Saturday, January 3, 2015


Here in Elmira during 2015 we are still trying to remove Dioxin (2,3,7,8 TCDD) from the natural environment, in direct confrontation with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOECC). Their goal appears to be avoiding conflict with Chemtura Canada while astutely ignoring all evidence of contamination in the Canagagigue Creek and Grand River watershed. This contamination is in both the creek sediments and the floodplain all the way (5 miles) down to the Grand River. Just because the MOECC decided not to test the floodplains as extensively as they were in the mid 90's doesn't mean floodplain contamination has disappeared. Similarily just because the MOECC have chosen to focus on DDT and ignore Dioxins doesn't mean that Dioxins are at acceptable levels. They are not. Worse yet all indications and interpretations from unbiased observers would indicate that DDT and Dioxins are refreshed on a seasonal basis by flood waters hence this problem, despite the erstwhile wishes of Chemtura and the MOECC, will not disappear on its'own.

Apparently the U.S. had intentions of spraying Japan with Agent Orange in 1946 if the two atomic bombs had not come to fruition in time. The idea was to starve them into submission. Of course the starving would have been of the civilian population, certainly not of the military or political elites.

Britain used defoliants in the early 50's to deprive insurgents of cover as well as of food crops during the Malayan emergency. While my knowledge of that conflict is nil I have to assume that this was the last gasp of the British colonial empire in action. The U.S. then cheerfully used this as their precedent for spraying Vietnam for the same reasons.

The Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange /dioxin filed suit against dozens of manufacturers in U.S. courts in early 2004. This unsucessful lawsuit named Dow, Monsanto, Diamond Shamrock, Thompson Chemicals, Hercules and our local favourite Uniroyal Chemical.

In 2007 the government of Canada offerred a $20,000 per person ex gratia payment to victims of the Agent Orange testing at Canadian Forces base Gagetown, New Brunswick. The victims filed suit two years later on behalf of 1,100 Canadian veterans and civilians and it as well was unsucessful. Clearly Canadian courts and governments are on a par with their U.S. counterparts.

If you Google Agent Orange you will find a 27 page writeup on the subject. I was most surprised to read about the long list of countries and victims of Agent Orange. They include Canada, U.S., Vietnam, Guam, Brazil, Cambodia, Korea, Laos, New Zealand, Philippines, Okinawa Japan and Thailand. Some of the exposures were war related and many were not. Most of the exposures, devastating diseases and injuries and deaths could have been avoided but for the unholy dollar. Corporate interests clearly outweigh those of civilian populations in the minds of politicians throughout the world. There are some notable exceptions. The full health costs of Agent Orange on civilian populations around the world will never be fully known. Will we as human beings learn from this and avoid the next disaster? Absolutely not with worldwide corporate domination of governments of all political stripes whether left, right, centre, democratic, socialistic, communist or whatever. Money talks and the human beings in power got there by being of low moral character.

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