The Daily Register just reported that DoD expanded the list of those exposed to Agent Orange and dioxin during the Vietnam War to include Thailand. After more than 50 years of denials, DoD has finally admitted its wrongs, at least in Thailand.
Recently, the war agency released previously classified documents that indicate US military forces sprayed significant amounts of Agent Orange type materials in Thailand, which was previously denied by government officials.
The documents disclose that during the Vietnam War, military personnel in the US Air Force and Army were spraying base parameters with the toxic chemicals from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975.
At that time, dioxin was allegedly unknown to be toxic for humans (just rats, monkeys and any other living organism in existence). Only later did DoD and the world openly admit that the dioxins used were toxic to humans. Still, DoD is likely keeping documents like this under wraps.
As a result of the release, those veterans that served in Thailand and were also exposed may be eligible for disability benefits as a result.
According to the Daily Register, the report came out recently. After some digging, I found that the report was released last year – not this year.
Update: 12/6/13 – It was called the Project CHECO Report. CHECO is short for “Contemporary Historical Examination of Current Operations.” Again, this was written on February 18, 1973. It was apparently released last year. Good work covering up DoD.
DoD further confounded the document by not running it through word recognition, so it is not quickly searchable by veterans or the internet. Here, I ran the linked PDF of the CHECO Report through OCR software before reposting it here. Do a search for “herbicides” be pressing Control+F and then typing in the word.
VA then interpreted the report in its Public Health website on a web page called Thailand Military Bases and Agent Orange Exposure. VA says the following military personnel are now included in the list of those possibly exposed to the toxins:
• U.S. Air Force veterans who served on Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) bases at U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, and Don Muang, near the air base perimeter between aforementioned dates
• U.S. Army veterans who provided perimeter security on RTAF bases in Thailand between aforementioned dates
• U.S. Army veterans who were stationed on some small Army installations in Thailand anytime between aforementioned dates. However, the Army veteran must have been a member of a military police unit or was assigned an MP occupational specialty whose duty placed him or her at or near the base perimeter.
Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs will be required to adjudicate some new claims and possibly revisit earlier claims that were denied based on possibly knowingly false evidence from DoD.
One possible reason DoD is generally reluctant about releasing information like this is the political blowout amongst allies. However, there comes a time when we either do the right thing or lose all credibility.
Beyond this admission, many other bases, both state side and abroad, were allegedly sprayed with dioxin mixed chemicals in attempts to reduce weed problems according to veterans. Yet, DoD seems to remain silent about any allegations until enough evidence mounts to warrant a release of previously classified documents, as is the case here.
Here is a short list of government documents about Agent Orange and “Particle Studies” that many of you have probably never seen:
- Harmful Effects of Agent Orange – Translated USSR Report
- Operation Jangle: Secret testing the US was conducting on aerosol spraying systems
- Agent Orange at the Crossroads of Science and Social Concern
Source: Daily Register
More veterans eligible for benefits as agent orange perimeter expands