Greening of The Drug War

  Greening of The Drug War

Posted by FoM on June 27, 2001 at 16:13:54 PT
By F. Andy Messing Jr. 
Source: Washington Times 

Debates concerning the War on Drugs have focused broadly on socio-economic, political and even security factors. Unfortunately, one of the most crucial subcomponents of the drug issue, environmental devastation, has been largely ignored. Now, there is indisputable evidence that the production of illicit crops is wreaking environmental havoc in some of the world´s most pristine locations, from Laos to Peru. Accordingly, saving dolphins and the trees in Oregon should not be our only concern.
  The cultivation, production and trafficking of illegal drugs in just Bolivia, Peru and Colombia is responsible for the wanton deforestation of 960,000 acres in the past 20 years. That is equal to almost half of Yellowstone National Park. According to satellite photos, the past decade has seen the destruction of more than 300,000 acres in Colombia alone. Expanding narcotics production is destroying the lungs of the world.   Methods used to grow coca and poppy plants harm the environment in a variety of ways. The coca leaf can be harvested from four to six times a year. This rapid turnover destroys dense vegetation, leaving virtually nothing behind to protect the soil from massive erosion. In addition to making thousands of acres essentially useless, this increased erosion also greatly enhances flooding, ruining more land.   Additionally, slash-and-burn techniques used to cut down millions of trees contribute to air pollution, which accelerates the greenhouse effect, thus raising worldwide temperatures.   Ironically, the recent White House study on global warming neglected to associate drug users who create this demand as prepetuating this problem.   Just as devastating as the growth of illicit crops is the refinement of raw coca leaves into finished cocaine. Precursor chemicals, like sulfuric acid, acetone and hydrochloride acid, used to produce refined cocaine, are dumped into rivers and lakes. This radically decreases oxygen content in the waters, and increases pH levels. Soil and plant life also absorb these toxins, further polluting the food chain. For every two acres used to grow coca then processed into cocaine, two tons of pesticides, fertilizers and toxic chemical waste are dumped into Colombia´s soil, streams and rivers.   This horrific level of contamination leads to the agonizing death of millions of rare and innocent animals and fish, as well as the pollution of the Amazon River itself. In attempts to avoid law enforcement agents, or get more fertile soil, drug producers often move to new areas, only to start the raping process all over again.   One solution to this problem, eradication, will help reverse this negative process. The cogent use of a number of relatively environmentally friendly chemicals makes it possible to simultaneously reduce the supply of narcotics and protect the Andean region.   The seemingly most effective chemical is Glyphosate. Farmers in more than 160 countries, including the United States, use this herbicide. In spite of misinformed claims by some environmental groups, Glyphosate is biodegradable, water-soluble and described in a recent State Department report as "one of the least harmful herbicides available on the world market." As an example, in 2000 the Colombian government used Glyphosate to successfully spray 22,800 acres of coca and poppy fields, thus reducing the killing supply to us, and allowing a portion of the jungle to reclaim itself.   Aside from destroying illegal crops and protecting the environment, eradication enables the indigenous population to grow a variety of legal crops. A U.S. agricultural station in the Huallaga Valley of Peru in the late 1940s found that more than 20 high-cash crops could grow in that environment. The eradication of narcotics, coupled with a plan of crop substitution, would enable the peoples of the Andean region to begin a process of environmental, economic and social reform. Colombian officials have stated clearly that spraying "stimulates the return of involved communities to the cultural, economic, social and labor conditions of the region."   Unfortunately, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others have neglected this mortal threat to our planet. A lack of physical courage or intellectual foresight has prevented them from either taking a proactive role on this issue, or aligning themselves with other groups.   Environmental activists should stop wondering about the limited possibilities of environmental damage resulting from eradication and start aggressively fighting the massive destruction presently being wrought by drug producers.   