Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Loose Cannons Inc. invites you & friends to an
Open House
with Noam Chomsky & Fred Wilcox, author of
Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam &
Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange
Monday, October 17, 2011
2 to 3:30 pm
Loose Cannons Inc.
471 West End Avenue (near 82nd Street) NY NY 10024
followed by a
Colloquy and Book-signing
with Noam Chomsky & Fred Wilcox
4 pm
at the
Housing Works Thrift Store
2569 Broadway (near 96th Street) NY NY 10025
Vietnamese food will be served at the Open House.
Photo enlargements & books will be on sale.

Raising Awareness in Memory of Dad
“This month is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. My father-in-law was a Vietnam veteran who was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He passed away in 4 months. We never put it together that he was a veteran and that his condition was presumptively related to his service. Below, my husband Jonathan shares his story. We hope you also take a moment to watch the video we put together in his memory.” ––Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW, VetsFirst director of Veterans Policy.

My dad, James Ansley, was a Vietnam veteran. He died on January 4, 2008. Four months earlier, he had been diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Anytime something like this happens it is difficult at best.

Unfortunately, my dad’s fortunes crashed with the real estate market in Florida. When he got sick, he had no health insurance and few other resources.

My family did not have time to process the emotions of the situation. We spent our time applying for Medicaid, Social Security disability, and food stamps for my dad. We also moved him from Florida to live with my sister in Arkansas.

It wasn’t until after he passed away that we realized his cancer was presumptively related to his military service in Vietnam. If we had understood VA benefits, we would have known that he most likely would have been eligible for VA disability compensation and health care.

My dad liked to help people. This month is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. It is in his memory that my wife Heather and I pass along his story in hopes of helping another family.

If you or someone you know served in Vietnam and has cancer or another serious disease, please check here to see if you may be eligible for VA benefits.

Agent Orange Woes Draw Attention From Blumenthal, National Vets Group
by Lisa Chedekel
Over the years, Andy Gow of Wallingford didn’t know what to make of word that more and more of his former Air Force buddies were being diagnosed with prostate cancer or diabetes.

Then, in 2003, he got the news firsthand—he had both diseases – and began to connect the dots.

“I never had boots on the ground in Vietnam, but I know for a fact that they were spraying Agent Orange” at Udorn base in Thailand, about 10 miles from where Gow was stationed from 1967 to 1969. “A lot of the guys who are sick have filed claims with the VA, but they’ve all been rejected. It doesn’t seem right.”

Gow was among about a dozen veterans who met Tuesday in Rocky Hill for an informal discussion of Agent Orange exposure with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., state veterans affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz, and Rick Weidman, executive director for policy & government affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America. Blumenthal and Schwartz convened the meeting to begin forming an action plan to help Vietnam veterans suffering from health problems connected to Agent Orange exposure get compensation from the VA.

“The health problems of our veterans who were exposed to substances used in Vietnam, without any real knowledge, are something we should not ignore,” Blumenthal told the group. “This is a step towards educating us to see what we can do.”

The group said that while the VA has taken steps to expand the list of illnesses linked to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, the agency has yet to recognize claims from veterans who did not serve in-country, but were exposed to residual toxins in the U.S. and other countries. That issue is of special interest in New England, where many Air Force reservists from Connecticut and Massachusetts flew out of Westover Air Force Base on planes that had been used to spray the herbicides.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Toxic Chemical Dioxin
The question seemed simple.

“In human medicine, most people would agree that a person becomes sick with a cold or flu when their immune system is depressed. Has anyone thought about what that suppress the immune system of humans and chickens inVietnam, making them? more sensitive to the lethal H5N1 Has anyone looked into that suppress the immune system of migratory birds “The question was posed to Dr. Alex Thiermann, President of the Organization of the OIE, World Organization Animal Health at its summit bird flu first in Washington, DC, February 27? – 28, 2006. His answer: “Nobody looks at it in reality, no one has even thought about it” was repeated by journalists and academics during the coffee break that followed.

An investigation into the immunosuppressive effects of chemicals in the environment – with particular emphasis on dioxins – can shed light on the houses scattered and disconnected, apparently of avian flu around the world. The association between dioxin and the flu can still explain the increased number of deaths in China,Vietnam,Indonesia and in particular.


Dioxins present at Parker Street Waste Site
By Dan McDonald
September 26, 2011 12:00 AM

NEW BEDFORD — A recent environmental consultant memo affirms that dioxins are present in soil around the high school, according to a scientist, while CLEAN, a local environmental advocacy group, is calling for more assessment at the site.

In June, city consultants took soil samples from around the high school and proceeded to test the samples for dioxins and dioxin-like compounds.

The consultants, Lowell-based TRC, released a memo last week regarding the sampling.

The school sits atop the Parker Street Waste Site, which formerly was an industrial burn dump for decades during the last century.

