What Is Striking In India Is The Indifference Of The Privileged- #Noamchomsky


At 84, Noam Chomsky remains the sharpest, most acute, most unrelenting critic of power, particularly American power. He speaks to Priyanka Borpujari about the evolution of protest; the disconnect between the misery he sees on the streets of Delhi and our elites’ chest-thumping pride; the narrow concerns of mainstream media; and his starring role in a Gangnam Style parody.

2013-07-06 , Issue 27 Volume 10

Noam Chomsky, 84, Linguist & Activist, Photo: AP

, 84, Linguist & Activist, Photo: AP

You have been protesting wars, from Vietnam to Iraq. And then, there has been the Occupy Wall Street movement. What have been the similarities and differences in protest movements over the years?

People do not know this, but it was very tough to oppose the Vietnam war. In the early ’60s, if I was giving a talk, it would be in somebody’s living room or a church with very few people. Right here in Boston, a liberal city, we could not have an outdoor demonstration in the Boston Common until about 1967. Any demonstration would be broken up by force. In March 1966, when we tried to have an indoor demonstration at a church downtown — since we could not have a public one — the church was attacked.The Boston Globe, which was supposed to be a liberal newspaper, denounced the demonstrators. The Harvard University faculty would not even hear about it; nobody would sign a petition. It was a few years of hard slogging. Finally by 1967-68, there were two or three years of intense activism, before it declined. The ’60s were very significant but it was very condensed. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was a very conservative campus until about 1968 and then it became very radical, perhaps the most radical in the country.

Since the late ’60s, activism has expanded but with less visibility, and it is a part of a general consciousness about all kinds of things. In the 1980s, there was a huge anti-nuclear movement. But the most significant phenomenon in the ’80s — although it did not leave much of an impact in history because it did not involve the elites very much — were the solidarity movements with central America. This solidarity was coming mostly from rural United States, like rural Kansas, and the Evangelicals, with tens of thousands of people going down to central America just to be with the victims, to help and defend them. This had never happened before, that people from the imperial state went there not just to protest, but to live with the people and participate with them. And a lot of these people stayed on. So it had a great effect over rural United States.

Towards the end of the last millennium, solidarity was visible on a new kind of global justice movement, on particular issues, like Israel-Palestine. There has been a massive shift in that. I used to have police protection on this (MIT) campus, right until the 1990s, when I talked about it. But now it is the most lively issue on the campus. I am asked to give talks about it all the time. So it’s not militant activism, but there’s a culture of independence and opposition, which I think is pretty bright.

So, who is listening to dissidents like you?

Well, anybody who is willing to talk has people listening. There aren’t too many people who are willing to go around and give talks all the time. The few of us who are willing, are deluged. Every night, I turn down a dozen invitations. When I do give talks, there is a real hunger for something different, but there is very little supply. You can almost count on the fingers of your hands the number of people who are willing to spend their lives going around and giving talks.

But on the other hand, you are in Cambridge, so you get to hear a little about . In the United States almost nobody knows anything about the outside world — people don’t know where France is.  would be some word that they might have heard in school in passing. It is a very insular society.

What about India baffles you the most?

I have followed India carefully, and have been there a number of times. It is an exciting country in many ways with its rich culture. But what is really striking to me about India, much more than most other countries I have been to, is the indifference of privileged sectors to the misery of others. You walk through Delhi and cannot miss it, but people just don’t seem to see it. Everyone is talking about ‘Shining India’ and yet people are starving. I had an interesting experience with this once. I was in a car in Delhi and with me was (activist) Aruna Roy, and we were driving towards a demonstration. And I noticed that she wasn’t looking outside the window of the car. I asked her why. She said, “If you live in India, you just can’t look outside the window. Because if you do, you’d rather commit suicide. It’s too horrible. So you just don’t look.” So people don’t look, they put themselves in a bubble and then don’t see it. And those words are from somebody who has devoted her life to the lives of the poor, and you can see why she said that — the misery and the oppression are so striking, much worse than in any country I have ever seen. And it is so dramatic. There is a lot of talk about how India is slated to be a major power, and I can’t believe it, with all its internal problems; China too for that matter, but less so.

