About the "yellow rain" and the "orange agent"

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    "Yellow rain"

    Yellow rain knocks on roofs,
    On asphalt and leaves,
    I stand in a raincoat and get wet in vain.
    - Valery Obodzinsky

    The story of the "yellow rain" is the story of the epicail. The name "yellow rain" came from the events in Laos and North Vietnam that began in 1975, when two governments that were allied with the Soviet Union and supported it fought against the Hmong rebels and the Khmer Rouge, which sided with the United States and South Vietnam. The funny thing is that the Khmer Rouge mainly studied in France and Cambodia, and the movement was supplemented by adolescents of 12-15 years old, who lost their parents and hated the townspeople as "accomplices of the Americans." Their ideology was based on Maoism, rejection of everything Western and modern. Yes,% username%, in 1975 the imposition of democracy was no different from today.

    As a result, in 1982, United States Secretary of State Alexander Haig accused the Soviet Union of supplying some toxin to the communist states in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia for use in fighting the rebels. Refugees allegedly described many cases of chemical attacks, including a sticky yellow liquid falling from airplanes or helicopters, which was called “yellow rain”.

    The yellow rain was T-2 toxin, a trichothecene mycotoxin produced by the metabolism of toxarium fungi toxins, which is extremely toxic to eukaryotic organisms - that is, everything except bacteria, viruses and archaea (do not be offended if you are called a eukaryote!). This toxin causes lmentar toxic agranulocytosis and multiple symptoms of organ damage if it comes into contact with the skin, lungs, or stomach. At the same time, animals (the so-called T-2 toxicosis) can be poisoned.

    Here is the handsome T-2

    The story was urgently inflated, and T-2 toxins are classified as biological agents that are officially recognized as such, which can be used as biological weapons.

    A 1997 textbook released by the U.S. Army Medical Department claimed that more than ten thousand people were killed in chemical weapons attacks in Laos, Cambodia, and Afghanistan. Descriptions of the attacks were diverse and included aerosol cans and aerosols, booby traps, artillery shells, rockets and grenades that produced droplets of liquid, dust, powder, smoke or “insect-like” materials of yellow, red, green, white or Brown color.

    The Soviets denied US claims, and the initial United Nations investigation was inconclusive. In particular, UN experts examined two refugees who claimed to suffer from the effects of a chemical attack, but were instead diagnosed with fungal skin infections.

    In 1983, a Harvard biologist and biological weapons adversary Matthew Meselson and his team went to Laos and conducted a separate investigation. Meselson's team noted that trichothecene mycotoxins are found in vivo in the region, and cast doubt on testimony. They put forward an alternative hypothesis that yellow rain was harmless feces of bees. Meselson's team suggested the following as evidence:
    The individual “yellow raindrops” that were found on the leaves and which were “accepted as genuine” consisted mainly of pollen. Each drop contained a different mixture of pollen grains - as one would expect if they came from different bees - and the grains showed properties characteristic of pollen digested by bees (the protein inside the pollen grain disappeared, and the outer indigestible shell remained). In addition, the pollen mixture came from plant species typical of the area where the drop was collected.
    The US government was very upset, offended, and reacted to these findings, arguing that pollen was added intentionally to make a substance that can be easily inhaled and to “keep toxins in the human body.” Meselson responded to this idea by saying that it was rather far-fetched to imagine that someone would produce chemical weapons “by collecting pollen digested by bees.” The fact that pollen originated in Southeast Asia meant that the Soviet Union could not produce this substance domestically and would have to import tons of pollen from Vietnam (apparently in jars of Zvezdochka balm? I had to tell Meselson!) . Meselson's work was described in an independent medical review as "convincing evidence that" yellow rain "can have the usual natural explanation."

    After the hypothesis of the bees was published, an earlier Chinese article about the appearance of yellow droppings in Jiangsu province in September 1976 suddenly surfaced. It is amazing that the Chinese people also used the term "yellow rain" to describe this phenomenon (and now tell us about the richness of the Chinese language!). Many villagers believed that yellow litters were an omen of an imminent earthquake. Others thought the litter was a chemical weapon sprayed by the Soviet Union or Taiwan. However, Chinese scientists also concluded that the litter came from bees.

