Waging Chemical Warfare in Colombia 

Waging Chemical Warfare in Colombia 
Posted by FoM on March 16, 2001 at 06:59:03 PT
By Judy Mann
Source: Washington Post
In the name of the war on drugs, the United States is spraying hundreds of square miles in Colombia with tons of herbicide in a grotesque magnification of a crop-eradication program that no prudent backyard gardeners would use on their suburban quarter-acre.Glyphosate -- the main active ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup -- is what is being used in the escalated fumigation effort against coca plants in southern Columbia. 
Since the program began Dec. 19, planes loaded with herbicide have sprayed an estimated 70,000 acres, beginning in Putumayo, where the campaign was waged over the objections of the governor and other elected officials. They raised a cry of concern in July about the hazards of planes blanketing the region, its people, livestock and fish with the herbicide, calling it "an attack against human life, the community and the environment."Roundup carries warnings on the container: "Caution: causes eye irritation. Avoid contact with eyes or clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling." Under environmental hazards, the label says, "Do not apply directly to water." A Roundup Web site warns that the herbicide can be harmful to certain aquatic organisms. People and pets should stay out of a treated area until it is thoroughly dry. The manufacturer recommends that grazing animals, including cattle and fowl, remain out of the treated area for two weeks.The United States has supported spraying opium poppy, marijuana and coca for 20 years. As coca production increased in Colombia in the mid-1990s, so did the spraying. But a major escalation of spraying has now occurred as part of a $1.3 billion U.S. aid package called Plan Colombia. Hundreds of millions are going to be spent to buy U.S. military aircraft and to train Colombian security forces in anti-drug tactics. Colombia is now the third-largest recipient of U.S. aid. Part of the "aid" package is supposed to support efforts to develop other crops and other employment opportunities for the coca farmers. Initially, they were promised $4,000 each if they destroyed the coca plants and agreed to plant something else. That figure is now $1,000. In return, the government pledged not to fumigate their land.This package was sold to the American people as the way to reduce U.S. consumption of cocaine. Schemes that can be wrapped up in "I'm hard on drugs" packaging are much easier to promote than getting Americans involved in another civil war. But a civil war has been going on in Colombia for several decades, and guerrillas now dominate the countryside where coca production is concentrated. In recent years, the rebels have been taxing coca farmers to finance their insurrection. Under the drug war plan, some 500 U.S. military advisers will be deployed to train the Colombian military in how to seize coca farms, destroy crops and shut down drug labs. In effect, they will be helping Colombia's weak central government wage its war against the guerrillas. This raises echoes of Vietnam, where we sent in advisers and lost 55,000 American lives. This week, four governors from southern Columbia came to Washington to ask policymakers to stop the fumigation, which they say has harmed humans, livestock and destroyed legal crops that are essential to the farmers' subsistence. Further, they said the social aid has been slow in getting to farmers.The governors say they are against illegal crops. They want to involve their communities in manual crop destruction and in development programs that will give farmers alternatives. Winifred Tate, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, a public policy and advocacy organization, spent 10 days in Colombia in January. Fumigation, she says, is a "completely ineffective way of reducing drug production and trafficking. Drug production in the Andes has remained constant. The programs have just moved it into other areas. The major area now is the Colombian Amazon. What we're doing now is spraying tons of pesticides into the Colombian Amazon," its soil and its watershed. People, too, are being fumigated, Tate said."So you have health problems, primarily respiratory and skin problems, particularly in children. The destruction of food crops is leading to . . . concern about having enough to eat," she said, adding that people are being displaced because they've lost their food and livelihood.Linda Farley, the American Birds Conservancy science officer, warned shortly before the program began that glyphosate's "long-term ecological effects are severe," especially for fish. Much of the coca cultivation occurs along waterways in the Colombian Amazon, threatening aquatic life there and downstream in Ecuador and Brazil. Furthermore, as farmers move deeper into the forest, they cause deforestation that threatens the habitat of most of the endangered birds in Colombia.It is remarkable that the United States, which sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, could proceed with a widespread, intensive fumigation program in another country without knowing the long-term effects on humans, vegetation, livestock, birds and fish. It is cruel and inhumane for us to try to solve our drug problem -- which is one of demand -- by attacking the livelihoods and environment of peasant farmers without providing them with other ways to make a living. But that's exactly what we're doing. In 1998, Congress allocated $15 million over three years for alternative development in Colombia. Only a half-million had been spent by late 1999, according to a report written by Tate. Meanwhile, aid to the military came close to $300 million in that year alone. It is typical of the heavy-handed way we conduct much of our foreign policy: We turn to the military first and drag our feet on the social and economic development programs that could get to the heart of the conflict.Source: Washington Post (DC) Author: Judy MannPublished: Friday, March 16, 2001; Page C11 Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071Copyright: 2001 The Washington Post Company Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Related Articles:EU Plans To Check Aerial Drug-Spraying in Colombia Governors Protest U.S.-Backed Spraying Articles - Plan Colombia 
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Comment #9 posted by dddd on March 17, 2001 at 18:22:53 PT
Right On!