While acknowledging that "it is difficult to assess what the data from the June sampling means in the big picture," Ian Phillips, a scientist who is working pro bono for CLEAN, did say the memo indicates "they need to consider dioxins as a contaminant of concern at the site."

Polychlorinated biphenyls, organic compounds considered to be carcinogenic by the Department of Health and Human Services, were used in lubricating agents in the manufacture of electrolytic capacitors at New Bedford factories, and were among the substances dumped at Parker Street. They were not known to cause cancer at the time.

Dioxins are toxic compounds that result from the burning of PCBs and other organic materials.

Tom Derosier, CLEAN vice president, said based on "the dioxin sampling that has been done to date, it only validates that more investigation has to be done."


The Rockefeller Foundation, Children of Vietnam , IBM and Hyatt among private donors
New York, NY, September 22, 2011 –– At the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Aspen Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, IBM, Hyatt Hotels and many other private sector donors, committed to provide assistance to address the challenges of the disabled in Vietnam, without regard to cause.

The announcement at the CGI, valued at over $3.5 million, represents a unique opportunity for governments, foundations and the private sector to coordinate efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

In the 40 years since the end of the war in Vietnam , the country has become a regional economic and commercial leader, and its relations with the United States have steadily improved. But high rates of physical and mental disabilities have continued to afflict the Vietnamese, causing heartache to countless families and a major economic burden to the country.

The CGI commitment includes $3 million from USAID. “In Vietnam , the U.S. Government has provided over $48 million in assistance since 1989 to people with disabilities. USAID’s assistance addresses the health, education, livelihood and social needs and promotes equal opportunities for and social integration of people with disabilities to enable them to contribute to Vietnam ’s growing economy,” said Frank Donovan, USAID Mission Director in Vietnam .

The US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, has created a comprehensive ten-year strategic Plan of Action that includes practical steps to expand humanitarian services to people with disabilities and their families, without regard to cause. The Dialogue Group is co-chaired by Aspen Institute president Walter Isaacson, who remarked that the Dialogue Group “has helped move both countries towards a common understanding of how to address the challenge of meeting the needs of people with disabilities. We are delighted to see the Plan of Action’s recommendations gain real momentum with help from so many partners.”

Dr. Charles Bailey heads Aspen’s program, which seeks financial contributions and in-kind technical assistance from US corporations, foundations and private individuals, as well as governments, in an unusual alliance of public and private partners in the two countries. The program will support projects which pilot and expand models for comprehensive services benefiting people with disabilities and their families, in collaboration with local governments and agencies in Vietnam . This program will demonstrate ways that alliances of public and private partners can contribute to improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, along with heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship,, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. CGI America is the newest addition to this community. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington , DC ; Aspen , Colorado ; and on the Wye River on Maryland 's Eastern Shore . It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Former pastor accuses Fort Detrick of causing nearby residents’ cancers

White said he thinks he could go to jail for disclosing communications with Fort Detrick officials
by Katherine Heerbrandt, Staff Writer

A former Florida pastor who blames Fort Detrick for causing his daughter and ex-wife’s fatal cancers told a group Saturday he could wind up in jail for his efforts to ferret the truth from Detrick officials.

As part of a package distributed to the media, Randy White, a native of Frederick, included a recording he made of a meeting last summer between his representatives and Detrick officials, moderated by Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, health officer for the Frederick County Health Department.

Gary Zolyak, an attorney for the fort, was at the meeting, which he said was to exchange ideas on how to handle White’s allegations that Fort Detrick’s actions have caused environmental cancers in hundreds of people who live near it.

“Randy [White] had a laptop open during the meeting. We told him that we do not consent to having [the meeting] recorded, and he assured us he would not,” Zolyak said in an interview Monday.

White denied that his group was asked to refrain from recording the meeting.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gulf War Claims Deadline
For Gulf War Veterans with certain ailments like: Chronic fatigue syndrome; Firbromyalgia; Functional gastrointestinal disorders; and other undiagnosed illnesses the current deadline for when the condition must have "appeared" is on or before December 31, 2011. If you have any conditions that are "undiagnosed" and you did a tour in the Middle East, this could apply to you. The VA is working to extend the deadline to December 31, 2018. If this occurs, it will be great news for veterans and military members who develop symptoms after the 2011 cut-off. However, since there is no guarantee that the deadline will be extended veterans suffering from undiagnosed conditions are encouraged to talk with their Veteran Service Officer about filing a disability claim for these conditions.
Check out the Military Advantage Blog to get more information.

Dig It!

This week on Truthdig Radio, in collaboration with KPFK, we hear about Agent Orange and the continuing devastation from America’s chemical warfare.

book review; "Scorched Earth" by Fred Wilcox

In the past thirty three years I have read every book published on the tragedy of Agent Orange and dioxin. Beyond a doubt, "Scorched Earth" written by Fred Wilcox is one of the most informative works of truth released on the market. This expose is published by Seven Stories Press and released in September. 2011. For most people, who have little knowledge on the devastating affects on dioxin thanks to the suppression by industry, this book is a valuable work of truth that can be disseminated to the world.

