Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Journalists expose the legacy of Agent Orange

San Francisco State University - A campus-based journalism project is showing that the toxic effects of a defoliant used by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War continues to cause serious illness and physical deformities among generations of Vietnamese.

Photo of two young women leaving a building. One is using a walker.

Young women whose disabilities are assumed to be the result of Agent Orange receive physical therapy and vocational training at Friendship Village in Hanoi. Credit: Nick Ut, AP, for the Vietnam Reporting Project

The Vietnam Reporting Project, a program of the Renaissance Journalism Center at SF State and headed by Professor of Journalism Jon Funabiki, commissioned 15 journalists to travel to Vietnam to report on Agent Orange's long-term impact on human health and related social justice issues. Project fellows include SF State journalism faculty and students, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and photographers from across the U.S.

Used by American forces in Vietnam to defoliate jungles and expose enemy troops, Agent Orange contained dioxin, a highly toxic pollutant with proven links to cancer and birth defects. According to the Vietnam Red Cross, an estimated 3 million people in Vietnam suffer health problems directly linked to the toxin.

"It's a very under reported story," Funabiki said. "I was shocked and felt very ignorant when I learned that Agent Orange was still affecting people three generations after the war." Children and grandchildren of people exposed to Agent Orange during its use from 1961 to 1970 have been and continue to be born with missing limbs, blindness and cancers linked to the exposure. Funabiki hopes that the project reporting will reach Vietnamese American communities in particular, where he believes lingering bitterness over the war has prevented open discussions about the effects of Agent Orange.

Bay Area broadcast journalist K. Oanh Ha profiled Bay Area Vietnamese soldiers who fought alongside Americans and came to the U.S. as refugees, but who are not eligible for the same medical assistance. According to her three-part radio series, "The Forgotten Ones: The Legacy of Agent Orange," which aired in November on KQED radio's California Report, American Vietnam War veterans have received nearly $2 billion in federal disability payments for treatment of problems linked to Agent Orange.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Military Coalition VETERANS Committee Legislative Goals for 2011

from Paul Sutton

TMC VETERANS Committee Legislative Goals For 2011

Presumptive Service-Connected Eligibility for Agent Orange Exposure, Blue Water Navy

* Monitor Institute of Medicine's (IOM) independent review of research of "blue water" Vietnam veterans' health and Agent Orange-related diseases.
* Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Legislation. Support introduction of legislation, if necessary, to award presumptive service connection for veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam during that conflict.

from George Claxton

Ever since the initiation of the "Agent Orange/Dioxin" problem, thousands of studies have been undertaken to prove and disprove the dilemma that science has been burdened with. When one study is introduced that shows a positive connection between Agent Orange/dioxin, another study is published to deny the suggestion.

The projected reality of this type of conjecture is confusion and a perception that the problem cannot be alleviated either way. It would be incredible to believe that these poisons (dioxin like) do nor rake havoc on veterans and other gullible victims. After all the International Agency for Research on Cancer has said that 2,3,7,8-TCDD, PCB 126, and 2,3,4,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzofuran are all HUMAN CARCINOGENS. There is one consistency, however, and that is a correlation of negative studies from the people whom have the most to lose by seeing the poisons band.

DOW Chemical Company is one manufacturer that created products that contain dioxin like compounds. They (DOW) have done many studies on these products or by products. I think you have the right to judge on the motives behind these studies. Therefore, I suggest to you that you walk over to your computer and look on the Internet for a blog titled "DIOXINSPIN"

After you have printed it all out, I'm sure that you will be sadly awakened to the reality of the massive problem in the world concerning dioxin like poisons.

Faithfully submitted, George Claxton

Monday, December 20, 2010

Danang Agent Orange Girl Subject of UNICEF Photo of the Year‏

December 19, 2010 posted by Chuck Palazzo

Agent Orange continues to create health problems for children and adults in Vietnam

To learn more about Ly and Ed Kashi, visit

(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.; via Salem News) – A young Danang girl is receiving international attention and bringing awareness to the lingering effects of Agent Orange after she was featured in the 2010 UNICEF Photo of the Year.