When my wife and I went to India a couple of years ago, my friend Iqbal Ahmed had told me that I would discover that the press in Pakistan is much more open and free than the press in India. I did not believe him first but when I looked into it, he explained, “The English language press in Pakistan is for you and your friends, and the government just lets them say whatever they want, because there are so few of them to cater to, just a couple of hundred thousand people.”

You have hailed the Mexican newspaper La Jornada as “maybe the only real independent newspaper in the hemisphere”. Do you think something similar can be founded in India?

It could. The interesting thing about La Jornada is that the business world hates it. They don’t give it any ads. It is the second largest newspaper in the country with a very high level of journalistic acumen and very smart people, and they are all over the country. You see people reading this newspaper on the streets. Actually, I noticed that in Kerala, the only part of India where you can see people reading on the streets.

In the recent past, India witnessed a scam that exposed the deep nexus between journalists and businessmen, but nothing happened…

That is a bit different here (in the United States). One good thing about this country is that there is very little state repression, no censorship, so they can speak out what they can. On the other hand, the internalisation of doctrine here is just overwhelming, that is, with the intellectual community in the universities. And it is partly a reflection of the freedom, I think. You get an impression that everything is free and open because there are debates that are visible: the Democrats are debating the Republicans, and the press does its share of condemning. But what people don’t see — and the seeming openness of the debate conceals it — is that it is all within a very narrow framework. And you can’t go even a millimetre outside that framework. In fact, it is even taught in journalism schools here as the concept of ‘objectivity’ — that means describing honestly what’s going on inside that framework and if there is something outside, then no, that is subjective. You see that all the time and that is a big domestic problem.

Life outside the bubble The misery and oppression in India are striking, says Chomsky, Photo: Ishan Tankha

Life outside the bubble The misery and oppression in India are striking, says Chomsky, Photo: Ishan Tankha

For example, domestically, for the population, the big problem is jobs. They don’t care about the deficit. For the banks, the problem is deficits. So the only thing discussed (in the ) is deficits. You do have an occasional different viewpoint, but it doesn’t show up at all in the  coverage of the deficit. During the 2012 presidential elections, the two countries that were mentioned way more than anyone else in all debates were Israel and Iran. And Iran was described as the greatest threat to world peace. And that’s what’s repeated in the  all the time. There is an obvious question that no journalist would ask: who thinks so? They don’t think so in India; they don’t think so in the Arab world, they don’t think so in South America. The only countries to think so are the United States and England. But that you can’t report.

And then comes the question: is there anything you can do about it? This is quite spectacular when you talk about the media because it does not say this. There is something very obvious one could do about it — move to establishing nuclear-free zones. There is an overwhelming support for that all over the world. In fact, in December 2012, there was supposed to be an international conference in Finland to carry it forward under UN auspices. But in early November 2012, Iran announced that they would participate. Within days, Obama called off the conference. Not one word about that in the newspapers. Literally, not one word. The same in England. I don’t know about India; probably not there too.

On a less serious note, how did you come to feature in mit’s Gangnam Stylevideo?

I didn’t know what they were talking about. They were just a bunch of kids who seemed to be having some fun.

Did you have fun?

I was just saying what they wanted me to say.

letters@tehelka.com

(Published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 27, Dated 6 July 2013)

Bob Dylan approved for France’s Légion d’Honneur #Music


Dylan’s nomination for honour is approved after reportedly first being rejected over his drug use and opposition to Vietnam war

Bob Dylan
 Bob Dylan, who has been nominated by Aurélie Filippetti, the culture minister, to be awarded the Legion d’Honneur. Photograph: Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images

Reuters in Paris

American singer Bob Dylan may soon be awarded France’s highest distinction, the Légion d’Honneur, after his nomination was reportedly first tossed out over his marijuana use and opposition to the Vietnam war.

The green light given by the Legion d’Honneur’s council means France’s minister of culture may soon decorate Dylan – a symbol of 1960s counterculture – with the five-pointed star of the top “Chevalier” order.

He would join the ranks of singers such as Britain’s Paul McCartney and France’s Charles Aznavour to be so honoured.

The 17-member council determines whether nominations put forward by government ministers conform to the institution’s principles. Its grand chancellor, Jean-Louis Georgelin, confirmed it had approved Dylan’s nomination.

