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Vietnam Vets To Launch $5b Lawsuit

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Forwarded, courtesy of Kelly Franklin….


By KRISTIAN SOUTH - Sunday News | Sunday, 6 May 2007

Prime Minister Helen Clark and every other living prime minister, governor general, minister of health and minister of defence since New Zealand entered the Vietnam war will be targeted in the incredible $5 billion lawsuit planned by vets.

{So should our nation’s Veterans – Every President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Health, and every Secretary of Veterans Affairs, for the Malfeasance described below.}

{Should it make a difference that a federal agency or elected officials was part of knowingly allowing this malfeasance, a nice way to say criminal activity, to continue? Only our government and our elected officials think so.}

The Vietnam Veteran's Action Group has launched the sensational bid to sue the government and key political figures because they blame them for lack of action over their poisoning by Agent Orange. {As it should be!}

The veterans have engaged giant Australian law firm Slater & Gordon -which won a $1.5b lawsuit against industrial corporation James Hardie - to handle the case.

Sunday News understands Slater & Gordon bosses will meet in the next few days to discuss tactics. "Slater & Gordon has been approached by a group of veterans and we are investigating the situation," a firm spokesman last night told Sunday News. But Sunday News understands the law firm is serious about taking the case and this week's talks will drill into the specifics of the vets' claims.

The proposed lawsuit will allege consecutive governments and officials since 1962 were guilty of "malfeasance" and failed to provide duty of care to veterans. Malfeasance is a term used when public officials break the law and bring harm to others while in office. In some cases, it can result in criminal charges.

Clark last night declined to comment on the pending lawsuit and referred all questions to defence minister Phil Goff, who said the Government had addressed the needs of veterans in a recent $30m Agent Orange compensation package. "You can't say, `We'll take what we were given in the settlement and then we'll go for everything else as well'," Goff told Sunday News. "That's not how these things work."

News of the pending lawsuit comes as Goff and veterans affairs minister Rick Barker are due to decide on how to administer Agent Orange payouts.

But only veterans who suffer from five recognized symptoms of Agent Orange exposure are covered - leaving hundreds of others to battle illnesses like cancer and heart disease without government compensation.

Under the scheme, fewer than 100 vets will get around $40,000 if they are suffering from four specific cancers and a skin condition, chloracne.

Children of vets are eligible for $25,000, subject to them suffering from conditions limited to spina bifida, cleft lip, cleft palate and two types of cancer. {Thanks to the excellent malfeasance work of our Veterans Affairs and our NAS/IOM our veteran’s children with paternal exposures only qualify for spinda bifida.}

Vietnam Veterans' Action Group spokesman Bruce Weir said more than 1300 former soldiers and war widows were expected to be represented in the class action. "We are bringing this lawsuit against the government to ensure all veterans and their families are adequately looked after by the New Zealand government," Weir told Sunday News. "The current package covers less than five percent of the veterans and that is not good enough.

"We feel we have been betrayed and we are taking this issue to court to ensure it is sorted out properly.

"We are hoping to expose the deceit, lies and cover-up in the High Court so the New Zealand public can see exactly what the Vietnam veterans have had to battle against." {Same as in this nation.}

Last year, Sunday News revealed how genetic tests on Vietnam vets had shown being exposed to Agent Orange was worse than experiencing a nuclear explosion - with up to seven generations of significant DNA damage found.

Weir said the lawsuit would be seeking about $4 million for every veteran registered in the class action. “You're looking at punitive damages for 40 years of lies, cover-up and deceit and if it went to court I would imagine we would be seeking $4 million per veteran," he said. {Yes, the same in our nation – 40 years of government collaboration and deceit to deny Veterans compensations in death and disability, as well as widows, and orphans and of course protect the all important chemical company lobby money.}

"So with 1300 plaintiffs, you're talking about a lot of money. But when you're looking at several generations of damaged DNA, the veteran community needs to know that everyone is covered.

"Of the 3200-odd persons who served in Vietnam, approximately 550 have died since the war finished and these days more are dying every week. Many of these deaths could have been prevented had the Government's key personnel done their job properly."

Weir said the class action lawsuit was open to veterans and the families of deceased veterans. Indications were about 1300 veterans, war widows and families of veterans would register.

I wish them all well in this endeavor of Justice and Government Accountability. As one that defends the nation that should be a given, not an assumption.


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