants. Diplomats broke off talks several years ago complaining that Vietnam was unwilling to use accepted scientific methods because they might not support claims of widespread exposure and health damages. They have also complained that Vietnam could do more to help its own. No one is stopping the Vietnamese from erecting fences around contaminated spots, points out a U.S. diplomat, suggesting that the Vietnamese are exploiting the issue for more aid and sympathy.
Still, the Vietnamese people (and the government, though more quietly) contend it's the U.S. that should be doing more — much more. Some point out that the U.S. spends only a fraction on Agent Orange cleanup compared to the $50 million it spends every year on searching for the remains of American soldiers missing in action. Thao Griffiths, country director of Vietnam Veterans of America, which works on lingering war issues, points out that the legacy of each is equally painful. "The issue of MIAs for Americans holds the same importance that Agent Orange does for the Vietnamese," she says. And until the issue is resolved, the legacy of the war will continue to haunt both sides.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Agent Orange's lethal legacy

Tran Huynh Thuong Sinh, who was born without eyes, is checked by a nurse in Peace Village, an international charity organization located at Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. The hospital is home to children born with deformities that Vietnam blames on exposure to toxic herbicides used during the Vietnam War. (Tribune photo by Kuni Takahashi / July 8, 2009)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videobeta/?watchId=d2e9e3d6-b94e-483b-ab8c-633d07aa8779

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange4dec09,0,7839395.story

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange3-dec08,0,2946008.story

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange-actionplandec08,0,7945266.story

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange3-study-sidebar-dec08,0,7411594.story

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange2-dec06,0,2356181.story


http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange2-sidebar-dec06,0,3886506.story



Agent Orange's lethal legacy: At former U.S. bases in Vietnam, a potent poison is clear and present danger
By Jason Grotto ,Tribune reporter

...Their findings offered a way to recast the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam as a solvable -- and urgent -- issue...address this issue." An invisible threatThe impact of Agent Orange isn't felt only by soldiers and civilians who were...
TAGS: Medical Services, U.S. Military, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Liver, Vietnam War


December 8, 2009
Agent Orange: Birth defects plague Vietnam; U.S. slow to help
By Jason Grotto ,Tribune reporter

...that came in the mornings to spray Agent Orange and other defoliants while she...produce an ingredient found in Agents Orange, Purple, Green and Pink -- compounds...Conflicting views The controversy over Agent Orange's impact in Vietnam stands at...

December 8, 2009
Public-private group has plan in the works to resolve issue
By Jason Grotto ,Tribune staff reporter
Public-private group has plan in the works to resolve issue

...S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, the group is supported...effort to resolve the legacy of agent orange. It is expected to recommend...director of the Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin for the Ford Foundation...

December 8, 2009
Bickering blocks search for causes of congenital deformities
By Jason Grotto ,Tribune reporter
Bickering blocks search for causes of congenital deformities

...S. and Vietnamese governments agreed in 2002 to carry out joint research on the health and environmental impact of Agent Orange and other toxic defoliants, on the assumption that aid would follow the scientific results. The Bush administration...


December 6, 2009
Agent Orange's lethal legacy: For Vietnam War veterans, injustice follows injury
By Tim Jones ,Tribune reporter
Agent Orange's lethal legacy: For Vietnam War veterans, injustice follows injury

...compensated for health problems linked to Agent Orange amounts to a new and unexpected...government was personal and direct: Agent Orange is killing me, and you need to...conditions officially linked to Agent Orange, veterans can wait years for their...


December 6, 2009
Agent Orange's lethal legacy: The next generation
By Tim Jones ,Tribune reporter
Agent Orange's lethal legacy: The next generation

... Hutches, who was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam in 1965, was...knew more than most soldiers about Agent Orange. But he had no idea what it could...sprayers -- the same ones used for Agent Orange. "Everyone tried to be first...


December 4, 2009
Agent Orange's lethal legacy: For U.S., a record of neglect
By Jason Grotto and Tim Jones ,Tribune reporters

...linked by the stubborn legacy of Agent Orange and other defoliants sprayed by... Yet in the 30 years since Agent Orange was recognized publicly as a potential...never has gotten to the bottom of Agent Orange's full impact, failing to follow...






