Drug War Called Threat To Amazon 

Drug War Called Threat To Amazon 
Posted by FoM on February 28, 2001 at 10:46:16 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal
Harmless weed killer or Amazon-threatening poison?As a U.S.-backed drug war escalates in Colombia, so does the debate over glyphosate, the chemical herbicide being used in a massive aerial campaign to eradicate coca -- the leaf used to make cocaine.Colombian President Andres Pastrana met with President Bush in Washington on Tuesday to discuss U.S. support for drug-fighting programs in the world's largest cocaine-producing nation. 
But plans to continue fumigating aren't expected to be modified -- U.S. and Colombian government officials say the herbicide is harmless to humans and the environment. Since spraying kicked into high gear in southern Putumayo province in December, airplanes escorted by U.S.-provided helicopter gunships have dumped an estimated 85,000 gallons of the herbicide glyphosate over tens of thousands of acres of coca.The private Clinica Marcos in La Hormiga, a main town in the fumigation zone, has received 15 patients complaining of laryngitis and minor skin and respiratory infections since then, said Ana Patricia Quinteros, a physician. However, it is unclear if the complaints are related to the fumigation, Quinteros said.To investigate complaints of health effects, U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson has decided to dispatch a medical team to Putumayo.Colombia's federal human rights ombudsman recently requested the spraying be halted, citing effects on food crops and evidence that farmers who agreed to voluntarily eradicate their coca crops have had them fumigated anyway."The rivers and streams where peasants get their water have been contaminated. Plantains, yucca and sugar cane -- all of it has been damaged," Francisco Tenorio, the president of a Putumayo indigenous peoples organization, said in telephone interview.While the government insists on continuing the aerial fumigation, environmentalists are warning of ecological damage."The situation is truly alarming," said Ricardo Vargas, an environmentalist and author of a book on coca eradication. "Forests have been destroyed, birds sprayed as well as the food eaten by monkeys, in a region with great biodiversity."U.S. and Colombian officials contend glyphosate -- produced in the United States by Monsanto Co. and sold as the weed-killer Roundup -- is no more harmful than aspirin, table salt or caffeine.A Jan. 23 U.S. State Department report to Congress noted that glyphosate has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and is widely used in fruit orchards, coffee plantations and rice, sugar cane and cotton fields.Vargas criticized the mixing of glyphosate with a Colombian-made mixture of mineral oils and other elements known as Cosmo-Flux. Cosmo-Flux makes the glyphosate heavier and stickier, helping it avoid being misdirected by the wind when sprayed, and making it adhere better to coca plants.Vargas said the effects of the mixture hadn't been studied. But a U.S. official said that although Cosmo-Flux isn't EPA-approved, all of its component have been approved by the U.S. agency.U.N. officials, who have been critical of the spraying policy, are skeptical about claims of dangerous health and environmental effects."Many more herbicides and insecticides are used in the planting of coca than in the fumigation," noted Klaus Nyholm, director in Colombia of the U.N. International Drug Control Program.Colombia and U.S. officials stress the environmental damage caused by drug production itself. Coca farmers harm the Amazonian jungles by felling virgin rainforest and dumping thousands of tons of cocaine-processing chemicals, including sulfuric acid and gasoline, into rivers.Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS) Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2001Address: 616 S.E. Jefferson, Topeka, Kansas 66607 Copyright: 2001 The Topeka Capital-Journal Contact: letters Website: Related Articles:Colombia To Continue Anti-Drug Sprays Crops Spared in Colombia's Coca War Program Hurts Colombia's Small Farmers
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Comment #9 posted by NiftySplifty on March 01, 2001 at 15:01:51 PT
dddd is a threat all right...
He's a threat to every poor comma and ellipsis unlucky enough to get in his way! Heheh. N...
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Comment #8 posted by mungojelly on February 28, 2001 at 22:12:51 PT:
Monsanto is King
Do you really think that the US and Columbia could just tell Monsanto, "sorry, we don't need your chemicals today"? Monsanto is more powerful than both of them put together. Since Bush has just come into power a few weeks ago, it is even more obvious than usual -- this is not his project. This project does not belong to any particular politician. It is a business deal. How much do you suppose Monsanto is profitting from this fumigation? How much do you suppose they could spend to lobby for it and still secure a profit? Think about it. 
