U.S. Official Predicts Drop in Colombian Cocaine

U.S. Official Predicts Drop in Colombian Cocaine
Posted by FoM on February 22, 2002 at 16:14:31 PT
By Tim Weiner
Source: New York Times
High- level arrests and huge drug seizures in Mexico have had no effect on the quantity of Colombian cocaine entering the United States, the American drug-enforcement chief, Asa Hutchinson, said here today.But Mr. Hutchinson said the offensive opened today by the Colombian military against guerrillas, whom he called "narco-terrorists," could be a significant turn in the war on drugs. 
"I cannot make the case" that Mexico's recent arrests of suspected drug kingpins and seizures of multi- ton drug shipments have lessened the seemingly limitless supply of Colombian cocaine that Mexican cartels ship to the United States, said Mr. Hutchinson, chief of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.Still, he repeatedly praised the government of President Vicente Fox for "vigorously rooting out corruption in government and going after the cartels that operate so openly in Mexico.""We're beyond litmus tests" for Mexico's government in the drug war, he said. "We have full confidence that they're working aggressively."So are the cartels. A senior Mexican drug-enforcement official was assassinated in his car this morning in Mexico City, eyewitnesses said. The official was identified as Mario Roldán Quirino, a leader of a special counternarcotics unit under Mexico's attorney general, Rafael Macedo. As Mr. Hutchinson spoke to reporters in Mexico City, Colombia's military was attacking territory held by guerrillas who hijacked a domestic airliner and kidnapped a senator on Wednesday. Mr. Hutchinson said the United States would welcome an assault on the guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, whom he called "narco-terrorists" working in league with Colombia's drug lords. He predicted an intelligence windfall if Colombia's military and police forces seized drug labs in the guerrillas' domain. That could "strengthen what we're trying to do to reduce that supply of cocaine that is funding that organization," he said. The drug war in the Andes suffered a setback in April when an American missionary and her baby were shot down over Peru in a plane that Central Intelligence Agency contractors first noticed on radar and Peruvian pilots misidentified as a drug flight. Mr. Hutchinson said he hoped the aerial drug patrols would resume with new procedures "to avoid this type of catastrophe."Mr. Hutchinson became the drug- enforcement chief in August. While the United States government has been focused on fighting in Afghanistan and running counterterrorism operations, he said, the drug war goes on. In Afghanistan, the source of most of the world's heroin, the planting of opium poppies, from which heroin is derived, resumed in full force in November, after the fall of the Taliban, which had almost completely eradicated opium cultivation the preceding year.The Drug Enforcement Administration is "working aggressively to develop a plan" to stop the resurgence of Afghanistan's drug culture, Mr. Hutchinson said, calling the present situation there "a unique opportunity in history."Source: New York Times (NY) Author: Tim WeinerPublished: February 22, 2002Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company Contact: letters Website: Forum: Related Articles & Web Site:Colombia Drug War News Considers Helping Colombia Chief Says Crackdown Could Help Seeks To Help Colombia Defend Pipeline 
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Comment #9 posted by Jose Melendez on February 24, 2002 at 05:29:21 PT:
dare to arrest prohibition
  from:  Secrecy 
   in Colombia 
    US military 
   aid to Colombia may be on a large scale but the US government insists that 
   it is not launching another Vietnam as American troops in the country are 
   forbidden to engage in combat with the country's guerrillas. However, private 
   American companies, paid for by the State and Defence Departments and staffed 
   by ex-servicemen from the Special Forces and by pilots, suffer no such restrictions.
   Last month the world's largest aerial eradication programme, funded by the 
   United States to destroy drug crops in Colombia, ran into a spot of bother. 
   Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fired on 
   a crop-dusting aircraft and supporting helicopters. The pilot of an American-supplied 
   Huey helicopter was hit in the barrage of small arms fire, but managed to 
   land his stricken chopper. Two other helicopter gunships circled the grounded 
   chopper pouring fire on the Marxist guerrillas, while a third helicopter 
   rescued the crew. Then it transpired that the pilots of two of the choppers 
   in the daring rescue were Americans contracted by the United States State 
   "I had a pistol"
   "The FARC were 100 to 200 yards away", Capt. Giancarlo Cotrino, 
   the pilot of the downed chopper said from his hospital bed in Bogotá. 
   "We fought for seven or eight minutes - one of my crewmen had a grenade 
   launcher and I had a pistol - until the SAR (search and rescue helicopter) 
   came in behind us, landed and picked us up in the middle of a very hot firefight."
   In the SAR were American citizens and Colombians, all armed with M-16s. 
   Most of the SAR teams are ex-US Special Forces, according to a US Embassy 
   source. US personnel had suddenly become involved in the fighting in Colombia's 
   37-year civil conflict.