    Analyzes of alleged yellow rain samples by the governments of Great Britain, France and Sweden confirmed the presence of pollen and could not detect any trace of mycotoxins. Toxicological studies have questioned the reliability of reports that mycotoxins were detected in presumed victims up to two months after exposure, since these compounds are unstable in the body and are removed from the blood in just a few hours.

    In 1982, Meselson visited the Hmong refugee camp with bee droppings he collected in Thailand. Most of the Hmong respondents said that they were samples of the chemical weapons with which they were attacked. One person accurately identified them as insect droppings, but after his friend took him aside and said something, he switched to a story with chemical weapons.

    Australian military scientist Rod Barton visited Thailand in 1984 and found that Thai residents blame the yellow rain for various ailments, including scabies, as “American doctors in Bangkok report that the United States is particularly interested in yellow rain and is free medical assistance to all alleged victims. ”

    In 1987, the New York Times wrote an article describing that field studies conducted in 1983–85 by US government groups did not provide any evidence to support the original yellow rain chemical weapons claims, but instead questioned the reliability initial reports. Unfortunately, in a country of victorious democracy and unheard of freedoms, this article was censored and not allowed to be published. In 1989, the American Medical Association Journal published an analysis of initial reports collected from the Hmong refugees, which noted “apparent discrepancies that severely undermined the credibility of the testimony”: the US Army team interviewed only those who claimed to be aware of the attacks using chemical weapons, and investigators asked exclusively suggestive questions during interrogations, etc. The authors noted that the stories of individuals changed over time, were inconsistent with other stories, and that people who claimed to be eyewitnesses later stated that they shared stories of others. In short, confusion in the testimony in its purest form.

    By the way, in this story there are also piquant moments. A CIA report from the 1960s reported allegations by the Cambodian government that their forces had been attacked with chemical weapons, which left behind yellow powder. Cambodians have blamed the United States for these alleged chemical attacks. Some yellow rain samples collected in Cambodia in 1983 tested positive for CS, a substance the US used during the Vietnam War. CS is a form of tear gas and is non-toxic, but may explain some of the milder symptoms reported by the residents of the village of Hmong.

    However, there were other facts: an autopsy of a Khmer Rouge fighter named Chan Mann, who suffered from the alleged yellow rain attack in 1982, revealed traces of mycotoxins, as well as aflatoxin, Blackwater fever and malaria. The story was immediately inflated by the United States, as if it were evidence of the use of “yellow rain”, but the reason for this turned out to be quite commonplace: fungi producing mycotoxins are very common in Southeast Asia, and their poisoning is not unusual. For example, a Canadian military laboratory found mycotoxins in the blood of five people from an area who had never been exposed to yellow rain, out of 270 who were tested, but did not find mycotoxins in any of the ten alleged victims of the chemical attack.

    It is now recognized that mycotoxin contamination of foods such as wheat and corn is a common problem, especially in Southeast Asia. In addition to the natural nature, military operations also exacerbated the situation, since the grain began to be stored in inappropriate conditions so that warring parties would not seize it.

    Most of the scientific literature on this subject currently considers the hypothesis that "yellow rain" was a Soviet chemical weapon disproved. However, this issue remains controversial, and the US government has not rejected these allegations. By the way, many US documents regarding this incident remain classified.

    Yes, my friend, Colin Powell, in those years, most likely was just starting his career - but his business lived on, so there’s nothing to assume that he invented something new - like nothing to believe that the USA invents something every time new technology to fight for their interests.

    By the way, other historical cases of hysteria about the "yellow rain."