In a letter to the daily Le Monde published on Sunday, Georgelin called the singer-songwriter an “exceptional artist” known in the United States and internationally as a “tremendous singer and great poet”.

Satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé reported in May that Georgelin had rejected Dylan’s nomination on the basis of his opposition to the war in Vietnam, where France was a former colonial power, and his presumed pot smoking.

Georgelin acknowledged to Le Monde that he had originally thrown out the nomination and cited what he called a “controversy” but did not elaborate further.

Culture minister Aurélie Filipetti had nominated Dylan – who in 1990 was given a lower rank of the award – for the highest “Chevalier” distinction.

The singer was awarded the top civilian honour in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in May 2012.

 

Sri-Lanka Genocidal sex abuse of ex-LTTE female cadres #VAW


[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 August 2012, ]

 
The genocidal Sri Lanka military occupying the country of Eezham Tamils is routinely engaged in repeated sexual abuse of the former female members of the LTTE to see them pregnant by the Sinhala soldiers, in the model of former Yugoslavia, news sources citing a number of cases and medical professionals told TamilNet. While Radha D’Souza views the Tamil struggle “as one of the most significant movements since the end of the Vietnam War,” the former US Deputy Secretary of State and a current ICG trustee Richard Armitage in Oslo last year was harping on the unawareness of the world on the happenings in the island. The genocide is meant to be so by the architects, and the Akashi visit last week viewing ‘rehabilitated’ female cadres was another effort to keep the on-going genocide under the carpet, political observers in the island said.

Many former female cadres of the LTTE are repeatedly abused with determination to make them pregnant either in detention or by ‘summoning’ them after the so-called release.

When they refuse or not cooperate to the ‘summons’, their family members are harmed.

Confirming the kind of genocide-intended pregnancies of ex-LTTE cadres, a senior doctor in the North said that he didn’t know what to do about it.

A recent case that had come to him had an eight-month pregnancy. She is now handed over to the care of some nuns. “I don’t know what to do with most of the cases,” the doctor said.

“There is no international system to protect them in the island or provide refuge outside,” the doctor further said, whose statement was also confirmed by a gender-related social worker in the island.

Sexual abuses are committed at two stages on the ex-cadres, first in the internment camps and then after the so-called release, the feminist social worker said.

The details of 2000 to 3000 female cadres who were captured by the SL military are not yet known. Whether they are alive or still kept in secret camps is not found in any local or international records. The numbers of those who were captured and released do not tally. Colombo says there are only around 600 left in detention. What had happened to the remaining, asked the social worker.

The condition of senior female cadres is pathetic, the social worker said, citing reports of some released cadres. “Many have been seen in the detention camps, but we do not know what has happened to them,” the social worker said.

In the second stage, abuses take place after the so-called release of the cadres. ‘Summoning’ them for interrogation and repeatedly abusing them has become a routine and a past time in the SL military camps now. This happens widely in the SL bases and intelligence camps of Vavuniyaa and Jaffna, and in the camps of Vanni, the social worker told TamilNet.

In another recent incident in Jaffna, a young ex-cadre from Vanni wanted to hand over her 13-month old child to anyone who would take care of it. The child was a result of repeated abuse of the woman by the ‘interrogating’ military but she wanted the child to live.

Genocidal Colombo, elements clinging to it and their media, try to project the situation as a result of current social conditions and deviations among Eezham Tamils. But most of the cases are result of systematic and genocide-intended military abuses, observed the feminist social worker, agreeing with the doctor that there is no independent international mechanism operative in the island to protect the ex-cadres.

* * *
Commenting on the situation, TamilNet former war correspondent Mr. Lokeesan said that by the end of the war, young Sinhala soldiers of the genocidal military were given with pornographic material to induce them to commit sexual assault on the captured female LTTE cadres.

A Sinhala military cultivated in this way is what that is going to stay in the country of Eezham Tamils, and the results could be imagined, he further commented.

While China now builds permanent cantonments to the occupying Sinhala military, and India ‘trains’ the genocidal military in its bases, Mr. Akashi has come primarily to patch up relations between the West and Colombo, media reports from Colombo said.

The genocidal war is perhaps perpetuated by a system and not by individuals. But the world needs an international people’s tribunal to identify the ultimate elements of such a system to remedy it.