Although I was logically aware of the fact that North Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange and dioxin while fighting in the south, the magnitude of the problem is just now becoming an issue for human dialogue. Wilcox points out that Dr. Ton That Tung illuminated the fact that North Vietnamese woman were never exposed to dioxin while living in the north during the war. I have some of Dr. Tung's studies and they have been reviewed by some of the most eminent scientists in the United Stated. The striking observation is that the birth defects experienced by the families of North Vietnamese soldiers could not have come from the exposure of females. THEREFORE, the defects must have been male mediated. Also, many of the North Vietnamese birth defects are the same anomalies experienced by American soldiers. Hopefully, Wilcox just opened up Pandora’s Box.

One of the many interesting points of "Scorched Earth" is that Judge Weinstein went out of his way to assume that the U.S. Government knew about the poison dioxin which as a byproduct of Agent Orange. Judge Weinstein knew that by alleging the knowledge of dioxin to the U.S. Government the defendant chemical companies could evade liability by the Government Contractor Defense. Is it any wonder that that the Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York is known as the "Wall Street Court"? Also, why was the original judge in the Agent Orange case removed by promotion to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals? (Judge George C. Pratt). Perhaps this move paved the way for Weinstein to unleash his own far fetched theories on tort liability in the industrial age. When Weinstein said that the U.S. Government knew about dioxin, why was the Government going to build their own Agent Orange facility at Weldon Springs, Missouri. Wilcox illuminates this irony.

I would recommend "Scorched Earth" for anyone to read; but, particularly for those who have little knowledge on the toxic affects of Agent Orange and dioxin. This book is the best handbook ever written on Agent Orange and dioxin. It could be utilized as a primer on the subject and it must be disseminated through out the world. People must not be misled by propaganda when their friends and neighbors are dying from dioxin poisoning.

Faithfully submitted

George Claxton, Chair Emeritus
National Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee
Vietnam Veterans of America

Agent Orange treated mountains burn, sending smoke into Arizona communities
Lola Veil, Mesa Public Policy Examiner

The Frio Fire, that burned in the Pinal Mountains near Globe Arizona, burned from August 28 to sometime in mid September. The fire was lightning caused. The Forest Service utilized the fire to clear underbrush. This natural thinning of the forest is good for the ecosystem and helps to prevent a more catastrophic fire in the future.

There are however issues with how the smoke affected, and will affect, the health of the community. Nearly everyone we have talked to experienced some type of negative physical affects from the smoke.

There is also the issue of what some in area call “Globe's Dirty Little Secret.” That being the fact in 1965, the US Forest Service began a land improvement program in the Pinal Mountains. The program called for spraying an area of chaparral with Agent Orange to accomplish the objectives of multiple land use. The toxins were sprayed numerous times through 1965 to 1969.

There is a great deal of information available on the internet regarding the health affects this toxin had on Globe/Miami citizens. Many died very young, suffering from the horrific affects of Agent Orange. The water table in the canyons was polluted. There are reports of ongoing health issues with children and grandchildren of those exposed.

Where Have All The Lawyers Gone…Long Time Passing

by Ed Mattson
On Monday I wrote about those who have fallen through the crack at the VA regarding their application for benefits from exposure to Agent Orange and other toxins. Over the course of the years many veterans have filed claims that were denied; went through the appeals process, sought legal counsel, and have still come up short.

Not surprising to most, my research and research done by many others, have turned up a massive cover-up by the government in support of Big Chemical (Dow, Monsanto, and 10-12 other companies) in denial of the effects of Agent Orange and other toxins as being the cause of countless healthcare issues. This has occurred not only among Vietnam era veterans, but also USO volunteers, innocent civilians in the countries where such toxins were deployed, and by citizens in countries that are US Allies.

US Military Defoliants on Okinawa: Agent Orange
by: Jon Mitchell, The Asia-Pacific Journal

On August 19th, 2011, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement in response to recent media coverage about the US military’s use and storage of defoliants (including Agent Orange) on Okinawa during the Vietnam War. MOFA announced that, although it had requested the US Department of Defense to investigate these allegations, Washington had replied that it was unable to find any evidence from the period in question. As a result, Tokyo asked the US government to re-check its records in more detail.1 This was the first time that the Japanese government had asked the US about military defoliants since 2007 - and its refusal to accept the Pentagon’s stock denial was rare. The current announcement arose after two weeks of unprecedented press reports which alleged that these chemicals had been widely used on Okinawa during the 1960s and ‘70s.

This short video (1980) details the deadly and mutagenic effects of Agent Orange. It not only killed Vietnam veterans through it's carcinogenic properties. It also caused birth defects in their children. This chemical agent might very well be responsible for the deaths of more Americans than their opponents the National Liberation Front and the North Vietnamese Army.