You are right on NewMexican.The things that have been,and continueto be done by our government are not just mistakes,or excusable lacks of judgement,,,they are heinous WAR CRIMES,committedunder the color of our flag,by false patriots.....The worst part of it is,that I'm afraid the monster is too big to be stopped.Allwe can do is try to expose it,and hopefully slow it down.I share your views concerning the prophetic,mystical predictions,bibical and otherwisethat a "cleansing",is near.....Who could argue with this after seriously consideringall the factors,statistical and otherwise,,,and extrapolating a projection ten or twentyyears from today.....My apologies for the despondent outlook...enjoy life while you can.May JAH shine into everyones lives.....dddd
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Comment #8 posted by New Mexican on March 17, 2001 at 14:27:34 PT
USA: Home of the Greatest War Criminals.... 
Yes, we are. And the Media is guilty of complicity. LetsStart a class-action lawsuit to bring the corruption anddeath machine down. Barry and Bush, Dupont and Monsanto.The Republicans for the grand vision of killing the planetand the Democrats for not speaking up. Where is the voice of the outraged populace? Buried in Pardongate, to hide Bushgate. Everyday Bush attacks Mother Earth, women,people of color, cannabis smokers, choice, the electionprocess and it goes on and on without a peep from ourelected officials. Fortunately, as an Astrologer, I see thisas prophecy fulfilled (Biblical, Nostradamus) and a GreatCleansing is near. Look at Fujimori...He's safe in Japanand being charged with Murder at home in Peru after havingan out of contol Bush-style dictatorship for 10 years.Montensinos and Fujimori are U.S. hired cronies for the oil companies and biochemical interests. But now where are they? Safe, but in hiding, and who is protecting them?You're right...the good ole U.S.A. We are the Evil Empire,and a debate on the subject is overdue. But it will happen.Bush Jr. is in power so that the Bush family will fall fromgrace. Natures Laws will see to it that these crimes areexposed. The more they cover it up, the bigger the story forthe press. Thanks for listening!
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 17, 2001 at 10:31:16 PT
Just a note
Hi Lehder,I tried to fix the link and I didn't have any luck. When someone puts a , or ( ) around a link it often causes it to break. Just copy and paste the link and it should work. Thought I'd mention it here because others have done it and I wasn't able to fix them either. Hope this helps.