At least some individuals or institutions articulating for the system on the question of Eezham Tamils, such as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Robert Blake, Erik Solheim, Yasushi Akashi, Shiv Shankar Menon, his predecessor MK Narayanan and institutions such as the International Crisis Group (ICG), either coming forward or being made to answer to the world would immensely help the progress of human civilization, commented an academic in Jaffna.

The politicians and political activists who continue to deal with this system, and in the process pressurized to take up a patch-up course have to consider twice before deviating from the grassroot realities, political observers in the island and in the diaspora cautioned.

Meanwhile, those who whitewash the genocidal regime to the world with the hoodwink of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation, do many times more harm to humanity than the fault they had found with the LTTE, social workers in the island said.

* * *
The following are further direct reports to TamilNet by a few among the affected who decided to talk:

“I don’t like to live here. I may be in peace if I go elsewhere. Otherwise there is no option other than committing suicide with my entire family,” says a tearful ex-LTTE female cadre. She has become a wreck by continued sexual abuse in the name of summons and interrogations by the occupying Sinhala military.

She was 6-months pregnant when she was released from the SLA internment camp, said her mother with a downcast face.

“We went to an illegal medical facility for abortion,” her mother was sorrowful about it.

The ex-LTTE female cadres have come to their worst point of predicament now.

The occupying Sinhala military that summoned them earlier in the name of ‘monitoring and interrogation’, now openly summons them for its sexual needs, comments a social worker of an organisation for the emancipation of women in the North and East.

Many don’t tell the truth about the sexual abuses. This may be due to the cultural stigma. So they keep the sufferings within their mind and sulk secretly. When the situation is perpetuated they are pushed to the end of committing suicide. Many try all possibilities to get out of the island, the feminist social worker said.

The situation is the same for the so-called released female cadres, whether in Jaffna, Vanni or in the East, conceded another human rights worker in the island.

* * *
A female ex-LTTE cadre, Pallavi (name changed), told TamilNet of her experience when ‘summoned’ to a local camp.

When ‘summoned,’ one has to first wait for hours in the camp, facing lewd comments coming from the Sinhala soldiers. Then, a low-rank officer would come for sexual assault in the name of ‘interrogation,’ followed by the higher officer, if he is in the ‘mood’. They behave totally in a sadistic way and it is very obvious that they get pleasure from our sufferings, Pallavi said.

Some of those ‘summoned’ to the local camps used to be sent to regional camps as well as bases in the towns. The story is the same everywhere.

The SL torture camp at Achchezhu in the Palaali base is a nightmare for former female cadres.

The Achchezhu torture camp is famous for the ‘disappearances’ of thousands of Tamil youth since 1996. People in Jaffna call the camp as the Slaughter House (I’raichchi-kadai). Sexual assault is a simple matter at this camp.

* * *
Another female ex-LTTE cadre came out with shocking facts on the experience of those who are taken to the Palaali base.

After being ‘summoned’ to the local camp and taken to regional and the Achchezhu camps, some are chosen to ‘meet’ the top officials at Palaali, the ex-cadre said.

When asked how it becomes possible to take them around without being seen by people, the ex-cadre said that they are taken in white vans or mini buses, sitting along with soldiers in civil dress, so that it would look as though they are passenger vehicles.

They have a large fleet of those white vans and such vehicles ply to and fro the base without any hindrances, she said.

Narrating her experience of meeting higher officers at Palaali, another ex-cadre said that after tiring her by interrogation for three hours, she was given with cool drink. The drink fainted her and she awoke to find that she had been sexually assaulted.

“I couldn’t do anything. I came alive out of that interrogation, crying,” she said.

“We could go absconding or go out of the country. In those cases they get hold of our family members. It could be my father, mother, brother or sister,” she further said.

To escape from sexual harassment another ex-cadre from Ki’linochchi used to hide in the houses of friends and relatives. On those occasions her father was assaulted by the SL military and was even hospitalized. Her brothers were threatened that they would be killed.

For the sake of the family, the ex-cadres accept the ‘summons’ and go back to the SL military camps. On returning to ‘interrogations’ we face sexual assault with more vengeance and sadism, the ex-cadre from Ki’linochchi told TamilNet.