This film was produced by James Byrd, Michael Galvis and Celeste Villareal.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Banned pesticide found in human milk

Banned agricultural pesticide DDT, which can cause cancer, is still widely found in human bodies, new research claims.

In a study of 146 human milk samples, most of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) were from the DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) group, said noted environmental researchers Tze Wai Wong of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

"Finding them in human milk indicates that these pollutants are still present in food chain, which means that they're highly persistent and have a slow decline rate.

They are still being used in some countries in food production - neither of which is good news for consumers," says Wong, according to a statement of CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Truth Revealed: Fort Detrick Cancer Cluster Fighting For Frederick Press Conference September 14, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Location: The W Washington DC

515 15th Street NW Washington, DC 20004 (202) 661-2407

Monday, September 12, 2011- The Kristen Renee Foundation and Fighting for Frederick announces a press conference to be held. It has been one year since the Kristen Renee Foundation started its campaign; "Fighting for Frederick" to investigate the mishaps at Fort Detrick, which we believe are the causes of the cancers and illnesses that have affected more then 1,000 families who have worked at or lived near Area B. Throughout the past year we have uncovered shocking evidence and have continued to fight for truth and justice. Fighting for Frederick has not stopped; in fact, we recently discovered information that you need to see.

We have brand new results and significant findings that will be released during a PRESS CONFERENCE, Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. to be held at The W Washington DC, located at 515 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004 (202) 661-2407 Please join us to hear these facts being released for the first time.

Randy White, of the Kristen Renee Foundation, also invites you and your family to join him and Fighting for Frederick at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at the International Community Church (formerly Maranatha), 123 Byte Drive, Frederick, Maryland 21702. For directions, please call (301) 663-5444. Fighting for Frederick is coming together, just as we did on July 10, 2010 to reveal what has been accomplished, honor those who have died in this fight, unveil new information and to share with you a definitive plan of action that has been put in place over the last 30 days. The truth is being revealed!!

Contact us: (301) 433-4561

Media Contact: Rachel Kelley-Pisani
(703) 203-4961

Here We Go Again! - Don't let depleted uranium become another Agent Orange
On Aug. 24, my son died. His name was Aaron Barnes. He was 26 with a wife and two young children. He died of a very rare and extremely aggressive cancer called Sacramatoid Renal Sarcoma.
Aaron was a soldier. He joined the Army in response to 9/11. He served two tours in Iraq, a total of 26 months.

During his time in Iraq, he was exposed daily to depleted uranium. This is believed to have caused his cancer. Depleted uranium is everywhere in Iraq and Afghanistan, as leftover shrapnel from previous wars. Veterans of the current wars are coming home and getting sick with rare diseases at a much higher percentage than the general population.

Unfortunately, neither the U.S. Department of Defense nor the Veterans Administration are releasing this information or suggesting that returning soldiers be tested regularly, before symptoms become present.

It took several months for Aaron to be diagnosed. During that time, he repeatedly stated that it was from exposure to something in Iraq. When he was finally operated on and diagnosed, he lived four more months.

If you know a veteran from the current wars or are one yourself, please be hypervigilant about your health. Mention to your doctor that you were exposed to depleted uranium. My son may have had a chance if his doctors knew what they were dealing with.

Please don't let DU be this generation's Agent Orange. Write to your congressmen, senators, the Defense Department and VA, asking them to address this matter. Aaron was a casualty of war just as if he had been killed in combat.

I would also like to thank everyone who helped my son during his illness: Dr. McCarthy, Dr. Fishkin, the Cancer Care nurses, Graham Hospice, the hospital nurses and everyone who contributed to his children's educational fund. I especially want to thank the Legion and VFW members and the Patriot Guard Riders for providing a wonderful military service. Also, thank you to the Fairview Auxiliary for the great dinner following the funeral.
Kim Schisler is Aaron Barnes' mother and lives in Canton.

Aaron S. Barnes, 26, of 1465 E. Myrtle St. Canton, passed away Wednesday (Aug. 24, 2011) at 8:15 a.m. at his residence.
He was born Feb. 9, 1985, in Houston, Texas, the son of David Lynn Barnes and Kimberley Schisler. Aaron married Amanda Bowton on May 14, 2005 in Canton. She survives.
Also surviving are his mother, Kimberley Schisler of Canton; two children, Emmalynne Barnes and David Barnes, both at home; one brother, Corey Barnes of Peoria; maternal grandparents, Gale and Gloria Schisler of London Mills; maternal grandmother, Carolyn Stevens of Galesburg; paternal grandmother, Dalphna Barnes of Texas; father and mother in law, Tim and Tammy Bowton of Canton; one niece, Melody Barnes; and his grandmother-in-law, Bertha Newlan of Canton.
He was preceded in death by his father.
Aaron was a student at Spoon River College and had served in the U.S. Army as an E-3, serving two tours of duty in Iraq.
He was a member of both American Legion Posts 16 of Canton and 644 of Fairview.
Aaron was a loving father, husband, and friend to many and always brought a smile to everyone’s face.
Services will be Monday 1 p.m. at Murphy-Sedgwick Memorial Home, Canton, with visitation from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Rev. Kevin VanTine will officiate. Burial, with military honors, will follow in Greenwood Cemetery, Canton.
Memorials may be made to an education fund for his children c/o Wells Fargo Bank of Canton.
To view Aaron’s memorial tribute or send online condolences, you may go to

