Friday, July 27, 2012

Vietnam veterans should get Agent Orange tests
I may sound like a broken record by mentioning over and over to my Vietnam veterans that if you served in Vietnam "go to the VA hospital and take the test."

The Veterans Administration offers compensation and benefits for Vietnam veterans suffering from diseases considered to have been caused by Agent Orange exposure. Recently three more diseases qualify as service-connected conditions from Agent Orange. This totals 14 diseases related to Agent Orange.

The Agent Orange test consists of an X-ray, EKG and blood work. Of course, you have to prove you're a Vietnam veteran. I cannot figure out why anyone would put off finding out if that ailment you have may be caused by Agent Orange.

Information provided by Tim Dyhouse in one of theVFW magazines should get the attention of our Korea DMZ veterans. The VA has acknowledged that even more veterans were exposed to Agent Orange while serving on Korea's demilitarized zone (DMZ).

On Jan. 25, 2011, VA announced that it now presumes that veterans who served along the DMZ between April 1, 1968, and Aug. 31, 1971, were exposed to the herbicide. The 2nd Infantry Division (Combat Brigade) and the 7th Infantry Division (3rd Brigade) are the two units the VA and the Pentagon have identified as units that qualify for this new ruling. Your local veterans service officer should be able to provide and verify which regiments and battalions were assigned to the 2nd and 7th Infantry during this time frame.

Books and films donated to AO/Dioxin victims
Nhan Dan – A ceremony was held in Hanoi on July 25 to present 200 copies of a book and 100 DVDs of a documentary film to the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange(AO)/Dioxin (VAVA).

The event was attended by Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Do Quy Doan and VAVA Vice Chairman Nguyen The Luc.

The book, ‘Nửa thế kỷ một nỗi đau’ (Half a Century - One Pain), and the film, ‘Chất độc da cam, nỗi đau còn đó’ (Agent Orange – Lingering Pain), feature the physical and spritual pain suffered by AO/Dioxin victims and reflect how people of all social strata are trying to help them integrate into the community.

It is hoped that these gifts will contribute to raising public awareness and increasing the voice of Vietnamese AO victims and international friends in their continuing struggle for truth and justice.

The ceremony was organised by VAVA and the Ministry of Information and Communications to promote the cause and support victims of AO/Dioxin in Vietnam.

CDC to probe Maine troops' possible toxin exposure
Maine soldiers may have been exposed to potentially toxic herbicides during training at a Canadian base during the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s
WASHINGTON — Federal health officials have agreed to investigate whether Maine soldiers were exposed to potentially toxic herbicides – including Agent Orange – while training at a Canadian base during the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s.

In a letter to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pledged to “conduct a thorough investigation of the situation” at the Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, where herbicides and defoliants have been used for decades.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said staff have requested documents and reports to look into the possibility that Maine veterans were exposed to harmful chemicals.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) share your concerns about the health of our military veterans and this situation in particular,” Frieden wrote.

Frieden was responding to a June 2012 letter from Collins in which the senator urged the ATSDR to conduct a detailed analysis of the potential health risks for Mainers who trained in Gagetown.

Although Agent Orange – a Vietnam War-era defoliant that causes cancer and severe health problems – was only used for several days at Gagetown in the 1960s, the base continued to use other herbicides and defoliants that have been linked to health problems.

Concerns over troop exposure to potentially toxic herbicides at the Gagetown base are not new. The Canadian government investigated the issue years ago and subsequently agreed to compensate some soldiers who were sickened due to exposure to Agent Orange. Maine officials have also been involved in the issue since at least 2005.

For instance, in an August 2006 “information paper” on the issue, the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management expressed concerns about the “bigger issue” of Maine National Guard troops’ exposure to herbicides other than Agent Orange that were used for decades.

Although those chemicals were approved for use as herbicides by Canadian government, that fact does not negate the reality that the nature of military training could increase the risk of exposure, the paper’s authors wrote.