* * *
A senior doctor in the Jaffna teaching hospital admitted treating a number of ex-cadres who had attempted committing suicide after ‘interrogation’ sexual assaults.

Some had been admitted to the hospital after swallowing blade pieces in the camps in their attempts to commit suicide. Some had attempted suicide by immolating themselves after returning from the SL military camps, the doctor said.

Poverty is attributed to the suicide of some of those who hanged themselves. But there could be other reasons, the doctor further said.

Vanni is the worst hit region. In Jaffna and in the other towns there are social activists for the consolation of the victims. But no one could raise a finger for what is happening in Vanni.

The SL military camps mushroomed at very short distances in Vanni aim for the exploitation of the ex-cadres. Going out from the region is the only escape to a former female cadre. The parents would tell the SL military that their daughter has eloped with someone.

The claim of ‘rehabilitation’ is a farce and the facility in Vavuniyaa is only a showcase, comments an ex-cadre from Vanni.

The fate of thousands of female cadres who were captured at the end of the war is not accounted yet; claim those who have managed to escape disappearance in the camps after the war.

Many of us are psychological wrecks after release from the internment camps of the SL military. Many do not go out, meet people or even speak to their family members. Many live only for the sake of their children, says another female cadre.

Her husband became mentally retarded by the war. Two of her kids were killed in the war. She lives for the sake of three more children remaining.

Some of them want at least to send their children out. But they have no means.

Meanwhile, in the cases of some, people who have personal animosities with them or with their families send malicious information, providing opportunities for the occupying military to harass them.

* * *

Subhodini Sivalingam

Subhodini Sivalingam
32-year old, Ms. Subhodini Sivalingam, who recently committed suicide at Polika’ndi in Jaffna, had sacrificed 15 years of her life to the freedom struggle.

She was partly paralysed after getting injured in a combat operation in 1999 and was serving in the medical service of the LTTE during the Vanni war.

Her suicide has been attributed to poverty. But informed circles come out with different facts. She had been continuously harassed, interrogated, sexually abused and threatened for her life by the occupying SL military.

Subhodini, who was also called Paadini, immolated herself in a closed room in the house she was living in at Polika’ndi in Vadamaraadchi, Jaffna.

Many ex female freedom fighters want to forget the sexual abuses of the genocidal military in the internment camps as a bad dream.

“But the occupying military has now made it a routine to harass us perpetually. How could we forget anything now,” asks a female cadre.

“I feel like fighting again. If I get a gun I would kill a particular lot before losing my life,” swore another woman fighter who survived a suicide attempt after sexual assaults and harassments in the SL military camps.

more here-http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=35510

 

The Toxic Effects of Agent Orange Persist 51 Years After the Vietnam War


Tuesday, 07 August 2012 09:42By Jeanne Mirer and Marjorie CohnTruthout | Op-Ed Truthout

Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War by UC-123B Provider aircraft.Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War by UC-123B Provider aircraft. (Photo:USAF)There are images from the US war against Vietnam that have been indelibly imprinted on the minds of Americans who lived through it. One is the naked napalm-burned girl running from her village with flesh hanging off her body. Another is a photo of the piles of bodies from the My Lai massacre, where US troops executed 504 civilians in a small village. Then, there is the photograph of the silent scream of a woman student leaning over the body of her dead friend at Kent State University, whose only crime was protesting the bombing of Cambodia in 1970. Finally, there is the memory of decorated members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War testifying at the Winter Soldier Hearings, often in tears, to atrocities in which they had participated during the war.

These pictures are heartbreaking. They expose the horrors of war. The US war against Vietnam was televised, while images of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have intentionally been hidden from us. But what was not televised was the relentless ten years (1961-1971) of spraying millions of gallons of toxic herbicides over vast areas of South Vietnam. These chemicals exposed almost five million people, mostly civilians, to deadly consequences. The toxic herbicides, most notably Agent Orange, contained dioxin, one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects).

From the beginning of the spraying 51 years ago, and even today, millions of Vietnamese have died from, or been completely incapacitated by, diseases which the US government recognizes are related to Agent Orange for purposes of granting compensation to Vietnam veterans in the United States. The Vietnamese, who were the intended victims of this spraying, experienced the most intense, horrible impact on human health and environmental devastation. Second and third generations of children, born to parents exposed during the war and in areas of heavy spraying hot spots, suffer unspeakable deformities that medical authorities attribute to the dioxin in Agent Orange.

