State Department Official Defends Drug Spraying

State Department Official Defends Drug Spraying
Posted by FoM on August 16, 2001 at 21:30:28 PT
By Ken Guggenheim, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Faced with rising criticism of the U.S.-financed drug spraying program in Colombia, a top State Department official Thursday defended the safety of an herbicide used to kill coca crops. Assistant Secretary of State Rand Beers said Colombians' exposure to the herbicide glyphosate would fall far below the levels that the Environmental Protection Agency considers hazardous. 
Glyphosate "acts on an enzyme in plants that doesn't exist in animals. Its active ingredient doesn't kill people. It kills plants," said Beers, head of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. "Having said that, if you take anything to excess you can kill somebody with it," Beers told reporters, citing chamomile tea, salt and aspirin as examples. But Beers acknowledged that glyphosate can cause slight irritation to the eyes and skin. "This is not a totally benign product," he said. The State Department, working with Colombian National Police, have been using glyphosate since the mid 1990s to eradicate coca, the raw material for cocaine. With coca production surging in Colombia in recent years, the United States and Colombia are stepping up the aerial spray campaign. Much of last year's $1.3 billion Colombian aid package was for helicopters and training for Colombian counternarcotics battalions to protect spray planes as they eradicate coca on territory protected by leftist guerrillas. U.S. officials say that glyphosate is safe and commonly used throughout the world. In the United States, it is manufactured by Monsanto and sold as a common weed killer under the name "Roundup." Opponents of the spraying say it causes skin, respiratory and intestinal illnesses and harms Colombia's environment. They also say it kills food crops and livestock. A Colombian judge, acting on a complaint by an Amazon Indian's group, temporarily halted fumigation in the Amazon region July 27. He lifted the order 11 days later. Beers said he could not explain the reports of the illnesses. He suggested "a potential reason" was that coca farmers are complaining because the fumigation costs them money. "If the spraying is successful it kills their incomes," he said. He also suggested illnesses may be due to the unsanitary conditions that coca growers live in and their exposure to toxic precursor chemicals. Beers said studies performed so far have not detected health problems caused by the glyphosate. He said he is awaiting the results of further studies. "If that information is damaging, we will take the appropriate action, whether that is compensation or a reconsideration of the spraying program," he said. Beers said no testing has been done for an additive, Cosmo Flux, that is mixed with the glyphosate to prevent it from drifting in the wind. But based on its ingredients, it is not believed to be harmful, he said. Imperial Chemical Industries, a British company that manufactures an ingredient used in Cosmo Flux, said Aug. 3 that it would stop supplying the product because of a lack of information about its effects when mixed with glyphosate. Beers said this has not affected operations and spray planes are still using Cosmo Flux. "We're trying to find out what's going on," he said. Complete Title: State Department Official Defends Colombia Drug Spraying Program On the Net: State Department page on aerial eradication: Colombia page of Latin America Working Group, which opposes spraying: Source: Associated PressAuthor: Ken Guggenheim, The Associated PressPublished: August 16, 2001Copyright: 2001 Associated PressRelated Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News To Study Spraying Risks in Colombia Works -- But Too Well? Orange, All Over Again 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on August 17, 2001 at 10:25:15 PT:
Attention 4D
Would you be so kind as to email me? I have some equipment you might be interested in.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by dddd on August 17, 2001 at 09:16:14 PT
...Let's all try and follow Kaps suggestions,and help Mr. Ales,,,I mean Beers.But the question is,,,,,,just how can we help Rand?...He doesnt seem like hewould be an easy guy to help......kinda like offerring help to John Ashcroft,orBill McCollum and Bob Barr.........I dont know,,,,Perhaps,the best thing we could do,is to mail canned goods.......This sounds silly,,,but a letter to your senator,or congressman would be waymore likely to get read,and noticed,if the letter was sent,,wrapped around a canof cream corn,,,or dog food...sure,it would cost more postage to send a nicelywrapped package,,with the canned good of your choice in it,and your letter,wrappedaround the can........A "package",arriving at a government office really gets noticed,,specially ,,a package with some heft to it,,,like a can of beans,,,,,or even a jar ofcocktail onions,,or sweet gerkins.......It would be worth the extra postage!dddd 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on August 17, 2001 at 08:35:36 PT:
Americans are such generous people
 When disaster strikes any location, anywhere on the planet, we send food and medical supplies, SAR personnel and all manner of equipment. If a neighbor's house burns down, a collection is started, money, food, clothing and shelter provided. Have a life threatening disease? Neighbors pitch in, cook food, take you to the doc, and all that. It's just the way we are. We evidently have a truly sad situation, here. A grown man has been found to have an insufficient amount of brain cells to cogitate effectively. The symptoms of this particularly sorry state of affairs generally manifest in speech: the vocalization of rampant nonsense seems to be the most noticeable marker of this dreaded affliction (which seems to strike middle aged people involved in the DrugWar, as soon as they accept a government position justifying it's labors).I propose starting a collection for this poor unfortunate soul. He is in desperate need of some gray matter.Please note: I am not asking that you provide any of yours. Since Mr. Beers has seen fit to waste what little he has left by not exercising them in thoughtful contemplation, but has no doubt squandered his reserves on martini lunches, he should not receive any more human cortexial material until he can prove he is worthy of receiving any.Nope, any brains from road kill will do nicely. It could be forcibly introduced via the ear canals; evidently he doesn't have to worry too much about hearing loss, as he doesn't listen to reason, anyway.And my tax dollars go to support this frip's mortgage, when I can't afford one of my own, thanks to people like him?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Ed Carpenter on August 17, 2001 at 06:09:15 PT:
State Department Official Defends Drug Spraying
I don't care how many Rand Beers say that it is safe to spray Roundup in Columbia at 100 times the strength of that allowed to be used in the United States, I don't believe it."...if you take anything to excess you can kill somebody with it," Beers told reporters, citing chamomile tea, salt and aspirin as examples." I wonder why Mr. Beers didn't mention Tylenol in his list of killers. Although aspirin and related drugs kill more people than all of the illegal drugs combined, Tylenol kills more people than cocaine; and cocaine is why we are exposing these poor people to chemical warfare. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Dan B on August 17, 2001 at 01:21:04 PT:
Rand Beers Needs An Enema
When it comes time to hold people to account for the atrocities committed in the name of the war on some drugs, Rand Beers' name should be high on the list of the accused. I would recommend his head on a pike, but I can't even stand looking at his ugly mug while he's alive (below is a link to his picture. You'll recognize immediately the pained look on his face of one who has waited far too long to use the restroom).Dan B
Rand Beers's Biography/Picture
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment