[sixties-l] Key Conference on Agent Orange Opens in Hanoi (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Mon Mar 04 2002 - 19:02:36 EST

  • Next message: Carrol Cox: "Re: [sixties-l] Lying by Deconcontextualizing-- LBJ's Tape on C-SPAN"

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2002 14:49:10 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Key Conference on Agent Orange Opens in Hanoi

    Key Conference on Agent Orange Opens in Hanoi


    HANOI -- U.S. and Vietnamese government scientists and international experts
    gathered in Hanoi on Sunday for a key meeting on the effects of the toxic
    Vietnam war defoliant agent Orange.

    The three-day conference will look at what is known about the effects of the
    Agent Orange and its major contaminants--highly poisonous disjoins -- and
    consider future research needs.

    The issue is a tricky one for the United States, which has faced
    compensation demands from both Hanoi and U.S. veterans for exposure to the
    toxic defoliants sprayed to deny Communist soldiers jungle cover during the
    Vietnam war that ended in 1975.

    U.S. forces sprayed millions of gallons of agent Orange and other defoliants
    on Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. Spraying was halted after it was discovered
    that agent Orange, which contained the disking TH.D., caused cancer in rats.

    The U.S. government says it hopes the conference will lead to a more precise
    understanding of the effects of herbicides and other toxic chemicals in
    Vietnam, with which it normalized ties in 1995.

    But it stressed it is not about to entertain compensation claims from

    "U.S. Vietnam-relations were normalized in 1995 after Vietnam dropped claims
    war reparations/compensation," a U.S. embassy statement said. "At the time
    of normalization, neither compensation nor reparations were granted or
    contemplated for the future."

    Asked if this situation could change in the future depending on the outcome
    of more research, a U.S. embassy spokesman said: "I think the statement
    speaks for itself."

    --- Lobbying by Veterans ---

    The Hanoi conference came about after intense lobbying in the United States
    by the Vietnam veterans of America, which would like to see more
    compensation for members who have fallen sick after exposure to agent
    orange, and assistance to Vietnamese victims.

    "The Vietnam veterans of America have pushed for over 20 years to make this
    happen," VVA President Thomas Cory told Reuters in Hanoi. "We have to get
    the research started and move from there."

    More than 100,000 veterans have asked the U.S. veterans administration for
    help for illnesses they feel are associated with Vietnam war service. Only
    7,500 are receiving assistance.

    Vietnam estimates that more than a million of its people were exposed to
    agent Orange and says it is to blame for tens of thousands of birth defects.

    Washington argues the scientific evidence is inconclusive and says the
    conference is aimed at filling holes in research so far.

    "One of the issues that has always been a concern in trying to start a
    research program is understanding what the Vietnamese already know about the
    environmental and health effects," said conference chairman Christopher
    Portier of the U.S. government's national institute of environmental health

    "Much of the research is unpublished and we hear about it in sketchy pieces
    and parts," Portier said.

    Observers say conclusive research could have far reaching and expensive
    consequences in terms of compensation claims for the United States and the
    Agent Orange makers, Dow Chemical Co. and Monsanto Co.

    A group of 20,000 U.S. veterans sued the two firms in 1999 and eventually
    won a $180 million judgement.

    Agent Orange exposure is also an issue for veterans from other countries who
    served in Vietnam, including South Koreans, Australians, Thais and New

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Mar 04 2002 - 19:32:13 EST