The Vietnamese exposed to the chemical suffer from cancer, liver damage, pulmonary and heart diseases, defects to reproductive capacity and skin and nervous disorders. Their children and grandchildren have severe physical deformities, mental and physical disabilities, diseases and shortened life spans. The forests and jungles in large parts of southern Vietnam were devastated and denuded. Centuries-old habitat was destroyed and will not regenerate with the same diversity for hundreds of years. Animals that inhabited the forests and jungles are threatened with extinction, disrupting the communities that depended on them. The rivers and underground water in some areas have also been contaminated. Erosion and desertification will change the environment, causing dislocation of crop and animal life.

For the past 51 years, the Vietnamese people have been attempting to address this legacy of war by trying to get the United States and the chemical companies to accept responsibility for this ongoing nightmare. An unsuccessful legal action by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against the chemical companies in US federal court, begun in 2004, has nonetheless spawned a movement to hold the United States accountable for using such dangerous chemicals on civilian populations. The movement has resulted in pending legislation HR 2634 hot spots, lawsuit to compensate them, as the unintended victims, for their Agent-Orange-related illnesses. But the Vietnamese continue to suffer from these violations with almost no recognition, as do the offspring of Agent-Orange-exposed US veterans and Vietnamese-Americans.

What is the difference between super powers like the United States violating the laws of war with impunity and the reports of killing of Syrian civilians by both sides in the current civil war? Does the United States have any credibility to demand governments and non-state actors end the killings of civilians, when through wars and drones and its refusal to acknowledge responsibility for the use of Agent Orange, the United States has and is engaging in the very conduct it publicly deplores?

In 1945, at the founding conference of the United Nations, the countries of the world determined:

to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

If we are to avoid sinking once again into the scourge of war, we must reaffirm the principles of the charter and establish conditions under which countries take actions that promote rather than undermine justice and respect for our international legal obligations. The alternative is the law of the jungle, where only might makes right. It is time that right makes might.

August 10 marks 51 years since the beginning of the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam. In commemoration, the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign is urging an observation of  51 seconds of silence at 12 noon, to think about the horrors of wars which have occurred. No one wants to see future images of naked children running from napalm; or young soldiers wiping out the population of an entire village; or other atrocities associated with war, poverty and violence around the world. In the United States, you can sign an orange post card to the US Congress asking it to pass HR 2634, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2001.

Monsanto’s Involvement With Agent Orange – 40 Years After the Vietnam Conflict



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

By By Investigative Journalist ~ Theodora Filiss
The US celebrated Memorial Day on Monday, May 28. Originally called Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in their nation’s service.

“If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

What about the men and women who survived? The Vietnam Veterans who share in the pain and suffering caused by the shameful neglect and harassment by the same people whose lives they fought to protect? One of the most disturbing and damaging legacies of the Vietnam war is Agent Orange. Nearly 40 years later, questions remain.
The US military used Agent Orange from 1961 to 1971 to defoliate dense vegetation in the Vietnamese jungles to reduce the chances of an ambush. Seven major chemical companies were contracted under the Defense Production Act to obtain Agent Orange and other herbicides for use by US and allied troops in Vietnam.
Agent Orange was by far the most widely used of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides” employed in the Herbicidal Warfare program of the Vietnam War. Dow Chemical and Monsanto were the two largest producers of Agent Orange for the US military. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.
Today Monsanto’s website boasts: “Monsanto is a relatively new company. While we share the name and history of a company that was founded in 1901, the Monsanto of today is focused on agriculture and supporting farmers around the world in their mission to produce more while conserving more. We’re an agricultural company.”
In the past two decades, Monsanto’s “agricultural” GMO monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets. Monsanto is now primarily a seed and agricultural products company.
Monsanto is responsible for more than 50 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites – attempts to clean up Monsanto Chemical’s formerly uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

Monsanto’s legacy includes, not only the production of Agent Orange, but DDT, PCBs, and Dioxin. Now massive aerial spraying of Roundup in Colombia is being used by the US and the Colombian government as a counter-insurgency tactic, contaminating food crops and poisoning villagers.

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