   The company involved in last month's engagement with guerrillas is called 
   DynCorp. It has been contracted since 1997 by the American State Department 
   to provide pilots, trainers and maintenance workers for the aerial eradication 
   programme. What was not known before was that they piloted helicopter gunships 
   that are used as an attack aircraft when crop-dusting planes are attacked. 
   Three DynCorp pilots have been killed in operations, but one pilot said 
   that at $90,000 a year tax free, the rewards were as high as the risks.
   Only 500 allowed in 
   Last year, when the $1.3 billion aid package to Colombia was approved by 
   Congress, several rules were imposed. One was that no more than 500 US military 
   personnel could be stationed in Colombia at any one time and another that 
   they were not to get directly involved in fighting. "The Department 
   of Defence will not step over the line that divides counter-narcotics from 
   counter-insurgency," said Ana Maria Salazar, deputy assistant secretary 
   of defence for drug enforcement policy, while testifying to a Congressional 
   American military personnel are currently engaged in a variety of training 
   and monitoring roles. Three American-trained and equipped anti-narcotics 
   battalions are being created, while American Navy SEALs train Colombian 
   marines, who patrol the rivers that are the only means of transport through 
   much of the country. Other American personnel man five radar and listening 
   stations and serve as liaison officers at the Colombian Joint Intelligence 
   Centre in the southern base of Tres Esquinas, which the United States helped 
   set up.
   The letter of the law on American involvement in civil conflicts has not 
   been broken, as serving military personnel have not yet been caught in active 
   combat roles. Sooner or later, however, somebody is going to argue that 
   the Americans at the radar and listening stations providing information 
   on guerrilla actions are already taking an active role in the counter-insurgency 
   What appears to be sensitive work for the American government is also done 
   by at least six American 'security' companies. One of them, hired by the 
   Defence Department on a $6m a year contract is Military Personnel Resources 
   Inc. (MPRI), a Virginia-based military consultant company run by retired 
   generals. Its 14 associates live in an attractive hotel in Bogotá 
   and decline to speak to reporters. MPRI came under the spotlight over its 
   involvement in training the Croatian army was revealed. 
   Brian Sheridan, the senior Pentagon official who oversees the work of MPRI, 
   said in congressional testimony a year ago that MPRI's role in Colombia 
   was far from sinister, just "a manpower issue", insisting that 
   Southern Command did not have the men to spare to give strategic and logistic 
   advice to the Colombian army.
   "It's very handy to have an outfit not part of the U.S. armed forces, 
   obviously," said the former U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Myles Frechette. 
   "If somebody gets killed or whatever, you can say it's not a member 
   of the armed forces."
   Why secrecy is needed
   MPRI spokesman Ed Soyster, a retired Army lieutenant general and former 
   director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, compared the need for secrecy 
   in Colombia with Vietnam. "When I was in Vietnam, I wouldn't want to 
   tell you about my operation," he said. "If the enemy knows about 
   it, he can counter it."
   Human rights groups say the use of private contractors is a deliberate ploy 
   to ensure actions are carried out that American troops under Congressional 
   restrictions cannot perform, and that deniability was the name of the game. 
   "We're outsourcing the war in a way that is not accountable," 
   said Robin Kirk of Human Rights Watch.
Know Drugs
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Comment #8 posted by unknown pleasures on February 23, 2002 at 13:06:40 PT
ha! good name!
yeah man, I see 'em ALL the time...
usually they're driving around in armoured vans, brandishing assult rifles, terrorising people's homes...Yeah man, they call themselves the SWAT team.  
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Comment #7 posted by DdC on February 23, 2002 at 00:08:49 PT
Hey Teacher Leave Them Kids Alone!!!
A Few Buzzwords By Dave Neal (Good Read)
Human rights: This means "anything that fits in with America's foreign policy agenda of the time." The US shows a lot of concern for human rights in China and Cuba, but in places like El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Liberia, etc., etc. the human rights issues are examples of "extremism". The US considers itself a champion of human rights, Despite the reality of American foreign policy.School of the America's Graduates in the News 2000/2001
Human Rights Watch in February 2000, cited at least
seven SOA graduates for involvement with paramilitary
SOA Graduates Cited for Recent Human Rights Atrocities
and Paramilitary Ties. SOA graduate Colonel Jorge Plazas
Acevedo is being tried by the Prosecutor General of Colombia.
Last year the Bolivian government sold
the public water system of Cochamba to a private
corporation, resulting in skyrocketing water rates for
the people of Bolivia.SOA graduate Hugo Banzer sent out the armed forces to attack civilians. 
SOA honors graduate General Nicolas Hermoza Rios is currently serving time in a Peruvian prison, after pleading guilty to taking $14 million in arms deal gains. Hermoza is also under fire for allegedly taking protection money from Peruvian drug lords, whom the Peruvian military, along with military aid from the U.S., claimed to be fighting.