A Vietnamese soldier guards a contaminated site in Da Nang, Vietnam. During the war, the U.S. military stored millions of gallons of herbicides at an air base there. More than 30 years later, the soil still contains dioxin at unsafe levels. The pollution also has seeped into a nearby lake and moved through the food chain into human blood and breast milk. (Tribune photo by Kuni Takahashi / July 1, 2009)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For U.S., a record of neglect

www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/

George Claxton: Made dioxin his life's work


chicagotribune.com/videobeta/?watchId=d2e9e3d6-b94e-483b-ab8c-633d07aa8779

Jungles another casualty of spraying missions

www.chicagotribune.com/videobeta/?watchId=09435d98-7554-404f-a33f-3bdb00ca84f4

Agent Orange: Birth defects plague Vietnam; U.S. slow to help

U.S., Vietnam split over whether defoliants used in war are to blame

Dao Thi Kieu, 57, works her rice field outside of Bien Hoa, Vietnam. Her fields were sprayed with herbicides by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Of her eight children, seven were born with birth defects and five have died. Kieu also lost her husband, who fought for South Vietnam's army, to cancers associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants. (Tribune photo by Chris Walker / September 19, 2009)

chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange3-dec08,0,2946008.story

DONG NAI PROVINCE, Vietnam - Part 3 of a Tribune investigation finds that the role of defoliants in Vietnam's high rate of birth defects remains a contentious question decades after U.S. spraying missions ended. Complete coverage >>

The sun beats down on Dao Thi Kieu's straw hat as she hunches over thin strands of bright green rice plants, pulling them from beds submerged in muddy water and replanting them elsewhere.

These are the same paddies Kieu tended as a teenager during the Vietnam War, and she still remembers the planes that came in the mornings to spray Agent Orange and other defoliants while she worked.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In Vietnam, family grieves 12 lost children

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videobeta/?watchId=a9c58162-cd1c-41e8-adae-80eb8d99718c

Vet's daughters cope with toxic inheritance

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videobeta/?watchId=9fa27737-b729-4a32-aa78-b4e09b0170ec

Agent Orange's lethal legacy: For Vietnam War veterans, injustice follows injury


A U.S. Army soldier presents a folded U.S. flag to Christina Cooley at the memorial service in Evanston's Sheil Chapel for her father, Jack Cooley. Exposed to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam, he died in July of multiple myeloma. At right is Christina's brother, John. (Tribune photo by Chris Walker / September 12, 2009)


Vietnam vets wait years and fight skeptical agency to get disability

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange2-dec06,0,2356181.story

Part 2 of a Tribune investigation finds that for many U.S. veterans, the bureaucratic fight to be compensated for health problems linked to Agent Orange amounts to a new and unexpected war, long after the shooting ended overseas.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/

Jack Cooley delivered his final argument in a long, distinguished legal career from a hospital bed.

Four months before succumbing to multiple myeloma, the Chicago-area Vietnam veteran and federal magistrate judge wrote a 140-page claim for justice and filed it with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Cooley's message to the government was personal and direct: Agent Orange is killing me, and you need to take responsibility.

Cooley didn't know it last spring, but when the former Army artillery captain filed his disability claim, he was just entering a maddening bureaucratic maze many veterans know well. The VA would kick back Cooley's claim after a month, saying he lacked the required proof he'd served in Vietnam.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tribune Watchdog report Agent Orange A Lethal Legacy

Part 1 of series by The Chicago Tribune on Agent Orange
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/

"Memories of the Vietnam War are dimming, but veterans and Vietnamese nationals who were exposed to Agent Orange and other dioxin-laced defoliants are still experiencing devastating health effects, and birth defects have brought the impact into a second generation. Yet the U.S. government has yet to make full amends, either in the U.S. or overseas.
To report this series, the Tribune interviewed nearly two dozen civilians and former soldiers in Vietnam as well as researching thousands of pages of documents and traveling to the homes of veterans in the U.S. "

VA sends another Christmas Present /Birth Defects Reporting

See story at VA Watchdog…
http://www.vawatchdog.org/09/nf09/nfdec09/nf120309-1.htm

As most of you can figure by now I am bowing out of this fight as it makes no sense to me anymore with the past and current politicians and lack of simple logic and common sense… but will comment from time to time. I am writing a series of articles (with the help of Richard) to be posted and then sent to the Texas Tech Vietnam Archives for future researchers and generations to see just how American Veterans are really treated by a despicable government and its leadership. Yet, the same folks are reelected time after time after time. Just mindboggling!

Now as you know there is a flurry of Veterans Issues and activity in Congress for what I call nothing but a reelection fa├žade. In many cases, as most of you already know, those that sponsor the bills do not even vote for them but then take election campaign credit. So be careful of what these prostitutes tell you and what they say they are doing. I have not seen or heard anything on Congressman Kagen’s Bill to add the gastro cancers as well as the pancreatic cancers I get e-mail on almost daily from dying Veterans or their widow. If someone knows please let me know.