Nine-year-old Ly is pictured in a portrait taken by Ed Kashi, with VII Photos, who lives in New Jersey. Kashi photographed Ly and other children helped by Children of Vietnam in July 2010. Children of Vietnam is a charity that provides care to children with disabilities, including those who may have been negatively affected by Agent Orange.

Ly has a noticeable facial deformity, as well as a concave throat and weak heart. She is believed to be affected by dioxin, which was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange. Ly’s grandfather was a soldier during the Vietnam War, and her mother and aunt also have facial deformities. Despite her difficult circumstances, Ly is joyful and a leader among her friends.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Defense Department Wrongfully Discharges Nearly 26,000 Veterans, Refuses to Release Records


Press Release

December 15, 2010

No. 10-24

Mokie Pratt Porter
301-585-4000, Ext. 146

Washington, D.C.--The Defense Department’s (DoD) failure to comply with the law in releasing records that show it has blocked disabled veterans from receiving disability compensation and other benefits, earned as a result of service to our nation has prompted Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and VVA Chapter 120 in Hartford, Connecticut, to file a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

The complaint, filed today at the U.S. District Court in New Haven by the Veterans Legal Services Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, charges that, since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism, DoD has systematically discharged nearly 26,000 veterans, wrongfully classified as suffering from Personality Disorder, a characterization that renders the service member ineligible for receiving rightful benefits. Personality Disorder is a disability that begins in adolescence or early adulthood and can present with symptoms which may mimic Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“DoD’s Personality Disorder designation prevents thousands of wounded veterans from accessing service-connected disability compensation or health care,” said VVA National President John Rowan.

In 2007, the Veterans Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives charged DoD with deliberately misusing personality disorder diagnoses in order to reduce to the cost of health care and disability compensation by at least $12.5 billion. Since then, DoD has dramatically decreased the number of soldiers it has discharged on the basis of Personality Disorder. After discharging an average of 3,750 service members per year for Personality Disorder between 2001 and 2007, DoD has discharged only 960 service members in 2008; 1,426 in 2009; and 650 to date in 2010. However, rather than repairing the harm it has caused to the veterans it misdiagnosed, DoD is refusing to admit that veterans were inappropriately discharged with Personality Disorder before 2008.

“While DoD protects its reputation and its pocketbook, veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury continue to be denied the benefits and medical care they are due,” said Dr. Thomas Berger, Executive Director of VVA’s Veterans Health Council. Since 2007, VVA has publically criticized DoD’s systematic misuse of Personality Disorder discharges, in correspondence to DoD Secretary Gates and in testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, with the intent of curbing the wrongful discharge practice and assisting those wrongfully discharged veterans in receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.

“If DoD truly believes that all Personality Disorder discharges were lawful, why does it refuse to provide records responsive to VVA’s Freedom of Information Act request?” asked Melissa Ader, a law student intern in the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, which is counsel in the case. “We hope that this lawsuit will allow the public to assess for itself whether DoD has treated veterans unjustly.” For more information on the lawsuit, go to

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Faces of Agent Orange - SHEILA CLEMENT

By Linda May
Sheila Clement looks at things like any other nurse would, and she would like to see medical science focus on what it can do for the children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans.
She was married for about two years to Jerry Fox, whom she called “JD.” He was in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam 1968-69, at the same time as his brother, Rick, now 62, who was a Marine.
JD died in 1994 at the age of 41.
“JD’s brother is dying, as we speak,”
she said.
Sheila and JD married after his tour
of duty.
“I knew them a long time. JD and Rick were happy, normal teenagers. They’d go fishing together and things were fine. But they came back very different,” she said. “My ex-husband quickly disintegrated after he came back from Vietnam. He was bloated-looking. From the chest down, he was huge. He looked 20 years older.”
Her belief is that an herbicide like Agent Orange affected his internal organs.
“He was only a teenager when he went over. It gradually ate away at him,” she said. “When he died, they figured his heart just exploded.”
After a domestic violence episode, JD and Sheila divorced, but she is not buying the assumption that Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is the only cause of antisocial behavior in some Vietnam veterans.
“I knew JD and his brother from teenagers. They weren’t like that back then. Plus, Vietnam veterans were not all on the front line, but that didn’t mean they were not exposed to Agent Orange,” she said. “They could have been working in the motor pool and not on the DMZ. Some have no horror stories, but so many of them came back acting the same
as those that did, looking older than
they are.”
JD’s brother performed a supply job in the Marine Corps, and now he is only middle-aged, but he is deathly ill.


