Thursday, February 9, 2012
Vietnam here we come! At least that is what biotech giant Monsanto is saying. The multinational agricultural corporation most known for creating the hazardous chemical Agent Orange, which led to thousands of deaths and birth defects due to its widespread use within the country, is now attempting to begin providing Vietnam with their genetically modified foods.
During the Vietnam War, Monsanto’s Agent Orange was used as a part of the United States’ ‘herbicidal warfare program’. Having killed an estimated 400,000, deforming 500,00, and sickening 2 million, even 30 years after the war people are still suffering from the health effects induced by the chemical. Agent Orange has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, live damage, and other major health problems. Although the damage is great, US courts have protected both 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 spell out bankruptcy for the corporations.
Despite enormous opposition, now Monsanto is making further attempts to profit from Vietnam by selling their genetically modified creations. It would be completely outrageous to see Vietnam accept Monsanto’s GMO’s, as they have already ruined hundreds of thousands of lives with their toxic Agent Orange. Given the well-known human and environmental destruction behind GMOs, Vietnam would only be inviting back tragic health complications.
The Thanh Nienn News in Ho Chi Minh City reports:
No biotech company has yet got the official green light for selling genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but it does not assuage the fears that Vietnam could end up with another tragic legacy from a company that once caused many deaths in the country, environmental activists say.
The alleged 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. It seems that poisoning the enemy, farmland and civilians was a chemical warfare strategy.
The Global Post reports:
Monsanto is, of course, highly aware of Agent Orange’s reputation and has fought numerous lawsuits filed by chemical’s victims both Vietnamese and American. The chemical, commissioned by the U.S. military, was dumped over jungles to kill vegetation and rout communist forces.
In Monsanto’s own primer on the Agent Orange era, it casts the chemical as patriotic — it was meant “to save the lives of U.S. and allied soldiers,” Monsanto says — and contends that the matter “should be resolved by the governments that were involved.”
We will see if Vietnam allows for Monsanto or any other biotech corporation to provide them with genetically modified foods, but the decision not to allow such measures seems clear as crystal to many.
This article first appeared at Natural Society