Le site Bellaciao: coloré, multiple, ou le meilleur cotoie fort heureusement le pire, mélangé, bizarre, picabien et dadaîste, explorant toutes sortes de registres et de régimes rhétoriques, drole et polémiqueur, surréaliste: rencontre d'un parapluie et d'une machine à coudre sur une table de dissection, têtes de Lénine sur le clavier d'un piano Steinway ou Bosendorfer...
FR
ES
Senal en Vivo
VIDEO
RADIO
FRIENDS SITES
with Bellaciao
Bellaciao hosted by
To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
Bellaciao  mobile version   |   Home  |   About us   |   Donation  |   Links  |   Contact  |   Search
Agent Orange: The Legacy of a Weapon of Mass Destruction, Jeremy Laurance reports from Ho Chi Minh C

by : JoŽlle
Sunday April 2, 2006 - 09:23
1 comment

Published on Saturday, April 1, 2006 by the Independent/UK

Thirty-five years after the US sprayed the jungles of Vietnam with toxic defoliant, thousands of babies are still being born with horrific defects. But unlike the American veterans, no one in the war-ravaged country has received any compensation.

On a table in the dimly lit room lay a small white bundle, tied with a silver ribbon. With a brilliant smile and a barked order, Professor Nguyen Thi Phuong had directed me to the morgue of the Tu Du maternity hospital to see the latest evidence of the impact of a war that ended more than 30 years ago.

Outside on the streets, thronged with motor scooters in the 30C heat, young men and women stopped to buy roses from the flower sellers at the hospital gates, preparing to give them to loved ones. In the morgue, an anonymous block at the back of this 1,000-bed hospital, love had had an unexpected, tragic outcome. Somewhere in the hospital, a mother was grieving for the loss of her son.

A porter donned latex gloves and untied the ribbon. Carefully unwrapping the bundle, he revealed a tiny corpse, delivered a few hours earlier, its skin a livid purple, fine black strands of hair plastered to its head. He turned the infant over and there, at the base of the spine where the tissues had failed to form, like a wound, was the unmistakable sign of spina bifida.

This is the only birth defect recognised by the US as a legacy of Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant sprayed by American troops from 1965 until 1971 during the Vietnam war. But there is worse, far worse, in this hospital, the largest in south Vietnam. Some of the most severely affected babies, abandoned by their parents, live on two floors in a wing known as the Peace Village.

Entering it is like stepping back 40 years to the days of Thalidomide, the morning-sickness pill prescribed in Britain in the 1960s that left babies hideously deformed. In the first room, cots line the walls. In one, a four-year-old girl rocks on all fours, gently banging her head against the bars. A nurse turns her round to reveal a face with no eyes. Under a thick fringe of dark hair, there are soft indentations in the skin either side of her nose, where her eyes should be. Above her cot a printed label gives her name as Tran Sinh, and her date of birth as 27 February 2002. According to the nurses she was born in an area heavily sprayed with Agent Orange, where the land is still contaminated 35 years after the spraying stopped.

In the cot next to her, Tran Loan, aged five months, has a head the size of a melon and is whimpering softly. He has hydrocephalus - fluid on the brain. Next to him a child wearing a stripey red T-shirt has stumps for legs. A three-year-old with a crazily pointed skull and bulging eyes lies on his back staring at the ceiling. But for his Mickey Mouse T-shirt, he looks as if he belongs to another world.

A group of less severely affected children are setting off for school. Minh Phlic, 15, binds himself into his artificial legs with his one good arm. "I can be taller than you," he says proudly, levering himself to his feet.

There were 454 babies with congenital defects born in the hospital last year, out of 36,000 deliveries. "Those are just the visible ones. We do not know about defects to internal organs, or those that only emerge years later," Professor Phuong said. The Vietnamese government estimates 500,000 children have been born with birth defects caused by contamination with Agent Orange and two million suffered cancers and other ill effects - innocent victims of a chemical intended to harm plant life, not humans. But unlike the American soldiers who sprayed the defoliant, they have never received compensation.

This month they have the best chance in a generation of obtaining redress. A lawsuit against the US manufacturers of Agent Orange to be heard in the US courts is generating unprecedented support, nationally and internationally.

Agent Orange, so-called because of the orange stripe on the drums in which it was stored, contained dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known. An estimated 80 million litres of the defoliant, containing 386kg of dioxin, were sprayed on Vietnam. One millionth of a gram per kilo of body weight is enough to induce cancers, birth defects and other diseases when exposure persists over a long period - as the US veterans discovered in the years after the war.