    • An episode of mass release of pollen from bees in 2002 in Sangrampur, India, raised unwarranted fears of a chemical weapon attack, although it was in fact due to the massive migration of giant Asian bees. This event revived the memories of what New Scientist described as the “paranoia of the Cold War.”
    • In anticipation of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons called yellow rain. In fact, Iraqis examined T-2 mycotoxins in 1990, but they cleared only 20 ml of the substance from fungal cultures. Even then, the practical conclusion was made that although the T-2 may be suitable for use as a weapon due to its toxic characteristics, it is practically not applicable, since it is extremely difficult to manufacture on an industrial scale.
    • On May 23, 2015, shortly before the national holiday of May 24 (the day of Bulgarian writing and culture), a yellow rain fell in Sofia, Bulgaria. Everyone urgently decided that the reason was that the Bulgarian government criticized Russia's actions in Ukraine at that time. A little later, the Bulgarian National Academy of BAN explained this event with pollen.

    In short, the whole world has long ceased to laugh at the theme of “yellow rain,” but the United States still does not give up.

    "Orange Agent"

    “Orange Agent” is also a fail, but unfortunately not so funny. And there will be no laughter. Sorry,% username%

    In general, for the first time, herbicides, or what they were called - defoliants, have been used during the Malay operation by Great Britain since the early 1950s. From June to October 1952 1,250 acres of jungle vegetation were sprayed with a defoliant. The chemical giant Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), which produced the defoliant, described Malaya as a “lucrative experimental field."

    In August 1961, under pressure from the CIA and the Pentagon, US President John F. Kennedy authorized the use of chemicals to destroy vegetation in South Vietnam. jungle, which would facilitate the discovery of units of the North Vietnamese army and partisans.

    Initially, for experimental purposes, South Vietnamese aviation, led by the US military, used defoliants to spray over small forests in the Saigon area (now Ho Chi Minh City). In 1963, a more extensive area on the Kamau Peninsula (the current territory of the Kamau Province) was subjected to defoliants processing. After receiving successful results, the American command began a massive use of defoliants.

    By the way, pretty quickly it was no longer just about the jungle: the US military began to target food crops in October 1962. In 1965, 42% of all herbicide sprayings were for food crops.

    In 1965, members of the US Congress were told that "eradicating crops is understood as a more important goal ... but when the program is publicly mentioned, the emphasis is on defoliation in the jungle." The servicemen were told that they were destroying the crops, because the partisans were supposedly going to feed the crop. It was later discovered and proved that almost all the food that the military destroyed was not made for the partisans; in fact, it was grown only to support the local civilian population. For example, in Kuang Ngai province, only in 1970 85% of the cultivated area was destroyed, resulting in hundreds of thousands of people suffering from hunger.

    As part of Operation Ranch Hand, all areas of South Vietnam, many parts of Laos and Cambodia, were exposed to chemical attack. In addition to forests, fields, gardens and rubber plantations were cultivated. Since 1965, defoliants have been sprayed over the fields of Laos (especially in its southern and eastern parts), since 1967 - in the northern part of the demilitarized zone. In December 1971, President Nixon ordered the cessation of the mass use of herbicides, but their use was allowed away from American military facilities and large settlements.

    In total, between 1962 and 1971, the US military sprayed about 20 million gallons (76,000 cubic meters) of various chemicals.

    US forces primarily used four herbicidal formulations: purple, orange, white, and blue. Their main components were: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), picloram and cacodilic acid. The most actively used orange recipe (against forests) and blue (against rice and other crops) - but in general there were enough “agents”: in addition to orange, pink, purple, blue, white and green were used - the difference was in the ratio of ingredients and color stripes on a barrel. For better spraying of chemicals, kerosene or diesel fuel was added to them.

    The development of the compound in a form ready for tactical use is attributed to the laboratory units of DuPont Corporation. She is credited with participating in obtaining the first contracts for the supply of tactical herbicides, along with the companies Monsanto and Dow Chemical. By the way, the production of this group of chemicals belongs to the category of hazardous production, as a result of which concomitant diseases (often fatal) were received by workers of factories of the above manufacturers, as well as residents of settlements within the city limits or in the vicinity of which production facilities were concentrated .