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Comment #6 posted by Lehder on March 17, 2001 at 10:01:37 PT
Plan Gran Colombia: Poison the Amazon
It is typical of the heavy-handed way we conduct much of our foreign policy: We turn to the military first.... True for our domestic policies too: turn to our SWAT teams and prisons to solve all our problems (whatever they are); identify the enemy, imprison him at any cost, kill him................. Our rulers were mute throughout the Taliban destruction of the awesome Buddhist relics in Afghanistan while England, Germany, France, Pakistan and other countries protested. The poisoning of the Amazon may not bother Americans much either, not even Nader, but the rest of the world will not stand for it silently.As you can see from the CIA World Fact Book, although the U.S. domnates, Colombia does about a quarter of its total $21.5 billion in non-dope world business with Europe and Japan. The tables for Ecuador ($6.9B) and Venezuela($32.7B) show similar data. So other countries have economic as well as moral and ecological interests in these three and which together until 1830 constituted the former Gran Colombia . Plan Colombia has now, in official language, been beefed up for the fumigation of Gran Colombia ($61.1B). The potential Bush-U.S. petroleum clan's interests in this region are probably much larger, comparable perhaps to the cartels'.Colombia World Business: $11.5 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.) Exports - commodities: petroleum, coffee, coal, gold, bananas, cut flowers Exports - partners: US 39%, EU 24%, Andean Community 15%, Japan 2% (1998) Imports: $10 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.) Imports - commodities: industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods,chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity Imports - partners: US 35%, EU 20%, Andean Community 15%, Japan 7% (1998) ...glyphosate's "long-term ecological effects are severe," especially for fish. Much of the coca cultivation occurs along waterways in the Colombian Amazon, threatening aquatic life there and downstream in Ecuador and Brazil. If we're going to mess around With Brazil too, its world import & export business is $95.6B, and the U.S. component is less than a quarter of the total, much less than the business done with Europe and the Orient. I did not set out to prove anything in particular here; I just found the economic facts interesting. I cannot see how our policies will make us any friends (although they can corrupt governments and render them non-representative), but perhaps the data will let me size up our future enemies. By contrast, Vietnam today does a total world import & export business of $23.1B; thirty years ago this number, compared to Gran Colombia, was probably proportionatly much smaller.We're messing around with people who may be weak but are hardly isolated. World criticism of U.S. policies will become more fearless and vocal in the face of Plan Gran Colombia's moral, economic, humanitarian and environmental outrages. The intensity of disapproval is already remarkable when the European Parliament, as reported recently on this board (,voted by a striking 474-1 in opposition to Plan Colombia.You would think that such strong disapproval would spark an honest inquiry and public debate here, would at least make the mainstream news. NO. Any international criticisms of drug war policies will be ignored by the government and the powerful corporations which carry out their plans by force. Reality means nothing to a totalitarian movement. Totalitarian movements believe they can create their own reality by repression and force and total control of the circumstances and minds of their subjects. Totalitarian movements believe that any reality is possible and they force their subjects to behave according to a set of rules which reflect only some dark imagined reality utterly alien to what is palpable to the senses and reason. Totalitarian movements are global in scope. In the face of reasoned criticism or even defeat, rather than face the true reality of their circumstances, the totalitarian abhorrence of Reality is strengthened and the violence is escalated in blind dedication to imposing the totalitarian version of reality.Totalitarian movements end only when they have been annihilated by force. They cannot be halted by appeals to reason or lessons from the realities of history. Let us hope that the Drug War can be ended by economic force; otherwise the Americans will eventually be defeated by various armed or unarmed invasions of tremendous force on their own soil. Either way, the violence and repression of the drug wars will only continue to escalate both domestically and globally until their final pandemonious defeat. Then history will find someone else to hate for power and profit and repeat itself. Again.. 