Cancers, birth defects and other diseases struck the returning veterans in unexpected numbers. Those who had had contact with the chemical sued the manufacturers and in 1984 won what was then the largest ever settlement of $180m against seven of the world’s biggest chemical companies, including Dow and Monsanto. But more than 20 years on, while the Americans who did the spraying have been compensated, the Vietnamese who had the toxic chemical sprayed on them are still waiting for redress.

Last year, Vietnamese veterans sued the same US chemical companies claiming that they knew Agent Orange contained a poison - dioxin - and their action in supplying it to the US government breached international law and constituted a war crime. They lost in the first round but they are pinning their hopes on an appeal, due to be heard in Brooklyn, New York, this month.

Dioxin is a by-product of the manufacturing process of Agent Orange and a key issue in the case is how much the manufacturers knew about their product, and at what stage. If the appeal fails, the veterans have pledged to take their fight to the Supreme Court. In the run-up to the hearing, they have turned up the pressure on the US government with a tour of US cities last December, and an international petition co-ordinated from London. An early day motion put down by the Labour MP Robert Marshall-Andrews in the Commons this month calls for the Vietnamese to be "similarly compensated" to the Americans 20 years ago.

The veterans’ long campaign for justice has seized the public imagination in Vietnam, according to British diplomats in Hanoi, with fund-raising parties and newspaper campaigns backing the fight. The veterans are ageing - many have died - and there is a sense that time is running out. But there is also anger at the continuing effects of the toxin on current generations.

The mother of the spina bifida baby whose body lay in the morgue of the Tu Du hospital had not been born when the Vietnam war ended. Yet high levels of dioxin remain in the soil in hotspots across southern Vietnam, taken up by plants and crops and leaching into the water to contaminate new generations.

Professor Phuong, 63, consultant obstetrician and until last November medical director of the Tu Du hospital, has spent much of her 40-year career researching the effects of Agent Orange and has watched the rate of birth defects rise. But she admits that obtaining hard evidence linking individual cases to the poison is difficult. "The US soldiers have diaries of where they were sent and what they were doing. We have no data. So how can we have proof?"

Vast areas of Vietnam were stripped bare of vegetation by the defoliant. One of the most contaminated is at Cu Chi, 25 miles outside Ho Chi Minh City, where tourists crawl through the famous network of Viet Cong tunnels. Visitors are shown a film of women picking fruit in what was once known as the Garden of Cu Chi, where office workers came to picnic at weekends and watch the harvest.

Today the picnickers have gone. Slender saplings, no thicker than a man’s arm, have grown up in the past 20 years to shade the tourists - but there are no fruit trees and no harvest. In a speech to the US Senate in August 1970, displayed in the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Senator Nelson said: "Never in human history have people witnessed one country’s making war on the living environment of another."

Bien Hoa, two hours’ drive to the west along narrow roads jammed with scooters, bicycles and carts, is the site of an old US military base where 7,000 gallons of Agent Orange were spilt during the war. People who live in the town have among the highest levels of dioxin in the country - 413 parts per trillion, 207 times higher than in unsprayed areas. But research on the health effects has never been done and pledges of support from America have come to nothing.

Soldiers standing guard at the base, now operated by the Vietnamese military, turn away unauthorised visitors. As darkness fell at the Quinh Lanh cafť opposite the gate, where workers were settling down to watch the TV, I bought a bottle of mineral water. It was sourced from the mountains in the north. The water in nearby lake Bien Hung is so heavily contaminated with dioxin, more than 30 years since the spraying stopped, that fishing is still banned.

In Hanoi, Professor Nguyen Trong Nhan, former minister of health and vice-president of the Vietnam Association of Agent Orange Victims, says international support is growing for what he calls Vietnam’s "great social and humanitarian problem". In January, a South Korean court ordered US chemical companies to pay $63m compensation to 6,800 South Korean soldiers who fought in Vietnam. "No one can tell how many more generations will be affected. We think the compensation [for Vietnam] must be large. People’s lives and health are severely affected. Unfortunately, the Americans have avoided their responsibility," he says.

Aged 76, and a veteran of the war against the French in which he lost his two brothers, he points to a picture of himself meeting Bill Clinton. The former US President in 1996 formally accepted a recommendation from the American Institutes of Medicine that 13 conditions ranging from prostate cancer to peripheral neuropathy (numbness in the hands and feet), should be recognised as likely to have been caused by Agent Orange. That decision led to American veterans with the conditions receiving payments worth thousands of dollars a year while the Vietnamese get nothing. "It is a battle even more difficult than the battle with weapons. We must have confidence that we will win," said Professor Nhan.

