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Cancer Concerns of Vietnam Veterans

Cancer Concerns of Vietnam Veterans

A leader of the former anti-Vietnam war movement in New Zealand says that the Wellington Committee on Vietnam warned New Zealand soldiers that they would have health problems if they went to Vietnam.

"What we forecast has unfortunately come true," said publisher and writer Alister Taylor, a leader of the anti-war movement in New Zealand in the 1960s and 1970s. He said today that the Wellington Committee on Vietnam investigated a New Plymouth company which was manufactuiring Agent Orange and its components at its New Plymouth factory. "The company was the local arm of Ivon Watkins Dow. Substantial quantities of the poisonous chemicals were exported from New Plymouth to US forces in Vietnam for wholesale spraying over wide swathes of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos," said Taylor.

"Thousands of the local people died as a direct result of Agent Orange and the other poisons sprayed from aircraft by American forces. The long term results were horrific and birth defects and long-term cancers still occur frequently in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia," he said.

"The Committee on Vietnam issued a number of press releases warning NZ soldiers about to embark, and already in Vietnam, of the likely negative results on their health and life-span. Many newspapers refused to publish the stories because the newspaper proprietors and editors backed the National government stance on Vietnam. However, the stories were also published in VIETNAM QUOTE & COMMENT, a widely disseminated news sheet published by the Committee on Vietnam."

"We warned NZ soldiers that if they fought with the Americans they would get sprayed on a daily basis with Agent Orange and the other poisonous chemicals being sprayed wholesale by the Americans. NZ soldiers were sprayed often on a daily basis. They were warned of the risks. They ignored the warnings," said Taylor.

"Many of our soldiers didn't avoid the sprays when they penetrated the forest and didn't even bother wipe off the spray from their face, heads and bodies when it penetrated their uniform."

"It is unfortunate that a high cancer rate is now occurring among returned NZ soldiers. But they were warned. Vietnam was an ugly war and the Americans employed napalm, jellied petrol and wholesale spraying of poisonous chemicals against the local population, and other chemicals as bad as they are now accusing the Syrian government of using. They also used cluster bombs and explosives which many countries have now banned, but the Americans continue using them, including nuclear-tipped weapons."

"It's time the Americans looked at their own recent history.

"What they are intending to do in Syria they also did in Vietnam and Asia 40 years ago. The results there were millions of the native peoples dead and millions suffering birth defects and ongoing cancers."

"In Asia the American government will also be remembered as the force of repression and evil. They should stand back and think again about Syria."

ENDS

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