N.J. court rules Tierra Solutions Inc. of Newark must help pay for cleanup of polluted lower Passaic River
Cost could range from $1 billion to $4 billion

The state Department of Environmental Protection has won another round in the legal fight to hold companies that polluted the lower Passaic River with pesticides and herbicides, including the Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange, responsible for cleaning up the waterway.

State Superior Court Judge Sebastian P. Lombardi in Newark has ruled that Tierra Solutions Inc. is liable under the state Spill Compensation and Control Act for past and future costs of cleaning up the contamination that has polluted a large stretch of the Lower Passaic. Tierra Solutions is the current owner of the site of the former Diamond Alkali/Diamond Shamrock plant on Newark's Lister Avenue.

The ruling is the second in two months by Lombardi that holds companies responsible for the cleanup. On July 19, The judge ruled Occidental Chemical Corp. also is liable for cleanup costs under the Spill Act.

"Cleaning up the Lower Passaic is very important to the public health and safety of residents living in the many communities located along the river,'' DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. "These rulings affirm New Jersey's firm stance that companies sued by the State must accept responsibility for the pollution they and their predecessors caused.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11

Section 60, in the southeast part of the cemetery, is the burial ground for military personnel killed in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GUEST VIEWPOINT: Herbicides are spawning a tragedy

Be sure to read the comments at the end of the article. Clearly additional public education on the calamity of Agent Orange is needed...

By Barbara Kelley and Kim Kauffman
Laboratory confirmation of powerful toxic chemicals found in the bodies of Triangle Lake residents, while shocking, is not surprising to us. Citizens throughout Oregon have pleaded for decades for an end to this “rain of terror.”

Ever since Agent Orange (2,4-D plus 2,4,5-T) was brought home after the Vietnam War, the forest industry has been using herbicides originally designed for chemical warfare. Dr. Michael Newton of Oregon State University ordered these chemicals from the Air Force to destroy “unwanted vegetation” that competed with Oregon’s commercial crop, Douglas fir, for sun and soil. This practice has resulted in toxic contamination of water, soil, air, wildlife, plants and people.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency stopped 2,4,5-T in an emergency cancellation, the use of 2,4-D has continued unabated, and indeed is one of the most widely used toxic chemicals in America. It is 2,4-D and Atrazine that were found in the urine of Triangle Lake residents, even children. The newspapers have been filled with letters on this subject. Some herbicide victims have written entire books on the war against these poisons, having experienced illness and the death of animals.

Our organization won a federal lawsuit in 1983. It was later combined on appeal with Vietnam veteran Paul Merrell’s case against the U.S. Forest Service, and was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1984. The court’s ruling concluded, “The entire spraying program of both agencies should be halted until they comply with NEPA,” the National Environmental Policy Act.

Several lawsuits in a row came during the 1970s and ’80s, all of them victorious. Herbicide spraying of public forests became illegal — but the cessation was temporary, and the spray programs on private forests have never even paused.


Westover Vets Fight For Agent Orange Benefits

Air Force Lt. Col. Aaron Olmsted in a C-123
by Lisa Chedeke
In the years since they flew together out of Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts in the post-Vietnam War era, Wes Carter and Paul Bailey have stayed in close touch, swapping information about families, jobs, and their former crewmates in the 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

This year, the conversation took a strange turn: Bailey, who lives in New Hampshire, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. Two months later, Carter, a former Massachusetts resident who now lives in Oregon, got the same diagnosis.

Curious about the coincidence, the two men began checking around with members of their Air Force Reserve squadron – particularly those who had flown the C-123 Provider, a plane that was used to spray Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and then was reassigned to domestic missions at Westover and two other U.S. bases.

Carter was stunned: the first five crewmen he called had prostate cancer or heart disease.

The sixth man he tried had died.

Since then, he and Bailey have found dozens more former Westover reservists who are sick – with prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy and other illnesses connected to exposure to Agent Orange [AO]. In just a few months, they have compiled a list of close to 40 of their fellow pilots, medical technicians, maintenance workers and flight engineers who are sick or have died of such illnesses, many of them from Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“I’ve had trouble finding guys who don’t have AO-related illnesses,” said Carter, who also suffers from heart disease.

