Agent Orange – Turkish Protesters Hijack Agent Orange for Increased Media Coverage
Official COVVHA Report
Heather A. Bowser, LPCC
What is more frightening than the thought of being intentionally poisoned by someone in authority over you? Perhaps, offspring being born with devastating birth defects, learning disorders, or rare illnesses? Maybe dying of horrible cancers, heart conditions, or complications of Parkinson’s Disorder? These are not merely frightening thoughts to those exposed to Agent Orange; it is reality, life and death.
Over the weekend, there were wide reports coming from Turkey that police were using Agent Orange on protesters as a form of crowd control. Social media, especially Twitter became ablaze with re-tweets calling foul to this form of force by Turkish police on people who were trying to protest unrest within Turkey. Social media accounts of the violence fueled more protesters to join the throng. Rampant reports of police using tear gas and high force water cannons to dissipate the crowd were coupled with images.
Agent Orange advocates and founders of (COVVHA) Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance INC. , Kelly L. Derricks & Heather A. Bowser, felt after researching media reports about the incident in Turkey, it was important keep the dialog about Agent Orange set in fact and not fiction. COVVHA is fighting for justice for all generational victims of Agent Orange. It is a difficult fight shrouded in denial, secrecy and lack of media support. It is coupled by the urgent needs of sick and dying offspring of those exposed.
Agent Orange has a notorious history in Vietnam from 1961-1971. The United States military used several chemical herbicides during the Vietnam War to “help” in the War effort. The military sited the thick jungle foliage of Vietnam, and the enemy’s access to food crops, as reason to spray an unfettered amount of chemicals onto South Vietnam, killing all the vegetation in its spray zone. The military deducted, if the enemy had no food and no place to hide, the U.S. and Allies would be victorious in Vietnam. In the end, they sprayed an estimated eighteen million gallons of Agent Orange, on a country the size of New Mexico.
Protesters in Turkey have stated the police were shooting orange liquid filled canisters at the crowd. Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War was colorless. It was called agent orange because of the orange stripe around the middle of the fifty five gallon barrel it was stored in. It was not orange. However, a Turkish protester seeing this substance being shot would think something is very wrong here. It is natural for them to question what police were shooting at them. If a protester was un-knowledgeable of the history of Monsanto, Dow, and the 5 other chemical company’s recipe for herbicide, it’s not a far leap for a protester to think the Turkish police, firing an orange substance at them could think they were using Agent Orange. At that point protesters believe it had gone well beyond crowd control. Instead the police were trying to kill protesters with chemical warfare.
Agent Orange wasn’t used as a crowd deterrent it was used to defoliate plant material. It was not sprayed directly on people as an act of chemical warfare. However, many were indirectly sprayed with Agent Orange during its use in Vietnam. Many U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and Vietnamese civilians have recounted times when they were exposed by aerial spray. Others were exposed when handling the chemical with no protective gear, working or living in areas that had been defoliated, or drinking contaminated water or food. The U.S. Military has fought back against outrage that Agent Orange was used as chemical warfare. They state it was used strictly as vegetation control, an agricultural chemical. The problems with the herbicides used in Vietnam were they were toxic. They were contaminated with an industrial byproduct called dioxin. Dioxin is one of the deadliest known contaminants to man. Production of Agent Orange ended in the 1970’s.
The process of dying at the hands of Agent Orange is a long painful process, with the exception of Chloacne, which appears shortly after acute exposure; symptoms of exposure do not surface for years. Police are looking for quick responses in riot control situations.
A quick internet image search about the effects of Agent Orange on the children of Vietnam can leave a person horrified. Babies today are still being born in Vietnam with severe deformities, especially in areas where the deadly dioxin is still in high concentration in Vietnam’s soil. There are still twenty eight such places in South Vietnam today.
The plight of America’s Vietnam Veterans, Australian Veterans, and Vietnamese Veteran’s illnesses and battle to gain justice has been going on for over forty years. Children and grandchildren of all, who fought in the Vietnam War from around the globe, are currently pleading for those in power to recognize the birth defects and diseases they suffer from and believe are caused by their parent or grandparent’s exposure to Agent Orange. All of these groups cannot afford the reality of their life or death fight to be watered down or distracted from by Facebook and Twitter posts from Turkey.
So was this report from Turkey simply a misstep by a confused, uninformed protester, or was it something else? Could Turkish protesters have been trying to ride the impact of the fear associated with Agent Orange to gain more recognition for their county’s unrest? Or was it a simple mistake, which people perpetuated by not checking their facts? If the act by Turkish protesters was to gain international media exposure by claiming Agent Orange was used on them, it’s worked. The whole world did a double take when headlines read,” Turkish Riot Police, Starts Using Agent Orange,” all of the sudden the focus of the protest was lost.
There isn’t any evidence of Agent Orange being used in Turkey. Members of the media and activists must check the facts so disinformation is not spread. To be successful we must push ourselves to be knowledgeable before just clicking the share button.
The challenge is to stay focused to the matters at hand. Turkey is going through unrest. Agent Orange is continuing to kill people every day. Don’t confuse the two, and do not turn away, your attention matters.
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” ~ Mark Twain
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