SOA graduate Byron Lima Estrada is currently on trial for the brutal 1998 assassination of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi. A Group of Mayan survivors are suing the SOA.If, as the "Argentine connection" suggests, the vast drug trafficking network has served to finance undercover operations and is intimately linked to military intelligence agencies, the current proposals to militarize the war on drugs are seriously flawed because of the links and commitments between drug traffickers, intelligence agencies and paramilitary groups over the years. Drugs to Replace Commies as Enemy of USA has a way of "forgetting." This article begins with a story about how the Zapatistas were originally the target of a so-called drugs purge by right wing paramilitaries financed by the US Government. 
The article underlines the "usefulness" of alleged drugs crack-downs as a way of eliminating any political opposition to the American Empire. In order to fill the post-cold war vacuum, drug-trafficking when viewed as a threat to the democratic processes on the grounds that it leads to political corruption and social disintegration, can replace the role that "communism" played during the 1960s and 1970s to justify a policy of military intervention and economic hegemony. Spraying Misery Orange, All Over Again By James Ridgeway
For seven months, the Environmental Protection Agency sat on a call to investigate the coca-defoliation program in Colombia.So far, the attack hasn't worked. Over 38,000 hectares have been sprayed since this year alone, but coca production is shifting to other parts of Colombia and spreading into Ecuador. U.S. Special Forces, who are doing the training, are kept out of the fighting, but U.S. civilian contractors who fly the spray planes have been reported in the thick of firefights. Meanwhile, the peasantry are getting drenched with Roundup Ultra. In one EPA study published in 1993, California doctors reported that the herbicide's active ingredient, glyphosate, ranked third out of 25 chemicals that caused harm to humans.Defoliation merely sends production elsewhere. Successful eradication programs in Bolivia and Peru in the 1990s led to a sharp rise in production in Colombia. "The pattern has been that fumigation 'chases' coca cultivation from one area to another, while overall cultivation levels rise,"Copter Stoppers
"There were 27 massacres in January of this year," noted Mark Colville on Sunday, with more than 200 civilians reportedly killed. Although the massacres are blamed on so called "paramilitaries" rather than the regular army, this is a distinction without a difference. At the Sunday teach in, Colombia Support Network member Tricia Smith charged that the paramilitaries are just an "extension of the state. The paramilitaries act as a glove so the military leaves no fingerprints on the crime.""To say that our sending military aid to Colombia is not promoting these massacres is fantasy," Colville declared.
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on February 22, 2002 at 20:56:14 PT
Poppy fields in Afghanistan
I have my doubts that US military personnel are going to plan an eradication program Of the Afghani Poppy Fields.
______________________________________________________________________________________the US gov't doesn't what FARC 'narco-terrorists' funded by cocaine sales. There is no mention of right wing groups being funded by the cocaine they sell.There are more cocaine processors, FARC is not alone.If the US gov't would just legalize cocaine, we would not have these problems. Good Gawd Almighty.It was legal at one time, it can be legal again. I don't use cocaine. It is high on my list of things that I can do without.However, I am not opposed to anyone wishing to use it. It is their life and what they choose to do is their business and not mine.After all, Sigmund Freud did not write "The Cocaine Papers" because he had a great distaste for cocaine.
___________________________________________________________________________________I digress.Why do the Afghanis plant poppy fields? Certainly not to be destroyed by the US military.Any attempt at destruction, the poppy growers of Afghanistan will see to it that it doesn't.More ravages elsewhere, there are easier pickings.
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Comment #5 posted by E_Johnson on February 22, 2002 at 20:10:51 PT
Have him put his job up as collateral
Snake oil salesman.
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Comment #4 posted by MikeEEEEE on February 22, 2002 at 18:11:30 PT
They still predict the future
Years ago they said that they would reduce drug use by what percentage?Ha, ha, they have to justify what they're doing.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 22, 2002 at 18:10:06 PT
JR Bob Dobbs
They changed it. I know programs get bumped from time to time but the program they put it it's place wasn't more important that what we wanted to see by any means.
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on February 22, 2002 at 18:02:15 PT
Don't these idiots realize that coca production is simply shifting to Columbia's neighbors? They can't be that dumb,can they? The only other explanation I can think of is that they are trying to drive up the price because they are dealing in cocaine themselves. Either they are totally stupid or they are cocaine traffickers themselves - or both!
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Comment #1 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on February 22, 2002 at 17:34:52 PT
TV coverage
  Wasn't it 48 Hours tonight that was supposed to have the spot about the Placer County mom? I'm not seeing it, the show is all about sleep. Or was it supposed to be on another newsmagazine type show?
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