Now, Carter and Bailey are spearheading an effort to get the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize that the crews who manned the “spray planes” stateside from 1972 to 1982 were exposed to lingering Agent Orange contamination and should receive compensation for their illnesses, as their fellow veterans who served in Vietnam do.

Under current policy, veterans must have set foot in Vietnam to be eligible for compensation for exposure to Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide sprayed in the jungles to destroy foliage and crops. Diseases related to exposure to Agent Orange include prostate cancer, neuropathy, ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus and respiratory cancers.

“For years, for many hundreds of hours, we flew that aircraft,” Carter said. “We ate in it. We worked in it. We fixed it. We slept in it… Most of us total thousands of hours inside the fuselage—inside that area the Air Force considers, even 25 years after the aircraft were retired, to be contaminated.”

In recent complaints to the Air Force Inspector General, the chief of the Air Force Reserve, the Institute of Medicine and other officials, Carter has cited documents showing that the Air Force knew, at least since 1994, of Agent Orange contamination aboard C-123 aircraft flown at Westover and other bases — but failed to warn personnel of the health risks.

Among the documents is a 1994 Air Force report that found one of the airplanes, known as Patches, was “heavily contaminated” with dioxins. Tests on other planes showed similar contamination, records show. In a 2000 legal brief, the General Services Administration argued that the proposed sale of C-123s to a private buyer should be canceled, dubbing the planes “extremely hazardous” and saying their release would carry “the risk of dioxin contamination to the general public.”

In a 1996 internal memo, an official in the Air Force Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Directorate of Environmental Law, had expressed similar concerns about the possibly contaminated aircraft being sold to third parties, but said: “I do not believe we should alert anyone outside of official channels of this potential problem until we fully determine its extent.”

So far, attempts by Westover reservists to claim veterans’ benefits linked to Agent Orange exposure on C-123s have been stymied.


Monday, September 5, 2011

COUNTERPOINT As 9/11 nears, morality dictates we recall victims of America, too

Special to The Japan Times

In the lead-up this week to the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, it is important to keep in mind this: Dates take on a mythical significance that may mask reality.

Sept. 11, Dec. 7, July 4 ... celebration of sacrifice adopts a spiritual and patriotic voice, while the tragedies engendered by the loss of life persist in the bodies and memories of others for decades to come. On this coming 9/11 anniversary, what came to mind was not a legacy of terror at the hands of fanatics, but that of sustained war and its aftermath. That is why a single date masks the true tragedies of loss.

A new documentary comes as a reminder of such tragedies. Titled "Living the Silent Spring," the film made by Masako Sakata opens on Sept. 24 at Tokyo's Iwanami Hall for a four-week run.

Prior to the release of Sakata's earlier documentary "Agent Orange — a personal requiem," I wrote about that powerful work in a December 2006 Counterpoint headlined "Ongoing Vietnam tragedy revives ghosts of a Christmas past" (

Now, with "Living the Silent Spring," Sakata has returned to the subject of that deadly defoliant sprayed over the land of Vietnam for a decade from 1961 to strip its forests so that they couldn't provide cover from the air for enemy troop movements.

The toxic chemicals in Agent Orange, which included dioxin, were 25 times more potent than those used in herbicides employed in the United States. Dioxin accumulates in the body and remains in nature for years. It is responsible for an estimated 3 million victims in Vietnam — some of them third-generation sufferers of birth defects and a variety of chronic health problems.

The U.S. has consistently turned its back on the Vietnamese victims its criminal war in that country created. It was only in 1991, 16 years after hostilities ended, that Congress authorized assistance to U.S. veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Significantly, however, the legislation specified that conclusive links between exposure to Agent Orange and subsequent illness and death were "presumptive." This insipidly coy use of words allowed Americans to legally avoid responsibility for the fate of the Vietnamese.

How would Americans react were a foreign government to proclaim the perpetration of 9/11 by radical Islamists "presumptive"?

"Living the Silent Spring" takes up the Agent Orange story from both sides. Sakata returns to some of the villages she visited for her earlier film so that we may see how the children genetically maimed by their parents' exposure to Agent Orange have fared. But this time she also introduces us to a number of Americans who have equally suffered — bringing home the message that, in war, we are all victims.

The story of Heather Bowser begins not in Canfield, Ohio, where she lives with her husband and two children, but with her father, who was stationed in Vietnam in 1968-'69. He returned to the U.S. with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and struggled for the rest of his life with alcoholism and persistent thoughts of suicide.

Heather was born in 1972 missing a leg, a toe and several fingers. Her father said, "I didn't realize I was taking my children to war."


VA adds to list of Agent Orange-exposed ships
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Sep 2, 2011 15:53:09 EDT

The Veterans Affairs Department has expanded its list of Navy and Coast Guard ships whose crews may be eligible for disability compensation as a result of exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.

