Agent Orange: Toxin in Genocide of Indigenous Peoples
Agent Orange sprayed in the US and Canada, prior to and after the Vietnam War
By Brenda Norrell
First published Feb. 28, 2011 and republished today upon request
Agent Orange was sprayed on weeds, forests and crops in the United States and Canada before and after the Vietnam war, leading to new lawsuits over the resulting cancer and other diseases of those who were sprayed in aerial and roadside spraying.
New evidence reveals the dangers particularly for American Indians and First Nations who gathered berries and wild foods, burned firewood and drank from fresh water sources.
John H.W. Hummel is pressing for national probes into the use of Agent Orange in and around Indian communities in Canada and the United States. "I think that herbicides (contaminated with dioxin) were sprayed on many of the forests and traditional territories of Indigenous people in North America. I think that this has harmed the health of many people."
This month, the Toronto Star exposed the fact that teen workers holding marker balloons were sprayed with Agent Orange. The Star also exposed the fact that powerline corridors in Canada were widely sprayed with Agent Orange.
Hummel said, "If dioxin contaminated Agent Orange was sprayed along these transmission corridors, the implications are horrendous, especially for the First Nations and Métis people who may hunt, fish and pick berries anywhere near these corridors. These transmission line corridors pass through many of the First Nation and Metis peoples' traditional territories.
"Dioxin has been linked to approximately 50 diseases and medical conditions:http://www.vva.org/agent_orange.html including Type II Diabetes. If Ontario Hydro, Forest companies, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Natural Resources were spraying Agent Orange all over Ontario, you can bet it happened all over Canada and in the United States as well. We need a truly national, coast to coast, enquiry about all of this." US Veterans Affairs: Agent Orange stored and tested in 21 states
Arizona was one of 21 states where Agent Orange was stored, or tested, prior to and during the Vietnam War, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The site in Arizona was in the Tonto National Forest in the Pinal Mountains near Globe, in the Apache homeland. Previous lawsuits were settled with payouts to some of the Arizona victims of aerial spraying of Agent Orange. The Department of Defense published studies showing that exposure to Agent Orange has led to adult onset diabetes. Medical studies have linked exposure to brain tumors, and diseases in grandchildren of those in contact with Agent Orange. The severe deformities and birth defects resulting from Agent Orange exposure of pregnant women in Vietnam can be seen online in the photos of their children.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs reveals that Agent Orange was tested and used in Florida and Texas as early as 1944. But even after it was banned in the US, it was sprayed in Canada.
Agent Orange latest in toxic genocide of Indigenous Peoples
In Canada, Agent Orange was sprayed in British Columbia during the 1980s. At Kapuskasing, Ontario, Agent Orange was sprayed about 20 kilometers from a First Nations community.
The spraying at Kapuskasing reveals the pattern of the US and Canada of targeting areas with Indian communities. Kapuskasing was not only the site of Agent Orange spraying, but was also the site of a WWI prisoner of war camp and later a power plant.
In a pattern of toxic genocide, areas near and on Indian communities have been used as prisoner of war camps, power plant sites and toxic waste dumps.
In Arizona, the WWII prisoner of war camps included sites on Gila River Indian Community and Colorado River Indian Nations. Coal-fired power plants are now on and around many Indian Nations, including the Navajo Nation. The Western Shoshone in Nevada and Goshute in Utah continue to be targeted with toxic and nuclear waste dumps.
Navajos in New Mexico, Havasupai in Arizona and Lakotas in Nebraska and the Dakotas are targeted with new uranium mining that could contaminate their drinking water. During the Cold War, Navajos, Acomas and Laguna Pueblos worked in uranium mines without protective clothing and many died of cancer and respiratory diseases. Today, radioactive tailings are strewn on the Navajo Nation.
Dene in Canada, like the Dine' in Arizona, were never told of the dangers of uranium mining during the Cold War, and worked in the uranium mines without protective clothing. In the Pueblos, the radioactive dust blew on their foods as they ate.
In the case of the Goshute in Utah, their neighbor continues to be a biological and chemical warfare testing site, the US military's Dugway Proving Ground.
Agent Orange was sprayed in BC, Canada during the 1980s
Jorma Jyrkkanen said, "When I was habitat protection technician for the BC Fish and Wildlife Branch between 1981 and 1987, I got a request by the BC Ministry of Forests to use Estron 3-3E in a sensitive area near the mouth of the Lakelse River. Upon examination of the ingredients, I determined that it was in fact one of the Agent Orange (AO) concoctions and rejected the application along with a note to MOF that I was not very pleased that they had entertained such an option. Read more: http://jorma-jyrkkanen.livejournal.com/tag/pesticides%20orange
Agent Orange was used in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil, according to Wikipedia articles.
"The Brazilian government used Agent Orange to defoliate a large section of the Amazon rainforest so that Alcoa could build the Tucuruí dam to power mining operations. Large areas of rainforest were destroyed, along with the homes and livelihoods of thousands of rural peasants and indigenous tribes," according to Wikipedia.
Agent Orange spraying in the Amazon Rainforest, and spraying in Canada, reveals the indiscriminate spraying in the Americas that will damage health for generations.
Hummel said, "The infamous 'Agent Orange' was sprayed by the forest industry upon large tracts of Canadian forests in Ontario, New Brunswick, British Columbia and likely elsewhere in Canada and probably on American forests too.
"This should be investigated. It may well impact thousands of Indigenous people on this continent."
Agent Orange spraying: Soldiers were among the victims
Agent Orange spraying in Gagetown and surrounding communities in Canada had far reaching effects, since soldiers from around the world trained there.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs now provides a list of sites where Agent Orange was tested and stored, beginning in 1944, in the US.
As more people who were exposed to Agent Orange develop cancer and other serious health problems, the liabilities multiply for the US. Veterans and other victims are now fighting for justice, both at Veterans hospitals for treatment and in court for restitution.
The US Veterans Affairs website states that Agent Orange was used to remove foliage providing cover for the enemy during the Vietnam War.
"Agent Orange was the most widely used of the herbicide combinations sprayed. Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were tested or stored elsewhere, including some military bases in the United States," the Veterans Affairs website states.
"The U.S. military herbicide program in South Vietnam took place between 1961 and 1971. Herbicides were sprayed in all 4 military zones of Vietnam. More than 19 million gallons of various herbicide combinations were used. Agent Orange was the combination of herbicides the U.S. military used most often." http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/outside_vietnam_usa.asp#Arizona
"Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were tested or stored elsewhere, including many military bases in the United States. Below is information from the Department of Defense (DoD) on projects to test, dispose of, or store herbicides in the U.S. For projects outside the U.S., go to Herbicide Tests and Storage Outside the U.S." US sites where Agent Orange was stored and tested, US Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/outside_vietnam_usa.asp#Arizona
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