“Maine National Guard soldiers dug foxholes, low crawled, slept in pup tents, and lived in some of these areas for up to 12 days at a time,” the paper stated. “Guard engineers graded roads where herbicides were used to keep brush growth down on the edge of the road; cleared brush out of and constructed bivouac sites; and conducted demolition and engineer missions all over CFB Gagetown. Artillerymen fired thousands of rounds into the impact areas and the detonation of those rounds put those chemicals back into the air to be dispersed wherever the wind took them.”

Collins said today she was pleased with the CDC’s decision to look into the matter.

"Protecting the health of those who were training to protect us is a solemn responsibility from which we must not walk away,” Collins said in a statement.

New VA claim filing system

From Ralph Stanton in Missouri

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Overcoming Dioxin’s Devastating Effects

Phi and Phu (foreground) are brothers who have managed to transcend their disabilities. They’re pictured with their mother, Hoang Thi Tuyet, and other family members.
By Peter Slavin
Sometimes the simplest changes make a huge difference for Vietnamese people with physical challenges caused by dioxin exposure.

Trinh Thi Tam paid a high price for moving supplies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Her face is pockmarked with chloracne from dioxin exposure, and her son Luc has been an invalid his entire life. A poor woman, Tam has only a small vegetable plot. The Red Cross wanted to give her a couple of pigs to raise and sell.

American Susan Hammond, who used to live in Vietnam and founded the nonprofit War Legacies Project, remembers Tam’s response: “You’re crazy. I have to walk a mile every day to get water. I do it at night because I have to leave my son alone, and I worry about him. … If I have pigs, I’m going to have to walk even more to get water for them. I can’t do it. What I need is a well.”

With funding from the War Legacies Project, Vietnam’s Red Cross had a well dug 65 feet deep and bought a pump. A neighbor offered to let Tam tap into his electricity if she shared the water. Tam and several neighbors now do so.

New documents released in Lejeune water-contamination case

WASHINGTON -- A day after the Senate passed a bill designed to help sick Marines and their families who were poisoned by contaminated water at a North Carolina Marine Corps base, federal officials released thousands of old documents that detail what the Marines knew and when.

Calling the episode one of the worst environmental disasters to occur on a domestic military base, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., publicly released more than 8,000 Department of Defense documents relating to the historic drinking water contamination that occurred over several decades at Camp Lejeune.

“By getting hold of these documents, the truth is going to come out,” said Mike Partain, 44, who lived on the base as an infant and later learned he had breast cancer. “For so long, we have relied on what the Marines told us as being true. Now, we’re able to look over their shoulder and read the documents and decide for ourselves what is true and what is false.”

The release of the previously withheld documents builds momentum for a bill that would help up to 750,000 Marine veterans and their families who were exposed to the contaminated water from 1957 to 1987. It’s expected to come before the House within weeks and could be on the president’s desk by the end of the summer.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vets feel abandoned after secret drug experiments
The moment 18-year-old Army Private Tim Josephs arrived at Edgewood Arsenal in 1968, he knew there was something different about the place.

“It just did not look like a military base, more like a hospital,” recalled Josephs, a Pittsburgh native. Josephs had volunteered for a two-month assignment at Edgewood, in Maryland, lured by three-day weekends closer to home.

“It was like a plum assignment,” Josephs said. “The idea was they would test new Army field jackets, clothing, weapons and things of that nature, but no mention of drugs or chemicals.”

But from 1955 to 1975, military researchers at Edgewood were using Army volunteers to test chemicals ranging from potentially lethal nerve gases like VX and sarin to incapacitating agents like BZ. The military also tested tear gas, barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics and hallucinogens like LSD.

