McCaffrey Predicts Tough Fight 

McCaffrey Predicts Tough Fight 
Posted by FoM on November 20, 2000 at 19:27:45 PT
By Jared Kotler, Associated Press
Source: Boston Globe
White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey on Monday predicted heavy fighting in an approaching U.S.-backed anti-drug offensive and warned that there would be repercussions for Colombia's neighbors. But with ''vital'' U.S. interests at stake, and insurgents growing stronger through deepening ties to the drug trade, McCaffrey said he saw no alternative to the $1.3 billion effort set to get under way in January. 
''Colombia has no option. Your survival is at stake, and those of us who are friends of Colombia must stand with you,'' McCaffrey told a news conference Monday as he started a two-day visit accompanied by Undersecretary of State Thomas R. Pickering. Last week, Colombia's largest leftist insurgency declared a freeze on peace talks that have been President Andres Pastrana's main strategy for ending a 36-year conflict. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said it was protesting U.S. military aid and lack of government action against rightist paramilitary forces waging an unofficial ''dirty war'' against suspected leftists. The rebels are also maintaining a two-month-old stranglehold of the largest coca-growing growing province while highlighting the lack of state authority throughout the countryside. The FARC ''armed blockade'' has crippled Putumayo province the main target of the coming U.S.-backed offensive creating shortages of medical supplies, food and gasoline. McCaffrey said FARC is worried that the U.S.-backed offensive, aimed at eradicating drug crops, will threaten annual cocaine-related income of between $500 million and $1 billion, which goes to the guerrillas and the paramilitary group also active in Putumayo the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia. McCaffrey said the guerrillas were no longer just ''taxing'' cocaine production, but had moved into smuggling operations. He predicted stiff resistance by some 2,000 FARC and 600 paramilitary fighters to attempts by U.S.-trained army battalions to retake the coca fields, and U.S.-funded programs to help poor coca farmers switch to legal crops. ''We've got thousands of people with automatic weapons down there, and it's going to be a tough go,'' he said In a speech Monday in Bogota, McCaffrey acknowledged that neighboring countries would suffer spillover effects as the offensive, known as Plan Colombia, drives Colombian traffickers and insurgents toward the borders. He noted that $180 million of the $1.3 billion package is aid to help Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Panama prevent traffickers from shifting operations into their countries and to block guerrilla and paramilitary incursions. The visit, probably McCaffrey's last before stepping down in January, comes as cracks emerge in a bipartisan consensus on Colombia which the retired four-star general helped forge. Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., a key congressional supporter of the aid package, wrote McCaffrey last week to declare the U.S. aid package which provides the Colombian military with combat helicopters and an unprecedented role in the drug war ''a major mistake.'' But McCaffrey said he would reassure Pastrana of strong U.S. backing whoever wins the U.S. presidency. He predicted an additional $400 to $600 million in U.S. funds would be needed next year for Colombia and its neighbors. While saying he was upbeat about the long-term, McCaffrey predicted a ''giant increase'' in Colombian coca production when CIA estimates are released in February. Complete Title: McCaffrey Predicts Tough Fight in U.S.-Backed Drug Offensive in Colombia Bogota, Colombia (AP)Author: Jared Kotler, Associated PressPublished: November 20, 2000 Copyright 2000 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, Inc. Related Articles:Drug Czar Fought The War On Drugs To No End Sees Giant Increase in Colombian Cocaine Grows Killer Fungus To Fight Heroin Thoughts On Colombia House Leader Withdraws Support for Colombia
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on November 23, 2000 at 07:55:56 PT:
"Figures don't lie, but liars can figure"
Many years ago, the CIA fudged the figures of Soviet military strength, knowingly, to justify the Reagan arms buildup. The President who got elected on the basis of curbing government spending went on a binge with the Nation's credit card. And we are still in debt to the tune of several trillion.McCaffrey's dubious 'successes' are of the same hypocritical bent; because of him, we are now embroiled in somebody else's civil war. Which has already claimed the lives of US service personnel (Captain Jennifer Odom and her crew, publicly; God knows how many covertly) and threatens to take many more.Oh, yes, Barry has plenty to be proud of. Like most pols, he's left behind one Hell of a mess to clean up. Just how bloody a mess this will get remains to be seen.
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Comment #2 posted by dddd on November 21, 2000 at 02:00:32 PT
" McCaffrey predicted a ''giant increase'' in Colombian coca production whenCIA estimates are released in February. " More total bullshit,from this war criminal.Of course an "increase" in production story will be slathered about the national media.It's a last ditch ploy to try and justify his crime. Once again,they will somehow fabricate a "statistic",using the cia as the source.Of course,no one can inquire as to how,or where the cia comes up with these "numbers". This "plan Colombia" has gotta be one of the most devious scandals ever put over on the people of this country.It will go down in history as a shameful debacle,that will be void of heros,but full of the opposite of heros,whatever that may be.....dddd 
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Comment #1 posted by freedom fighter on November 20, 2000 at 21:18:24 PT
Two-faced Barry
''Colombia has no option. Your survival is at stake, and those of us who are friends of Colombia must stand with you,'' McCaffrey told a news conference Monday as he started a two-day visit accompanied by Undersecretary of State Thomas R. Pickering. 
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