This Is Kerry On Drugs

Starve a peasant, feed a terrorist

(Page 2 of 3)

The 2003 narcotics control report continues about Bolivia: "The successful reduction of coca cultivation in the Chapare (down 15 percent) was offset by a 26 percent increase in theYungas resulting in an overall increase of 17 percent..."

And in Peru: "Due to the potential for social unrest, forced eradication was limited to non-conflictive areas" which consisted of abandoned fields and parklands while "...the extensive presence of high-density coca cultivation in the Monzon and Apurimac/Ene river valleys remains a major concern."

In the odd world of the drug warrior, this too is considered a victory. In 2001, General Peter Pace, then Commander of the U.S. Southern Command (the U.S. military wing of the drug war) called Plan Colombia "successful" because drug producers are moving their operations elsewhere in Latin America.

We're just beginning to get a glimpse of the havoc this relocation of drug production can wreak on the civil and economic health of other Latin American countries, but Beers is ready to turn this, too, to political advantage.

In November of 2001 Beers took his "at any cost" defense of American narco-policy to a new level by attempting (and failing) to connect Colombian coca and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest communist terrorist group, with al Qaida.

Beers gave a sworn deposition in a lawsuit filed by Ecuadorian subsistence farmers in U.S. Federal Court against DynCorp—a private contractor carrying out aerial eradication in Colombia. (Arias, et al. vs. DynCorp , et al.)

The Ecuadorians claimed that herbicide sprayed over Colombia had drifted across the border and damaged both their health and crops. Beers argued that the case shouldn't go to trial because the fumigation program is vital both to the national security of the U.S. and the war on terror in Colombia, claiming "It is believed that FARC terrorists have received training in Al Qaida terrorist camps in Afghanistan."

The FARC—accurately listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department—have become wealthy and powerful off the Colombian drug trade through protection rackets for coca growers and traffickers, the production and distribution of narcotics and control of local coca base markets. Beers' theory seemed to be that starving coca growers also cuts off funding for the FARC.

In a later supplemental declaration, Beers recanted the claim of FARC terrorists training in Afghanistan, "I wish to strike this sentence. At the time of my declaration, based on information available to me, I believed this statement to be true and correct. Based upon information made available to me subsequent to the filing of the declaration, I no longer believe this statement to be true and correct."

Exactly what "information" Beers had available at the time of his false statements is a source of some mystery. "There doesn't seem to be any evidence of FARC going to Afghanistan to train," a U.S. intelligence official told UPI. "We have never briefed anyone on that and frankly, I doubt anyone has ever alleged that in a briefing to the State Department or anyone else." According to a veteran congressional staffer: "My first reaction was that Rand must have misspoke... But when I saw it was a proffer signed under oath, I couldn't believe he would do that. I have no idea why he would say that." The "starve an Andean peasant to save an American cokehead" policy Beers defends has done nothing to protect the national security of the U.S., but rather is creating new political instability and terrorist alliances that can only serve to help along narco-terrorism in the Andean Ridge. In Peru, the communist terrorist group Shining Path, mostly crushed by Peru during brutal civil war in the 1990's is reportedly making a comeback. Beers himself, while still serving in the State Department told a 2002 Senate, "In 2001 the Shining Path had a slight resurgence in areas like the Huallaga and Apurimac Valleys, where cocaine is cultivated and processed, indicating the remnants of the group are probably financing operations with drug profits form security and taxation services." A February 8, 2002 Stratfor intelligence brief reported that, thanks to an expanding alliance with Colombian drug traffickers and the FARC, "Shining Path is trying to re-build its numbers and weaponry by working in the heroin trade. Peru is poised to become one of the world's heroin producers.

According to the 2002 State Department narcotics control report, "There have been multiple reports of border crossings by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) into Peru. In 2002 there was the first report of gunfire being exchanged between FARC forces and the Peruvian National Police.

The 2002 report continues, "Organized coca growers (cocaleros) in Peru staged a number of large protests during 2002, which intimidated the GOP into signing agreements to temporarily suspend coca eradication in certain regions, as well as to include cocalero representatives in discussions on revising Peru's counternarcotics law." It also describes a new Peruvian political movement, Llapanchicc, formed in the Apurimac River Valley cocoa growing region to defend indigenous farmers against forced eradication policies.

U.S. drug policy has managed to create the first Peruvian indigenous political movement with the defense of coca growing as its central plank.

Bolivia, which over the past decade vigorously eradicated coca with over $1 billion in support from the U.S., was considered the lone Latin American success story by American drug warriors.

Until 2002, that is, when the drug war changed the political face of Bolivia and Evo Morales, a Fidel Castro clone and the candidate from the Movement Towards Socialism (SAM) garnered 22 percent of the popular vote in the Presidential race with the backing of Bolivian coca growers, only 4 percent shy of the winner.

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