    2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)

    2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T)


    Cacodilic acid

    The basis for creating the composition of the “agents” was the work of the American botanist Arthur Galston, who later demanded to ban the use of the mixture, which he himself considered a chemical weapon. In the early 1940s, the then-young graduate student of the University of Illinois, Arthur Galston, studied the chemical and biological properties of auxins and the physiology of soy crops, he discovered the effect of 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid on the flowering process of this category of plants. He established in a laboratory way that in high concentrations, this acid leads to weakening of cellulose fibers at the junction of the stem with leaves, which leads to leaf decay (defoliation). Galston defended his dissertation on his chosen topic in 1943 and devoted the next three years to research on the production of rubber products for military purposes. Meanwhile, Information about the discovery of a young scientist without his knowledge was used by military laboratory assistants at the Camp Detrick base (the headquarters of the American biological weapons development program) to find out the prospects for the combat use of chemical defoliants for solving tactical problems (hence the official name for such substances is “tactical defoliants ”or“ tactical herbicides ”) at the Pacific Theater of War, where US forces are faced with fierce resistance from Japanese forces using eimuschestva provided them dense jungle vegetation. Galston was shocked when two leading Camp Detrick experts arrived at the California Institute of Technology in 1946 and solemnly announced that the results of his thesis served as the basis for ongoing military developments (he, as the author, was entitled to a state award). Subsequently, when the details of US military intervention in Vietnam in the 1960s. covered in the press, Galston, feeling his personal responsibility for the development of the "orange agent", demanded to stop spraying the substance over the countries of the Indochina Peninsula. According to the scientist, the use of this drug in Vietnam "shook his deep faith in the constructive role of science and led him to active opposition to US official policy." As soon as information about the use of the substance in 1966 reached a scientist, Galston immediately made a speech for his speech at the annual scientific symposium of the American Society of Plant Physiologists, and when the company's executive committee refused to give him the word, Galston privately began collecting signatures of fellow scientists under a petition to US President Lyndon Johnson. Twelve scientists wrote their petitions on the inadmissibility of the use of “agents” and the potential consequences for soils and populations of the sprayed areas. The president did not respond to the appeal, but US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach wrote Galston an official response convincing him that the chemicals used by the US Armed Forces in Southeast Asia were “harmless” and that they were sprayed only “in remote areas”, residents which are "warned in advance." Twelve scientists wrote their petitions on the inadmissibility of the use of “agents” and the potential consequences for soils and populations of the sprayed areas. The president did not respond to the appeal, but US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach wrote Galston an official response convincing him that the chemicals used by the US Armed Forces in Southeast Asia were “harmless” and that they were sprayed only “in remote areas”, residents which are "warned in advance." Twelve scientists wrote their petitions on the inadmissibility of the use of “agents” and the potential consequences for soils and populations of the sprayed areas. The president did not respond to the appeal, but US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach wrote Galston an official response convincing him that the chemicals used by the US Armed Forces in Southeast Asia were “harmless” and that they were sprayed only “in remote areas”, residents which are "warned in advance."

    The large-scale use of chemicals by the American troops led to grave consequences. Mangroves (500 thousand ha) were almost completely destroyed, 60% (about 1 million ha) of the jungle and 30% (more than 100 thousand ha) of flat forests were affected. Since 1960, the yield of rubber plantations has decreased by 75%. US troops destroyed 40% to 100% of the banana, rice, sweet potato, papaya, tomato, 70% coconut plantations, 60% Hevea, 110 thousand ha of casuarina plantations.

    As a result of the use of chemicals, the ecological balance of Vietnam has seriously changed. In the affected areas, out of 150 bird species, 18 remained, amphibians and insects almost completely disappeared, the number of fish in the rivers decreased. The microbiological composition of soils was disturbed, plants were poisoned. The number of species of tree-shrub species of the humid tropical forest has sharply decreased: in the affected areas, single species of trees and several species of prickly grasses not suitable for livestock feed remained.

    Changes in the fauna of Vietnam led to the displacement of one species of black rats by other species that are carriers of plague in South and Southeast Asia. In the species composition of ticks, ticks-carriers of dangerous diseases appeared. Similar changes have occurred in the species composition of mosquitoes: instead of harmless endemic mosquitoes, malaria carriers have appeared.

    But all this fades in the light of human exposure.