Ecological groups have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to bring constructive national awareness to an issue. If these groups would spend as much time and effort on the effects of narcotics production, a problem infinitely more pressing than saving coyotes, they could play a crucial role in turning the tide in the War on Drugs, helping reduce it to its lowest manageable level. They should be actively in convincing every junior high school student in the United States that aside from hurting themselves, cocaine and heroine use kills trees, animals, fish, thereby hurting our environment.   A coalition of anti-drug activists and environmental groups would provide the balanced pressure required to reduce both drug supply and demand as well as raise national consciousness about ecological concerns. Failure to produce cooperation between both ends of the political spectrum may very well lead to the loss of critical environmental treasures.     F. Andy Messing Jr., executive director of the National Defense Council Foundation, is a retired Special Forces major, who advised then-Gov. George W. Bush on narcotics issues in July 1998. Patrick J. Oswald is a research assistant at NDCF.Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: F. Andy Messing Jr.Published: June 20, 2001Copyright: 2001 News World Communications, Inc.Website: letters washingtontimes.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News Toxic Drift: Monsanto and The Drug War in Colombia Articles - Glyphosate

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Comment #16 posted by kaptinemo on June 28, 2001 at 14:12:36 PT:
Presenting Mr. Messing
Found something interesting, folks. You might want to have a look.: this (from the provided link)"Messing and the NDCF have also pushed for an increased rolefor the military in the war against the international drug trade. (6) An article written by Messing appeared in the Unification Church-owned newspaper, Washington Times, in which Messing argued for increased use of the military in fighting drug trafficking but acknowledged that "as the army increases, it becomes its own political force. "(13)but this one made me sit up and take notice:"The NDCF and Messing have extensive government connections. The chair and vice chair of the group are both U. S. Congressional representatives. They have a Congressional Advisory Board with at least 19 members of Congress. Adviser Dick Cheney is currently President George Bush's Secretary of Defense. (6) The NDCF has two Senatorial advisers--Orrin Hatch and Don Nickels--both of whom are well-known conservatives.Messing served as a platoon leader in the 1st Air Cavalry during the Vietnam War. He received two Purple Hearts and the Meritorious Service Medal. (6) After getting out of the army, he worked in the private sector for a short time and then rejoined the army as a congressional liaison until 1975. (9) He is now a retired Major, Special Forces, Army Reserve. (6) The NDCF's most damning link to the government is Messing's close friendship with preeminent Iran-Contra figure Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret. ) The two became acquainted in 1982 when Messing heard North explain the Reagan administration's position on Central America. The two became friends, it seems, because both shared similar backgrounds and "gung-ho" attitudes. "North was convincing because he was IWT," said Messing. (IWT refers to "I was there. ") Messing seems to use IWT as measure for most people, for instance, he has called Jack Kemp a "wimp" for not going to El Salvador. (10) Messing often briefed North on his trips abroad. Messing's name ended up on a document confiscated from the NSC linked to the words "funds" and "guns," but Messing denies any wrongdoing. "Yes, the memo in North's office did have my name on it. " Messing said "But it wasn't North's handwriting. Honest. "(10) When North was being tried for improprieties, Messing said, "He [North] has the best lawyers in town outside the opposing force, which outnumber him 10 to 1. That's the kind of odds Ollie North is used to. "(15)Yep, another ColdWar retread in search of a nice, juicy Low-Intensity-Conflict (LIC) to pad the ol' retirement check. While indig babies nerves are tortured and they sicken and die from organo-phosphate poisoning.
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Comment #15 posted by S.M.Ash on June 28, 2001 at 11:49:02 PT:
Drug legalization
I have changed my mind as to which drugs should be legal. I am now of the opinion that ALL drugs should be made legal, & all producers of those drugs should be held accountable for what they do to the enviornment. Be advised that since the begining of time when God created all of the plants & animals here on earth, coca, poppies, & marijuana as they come out of the ground in their natural form have yet to do any damage to the enviornment, or to the earth's inhabitants,at least I've never heard of any. Again I ask yor readers to refer to Genesis chapter 1, verses 11, 12, & 30. All plants & animals are here on earth for man's dominion Translated; for man's use, I rest my case. 
