Court turns down Agent Orange cases
WASHINGTON (AP) The Supreme Court has turned down American and
Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange who wanted to pursue lawsuits
against companies that made the toxic chemical defoliant used in the
The justices offer no comment on their action Monday, rejecting
appeals in three separate cases, in favor of Dow Chemical, Monsanto
and other companies that made Agent Orange and other herbicides used
by the military in Vietnam.
Agent Orange has been linked to cancer, diabetes and birth defects
among Vietnamese soldiers and civilians and American veterans.
The American plaintiffs blame their cancer on exposure to Agent
Orange during the military service in Vietnam. The Vietnamese said
the U.S.' sustained program to prevent the enemy from using
vegetation for cover and sustenance caused miscarriages, birth
defects, breast cancer, ovarian tumors, lung cancer, Hodgkin's
disease and prostate tumors.
All three cases had been dismissed by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in New York.
The appeals court said that lawsuit brought by the Vietnamese
plaintiffs could not go forward because Agent Orange was used to
protect U.S. troops against ambush and not as a weapon of war against
The other two suits were filed by U.S. veterans who got sick too late
to claim a piece of the $180 million settlement with makers of the
chemical in 1984. In 2006, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on
whether those lawsuits could proceed.
The appeals court ultimately said no to both. In one case, the court
said companies are shielded from lawsuits brought by U.S. military
veterans or their relatives because the law protects government
contractors in certain circumstances who provide defective products.
In the third suit, the appeals court ruled that the companies could
transfer claims from state to federal courts.
The cases are Isaacson v. Dow Chemical Co., 08-460, Stephenson v. Dow
Chemical Co., 08-461, and Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent
Orange v. Dow Chemical Co., 08-470.
Vietnam voices disgust at US court decision
March 4, 2009
HANOI: The Vietnamese public is extremely discontented with the
unjust decision by the US Supreme Court to dismiss an appeal by
Vietnamese AO/ dioxin victims, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) quoted
Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung as saying on Tuesday.
Regarding the US Supreme Court's dismissal of Vietnamese Orange
Agent/ dioxin victims' appeal against US manufacturers of such
chemicals used during the Vietnam war, the spokesman said:
"With this decision, the US Supreme Court has denied the serious
effects of AO/ dioxin, sprayed by the US army during the Vietnam war,
on the environment and the health of the Vietnamese people, even
though these effects have been confirmed by numerous research
projects, carried out by scientists around the world, including US scientists.
"It is unfortunate that the US Supreme Court has put forth this
groundless decision at a time when the VietnamUS relationship is
developing positively and the US government has effectively
cooperated with Vietnam to overcome the consequences of AO/dioxin use
The spokesman said that Vietnam has repeatedly held that solving the
consequences of AO/dioxin use is an urgent humanitarian and moral matter.
"Even though many decades have gone by since the end of the war,
millions of Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims are still suffering from
psychological and physical pain.
The US chemical companies should be well aware of this matter and
should uphold their legal, spiritual and moral responsibility,
joining efforts to resolve the consequences of their AO/dioxin use on
their Vietnamese victims," Dung said.
"We believe that the struggle for justice by the Vietnamese AO/dioxin
victims will continue to receive strong support from the
international community, including US organisations and individuals,"
the spokesman concluded.- Bernama
Defoliant victims denounce US court
Vietnamese officials have attacked a US Supreme Court decision not to
hear an appeal of a lawsuit against the American manufacturers of the
toxic defoliant Agent Orange that was thrown out by lower courts.
Vietnam's Association of Victims of Agent Orange head Tran Xuan Thu
called the decision yesterday ''nonsensical and incorrect''.
Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Le Dung, said
earlier ''the Vietnamese people are completely disgusted'' with the
US court's decision.
On March 2, the United States Supreme Court refused to reinstate a
lawsuit lodged by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, a defoliant
containing toxic dioxin that was widely used by US forces during the
A group of more than 100 Vietnamese plaintiffs launched the suit in
2004 against dozens of US companies involved in manufacturing Agent
Orange, saying the chemical had caused them to suffer illnesses
including cancer and genetic defects.
American courts have ruled repeatedly the plaintiffs had not
established their illnesses were caused by Agent Orange, and the
manufacturers were immune from prosecution because they produced the
defoliant on the orders of the US government.
Mr Dung called the decision ''incorrect and unjust''.
He said the court had ''denied the serious effects of Agent Orange
and dioxin ... on the environment and the health of the Vietnamese people''.
The US government acknowledged dioxin from Agent Orange severely
contaminated several hotspots where the defoliant was used heavily,
and appropriated $US3 million ($A4.7million) in aid for clean-up and
Large numbers of Vietnamese were exposed to the defoliant when US
forces sprayed it on jungles to deny sanctuary to communist troops
during the war. Scientists said while it was difficult to link any
particular case to Agent Orange, dioxin was associated with a number
of diseases, including some cancers and respiratory illnesses.
