Thursday, May 6, 2010
DOW Chemical says, "Agent Orange is a corporate issue and we are not in a position to comment on that...."
While in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate the 35th anniversary 1975 - 2010, I took the opportunity this morning 5th May to call at the office of DOW Chemicals. I had, before I left London, faxed the office asking for a meeting to discuss some matters relating to Agent Orange.
The reply told me that "Agent Orange is a corporate issue and we are not in a position to comment on that...." They suggested I contact their global government affairs and public policy leader, based in Switzerland.
However, as I was in town, decided to call at the office, met by young Vietnamese lady to who I gave my card asking to speak with Director or the deputy. After about 10 mins another Vietnamese lady came out with copy of my fax and said I had been informed to contact the Swiss office, as they could not deal with the matter here in Vietnam.
I agreed, but said all I needed was to ask a few questions. Was then told the person is out of the country and repeated I should contact their Swiss office. I asked if he was Vietnamese and was told he is a foreigner....
I was then handed a statement issued by Dow Chemical. When reading it through told the young lady it was total nonsense, indeed it was a complete lie. Victims suffering from Agent Orange will, on reading the statement, be very very angry that Dow could make such a statement that was completely untruth. American veterans would be more than angry at this statement.
On leaving I expressed my anger that no one in authority had the courtesy to see me even for a few minutes. On being wished a good day I left.
Here are a few extracts from the statement:
"To offset ambush attacks and protect allied forces, the US military sought to defoliate combat areas by developing and using the herbicide Agent Orange. US military research developed Agent Orange, and the product was formulated based on exacting military specifications.
Public concern over Agent Orange has centered not over the product itself, but an unavoidable by-product that was present in only trace levels of one of the product's ingredients. The unavoidable trace by-product was the dioxin compound 2,3,7,8-TCDD.
The scientific investigation on Agent Orange has gone on since the Vietnam War and continues today. There have been extensive epidemiological studies of those veterans most exposed to Agent Orange. Today the scientific consensus is that when the collective human evidence is reviewed, it doesn't show that Agent Orange caused veteran's illnesses."
That one of the companies responsible could make such a statement that goes against all known scientific research and having met with hundreds of these tragic Vietnamese victims, shows the mountain that we have to climb to obtain justice for the victims.
We cannot and must now allow this statement to go unanswered.
Len Aldis. Secretary
Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society
Flat 2, 26 Tomlins Grove
London E3 4NX
Thanks to Chuck Palazzo for this information