Wednesday, August 20, 2003


It appears I need to issue my first correction. I recently quoted Jules Siegel and not only did I spell his name wrong, but I mis-quoted him. Jules told me he knew the Vietnam War would end when the Wall St. Journal published an editorial against it, not the New York Times as I had originally reported.

Jules is one of the most astute observers of the human condition I know, so while I still think it's a good sign that the NYT is coming out against the atrocities of the drug war, guess we'll have to wait for the WSJ to catch up to the times before we can expect this insanity to end.



I never thought I'd see the day when I'd link to an article by Juan Forero, but what really scares me about it is, it's a pretty well balanced story. When the mouthpiece of the mainstream media gets concerned enough to start telling the truth, we should all be afraid.

This in today from the New York Times, U.S. Backs Colombia on Attacking Drug Planes.

BOGOTÁ, Colombia, Aug. 19 — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, on a one-day visit to Colombia, said today that the United States would support Colombia in resuming a policy that allows Colombian fighter pilots to shoot down planes suspected of ferrying drugs or force them to land.

Such a policy, which has been criticized by human rights groups, was suspended in Colombia and Peru after a Peruvian jet fighter mistakenly shot down a private plane carrying American missionaries, killing two people, one an infant, in 2001.

A White House statement said President Bush had determined that Colombia had since "put in place appropriate procedures to protect against loss of innocent life."

Guess they figured enough time had passed that people will have forgotten that horrifying incident. And here's their appropriate procedures.

The downing not only raised serious questions about the lack of safeguards, but also deeply troubled American officials about future lawsuits, said officials familiar with the policy.

Those concerns helped delay a new program, said Phillip McLean, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for South America who helped negotiate the shoot-down policy with Peru in the mid-1990's.

"They wanted to make sure that the thing was put together to protect them," he said.

Mr. Vivanco said the fear of lawsuits has led American officials to shift more of the responsibility to Colombia. Indeed, the American official emphasized that the Colombian government, not the United States, would oversee the program.

"The U.S. knows for sure that they cannot protect themselves from domestic litigation," said Mr. Vivanco.

American officials and Mr. McLean said the Colombian government had been careful about downing planes even before the incident in Peru. Before the suspension in 2001, the air force here mainly focused on disabling aircraft on the ground.


Shooting down civilian aircraft unfortunately is the least of our worries. Of greater concern is the continued US support in the form of millions of our tax dollars towards the continued campaign of herbicidal warfare against the resident population living in the heart of our planetary ecosystem. Our government is essentially dumping tens of thousands of gallons of criminally toxic herbicides on innocent families who have nothing to do with the drug trade.

I've been searching for the identity of the surfactant in the herbicide Roundup they are using in Colombia for a long time. Finally found it and wouldn't you know it's my compatriot from the inaugural session of the NarcoNews J-School, Jeremy Bigwood, who wrote the definitive piece on this issue. I trust Jeremy's impeccable research skills completely. This is the real deal and Toxic Drift: Monsanto and the Drug War in Colombia was written for CorpWatch over two years ago.

The drift factor is the real concern here. There are stringent standards applicable to the application of this kind of agricultural poison. It has a legitimate purpose in the farming community, without it we would probably starve from crop failures but it has to be delivered precisely.

What it should look like

What happens in Columbia

It's all about the altitude and the collateral damage is being done to a society of innocent souls who are struggling every day to scratch a living from that tortured earth. Let me say it again, these poisons are saturating the heart of our ecosystem and from the cloudforests of Columbia, like castles made of sand, they will fall into the sea and be delivered onto our shores by the relentess tides, eventually.

From the article, here's what will be washing up on Cocoa Beach for your descendant's enjoyment.

In a talk at the University of California in Davis in May, Dr. Nivia said: "the [Roundup Ultra] mixture with the Cosmo Flux 411 F surfactant can increase the herbicide's biological action fourfold, producing relative exposure levels which are 104 times higher than the recommended doses for normal agricultural applications in the United States; doses which, according to the study mentioned, can intoxicate and even kill ruminants." The use of this enhanced Roundup would not be acceptable in the U.S. without prior testing and scientific evaluation.

Furthermore, the label Roundup label warns that: "It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in any manner inconsistent with its labeling. Do not apply this product in a way that will contact workers or other persons, either directly or through drift. Only protected handlers may be in the area during application."

This atrocity brought to you by Monsanto, by the way. Call me crazy, but this is not the legacy I want to leave for future generations.

Last word of the day on this issue goes to Sanho Tree's photo essay of the damage done by this Monsanto product. For my regular readers, this is a repeat from several weeks ago, but worth a second review.




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