I suspected long ago it was going no where and will only surface about reelection time. Meanwhile the state VA reps are honestly trying to get these claims approved. Unlike our paid for VSO’s who will not ‘demand something be done’ as they do not want to alienate the so-called congressional friends they have made. At least that is what I am told.

For 40 plus years we have had no friends in congress or if they were they were tuned back at every turn by DOD/VA/White House and other congressional elected officials who would rather not admit and pay for the mistakes made by Johnson and McNamara. What we get is AO Awareness Month or some such crap as that.

We should have realized this right off but unfortunately (NO INTERNET AT THE TIME) we did not know about all the other transgressions made by our government against other era Veterans going way back to mustard gas and the cover-ups that went on with those issues. Trusting those in government was the largest mistake we made.

As I pointed out previously when VA wins a battle against Veterans a fast letter is used in how to deny these claims. No waiting around to update some registry… just start denying based on a letter.

Yet, as you can see by the article even though everyone has admitted these associated issues to “at least as likely as not” nothing will be done until the VA and the other Washington Bureaucratic Offices take their time in doing what should have been done 20 years ago. And there are other issues many issues that should be addressed and will not until there are just a few left. Such as all SEER site cancers especially any adenocarcinoma.

I still would like an explanation from someone on how we have these cancers of the immune system and cancers of the blood associated and yet in no case can it only create any autoimmune disorders or disorders considered originating from a th1 and th2 immune system confusion response, which is where the cancer starts to begin with. How is this scientifically, medically, or biologically possible? Since the dioxin dose rate long ago for autoimmune was considered much less than that of a developed cancer…reference EPA analysis.

Terry explains the stay at the BVA level:

As required by 38 U.S.C. 1116, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will issue regulations through notice and comment rule-making procedures to establish the new presumptions of service connection for those diseases. Those regulations will take effect on that date that a final rule is published in the Federal Register. Until that time, VA does not have authority to establish service connection and award benefits based upon the planned new presumptions.

Ironically Mr. Terry as the higher headquarters for VARO which he is taking the stand on this issue will not take the other side and say something such as: TO: VARO’s

BVA has already found the following xx amount of cases associated by testimony and medical evidence and adjudicated as found as “at least as likely as not” associated to exposures in service to the nation. Therefore, it is recommended that all such cases that have a diagnosis of the issue in question be approved at VARO level; and if not then BVA will begin immediately to automatically approve these "redundant claims" as approved based on previous adjudicated legal procedures.

You see, no one including our congress wants to get rid of the backlog of claims, certainly not Mr. Terry or Mr. Mayes of the VA. It is not that hard to do this and certainly guarantee that no Veteran or Widow would get anything they did not earn or warrant. (Unlike our welfare system.)

Over 50% of VARO claims either remanded or overturned by BVA… then something is rotten in Denmark and in this so-called Veterans’ legal system. No… let’s just try and retry the same case over and over and over with the only difference is the docket number.

Maybe your congressperson or your senators can explain it to you as to the why trying the same case over and over for Veterans and Widows alike makes sense…it makes no sense to me other than budget control.

I would continue filing claims (Veterans and Widows) as the article suggests and then wait for the announcement of approval date whenever that might come. I would suggest at least five to eight months which is what I think it took for the primary amyloidosis issues.

My first article will be on the Korean DMZ Veterans and how they are being denied showing up days after the DOD said they quit spraying with no concern to dioxin half life. At my reunion, one example was given of a two day missed date and the Veteran was denied. Of course my main example will be Veteran David Hill now deceased and how he was denied by Nashville Regional and the overwhelming evidence he had but he was outside the so-called window. Had he been a civilian working along the DMZ he would have been’ inside the widow’ by two years even with no half life issues. Just makes no sense what-so-ever except budget control.

One of our stalwart supporters Ms. Betty Mekdeci of the AO Birth Defects Registry sent the following E-mail.

“The Chicago Tribune is running a four-part series on Agent Orange-related birth defects and disabilities. The reporter said that the first story should be in the printed and on-line version of the Chicago Tribune starting tomorrow.”
www.chicagotribune.com

Subject: Agent Orange report

Birth Defect Research for Children







Here is the link to the online version of the Agent Orange report in the Chicago Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/


With best regards,

Betty Mekdeci

Executive Director

Birth Defect Research for Children

http://www.birthdefects.org

800 Celebration Ave., Suite 225

Celebration FL 34747

407-566-8304 Fax 407-566-8341

Poisonous defoliants still exact a toll in U.S., Vietnam

By Jason Grotto and Tim Jones
Tribune reporters

December 4 2009

Part 1 of a Tribune investigation finds that U.S. officials have neglected a lasting problem even as the health fallout has spread.

The complete article can be viewed at:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange1-dec04,0,1766354.story