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Comment #14 posted by Kevin Hebert on June 28, 2001 at 10:42:02 PT:
My response to the Washington Times
Dear Editor:As is common in drug warrior circles, F. Andy Messing misses the point with "Greening of the Drug War." He claims that drug producers are filling the rain forest with dangerous chemicals, and proposes as a solution dumping more chemicals on the drug-producing parts of South America.There is one reason, and only one reason, why drug producers manufacture their products in an environmentally unsafe manner: the anti-drug legislation in the United States. If manufacturing drugs were not criminal, there would be no need to produce them unsafely. In fact,licensed drug producers could be made to comply with environmental regulations in order to be allowed to legally produce drugs.                              The war on drugs causes many more problems than it solves. Environmentally damaging manufacturing processes are only one of them.            Sincerely,              Kevin M. Hebert
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Comment #13 posted by Ben Cohn on June 28, 2001 at 09:58:00 PT:
2 Points
1. Environmental damage due to drug manufacturing is just another by-product of the illegal status of these drugs. If Merck, Eli-Lilly or Squibb pollutes an area with one of their factories, you take them to court and sue their pants off. They won't send paid assassins after you (well, not unless you count their lawyers!), and they will be bound by law and the need to protect their reputations. Black market drug manufacturers have no such constraints or concerns.2. "Glyphosate is biodegradable, water-soluble and described in a recent State Department report as "one of the least harmful herbicides available on the world market." Well, MAYBE when used as Monsanto advises (although I think that is quite debatable as well.) But the governments involved are NOT using it as prescribed, they are spraying in very heavy concentrations around food crops and animals, and worst of all, are combining it with additives.  2 surfactants, COSMO FLUX-411F and COSMO-IN-D are being added, which increase the toxicity of Glyphosate up to a hundredfold. No good tests have been done on what this lethal brew does to people, animals, and crops. The poor Columbian farmers are being used as guinea pigs in a detestable experiment. So don't let anybody tell you this spraying is safe, controlled, or harmless. It's deadly as hell.Monsanto is local here to me. They suck!!Legalize everything, bring it aboveboard. The truth shall set you free.BC
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Comment #12 posted by Sudaca on June 28, 2001 at 09:14:25 PT
aren't they ashamed of themselves?
Are they getting paid to parrot the party line? Man, it can' get weirder than this.What a shame.Whatever environmental damage is created by illicitut crop cultivation is caused by the fact that its illicit. Growers are forced to plant where it won't be found. Or in the case of the peruvians that this hypocrite seems so concerned about , where the land hasn't been poisoned by"environmentally friendly herbicides" (hello little plants , I'm the friednly killer, I love you all now die die die). Coca eradication is not perfect, it doesn;'t just eradicate Coca, to kill a hardy weed you've gotta be able to kill less hardy plants right? There's an idea that the US could BUY and DESTROY the entire Colombian coca prooduction without razing the Amazon , paying it at the rates the campesinos produce it and it would cost much less than the 1.3 billion currenlty in the market. But that wouldn't create jobs for Lockheed Martin , Monsanto , DynCorp and all the other buddies of Congress. And then, how could a politician make a living?I was reflecting yesterday on an article some nut came out with arguing that Auschwitz was really a humanitarian camp, and the gas chambers were for killing lice and other parasites that infected the "guests". maybe there's a club of people who live their lives with their heads up their ass. I guess they're washington based.
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Comment #11 posted by Rambler on June 28, 2001 at 00:56:24 PT
%*&# #$
What a f#&king piece of total bullaganda rubbish,devious,motherf#*%kin',evil,misleading garbage.sorry,its been a rough day
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Comment #10 posted by observer on June 27, 2001 at 22:23:56 PT
re: greenspirits
you missed a ringer...greenspirit is propoganda AGAINST the use of hemp.ooops! You're right, lookinside, that guy is anti-hemp ... looks like a logging industry shill.
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Comment #9 posted by Fat Blunt ConXtion on June 27, 2001 at 22:00:41 PT
its already been said, but...
this is just a typical example of the immovable wall of madness that stands in the way of any kind of progress that can be made in legalizing all drugs. How is it that seemingly otherwise intelligent people have this idea that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes is any one elses business? If cocaine was legal, there perhaps would be more coke addicts, but there are, myself included, alot of people addicted to nicotine and if coke were legal it would only cost about as much as a pack of ciggarettes to get a fix. What do you call a coke addict who has coke? a stockbroker. the only reason coke addiction is detrimental is that its so hard to afford coke people resort to crime. And that thing about that pesticide not being harmful...well, if the united states government says it isnt, that must be true! didnt the us government promote the use of DDT a few years back? The majority of people are just so ignorant about drugs that it fills me with this fury which there is no way of venting. I like this board because it connects you with other enlitened individuals. Do you think we will ever win?PeaceS. P. B.
