Chronological Order of Reports and Scientific Studies on AGENT ORANGE- Cover Letter

I want to tell you a tragic story, long under wraps and cruelly distorted.  It must be told once and for all, clearly, provably, and completely free of political or partisan bias.  It is a story of  how hundreds of thousands of American and Vietnamese children, born and yet-tobe born, became innocent victims of AGENT ORANGE (AO) during the Vietnamese War.  It is a story of American malfeasance and cover-up, falsifications and deceptions at the highest levels of government.
Agent Orange is a powerful and deadly concoction.  It contains TCDD (2,3,7,8–tetrachlogodibenzo-para-dioxin), one of the most toxic manmade chemicals known to humankind–150,000 times the toxicity of arsenic.  And it was on millions of our soldiers that this destructive concoction was wantonly expended.
The objective key to the whole is shown in the attached CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF REPORTS AND SCIENTIFIC STUDIES in which the overriding opinions from the scientific community should have been warning enough for anyone, even in time of war.  All reports and studies shown in Column A were paid for, or manipulated by, our Federal Government.  The reports and studies listed in Column B were conducted by independent scientists.  (The differences are well defined in the two columns A and B.)
The tragedy started in the early 1960s with the spraying of AO in the Vietnam War.  Based on
documented facts our Government knew as early as 19521* that AO was dangerous to health, but it told our soldiers and the international community that it was not harmful.  However, in November 1961 President Kennedy approved the use of Herbicide (Dioxin) spraying in Vietnam.  For the following year, Presidential approval was required to spray Herbicides on any Vietnam target, troops or villages.  Then in late 1962 President Kennedy delegated limited authority to order defoliation missions (herbicide spraying) to the U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam and our military leaders and they were continued until April 15, 1970.  On this day the U.S. Surgeon General issued a warning that Agent Orange might be hazardous to our health.  Simultaneously the Secretaries of Agriculture, Health, Education and Welfare and the Interior jointly announced the suspension of it use.  Why?  Because Agent Orange (2,4,5-T) caused birth defects.  By then the international community was of one voice in condemning the use of Agent Orange in combat operations and against civilian populations.  However, one name stands out, the name of a widely admired and openly honest American military leader: Admiral Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations.  Throughout all the studies, arguments, counter-arguments and cover-ups, this great man held on to and articulated the real truth about the evil of Agent Orange.  He was ignored.

* A 1 or 4, etc. at the end of a word refers to the  source of the information provided, which is located on pages 15-17 of the Chronological listing of reports and scientific studies.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) estimated that 4,200,0004 of our Vietnam veterans were exposed to AO.  Many of the children they fathered were born with major deformities and illnesses.  Independent Scientific Studies proved these deformities and illnesses were the result of their fathers’ DNA being altered by AO.14/15  Hidden Federal Government studies also confirm this fact.7  Yet the denial of truth continued.  WHY?  Why would any government do this?  The answer lies in a series of memos from President Regan’s Agent Orange Work Group (“AOWG”) that ordered the manipulation of data and the altering of scientific conclusions to hide the truth that AO was the cause of deformed children fathered by Vietnam Soldiers exposed to AO.40/45/47  The White House had determined that the Federal Government could not afford the cost of caring for these deformed and ill children.28  When these soldiers were sent to war in the 1960s they were lied to about AO.  When they returned home they were deliberately abandoned to suffer the life-long consequences of AO exposure to the children they fathered.
Today, we have hundreds of thousands of families, both in the United States and Vietnam, struggling with the burden of caring for children suffering from their fathers’ exposure to AO.  Our Government denies its complicity.  The fact that the White House ordered the alteration and manipulation of data to hide the truth is shocking.  It is also shocking that the Oval Office ordered the herbicide spraying as early as 1961.
In the ongoing research that I was conducting, a local Vietnam veteran, Al Martinelli, came to my attention.  His story is typical of countless ones available to anyone who cares.  His story is being cited here because it generated real interest on the part of the local Coeur d’Alene Press which then prompted The Press to conduct its own due diligence.  Since then over 40,000 copies of this story have been downloaded, shared or mailed.  The story is as follows.
Al Martinelli was a Navy Reservist stationed on the USS Cleveland LPD7 (the “Cleveland”) from November 1967 to December 1968.  The Cleveland operated between DaNang and Hue, very near the coast and at the mouth of the Qua Viet and Hue Rivers.  The ship was close enough to the shore to be exposed to offshore drift of spraying operations by C-123 aircraft at the mouth of the Qua Viet River.  The Cleveland (an amphibious transport dock ship, crewed by 164 officers, 396 enlisted and 840 troops,) supported the “Mike Boats;” delivering troops and supplies to the battle fields and retrieving troops after they patrolled in the rivers and operated on land.  When the Mike Boats returned to the Cleveland with soldiers covered with dirt, mud and water contaminated with Agent Orange, Al and his fellow crewmen became contaminated as they worked on the Boats and helped our battlefield soldiers.  
Al fathered two children, each born with major anomalies.  After his first child was born with nervous system defects and skeletal defects (Hypo Condroplasia), he and his wife (Sharon) consulted with a team of doctors and asked if they dared to have any more children.  The doctors searched the Martinellis’ medical records for any history of birth deformities–none existed.  Al and Sharon were advised that the chances of having another deformed child was one in a million.  So they had another boy.  He was born with Down’s Syndrome, defects of the digestive system and hip abnormalities, deformities totally unrelated to the first child.  The doctor that worked with the Martinellis was shocked.  Based on their medical history, such deformities were impossible!  When Al took the 2012 North Idaho Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Survey he realized and confirmed that his two sons’ deformities were the result of his exposure to Agent Orange during the 1968 Tet Counter-offensive in Vietnam. 
The Coeur d’Alene Press published the Martinelli story – Fighting for the next generation.  It is attached.
In conducting its own due diligence, the CDA Press contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”).  Randy Noller, a spokesman for the VA in Washington DC, responded to the documented government denial of responsibility for Agent Orange deformities by saying, “. . . VA makes these decisions relying on our scientific advisors from the independent Institute of Medicine [IOM] of the National Academy of Sciences [NAS].”  “IOM has ongoing analysis of the scientific literature looking at questions of health effects from exposure to Agent Orange, including birth defects.”  However, let’s look at the actual history in the attached Chronological Order of Reports and Scientific Studies:
A1969 – Page 3, right column, paragraph 3 states, “. . .NAS Research Council Committee received a “confidential” report prepared by the Bionetrics Research Council Committee “BRC” that 2,4,5-T (which contains TCDD) showed a significant potential to increase birth defects.”  Contrary to Mr. Noller’s statement, this NAS sponsored report was ignored – not relied upon.  
B.  1970 – Page 4, right column, paragraph 3. – Use of 2,4,5 – T (which contains TCDD, or 2,3,4,8-tertrachlogodibenzo-para-dioxin) was a “teratogen” (causing developmental malfunctions & monstrosities (birth defects).  Dow also confirms the BRC/NAS report,  when dioxin was disbursed in quantities exceeding production specifications, birth defects did occur.  Again, the VA ignored these findings that supported the conclusions of the NAS in 1969.  
C.  1974 – Page 5, right column, paragraph 2 –NAS expressed concern over TCDD because of (1) it’s very high toxicity to animals, (2) it’s presence in Agent Orange, (3) preliminary reports of presence of TCDD in fish in Vietnam, and (4) the lack of any data permitting assessment of TCDD effects on humans.  The NAS recommendation that long-term studies be made did not start until 18 years later and birth defects were not included in the studies.
D.  1980 – Page 6, right column, paragraph 2. – An anonymous memorandum sent to Senator Daschle on VA stationary which stated; “. . . Agent Orange and Agent Blue, are mutagenic and teratogenic.  This means they intercept the genetic DNA message processed on an unborn fetus, thereby resulting in deformed children being born.  Therefore the veteran would appear to have no ill effects from exposure but he would produce deformed children due to the breakage in his genetic chain . . .”
E.  2010 – Page 13, right column, paragraph 3. – IOM Veterans and Agent Orange: Update.  IOM stated “Work needs to be undertaken to resolve questions regarding several health outcomes, most importantly COPD, tonsil cancer, melanoma, brain cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and paternally  transmitted effects to offspring.”  As late as 2010 the VA has continued to ignore the IOM’s recommendations regarding birth defects.  Clearly, birth defects had not been researched by the IOM or NAS.
 Mr. Noller’s statement that the IOM has an ongoing analysis “. . .including defects” is blatantly false.  The 1991 Agent Orange Act (P.L. 102-4) instructed the VA to commission the IOM to conduct an analysis of the effect of Agent Orange on the health of Vietnam soldiers.  However, birth defects were not included.  (Note page 11 of the attached Chronological Study, right column, starting at paragraph 4.)
Mr. Martinelli’s case is but one of tens of thousands that could be cited, all of which prove out the warnings of the majority scientific community, of Admiral Zumwalt and other highly respected and credible participants in the debate.  Furthermore, the havoc wrought upon hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese children is as much a part of the story as anything else.
The problem is not just the VA’s denial, it is the failure of Congress to properly oversee the Department of Veteran Affairs.  The data outlined in the Chronological Order of Reports and Scientific Studies is not new.  The real tragedy is: (1) the continued failure of the Oval Office to recognize the enormous harm the Federal Government has inflicted on the soldiers it sent to Vietnam and the children these soldiers fathered, and (2) the failure of Congress to fix a problem they have known about for decades.  Where does the buck stop?  What must we, the 21,000,000 Veteran families, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers do?   These families consist of at least 60,000,000 voters.  The answer is simple, the task daunting.
We must act as one and demand that our White House and Congress: (1) stop the ongoing cover-up, falsifications and deceptions that have caused the early death of hundreds of thousands of our Vietnam veterans and the birth of untold thousands of ill and deformed children, (2) complete the Agent Orange Exposure Study that was ordered by Congress four decades ago, but cancelled by the White House to hide this massive, life destroying cover-up, and (3) establish a Trust Fund to care for these children who, because of the failures of Congress, cannot care for themselves.  The Trust Fund can also advance scientific research to reverse the damage done to the DNA of our Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
The cost of this is primarily your time.  Will you devote the time to flood our Congressional leaders with your demands to fix the problem?  VST has the legal talent to help make this happen.  We need your help and will provide you all of the materials and contacts you will need.  Let VST know you are on board by e-mailing us at and simply say: “YES,I will help to get Congress to fix the problem.”  Please send this letter and Chronological Study to everyone you know.  Ask them to join in the battle.
I want to stress that my passion (and I hope yours, too) is generated by conscience, by a plea for the exercise of universal moral values, a plea to protect and care for our children, born and yet-to-be born.  It is not driven by politics, or partisan flimflammery.  It is an outright plea for justice and rightness and plain, unqualified honesty by our Federal Government.
Can you imagine the impact of mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers joining with Al and Sharon Martinelli and countless thousands of others in seeking the truth and identifying  wrongdoing – Fighting for the next generation?
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Richard Phenneger
President VST

A special note – the four-year cost of developing the Chronological Order of Reports and Scientific Studies has been totally born by trusted friends, educators, writers, attorneys, committed volunteers and scientists who care.  Without them we would have failed.  They have created the foundation upon which we stand.  If you can help going forward, it would be wonderful.  $5.00 will go a long way.  Veteran Services Transparency, Inc. (“VST”) is a 501(c)(19) Corporation – Federal Tax ID #27-1042577