Agent Orange Video / Monsanto's legacy in Vietnam (17/7/2007)

1.Agent Orange Video
2.The Legacy of Agent Orange
3.Quotes about Agent Orange

EXTRACT: At a time when US tobacco corporations have been forced to pay billions of dollars in the US to compensate the victims of smoking, it would seem only reasonable that Monsanto be forced to pay billions to the Vietnamese for the catastrophe Monsanto has wrought on their country. (item 2)


1.Friction TV Agent Orange Video
The Ecologist online, 13 July 2007.

Between 1961 and 1971, American forces sprayed some 80 million litres of defoliants and other poisons onto the forests and villages of Vietnam.

The damage which the key constituent, Agent Orange, did to children in the country is still being felt today. Babies born two generations after the war are subject to hideous deformities.

Neither the US government nor the manufacturers, Dow Chemicals and Monsanto, have ever been brought to account for these crimes. Watch Friction TV's new video and join their campaign for the victims of Agent Orange:


2.The Legacy of Agent Orange [extracts]

Agent Orange was manufactured by Monsanto, Dow Chemicals (manufacturers of napalm), Uniroyal, Hercules, Diamond Shamrock, Thompson Chemical and TH Agriculture. Monsanto were the main supplier. The Agent Orange produced by Monsanto had dioxin levels many times higher than that produced by Dow Chemicals, the other major supplier of Agent Orange to Vietnam.

Dioxins are one of the most toxic chemicals known to man. Permissible levels are measured in parts per trillion, the ideal level is zero. The Agent Orange manufactured by Monsanto contained 2,3,7,8-tetrachlordibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD), extremely deadly even when measured against other dioxins. The levels found in domestic 2,4,5-T were around 0.05 ppm, that shipped to Vietnam peaked at 50 ppm, ie 1,000 times higher than the norm.

Monsanto's involvement with the production of dioxin contaminated 2,4,5-T dates back to the late 1940s. 'Almost immediately workers started getting sick with skin rashes, inexplicable pains in the limbs, joints and other parts of the body, weakness, irritability, nervousness and loss of libido,' to quote Peter Sills, author of a forthcoming book on dioxins. Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems but once again a cover-up was the order of the day.

A wide range of products manufactured by Monsanto have been contaminated with dioxins, including the widely used household disinfectant Lysol. Monsanto's attempts at a cover-up were revealed when a court awarded $16 million in punitive damages against Monsanto. It was revealed that Monsanto had intimidated employees to keep quiet, had tampered with evidence, had submitted false data and samples to EPA. An investigation by Cate Jenkins of the EPA Regulatory Development Branch documented a track record of systematic criminal fraud.

Accidents involving large release of dioxin to the environment have occurred at Seveso (Italy) and Times Beach (USA). The Times Beach incident occurred when local contractors were hired to spray the town's dusty roads with emulsified oil. The oil was taken from sumps (which the same contractors had been hired to dispose of). Too late it was discovered that the oil was heavily contaminated with dioxin. The US government ordered the town to be evacuated in 1982. Times Beach lies not far from East St Louis, a chronically deprived, heavily contaminated area across the Mississippi from St Louis, centre of Monsanto's PCB manufacturing. Monsanto are believed to be linked to the Time Beach contamination, at least that is the view of the Times Beach Action Group (TBAG) 'From our point of view, Monsanto is at the heart of our problem here in Missouri.' TBAG cite contaminated soil samples that have been traced back to Monsanto.

Monsanto's contribution to the well being of the world has included dioxin, rBGH, PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange and Roundup. Monsanto is currently aggressively pushing genetically modified crops, a technology the world does not need and does not want. For Monsanto, corporate greed far outweighs planetary need. Monsanto aggressively pursues anyone who dares to criticise their policies.

Vietnam is a poor country, even a rich country would be overwhelmed by the environmental and genetic catastrophe Vietnam is having to face.

At a time when US tobacco corporations have been forced to pay billions of dollars in the US to compensate the victims of smoking, it would seem only reasonable that Monsanto be forced to pay billions to the Vietnamese for the catastrophe Monsanto has wrought on their country.


3.Quotes about Agent Orange

Occasionally I saw these [genetically deformed] children in contaminated villages in the Mekong Delta; and whenever I asked about them, people pointed to the sky; one man scratched in the dust a good likeness of a bulbous C-130 aircraft, spraying. -- John Pilger

The US has dumped [on South Vietnam] a quantity of toxic chemical amounting to six pounds per head of population, including women and children. -- US Senator Gaylord Nelson

Perhaps the most gruesome legacy of Agent Orange is to be found in a locked room in Tu Du Obstetrical and Gynaecological Hospital in Saigon. Here the walls are lined with jars containing aborted and full term foetuses. -- Hugh Warwick

Monsanto has in fact submitted false information to EPA which directly resulted in weakened regulations ... -- Cate Jenkins [EPA scientist]

Monsanto covered up the dioxin contamination of a wide range of its products. Monsanto either failed to report contamination, submitted false information purporting to show no contamination or submitted samples to to the government for analysis which had been specially prepared so that dioxin contamination did not exist. -- Cate Jenkins [EPA]

It will take a long time to clarify the exact consequences of Agent Orange. -- Douglas Peterson, US Ambassador to Vietnam

We need more facts ... There is need for more scientific research on this subject before factual statements can be made to the effect Agent Orange had in Vietnam. -- Madeline Albright

International research has proven that, during the war, 72 million litres of chemicals were poured onto Vietnam, over 40 million were dioxins - there is a link. -- Vu Trong Huong, director War Crimes Investigation

We have over 50,000 children that have been born with horrific deformities; the link is clear. -- Vu Trong Huong, director War Crimes Investigation

These Agent Orange births are normal for us ... Every now and then we have what we call a foetal catastrophe - when the number of miscarriages and deformed babies, I am afraid to say, overwhelms us. -- Dr Pham Viet Thanh, Tu Du hospital

We were wrong, terribly wrong. -- Robert McNamara, former US Secretary of Defence during Vietnam War

Never again must the US or any other country interfere in another country's affairs. -- Len Aldis, secretary Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society

It should never be forgotten that the people must have priority. -- Ho Chi Minh


Back to the Archive