Significant numbers of Vietnam veterans have children and grandchildren with birth defects related to exposure to Agent Orange. To alert legislators and the media to this ongoing legacy of the war, we are seeking real stories about real people. If you wish to share your family’s health struggles that you believe are due to Agent Orange/dioxin, send an email to or call 301-585-4000, Ext. 146.

Seminar discusses treatment of dioxin contamination in hot spots in Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – A seminar to warm up a project for cleaning up hotspots of dioxin contamination in Vietnam was held in Hanoi on December 15.

The event was co-organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project, which will be implemented from 2010 to 2014, aims to overcome wartime dioxin aftermaths, reduce the devastation of dioxin on the environment and health risks for people living and working in three main hot spots including Da Nang and Phu Cat airports in central Vietnam and Bien Hoa airport in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Delegates focused on discussions on devising plans to treat dioxin contamination and the funding for the project.

Especially, they debated issues related to concentration of dioxin at the three hotspots.

Richard J.Cooke, an international consultant for the Office of The National Steering Committee on overcoming toxic chemicals used by US during the war in Vietnam (Office 33) said the project should pay attention to the basic requirements of technologies for treating dioxin to meet both international and Vietnam’s technical and environmental safety standards.

“Priorities should also be given to technologies which are likely to be implemented in Vietnam immediately through commercial provisions as well as the practical application of these technologies for dioxin contamination in Vietnam”, he said.

Delegates said there should be strict co-ordination between Office 33 and relevant ministries and agencies, especially the Ministry of Defence. They stated the steering committee should also pay more attention to necessary funding sources for the full remediation of all dioxin hot spots.

According to Office 33, US troops sprayed about 80 million litres of herbicides in southern Vietnam during the wartime from 1961 to 1971.

Monday, December 13, 2010

US okays $17 million for AO cleanup in post-war Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge - The US government has earmarked US$17 million to partly clean up a former US air base from toxic defoliant Agent Orange in the central Da Nang City next year.

Considered to be dioxin "hot spot," the Da Nang Airport will be decontaminated in the summer, said Nguyen Van Rinh, chairman of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin Thursday.

He added it cost an estimated $35 million to detoxify the whole airport.

Last year the US provided $1.69 million for a year-long project to assess the environmental impact and draft plans to clean up the airport.

According to the Association, the US army used around 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, mainly Agent Orange, in Vietnam between 1961 and 1971.

Meanwhile, two other dioxin "hot spots" in Vietnam - former US air bases at Bien Hoa and Phu Cat - have yet to be cleansed.

The US has not announced plans for them, Rinh told the press.

Meanwhile, Ngo Quang Xuan, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, and Co-Chair of the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, has sent a letter to US and other donors to seek $300 million for a 10-year plan to detoxify 28 dioxin hot spots across Vietnam.

Dioxin is a component of Agent Orange and other herbicides. They were used by the US army during the War to kill foliage to deny cover to the Vietnamese guerrillas.

Other stories:

A Family's Story: Foreclosure result of small misfortunes piling up

DELTONA -- Most people going into foreclosure don't want to talk publicly about it with a newspaper reporter. But Daniel
Muriel -- a 55-year-old former Marine sergeant who served in Vietnam -- doesn't mind.

Life was comfortable when he first moved to Deltona in 1995. Both he and his wife Rosa worked. They had a young son, Ezequiel, together and several older children from previous marriages. They had a fixed-rate mortgage from a bank on a four-bedroom home with 1,700 square feet.

They went out to eat twice a month. They took trips: camping in Key West, visiting family in New York and Texas, venturing off to Maine and the Smoky Mountains.

Muriel talks about this as he flips through a stack of family photos. "We used to go to St. Augustine like a religion," he said. "We used to be able to take vacations."

In 2001, he was found to be permanently disabled, unable to work. While in Vietnam, Muriel had been exposed to Agent Orange, he said, and he has suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and degenerative joint disease.

His income was limited to a Social Security check. Later, his wife -- a hospital supervisor -- got sick from the stress and had to leave that position. She now works a lower-paying job in child care.