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Comment #7 posted by observer on February 28, 2001 at 21:25:10 PT
glysophate toxicity
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Comment #6 posted by jimmy420 on February 28, 2001 at 20:10:23 PT
thats what i was thinking Sudaca...
yeah, like this chemical ONLY attacks the coca plant... Why dont we just drop the big one.. nuke the whole damn world.. that'll put an end to this so called drug problem.
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on February 28, 2001 at 18:56:40 PT
who knew?
reminds me of some other headlines;"Liquor called theat to sobriety""Aspirin called threat to headaches""Sex called threat to virginity""Hammers called threat to nails""Lies called threat to honesty""Death called threat to life""Money called threat to poverty""dddd called threat to normalness"
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on February 28, 2001 at 16:44:53 PT:
Gulf War Syndrome, redux?
One of the nasty aspects of organo-phosphates is that while one chemical alone may not kill you, mixing it with another could prove almost instantly lethal. Or at the very least, potentiate the effects of the first chemical to cause serious central nervous system damage.In the first instance, there are chemical weapons known as binary weapons. The chemicals are kept apart until ready to be 'used'. If you are exposed to a very large quantity of one of the chemicals, that chemical alone might cause CNS damage. Mixed with the other half, death almost always occurs.In the second instance, a person can become 'sensitized' to a chemical over long exposure; herbicide/insecticide exposure is a generally cummulative matter. But if you are taking internally an organo-phosphate, as our troops in the Gulf did with the pyridostigmine oxime tablets, you are actually dosing yourself with a nerve agent.(In the case of the oxime tablets, it was known by the Army before a single troop transport touched down in Saudi that the tablets could actually make you even more susceptible to the effects of the primitive nerve agents that Saddam was specultaed to possess.)In short, since we don't really know what combinations of organo-phosphates are being used, it is entirely possible that the campesinos are being exposed to a cummulatively toxic cocktail that will cause further damage at a later date...just as our soldiers in the Gulf did not always show immediate symptoms, but were suffering much later.One last thing: organo-phosphates such as nerve agents are often classified as 'persistant agents'...which do just that. Persist. In soil. In plant matter. In fatty tissues of the body. They hang around, outgassing for days. Depending upon the weather, they can hang around for weeks. Literally, the ''gift' that keeps on giving'. (An odd simile: the Dutch word for poison reads as 'gift').The US is signatory to treaties banning chemical warfare. What it is doing in Colombia is precisely that. Someday, the World Court may find Barry and all his ilk liable for damages...or worse. 
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Comment #3 posted by Sudaca on February 28, 2001 at 16:26:49 PT
This is YEARS in the making. The DEA and it's buddies in Peru have created a desert out of once green farmlands; yes coca won't grow there; neither will potatoes. Now the same bastards are at it at Colombia, in the name of rescuing the Putumayo people from the evil clutches of the only people who paid them , the campesinos will have to relocate due to toxic chemicals which are making their life unbearable. Sure farmers used pesticides on their crops, how come they weren't going blind before the Gringos came to spray their shit in the name of power?And then they wonder why organizations like FARC and ELN exist.
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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on February 28, 2001 at 13:16:07 PT:
Sure, It's Safe, Says Industry
Let PubMed help you decide. Go to: plug in the words: glyphosate humanYou'll get a lot of conflicting info, but much of it is not pretty. Fact is, there are very few things that are herbicidal or insecticidal that have no toxicity for humans. We are all living things and sensitive to such chemicals.
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Comment #1 posted by Duzt on February 28, 2001 at 11:11:15 PT
My idea
Those rotten, lying son of a bitches."U.S. and Colombian officials contend glyphosate -- produced in the United States by Monsanto Co. and sold as the weed-killer Roundup -- is no more harmful than aspirin, table salt or caffeine."Well, I have an idea. Send some Roundup to these jackasses who say it is no more harmful than table salt, sprinkle some on some fries, and let thm eat it. If they aren't dead within 24 hours, they'll wish they were.
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