Vietnam claims up to four million of its citizens suffer from Agent
The hypocrite of the world
by James Rhodes
James Rhodes, a Vietnam veteran who is in Vietnam, receiving
treatment of consequences of the Agent Orange exposure during his
service in Vietnam, was disappointed with the decision of the US
Supreme Court on March 2nd to deny the lawsuit lodged by the
Vietnamese plaintiffs against 37 chemical companies. Hereafter is his
comments sent to PANO:
Yet, once again, the United States has shown itself to be the
'hypocrite of the world" controlled by big business special
interest.There is no other explanation for the United States Supreme
Court denying hearing the cases of the victims we poisoned here in Vietnam.
Let there be no mistake about it, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Dung
was right on the money when he called for the chemical manufacturers
to do their "legal, spiritual, and moral responsibility..." However,
let us remember the United States legal system has already ruled that
the chemical companies have "no legal responsibility" to do anything.
Sounds bad, right? But please do not forget how the United States
treated, and continues to treat, their own veterans exposed to
herbicidal poisons-myself included.For years, they denied there was a
problem.Then they admitted there may be 'a few' problems or
conditions created by exposure to herbicidal poisons. They then
commissioned a study that "proved" Vietnam veterans were in better
health than the 'average American' who 'did not go to Vietnam.' It's
all about money.
We veterans were allowed, some time ago, to sue the chemical
companies.My 14 tumors, which the government wrote were "inherited
from my mother"-although no government doctor has ever met my
mother-was worth $1000/year for six years; however, the non-veteran
lawyers raked in millions of dollars per law firm. This is the
justice system in America. It is the "just us" systemfor fat cats,
special interests, and politicians. Everything we (unjustly)
criticize you "godless Communist" as being-we ARE and MORE.
I have never been denied medical treatment here (Hanoi)-as I have in
the United States. An isolated incidence? No way, my friend.Look at
the history the United States government has with our own Atomic
Veterans; Agent Orange veterans; Gulf War Syndrome veterans; and now
the War on Terror veterans-we all have one thing in common; our
treatment and neglect from our own government is shameless and
immoral. And you think you will get something better? I really had
hoped you would; but, I feared no change would be coming.
Do not forget that the American veteran was legislated out of their
rights with the passage of the 1933 Economy Act, ruled
unconstitutional in 1935; but, the illegal clauses stripping U.S.
veterans of judicial review rights-guaranteed under the 14th
Amendment-were rewritten into the 1940 Veterans Benefit Act.This
simply means illegal aliens, child molesters, convicted felons,
murderers, etc. all have judicial review; but, the injured U.S.
combat soldier, who fights and dies to defend the Constitution, was
legislated out of those same, exact rights.
When I was actively pursuing such a position for the Vietnamese
victims, decades ago, my brother, who was then active in the
military, had his security clearance revoked. My Los Angeles
attorney, William Smith, who was assisting me prepare a legal case in
this regard suddenly and unexpectedly died. And in the '90s when Bill
Clinton issued a presidential executive order requiring the Veterans
Administration to treat children of Vietnam veterans with spina
bifida, immoral government lackeys went on national television to
explain to the gullible American public that spina bifida was "not
necessarily" a result of herbicidal poisons and such a link could
"not be conclusively proven"; but, since they were such good guys
they would treat the little (American) victims anyway.
Yes, my Vietnamese friends, we will wave our flag and display our
Bibles and in the name of all that is holy pursue those evil Islamic
fundamentalist; continue our sanctions against Cuba (how many decades
now and for what reason?); and oppose democratically elected
governments (Hugo Chavez, Hamas) that do not bend to the will of our
'god', the American special interest! And in this process, we will
ignore the evil we have done!
Do not forget the "just us" system in 2005 expanded the government
private land grab, called 'eminent domain' aka forced compulsory
purchase of private property. This meant, and was put into practice,
to legally steal private land and homes if the governmental
municipalities thought that those targeted properties could be used
for other structures that could better "increase governmental
revenues" as shopping malls and businesses. Once again showing you,
it is all about the money-who gets it and where it goes. We praise
and promote this system of capitalism, which is nothing more than
corporate welfare for the rich (special interest political contributors).
I am ashamed of our conduct. I remain here in Hanoi to attempt to do
what I can for the Vietnamese victims of herbicidal poisons, who are
my extended family. "My" country has lost its way, and for this, I
truly beg your forgiveness and pardon. You have spiritual
understanding that far exceeds the fundamentalist in "my" country. I
have learned so much from you. I pray daily that I may be an
insignificant instrument that will allow "my" country to see it MUST
do the right thing regarding this situation we, and we alone, created.
Obviously the American "just us" system will continue the neglect
here, at the encouragement of U.S. big business special interest. Our
Congress lacks a backbone and whose chief concern deals with their
own reelection. So, the ball is in the President's court. Obama is a
fair man, and I do believe a religious one-so, I call upon him to do
the right thing through Presidential Executive Orders.
And to the American Christian community, I ask you, WHERE are YOU
regarding this issue? I ask YOU: "What would Jesus do?"