Vietnamese Communists Welcome Charges over Supply of Agent Orange

Delegates at the Vietnamese Communist Party’s 13th congress welcomed news of legal action against more than a dozen transnational companies for supplying toxic chemicals to the US military during the Vietnam war. About 14 companies, including Monsanto — now owned by German firm Bayer — and Dow Chemical have been named in a lawsuit filed by Vietnamese former journalist Tran To Nga. She accuses them of causing grevious bodily harm to her and others by selling the Agent Orange chemical to the US government, which used it on civilians to devastating effect. The case was filed in a French court in 2014 and the hearing finally opening on Monday. The transnationals are also accused of causing injuries to her children and damage to the environment. “I am not fighting for myself but for my children and the millions of victims,” Ms Tran said. Four million people in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were exposed to Agent Orange, according to NGOs, with the US military spraying around 76 million litres of the herbicide during the war. A legal ruling that recognises Vietnamese civilian victims would set a precedent, experts say. So far, only military veterans have received compensation for exposure to the toxin. (morningstaronline)