This top secret Cold War research program initially looked for ways to defend against a chemical or biological attack by the Soviet Union, thought to be far ahead of the United States in “psycho-chemical” warfare. But the research expanded into offensive chemical weapons including one that could, according to one Army film obtained by CNN, deliver a “veritable chemical ambush” against an enemy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


If I was exposed to Agent Orange and have Parkinson’s Disease, what benefits can I receive?
Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during military service may be eligible for:
- Agent Orange Registry health exam
- Health care benefits
- Disability compensation
Vietnam Veterans with Parkinson’s Disease or other diseases associated with Agent Orange may claim these benefits without having to prove that their conditions are connected to Agent Orange exposure.

What is the scientific basis for the connection between Agent Orange and Parkinson’s Disease?
Many studies have looked at risk factors for developing Parkinson's disease and found that exposure to pesticides increases the risk. There are few studies investigating the occurrence of Parkinson's disease in Vietnam Veterans, or testing the specific chemical components of Agent Orange. However, the available evidence guided an Institute of Medicine panel to find "suggestive but limited" evidence of an elevated risk of Parkinson’s disease in those exposed to Agent Orange. Therefore, the Department of Veterans Affairs made Parkinson’s disease a service connected condition for those exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.

Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System:

Parkinson’s Disease Research Education and Clinical Centers (PADRECC)

Charles Bailey: Why I Care About Agent Orange


Blair, War, Olympic Deals and a Glimpse of Another Britain
By John Pilger
This is a story of two letters and two Britains. The first letter was written by Sebastion Coe, the former athlete who chairs the London Olympics Organising Committee. He is now called Lord Coe. In the New Statesman of 21 June, I reported an urgent appeal to Coe by the Vietnam Women's Union that he and his IOC colleagues reconsider their decision to accept sponsorship from Dow Chemical, one of the companies that manufactured dioxin, a poison used against the population of Vietnam. Code-named Agent Orange, this weapon of mass destruction was "dumped" on Vietnam, according to a US Senate report in 1970, in what was called Operation Hades. The letter to Coe estimates that today 4.8 million victims of Agent Orange are children, all of them shockingly deformed.

In his reply, Coe describes Agent Orange as "a highly emotional issue" whose development and use "was made by the US government [which] has rightly led the process of addressing the many issues that have resulted." He refers to a "constructive dialogue" between the US and Vietnamese governments "to resolve issues." They are "best placed to manage the reconciliation of these two countries." When I read this, I was reminded of the weasel letters that are a specialty of the Foreign Office in London in denying the evidence of crimes of state and corporate power, such as the lucrative export of terrible weapons. The former Iraq Desk Officer, Mark Higson, called this sophistry "a culture of lying."

I sent Coe's letter to a number of authorities on Agent Orange. The reactions were unerring. "There has been no initiative at all by the US government to address the health and economic effects on the people of Vietnam affected by dioxin," wrote the respected US attorney Constantine Kokkoris, who led an action against Dow Chemical. He noted that "manufacturers like Dow were aware of the presence and harmfulness of dioxin in their product but failed to inform the government in an effort to avoid regulation."


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vietnam Women’s Union Speaks Out Over Dow Chemical Sponsorship of Olympics
Vietnam Women’s Union Speaks Out Over Dow Chemical Sponsorship of Olympics

“…the Vietnam Women’s Union would like to call upon IOC to reconsider your decision to accept Dow Chemical Corporation as a sponsor of the Olympic events”

(HANOI, Viet Nam) – We received hot off the press, the following letter from the Vietnam Women’s Union, courtesy of Agent Orange Advocate Len Aldis in London. The women of Vietnam are raising a voice in objection to the inclusion of Dow Chemical as a sponsor in the upcoming Olympic games.

Long story short, Dow was a primary manufacturer of Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant sprayed over the jungles of Vietnam during the US war there. To this day, Dow has never answered to what amounts in the minds of many, to a decades-long war crime that continues to cripple children today, in the fourth generation since the war. This not only takes place in Vietnam, but also in the US and Australia, and in other places related to Agent Orange use and storage.