The family started missing mortgage payments. One thing led to another, and facing foreclosure from a bank, they agreed to refinance with a private lender, raising their payments to $1,900 monthly. When that started looking like a mistake, they hired a lawyer, paid him $3,000, but got nowhere.


VA to begin tracking Lejeune water claims
December 09, 2010 9:50 PM

Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs told members of a community assistance panel addressing issues surrounding historical water contamination at Camp Lejeune that related disability claims would soon be processed at a central location.

Brad Flohr, with the Veterans Benefits Administration Compensation and Pension Service Department, told the group on Thursday that all the Lejeune water claims would be sent to the VA center in Louisville, Ky., as a way to track the cases and keep the procedure for handling them consistent.

Lejeune veterans and former residents who lived aboard the base between the 1950s and 1980s and attribute ailments like male breast cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma to chemical contaminants in the water have advocated for a VA presumptive policy on water cases, similar to that governing exposure to the Vietnam-era chemical Agent Orange.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

US congressmen support Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims

Members of the US congress and the US Department of State have shown their support for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin during a visit to the US by a delegation from the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA).

The visit was made from November 22 to December 4 at the invitation of the US’s Veterans for Peace (VFP) organization and the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC) also based in the US.

The Vietnamese delegation met with the leaderships of the VFP and VAORRC to discuss assistance for AO victims and future cooperation, especially when commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of the dioxin war against Vietnam on August 10, 1961.

They also met with congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary under the US House of Representatives, congressman Eni F. H. Faleomavaega, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment under the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the US House of Representatives, and US Representative Bob Filner.

These US parliamentarians expressed their support for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange and welcomed VAVA’s efforts to assist the victims. They stated that the US administration must attach more importance to settling the aftermaths of dioxin in Vietnam.

Mr Faleomavaega said that he regretted not having done enough for the victims in Vietnam and called on both the US and Vietnamese government to take responsibility and address the problem.

During the delegation’s meeting with representatives from the US Department of State, the US side confirmed that the US Department of State gives a high priority to solving the dioxin issue in Vietnam.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Movie Breaks All Rules Exposing Cancer Origins

Tim King

A new film on the reality of your life and cancer...
Visit: The Idiot Cycle

(SALEM / PARIS) - I think the new film Idiot Cycle that delivers the good on the world's top cancer causing culprits, could easily have been titled "The Business of Cancer"- as it so fully divulges the dark and dirty side of companies like Bayer, BASF, Dow, Dupont, Monsanto, Syngetna, Novartis, Pfizer, and others.

This country is on its knees, in fact the whole world is fairly screwed for the long run, but it all has red, white and blue paint. It's over kids and what seems good or right about it is nothing more than a temporary illusion.

I hate to say it but I don't think there is any way to turn the clock back on this one.

We are cooked; our food and water supplies are impaired, specifically by the hands of American business, and our kids will have such an increased risk of cancer because of American business practices, that you might as well start your good byes now.

We have been reporting for years about the horrible illnesses plaguing former U.S. Marines who served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro.

They have been impacted by contaminants in the soil and in the water at both bases. Contact with substances like Benzene, Trichloroethylene* (TCE), Perchloroethylene** (PCE) and a long list of other contaminants.

Marines and former Marines, Marine families and base employees, have spent their time after serving at these bases, fighting a variety of ailments, many deadly, that include cancers, lower stomach problems and birth defects in their children. That is just the beginning.

Monsanto is a large focus of this movie, and it should be. The producers don't delve into Monsanto's real history as the American company that manufactured a terrible substance called Agent Orange that was used to thin the jungles of Vietnam during the U.S. war there.

Americans have been terribly affected by Agent Orange, they range from veterans of all services, to civilians like Lesli Moore Dahlke, who recently joined our team of writers.

The Idiot Cycle will screen for the first time in America on
7 December 7th, 2010 - at Dark Cinemas in Corvallis, Oregon and at the same time at California States University in Sacramento.

She was part of a USO tour in 1970 that led her to all kinds of crazy bases in Vietnam. Today she suffers all of the effects of Agent Orange contamination, and is a multiple cancer survivor.


*used in the communication industry to clean jelly-filled cable

**used in the dry cleaning industry