It is an updated inventory of “Blue Water” platforms that operated along Vietnam’s coastline from 1962 to 1975. The designated vessels either entered the country’s inland waterways, docked in Vietnam, or their sailors went ashore, possibly exposing them to the widely used herbicide.

Many of the new ships are landing vessels or destroyers that operated near the shore. The large escort carrier Kula Gulf also was added because it served as a helicopter and troop transport in Cam Ranh Bay for three days in November 1965.

“Posting of the ships list is an important recognition of the sacrifices U.S. Navy and Coast Guard veterans made for this nation,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a Friday release.

VA pays disability compensation to veterans or survivors for 14 medical conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange.

Department officials couldn’t say how many veterans might meet the criteria for exposure from the named ships.

The VA ship list is not static; officials said vessels will be added based on documentation such as deck logs, ship histories and cruise books often provided by veterans as well as records kept in the National Archives.

The day before it published the expanded ship list, VA disclosed that in the past year it has paid $2.2 billion in benefits to 89,000 Vietnam veterans or survivors who qualify for compensation under a ruling that added three conditions to the list of health conditions presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure.

The VA faces a backlog of claims as a result of the jump in those applicants, as well as claims filed by troops returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of claims taking more than three months to process went from 200,000 in 2010 to 450,000 in spring 2011.

VA Posts Online List of Ships Associated with Presumptive Agent Orange Exposure
WASHINGTON, Sep 02, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Veterans who served aboard U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships operating on the waters of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, may be eligible to receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation for 14 medical conditions associated with presumptive exposure to Agent Orange.

An updated list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships confirmed to have operated on Vietnam's inland waterways, docked on shore, or had crewmembers sent ashore, has been posted at to assist Vietnam Veterans in determining potential eligibility for compensation benefits.

"Posting of the ships list is an important recognition of the sacrifices U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Veterans made for this Nation," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "It provides an easier path for Veterans who served in Vietnam to get the benefits and services they are entitled to under the law."

VA presumes herbicide exposure for any Veteran with duty or visitation within the country of Vietnam or on its inland waterways during the Vietnam era. Comprehensive information about the 14 recognized illnesses under VA's "presumption" rule for Agent Orange is also located on the webpage.

In practical terms, Veterans with qualifying Vietnam service who develop a disease associated with Agent Orange exposure need not prove a medical link between their illnesses and their military service. This presumption simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

For questions about Agent Orange and the online list of ships, Veterans may call VA's Special Issues Helpline at 1-800-749-8387 and press 3.

When a claim is filed by a Veteran, surviving spouse or child, VA will determine whether the Veteran qualifies for the presumption of exposure based on official records of the ship's operations. Ships will be regularly added to the list based on information confirmed in these official records.

Even if a Veteran is not filing a claim, a Veteran may conduct his or her own research and submit scanned documentary evidence such as deck logs, ship histories, and cruise book entries via email to

Service on board ships anchored in an open water harbor, such as Da Nang Harbor, or on ships on other open waters around Vietnam during the war, is not considered sufficient for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure. For Veterans interested in obtaining deck logs, contact the National Archives at College Park, Md., at .

The Agent Orange Claims Processing System website located at may be used to submit claims related to the three conditions added to the list of Agent Orange presumptives last year (Parkinson's disease, hairy cell and other chronic B-cell leukemias, and ischemic heart disease).

This website makes it easy to electronically file a claim and allows Veterans and their physicians to upload evidence supporting the claim. It also permits online viewing of claim status.

Veterans claiming other conditions may file online at VA's My-eBenefits web site at: . They can check the status of their claim with a premium account (confirming their identity), and use a growing number of online services.

Servicemembers may enroll in My-eBenefits using their Common Access Card at any time during their military service, or before they leave during their Transition Assistance Program briefings.

Veterans may also enroll through their myPay or MyHealtheVet accounts, by visiting their local VA regional office or Veteran Service Organization, or by calling 1-800-827-1000.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Friday, September 2, 2011

Links about pesticide poisonings in Vietnam

In Myasthenia Gravis, there are two ways to get it: congenital; acquired. Congenital means a person is born with it and develops in childhood:

Myasthenia Gravis is a debilitating disease. It causes intense fatigue and loss of muscle strength.

Guilty Verdict in Case of Agent Orange

If Dioxin wasn't so dangerous, why the haz-mat suits and why did the government evacuate the town of Times Beach, MO?
by Ed Mattson
Going back to the long history of Agent Orange and its chief component, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), Wednesday I wrote about the original studies of AO by Professor E.J. Kraus, chairman of the school’s botany department, at the University of Chicago during World War II. Among the discoveries he made was that certain broadleaf vegetation could be killed by causing the plants to experience sudden, uncontrolled growth (much in the way cancer tumor growth works in the body).