There is one major barrier to success. The Vietnamese government is anxious to join the World Trade Organisation to open up new markets for its booming economy, and the Americans are the last big obstacle in their way. Embarrassing the US government at this point could sink Vietnam’s hopes.

Portraying their country as poisoned is also not the best way to boost trade. Vietnam is the world’s second largest exporter of shrimp to the European Union. Any suggestion of contamination could wipe out this lucrative market. President Tran Duc Luong is thus caught on the horns of a dilemma. During a visit to the US last year, he raised the matter of Agent Orange but did not make an issue of it. The American embassy in Hanoi declined The Independent’s request for an interview.

The Americans hoped that concern in Vietnam about Agent Orange would gradually die, along with the ageing war veterans. Instead, the sense of injustice has grown. In Tu Du hospital, and in the 10 Peace Villages across the country where the children with the worst birth defects live, they are pinning their hopes on the outcome of this month’s court case.

With a shake of her head, Professor Phuong says: "Please ask for justice for the Vietnam victims. Time is running out."

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

###



Leave a comment
Print this article


Commentaires de l'article
 

> Agent Orange: The Legacy of a Weapon of Mass Destruction, Jeremy Laurance reports from Ho Chi Minh C
Monday April 3 - 15:29 - Posted by 6719107fb27b4d2e...

The American government couldn’t care less about anyone who isn’t a white "Christian" American. Unfortunately, the Vietnamese are none of these things, so they are not very likely to get much joy out of the American "leaders" and the chemical companies they cover up for. Look at what they are doing now in Iraq: using nuclear weaponry on an entire nation, without a blink of an eye!







Global banks blacklist disgraced real estate developer Eric Arnoux
Tuesday 10 - 16:58
by Francis Kendrick
The words I will never hear
Monday 2 - 13:34
by Surprised
Eric Arnoux, the dark horse of property development
Tuesday 6 - 16:48
by Roger Moses
New Italian left-wing initiative launched: Potere al Popolo/Power to the People
Wednesday 28 - 10:25
by Roberto Ferrario
DEAR NFL: TANKS FOR THE SEASON
Saturday 10 - 05:44
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Weinstein affair: Celebrity lawyer JEFF HERMAN also accused of rape
Wednesday 7 - 17:50
Russia caught "Red Handed"
Friday 26 - 20:45
by BenAMarine
Jeff Herman’s demise: When money and fame take over
Thursday 25 - 16:32
HONOR ME: THE HELL WITH YOU
Saturday 20 - 00:36
by David R. Hoffman
IMMIGRATION: A RADICAL PROPOSAL
Thursday 18 - 01:55
by JACK RANDOM
REALITY IN THE AGE OF TRUMP
Sunday 14 - 20:08
by JACK RANDOM
The Bill of Whites
Friday 12 - 14:56
by Arty Kraft
Visa brings war on poor people to eateries doorsteps
Wednesday 10 - 11:10
by Anthon Lewis
Celebrity attorney Jeff Herman accused of rape by a former employee
Friday 29 - 17:44
by VincentT
TRUMP’S ULTIMATE CON
Friday 22 - 00:06
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
Out of jail Eric Arnoux lands in Dubai
Friday 15 - 12:03
by Kerim
Trump uses Jews to get pedophile elected
Sunday 10 - 12:45
by Eaton
WHAT TRUMP IS DOING IN JERULSALEM AND WHY HE IS DOING IT
Wednesday 6 - 18:40
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
SUPPORT RACISM: WATCH THE NFL
Saturday 18 - 01:38
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN SAUDI ARABIA?
Friday 10 - 15:13
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Sorry, Ain’t got cash. God bless you, too.
Wednesday 8 - 09:22
by Bailey Anderson
REFLECTIONS ON HOW LITTLE IS REVEALED BY JUST-RELEASED JFK ASSASSINATION DOCUMEN
Monday 30 - 19:43
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
PEOPLE OF COLOR: THE NFL DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOU
Tuesday 17 - 23:07
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
TRUMP, JONES, THE NFL, AND THE NEW MCCARTHYISM
Tuesday 10 - 23:14
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Catalonia referendum: 90% voted for independence, say officials (video)
Monday 2 - 09:55
Catalonia referendum: ’Spanish authorities are the criminals’ (video)
Monday 2 - 09:47
If I was truly evil
Tuesday 12 - 14:22
Yves Bouvier Faces Swiss Tax Investigation
Saturday 9 - 03:27
by lishk
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:44
by NathanT
The Polisario front suspected of double-play around humanitarian aid hijacking
Friday 8 - 21:37
by Nathan Taylor
AMERICA’S JUDASES
Sunday 27 - 20:02
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
What happend to Soraya and Hussein Khashoggi?
Friday 25 - 20:38
by Perseus
The falling Max Ehrich
Thursday 17 - 19:40
by celbbetty
DAMN THE NFL
Wednesday 16 - 01:44
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Report
Overplaying your hand
Thursday 10 - 12:36
Gujarat Flood 2017 Devastation- Inevitable or Orchestrated in Dhanera ?
Thursday 3 - 06:19
by Dwarika Nath Rath
Multiple citizenship & Zionist subversion of America, Australia, India, Humanity
Wednesday 2 - 03:10
by Dr Gideon Polya
I’M AN IDIOT AND I VOTE
Thursday 27 - 23:23
by David R. Hoffman
The Top Ten Art Scandals That Have Rocked the World
Tuesday 18 - 15:48
by Curtis Judge
John Pilger slams Mainstream silence re Apartheid Israel crimes: Free Palestine
Thursday 13 - 02:43
by Dr Gideon Polya