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on March 17, 2001 at 04:59:10 PT:
History will repeat itself
Prohibition--(Drug War)---Segregation--(Disparity in prision with Blacks doing more time for drugs) Vietnam--(Pan Colomuba) 
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Comment #4 posted by dddd on March 17, 2001 at 01:31:25 PT
strange quiet
I am still suprized by the relative lack of a visible,or audible outcry from environmentalistinterest groups,or anyone else...Maybe I dont see,or read enough news.....Anyway,I have decided on two basic reasons for the weakness of public concern.One reason is that the ondcp,and its covert partners in deception;have a definite foothold in themedia,and they do all they can to minimize critical reports,and maximize their propaganda.Thisis an extremely significant factor here....In addition to this is the relationship of the stockmarket owned media,big oil,defense contractors,drug and chemical companies,,,they allhave a vested interest in this plan,and it translate to their investors...It's an inbredfinancial racket that controls,and dominates a global empire.Another reason for the strange quiet,is that I think that most people have sortof resigned themselves to looking at our government as an unstoppable force thatis no longer influenced by voting...Consider the recent scam of a presidential"election",(selection).Less than half of the country even bothered to vote.Add to that,insults to the voters such as prop 215,and similar measuresaround the country.People are getting used to the idea of being ignoredwhen their votes are more or less neutralized in a most undemocraticfashion.As I've mentioned before;the chemical warfare in Colombia is notjust some sort of minor event,,it is an absolute OUTRAGE!..Weare talking about ecological mayhem,that is being perpetratedby our government,and it's corporate employers.Politiciansdont work for us anymore........dddd
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on March 16, 2001 at 11:05:31 PT:
Something a lot more sinister at work
Before I get too wound up, consider this: the theme of the 'fumigation' (sounds so harmelss, doesn't it?) actually amounting to chemical warfare has been brought up here, by several of us over the last few months. Isn't it interesting that Ms. Mann brings up the exact same theme in her article. I said once before, many of the ideas that nationally syndicated columnists have brought up before have shown up here months in advance of their national exposure.I wonder why? Perhaps because some journalists are poking their heads in here from time to time, for inspiration?Now, on to my subject.The surest way to control a country is to reduce it's agricultural capacity to zero, in order to make it dependant upon food imports. When enough people are starving, they will clambor for food...and not give a damn where it comes from. Or who provides it.Poisoning the soil and the rivers with Glyphoshate while loudly trumpetting your moral superiority in 'fighting drugs!' is not as blindsided as it first seems. There's a lot more at work here than simpleminded anti stupidity; there is a cold-blooded calculus involved in all of this.No, I don't credit the antis with more intelligence than God gave a paramecium. But what I am saying is that the powers behind the antis know that what is being done today will reap a rich reward for the American agribusiness companies like ADM. After all, who's going to feed all those starving campesinos?You can just hear the cash registers in the boardrooms of those megacorps who are supplying the poison - and anticipate supplying the necessary food shipments - going "Cha-ching, cha-ching." This is truly vile. To reduce a nation that was never any possible military or economic threat to the US to penury through the IMF is ghastly enough; to subjugate-by-starvation is an anathema. It is a stink in the nostrils of civilization.And it is precisely what the US is doing.
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Comment #2 posted by Sudaca on March 16, 2001 at 09:30:05 PT
So, in the name of God
the joyless God preached by the puritan moral mighties who think they have a right to control the consicouness of humanity, the US proceeds to poison the last of the worlds great greeen habitats. To poison the people it claims to be trying to help.. and of course it's all just a mistake, right?I refuse to believe this innocence. The sole benefitial effect this war has is feeding the gravy train of drug war employees (now subsidizing mercenaries as well as the bureaucracy, military and police) , and jacking up the price of cocaine by reducing supply.All the idiotic platitudes of attacking demand are just that. Freedom will be totally eradicated before people are forced off their (our) drugs of choice.this sucks
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Comment #1 posted by aocp on March 16, 2001 at 08:55:00 PT:
Obvious parallels
It is typical of the heavy-handed way we conduct much of our foreign policy: We turn to the military first and drag our feet on the social and economic development programs that could get to the heart of the conflict.Yea. Speak softly (we're only trying to help y'all!) and carry a big stick (fumigations that are great because they're not in our back yard, but rather, someone else's). Beyond that, this little gem of a quote reminds me of the "heavy-handed way we conduct much of our domestic policy" as well. We turn to the cops first and drag our feet on the social and economic programs that could get to the heart of the conflict of consenting adult intoxication. We're not only too stuck up to learn from the rest of the world, we impose our BS on them, with or without their consent. Figures.
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