Though Agent Orange was not adopted by the Department of the Army for use in WWII, it was eventually added to the arsenal in the late 1950’s and used in Vietnam beginning on January 13, 1962, as part of Operation Hades to eliminate foliage that concealed enemy movement and food supplies. Agent Orange was not the only defoliant used however, and the combination of chemicals became known as “The Rainbow Herbicides” including Agent Blue, White, and Purple. Agent Blue added arsenic to the cocktail while White and Purple included other, just as deadly combinations of chemicals. Remarkably, in spite of knowing how deadly these agents were, little training went into the storage, mixing, and handling of these products, and that is where the criminality of anyone making the case against Agent Orange and these toxins should begin.

According to theSampley Report, “Operation Hades (later called Operation Ranch Hand), the defoliation of portions of South Vietnam’s heavily forested countryside in which Viet Cong guerrillas could easily hide, began in earnest out of Tan Sun Nhut airfield. By September, 1962, the spraying program had intensified, despite an early lack of success, as U.S. officials targeted the Ca Mau Peninsula, a scene of heavy communist activity. Ranch Hand aircraft sprayed more than 9,000 acres of mangrove forests there, defoliating approximately 95 percent of the targeted area. That mission was deemed a success and full approval was given for continuation of Operation Ranch Hand as the U.S. stepped up its involvement in Vietnam”.

An estimated 12 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over all areas of vegetation in Vietnam. The military claimed that the physical impact of humans would have little adverse effects. After all, these same herbicides were being used in the United States. In the US however, the commercial use was heavily diluted with water or oil, and mixed in proper concentrations. It is also obvious that more training in the handling of these agents occurred in the US, because in Vietnam, with the constant turnover of personnel, the military allowed applications of six to 25 times the dilution formula suggested by the manufacturer.

Again, according to the Sampley Report, “The pilots who flew these missions became so proficient at their jobs that it would take only a few minutes after reaching their target areas to dump their 1,000-gallon loads before turning for home. Flying over portions of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia that had been sprayed, the pilots could see the effects of their work. Many of them adopted a grim fatalism about the job. Over the door of the ready room for Ranch Hand pilots at Tan Son Nhut Airport near Saigon hung this sign: ‘Only You Can Prevent Forests’.”


Thursday, September 1, 2011

EPA Announces Schedule for Dioxin Assessment

Contact Information: Latisha Petteway (News Media Only),, 202-564-3191, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it plans to complete the non-cancer portion of EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments, and post the final non-cancer assessment to the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) by the end of January 2012. After completing the non-cancer portion, EPA will finalize the cancer portion of the dioxin reanalysis as quickly as possible.

The decision to split the dioxin assessment into two portions, one being the cancer assessment and the other being the non-cancer assessment, follows the release by the Science Advisory Board (SAB) of its final review report of EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments on August 26, 2011. This reanalysis report responded to the recommendations and comments included in the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) 2006 review of EPA's 2003 draft dioxin assessment.

The SAB report indicates that EPA selected the most appropriate scientific studies to support the non-cancer health assessment and the oral reference dose derived in the draft assessment. The SAB also commended EPA for a clear and logical reanalysis document that responded to many of the recommendations offered previously by the NAS. Specifically, the SAB acknowledged that the process the agency used to identify, review and evaluate the scientific literature was both comprehensive and rigorous, and the SAB report noted that “the criteria for study selection have been clearly articulated, well justified, and applied in a scientifically sound manner.”

Dioxins are toxic chemicals that share a similar chemical structure and act through a similar mechanism. While dioxin levels in the environment have been declining since the early seventies, dioxins remain a concern because they will continue to enter the food chain through releases from soils and sediments, and they have been the subject of a number of federal and state regulations and cleanup actions.

More information on dioxin:

More information on IRIS:

More information on the SAB Report:

Over $2.2 Billion in Retroactive Agent Orange Benefits Paid to 89,000 Vietnam Veterans and Survivors for Presumptive Conditions

The Agent Orange Claims Processing System website is located at
WASHINGTON, Aug 31, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today that more than $2.2 billion in retroactive benefits has already been paid to approximately 89,000 Vietnam Veterans and their survivors who filed claims related to one of three new Agent Orange presumptive conditions.

On August 31, 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended its regulations to add ischemic heart disease, hairy cell leukemia and other chronic B-cell leukemias, and Parkinson's disease to the list of diseases presumed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.

"As the President said to the American Legion yesterday, VA is committed to ensuring Veterans and their families receive the care and benefits they have earned," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "I encourage all potentially eligible Veterans to apply as soon as possible to preserve the most favorable effective date for payments."

For new claims, VA may authorize up to one year of retroactive benefits if a Veteran can show that he or she has experienced one of those conditions since the date of the regulatory change.

VA has reviewed, and continues to review, thousands of previously filed claims that may qualify for retroactive benefits under a long-standing court order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Nehmer vs. U.S. Veterans Administration.

"VA encourages survivors of Veterans whose death may be due to one of the three diseases to file a claim for dependency and indemnity compensation," added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.