home | webmaster



Follow-up of the site's activity
RSS Bellaciao En


rss FR / rss IT / rss ES



Bellaciao hosted by DRI

Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry. Susan B. Anthony
Facebook Twitter Google+
DAZIBAO
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 March
©Olivier Jobard/Myop I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM IS A RIGHT In the phrase ę right to asylum Ľ, every word matters. Under the law, every person who is persecuted because of his or her political opinions or because of his or her identity, every person that is endangered by violence, war or misery has a RIGHT to seek asylum in another country The aim of this petition is to collect (...)
read more...
Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine 3 live-stream
Friday 24 January
2 comments
The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy. The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region. When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine’s opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" (...)
read more...
Hugo Chavez is dead (video live)
Wednesday 6 March
by : Collective BELLACIAO
1 comment
President Hugo Chavez companeros venezueliano died after a long battle with cancer.
read more...
International initiative to stop the war in Syria Yes to democracy, no to foreign intervention!
Thursday 13 December
Your support here: http://www.peaceinsyria.org/support.php We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of highranking personalities and public figures to go to Syria in order to (...)
read more...
THE KU KLUX KLAN ONCE AGAIN CONTROLS INDIANA
Monday 12 November
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
7 comments
At first glance, the results of America’s 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States: California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex (...)
read more...
I’VE DECIDED TO "WASTE" MY VOTE
Sunday 28 October
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
In a 2004 episode of Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town’s elementary school would be a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich.” Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town. Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART IV
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART III If there is one major inconsistency in life, it is that young people who know little more than family, friends and school are suddenly, at the age of eighteen, supposed to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of their limited life experiences, the illusions they have about certain occupations do not always comport to the realities. I discovered this the first time I went to college. About a year into my studies, I (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART III
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART IV Disillusioned with the machinations of so-called “traditional” colleges, I became an adjunct instructor at several “for-profit” colleges. Thanks largely to the power and pervasiveness of the Internet, “for-profit” colleges (hereinafter for-profits) have become a growing phenomenon in America. They have also been the subject of much political debate and the focus of a Frontline special entitled College Inc. Unlike traditional (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART II
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART III PART IV Several years ago, a young lady came into the college where I was teaching to inquire about a full-time instructor’s position in the sociology department. She was advised that only adjunct positions were available. Her response was, “No thanks. Once an adjunct, always an adjunct.” Her words still echo in my mind. Even as colleges and universities raise their tuition costs, they are relying more and more on adjunct instructors. Adjuncts are (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART I
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART II PART III PART IV When The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution over two hundred years ago, Americans were blessed with many rights considered to be “fundamental.” One conspicuously missing, however, was the right to an education. This was not surprising given the tenor of the times. America was primarily an agrarian culture, and education, especially higher education, was viewed as a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and (...)
read more...
ONE SOLITARY LIFE, PART TWO
Monday 30 July
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
3 comments
If there is one universal question that haunts all human beings at some point in their lives, it is, “Why do we die?” Death, after all, is the great illogic. It ultimately claims all, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the small, the good and the evil. Death also has the capability to make most human pursuits—such as the quest for wealth, fame and power—vacuous and fleeting. Given this reality, I have often wondered why so many people are still willing to (...)
read more...
HOW MUCH CORRUPTION CAN DEMOCRACY ENDURE?
Thursday 28 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
6 comments
How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS, PART TWO
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
4 comments
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
read more...
PEOPLE WITHOUT SOULS
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
2 comments
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)
read more...