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Comment #8 posted by J.R. Bob Dobbs on June 27, 2001 at 19:00:24 PT
Legalize the herb and free the environment
  Tell me... why should many people use much coal and nuclear power to try to reproduce the effects of the sun indoors? Legalize, and lift California's power burden.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 27, 2001 at 18:18:06 PT
Sick Baby from Spraying
Check out the picture of a baby in Colombia after they sprayed. This picture mad me very angry. have more information with pictures in articles now on this page below. It is very sad and wrong. Colombia Drug War News 
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Comment #6 posted by Dan B on June 27, 2001 at 18:06:31 PT:
My Letter to the Washington Times
Dear Editor:In his recent article, "The Greening of the Drug War," F. Andrew Messing Jr. claims that the best way to reduce the harm to the environment caused by illegal drugs is to drop thousands of barrels of glysophate 100 times stronger than the normal household variety into the Amazon rain forest and to continue forcing farmers of the coca plant--a plant that had been harvested for thousands of years in that part of the world before war was declared on drugs--to seek out unspoiled areas of the rain forest. Messing is under the obviously mistaken perception that the best way to destroy drugs that, because they are illegal, destroy the environment is to keep them illegal and, just for good measure, add some of our own poison to the mix.Do we need any more proof that people like F. Andrew Messing Jr. are absolutely brainwashed? Does he not read his own words that show the destruction of 960,000 acres of rain forest has occurred since Reagan escalated the war on drugs during the 1980s? Is Messing so blind that he cannot see the drug war has caused this destruction, not the drugs themselves?Environmental groups do not get behind the war on drugs because they recognize that the war on drugs, not the drugs themselves, creates conditions in which rain forest is sacrificed for drug profits? Generally, environmental groups are smart enough to recognize that the drug war has forced coca farmers to seek out territory further and further into the rain forest, that if drugs were legal such toxic methods of extracting cocaine from coca would not be necessary, and that spraying vast amounts of glysophate over the rain forest does nothing to stem the supply of cocaine and much to destroy the environment.Get a clue, Messing.Daniel D. Butterworth
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Comment #5 posted by lookinside on June 27, 2001 at 17:55:49 PT:
you missed a ringer...greenspirit is propoganda AGAINST theuse of hemp...the guy is a tout for the loggingindustry...check his crop prifitability quotes toward theend...i know alotta farmers who would be THRILLED to net$1700-$4000 per acre...his numbers are bogus...
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Comment #4 posted by observer on June 27, 2001 at 17:09:13 PT
Hemp for the Environment
re: cannabis and the environment -- coalition of anti-drug activists and environmental groups would...You're dreaming buddy. The greens are for ... the green, if you know what I mean. Note also for example, Nandor Tanczos, a cannabis user, is Green MP in NZ. 
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Comment #3 posted by lookinside on June 27, 2001 at 17:08:20 PT:
old joke...
1st logger: i spent 5 years logging the Sahara forest...2nd logger(scratching head): you mean the Sahara DESERT???1st logger:well i guess it is, NOW.more seriously, if the drug warriors hadn't driven thegrowers from one area to another with their eradicationefforts, new planting areas would have been minimized...peruand bolivia were where coca had been produced formillenia...the drug war can be blamed for any increase inlost forest...actually i'm waiting til the entrpreneurs realize that partsof southeast asia and africa are ideal spots for cocaproduction...anyone wanna try doing agent orange in viet namagain? i think they just might be a little hesitant...asianshave had experience with long as there is demand, someone will fill it...if theykill(starve, poison) all those indians that are currentlyproducing the bulk of the coca leaf, someone a lot moredangerous WILL pick up the ball... the anti's are damn fools...
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Comment #2 posted by Doug on June 27, 2001 at 16:46:59 PT

Is he serious?
I'd like to believe this article is meant to be ironic, but considering it's from the Washington Times, I kind of doubt it. Too bad, because it would make more sense as irony.So we are suppose to believe that the spraying of pesticides on the ecosystem of Columbia is meant to decrease the environmental destruction that illegal drugs are causing. As should be obvious, since the growing of these crops is illegal, the farmers have no incentive to practice non-destructive mthods of growth. There is no government bureau to advise them of the most environmentally kind ways of raising coca and poppies. Since they are under the threat of crop destruction by the government, they try to grow their crops as efficiently as possible, and to hell with the environment. That may not be the nicest attitude, but it is certainly understandable.The obvious solution (one would think) would be to make their crops legal, and to provide assistance so they could be raised in the most environmentally friendly way. The processing plants would also be forced to following the law as regards dumping of toxic chemicals into the Amazon, at least as much as the legal companies are required to do. I understand that some of the oil companies operating in Columbia have made a real mess of the land and water they work around, but still we should expect more from profitable cocaine processors.
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 27, 2001 at 16:34:58 PT

From the article:"Cocaine and heroine use kills trees, animals, fish, thereby hurting our environment."This guy is insane. More harm is done by using herbicides on the soil and its effects on humans.
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