By: Cassandra Anderson
American veterans and the entire country of Viet Nam affected by Agent Orange have been shafted beyond imagination due to corruption within the US government and US courts. US courts have protected Monsanto and Dow Chemical from liability and criminal prosecution. The US government has shielded Monsanto and Dow from the massive cost of medical treatment for victims and environmental remediation cleanup costs that would drive these corporations into bankruptcy.
Before we delve further into the issue, it’s important to detail what exactly dioxin is. Dioxin has a half life of 100 years or more when it is below the surface, leached into soil or embedded in river or stream sediment. Dioxin was generated as a byproduct of herbicide 2,4,5-T made by Monsanto and Dow, the top 2 producers of Agent Orange. It causes cancer, birth defects, liver damage and other major health problems.
Monsanto & Dow’s 2,4,5-T dioxin laden-herbicide was used in the US for agricultural purposes in the 1940’s before it was used for chemical warfare in Viet Nam from the early 1960’s through 1971. It was phased out in the late 1970’s. Now, let’s discuss the political situation behind this carcinogen.
US Government and US Court Dioxin Cover-Ups
- President Reagans’s administration, in cahoots with the CDC, thwarted a $43 million Congressional Study of Agent Orange in 1987 to protect itself and its corporate pals Monsanto & Dow from accountability to US veterans and the people of Viet Nam.
- US Courts dismissed veterans’ Agent Orange lawsuits based on a Supreme Court precedent, known as the Feres Doctrine, freeing the government of responsibility for deaths and injuries related to military service.
- The Supreme Court refused to hear American and Vietnamese victims’ lawsuits against Monsanto, Dow and other Agent Orange manufacturers on 3 separate occasions. Remember that the Supreme Court collects their checks from the federal government.
Atrocious Criminal Acts By Monsanto & Dow
- Agent Orange makers hide behind government contractor immunity, despite the fact that dioxin contaminated herbicide 2,4,5-T was produced long before they were contractors for the government (50 million tons of the herbicide was sprayed in the US per year). No modifications were used for Monsanto & Dow’s herbicide — half the ingredients in Agent Orange — so the immunity defense falls flat.
- Boehringer, a German 2,4,5-T herbicide producer notified Dow in 1957 about dioxin hazards and that dioxin could be eliminated by slow cooking the herbicide for about 12 hours. It appears that Dow and Monsanto continued cooking 2,4,5-T quickly in 45 minutes. Higher output led to higher profits. Monsanto’s formula contained high levels of dioxin and was dirtier than Dow’s product.
- Monsanto was not only aware in 1950 that dioxin was a health danger, but they also created a fraudulent health study.
- In 1965 Dow met in secret with other Agent Orange manufacturers to discuss the toxicity hazards of dioxin and their fear over a government investigation and restrictive regulations.
US Veterans Shafted By the Kangaroo Court
Judge Jack Weinstein of the US Federal Court of the Eastern District of New York committed the following offenses in several class action suits filed by veterans against Monsanto & Dow:
- Weinstein appointed attorneys to represent the veterans and then intimidated the attorneys into agreeing to a ‘nuisance’ settlement of $180 million- nowhere near enough money to cover the medical treatment of hundreds of thousands of injured vets.
- Weinstein rejected the veterans’ expert studies, instead of allowing a jury to decide on the credibility of the expert witnesses; Weinstein created a new rule of law from the bench.
- Weinstein based his ruling on Monsanto’s expert study that was later proven to be fraudulent.
- Weinstein dismissed all other veterans’ lawsuits against Monsanto and Dow.
- Weinstein took over a case that was unlawfully transferred to his federal court as it had been filed in the state of Texas. He dismissed that case.
- Astonishingly, Weistein created a second new rule of law to protect Monsanto and Dow. Weinstein invented immunity for government contractors!
Weinstein’s excuse for the government contractor defense was that if contractors were made to pay, they would pass the cost on to the government, so they were therefore immune. Weinstein’s new law was created from the bench instead of law passed through Congress!
Weinsteins’s law has now been extended to all government supply contractors (even non-military contractors) in the courts.
Approximately 11 million gallons of Agent Orange was dumped on Viet Nam between 1962 to 1970. It is estimated that Agent Orange is responsible for 400,000 deaths, 3 million victims of disease and 500,000 children born with birth defects.
Over 14 million acres of Vietnamese forests were sprayed. Agent Orange was also dumped in water supplies.
In 2004, Vietnamese victims filed a lawsuit against Dow, Monsanto and other manufacturers of Agent Orange. Judge Weinstein (yes, the same Judge Weinstein) presided over this case and dismissed it. Weinstein used the excuse that Monsanto and Dow had government sovereign immunity that extended to them because they were government contractors. He also ruled that Agent Orange was not considered a poison during that period, under international law.
The Supreme Court refused to hear this case, too.
The stated purpose of using Agent Orange was to deny the enemy cover in forested areas through defoliation. However, the US Army did contract studies in 1943 of the effects of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D (the other ingredient of Agent Orange) on cereal grains, including rice, and developed the concept of using aerial herbicide spraying to destroy enemy crops to disrupt the food supply. Obviously, poisoning the enemy, farmland and civilians was a chemical warfare strategy used by the US government.
Currently, there is a court case pending against Monsanto’s dioxin contaminated 2,4,5-T herbicide filed by parties who lived near the plant where it was produced in West Virginia. The judge in that case, Paul G. Gardephe, denied Monsanto immunity! Judge Gardephe asserted that because Monsanto burned dioxin waste in open pits and the US government was not aware of this practice, nor did they evaluate it for hazard, Monsanto’s contractor defense was denied.
Fate of US Veterans
In 2003, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision allowing veterans to sue Monsanto, Dow and other Agent Orange manufacturers directly.
The government has responded, under the Obama regime, by passing the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, which allows the automatic funding of veterans’ Agent Orange claims. While Monsanto & Dow appear to have considerable liability, the cost of healthcare and hospitalization of affected veterans is paid by American taxpayers.
More than 2 million Americans served in Viet Nam. The Veterans Administration claims they have no idea how many vets have been treated for Agent Orange injuries, or how much taxpayer money has been spent. The EPA is also involved in the cover-up and has been delaying an assessment report on dioxin since 1985 to protect plastic, chlorine, paper, herbicide and agricultural industries.