Attention: International Olympic Committee (IOC)

On behalf of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU), I would like to extend my best compliments to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)!

We got to know that Dow Chemical has been made a sponsor of the Olympic Games from 2012 until 2010. Dow Chemical is one of the major producers and suppliers of the Agent Orange which was used by the American Army during the war time in the South of Vietnam for over 10 years from 1961 to 1971. There is no doubt about the horrific damages the dioxin has done to the environment and millions of people from generation to generation in Vietnam, including many women and children who are suffering illnesses, diseases and living in poverty. The Agency Orange has had negative effects on hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese children of the 4th generation who were born with severe congenital deformities.

For decades, international public opinions have denounced Dow’s immoral actions and its violations of international laws, demanding it and other companies to compensate the victims of Agent Orange in different countries including Vietnam. However, Dow refuses to accept responsibility or makes compensation to tragic victims.

The Olympic Games are the symbols of the friendship & solidarity between the continents, the fairness, progress and peace in the world. We are concerned that the acceptance of Dow sponsorship will negatively influence the image and reputation of the Olympic Games. With the functions of representing and protecting rights and interests of women in Vietnam, the Vietnam Women’s Union would like to call upon IOC to reconsider your decision to accept Dow Chemical Corporation as a sponsor of the Olympic events, thus preserving the good images and reputation of the Olympics.

Success to London Olympic Games 2012!

With kind regards,

Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa
President, Vietnam Women’s Union

Secretary Clinton Visits Vietnam

Thanks to former Marine and Danang resident Chuck Palazzo
During her remarks following her visit with Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh the topic of Agent Orange came up a few times. First in her remarks Secretary Clinton noted “as the Minister and I discussed, we continued to address legacy issues such as Agent Orange, unexploded ordnance, and accounting for those missing in action as well.”
During one of the reporter’s questions regarding Agent Orange Secretary Clinton replied: “As we discussed, I have worked very hard to make sure that the United States is addressing the Agent Orange issue. It is a legacy issue that we are – we remain concerned about, and we have increased our financial commitment to dealing with it. The Minister and I discussed consulting on having a long-term plan so that we can look not just from year to year, but into the future to try to determine the steps that we can both take. The Minister also mentioned the idea of getting the private sector involved in remediation efforts, and we will certainly explore that as part of this ongoing discussion.”
The full remarks and a video link can be found at:

VA fix-it funds help modify home for Vietnam Veteran
When he was 20, Otis Dorsey served a year installing communications lines in Vietnam, a world away from the tiny Alabama town where he was raised. After completing his stint in the Army, he came home unhurt, or so he thought for the next few decades.

"I remember them spraying Agent Orange," said Dorsey, now 66, who lives in south Sacramento and is retired from a 25-year career with the federal government. "We were out there working while they were spraying.

"We got damp from it, but they told us it wasn't nothing that would kill you. It would kill the vegetation."

Read more here:

From the Mouths of Babes
Jenna Mack, 17, of Murrieta, will speak as a guest educator about the lingering effects of Agent Orange on a Peace Boat voyage Aug. 24-30 from Japan to Vietnam.

A 17-year-old Murrieta girl is all too familiar with the adverse effects of Agent Orange, a chemical sprayed during the Vietnam War.

Jenna Mack, a 2012 graduate of Murrieta Valley High School, is the granddaughter of a Vietnam War veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange. Her mother is a second-generation sufferer of the ill effects.

Jenna has used Agent Orange as a platform in numerous pageants. She was named Miss Teen Murrieta 2011-2012 and is currently the Royal International Miss Teen California as well as National Miss Heart of the USA Supreme Beauty Queen.

UPDATED - The VVA Self-Help Guide to Service-Connected Disability Compensation For Exposure To Agent Orange for Veterans and Their Families

Meet Your Friends, Neighbors, Teachers, Grocery Clerks, Police Officers, First Responders - The People Around You Who Served and Now Pay the Price