    The fact is that of the four components of the “agents”, the most toxic is cacodilic acid. The earliest studies of cacodiles were conducted by Robert Bunsen (yeah, the Bunsen burner is in his honor) at the University of Marburg: “the smell of this body causes instant tingling in the arms and legs, and even up to dizziness and insensibility ... It is noteworthy that when a person is exposed the smell of these compounds, the tongue is covered in black, even when there are no further negative consequences. " Cacodilic acid is extremely toxic if swallowed, inhaled or in contact with skin. In rodents, it was shown to be a teratogen, often causing cleft palate and intrauterine mortality at high doses. It was also found that it exhibits genotoxic properties in human cells.

    But these are flowers. The fact is that, due to the synthesis scheme, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T always contain about 20 ppm of dioxin. By the way, I already talked about him .

    The Vietnamese government claims that 4 million of its citizens were exposed to the “orange agent,” and as many as 3 million were affected by disease. Vietnam’s Red Cross estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to an “orange agent.” About 400,000 Vietnamese died from acute poisoning by the "orange agent." The United States Government disputes these figures as unreliable.

    According to a study by Dr. Nguyen Viet Ngan, children in areas where the “orange agent” was used have many health problems, including cleft palate, mental disorders, hernias, and extra fingers and toes. In the 1970s, high levels of dioxin were found in the breast milk of South Vietnamese women and in the blood of US troops who served in Vietnam. The most affected areas are the mountainous areas along Truong Son (Long Mountains) and the border between Vietnam and Cambodia. Affected residents in these regions suffer from many genetic diseases.

    Click here if you really want to see the effects of the 'orange agent' on a person. But I warn you: not worth it.

    All former US military bases in Vietnam, where herbicides were stored and loaded onto airplanes, may still contain high levels of dioxins in the soil, which pose a threat to the health of surrounding communities. Extensive tests for dioxin contamination have been conducted at former US air bases in Da Nang, Fo Kat and Bien Haa. Some of the soils and sediments have extremely high levels of dioxin requiring decontamination. At Danang airbase, dioxin pollution is 350 times higher than that provided by international standards. Contaminated soil and sediments continue to affect the people of Vietnam, poisoning their food chain and causing diseases, serious skin diseases and various types of cancer in the lungs, larynx and prostate.

    (By the way, are you still using Vietnamese balm? Well, what can I say ...)

    We must be objective and say that the US military in Vietnam also suffered: they were not informed of the danger, and therefore they were convinced that the chemical was harmless, and did not take any precautions. Upon returning home, Vietnamese veterans began to suspect something: the health of the majority worsened, their wives more often had miscarriages, and children with birth defects were born. Veterans began filing claims in 1977 with the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability payments for medical services, which, in their opinion, were related to exposure to the "orange agent", or, more specifically, to dioxin, but their claims were denied, because they could not prove that the disease started when they were in the service or within one year after dismissal (conditions for granting payments). To us, in our country,

    By April 1993, the Department of Veterans Affairs had only compensated 486 victims, although it had received disability claims from 39,419 soldiers who had been exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.

    Since 1980, attempts have been made to seek compensation through litigation, including with companies producing these substances (Dow Chemical and Monsanto). During the morning hearings on May 7, 1984, as part of a lawsuit initiated by American veteran organizations, Monsanto and Dow Chemical lawyers managed to resolve a class action lawsuit a few hours before the jury selection was due to begin. The companies agreed to pay $ 180 million in compensation if veterans renounce all claims against them. Many veterans who became victims were indignant that the case was settled instead of going to court: they felt that they were betrayed by lawyers. Justice Hearings were held in five major US cities, where veterans and their families discussed their reaction to the settlement and condemned the actions of lawyers and courts, demanding that the case be reviewed by jury members. Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein dismissed the appeal, saying the settlement was "fair and fair." By 1989, the fears of veterans were confirmed when it was decided how the money would actually be paid: as much as possible (yeah, exactlyas much as possible !) a disabled Vietnam veteran could receive a maximum of $ 12,000 with payment in installments over 10 years. In addition, by accepting these payments, disabled veterans could be denied the right to receive many state benefits, which would provide much greater financial support: such as food stamps, state aid, and state pensions.

    In 2004, Monsanto spokesman Jill Montgomery stated that Monsanto was not responsible at all for injuries or deaths caused by “agents”: “We sympathize with people who believe they have been injured and understand their concern and desire to find a cause, but reliable scientific evidence suggests that the “orange agent” is not causing serious long-term health effects. "

    The Vietnamese Orange Agent and Dioxin Poisoning Victims Association (VAVA), filed a “Personal Liability, Injury and Chemical Production” lawsuit with the United States District Court for Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn against several US companies, alleging that the use of “agents” violated the Hague Convention of 1907 on Land Wars, the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Dow Chemical and Monsanto were the two largest manufacturers of “agents” for the US military and were named in a lawsuit along with dozens of other companies (Diamond Shamrock, Uniroyal, Thompson Chemicals, Hercules, etc.). On March 10, 2005, Judge Jack B. Weinstein from the Eastern District (the same one who presided over the 1984 United States Veterans class action lawsuit) dismissed the lawsuit, Having decided that there are no rights to claims. He concluded that the “orange agent” was not considered a poison under international law during its use in the United States; The United States was not forbidden to use it as a herbicide; and the companies that produced the substance were not responsible for the way it was used by the government. Weinstein used the British example to help dismiss claims: “if the Americans were guilty of war crimes for using the“ orange agent ”in Vietnam, the British would also be guilty of war crimes, as they were the first country to use herbicides and defoliants in the war and using them on a large scale throughout the Malay operation. Since there were no protests from other states in response to the use of Britain, the US saw this as setting a precedent for the use of herbicides and defoliants in the jungle war. "The US government was also not a party to the lawsuit because of sovereign immunity, and the court ruled that chemical companies, like contractors to the US government, have the same immunity The case was appealed and examined by the Court of Appeal of the Second Circuit in Manhattan on June 18, 2007. Three judges of the Second Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Weinstein’s decision to dismiss the case. They ruled that although the herbicides were they use dioxin (a known poison), they are not intended to be used as a poison for people, therefore defoliants are not considered chemical weapons and, therefore, are not a violation of international law. Further consideration of the case by the whole panel of judges of the Court of Appeal also confirmed this decision. Lawyers for the victims filed a petition with the US Supreme Court to review the case. On March 2, 2009, the Supreme Court refused to review the decision of the Court of Appeal.

    On May 25, 2007, President Bush signed into law a provision of $ 3 million specifically to finance programs for the decontamination of dioxin sites at former US military bases, as well as public health programs for surrounding communities. I must say that the destruction of dioxins requires high temperatures (more than 1000 ° C), the destruction process is energy-intensive, so some experts believe that only the US air base in Da Nang will require $ 14 million to clean, and other former Vietnamese military to clean US bases that are highly polluted will need another $ 60 million.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to Hanoi in October 2010 that the US government will begin work on cleaning up dioxin pollution at Danang Air Base.
    In June 2011, a ceremony was held at Da Nang Airport to mark the start of US-funded decontamination of dioxin hot spots in Vietnam. To date, the US Congress has allocated $ 32 million to finance this program.

    To help those affected by dioxin, the Vietnamese government created “peaceful villages,” each with 50 to 100 victims who receive medical and psychological assistance. As of 2006, there are 11 such villages. US veterans of the Vietnam War and people who know and sympathize with the victims of the Orange Agent have supported these programs. An international group of US veterans and their allies during the Vietnam War, along with their former enemy, the Veterans Association of Vietnam veterans, founded a friendship village in Vietnam outside of Hanoi. This center provides medical care, rehabilitation and training for children and Vietnam veterans affected by dioxin.

    The Government of Vietnam provides small monthly fellowships to more than 200,000 Vietnamese allegedly affected by herbicides; in 2008 alone, this amount amounted to $ 40.8 million. The Vietnam Red Cross has raised more than $ 22 million to help patients or people with disabilities, and several US funds, UN agencies, European governments and non-governmental organizations have allocated a total of about $ 23 million for cleaning, reforestation, healthcare and other services.

    More information about supporting the victims of the "orange agent" can be found here .

    Here is such a story of the planting of democracy,% username%. And this is never funny.

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